Monthly Archives: October, 2014
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 …
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 …
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.
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 …