Voynich ‘Bathing’ pages (f75r – 84v)

I am setting up this post to get discussion of the fascinating ‘Bathing’ or ‘Balneological’ pages of the Voynich manuscript (Quire 13, folios 75r84v).

f75v

I also want to raise awareness of an interpretation of these pages which I think is interesting and well-argued, namely the one by Lincoln Taiz and Saundra Lee Taiz which you can find on page 19 of the Chronica Horticulturae, Vol 51 , Number 2 , 2011 .

In that article they argue that in these pages “the author depicts a philosophical scene in which women represent vegetative souls located within the very marrow of the plant, driving the processes that make plants grow and reproduce” (p22)

 

Elsewhere on this site Marco Ponzi has recently made another suggestion about these pages which I will also reproduce here for convenience, also for comment. Marco says:

This web page by P Han presents (among other things) an analysis of f80r, the bathing queens. At the center of the top illustration, we can see a “nymph” who wears a flower crown and seems to be coming out of a bathtub.

P Han compares the central Bathing Queen (Nymph #6 from the left) to ancient images of Venus Anadyomene: the identification of the subject as a water goddess is a possibility, independently on linguistic considerations. The nymph is labeled EVA:opor reading Apar (or ^abar^, following Derek’s phonetics). I think this confirms the idea we discussed with Derrenthat the label EVA:opoey on Voynich f86 / Rosettes O T map (an possibly EVA:opcholdg on f68v3) could be related with the Zoroastrian sacred water Aban/Apas. Nymph #6 likely is a personification of Aban.

Nymph #4 is labeled EVA:okolo, reading Akasha (the fifth element of Hinduism and Zoroastrianism, as Stephen discussed here). She wears what appears to be a jewel tiara. Jewels are among the attributes of Buddhist personifications of Akasha (Akasagarbha).

So, at least some of the characters apparently are personifications of natural elements. The preponderance of women among these personifications seems to me noteworthy (for instance, the Buddhist personification of Akasha is male).

I also find the couple on the right interesting: Nymph #9, who wears a flower in her hair and has her hands tied behind her back, seems to he held captive by the Man. They are facing towardsApar. I tried to collect a set of random ideas for an embryonic explanation of this scene. I am sure that none of the following stories is exactly the one illustrated in this page.

The scene seems to me somehow similar to some Mesopotamian seals (eg ME 103317). From the British Museum description:
“Cuneiform documents dating from the early second millennium BC describe how Ea, god of water and wisdom, held the Tablet of Destiny, a cuneiform tablet on which the fates were written and gave supreme power to its possessor. According to these accounts, Ea decides to bathe, and removes his crown, clothes and tablet. Anzu steals the tablet but the hero god Ningirsu defeats the monstrous bird and recovers the tablet. This serpentinite seal appears to show Anzu (shown as a bird-man) brought as a prisoner before Ea.”

I propose the following parallel:

* Nymph #6 Apar roughly corresponds to the water god Ea.
* The Man at the extreme right (EVA:okar akur – Ahura? / a god?) roughly corresponds to the hero god Ningirsu.
* Nymph #9 (EVA:okiin?) roughly corresponds to the bird-man Anzu.

A related Avestan myth exists: the bird Kamak steals all the water from the world. He is defeated by the hero Karshasp. ”When Kamak appeared he spread his wings over the whole world, all the rain fell on his wings and back into the sea, drought struck the earth, men died, springs, rivers and wells dried up”.

But the beautiful and floral Nymph #9 is very different from these monstrous bird demons.

Another possible parallel can be found in Botticelli’s Allegory of Spring. The central character is Venus. On the right, the personification of the West wind Zephyr is kidnapping Chloris, a nymph closely related to Flora (the goddess of flowers), who stands nearby.
A possible Avestan relative of Flora and Chloris is Anahita, also associated with flowers (and so a possible match for Nymph #9).

* Nymph #6 Apar roughly corresponds to Venus / Spring.
* The Man at the extreme right roughly corresponds to Zephyr.
* Nymph #9 roughly corresponds to Chloris/Flora.

The rape of Persephone / Proserpina also comes to mind.
The myth of [U]kur is a Mesopotamian variant: A dragon. He abducted Ereshkigal and became ruler of the underworld with her. He was killed by Enki and Ninurta but his body had held back the primaeval waters and now a flood threatened. The situation was saved when Ninurta built a wall to hold the waters back. The Man labeled Akur could correspond to Ukur.

* Nymph #6 Apar roughly corresponds to the water god Enki.
* The Man at the extreme right (Akur) roughly corresponds to Ukur.
* Nymph #9 roughly corresponds to Ereshkigal.

In conclusion, I would tentatively say that the illustration is related to a myth about fertility, rain and season change (at least, these seem to me the common traits of the parallels mentioned above).”

Any views or comments welcome, on the Taiz and Taiz analysis or on Marco’s discussion, or anything else related to these pages.

115 Comments

  1. I’m a Voynich minnow and only know what I’ve picked up in the last month or so and I’ve come here hoping to learn more. I have a question.
    Where else in the Middle Ages, other than bathing in a mountain stream or a bathhouse, would you be likely to find so many naked women?

  2. Stephen & others

    My paper about the bathing section imagery is finally finished. The pdf can be downloaded at https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/07/26/a-certain-riddle-of-the-sphinx/

    Feel free to put on main page 😉

    Koen

  3. I am currently testing the hypothesis that a number (not all!) of the folios in the bathy section depict Hellenistic Greek constellations. In these folios, the water level represents the constellations’ intersections with the Tropics (i.e. horizontal circles on the celestial sphere).

    I also explain how this interacts with the mnemonic layer taken from Greek myth.

    The first examples can be read here, more to follow:
    https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/a-metamorphosis-of-the-fixed-stars/

    I’ll just add one example to this post as well.

  4. I have included the rest of the page and another folio in the Philomela story. Rene rightly remarked that the weaving of life into cloth was missing, which is a crucial element in the myth. It appears to have been depicted at the bottom of the same page.

    The scene where the king violates Philomela is also included, as well as the one where he cuts out her tongue and so on.

    https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/philomela-2-the-full-story/

  5. I have become more convinced that at least two bifolios from quire 13 (out of order, as generally assumed) contain depictions of, or at least strong allusions to, the mythological material from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

    These stories are depicted in a symbolical way, flowing water and pipes and tubes symbolizing the flow of the story.

    F79r tells the myth of Ceyx and Alcione. In top, we see a personification of a violent storm destroying the mast of a ship. In the bottom, Ceyx floating on a piece of wreckage. In the middle, Iris, messenger of Juno, visiting the halls of Sleep.

    I discuss every part of the image and the way the myth flows down the page here : https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/alcyone/

    • VViews

      Hi Koen,
      I find your analysis interesting, but I do have a question about the general theory that the balneo pages’ illustrations relate to Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Why encipher a bunch of excerpts from Ovid? Or, do we have any reason to believe that Ovid’s stories could be used to illustrate something other than an Ovid text? Are there any other cases in medieval r ancient manuscripts where illustrations of excerpts from Ovid are used to accompany a text which is about something else?

      • VV – I have the same question 🙂

        I did consider the possibility of a mere illustrated metamorphoses for a while, but have abandoned that again. I strongly suspect the metamorphoses scenes are not the main purpose of the text.

        I have noticed that all myths I have found so far, relate to navigation or naval voyages in general. There is the origin story of the Ursae constellations (i.e. some of the most important constellations of the northern hemisphere), a story explaining the mythological origin and behavior of a number of winds, a story about a shipwreck and the “halcyon days”, when there are no storms at sea. This one is basically about the dangers of navigation: https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/on-the-cross-2-between-scylla-and-charybdis/

        So there’s a definite theme to the material, which is one of the several reasons why I think it’s likely the text is not *just* Ovid.

        Another is that the labels don’t match the names of the characters, and indeed on some folios the characters aren’t labelled at all.

        Also, why is the narrative “thread” represented by tubes and flows of water and “lakes” and so on?

        I’ll just say that I don’t know the answer to that question right now. I prefer to see it, at the moment, as matter that for some reason has been “enriched” with a visual mythological narrative.

        I am quite confident about my analyses of the narrative structure, but there are still plenty of things to be clarified… Wouldn’t be the Voynich otherwise 😉

  6. I have posted my analysis of f80v, relating the images to the story of Callisto and the Ursae constellations.

    https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/the-deceitful-transsexual/

  7. I think I have found a key to understanding at least part of this section’s imagery. The figures on top of f80r tell Ovid’s story about Philomela. I was put on this track by reading here that one of the women is holding a spindle.

    After that, it was relatively easy to match all these images to Ovid’s story. It’s too image-heavy to reproduce here, so I’ll link to the post:

    https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/philomela/

    • MarcoP

      Hello Koen, I think it’s great that there is some consensus about the interpretation of the scene at the right as a rape!

      The translation you quote (A. S. Kline’s) does not seem correct to me. Ovid does not mention Philomela being bound with her hair. It’s a pity, because that detail would be a nice addition to the interpretation of the Voynich illustration!

      Kline connects “coma” to “fixis lacertis”, while it is connected with “arreptam”.

      vagina liberat ensem arreptamque coma fixis post terga lacertis vincla pati cogit

      vagina liberat ensem
      he frees his sword from the sheath

      arreptamque coma cogit
      and forces her who he had taken by her hair

      vincla pati
      to suffer bonds

      fixis post terga lacertis
      with her arms fastened behind her back

      You can see here that a comma appears in this 1727 edition between “coma” and “fixis”
      https://archive.org/stream/publiiovidiinaso02ovid#page/429/mode/1up

      Brokes More’s translation is better (still he adds “weak” and “brazen” which are not in the Latin text):
      he seized her hair, forced her weak arms against her back, and bound them fast with brazen chains, then drew his sword

      • Thanks Marco. I thought already the hair binding was kind of weird, but then again, it’s Ovid so you never know. Turns out it’s good old fashioned hair pulling. That may explain why she’s depicted with shorter hair in the next scenes, perhaps.

