Voynich stars f68r

This post discusses Voynich page 68r, in the light of fascinating ideas provided by Marco Ponzi elsewhere on this website (with thanks). Please feel free to add your comments and observations about f68r below.

This is what Marco suggested, with his illustration:

“As you pointed out in your paper, the Label of the Pleiades in Voynich f68r3 (EVA “doary”) possibly reads “taurn”, and could refer to the constellation of Taurus. In footnote 8 you also point out that in Arabic the name of the Pleiades is also similar (“Al Thurayya”).

I want to underline again the similarity of that Voynich diagram with diagrams of the Mansions of the moon: not only is the general shape of the diagram similar (with stars radially ordered around a central circle likely), but the position of the Pleiades is also very similar (I marked it A in Voynich and 3 in the Getty ms  72, dated to 1405 ca) .

I originally found the manuscript mentioned here: http://www.bigbureaucracy.com/?p=3025

[See comparison below]

68r compared

Source: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=253176

“The Pleiades are the 3rd Mansion of the Moon . See also this table:http://books.google.it/books?id=rb46XHcOyDwC&pg=PA665#v=onepage&q&f=false

I think this is important, because it could provide a specific context for the study of this page.

Another similar (more ancient) example is ms BNF lat 17868 (pg.38):” [dated 0950-1050]


[Note the same position of the Mansions – SB]

“It is likely that this Voynich diagram is related with the mansions of the moon. But above all it is almost certain that this diagram has the typical orientation in which Aries appears at the top.

What follows is much more speculative, possibly just wishful thinking:

Applying a “decoding” consistent with what you proposed in your paper, one gets two other possible matches with names of the Mansions of the Moon:

Mansion 4, Al Debaran (“Aldebarai”, in Getty ms)
EVA “dcholday” could be decoded as “tebartun”

Mansion 10, Al-Gheba (“Alcebata”, in Getty ms)
EVA “okchoda” could be decoded as “akebatu”

So, I am adding to your decoding a few mappings, which are not supported by any serious research:
EVA “c” to “e”
EVA “h” to “b”
EVA “l” to “r”

The matches “tebartun”/”debaran” and “akebatu”/”acebata” are not very close. What could possibly make them interesting is the matching of the angular position between Voynich and Getty ms (as well as the similar BNF ms).”


I note that a decade ago Adam MacLean was looking at related areas, and linked it with f69v. René Zandbergen then responded as follows:

“….Even more striking is that the statistics of the word-initial letters of the 28 mansions of the moon (see fig. 30 in D’Imperio) match that of the labels of f69v rather well.

Various explanations:

– this is a blow to the theory that Voynichese is straightforward transcribed arabic
– the labels dcholday and doary actually do not mean aldebaran or athurayya.

[I’ll add more discussion about these words soon – SB]

– the mansions of the moon are not the traditional ones. Particularly disheartening is the possibility that these could in fact be
‘invented’ names, not at all uncommon in legible MSs.”

Here is D’Imperio’s fig.30, to which René referred. Note the variations in the names of the stations in this table and in the one Marco cited, in the picture above. That could be important….:


Also, see this interesting discussion of different versions of Mansions of the Moon.

Mapping the mansions to other aspects of nature:

See below a chart I found in the British Library, taken from “Epitome totius astrologiæ … Nunc primum in lucemedita” by Joachim HELLER (Noribergae, 1548) which shows that Western astrology took up the link between the 28 mansions and the idea of particular climates/weather shown in the Comments below on Arabic charts. The mansion names are in Latin in the first column, while the ‘nature of each is in the second last column – dry, temperate, damp and so on.

Epitome 1548

18/4: I recently came across two more diagrams which are interesting in this regard. One is from the appendix of David Juste’s book on the “Alchandreana” which Marco Ponzi has mentioned. (This diagram comes from manuscript Paris BNF, lat. 17868, f. 2v)  Note that the Moon is specifically placed in Taurus, which might be of relevance to the Voynich page:

Paris BNF 17868


Paris BNF 17868_detail


The second comes from the Timbuktu papers, so the exact provenance and age is unclear (see below). This is in Arabic, and this time Aries is not at the top, but on the right starting at around 3 o’clock. Working anti-clockwise we then see Taurus (Thaur) and the name of two mansions are below it (ath-thurayya, Pleiades, then ad-debaran, Debaran) exactly as in the other images above.

Although the sequence starts at a different point in the circle, it still aims to do what the ones above do, namely it attempts to match different aspects of astrology and experience together (i.e. constellations, mansions, letters, seasons, climes). It is noteworthy that the third ring has the Arabic letters, as does the other Arabic one above, and the series starts with A in Aries just as the others above do.



Another interesting variant on the diagram:



Thanks – any other comments are welcome.


  1. The previous image of Chi-Rho had a incorrect number which affects the addition for the star word Alnitak. The cipher was correct in the identification, but I accidentally put a 64 in instead of 68. Here is the correct image.

