Voynich stars and cosmology

This section is devoted to the astrology/astronomy/ cosmological pages of the Voynich manuscript, to take up suggestions from Marco Ponzi on these pages.

See this discussion of the star names in the manuscript.


Index to star/cosmology pages in this section. Click to go to each page:

f57v – the ‘alphabet page’




f68r – Pleiades page



1. See a  page devoted to Voynich f68r (Pleiades page), including some of Marco Ponzi’s suggestions.

68r compared

2. Also here below is Marco’s interesting discussion of another manuscript, compared to the Voynich manuscript:

“For instance, this “Medical and astronomical miscellany” (Germany, ca. 1446),

Diagram f9v (eclipsis) / Voynich f67r2
Diagram f1v (the four cardinal points) / Voynich f67v2 / f57v

f12r and the following pages present illustrations of the signs of the zodiac (Voynich f70v2 and following pages)”


3. See also a discussion of f85r2, also with ideas from Marco Ponzi.



4. See also a page devoted to f67r.








Thanks – if you know of any more similar manuscripts,  feel free to add a comment and I will add them.







  1. Eugene

    Is it possible the Voynich Manuscript is a book about aphrodisiac plants?

  2. The suns and the stars depicted in the Voynich represent some core elements of north European mythologies that can be found in Scandinavian, Finno-Ugric, north Germanic, and even to some extent Celtic traditional belief systems. These belief systems go back thousands of years. The abstract sun symbols are sun crosses, selburoses, sun wheels, kolovrats, and other icons found in European mythology. They appear on distaffs, treenware, standing stones, brooches, and other artifacts and have more to do with the divine flow of time as seen by the movement of the stars than the stars themselves. The female sun in the center of many of these star charts is a portrait of the deified ancestor of a north European clan–a member of the idisi. These charts are more genealogical than astronomical.

    Star of Perun, Selburose, Kolovrat/Sunwheel/Borjgali/Arevakhach, Sun symbol…European Folk Art Motifs in the Voynich Manuscript


    • These are more likely to be birkarls, or Kvens, than astronomers.

  3. Diane

    For general interest, I have reprinted my original post about the ‘green stars’ on folio 67v -ii. It was last updated in 2012 for the summary, and has been now reprinted (minus original illustrations)
    voynichimageryDOTwordpressDOTcom (dateline 22 November 2014).


  4. Diane

    The “big business” blog was the first one by Ellie Velinska, before she moved to a Blogger blog. Credit to her for the find, I think, although another may have preceded her. I wrote a commentary on the green stars too, and certainly found nothing earlier about them by Voynicheros. But of course the key word is ‘found’ – there is no consistent history of Voynich studies, and finding the first comment on a subject is a matter of luck. Amateurs often find it easier to give an impression of originality, and many simply know no better.

  5. Diane

    Dear Marco,
    The term ‘Thurayya’ came from southern India, where it still signifies ‘Victory’, but after it had entered Arabic (very early), an Arabic etymology was created for it namely “water in the ground”, the bedu explaining that it is so called because when the Pleiades were highest in the sky, surface water was scarce and the Arabs had to rely on water rising from underground. However, it is plain that the word is not native to Arabic, and numerous other folk etymologies were created for it. Hinkley Allen for all its flaws remains one of the best among the easily available works on comparative terms, but if you have a mind to research the matter in depth, I’d suggest beginning with Sergeant, David King or David Pingree. Martin Varisco is another who has written on the topic of almanacs, calendars and star-names. I would not recommend works from the early 20thC German school such as ‘Hamlet’s Mill’ except for general amusement. The most knowledgeable texts of all were by the eastern mariners for their fellows, all men whose navigation by the stars meant they needed not to rely on such aids as magnetic needle, sextant or compass – but as works for professionals by professionals those are pretty dense and they would need a considerable amount of preparatory study to make full sense of them. For the Latin context, or even the Greek, it is useful to keep handy some reference which shows the various (often horrible) errors which we find in instruments and texts purporting to use the ‘Arab’ star-names.

    • Stephen Bax

      The word certainly looks like a broken plural in Arabic, but even early Arab astronomers could not interpret the name. I hadn’t heard the possible Indian connection – which language is it thought to come from?