        • Koen,
          I know that your opinion of the ‘roots and leaves’ section is that it refers to the Greek myths, but are you now considering that all the imagery, or all the ‘ladies’ imagery relates to Greek myth?

          About Ovid, I wonder if you’ve seen a book that was published by Cambridge Uni Press last year. I think you might enjoy it. I liked Ana Pairet’s essay especially but others may appeal more to you.

          James G. Clark, Frank T. Coulson and Kathryn L. McKinley, Ovid in the Middle Ages, CUP (2015).

          Also, I’ve got an essay hanging about, treating the top left figure on folio 80v, but I haven’t bothered putting it online because by the time I’d explained the iconography, history, archaeology and literary sources needed to ‘translate’ the image for a modern audience, the paper was too long to hold the attention of casual readers.

          Still, if that’s the section we’re focusing on at the moment, I might try to find the typing time. 🙂

          • Diane

            I must say I was surprised by this match myself. I thought the references to Ovid were limited to those in the f89 foldout – kind of like a special project. But now it appears that certain nymph compositions were inspired by Ovid as well. I’m pretty sure that someone who edited the material at some point had a Metamorphoses on his shelf – or in his memory 🙂

            The book you mention seems very interesting, I must see if I can get my hands on that – thanks for the reference.

            I would be surprised if *all* the nymphs come from Ovid, but I think especially the more narrative ones might. Those that interact “strangely” with others, those that have telling attributes… Just to throw something out there, I’m rather certain that Ovid will clarify the “four winds” page.

            So the essay you mention about the f80v figure would come in very handy, if you have the time to share it.

            Just to be clear – whatever Ovid references there are, I still see them as mostly mnemonic. The VM isn’t an illustrated Metamorphoses, it uses Ovid for clarifying other subjects – you know which ones 🙂

            • Ovid clarifies the “four winds page”, at least the underlying mythological mnemonic:

              https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/they-have-taken-wings-the-winds-of-ovid/

            • Darren Worley

              Koen – very interesting observations. How are these scenes depicted in other medieval illustrated versions (or commentaries) of Ovid? Are there any similarities?

              • Darren
                Marco has dug up some comparative material already, but as far as I can see the VM illustrations are of a totally different kind.

                Just one example, when Ovid says something like “they turned into birds and flew away” , the VM will use rather unconventional patterns to symbolize the flying.

                I personally believe this comes from an older tradition and has been edited by a different culture before being copied in Europe. No wonder you end up with something as weird as the VM if you put the Metamorphoses through such treatment 🙂

                I’m planning to work out the other scenes in the next couple of days. I also started a project on my blog to put the folios back in order using these narrative threads. The first two bifolios I’ve moved together look plausible already (see sticky post on my blog).

  8. Peter
  9. Koen G.

    I have always thought of the VM as a book without violence. Plants, stars, women bathing in total harmony. Until I took a closer look. Behold, an overview of Voynich Violence!

    (This is mostly meant as a humorous collection but might be useful for people who haven’t noticed the extent of the fighting).

  10. Malkhaz Gaprindashvili

    Dear Stephen, dear VM fans,

    have you ever been in Tbilisi ? This city is famous for its thermal (sulfuric) bathes. This fact may not be related to VM but can be a source for inspirations. The Runkelstein Castle is very often mentioned in VM papers. It is located in northern italy (Bolzano) and is very close to Bormio (Bagni di Vecci) and Rabbi (Bagni di Rabbi) where ancient roman bathes are also to find.

    And … the water on VM illustrations sometimes are colored in green and sometimes in blue.

  11. Dick Saunders Jr

    I think parts of the book are describing plants and their medicinal uses. Some of the drawings are describing systems of the human body. like digestion, circulation of blood, urinary , etc.
    In this picture, I would say the biliary or bile system is represented. because of the green color.
    Other picture shows the stomach and narrow duct where food enters and leaves.
    I think Stephan Bax is right on some of his language interpretation.
    I theorize the repetition of words, sometimes right next to each other, might be incantations spoken when healing the patient with these herbal remedies.

  12. Adam Sohnen

    Stumbled upon the Voynich Mystery and it reminded me of another mystery:

    book of Esther:

    2:12 Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;) 2:13 Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house.

    Coould the Voynich plants be for bathing and perfuming the persian king’s harem? This year of purificaion may have also been a good way to monitor for pregnancy or stds..

  13. MarcoP

    It has been noted that the bulbous structures in f83v resemble opium poppy seed pods (e.g. Dana Scott, 2005).

    Below the illustration, two labels appear.

    The leftmost one is EVA:ololary, approximate reading: ashashurun. This is close to hashish (Cannabis) but even closer to the Turkish (and Albanian) “hashash” meaning “opium” (see this paper by Simoni and Vyshka p.28, and Derek’s comment about f6r).
    Words beginning with EVA:olol- appear on seven other folios, most of which illustrate plants (a common ingredient in pharmaceutic recipes?).

    The rightmost label is EVA:okarchy reading akury(u)n (Stephen) or ^akurhn^ (Derek). Following an idea put forward in the amnorvend blog, I searched for narcotics based on the mixture of opium with something else.
    The Persian physician Avicenna (Ibn Sina, XI Century) apparently wrote about mixing opium with a mushroom called ﻍﺍﺮﻴﻗﻮﻧ gharyqwn (Arabic). This recipe is mentioned by Primerose (De febribus libri IV, 1658 p.299) as a cure for melancholy. The name of the mushroom is Agaricus in Latin and Agarikon in Greek (apparently, the Latin and Arabic are derived from the Greek).
    Tommaso del Garbo (1350 ca) gives a similar recipe to induce sleep (Summa medicinalis, 1506 edition): “agaricus cum opio ad inducendum somnum”.This is of course very speculative, since the illustration does not seem to represent two different plants (nor a plant and a mushroom). EVA:okarchy could be related to the “nymphs” near the two globes, or to the strange “fish tails” below them. EVA:okarchy is similar to EVA:okalchy, next to the illustration in f82v which is also similar to what we see in f83v.

    • MarcoP

      The illustration and the first word in f90r1 (EVA:poleeol) are similar to those in f83v (EVA:ololary).

      Is it possible that these two images illustrate the same plant (opium poppy)? If so, this seems to confirm that the initial p- is not part of the plant name (point 2 in Stephen’s page about punctuation): ‘p’ is added when the word begins a page, but is not present in the simple “label” in 90r1.

  14. Linda Snider

    Here is a quick summary image I made regarding my theory that the “bathing” pages outline a world tour, including the page order. I tried to upload directly as a jpeg here but it would not take. Can’t really be seen in the preview, best is to hit enlarge, then the magnifying glass, then you will be able to drag it around and view the parts you want, or you can download.

    http://figshare.com/articles/Summary_of_Geography_101_IMAGE/1399205

    The full paper is here:

    http://figshare.com/articles/Geography_101_Periodos_Ges_Hydrographical_Iconography_in_Quire_13_of_Bienecke_MS408_Folios_75_through_84/1309949

  15. orun rubacı

    good questions gator. i have think these thinks 1 year

    1) this language is a crypto. 2v is a water lily, i have found more than 20 name but nothing matched
    2) i think its certain manu is about illegal things. illegal religious order or alchemy vs.. F1v is %99 belladona, you could use this plant for make poisons
    3) very interesting thing when i translate a word according to Stephen’s findings its usually been a city/town/willage in india :))

  16. orun rubacı

    look at my new word!!!

    http://www.voynichese.com/#/f78r/exa:shedy/653

    khatun (hatun) means queen, wife, woman

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khatun

    written 427 times, most of them in bathing pages and not illustrated pages

    • Linda Snider

      Hi Orun, That’s very interesting, thank you.

    • Hello! I read this word as ‘huiga’.

    • Husain Abul

      interesting!
      khatun is still used as a word in Iraq to address older and stranger woman.

  17. orun rubacı

    Two similar things i found. 2 roman mosaics

    1) 3 beauties mosaic, in a roman bath, silifke, Turkey

    http://www.mymerhaba.com/The-Three-Graces-in-Turkey-2634.html

    2) Bikini girls mosaic, Villa Romana del Casale , Sicily

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Casale_Bikini_modified.jpg

    • Linda Snider

      Hi Orun,

      Interesting, I hadn’t seen those particular three graces before, thanks for that. Partridges, doves and ladies dancing reminds me of the 12 days of Christmas, I just came across that connection in another way yesterday although it didn’t seem relevant at the time, now I wish I had paid more attention. Can’t remember the connection exactly, something to do with the minor prophets of the old testament or the 12 Olympians.

      Here are some more:

      http://ancientrome.ru/art/artworken/img.htm?id=4002
      Front side of a sarcophagus with three Graces.
      Proconnesus or Hymettius marble. 2nd—3rd centuries A.D.
      Inv. No. MR 10712. Brescia, Santa Giulia Civic Museum.

      https://geolocation.ws/v/W/File:Museum%20side%20three%20graces.JPG/-/en
      Statue of the Three Graces (2nd century AD) in the Side Arch…

      http://www.tiedyedfreaks.org/ace/italy2012/DSC01752crop_small.jpeg
      Mosaic of the Three Graces from the House of the Apollo in Pompeii

      http://elogedelart.canalblog.com/archives/2009/05/03/13594582.html
      The Three Graces, Pompeii, Regio IV ?, Insula Occidentalis. Photo: Luciano Pedicini

      http://www.mama.org/museum_store/vaults/goddess/8graces.html
      Louvre Museum, Paris Greece, c. 100 B.C.

      http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/article-9324977/Graces
      The three Graces, relief sculpture from Thasos, Greece, 5th century bc;

      This one above strikes me as resembling reliefs of Persephone, Demeter and Hecate, who also represent fertility and flora

      http://ancientcoinage.org/three-graces-and-nymphs-mythology.html
      More info & examples

      With regard to Stephen’s mention of Botticelli’s work, which also contains the three graces, I have also seen a connection, but I don’t see it as informing the manuscript, the timing seems too late as well. It does seem to me as though Botticelli’s work is related in some way, however, as though he had access to similar ancient material. It is known that he did refer to ancient works and I believe his employers may have been involved in some way in the making of the manuscript, as I have seen small similarities in other works they had consigned over time with items in the manuscript, however perhaps it is only that the makers of these pieces were somehow involved, some of them being unknown.