  2. This is the image added to what’s below.

    As Above
    So below

  3. Hi,

    Chi Rho is present in f68r3! I believe this adds additional validity to my cipher as I had know Idea that the Chi Rho ended up at Pleiade which is in this ciphered text of f68r3. I also never knew about Solomon’s Key until I researched f57v yesterday. STUDY WHAT I HAVE DONE WITH F68R3 VERY CAREFULLY. It’s is highly logical and is a cipher in a cipher. The VMS author was a Genius for sure!

  4. Here is the other image associated with the pair I just posted.


  5. Hey everyone,

    Anton started a thread about pipes regarding f68v. I decided to investigate its use and so I applied my cipher to it. I have all the stars cataloged as Mars moves through the sky for London. It is definitely an astronomy tool which shows the positions of stars for the movement of Mars in the night sky. There is three identical VMS vords in this diagram and each one is a 51 in gematria which equals Mars. As the earth rotates Mars is in three different quadrants of the night sky within the Voynich Pipes diagram at different times. I have 2 more images to finish regarding Mars and the Pipes. The Link below shows a tool where you can plug in the dates to investigate the night sky for 1410 London UK time.



  6. Hi all and Merry Christmas,

    I have some great news on f68r3. With some tweaking that does make sense, I was able to make 11 stars fit, Including constellation Taurus and other constellations to about an 87% accuracy; if you are pressing me about Bellatrix that is why. I found constellations (and star names that use gematria) as you all know. Note that all these stars are present in the night sky for this time and can be viewed from Venice, Italy.

    In the maps below the first one listed is in standard format but chopped up to fit my work. The reason I moved the quadrants around in the 2nd map was to see if f68r3 has order and it does, but Bellatrix is a little backwards and maybe a trick from the Author lol. I believe what was intended is that the constellations to the North make greater sense in the format I provide with a 180 degree flip of Ursa Minor, Casseopeia and Triangulum. Taurus is to the right of Gemini in the 2nd map below. Also in the 2nd map below Draco is placed in the upper left.

    What is very interesting is order, timing and and a fit (stars that are fairly close or very close which share proximity in the real world). This is a valid point for puzzles!
    Time: Venice, Italy 12/24/2016 4:16 pm



  7. Orbatos

    Having just stumbled on the manuscript, I was going to suggest exactly as Marco Ponzi has, but am obviously beaten by hundreds of others.

    Reviewing several pages of the heliocentric descriptions, I currently agree early several names are consistent with Greek and Persian names. Reconciling the astrological depictions, as similar as they may seem to others seems to be misguided beyond basic elemental logic similarities.

  8. MarcoP

    Hello Stephen,
    I have been looking at this German star map (1450 ca?):
    I like the illustration of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades right above the constellation of Taurus (lower left quadrant). I also noticed the stream (the Milky Way?) flowing from the top left quadrant to the center of the diagram which also reminded me of the Voynich Pleiades diagram. I checked the more scientifically accurate star map illustrated by Durer (1515) and I saw that actually the Milky Way bears some resemblance with the wavy line linking the Pleiades to the center of the map in Voynich f68r3. Here the Pleiades and the Milky Way are highlighted on Durer’s map:

    So, could Voynich label EVA “oalcheol” stand for “Milky Way”?

    Also on Durer’s map, I noticed that the Northern Crown constellation appears in the same angular area as Libra. I thought that this could possibly explain the crowned nymph that appears in the Voynich Libra diagram (labeled EVA “oees”):

    I searched for confirmation in the two paranatellonta sources I have been investigating (Alfonso X’s “Astromagia” and Pietro D’Abano’s “Astrolabium Planum”). Pietro does not seem to mention the Crown. Alfonso’s “Astromagia” book assigns it to Virgo (top right):

    But I have found a third collection of images of the 360 degrees, also attributed to Alfonso X, the “Lapidario” (Book of Stones):
    A 1881 copy of the manuscript and a transcription are available on-line (I could not find a scan of the actual manuscript):

    The Lapidario presents circular diagrams for each one of the 12 signs of the zodiac. Each sign is encircled by its 30 degrees. In this case, each degree is identified by one or two stars (no fancy images as in the other two books I mentioned above). The Northern Crown is referenced in the text as “Corona Septentrional” and associated to the XII, XIV and XV degrees of Libra. It is represented as a simple golden circle (bottom right):

    So I think that a possible hypothesis is that the EVA label “oees” (and the similar “oeees”, two nymphs on the left) could mean “Crown” in Voynichese.
    The only star of the Corona constellation that the Lapidario mentions by a specific name is “Elfeca” (Alphekka).

    Interestingly, as the Voynich manuscript personifies the degrees with “nymphs”, the Lapidario personifies them with angels (illustrated in the outermost circle of each diagram). I guess that in both cases the intention is to represent the spirit ruling over each degree of the zodiac and influencing earthly matters according to its peculiar characteristics.

