Category Archives: Voynich

f68r3 Pleiades page star names

f68r2 Star names

I’ll add discussion and my proposed list soon.

Month names in the Voynich zodiac pages

A well-known oddity about the Voynich manuscript (among so many others) is the set of month names in the centre of the zodiac pages which were obviously added after the main manuscript was completed. Here is the one on the Pisces page, which seems to say ‘mars’, meaning March.
Elmar Vogt [correction: the part on zodiac names was written by Elias Schwerdtfeger] offers an interesting and detailed discussion at the end of the document which you can find here. (The rest of the document, on marginalia, by Elmar Vogt, is also interesting.) He [Elias] suggests that the month names are to be read as:

may, mayˆ
yony, yong, yonij (?)
jolliz (?)
sepembr, septembr (?)

He doesn’t, …

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Where was the Voynich manuscript produced?

The question posed in my title is one of the most frustrating of all those relating to the Voynich manuscript (VM), and one of the most disputed. Since the VM was rediscovered in 1912 in Italy, many commentators have started from the assumption that it was probably made in Italy. However, others have ventured rather further, suggesting China, Mexico and even outer space!
In the light of all of this speculation, it might simply be best to shelve the question completely, and avoid any discussion of it until we have more solid evidence. In principle, that would be the best option.
However, at the same time, if we had some idea of the provenance of the manuscript, it …

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A 15th century cipher

Looking back through some older Voynich research postings I was reminded of a fascinating  15th century Italian cipher which looks strikingly like the Voynich script. It is the work of  Giovanni (or Johannes) Fontana in Venice in around 1420-1430. Look at this sample, with the top part in Latin and the second in his cipher:
This cipher has long been known to Voynich enthusiasts, mostly through the work of Phil Neal, and you can see his discussion here. The cipher was invented to encode Latin, and an article by Ormont which Neal links to offers the key as follows:

The vowels are interesting – the ‘i’ is a single circle, then the other vowels have …

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f68r1 Star names

Here is folio 68r1 of the Voynich manuscript with my numeration, to help the analysis and discussion of possible star names. Comments welcome.

Here is a list of the 29 star names represented on  F68r1.


Voynich star names: an analysis (1)

The Voynich manuscript (VM) contains dozens of pictures of stars alongside what appear to be labels and names.
In our attempt to decipher the manuscript’s content it would therefore seem an obvious strategy to look systematically at these labels for clues to help us in decipherment. We could draw on the extensive research and scholarship into the star names we use today, and the origins, transmission and transmutation of those names over centuries.
This would help in decipherment because if we could find common star names in the VM and in systems which we know from elsewhere, this could give us important clues as to the sound-sign correspondences in the VM which could help us to crack the …

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Observations on ‘ot’ as /al/

I’m currently working on the star names in the Voynich manuscript, and I aim to set out my findings soon.
In the process I have come to believe that the very common Voynich prefix transcribed in the EVA system as ‘ot’ could probably represent the sound sequence /al/. Here are some informal observations about this possible prefix:
1. The main basis for this idea is the occurrence of ‘ot’ in the star names, for reasons I will set out more formally in the coming weeks. However, this prefix is also used very widely elsewhere in the manuscript. (See here for an overview on
It seems to occur as a prefix more than 2400 times (tokens), with …

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A Mandaean connection? by Darren Worley

Here I present a short paper sent to me by Darren Worley, arguing for a Mandaean connection:
“I think that there is evidence of a Mandaean influence in the VM. I would suggest that the text might be Mandaic, a close-cousin of Syriac. This is the language of the Mandaeans.
The purpose of this posting is to describe in greater detail the similarities that I’ve found, and hopefully encourage others to find more, and test this hypothesis.
In brief, the Mandaeans follow an ancient Gnostic religion from Mesopotamia/Persia that continues to this day. Their origins are unclear; some sources suggest that they are descended from the Jewish tribes who remained in Babylon, and …

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Voynich f57v – the ‘alphabet page’

This page offers discussion and comment on f57v:

This is the analysis sent to me by Darren Worley – comments welcome:
 “I suspect the purpose of f57v (and the text on f58r and f58v) is to describe the use of a kind of Armillary Sphere., which is an astronomical instrument for measuring the celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features such as the ecliptic.
In particular, I believe it may be an “al-Bayda”. A kind of mixed [astronomical] instrument combining elements of a solid celestial sphere with others derived from the tradition of the armillary sphere, which received the name al-bayda (“the egg”). [Medieval Science and Tech. p79; ed. Thomas Glick].
It …

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