      Regards,

      Linda

      • MarcoP

        Hello Linda, just to point out that it was me, not Stephen, to suggest the far-fetched parallel with Botticelli. I agree with your comment: it is very unlikely that there is anything substantial in the similarity between Botticelli’s allegory and f80r.

        • Linda Snider

          Hi Marco,

          My apologies to you both. At one point I was looking for a species list for the plants painted by Botticelli, I only found a list of 40, whereas almost every blurb on the subject mentions someone having determined 190 different species of flowers, not to mention the plants that have no flowers. I thought finding that list might help with identifications of the manuscript, although of the list of 40 there were several that no one has identified with regard to the manuscript, but I did not check yet to see whether I could find any that matched myself.

          With regard to the bathing pages, I see a commonality as well but it is rather obscure. I’ll write it up sometime in the future when I get the chance.

          Regards,

          Linda

        • Stephen Bax

          Thanks Marco! We thrive on interesting parallels, even if at first they seem unlikely!

          • MarcoP

            I agree, Stephen! Looking for visual parallels is fun and instructive in general 🙂 My impression is that at this stage the possibility of real progress with the Voynich manuscript mainly depends on the linguistic research. I rarely think I have something to say in that area, but what I read on this site seems to me very promising (including not only your posts but also contributions by Derek, EMSmith and others).

            • D.N. O'Donovan

              Marco,
              Anything an amateur does as a hobby is fun, isn’t it? I expect for the amateur cryptanalysts and amateur linguists, playing with the cipher, or with multi-lingual glossaries is a fun way to spend the time, too.

              Different, of course, when people formally trained are providing their time and insights – as professionals.
              Which of course doesn’t mean that Stephen doesn’t also find it a pleasure – as I do in my own field. 🙂

              • Stephen Bax

                To be honest, I do it mainly for interest and curiosity, so I suppose I am a hobbyist myself. I would only say that, at this stage of our understanding, the link between the pictures and language is crucial, in my view. Some of your insights, Marco, have been very useful, as well as interesting, so don’t underestimate the importance of pictorial research 🙂

            • Darren Worley

              I came across this image and I thought there were some similarities with f75v (as shown above) the picture that shows 10 angels/women.

              The picture is by Guariento di Arpo (1310-1370) who was from Padua in Northern Italy. Its called “10 Seated angels with orbs in their hands” and dates from c1348-54.

              I came across it in The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls, to illustrate the idea that Jews in antiquity believed that God was worshipped in Heaven by his angels.

              Can anyone identify the names of the angels shown?

              I think this post illustrates the shortcoming of pictorial analysis alone. I agree with Marco comments above, that real progress will follow from linguistic research. Derek’s work on the star names is particularly impressive.

              • MarcoP

                Hello Darren, the ten angels are all identical, so they cannot be individually identified. This book says they are the “Thrones” (or “Ophanim”). The Italian wikipedia page names 8 of them:
                http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troni

      • orun

        nice finding graces in boticelli’s :)) i do not know anything about phonetics, just i have interest in history. im trying to find similarities between voyn and known history. but its really hard to reason manuscript is so ambiguous :))

        its ok these woman bathing. but why? its stupid. they are nude in the bath but why they are nude here?
        http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f73r/0.636/0.471/2.74

  18. Linda Snider

    Hi everyone,

    Please have a look at my paper outlining the idea that this quire takes us on a path around the world.

    http://figshare.com/articles/Geography_101_Periodos_Ges_Hydrographical_Iconography_in_Quire_13_of_Bienecke_MS408_Folios_75_through_84/1309949

    Thanks in advance for any constructive criticism you can offer.

    Regards,

    Linda

  19. MarcoP

    Plate 18 from The Loves of Krishna in Indian Painting and Poetry by W. G. Archer seems to me an interesting match for f80r. It illustrates an episode of the Hindu text “Bhagavata Purana”: the Rape of Rukmini (Book 10, Chapter 53).

    The central figure is a goddess: Ambika (or Bhavani?). The scene on the right is a rape: Krishna raping Rukmini. The women on the left are those who accompanied Rukmini in her visit to the temple of Ambika.
    The overall scheme of the image is similar both to f80r and Botticelli’s Spring: a central goddess, a rape scene on the right, a few female figures on the left.
    There are many differences between these three images and I cannot see any relation between the Voynichese labels and characters in the other two illustrations. So I guess the similarity is purely accidental.

    Here you can see a different illustration of the Rukmini episode:
    http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O432987/rukmini-painting-unknown/

    • I’d say the similarity was hallucinatory. The style of drawing – absolutely critical – is not remotely similar; there is no domed pavillion – critical to the Krishna story. The women are all shown dressed – unlike the Vms. The Krishna scene occurs in a garden – which the Vms line of women are not within; the women in the Krishna scene are drawn perfectly in accord with the environment where the finished work was created – not true for the Vms. None of the stylistic habits in the Vms imagery (such as proportion of head to torso, for one) is present in this Indian imagery any more than in fifteenth century western Christian (‘Latin’) art.

      What we have in both is a line of figures with female forms; in the Krishna image they are meant to be read as historical figures, and there is a text which they match. It is my opinion that the figures in the Vms are not, and were never meant to be read so literally.

      Sorry – no match.

  20. Denise Baker

    What if the green liquid is actually blood? The women could be different elements of the blood and how they interact. Giordano Bruno, for instance, wrote about the “life in the blood” and also about the circulatory system.

  21. Joannes,
    I don’t see how an instrument formed in that way would be a pair of dividers (‘compass’); for likeness in the natural world you might compare them with scorpion claws; in terms of techne, they can be said to resemble metal-workers tongs. And the same form is used as an emblem on some coins of the Indo-Bactrian region, where there is also a sign used which is like a cross with a small upright on one arm (same in the Voynich).. but I daresay others exist. Just not a practical form for a pair of dividers.

  22. For me, those bath are very, very close from the drawings of court of the King Alphonso X
    https://echapfr.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/alpho01.jpg
    we clearly see the opposition between chretiens and islamists with the cross on the right tent and sphere-moon on the left…
    This mean to me that the author of this page had the knowledge of such art and may live not very far from this civilisation…
    I think too that the reason he used only women to represent them may be to be caricatural of those people who was making laws but lived as girls…VM is perharps a far ancestor of “Charlie Hebdo”…

  23. Darren Worley

    I believe that the bathing section is related to “medical astrology”, as I indicated in an earlier post. I don’t think it is describing Zoroastrian myth or plant physiology.

    Specifically, this section appears to be linking the macroscopic (the celestial bodies) with the microscopic (human organs). This was a concept that was popular from the Roman era (and possibly earlier) through to the medieval period.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_astrology

    I’m not the first to realize this; many other VM researchers in the past have independantly noticed the depictions of human organs on these pages.

    The most obvious are the male genitals on f78r – half-way down on the left-hand side. How can this be explained this in terms of Zoroastrian myth, Plant physiology or Red-Sea navigation? (Any theory needs to be able to explain all the evidence, after all….)

    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f77v/0.5/0.5/2.60

    The idea behind “medical astrology” or iatromathematics is that stars/sun/moon/planets are associated with specific parts of the body, here is a quote from Wikipedia. (In the wikipedia description the sexual organs are associated with Scorpio.)

    After examining an individual’s natal chart, a medical astrologer may give advice to the client about the areas of the body in which they are most likely to experience trouble. For instance, an individual with the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, or many planets in the sign of Aries is presumed to have more headaches than other people because of the association of Aries with the head. A person with Taurus strong in the natal chart is predicted to have many sore throats and problems with the voice because of the Taurean association with that particular part of the body.

    This interpretation is consistent with the other astronomical/astrological pages found elsewhere in the VM.

    I don’t believe that VM is a scrapbook of unrelated folios – there is an astrological theme running throughout the astronomy, zodiacal and “bathing” sections.

    As I have stated elsewhere, the female figures in the zodiacal section are angels/nymphs representing stars. In the bathing section angels are depicted with different bodily organs to illustrate the star (or stars) that govern each human body-part.

    This concept linking angels and stars has a proven historical basis. Below is an excerpt from an analysis of a Roman Era (c200 CE) Gnostic text, the “Gospel of Judas” explaining how angels were synonymous with stars. It is taken from “The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot (A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed)” by Bart D. Ehrman p.93. This book is a study of the Gnostic text “The Gospel of Judas” written approx. 200 CE. I think the parallels with the VM are easy to perceive.

    […] everyone has a guiding angel and each angel in connected with a star. The stars in the sky are in fact angelic beings, any each of these beings has oversight of a person on Earth, being connected to a person’s soul.

    Just as we talk about “our guiding light” so ancient people – especially those influenced by the Greek philosopher Plato, as were the Gnostics – could speak about their guiding star.

    I think this explains why so many (all?) of the angels/nymphs on the zodiacal pages are holding tethered stars. They are holding their “guiding light” (or “divine spark”) and each angel represents a star.

    There are many pages in the VM illustrating this:

    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f71r/0.743/0.522/2.60
    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f71v_f72r1_f72r2_f72r3/0.47/0.459/3.80

    One of the earliest texts describing “medical astrology” was by Marcus Manilius who was also writing around the same period (c100 CE).