    • MarcoP

      I am sorry, I pasted a wrong in link in the previous comment. The fifth link (Virgo) should be:
      instead of:

      • Stephen Bax

        Thanks Marco – intriguing as always. I corrected that link in your posting.

        I have finally tracked down the Arabic names for the paranatellonta, which might help. They can be found in Boll’s Sphaera (1903) and are available on the internet at:

        https://archive.org/details/sphaeraneuegrie00magoog and also in pdf form at:


        From page 482 onwards Boll reproduces the original Arabic version by Abu Ma’asar with a translation into German by Karl Dyroff. It lists all the paranatellonta in Arabic. I’ll soon put a posting about it with more detail.

        I also found a good discussion by Lucia Bellizia here.

        She gives a translation of the paranatellonta but I am not sure it is a very good one – when I compare it with the Arabic it seems seriously wrong in some places.

        Ariadne’s Crown (Corona) is mentioned as part of Libra (see here, top of page 521), though I’m not sure how that might connect with what you suggest? In Arabic it is named as ‘ikleel Ariadne’ which is wreath, crown or corona of Ariadne.

        An example of why I doubt the translation given by Bellizia is that it says: “Ariadne lying lying [sic] down with his left hand on the head and Ariadne Crown and two heads in the sky called the Queen and Adonis”. His hand? Ariadne is female as far as I recall!. I would translate the Arabic here to say: “Ariadne’s Crown is above the heads of two people, both of whom are wearing a crown”. but maybe Bellizia’s translation is of something else.

        • MarcoP

          Hello Stephen,
          thank you very much for the link to Teukros’ Paranatellonta! I am sure that Boll’s Sphaera is a great resource, but, being ignorant of both German and Arabic, I can only read Bellizia’s essay (which is also available in Italian). It has been translated into English by Fiorello. The translation of the Rhetorius/Teukros passage you quote seems acceptable to me (but for the repetition of “lying” and “his” instead of “her”):
          “Ariadne lying down with her left hand on her head and Ariadne Crown and two heads in the sky called the Queen and Adonis”

          Ariadne’s Crown was transformed by Dionysus into the Corona Borealis constellation (Metamorphoses, VIII, 176-182). So the two crowns actually are but a single object, from the astrological point of view.

          I think it is interesting to compare the passage with Abu Ma’shar’s Introductorium Magnum Latin version:

          “In tertio Librae decano, iuxta Persas … vir nudus Arbedi nomine cubito subfultus manum sinistram supra caput habens dextra concedens. Tum corona Arbedi supra capita duorum hominum quorum capita geminis cornibus onerata perplexis invicem quorum nomen Estuarius.”

          “In the third decan of Libra, according to the Persians… a naked man called Arbedus, lying on his elbow, with his left hand above his head [and his] right hand relaxed. Then the crown of Arbedus above the heads of two men whose heads are burdened by twin horns tangled together and whose name is Estuarius.”

          I think that, according to Boll, Abu Ma’shar’s “Persian” decans are derived from Teukros. This seems to be confirmed by the passage above. The main differences are that the woman Ariadne turned into the man Arbedus and the two heads do not belong to “the Queen and Adonis” but to the twins (?) Estuarius. I cannot tell if the corruption occurred in the passage from Teukros to Abu Ma’shar or in the translation from Arabic into Latin. Moreover, in the printed edition of the Latin Abu Ma’shar the “crown (lat. Corona) of Arbedus” became “the horns (lat. Conua) or Arbedus”, so I previously missed the relevance of this passage. From your translation from the Arabic (the heads of two people, both of whom are wearing a crown), I guess that the horns on the twin heads also are a corruption of “corona” into “cornua”.

          I think all the evidence we have collected (Teukros, Abu Ma’shar and Fendulu’s derivative illustrations, Alfonso X’s Lapidarius down to Duerer’s map) represents a well established tradition connecting Corona Borealis to Libra and explaining the crowned nymph in Voynich f72v1. But the range of possible meanings for the label of the nymph (EVA “oees”) is wide: “the [Northern] Crown” (all sources), “Ariadne” (Teukros), “Arbedus” (Abu Ma’shar / Fendulus), “Estuarius” (Abu Ma’shar / Fendulus), “the Queen” (Teukros), “Adonis” (Teukros), “Alphecca” (Lapidario).

          The Morgan Library Fendulus pages are complete with transcriptions, so they are easily searched. I have seen that crowns appear in Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Libra, Scorpio. In the Voynich manuscript, crowned nymphs appear in Cancer (f72r3, EVA “ytoar shar”, on the right), Leo (f72v3, EVA “odair an”, on the right) and Libra (f72v1, EVA “oees”, at the top):
          From Bellizia’s translation, I get that in Rethorius / Teukros the crown only appears in Libra. In the Lapidario, crowns are mentioned in the paranatellonta of Taurus, Libra and Sagittarius, as well as the decans of Cancer and Leo. So the source most consistent with the Voynich manuscript is Fendulus, i.e. Abu Ma’shar (which I think derives from Teukros and is the source on which the Lapidario is based).