      • Diane

        I have referred ‘Marco’ to most of the important of the more easily found works in English. My own study of pre-modern astronomies occupied more than twenty-five years of my working life, though more as a private interest first awakened by the topic for my doctoral thesis. Not easy to condense the background in a weblog post. However, Tamil is the southern Indian language in which the name ‘Thurayya’ remains an element, as in Thuraisingham. On the Bedu’s explanation of the name, and that current among the Arab-and-Persian pilots of the Great Sea, I suppose Tibbett’s translation of Ibn Majid’s Faida is the best place to start for an English speaker. I should add, as caution, that many of the more allusive and poetical passages in that work will be hardly intelligible to a new student of the subject. However, having the time and interest, I found it of great help for my study of the Voynich astro-meteorological folios, and less directly it enabled me to be the first person to show that folio 86v is a world-map, made not according to European style, but of the type we find in the eastern sphere. Cheers.

        • Diane

          sorry – the Bedu lore is found scattered through various academic papers and some older ethnological studies. One in particular was of assistance to me, though at the moment the chap’s name escapes me. I will have cited him in the relevant post(s) of my exploratory blogs (2008-9) and perhaps on the expositional ‘Voynichimagery’ and ‘Voynich retro’ wordpress blogs. As always, when these points come up, I recommend people contact Mr. Zandbergen, who once said that he always prints out and keeps the information on file from everyone who writes on MS Beinecke 408. I don’t personally approve of that practice, but one cannot prevent it and in time it may prove the wisest course to have maintained such an archive. I attend the moment.

        • Stephen Bax

          Thanks Diane. In relation to your last point, people might like to see your discussion of folio 86v here.

  6. Kirsti Peters

    Pleiades like shown in the http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himmelsscheibe_von_Nebra
    You are doing wonderful work, thank you.

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks, that’s a beautiful picture!

  7. Derek Vogt

    What was the basis for dividing the Voynich Manuscript into “quires”? Are there differences in the pages between one quire and the next, or did later observers like us just think it was easier to consider 10 pages at a time?

    (also, an off-topic experiment for future use: č, ž, ū)

    • Stephen Bax

      The quires seem to be the original sections of the manuscript, a quire simply being a collection of pages (folios) folded together. On his website René has a detailed discussion here in which he says:

      “The manuscript consists of 20 gatherings or quires which are bound to leather thongs. It seems to have consisted of 116 numbered folios, of which 14 are now missing.”

      Basically the pages were gathered together into groups. At the end of some of the quires is a marking written at the bottom of the page to show it is the end, e.g. here for quire 8 and here for quire 7.

      As René saye “It is not clear when or by whom these were written, but they are clearly older than the folio numbers. They are indicated with an old-fashioned numeral followed by a 9 for Latin -us, and sometimes an ‘m’ in between”.

  8. M.Ayat

    Dear Sir,
    I downloaded Voynich manuscript. I saw some useful pages from 70r to 73r. For example 72v “Libra” schematic with a text wrote in bold, but I think it is not Voynich script. What is your opinion?
    another page 71v last page scheme of “Pisces” or “Hoot” in Arbic. what is the bold title at the middle of page?!!

    • Stephen Bax

      Hello – I am not sure which script you mean?

      • M.Ayat

        Dear sir, I found special word at page 71r at the middle of circle below Aries image , it wrote “abril” that the time for Aries.
        of course in the middle of page 72v below Libra sign it wrote “octebir(?!!!)”. I believe that there are not voynich scripts?!!

        • Stephen Bax

          Yes, you are right. These words are not in Voynich script. They are thought to be added later, in some sort of French dialect, with the names of the months, April, October and so on. But because they are not in Voynich script, and were clearly added later, they do not help us to interpret the main text, unfortunately.

      • M.Ayat

        Dear Sir

        I think that find great and special things:
        In page 70r below the Pisces sign, you can see such text: “mang” we can read it as “mahy” too, it is such as Persian word “ماهی” or “fish” in English.
        in page 71r below the Aries sign this text has written: “abril” it refer to the April.
        But there is another one in 72r. Below the sign of Libra we can read “octebir(?!!!)” that can much with the October. I think they are very very interesting and brilliant findings.