    I think it is significant that the equivalence of angels and stars is a Platonic/Gnostic concept. I have found further evidence linking “medical astrology” with specific gnostic sects. (There seems to be another Platonic connection in this section – the spindle is also referencing Platonic cosmology.)

    I believe that there is a common theme that runs throughout the VM and that is Gnosticism. The VM is, I believe, a Gnostic text. Even the herbal/plant section likely has Gnostic significance.

    I don’t think there is enough evidence yet to determine which gnostic sect created the VM, and we might never know. The best candidates, I feel, are the Sabian Mandaeans or Manichaeans, (or another closely-related, possibly extinct gnostic sect). There were various gnostic sects in the pre-Islamic Hellenistic Eastern Meditteranean and Persia, but few survived into modern times. There were even a couple of gnostic sects within Europe during the Middle Ages, these included the Cathars, Bogomils and Paulicians, and all are now extinct.

    Finally, the idea of combining mathematical ideas, astrology, religious and/or pseudo-scientific concepts in ancient gnostic manuscripts does have a historical basis. For example, the “Codex Tchacos”, the sole surviving example containing the “Gospel of Judas”, also contained a 5th-century Greek mathematical treatise, amongst other writings.

    http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/gospel_of_judas/

    • Hello! The language seems to be georgian (one of kartvelian family). On f77r is imaged 5 basic elements, blowing out of their tubes, all is signed. http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f77r/0.461/0.133/3.60
      There are, in order from left to right:

      1. Air/Steam/Fog. olkchs (EVA) | [ oxhccS ]. In the georgian dictionary i had found the word [ oshch’ivari ], that means ”dense vapors / fog”. So, the word in voynichese can be ”o-sh-ch-i-v”?
      “ოშხივარი [oshch’ivari] სქელი ორთქლი ზეაღმავალი შავად, ვითა ნისლი, густые пары.”
      near the end of page, here: http://slovarus.info/gru_1812.php?id=%26%234317&pg=2

      2. Water/Liquid. otedy (EVA) | [ oHc89 ]. In the same dictionary (at the same page) is the word [ oteba ], means “run”.
      “ოტება [ ot’eba ] (ვაოტებ, ვიოტებ) განდევნა, გაქცევა, обращать в бегство.”
      Another version – in Russia, Astrakhan region is the river named ‘Akhtuba’. The river, completely surrounded by semi-deserts on both sides. There is a narrow green place between 2 rivers – Volga and Akhtuba only. So, ‘akhtuba’ can mean ‘water’ as the once nearest water at all.

      3. Ether. otork (EVA) | [ oHo2h ]. There is only one thought – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etheric_body
      I havent found any accordance in georgian yet, because the only way to do this for me – is reading vocabularies and dictionaries and analyzing. There should be an accordance in some kartvelian langs, i sure.
      So, the word in voynichese can sound like “a-t-a-r’-k / e-t-e-r’-k / o-t-o-r’-k / э-т-э-рь-к (rus)”

      4. Fire. otol (EVA) | [ oHox ]. Almost in the all Indo-Aryan languages is the word ‘atash’ for fire and many variations of this word, e.g. atish, atush, otash, otosh, otesh, etc.
      So, the voynichese word may be ‘a-t-a-sh’ or ‘ae-t-ae-sh’ or ‘o-t-o-sh’. Maybe, in kartvelian, it the 15th century, was the same word for ‘fire’.

      5. Earth. The most complex one. dchdy (EVA) | [ 8cc89 ]. It’s still not fully clear to me.
      As we seen abowe, 8 – is [b], cc – is [ch’i] and 9 – is [a]. Turns out, that this word is ‘bhiba’? All, that i could find at the moment – the georgian word ‘deda’ – mother (like mother-earth). Another – the Albanian word ‘gheg’ – the name of north-albanian dialect. what does it mean? Another one – in Abkhazia is the waterfall named “gheg’s”… and what is the meaning of this?

      What do you think about it at all?

      • Hello all! I’ve just desintegrated the word, that means ‘an air’ – EVA: ‘olkchs’.
        EVA: ‘o’ is [a] or [ae]
        EVA: ‘l’ is [sh] or [zh]
        EVA: ‘k’ is [ch] or [q]
        EVA: ‘ch’ is a double letter. First is hamza, second – [ee] like in word ‘seen’.
        EVA: ‘s’ is [b] or [v]
        There are two versions because first variation is more respond to Europian side (Albania, Romania), the second one – to Caucasian side (Georgia, Armenia).
        Why I think so? – The selfname of Romani Gypsy language is ‘Romani chib’ with dialect variations ‘chxib’/’shyb’. What does mean ‘chxib’? Selfnames of Iranian, Arabic langs is ‘zivon’/’zabon’/’zivon’, etc. conformed to Russian ‘звон’ (zvon) meant https://translate.google.com/#ru/en/%D0%B7%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%BD. So, Gypsy ‘chxib’ must mean something close to this. And, since we know in hypotesis the EVA: ‘olkchs’ means ‘an air’, and since these 5 words on this page described 5 basic elements, this word can have an interpretation: ‘an agent (carrier) to spread sound waves’, and sounds like [aeshchxib]. It’s just can’t be another way.

        • ’zivon’ third word I’d made a mistake. ‘zibon’ I’ve meant…

    • Some else addition. Many georgian words have an ending ‘eba / oba’. You can mention this in those dictionary, that’s link i’ve posted abowe. Almost as in our manuscript, many words ends with c89 / o89. Interesting, isn’t it?

    • Darren Worley

      In my earlier post, I suggested that the “bathing” section is a “medical astrology” text, where angel/nymphs (representing stars) are depicted alongside the body-organs that they govern.

      I’ve provisionally identified a word from f77v in the context of its accompanying diagram, so I feel there can be good confidence in its meaning. I believe that it strengthens the identification of this section as a “medical astrology” text.

      Here are some of the transcriptions of the label above the male genitals depicted on f77v (left hand side, mid way down).

      http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f77v/0.5/0.5/2.60

      There are slight variations in the possible readings. Here are the variants from the published transcriptions:

      # left center figure, above W nymph
      sosoral=
      sororal=
      saroral={Grove’s #6}

      Applying the standard phonetic transcriptions, yields :

      EVA:sosoral -> SASARUL
      EVA:sororal -> SARARUL
      EVA:saroral -> SURARUL

      The closest matches are with both Persian and Arabic words, but there are also similarities with related words in other Semitic languages (as perhaps expected, since Semitic languages share a common origin). All these words seem to have a similar meaning.

      In Persian [ref: Dictionary of Persian, Arabic, English; Johnson]

      shasha : urine, exudation [Persian]
      shashadan : bladder [Persian]
      shashdan : the bladder, urinal [Persian]
      shashidan : the make water, urine [Persian]

      In Arabic [ref: Dictionary of Persian, Arabic, English; Johnson]

      sarh : gushing urine [Arabic]
      sararat : jetting out water (fountain) [Arabic]
      sarrarat : overflowing fountain [Arabic]

      In Amharic [ref: p618, 619; Amharic-English dictionary: H – N., Volume 1 by Thomas Leiper Kane].
      (Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia.)

      sarr ala – spurt, gush out
      serr adarraga – to urinate, spurt out (urine, water)

      I suggest that the title word in the diagram means jetting out water, spurting, or to urinate, which would appear to make sense as the accompanying diagram seems to depict urination.

      I think Persian is the best language match. I haven’t found a match in archaic Middle Persian, but thats because likely words are not in the dictionary (Manual of Pahlavi by Nyberg). Perhaps this is because there are not a huge number of surviving texts, so the known MP vocabulary is limited.

      Can anyone find close matches for this word in other Semitic languages? I would expect to find similar words in Hebrew and Aramaic.

      Lastly, can anyone suggest a match for the other word in the diagram: EVA:oleoeder?

      It should be easy to guess possible meanings given its position in the diagram…..

      • Neticis

        Some similarities with Latvian again:
        čura (‘tshura’) — urine,
        čurāt (‘tshuraht’) — to urinate.
        By looking at picture and proposed sounds in: http://stephenbax.net/wp-content/comment-image/154178.jpg
        I suppose second (“p”-like) letter should be some new sound.

        • Darren Worley

          Very interesting, Neticis.

          A Baltic connection is something I’ve thought about before. I don’t know if the textual similarities are simply an indication of a common origin between Baltic/Slavic languages and Persian, or there is something more going on? Ideas, anyone?

          Below are some of my very speculative ideas on this :

          I’ve mentioned in the past a non-mainstream Jewish sect called the Karaites. I think that there are many points of similarity between their language and theology and various features and imagery in the VM. As a group they migrated from Palestine (c70 CE) into Greek Byzantium (Turkey), and latterly to the Crimea and into Latvia and Lithuania. (This is probably an over-simplification, but you can read more about this history here.)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karaite_Judaism
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_Karaites

          I can perceive a Judeo-Christian/Greek/Aramaic-Persian influence in the VM, but I don’t know Slavic culture well enough to perceive its influence. Can anyone elaborate further?

          Does anyone have any thoughts on the possible mechanism of transmission of the VM into Latvian/Russian? Can anyone identify any specific Karaite traits in the VM?

          In any case, the possible Latvian connection is certainly a worthwhile line of investigation.

          • Neticis

            As nobody of site regulars see direct connection to his/her language, I suspected some now dead language from some small community e.g. some dialect of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romani_language
            If Voynich language has considerable connection to Baltic (Latvian/Lithuanian) languages, it should have declensions with sspecific word endings. To my surprise Voinich quite regularly has words in that way.
            Stephen, can you provide map of translation from EVA letters to current understanding of their represented sounds? I then could try some tests with text from http://www.voynich.nu/folios.html (dis)approve this idea.

            • Stephen Bax

              I do intend to post something like this soon, but I’m on an overseas trip at the moment (Cairo) so it might be a while!

              • Marnix Hoekstra

                Unrelated to this page but related to Cairo: could the herbal jars/censers in f102v1 & f102v2 be Egyptian?