          About the possible identification of the wavy line in the Pleiades page with the Milky Way, I found an old article about the Archaic Lunar Zodiac. Apparently, the VI mansion of the Moon (Al-Han’ah) is situated in the Milky Way (the author suggests that the name could derive from al-Qana-t, “the channel”, i.e. the Milky Way, as was the case for the Babylonian ancestor of this mansion, “Khigalla”). According to Kazwini, the mansion consists of “two whitish glimmering stars in the Milky Way”. I think that “Almisen”, which is sometimes listed as the fifth Mansion, could be identified with the same “Milky Way” asterism made up of the two stars Alzir and Alhena/Almisan:
          Following this tradition, it is not impossible that the top left quadrant of f68r represents the three Mansions of the Moon belonging to the sign of Taurus: the Pleiades, Aldebaran and Almisan.

  9. Marco

    Hello Stephen,
    a couple more diagrams representing the Pleiads.

    From Liber Floridus (12th Century). The Pleiads are at the right, labeled “pliades” in black, next to “taurus” in red.

    A sketch from the personal notebook of Thomas Betson (1500 ca):
    The Pleiads are at the top left, next to Taurus and “Aldebaram”. I cannot read their label, it looks something like ‘eeeby’.

  10. Marco

    Hello Stephen,
    thank you for sharing the two new great diagrams!

    I would like to discuss f85r2. I think that page represents the four seasons and shares the same orientation that we are considering for 69r: Spring at the top, with Summer, Autumn and Winter following counter-clock wise.

    I base this hypothesis on a few analogues.

    This early 14th century illumination has a different orientation, but presents a similar general organization of the four seasons:
    Another similar illustration (9th Century):

    In this illustration:
    Spring holds flowers and Summer holds wheat spikes. This possibly alludes both to harvest time and to the star of Spica in the hand of the Virgo constellation:

    Here is another allegory of Summer with wheat spikes:

    So I think that the figure on the left in f82r2 (holding a spike) is Summer.
    The figure at the top is the most lightly dressed of all: I guess it is Springtime.

    The figure on the right (holding a spherical artifact) is Winter, holding a spherical hand warmer like this one:
    Winter is commonly represented with a hand warmer:
    https:[email protected]/6116434753/
    Also note that Winter is the only one who is not bareheaded.

    The figure at the bottom should be Autumn (but his/her attributes, a staff and a rope? are not clear to me).

    I also want to share these two documents related to the Mansions of the Moon. I am not sure they are relevant, but I think they are beautiful!

    Bibliothèque nationale de France ms allem. 106 (16th century) has elaborate images for each one of the Mansions of the Moon

    “A remarkable feature of the technical content of this astrolabe (AD 1227) is the set of lunar mansions found on the back.”
    I think the Pleiades are represented here by a Bull representing the Taurus constellation.

    • Stephen Bax

      Fascinating! Thanks a lot. I will make a new page for f85r2 and also put your suggestions there.

      In the final webpage you mention, with the wonderful astrolabe:


      The picture there shows the mansions, and the name of the mansions is written above each in Arabic. The one you mention, with the bull and 5 stars in fact has ‘Aldebaran’ written above it, whereas the one before it has ‘Thoraya’ the Pleiades.

  11. Michael Wall

    Hi Stephen,

    I’ve found something interesting for you regarding the [f68r] star map.

    The translated star (constellation) AKAR may come from the Turkish word meaning “flowing/running” – http://www.babynamespedia.com/meaning/Akar

    Now, take a look a the planet Electra on this Pleiades Mythology website –

    It says that Electra (wleik) means “flowing/running” from an Indo-European translation.

    A further support of this comes from the Pleiades possibly taking its name from a root word meaning to flow if you look at the etymology section on this website – http://www.constellationsofwords.com/stars/pleiades.html

    What do you think?

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks – curious. I’ll look at it more closely.

    • Michael Wall,

      You may not know this and since I’m in the right section regarding the Pleiades, I wish to share here as-well. Fortunately for me Stephen Bax turned on a light for me as did many researchers who have studied Folio 68r. The consensus is that in the left hand section of Folio 68r is that is a representation of Pleiades, but no confirmation. Well I have some news, I believe I have confirmation using my cipher. I followed my cipher using the 3 Voynich words that are near the 7 stars in that area. My amazing find is this:

      Voynich Cipher: cr et c oi ce one eot r a et
      Italian: cacce eterne io te toro
      English: I’ll hunt eternal bull
      You can interpret it anyway you like, but it mentions a hunt of the eternal bull like in the celestial Heavens as Orion is with Taurus or the Pleiades(7 Sisters)!

