f67r1 – discussion of winds from Marco Ponzi

The following discussion about Voynich f67r1 is offered by Marco Ponzi. I have put it here in a separate post to facilitate discussion and comment – SB [The image below has been updated by Marco 6/12/2014]


Interpretation of f67r1 – Marco Ponzi

By Marco Ponzi

“I have made some further research about wind diagrams and the page discussed by Pelling and Zandbergen, f67r1:


The proposed analysis makes extensive use of a diagram from a XII Century Latin “compendium” based on Bede, recently linked by Stephen (Walters Ms. W.73 f1v);


‘Compendium’ – Walters Manuscript of Bede MS W.73 Copyright http://thedigitalwalters.org/


The Compendium diagram presents twelve winds, giving for each of them one or two names.
7 of the 12 sections of Voynich f68r1 can be connected to Bede’s diagram.

I have also considered an Arabic diagram that features heavily corrupted variants of the Greek and Latin names that appear in the Compendium (the Book of Curiosity, XIII Century, Bodley MS. Arab. c. 90, f21b):

[The link to the Bodley Arabic manuscript seems to be broken, I am sorry. Hopefully, you can reach the diagram clicking here.

Then click on “Table Of Contents” and search for
“Book 1 – Chapter 10: On the blowing of winds, earthquakes and tremors”.]
The Arabic manuscript seems to confirm a few of the attributions based on the Compendium. I based on it a possible identification for an eighth wind as a particularly bad corruption from one of the winds of the Compendium (“Boreas”).


Copyright http://cosmos.bodley.ox.ac.uk/


For the remaining four winds, I propose two hypothesis based on ancient Greek wind names, one on a different Arabic wind name and one on the Spanish cardinal direction ‘sur’.

I read EVA ‘y’ as ‘u’, on the basis of T H Ing’s analysis that suggests the possible equivalence of EVA ‘y’ and EVA ‘a’.
I read the other characters following Stephen’s proposals (but I may have gotten something wrong).

A few of the matches are quite poor, but I think it is interesting that they are mostly based on a single source.
I read the diagram clockwise: South, East, North, West. The Compendium diagram reads in the opposite direction (as modern maps do), so in the image it is mirror imaged and rotated. The Arabic diagram (being conflated with a representation of the Zodiac) reads in the opposite direction than the Compendium: it reads in the same direction that I assume in the Voynich diagram. The Arabic diagram also has an orientation similar to what I assume here (West at the top).

Here are the details of the single “winds” (from the top, clockwise). Numbering and EVA transcriptions are from Stolfi and Grove.

1 EVA:otaldy Reads: alushtu (SW) Compendium: “Austro” (SSW) – Arab.c.90: “ustlys”

2 EVA:otoky Reads: alaku (SSW) “Leuko notos” (Greek: the clearing wind)

3 EVA:seeaiir Reads: soouur (S) ? Possibly related to ‘sur’, Spanish for South

4 EVA:ykees.ary Reads: ukoos uru (SSE) Compendium : “Eurus” (SE)

5 EVA:sosaiir Reads: sasuur (SE) ? “Scirocco” (Italian) – “Shluq” (Arabic)

6 EVA:oteey.dar Reads: aloou tur (E) Compendium: “Apeliotes” – Arab.c.90: “fylyts”

7 EVA:yto!daiir Reads: ula tuur (NE) Compendium: “Vulturnus”

8 EVA:cheosam Reads: yoasur (NNE) Arab.c.90: “Buuryasy” (N) – Compendium: “Boreas”

9 EVA:ykeeody Reads: ukooatu (N) ? “Αrctos” (Greek North Wind)

10 EVA:okeol.sal Reads: akoash sush (NNW) Compendium: “Circius or Tracias”, “Thrascias” is another Greek variant

11 EVA:okeey.sar Reads: akoou sur (NW) Compendium: “Chorus” or “Argystes”, “Caurus” is another Latin variant – Arab.c.90: “ayqrks”

12 EVA:dalary Reads: tushuru (W) Compendium: “Zephirus” – Arab.c.90: “yfurus”


By Marco Ponzi


  1. MarcoP

    Ellie Velinska has discussed a XII Century wind diagram which is an excellent parallel for f69r. I think this Horizontal Dial made in Florence in 1542 could also be relevant (see English description here).
    The central dial includes 24 labels in the radial segments (wind names as from Vitruvius) and 8 labels placed along the circumference of an outer ring (compass directions, or Italian wind names).
    The Voynich diagram includes 22 radial labels and 16 labels placed along the circumference of an outer ring.
    f69r presents some possibly interesting repetition patterns in labels in both the radial and the outer sets. At the moment I cannot think of a way of making sense of this: it could well be accidental.

    • Darren Worley

      Marco – I think the division of this diagram into 22 sectors could be relevant.

      There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and this has special significance to Jewish mystics. Often, each letter was credited with having special qualities, so perhaps, this diagram is describing some (physical?) quality related to each letter?

      An example of the kind of individual I have in mind who would follow these ideas would be Eleazar of Worms or Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymus who was active in the 13th-century in Southern Germany.

      Quote : Eleazar developed a vigorous activity in many directions. On the one hand, he was a Talmudist of vast erudition, a liturgist gifted with a clear and easy style, and an astronomer, and was well versed in the sciences open to the Jews of Germany at that time. At the same time, he was an adventurous mystic who experienced visions, seeing legions of angels and demons. He exerted himself to spread mystical systems which went far beyond the conceptions of the classical authors of Jewish esoterica. In his mystical works he developed and gave a new impulse to the mysticism associated with the letters of the alphabet.