                • Darren Worley

                  Hi Marnix – I agree that the objects depicted do look rather like decorative storage jars (or perfume containers?) possibly to hold the herbal remedy or ointments made from the accompanying plants/roots. These “jars” do look somewhat like examples of Egyptian/Persian perfume containers that I’ve seen on the internet.

                  Have you found any good example images that you could share with us?

                  Another idea, I had, is more speculative is that they depict decorative scroll cases/containers. Precisely why they appear here is a mystery – perhaps these designs are simply inspired by plants, or these designs are just marginalia? Some of the objects depicted appear to have feet, as if they are for upright storage.

                  These kind of scroll container are known as “Tik”. Some are quite decorative and store the scrolls upright.

                  Quote: In the Mizrachi and Romaniote traditions, the Sefer Torah is generally not robed in a mantle, but rather housed in an ornamental wooden case which protects the scroll, called a “tik”. (Re: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sefer_Torah)

                  Mizrachi = Middle Eastern Jews
                  Romaniote = Greek Jews

                  • Darren Worley

                    A quick search suggest that there is a link between Torah scrolls and tree/plants.

                    The Torah is called a “tree of life” (Proverbs 3:18)

                    Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etz_Chaim (meaning Tree of Life)

                    However, I am wary of this, as you can probably find a Biblical link to support any idea…

                  • Marnix Hoekstra

                    Hi Darren,
                    I have been browsing museum catalogs and pictures on the internet, and found similarly shaped artefacts from Morocco, the Himalayas, and everywhere in between. But no close match.
                    I am curious about a collection of censers in the Coptic museum in Cairo – that triggered my question.
                    I don’t think we see Torah containers in the VM, but the similarity hints at a possible Jewish origin of these jars.
                    In any case, these jars deserve a page of their own 😉

                    • Stephen Bax

                      Ok Marnix – hint taken – I will get onto it!

                    • Darren Worley

                      Marnix – I don’t discount the possibility that they are designs for perfume or unguent containers.

                      I think what you are looking for are called “Unguentarium”

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unguentarium

                      I suspect that there might be some indirect link between the Essene (an early Jewish sect from Qumran, famous for their association with the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the Judeo-Christian imagery in the VM. For example, it is known that Essene-related texts were re-discovered in the 9th century and later elements of these re-circulated into Europe.

                      Given this – I was interested in this scientific paper on Roman-Era glass found at Qumran, which might help in your research.

                      Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 26, Issue 8, August 1999, Pages 883–891. Trace-Level Microanalysis of Roman Glass from Khirbet Qumrân, Israel by A. Aertsa, K. Janssensa, F. Adamsa, H. Woutersb

                      Abstract

                      A series of Roman glasses is studied […]. The glass originates from Qumran, Israel and has been buried for about 1900 years. The major and minor as well as trace composition of the original glass was studied to obtain a better insight into the origin of these objects. The fact that the composition of this large collection is nearly the same for almost all the objects appears to support the view that Qumran was a centre of the perfume industry in the Middle East in ancient times; the glass vials and bottles being used as receptacles for perfume, ointment, etc.

                      I think the abstract says it all but here is the link : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440399903977

                      So here is evidence that at least one Jewish sect were producing their own glass vials for the storage of perfumes and ointments.

            • Neticis

              Comparing letter distribution from http://hurontaria.baf.cz/CVM/a26.htm and https://odo.lv/LatvianKeyboard1 I did translation with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tr_%28Unix%29 (it doesn’t support unicode, therefore for diacriticized letters capital ones were used)
              Neither unmodified distribution

              tr "oehyacdiklrtsqnpmfgxv" \
                 "aisteunrkAmdvplojbIzE" 

              nor slightly adjusted

              tr "oehyacdiklrtsqnpmfgxv" \
                 "aitseunrkSmdvplojbIzE"

              resulted meaningful results. But I encourage others to try similar tests with their language.

              • Stephen Bax

                Sorry Neticis, but can you explain a bit more what this means?

                • Neticis

                  I use Linux workstation with tr tool in the command line. I suppose Mac users also has tr and other GNU tools “out of box”. Windows users can download and install Cygwin https://www.cygwin.com/
                  Then just run tr with translation tables as parameters (it is easier to read if you put them in two lines separated with backslash) and paste EVA text for translation. Attached image shows translated text proposed by Sergei Polunin with other symbols from http://stephenbax.net/wp-content/comment-image/154178.jpg

          • Not sure if they will help, but I’ve put up a little on the Karaites, and the Karimi. Sometimes confused.
            https://voynichimagery.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/clarification-karimi-and-merchant-banks/

            Karaites script different from the usual Hebrew script
            “The Karaites’ script is different from all others, and they have not the letters ayin, he, aleph, or het, bet, tsade. ..”
            https://voynichimagery.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/thesauros-artis-medicae-aegyptiacos-pt1/

            Micrography usually associated with Karaite or Jewish works
            https://voynichimagery.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/filters-history-codicology-palaeography/

            a passing comment on the blue-and-white as characteristic of Karaite book arts
            https://voynichimagery.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/the-beastly-lombardy-herbal-cards-and-charts/

            As for the northern regions, I think I explored them in most detail for a series of posts called ‘Temple of the Angels’ describing the situation around the Black Sea and Crimea when William of Rubruck travelled through. They’re at voynichretro.wordpress.com.

            Hope some of it is useful. Cheers.

          • Over 70 words and names gleaned using a new transcription alphabet indicate constructions of an old Finno-Ugric origin with a substantial amount of Old Norse. In addition, there is indeed a distinct Balto-Slavic influence.

            http://voynichbirths.blogspot.com/2015/03/voynich-on-halfshell.html

            The pages depict female heliocentric star charts resembling Nordic brooches. They also depict kolovrats, octagrams, sauna/banya, torcs, a seidr staff, the sun cross symbol, intercalary year, red conical roofs, onion domes, plants from the northern hemisphere, a landscape resembling the Ruskeala marble caves, zaftig fair blond women, a Permic-like lizard of the underworld, the pike of Tuonela, and runic glyphs (comparable to those found in Icelandic magic books).

            All of this points to core elements of north European culture that can be found in Scandinavian, Finno-Ugric, north Germanic, and to some extent Celtic traditions, possibly a pilgrimage honoring the Disir, Hulda, Holda, Holle, Holla, or Perchta. These belief systems go back thousands of years.

            • Stephen Bax

              My big worry about this is that too many theories have tried to pick out words here and there and match them up to a mix of languages without a substantial basis for doing so.

              You say: “old Finno-Ugric origin with a substantial amount of Old Norse. In addition, there is indeed a distinct Balto-Slavic influence.”

              Can you please try to substantiate this and explain it, linguistically? Without an attempt to pick out the threads of a language, consistently and carefully, and to see a full system which includes the grammar, and not only odd words here and there, it is very risky to speculate.

              Am I being too demanding?! I’m not trying to dampen speculation, just to say that we mustn’t go too far down any one road without checking the routemap very carefully!

              • Hello, Stephen. I think the main trouble is that the language used in the Voynich manuscript is indeed an extinct one. Finnish is not by any means a perfect match. Rather, only the prefixes largely pronounce a strong Finno-Ugric base. But if you add to this the tendency for consonant gradation and a consistent trochaic meter, it definitely points toward a Finno-Ugric tongue, perhaps along the lines of Meänkieli or a Kven dialect. Norn is also an excellent candidate. Whatever I tease out that refer cleanly to existing languages are only loan words, and they come mostly from Old Norse, although some words turn out to be Slavic. It would make sense for the text to culturally match the graphics. The women are mostly blondes wearing European head-dresses and holding torcs, a seidr staff, a drop spindle, and ceremonial spoons. The herbal jars are treen, and the designs throughout the pages (kolovrat, octagrams, heliocentrism) would indicate northern Europe as well. Finally, there is indeed an ancient European tradition that would explain the context for a bunch of naked women dancing and singing inside a mountain, as well as the star charts, the plants, and the calendars.

                • Here’s the graphic.

                • Stephen Bax

                  I am not trying to be negative, but it is important to thrash these things out, so a couple of questions:

                  -Norn is within a VERY different language family (Germanic) from Finno-Ugric. Do you explain all ‘Norn’ words as borrowings?

                  -to my mind there is nothing very north European about the manuscript. Are there any similar manuscripts with a north European provenance and iconography?

                  • Linda Snider

                    Hi Claudette & Stephen,

                    I don’t have any experience with the history of language, but it seems to me that a Balto-Slavic influence in the Finno-Urgic could be explained by migratory patterns. The northern areas would have been the last populated in the old world, and the least likely to have been disturbed by other cultures once established. As such the surviving traditions likely reflect more than just those which originated in the area, being made up of all who contributed to the current culture.

                    A linguist in the 1600s hypothesized that many Indo-European languages developed from a single one he called Scythian, and he later included the Balto-Slavic languages in this as well. To me it is not a big jump from there to posit that some of these languages influenced the Finno-Urgic at some point, or vice versa. Scythians evidently originally spoke old eastern Iranian languages. This would seem to follow back the migratory routes as well, so I would not be surprised if in addition to the Balto-Slavic, that, say, Sumerian influences might be found at the base of some Finno-Urgic language aspects or traditions. Of course, the farther removed in distance and time, and the less numbers involved in the migratory process from each origin, the less likelihood of the tradition having survived, so I would expect to see more influence from closer cultures than those far removed.

                    When I read about the Finno-Urgic languages I noted there are some who think there are commonalities with North American aboriginal languages and even with Chinese. Looking at DNA-based migratory maps, it is much easier to understand how this could be.