      Here is the tasty morsel in an image so enjoy:


  12. Stephen Bax

    Here is an interesting Arabic version of the diagram:


    This is based on work by al-Buni in the 12th century. The list of lunar mansions is the same as the others on this page, so the Pleiades (‘thoraya’) for example are the 3rd mansion from the top, moving anticlockwise, followed by ‘dabaran’ (Aldebaran), the fourth mansion. The Arabic names for these mansions are in the topmost ring.

    Both are in the constellation of ‘thawr’ (The bull, Taurus) – the constellation names are in the third ring. (The second ring has the letters of the Arabic alphabet in order, anticlockwise).

    For me this is striking confirmation of Marco’s ideas as set out on this page, suggesting strong support for an Arabic origin for positioning Taurus exactly where we find it in the Voynich diagram.

    See also this Youtube lecture which (at minute 29) discusses a similar diagram from al-Buni:


    • Marco

      Hello Stephen,
      thank you very much for these new great diagrams!

      Putting together your comment here, the wikipedia description and the Warburg Institute video, I understand that the circles in the wikipedia image represent (from the outermost to the center):
      1. the lunar mansions
      2. the Arabic letters (BTW it’s interesting that the Western version has reversed the order, possibly to comply to our left to right writing?)
      3. the twelve signs of the zodiac
      4. the twelve months
      5. the four elements? (in association with the signs of the zodiac)
      6. the four seasons

      Could you please confirm or correct my interpretation?
      I am particularly uncertain about the 5th circle, but it seems to me that it presents four words each of which is repeated three times. I cannot think of other four-fold entities associated with the zodiac with such an alternating pattern.
      I would greatly appreciate a translation of circles 5 and 6.

      Comparing these new images with Voynich f68r, I am particularly impressed by the four-fold structure of the innermost circle and (consequently) of the whole diagram. This feature is more evident in the Warburg video illustration. If the Al-Buni diagrams actually represent the four seasons, they seem to me to confirm one of the points suggested by Jan:

      The star-filled slices are four. Some sky-related things are four too, such as seasons or major lunar phases. So the stellar features may be related to something of four categories, too. Such interpretation may lead to seasonal stars (or season-governing stars) and radial inscriptions may represent equinoxes, solstices, season changes and/or seasonal events.

      Thank you again for sharing your work and your knowledge!

      • Stephen Bax

        Thanks Marco. I’m assisted in interpreting these rows (as they are rather small!) by this thesis in Spanish on al-Buni and Sufi ‘occult practices’:


        which has a similar diagram in Arabic. This helps to show that the innermost ring on the coloured diagram lists the four seasons (top right is the ‘season of Summer’, top left is ‘season of Autumn’, bottom left is ‘season of Winter’ and bottom right is ‘season of Spring’). The next ring, with 12 divisions, lists the Four Elements as you rightly say, so Taurus is described as ‘air/windy’ (hawaai), Gemini as ‘earthy/dusty’ (turaabi) and so on. Curiously the chart in the Spanish dissertation does not have these elements, but instead has (in the middle four segments) ‘climates’ such as ‘cold’, ‘damp’ and ‘dry’.

        This links in an interesting way with a chart I found today in the British Library which I have added above. taken from “Epitome totius astrologiæ … Nunc primum in lucemedita” by Joachim HELLER (Noribergae, 1548) which shows that Western astrology then took up the link between the 28 mansions and the idea of particular climates/weather.

        In general, these charts are clearly a way of mapping different elements of nature to each other, and showing patterns between them. In a larger sense they seem to help in what was known as ‘elections’, i.e. the science of choosing paths of action, when to do which sort of thing.

        • Marco

          Hello Stephen,
          thank you for the explanation!

          Collaut Cordero’s thesis is very interesting. It’s great to have access to the complete translation of Al-Buni’s main work! Thank you very much for the link!

          The fact that the constellations of the Zodiac are seen as “towers” and “castles” (p.620) makes me think of the Rosettes page, with its mix of fortresses and cosmological diagrams:

          “Al-Buruy” are in the first place the constellations of the sky, and they are also the towers at the corners of a fortress, and sometimes a fortress is called that way. And God said, praised be He: “even though ye were in lofty towers”. And al-Hasan al-Basri said … “al-buruy are castles in the sky, and they are castles like those on the earth”.

    • Professor Bax,

      Your acting like a kid that’s going to the Prom. There are huge holes in your phonetic decoding of the Voynich Manuscript. For instance your using the wrong letter in the end of your first Voynich word which all your work rests upon, that being folio 68r. I guess you don’t seem to understand that abusing your credentials with this white whale that you say the Voynich is, may stain your credibility and career some day. This being said watch this…

      • Stephen Bax

        Thanks Thomas. I like proms BTW!

        I don’t understand your comment about the last letter of the word on f68r. Do you mean the word beside the picture of seven stars? It is usually transcribed as ‘y’. How do you read it exactly?

        • Yes next to the Pleiades of Folio 68r, please change the “9”(which you say is N) back to what it is as an “O”.


          Like I said when you find out how incredibly wrong you are then perhaps we can work together on the shift code; which I believe the voynich has in it as a double cipher!.