  9. MarcoP

    Hello Stephen,
    I have read more about the astrology of the 360 degrees of the zodiac (variously referred to as “paranatellonta”, “myriogenesis” or “moirogenesis”, “monomoiriai” or “monomoira”).

    The best known examples (Alfonso X’s Astromagical book ms Vatican Library Reg. Lat 1283a and Abano’s “Astrolabium Planum”) are derived from Abu Ma’shar’s “Greater Introduction”. As has been noted many times, Ms Reg Lat 1283 has a striking visual similarity with the Voynich Zodiac pages. Both Ms Reg Lat 1283 and Astrolabium Planum provide complex images for each degree. This does not seem to fit well with the simple labels we find in the Voynich ms. An English translation of the relevant section of Reg Lat 1283 is available here:

    “Mathesis” by Firmicus Maternus provides a different version in Book VIII, Ch.4. Each sign is divided into 30 degrees, and each degree is placed in a specific position on the figure of the sign. For instance: ”The I and II parts of Aries are in the horns. Truly, the III, IV and V in the head. The VI and VII in the face. The VIII, IX and X in the mouth. The XI and XII in the chest. The XIII, XIV and XV in the neck. The XVI and XVII in the heart. The XVIII and XIX in the right shoulder, the XX, XXI and XII in the left. The XXIII, XXIV and XXV in the belly. The rear feet have the XXVI and XXVII places. The XXVIII and XXIX are in the kidneys. The XXX is in the tail. In this way the thirty parts are divided along all the body of Aries”

    With respect to the Voynich manuscript, a major difference is that in Firmicus there is a lot of repetition among different signs: almost all signs have one head and one heart (two for Pisces and Gemini) and a variable number of feet. The Voynich ms displays a greater variety of words for the degrees listed in the Zodiac pages.

    I recently found a source which seems to be independent both from Firmicus and Abu Ma’shar: chapter 25 of the “Liber Hermetis,” possibly written in the 7th Century (ms Harleiano 3731 British Museum, translated from the Latin by Robert Zoller). I have not read much of it yet, but I have found a curious detail. While discussing “Aries”, the text says (vol. 2, p. 2):

    In the sixth degree according to the Sphaera Barbarica is the knot of Pisces. This is called “Remission.”

    A footnote explains that the Sphaera Barbarica is “the non-Greek, usually Egyptian, catalogue of constellations.” Another footnote states that the Latin term corresponding to “remission” is “remissio”. What I find interesting is that one of the Arabic expressions for “remission” is “al-afu”

    The star corresponding to the knot of Pisces (usually called “Alrescha”) is labeled EVA “otolal” in Voynich f70v2. Could the label possibly read something like “al-afuf” and be related to the Arabic “al afu” and to “remissio”?

    This idea is just speculative: at the moment, it is not clear to me whether the Book of Hermes has ever been translated into Arabic. The Latin version is thought to be the translation of a lost Greek original and it is considered to be independent from Arabic sources. I guess that more information could be found in “Neue astrologische Texte des Hermes Trismegistos”, Wilhelm Gundel, 1936: the first printed edition of the Latin text.

  10. Johannes Klein

    After watching your lecture from April now, I may add that most of the star labels on f68v2 do have EVA:y as last character, may be corresponding to “in the direction of”.