                    I’m trying to say that Finno-Urgic language and tradition may act like a repository for aspects which originated elsewhere but are long forgotten in the subsequent local cultural development in the places of origin, and this would explain why the Finno-Urgic culture may seem the closest match to ancient information in the manuscript, even though the locale may have nothing to do with it. There are blue-eyed Egyptians in the historical record, and some have seen links between the cave paintings in France and early Egyptian culture. Perhaps the manuscript is pointing out that we are really all just one people, and not the many we may seem to be with regard to the various means of categorization we have applied to ourselves.

                    I also found it interesting upon looking up the Sumerians that there exists a dialect which is specifically female.

                    Regards,

                    Linda

                  • The Voynich manuscript is the first and only manuscript to tie together several ancient north European legends that predate much of Norse mythology as we know it. Two of these are Frau Holle and the Venusbergs. There are numerous indications of this throughout its pages. All of this is extensively hashed out in my blog.

                    http://voynichbirths.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-celebration-hulda-and-disablot.html

                    What I mean to say about the language is that it is an extinct blend of Old Norse with Finno-Ugric, something like Meänkieli or possibly a Kven dialect. The >70 words I’ve gleaned are here. I’d call the Slavic words borrowings, but Old Norse is about as prevalent as the Finno-Ugric.

                    http://voynichbirths.blogspot.com/2014/05/transcription-alphabet.html

                    Orkney was also at one point ruled by the Kvens, was no stranger to the Finns, and indeed has its own Norse holiday akin to Winter Nights, which they call Helya’s Night. Orkney Norn is simply more Scandinavian than Scots and therefore, though peripheral, within that cultural context.

                  • I did say that the Voynich was a mixture of Finno-Ugric and Norse, from which Orkney Norn sprang.

                    • SanaullahM

                      Claudette

                      You have said this many times, but I do not see any EVIDENCE for it. Can’t you please give some solid linguistics evidence for your claim that the Voynich language is a mixture of these languages? Or if you can’t, why do you insist again and again?!

                    • Sanaullah:

                      The Voynich manuscript is not just about linguistics. It’s also about graphology, semiotics, provenance, narratology, prosody, and cultural anthropology. When these also inform your approach, you can begin to flesh out the words. Otherwise, you’re left to wander about the pages with no constraints as to what their meaning could be, and you get to apply languages that are way off the mark, leading to dead ends, which has been what is so infuriating about the Voynich. Experts take these blind alleys over and over without once stopping and questioning their approach. Bring these other studies into play, and a distinct pattern emerges wherein the graphology fits with the semiotics, which fit with the provenance, which fits with the narratology, which fits with the prosody, which in turn fits beautifully into a certain culture, the language of which may very well be wholly extinct. What I can glean from the mss are loan words, either Finnic prefixes or Old Norse root words, and occasionally a Slavic loan word. I invite you to look over my site to see the words I’ve gleaned, the transcription alphabet I’ve used, and the language candidates that may get us much further in translating the text. Common sense would dictate that centuries of bringing the Latinate, Arabic, or Hebrew into the wash and yielding woefully little might behoove researchers to try a different tack–something outside of dominant discourse. http://voynichbirths.blogspot.com

      • Darren Worley

        I notice that there is a similar, related word also on f77r. I attach an image.

        EVA:soral -> SARUL

        This appears to be the describing “flow of fluid” from the end of the pipe.

        Again this has similarities with the word identified on f77v which seems to be describing a similar action. (EVA:sosoral -> SASARUL)

        In Persian [ref: Dictionary of Persian, Arabic, English; Johnson]

        shasha : urine, exudation [Persian]
        shashadan : bladder [Persian]
        shashdan : the bladder, urinal [Persian]
        shashidan : the make water, urine [Persian]

        In Arabic [ref: Dictionary of Persian, Arabic, English; Johnson]

        sarh : gushing urine [Arabic]
        sararat : jetting out water (fountain) [Arabic]
        sarrarat : overflowing fountain [Arabic]

        In Amharic [ref: p618, 619; Amharic-English dictionary: H – N., Volume 1 by Thomas Leiper Kane].
        (Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia.)

        sarr ala – spurt, gush out
        serr adarraga – to urinate, spurt out (urine, water)

        Stephen – as you know Arabic, I’d be interested to know your thoughts on these words (SARUL/SASARUL). I wondered if the latter could a compound word – combining urine and flow whereas the former just means “flow” (or urine)?

        Is this kind of word construction typical in Arabic?

        The similarity with Amharic is also interesting, as I don’t think this language been mentioned in connection with the VM before. Amharic the Semitic language used in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a long Judeo-Christian heritage and has been the source of many re-discovered early Judeo-Christian writings in the past 200 years.

        • Hello! The word EVA: Soral is ‘baerush’ close conformed to Urdu ‘baeris’ – shower.

      • Darren,
        Have you found any system that correlates body parts with individual stars – enough to account for the number of ‘nymphs’? I only know of the usual 12 constellations + the planets as rulers of body parts. Would this be enough?

        • darren worley

          Of course I have, Diane! I know that I keep going on about Gnosticism…so it should come as no surprise that again, my answer again will follow from this principle.

          Of all the writings in existence, I think the Nag Hammadi texts are the most similar to the VM. If you’re unfamiliar with them – they’re very peculiar religious texts. I still find it hard to believe that early Judeo-Christians considered these texts sacred, as they are so different from the Gospels selected for inclusion the New Testament, following the Council of Nicea.

          I’ve already quoted elsewhere the link between star and angels, this is best described in the Gnostic “Gospel of Judas”, but this correspondence is mentioned elsewhere in Gnostic texts.

          The link between angels and body parts is found in several sources, but the best example is described in the Gnostic “Apocryphon of John” or “Secret Book of John”. This is amongst the most important of all the Gnostic texts.

          See chapters 16-17 in the link below. This section is quoting the (lost) “Book of Zoroaster” – presumably an earlier book credited to the prophet Zoroaster.

          http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/apocjn-long.html

          Here is an excerpt, describing which angel governs which body part –

          And those who animate the parts are, according to parts: the head, Diolimodraza. The neck, Yammaeax. The right shoulder, Yakoubib. The left shoulder, Verton. The right hand, Oudidi. The left, Arbao. The fingers of the right hand, Lampno. The fingers of the left hand, Leekaphar. The right breast, Barbar. The left breast, Imae. The chest, Pisandraptes. The right shoulder joint, Koade. The left shoulder joint, Odeaor. The right ribs, Asphixix. The left ribs, Synogchouta. The belly, Arouph. The womb, Sabalo. The right thigh, Charcharb. The left thigh, Chthaon. All. the genitals, Bathinoth. The right knee, Choux. The left knee, Charcha. The right shin, Aroer. The left shin, Toechtha. The right ankle, Aol. The left ankle, Charaner. The right foot, Bastan. Its toes, Archentechtha. The left foot, Marephnounth. Its toes, Abrana.

          Strange, huh? Note that genitals have a governing angel. (Perhaps this explains why the nymph is sitting inside the male genitals that appear on f78r?)

          The AoJ mentions 365 angels, so there’s no shortage of angels for body parts. Perhaps the angles/nymphs appearing in the bathing section, are those associated with fertility and reproduction?

          It’s also interesting that the “Apocryphon of John” was a source text for the doctrines of the Bogomils (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogomilism), so it, or elements of it, were circulating in Europe during the medieval period (i.e. prior to its official “re-discovery” in Egypt the 19th century.)

          • MarcoP

            Hello Darren, this is very interesting!
            In particular, I find the 365 angels noteworthy, thinking of the nymphs in the Zodiac pages.

            “A Companion to Second-Century Christian ‘Heretics'” mentions other texts were a similar system is described.
            https://books.google.it/books?id=nqrCAz7UAJgC&lpg=PA14&ots=jBUB0ujOBz&dq=%22Apocryphon%20of%20John%22%20365%20angels&pg=PA14#v=onepage&q=eugnostos&f=false

            “Eugnostos the Blessed” does not mention the names of all the angels (360 in this case) but it explicitly connects them with the days of year:

            Then the twelve powers, whom I have just discussed, consented with each other. males (and) females (each) were revealed, so that there are seventy-two powers. Each one of the seventy-two revealed five spiritual (powers), which (together) are the three hundred and sixty powers. The union of them all is the will.

            Therefore our aeon came to be as the type of Immortal Man. Time came to be as the type of First Begetter, his son. The year came to be as the type of Savior. The twelve months came to be as the type of the twelve powers. The three hundred and sixty days of the year came to be as the three hundred and sixty powers who appeared from Savior. Their hours and moments came to be as the type of the angels who came from them (the powers), who are without number.

            Also the 360 angels of Alfonso’s Lapidario come to mind.

      • Mrs. Sulaiman

        In your first cut-out (Arabic)- one of the meanings of the word sarh, is a gush that followed some sort of blockage (urine or any other liquid).
        In your second cut out (Arabic)-The word does not seem or sound Arabic at all.
        No Arab scholar, would put a word that begins with the sound Th (as in think) in Arabic letters, and then make it start with S in the English pronunciation.
        Example:ثٌريّا Thurayya would not be written as Surayya unless there is a Turkish or Persian influence. They say Surayya in Eygypt until today, due to Turkish influence. (It is the Arabic word for the Pleiadis and it is an old fashioned female name)

        • Mrs Sulaiman,
          I am no linguist, and hesitate to contradict any native speaker who is an expert by definition.
          However, I did have the privilege of attending lectures on epigraphy by a Professor Jobling, whose research at that time was being done in southern Arabia.
          He showed us a series of rock-carvings from the pre-Islamic era, and explained that there was evidence of a shift in pronunciation between ‘s’ and ‘t’. This seems (as far as I can tell) to be borne out by the way that sounds attach to similar forms in scripts derived from Egyptian and/or Aramaic. I speak only from personal experience here, but I’m certain of Professor (Bill) Jobling’s conclusions. I recall him mentioning especially a shift between pronunciation of a star-deity’s name. But of course this is before Arabic became a classical language, and no doubt after that the pronunciation became more regular.