          • Stephen Bax

            Thanks Thomas. To me, and every other person who has transcribed the manuscript, it looks like a ‘9’ more than an ‘o’. However, in fact that makes no difference to my interpretation of the first part of the word as ‘TAUR’ or similar.

      • Neticis

        “.. your using the wrong letter..”
        it’s funny how people write about linguistics, but can’t distinguish between “you’re” and “your”.

  13. Stephen Bax

    I’ve also just found an interesting table comparing different names, including Hebrew:


    • Marco

      Thank you Stephen, the table looks very interesting! Are the Hebrew names of the mansions similar to the Arabic or completely independent from them?

      • Stephen Bax

        They are a mixture. Some are direct transliterations, while others are translations. I hope to post a full analysis and discussion soon.

  14. John Godwin

    The two main stars in Aries are Hamal (or Al Nath) and Al Sharatan.

  15. Jan M

    Thanks, these are really interesting findings and great article. But let’s discuss the drawing more.

    There is a night sky shown (represented by regions filled with stars) with some of its major features – 1 constellation (shown as a group of small stars) and 10 single stars, probably those that are brightest in the night sky – labeled. Also there are more words written in radials, outer rim and inner rim. In the center lies a face. It may be Moon, Sun, Earth, whatever. The drawing is very schematic (judging from the regular star-filled slices) so I think we should not rely on position of any particular stellar feature.

    The constellation was identified as Taurus, so we are leaving it out (with a tick “solved”) – it is really very major constellation in our sky. The comment accompanying the line connecting Taurus and the inner ring may mean “constellation” or is somehow attached to the relation of Taurus and the face. It may also be a name of a single star in the constellation. The labels by the stars should be names of the stars. The theory of lunar mansion diagram is a nice idea. By a coincidence, some lunar mansions are named same as the stars – and others are named after constellations or are made up completely. And the theory of mansions has some – albeit small – success. But I think the stars in the drawing are not representing lunar mansions – they are too few.

    The star-filled slices are four. Some sky-related things are four too, such as seasons or major lunar phases. So the stellar features may be related to something of four categories, too. Such interpretation may lead to seasonal stars (or season-governing stars) and radial inscriptions may represent equinoxes, solstices, season changes and/or seasonal events. Outer/inner rim may contain names of seasons and/or governing stellar constellations (zodiac).

    I will try to look to matching all of these ideas with inscriptions later in the weekend. Any help is appreciated.


    PS. The article’s proposition of fourth R (which I suspect to be Sh from other places) leads me to a joke where two linguists meet at a pub. 1: “I’ve heard you can make sense of Voynichese.” 2: “Yeah, it’s easy peasy. Just replace every letter with R, drink a ‘little’ and read it. Ydaiin?” 1: “Oh my qoqedy!” 😉

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks – more comments later, but just to say I love the joke at the end. Never heard a Voynich joke before!

      • Jan M

        You are welcome. Feel free to use it, I am not copyrighting jokes I make. I also propose using phrases “oh my qoqedy” or “what a qoqedy” among voynichologists. But I hope that qoqedy doesn’t mean something bad – that would be really qoqedy. 😉

        So to continue. First I have mistaken Taurus constellation for Pleiades cluster. I apologize myself, I meant Pleiades the whole time (damn near-eastern languages that the two things has similar names :))

        Then I studied Pleiades. These are Seven sisters, Seven daughters of Atlas (in Greek mythology) – Maia, Electra, Taygete, Alcyon, Celaeno, Sterope and Merope. The Pleiades cluster is also Seven bright stars according to Pleiades Chinese naming scheme (but one of the seven stars isn’t daughter of Atlas but Atlas himself; Celaeno is called 9th additional star and in Greek mythology it is Lost Pleiade).

        So I think that the line between Pleiades in VM and inner ring may connect Pleiades with some mythology fact (such as “these are seven daughters of Atlas”) or names of Pleiades themselves.

        While I like the former idea (mythology fact), the latter seems problematic. There are seven distinctly oriented groups of words in the inner ring so they may represent seven Pleiades names:
        otcedy A??TN
        ceokcey ?AK?N
        okol ceeal AKA? ?EW?
        dar cey TWR ?N
        kal KW?
        dolaiin TA?WUR
        okeol oly AKEA? A?N
        (I am not sure I have read all of them correctly. First there is a fold on the right side of the diagram. Second the copy (and probably the paper too) is partly washed out. Third the ink/writing is poor quality (it’s splotchy a bit).)

        As we can see there is nothing similar to any of the names of Pleiades. Another problem is the names in other cultures. I have found that these stars mostly do not have proper names with a mere exception of Greek mythological ones. Arabic, Persian, Turkish… all of these languages are using same names, transcribed to their writing systems. Then there is Chinese that has its own numeric names (1st bright star, 2nd bright star etc.) but this is out of scope of languages that are probably related to Voynichese. Another problem is that some groups contains more than one words. This is suspicious for names of seven mythological sisters.