    Dear Stephen, Dear All,
    First: I am not an expert on the VM. I am however a botanist by training. I stumbled upon this manuscript two weeks ago because I was looking for a picture of one of the plants I am working on at the moment, and someone identified one folio as this plant. I have several ideas about the herbal section, but this needs further work (and I am currently at the last two months of my dissertation, so no can do). For this I have no time to delve into the literature about the VM (and I have frankly no concern about the script or contents of it). Therefore I don’t know if someone else has posted this thought already.
    When looking at the star section I was struck by the fact that albeit most stars are painted yellow a few are painted green. Of course we have no idea about the intention of this colouration. But what if we assume that the stars painted green are actually visible in green light at the night sky (I hope thats not too farfetched). This is actually quite peculiar because for chemical reason stars can intrinsically not be green. However, there are actually one to few “stars” on the night sky that appear green and are so described in ancient literature (actually they are star systems where a bright red star makes the other stars look green, am not an expert on this). Most of these as far as I can tell are detected with telescopes only and these we can safely rule out for the purpose of finding a name. One star, however, stands out as it was already described as green by ancient authors that is Zubeneschamali, or Beta Librae in modern terms. Being the brightest star in the constellation Libra, maybe it is drawn at several folios.
    I am not interested in doing further research myself, so here is my quick examination:
    f67v1: three green stars. I am not sure which label (if they are labels at all) corresponds to what star. However, the green star in the middle of the three (8 o’clock) possibly bears the label EVA:oraral
    f68v2: three “fields” with green stars the one in the middle (4 o’clock) has a similar label voynichese.com gives EVA:orasaly (the EVA:s in my view barely recognizable as such and may well be EVA:r). The last character differs (I have no explanation for this)
    Within libra f72v1: The closest label I found is at 9 o’clock position (or is this on a separate page?) this time EVA:orarol. Unfortunately I cannot see the colour of the star at this position.

    Just an idea.

  11. MarcoP

    Hello Stephen,
    I have found this image on Pinterest:

    Unluckily, as you can see from the comments, the origin and dating of the manuscript is not clear. I have extensively but unsuccessfully browsed gallica.bnf.fr searching for the manuscript containing this illustration.

    The face of the moon has some similarity with some Voynich moon faces, e.g. f68r3:

    If the man with the harp is meant to be the Sun (Apollo with his lyre), the page can also be compared with f68r1:

    I wonder if the “flowers” in the diamonds on the left represent stars (which would make for a more interesting match with 68r1).

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks Marco – fascinating as always . I wish we could find the origin of this manuscript.

      The top line is in Arabic. It basically says: ” The Choices of things/matters is determined by the relationship (communication) between the moon and Venus”, so the page is basically a scheme for making ‘Elections’ in life via astrology.

      Then the top right picture of the musician represents Venus (as the name for the planet is written above it – “sourat alzuhara” = image of Venus), while the picture below represents the Moon (“sourat al mah” = image of the moon, using a Persian word for moon). It is curious that the top line uses the Arabic word for moon (alqamar) whereas the picture caption uses the Persian word. The face of the moon seems Persian/Mongol to me, which fits with the Persian language element.

      Then the first column of the table, written in red and green, has the twelve signs of the zodiac, starting with Aries at the top, then Taurus (thour) and so on.

      Some the other headings look Persian to me, and I can’t make out much of the black text in each box – again it looks Persian, but I will ask a friend!

      The whole thing seems to be a means of calculating the relative positions of the moon and Venus to make certain choices, in the way I discussed in my April talk.

      This looks very reminiscent to me of some of the Ilkhani Tables, which I am currently studying with the help of an Iranian friend. These tables served to ‘translate’ and compare calendars from various cultures (Persian, Uighur, Chinese and so on). So I do see possible resonances with some of the Voynich pages.

      Thanks again – a really interesting find.

      • Stephen Bax

        My Iranian colleague says:

        “The Persian sentences written in black ink are recommendations on deeds which should be done during each period of time, and there is nothing about calculations. Most phrases commence with nik ast “it is good”. For instance, the sentence below ʾltrbyʿ and in front of ḥml is as follows:

        nik ast jawāher xaridan va safar “it is good to purchase jewellery and travel”. ”

        So we were right – it is about ‘Elections’, choices to be made according to astrological phenomena.

        I’d love to know where it is from!

        • “It is good to travel” etc… may not be astrological, but purely calendrical. We have numerous instances of memorised calendars with mottos for each day – astronomy, meteorology, religious observance, trade patterns etc. all may be included.
          There’s even one, if I recall, on the Atlas Catala, as a perpetual calendar.

    • Marnix Hoekstra

      Hello Marco and Stephen,
      Another very interesting find.
      I cannot read the text but I thought the musician was Venus as well.
      In Greek mythology Apollo has many epithets, with different functions, and different attributes. It would be odd (though by no means impossible) to depict one Apollo with the attribute of another Apollo. The lyre is an attribute of Apollo Musagetes, the god of music and poetry. Phoebus Apollo, the sun-god, is commonly depicted with a chariot and horses, and a sunny head 😉
      It could be Aphrodite with a lyre though. (Aphrodite has epithets too but I’ll spare you the details.) Aphrodite represents the planet Venus.