      I broadly agree with Stephen’s idea that the VM could be a kind of Summa i.e. that the VM could represent an attempt to collate known knowledge of its time. However, I don’t think this excludes the possibility that its content might not be purely scientific, in the modern sense, but rather more mystical in approach.

  2. Frank Marcario

    This is an analysis of Voynich f67r1 as a horoscope wheel with the names of the 12 zodiacal signs written within. Before I stared this analysis I surmised that EVA “dalary” could be another way to spell Taurus, and it is in the “usual” position if Aries is at the top of the chart and the rest of signs go counter clockwise around. Thus,
    Sign EVA ( Stolfi and Grove transcription)
    Aries /Ram otaldy
    Taurus /Bull dalary
    Gemini /Twins okeey.sar
    Cancer /Crayfish okeol.sal
    Leo /Lion ykeeody
    Virgo /Maiden sheosam
    Libra /Scales yto!daiir
    Scorpio /Scorpion oteey.dar
    Sagittarius /Archer sosaiir
    Capricorn /Sea-goat ykeesary
    Aquarius /Water bearer seeaiir
    Pisces /Fish otoky

    A zodiac is further indicated by the following noun-suffix correspondences:

    Sagitt-ARIUS /arch-ER sos-AIIR
    Aqu-ARIUS /water bear-ER see-AIIR

    Thus for Sagittarius (Sosaiir) and Aquarius (Seeaiir),

    Sosaiir= sasu /iir
    Sasu~ sagax (L)~ sagitta= arrow
    Sasu /iir= archer

    Seeaiir= soou /iir
    Soou= SU= water in Azeri, Turkish, and Tartar
    Soou/iir = water (bear)er

    For the next four translations the following assumptions were made:

    1. Each sign is one word long
    2. The Bax alphabet would be used for translation
    3. EVA “l” is either an “r” or “w”
    4. EVA “y” functions to harden or soften consonants, act as a helping vowel, or at the end of a word it can be either an abbreviation for –is, -us, -es, -an, -in, etc. or a case ending, in which case it can be ignored.

    A direct translation technique was used basically because nothing else worked.

    Sign EVA Baxian Translation Language

    Taurus dalary tur /ur /us Taurus /bull Latin
    Gemini okeeysar a /koys /(l)ur ikizler /twins Turkish family
    Capricorn ykeesary (y)ko /sur(y) kozer /goat Russian family
    Pieces otoky al /ak(y) halak /fish Hungarian family

    The last three translations could be shoe-horned into Turkish, but at this point it’s probably better to remain open about the root language. (If someone could fix the formatting i would appreciate it.)

  3. here’s a theory – what if the work is one which renders phonetically the Greek and/or Latin terms, but for an audience whose native tongue lacks certain sounds. It wouldn’t be surprising either if their native prefixes and suffixes were added to.

  4. As it happens, I also used the same manuscript’s wind-wheel for my recent discussion of folio 85v-1. Are credits for first use wanted? If so, do say.

    • Stephen Bax

      No need, thanks….. But I would love a link to your posts!

  5. Not sure I understand your reference to the ‘Book of Curiosities’ here. The copy you mention is not written in Hebrew but in Arabic.

    • MarcoP

      Hello Diane, when you wrote that -‘West’ is of course, equivalent to Autumn- I thought you were making a general statement, so I thought it relevant to point out that one of the manuscripts discussed in this page does not conform to that general rule. It was not clear to me that your observation was strictly limited to Hebraic culture. I apologize for misunderstanding.

      • Thanks Marco,
        Yes, the exception to the usual habit of associating west with Autumn is interesting.
        Yes, the point of my earlier remark was that if Stephen’s romanisation is appropriate, his rendering comes close to an appropriate Hebrew term.

  6. Stephen Bax

    Can I ask a question? (It’s good to be on the other side for a change :-))

    Why would a diagram of the winds have the moon in the centre? Is there a precedent for this that anyone can find?

    Other wind diagrams on this site have the earth in the centre (as in the Arabic one and Bede’s)

    • MarcoP

      Hello Stephen, I have asked myself that question, but I have not found much. Besides the World, another common central subject for wind diagrams (and other circular diagrams) is “Annus”: the Year. So the moon could be there simply as one of the main indicators of time and hence related to the Year.

      Here is another example of a wind diagram featuring the Moon (The Hague, ms KB, 72 A 23, Lambert of St. Omer, Liber Floridus, 1460, f16r1):
      I should try and read the text of Liber Floridus corresponding to this image. Maybe it could provide more information about the Moon and the Winds.
      Interestingly, this illustration includes the inscription: “Sol Occasus / Luna” (Sunset / Moon). This supports the identification of West with the position of the Moon in Voynich f68r1 / r2.

      Obrist (“Wind diagrams and medieval cosmology”) presents this illustration from Southern Italy, with both the Sun and the Moon at the center of the twelve winds:
      She writes (p.57): a less widespread but nevertheless interesting eleventh-century type [of diagram] with wind masks should be mentioned in which the central circle refers neither to the worlds as a whole nor to the oikoumene but to superior cosmic ruling principles, namely, the sun and the moon.

      I guess that cultures using a moon calendar could more easily represent the moon at the center of a diagram such as this one?

  7. concerning the last, ‘tushuru’ which you posit as placed ‘West’:
    Tishrei or Tishri /ˈtɪʃriː/ or /ˈtɪʃreɪ/; Hebrew: תִּשְׁרֵי or תִּשְׁרִי‎; from Akkadian tašrītu “Beginning”, from šurrû “To begin”.

    ‘West’ is of course, equivalent to Autumn, Tishri falling in September-October.

    • MarcoP

      Thank you Diane. The association of West (Zephyros) with Aries (hence March-April) in Bodley MS. Arab. c. 90 is indeed unusual, as far as I know.

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