        My conclusion is it’s a mythology fact and there may be words such as sister, Atlas (I don’t see it there), daughter, seven etc. It may also be note for contemporary astronomers that it is a cluster or something else special. There is also a very distant possibility that these are names of Seven sisters – but those would have to be completely made up and unknown to us.


    • Marco

      Hello Jan, thank you for your comments!
      I agree with most of your observations, in particular with the fact that the identification of diagram f68r with the Mansions of the Moon is a nice idea, but nothing more, unless more evidence can be found.

      On the other hand, I disagree with this statement:
      “In the center lies a face. It may be Moon, Sun, Earth, whatever.”
      I am not aware of medieval images representing the Earth as a face. If you know of such illustrations, could you please provide a few examples?

      The Sun, the Moon and the Earth had fairly typical representations in the medieval tradition:
      * the Sun as a circle, usually containing a face, with usually undulating rays;
      * the Moon as a crescent, usually with a face; the full Moon as a circle with a face; it usually has no rays: if does, they are straight;
      * the Earth as an O-T globe.

      In this Flemish illumination, the three appear together:

      Sun and Moon in the central circle here:

      Sun and Moon in a much later alchemical example:

      Of course, there are variants in the iconography of these three subjects. But many ancient European works of art represent them as described above. The Voynich manuscript seems to be consistent with this tradition. See the couple Sun/Moon at page f68r1 and the O-T globes in f68v and in the top right corner of the Rosettes page. Moreover, the sequence f67v1, f68r1, f68r2, f68r3 seems to me to be symmetrical and to represent:
      67v1 – the Sun [and the twelve signs of the Zodiac?]
      f68r1 – the Sun above the Moon [the stars of the Norther hemisphere?]
      f68r2 – the Moon above the Sun [the stars of the Southern hemisphere?]
      f68r3 – the Moon [and its mansions?]

      Also relevant:
      67v2 – combinations of Sun and Moon (see two couples Sun/Moon on the two diagonals) [the four elements as combinations of dry / wet and hot / cold?]

      While the ideas in square brackets above are tentative and undocumented, the identification of the Sun and the Moon seem to me sound and supported by many visual parallels.

      In the Voynich manuscript, the Sun is consistently represented with rays. The Moon is represented as a crescent. In the case of f68r3 (and 67v2) possibly a full moon is represented. I cannot think of such a simple reason to explain why in this case the Sun should have lost the rays it has in other pages.

      • orun

        i have matched some alchemical symcbols on 67v have a look pls

        • Stephen Bax

          Please can you explain this? It seems like guesswork unless you can explain it.

          • orun

            firstly i couldnt find any word in the page. i ve just thought this page is about alchemy. than started to read and find alchemy symbols.
            first i ve found the symbol of “ciular” or “cinalar” but i couldn’t found anything about it and i just guess its “cinnabar”
            than i found gold(sun) symbol in Ripley Scroll. i believe this symbol is true
            but im not sure about pewter, i matched it with most similar 🙂
            when i see roasting of gold symbol, it vas very similar with the page. about elemental principle there in no drawing or symbol. its just a guess. but i know, in alchemy sulphur is red, quiksilver is opposite of sulphur (king and queen etc…) and salt balances sulphur and quiksilver (Mercury).
            i search about Magnum Opus. at the first i thought this page is about creating of Philosopher’s Stone. But now i believe this page is about making gold or something like this (roasting of gold)
            well these all are connotation of course. İm not good at searching words 🙂 just following my emotions and searching symbols, drawings and history.

  16. 67r of the manuscript is an astrological chart, with mixtures of asiatic (yin/yang), eastern ( Pisces, Capricorn, etc.), and Judaism. I will provide more details on this shortly and take my best guess at what I think each part means.

    • Kelly

      I’m back…sorry for the delay…my interpretation of 67r

      Starting from the center, working clockwise (if manuscript pages are turned right to left):The eight points of the compass: N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and their corresponding names.

      Second ring: the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac, yin signs are represented by the red half moon, yang signs are represented by the yellow half moon

      Between Second and Third ring: the names of seven planets, I believe the top-most should be Mars (the writing looks like the word “atlas” to me). The planet name should correspond to the compass direction it is most prominently visible from)

      Third ring: the astrological houses of the Western zodiac (Aquarius, Pisces, etc)

      Fourth/outermost ring: not sure of this yet, could be names for Greek/Roman/Persian gods or godessess that should correspond the astrological houses they are directly above. I will consider this further.

      • Stephen Bax

        Thanks Kelly – I have now made a new page for f67r and put your ideas on that page also so people can add their views.

        • Kelly

          Thank you!!!