      • Stephen Bax

        I think I’ve found an answer or two. See:


        The writer says: “On top is Venus, called al-zuhara in Arabic. In Islamic astronomical and astrological treatises, she is usually shown as a seated (cross-legged) female playing a musical instrument, typically a lute. The planet’s name comes from the Arabic for “to shine” or “to illuminate” because of Venus’s exceptional brilliance in the sky. Below Venus is the sphere of the sun.”

        This comes from a manuscript by Qazwini/ Qazwini. To my list of mediaeval herbal manuscripts I have just added a link to another copy of Qazwini’s manuscript (in Arabic this time) which looks interesting = planets, stars and herbs, Persian and Arabic mixing…. a full copy can be seen here.

        See also this discussion and explanation of the Venus figure.

        And also this wonderful bowl.

        Also, a wonderful diagram with the planets:


        Plus I just came across this wonderful publication about Islamic astrology, which basically says it all!:


        • MarcoP

          Hello Stephen,
          thank you very much for clarifying the content of this mysterious page! Thanks also to Marnix for his additional comments on the personification of Venus. Now that I understand more of the content of the text, the analogy with the Voynich manuscript seems to me rather weak. Actually, one of the strange features of the Voynich manuscript is the apparent absence of personifications of the planets (but for the two “luminaries”: the Sun and the Moon).
          On the other hand, Qazwini’s “Book of wonders” seems to me a very promising parallel! The version of the text you linked above (Bordeaux ms 1130, date : 1199 – 1298) is one of the most amazing manuscripts I have ever seen:

          • Stephen Bax

            Marco, I agree with you that the lack of personifications of the planets in the Voynich is interesting, but I am more positive than you are about the relevance of this kind of page to the manuscript.

            In my view several of the V pages could relate to the idea of ‘Election’, i.e. choosing your actions according to elements of astrology. So seeing different examples of similar pages can help us to see how the V might operate. Another curiosity about the page you showed is the fact that it uses the same script for two different languages (Arabic and Persian) together, a warning to us that the V might do the same!

            I agree about the wonderful Qazwini manuscript – thanks for the full reference. Lots of moons and suns with faces. Did you see the amazing world map?


          • MarcoP

            Hello Stephen,
            the Bordeaux Qazwini world map is really amazing! It is incredibly accurate and realistic, when compared with Western maps of the XIII century, for instance the Ebstorf Map:
            The fact that the Quazwini map apparently features America is particularly surprising 🙂

            I have found that this 1582 Turc manuscript presents a few pages with “diamond tables” similar to the Venus / Moon page we have been discussing:
            Since I can read nothing of it, I am not sure that the parallel is in any way relevant.

  12. Marco

    Hello Stephen,
    this illustration from British Library MS Add 25724 seems to me to bear some resemblance with a few Voynich images, e.g. f67r1 (I currently don’t remember where I saw the connection between the two manuscripts made):
    Unluckily I could not find any high resolution image.
    http://www.alchemywebsite.com/islamic_manuscripts.html (bottom right)

    Can you make anything out of the inscriptions? I wonder if they are just the obvious twelve months / zodiac sings ore something more peculiar.

    • Stephen Bax

      The only words I can make out are those in the outer ring, which are the twelve signs of the zodiac. The word at the top, to the left of the black bar, is Jedy (Capricorn). ‘Thaur’ (Taurus) is at the 8 o’clock position, i.e. the fifth one round if you start at Jedi and work anti-clockwise.

      The second ring matches each sign with the four elements, so the segment below ‘Jedy’ starts with ‘turaab’ = earth, plus some other words I can’t see. then the next segment anticlockwise on the second row has air (plus a few more words), then water and fire in sequence. Then the four repeat again. So ‘thaur’ is also matched with ‘earth’, for example.

      I’d be interested to read the middle ring, around the rather gloomy-faced sun!

      I’ll try to see the original in the British Library and let you know. Thanks, as always.

      • Marco

        Thank you, Stephen! Following your explanation, I think I can see the planetary associations of the twelve signs painted in orange in the inner “diamonds”. The Moon / Cancer association at 5:30 is particularly clear, but also Taurus / Venus is more or less readable.