    • Darren, we have figures in the ‘Melisende’ Psalter with enlarged heads comparable in their drawing-style, though not in their content I think, to the Voynich ‘nymph-star’ figures. The point is that the Psalter was not made in Europe, but in an eastern crusader state, and one linked by family heritage and marriage to France, England and Spain.

      So. like the standing human archer for Sagittarius, and numerous other motifs in the astronomical section (such as the sun with artificial beard etc.), all the signs seem to agree on an eastern, not a western Mediterranean origin for the astronomical drawings (and in the ‘astronomical’ section/s I include folios that I call the ‘bathy-‘ section, where we see grouped figures sharing areas of green or blue fluid).

      Cheers
      D

    • Darren Worley

      I’ve found an interesting “medical astrology” image in a medieval German manuscript. The Anonymous manuscript is named after the opening text “Henach sagt es von den newn Cometen …” and dates from c.1450, Germany. The manuscript is held in the Crawford Collection at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.

      I’ve attached an image below and here is a link to a PDF containing information about the collection: http://www.stfc.ac.uk/ukatc/resources/pdf/crawfordcollection.pdf

      The accompanying text says : The ‘zodiac man’ was an illustration which could be found in many of these types of manuscript. Every sign of the zodiac was considered to rule a part of the human body: Sagittarius ruled the thighs, Aries the head, Pisces the feet, and so on. Physicians would consult patients’ astrological charts when considering diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of many ailments. Depending on which house of the zodiac the patient was born under, treatment would be given after looking into any possible consequences of astronomical events. Particular attention was given to the Moon: and a full or new moon would influence any decisions over recommended remedies such as blood-letting, purging, steam baths and cupping.

      It’s interesting to note that this 15th-century manuscript maintains the same mapping of zodiacal signs to body-parts as described by Marcus Manilius (1st century CE).

      What I found of interest concerns the wording of some of the zodiac names; most can be read easily (Aries, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Pisces, Aquarius) but the terms for Sagittarius and Capricorn – are not so straightforward and appear to have a final letter that’s identical to a terminating character often found in the VM (EVA:y).

      The last letter of the word meaning Sagittarius looks very much like EVA:y (Bax phonetic:N) – and presumably corresponds to “–us”?

      Also, the letter “r” within Sagittarius looks very much like EVA:r (Bax phonetic: R).

      Can anyone explain why the terminating character of the word for Sagittarius is not “–us” as expected? Why does the word for “Capricorn” have an extra terminating character that also looks like EVA:y?

      Does this terminating symbol have some meaning in Latin or German?

      I mentioned a possible explanation for the frequent occurrence of EVA:y as a terminator character in a post dated (November 23, 2014 – 4:34 pm): http://stephenbax.net/?p=1128
      This concerned a Jewish link, however, I understand this is a Christian Manuscript rather than Jewish.

      Finally, does anyone have any other images from this manuscript?

      • MarcoP

        Hello Darren,
        great image: thank you! I find particularly interesting the fact that constellations are represented by single stars.

        I confirm that the “9-like” / EVA-y-like symbol is a Latin abbreviation for the suffix -us (Sagittari[us], Capricorn[us]). Sometimes it was also used as an abbreviation for “cum”, “con” and other similar syllables.

        In Cappelli’s book “The elements of abbreviation in medieval Latin paleography” you will find more abbreviations similar to Voynichese characters.
        https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream/handle/1808/1821/47cappelli.pdf

        See also D’Imperio p.95:
        https://www.nsa.gov/about/_files/cryptologic_heritage/publications/misc/voynich_manuscript.pdf

        This blog post presents a Latin abbreviation (that I cannot read) looking exactly as EVA-t:
        https://voynichanalysis.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/a-1459-gallow-candidate/

        • Darren Worley

          Thanks Marco. I noticed just earlier that you’d already reported this similarity in a post dated May 2014.

          I’ve found out a few more things about the manuscript – it was in the possession of “The Vienna Convent of Discalced Hermits of St. Augustine”. It appears to originated in Bavaria – possible Augsburg or Straubing, and it is written in the East Swabian dialect (although the Zodiacal man appears to be in Latin.).

          I’ve uploaded the manuscript descriptions here, this gives a clue about the rest of the contents, which are a bit strange.

          There are depictions of zodiacal signs, open-air bathing, mansions of the moon, prognostications, meteorological astrology and women holding implements. It would be good to see more examples.

          p573 p574 p575 p576 p577

          Read the description of ff.44-48 (p574) – odd considering it was in the possession of a religious order!

      • Derek, The Syriac Book of Medicines is online, and though I’m not sure it is what you mean, it does combine medical, astrological – divinatory, and pharmaceutical information.
        https://archive.org/details/syriananatomypat02budgiala

        Wallis Budge, the translator, doesn’t think much of the astrological side of things, but his introduction is also online, prefaced to the Syriac text in volume 1
        https://archive.org/details/syriananatomypat01budg

    • I wrote two posts about the spinning imagery in quire 13. In part 1 I reference this post about Plato’s “cosmic spindle”.

      First part: https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/spinning-a-thread-through-voynich-q13a/
      Second part: https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/unraveling-the-threads-spinning-as-an-extended-metaphor-through-voynich-q13a/

  24. Derek Vogt

    the central Bathing Queen (Nymph #6 from the left)… The nymph is labeled EVA:opor reading Apar (or ^abar^, following Derek’s phonetics).

    What is the source of the interpretation as “apar”, and what other words has it been used in? I was not aware of anybody using /p/ as the sound of EVA-p.

    A cognate with /p/ in that spot is, of course, compatible with my use of /b/ for the same letter, because the sounds are similar and I’ve already seen a few other examples of what I call Voynichese voiced plosives correlating with unvoiced plosives in other languages. (…but not the other way around; in fact I was already thinking of posting about that in a bit more detail, my conclusion being that Voynichese had a general trend toward voicing of previously unvoiced plosives.) But that’s different from someone using /p/ as his or her primary prediction for what EVA-p sounded like.

    • MarcoP

      Hello Derek, you are right: there is no support for EVA:p as /p/. I got confused: thank you for pointing that out.

      • Darren Worley

        Actually – I think there is strong evidence for EVA:p -> P.

        This is one of the conclusions from the Rosettes T-O map analysis. (It also seems to fit with the recent identification of f3r as Patchouli/Mint)

        Perhaps you both could study and comment upon the Rosette T-O map ? If you can find a better interpretation the explains all the evidence, I’d welcome that.

        I think the Rosette T-O map is one of the most unambiguous diagrams in the VM, as its almost definitely a description of the 3 continents (Africa/Europe/Asia), and therefore one of the most useful diagrams for interpretation.

        Stephen first reported the “Africa” continent contained a word meaning ether or hot, (Africa is synonymous with Hot) and I identified that the Europe quadrant contained a word for Sunset (West) and the Asia semi-circle contained a word for Sunrise (East).

        Furthermore, it should be possible to get some good clues to the underlying language of the VM. My analysis suggests that its Middle Persian, or a closely-related dialect.

        • Derek Vogt

          I agree that a reasonable case can be made that EVA-p does (at least sometimes) correlate with/p/, but I think what Marco meant was that there hadn’t been anybody out there making that case yet.

          I was already thinking of organizing the following thoughts some more and posting them on the page where I set out the phonetic system I’ve been using and the plant names that I think go with it, but now this spot here looks like a good place for it. I had been noticing all along that the letters I’ve labeled as voiced plosives sometimes correlate with unvoiced plosives in other languages, just not most of the time. A second observation to go along with that is that neither of the two I’ve labeled as unvoiced plosives that have identifiable voiced counterparts seems to ever correlate with a voiced plosive in another language. To stick with only the bilabials here, these are the quantities I see going through that list of plant names:

          EVA-F as /p/: 3
          EVA-F as /b/: 0
          EVA-F without clear correlation: 1

          EVA-P as /p/: 1.5
          EVA-P as /b/: 9
          EVA-P without clear correlation: 2.5

          The two cases of “.5” represent a single EVA-PCH on 21r that could be seen as either equivalent to /p/ at the beginning of the root word, or just a prefix, because there are other signs on this page and another (8r) that Persian /p/ or Arabic /f/ (which derived from earlier /p/) gets dropped from Voynichese at the beginning of a word: “perpehen/farfan/farfagin” shows up as both ^bhãpnhn^ and ^ãpnhon^, and “faghoos(faɣ̄oos)” shows up as ^agxwš^. Also note that the second /p/ in the same word ^bhãpnhn^ (EVA-pchofychy) for “perpehen” is EVA-F.

          This would be consistent with a general trend in Voynichese phonetic evolution, that unvoiced plosives had a tendency to become voiced… which would mean that when you see EVA-P in a Voynichese word, /b/ would be the primary prediction for its sound in Voynichese, but /p/ would be a sensible secondary prediction to keep in mind for the word’s cognates in other languages. I just asked about it because I hadn’t ever seen it treated as primary before. Also, MarcoP reports another word in his original post on this page in two forms, one with /b/ and one with /p/.

          To analyze this situation more thoroughly would require that I also post the equivalent numbers for ^g^ and ^k^ and talk about possible ways of distinguishing between two similar sounds other than by voicing and whether they could be seen in the available examples. For example, some southeastern Asian languages have two bilabial plosives, one defined as aspirated and the other defined as not-aspirated, meaning both can be either voiced or not (and the native speakers wouldn’t even notice that difference, any more than we are usually conscious of when we aspirate our unvoiced plosives and when we don’t)… and there are other kinds of secondary articulation to consider… but I’ll just leave it at this for now…

          • I consider the EVA-F is [p], too. Also, i consider the EVA-P is [d], and EVA-D is [b].