  17. Marco

    Hello Stephen,
    thank you very much for the new page! The subject of ancient astrology is very vast and the Mansions of the Moon is in itself quite complex. Moreover, the Voynich ms is a unique work, the diagrams in f68r3 and f69v have some resemblance with Mansions of the Moon diagrams, but they are also different. So it is difficult to say if these parallels are relevant or not. The quote from René Zandbergen you posted is certainly interesting: I am looking forward to read your further comments on the subject. I am somehow puzzled by the last statement about “invented” names being “not at all uncommon”. The fact that the BNF Alchandreana (AD 1000 ca) and Agrippa (AD 1500 ca) are so similar seems to me to suggest that there were not so many inventions in the area. I would expect the names of heavenly bodies to be more standard then plant names, since the European tradition was almost entirely derived from Arabic works. But heavenly bodies are very difficult to identify, since they all look similar in the manuscript. The Pleiades (“doary”) and Pisces / Alrescha (“otolal” in f70v) possibly are the only that can be identified with a reasonable certainty.

    Other “cosmological” labels that seem promising are those that appears on the three sections of the “O T” worlds in f68v and in the top right corner of the Rosettes page. I have read this post which argues for the use of abbreviations in the smaller illustration:
    Its conclusions about the use of abbreviations and the equivalence of “t” and “k” seem to me rather reasonable.

    That post discusses the most obvious meaning of the labels on the O T globes: “Africa” (top left), “Europe” (top right), “Asia” (bottom half). I think that they could stand for the three elements “air”, “earth” and “water”. Here are a few examples:

    The third example is particularly relevant, because it presents the globe at the center of a starry sky, as in f68v. The two illustrations also have the same wavy border around the starry area. Moreover, the painting illustrates a cosmology book, whose content was likely not completely dissimilar from the ideas presented in the Voynich astrological / cosmological section: Aristotle’s “On the Heavens”. I guess that the globe with the three elements is somehow related to this concept presented in the book: “The bodily elements are three, and therefore the places of the elements will be three also; the place, first, of the body which sinks to the bottom, namely the region about the centre; the place, secondly, of the revolving body, namely the outermost place, and thirdly, the intermediate place, belonging to the intermediate body.”

    Note that in the three examples the T is always upside-down (as in the Voynich ms, and differently from most “geographical” T maps representing the continents). Water is always at the bottom. So “oral” (or “aral”?) could be “water”.
    “otodol” / “okor” air and “opocholdg” / “opocy” earth (or vice-versa).

    • Jan M

      I like your idea of four continents/directions/elements. It’s another example of four-things category that may match the drawing.

      art/adir/agir is fire in Ossetic/Zazaki/Kurdish. And more possibilities in Iranian languages. So AKAR/AKAS seen in the upper right quadrant may be matched to fire. For more see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_languages . But it may be too far fetched.

      • Stephen Bax

        Thanks, Marco. You offer a lot of interesting ideas. Thanks Jan. I aim to look through them closely. Does anyone else have any observations meanwhile?

        • Marco

          Hello Stephen,
          after reading this post by Ellie Velinska:
          I searched some more looking for confirmation of the idea that the labels in the T-O maps could correspond to the elements. I only found that “otodol” (which, if I understand correctly, could read “al ataf”) could be related to “atash” that (according to “A Dictionary, Persian, Arabic and English”, by John Richardson, Charles Wilkins) in Arabic means “fire”.

          Actually, I expected that fire was not one of the three elements represented by the diagram (I thought it could correspond to the starry “Empyrean” surrounding the globe). So I am just as puzzled as before 🙂

          • Stephen Bax

            Thanks very much – Ellie’s diagrams are really interesting and I think you are right about the elements.

            I don’t know any common Arabic word like ‘atash’ that means fire – the standard word is ‘an-nar’, so thanks very much for your suggestion. I’ll look at that word more closely.

            In any case, don’t you think the top left segment is more likely to represent ‘air’?

          • Marco

            Hello Stephen,
            the dictionary I linked actually mentions “atash” as Fire in Persian (not Arabic as I erroneously wrote). Thank you for the correction!
            I confirm that I expected the top left sector of the globe to represent air.

            Thank you also for the information about the Persian term “atash”! This page from the same site mentions a possible (actually rather weak) connection with air:

            The missing wāy (air, space, and atmosphere and the dagrand xwadāy “long self-existing divinity”), not reckoned among the sacred heptad, is created through the essence of the spirit of “the form of Fire” (ātaxš kerb, < Av. āθrō. kəhrp, Mid. Pers. translit. āsrō-kerpa; Dēnkard, ed. Madan, I, p. 349; Duchesne-Guillemin, p. 14) to be used as an aide in the act of creation (Bundahišn 1.26). […] The first conscious attempt to blend the Greek cosmogonical doctrine with various traditional Iranian myths seems to be the following, rather misplaced, account included among the traditional teachings of the Bundahišn. It states that Ohrmazd fashioned from the Endless Light fire, from fire air, from air water, and from water earth (Bundahišn 1.41).

            So, in Zoroastrianism, Air (Persian “way”) was created through the essence of Fire (“ataxs”).

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