Category Archives: Voynich script and language

Voynich star names analysed (2)

In a previous post I proposed a set of 64 star labels in the Voynich manuscript which seem most probably to represent the names of actual stars (or planets or asterisms). These are essentially only those on three pages of the manuscript, known as f68r1, r2 and r3. I excluded  from consideration many more star shapes in the manuscript on the grounds that they might not in fact be meant to refer to stars, and that any analysis should be cautious in this respect.
Having established this core list, I assigned each item a number, and presented the numbered diagrams on three separate pages so that you can see them and so that …

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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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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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Links with Syriac script?

This post takes up some discussion from Derek Vogt on other pages. I reproduce his discussion here with a table he has supplied:
Derek says: “I coincidentally came across this after having recently spent a lot of time looking at various known alphabets and how they had evolved, so I might have been predisposed to look at it the way I am. I started comparing the whole Voynich alphabet, complete with the Bax phonetic interpretations, with other whole alphabets, with the idea that it could have been developed from another one instead of invented independently. If a known alphabet could be identified as the Voynich alphabet’s nearest relative (whether as its …

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Voynich sign ‘M’

The new website is a wonderful tool for seeing patterns of signs and words in Voynich text.  Who made it? It seems anonymous, but someone should get credit for a useful piece of work….
One thing it allows us to do is to see patterns  which would otherwise be invisible. For example:
The sign transcribed as ‘M’
Take the example of the letter transcribed in EVA as ‘M’.  If you look at this sign in the tool you get this view of its distribution across the whole manuscript:
This reveals some clear and interesting patterns. The first is that this sign does seem to be used as a ‘terminator’, as I suggested in my …

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My 2012 Voynich paper

Here below is a link to my 2012 paper. Please note that I now see several things wrong with that paper, so it is posted here for historical interest only.
You can see some updates on my thinking in my Feb 2014 paper, and also in other postings such as this one, which repeats part of the 2012 paper but updates and corrects some of the ideas.
But in any case, here is the 2012 paper in case you are interested, mistakes and all:
Or click here.