        • Derek Vogt

          About the T-O maps: I have been reading the updates, but haven’t commented much because there’s practically no productive input I can give at this time. I am not very familiar with T-O maps or rosettes and don’t know most of the languages they’ve been produced in or have translation dictionaries for them available. I’ve seen some places where other people use phonetic transliterations that contradict mine, but, without enough of a knowledge base to find alternative words that fit my phonetics better, all I could say would be “That’s not the sound I got”, which is a worthless fight-picking comment.

        • Derek Vogt

          A group of tables illustrating the major deviations I see from my phonetic scheme; the big one on the left shows the voicing or lack of voicing of the four gallows plosives:

          https://stephenbax.net/wp-content/comment-image/162463.jpg

  25. MarcoP

    Many thanks to Stephen for this new page and to Johannes and Diane for their comments!
    I agree with Johannes about the attribute of f80r Nymph #2 from the left being a spinning top. The label is EVA:olchdy possibly reading Ashytu or Ashytn. I thought it could be related to Ashtur / Ashdar / Ishtar, but we should investigate further this interesting “spinning top” and see if we can make the connection with other elements of this illustration.

    • MarcoP

      Just for fun 🙂 A comparison between f80r and Botticelli’s Allegory of Spring.

    • Darren Worley

      I have an idea on the possible meaning of this spindle whorl, I believe it’s a reference to “The Myth of Er” a legend that concludes Plato’s Republic (10.614–10.621). The story includes an account of the cosmos and the afterlife that greatly influenced religious, philosophical, and scientific thought for many centuries.

      I think this might make it possible to identify the figure holding the spindle.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_Er

      Quote from Wikipedia:

      The myth mentions “The Spindle of Necessity”, in that the cosmos is represented by the Spindle attended by sirens and the three daughters of the Goddess Necessity known collectively as The Fates, whose duty is to keep the rims of the spindle revolving. The Fates, Sirens, and Spindle are used in The Republic, partly to help explain how known celestial bodies revolved around the Earth according to Plato’s cosmology.

      The “Spindle of Necessity”, according to Plato, is “shaped . . . like the ones we know”—the standard Greek spindle, consisting of a hook, shaft, and whorl. The hook was fixed near the top of the shaft on its long side. On the other end resided the whorl. The hook was used to spin the shaft, which in turn spun the whorl on the other end.

      I know that I keep going on about Gnostic influence in the VM…but its presence can be felt throughout the VM, and this is no different.

      Plato's Republic was influential amongst Gnostics – it was one of the texts found amongst the Nag Hammadi library. These are the texts that I think have most similarity with the VM.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nag_Hammadi_library

    • Marco, doesn’t it make more sense to see these figures as more of the same seen in the calendar section, and read the ‘spindle’ not as a child’s toy but as imagery for Spica?
      I know the Romans saw it as a spike of wheat, but from the twelfth century or so, as the Latin-educated world started to accept that they lay on the periphery, not the centre of civilization they did begin thinking about other systems for naming and for envisioning alternate characters for the stars.

      One of these alternatives has Spica as a female spinner with spindle (distaff sort, usually, in Latin works).

      The message is clearest when the Islamic world is considered; I’ve read that when the women wished to join in holy war, they were told that to spin was as worthy an activity and so Virgo which had in some traditions borne a type of lance became more universally a figure with a domestic or botanical ‘spike’.

      Cheers.

      • MarcoP

        Many thanks to Daniel Myers for pointing out the possible interpretation of the attribute of Nymph#2 as a spindle!

        Diane, could you please post some details about the works interpreting “Spica as a female spinner with spindle”? I am not aware of this tradition and it sounds very interesting!

        Darren, I agree that the Fates, Parcae, Moirai are one of the first associations with the spindle to be considered. I must say that I don’t see anything particularly “gnostic” in this hypothesis.
        Other classical candidates include Artemis (Chryselakatos: of the golden spindle) and Athena.

        Apparently, the spindle was also associated with Ishtar:

        “A Dictionary of Symbols” by J. E. Cirlot: ”The spindle and the distaff, and likewise the act of sewing, are symbols of life and the temporal; they are therefore related to the moon, a symbol expressing the transitoriness of life or all that goes in phases. Hence, deities incorporating the characteristics of the moon, the earth or vegetation usually have the spindle or the distaff as attributes; this is the case with Ishtar, Atargatis, etc.”

        “New Perspectives on the Bronze Age Textile Production in the Eastern Mediterranean” by Marie-Louise Bech Nosh et al: ”The symbolic/ideological meaning of this kind of textile equipment, possibly related to the religious sphere of the main goddess of the city, is testified by two bronze spindles from a ‘favissa’ in the sacred area of Ishtar. They are simple, circular rods in sections thinner at one end. A small whorl, with its surface completely covered by engraved geometric patters, was also found in the same ‘favissa’. These important specimens could be considered ‘symbolic’ gifts, thrown into the well during ritual festivity linked to the cult of Ishtar”.

        • Stephen Bax

          See this page with some nice images of spinning:

          http://www.essexvoicespast.com/the-medieval-spinsters/

          and this one:

          https://cathelinadialessandri.wordpress.com/tag/medieval/

          However, the distaff in each of these cases seems fatter or else longer and thinner than the Voynich image, unless the Voynich one is simply empty of thread?

          • Note that a drop spindle and a distaff are two very different things. The distaff is much larger and longer, and is typically used to hold the wool or flax before it is spun. The spindle is used to add twist to the drafted fibers and to collect the spun thread.

            While a both are pretty much just sticks, a drop spindle usually has a round or disc-shaped weight (stone, metal, or wood) near the bottom to aid in the spinning process.

            If the object in question is indeed a drop spindle then yes, it looks like it is empty.

            Picture for clarity:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distaff#mediaviewer/File:Distaff_(PSF).png

            Medieval image of both in use:

            https://15thcenturyspinning.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/suspended.jpg

            • Daniel,
              In terms of spinning technique – you are right, they are different. However, if a person wanted to represent Spica as a spinner’s ‘spike’ they might use either, or the Roman spike of wheat, or the angel instead of the spinster etc. etc. Such differences can help us distinguish a particular ‘school’ of manuscript art, of course.

          • Winter Nights, Mothers Night (Modraniht), Twelve Days, dísablót, dísaþing, Perchiennacht, Yul, Helya’s Night, etc.

            Women of Fife made sure to spin off the last of the flax on their distaffs before New Years to keep the Gyre Carline from making off with it overnight. [Grimm, 945-6] This taboo ensured magical completion before a new year’s cycle began. In Slovenia and Croatia the Mittwinterfrau oversaw the same ceremony of spinning-off, as did Luca in Hungary and Perchta in Austria.

            In German legends, Frau Holda, also Frau Holle, was the protectress of agriculture and women’s crafts. Her name and the names Huld and Hulda may be cognate with that of the Scandinavian being known as the huldra.

            Holda figures in some pre-Christian Alpine traditions that have survived to modern times. During the Christmas period in the alpine regions of Germany, Austria and northern Switzerland, wild masked processions are still held in a number of towns, impersonating Holda, Perchta or related beings, and the wild hunt. Vivid visual descriptions of her may allude to a popular costumed portrayal, perhaps as part of a seasonal festival or holiday drama.

            A 16th-century fable recorded by Erasmus Alberus speaks of “an army of women” with sickles in hand sent by Frau Hulda. Thomas Reinesius in the 17th century speaks of Werra of the Voigtland and her “crowd of maenads.”

            Frau Holda’s festival is in the middle of winter, the time when humans retreat indoors from the cold; it may be of significance that the Twelve Days of Christmas were originally the Zwölften (“the Twelve”), which like the same period in the Celtic calendar were an intercalary period during which the dead were thought to roam abroad.

        • Marco,
          The tradition concerning Virgo is not easily accessible and part of it involves fairly complex arguments about terms which are archaic. However, it is supported by iconographic evidence – again that subject is worth a few thousand words by itself, let alone connected with the non-mainstream astronomical traditions. In short, I’m afraid you’ll have to take my word for it – or not, as you please. 🙂

  26. The hat of that type (with flower) is attested as national costume in part of the Balkans and again among peoples resident near the Tarim basin. One could offer historically attested, and -appropriate, contexts for the image, including the man’s apparently wearing a skirt or Roman style armour, to date and place the scene. It is interesting that unlike the majority of figures, this woman’s face is not rendered so ugly thought I do not think it the portrait of any individual woman.

    There’s a type of boat used by people of Soqotra whose name is similar to ‘ouri.

    After a fair bit of study, I came to conclude that the ‘bathy’ section has nothing to do with people bathing, or with gynacology, or with hot water plumbing, or pea-soup or any other ideas of the sort. It is a cool, clear but metaphorical (encoded) key to the Red Sea’s navigation. But who is going to credit something like that? I ask you. 🙂

    • Mrs. Sulaiman

      Diane,
      In Soqotra, most parts of Yemen and in Somalia the ” Houri ” is a simple boat.
      It could be some sort a journey.

      • Yes, thanks. I wrote about that in 2008 or -09 I think, while explaining folio 79v (Beinecke numbering), and showing that there appeared to be an homophony at work, by which ships and stars were identified with one another. Of course the same idea (if not from the Greek) informs the older Egyptian imagery.
        Sadly, I had hoped that the work which had led to a paper on the construction of the Soqotran boats might be followed with something more about the documents found there – I’ve noticed a similarity between the Voynich script and that used for Mahri as a form of Sabaic. Sadly, the student disappeared, and the documents (which I believe were taken to India) appear never to have been published.

  27. Johannes Klein

    Hey there, I don’t know if this has been mentioned somewhere else, but on f80r, the “nymph” top row second from left looks like to be throwing a spinning top. And the second from left in the middle may be holding a compass (as in drawing) or a divider?
    Cheerio

    • It could be a top, but it also looks very much like a spindle commonly used in the medieval era for drop spinning wool

    • Johannes Klein

      The link above is wrong, the one with the compass is
      http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f80r/0.107/0.459/5.00

      • Stephen Bax

        Sorry Johannes, that was my mistake. It is corrected now.

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