      • Stephen Bax

        I tried to see the original manuscript at the British Library but it is ‘in use by a staff member’ unfortunately.

        I notice that it is from ‘Five Arabic Treatises on Alchemy’ and is 18th century, so a bit late for the Voynich, but still interesting as an insight into how this sort of illustration continued in Arabic thought over several centuries, and the fact that it is linked to alchemy.

        Thanks again Marco. I’ll try to get back and see it in the near future.

        • Marco

          Thank you, Stephen! I did not notice that the manuscript was so late, I am sorry.

        • i think i go enhance the draft on the other side for you so you will have more chances to find where are the real informations…
          … i think they are more references to text pages forward, but it needs to be verified… probably symbolism of fire, water, air and earth is present a lot…
          expecting to be useful to you.

          • i’ve done but because of the offset of the scanner, it will be hard to decipher : https://echapfr.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/page67a1.png
            as you see on this picture with green stars :

          • Here is the first left top part of the draft :
            we clearly see that the symbols surrounded green are the star… Probably, they never hide any text directly…

          • My opponents are saying that’s totally random, but , I say, that’s not random at all. Evidently, that costs work and training to distinguish what is graphic and what is not, but it’s the only way to truth…
            So, you, what do you think about it ?
            Am I only a dreamer or your conclusions are the same as I ?

            • Stephen Bax

              Personally, I think the truth is more boring than you suggest. I feel the manuscript is simply written in an unknown script and an unknown language.

              I am sorry to say i can’t see the patterns you have suggested, but that is no reason to stop your investigations. Maybe others have better eyes than I do!

          • Thank you for the speed of your answers… i think you are the best alternative to Nick Pelling’s theories…
            I agree graphics’code can be mixed with an unknown script in perhaps an unknown/forgotten language.
            I’m sorry you can’t see my patterns, but I think they…
            (unvolontary cut) are missing of lights and colors… and perhaps, despite all evidences i have, I’m wrong.

            I little speak of your answer on my blog : http://echapfr.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/la-reponse-de-stephen-bax/

            expecting one day you’ll find the Truth…

          • In order to clarify patterns, i added blue lines in

            This shows more clearly that :
            1) Star1 is preceeded by a space in code.
            2) the length of Star1 is the same as the code “2a2”
            3) Star1 is followed by a space in code.
            4) Star2 is preceeded by a space in code.
            5) the length of Star2 is the same as the code “2oa2”
            6) Star2 is followed by a space in code.

            If it was random, the probability of each of those events will be of 50%… that gives a total occurence of 1.5625%…
            That makes me think , i may be right of 98,4375% … but perhaps it’s not enough for the Truth…

          • When, as I, you have the feeling of having deciphered the VM, it is very difficult to explain others clearly how it really functions… so you allways wants to add details that, at end, gives a harder node than the original problem…
            So i tried to speak of only one star and enhance it to help to show that there is really something more than simple imagination…

            and i made an article to explain my difficulty to proove that is right…

            so I expect you more consider my proposition and find better way to understand VM’s structure. Look it closely, that is not at all nonsense…

  13. Marco

    Hello Stephen,
    I searched the Warburg site for analogues of the Voynich iconography of the zodiac sign.

    I found a German Sagittarius with a crossbow (Michael Scot, Liber Introductorius – German adaptation, 1402):
    A much later example (18th Century) also German:

    Another early example (late 15th century, from Konstanz) is avaialble here:

    Apparently, a duplication of the sign of Cancer was rather common in editions and translations of al-Sufi’s “Book of the fixed stars”:

  14. Marco

    Hello Stephen,
    as you pointed out in your paper, the Label of the Pleiades in Voynich f68r3 (EVA “doary”) possibly reads “taurn”, and could be 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) [Click here to see the comparison].

    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.

    One of the relevant parallels is Getty ms 72 (1405 ca)
    I originally found the manuscript mentioned here:
    Another similar (more ancient) example is ms BNF lat 17868 (pg.38)

    [Click here to see page 38]

    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).

    Here a comparison between the two diagrams:

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks Marco, this is really fascinating. I do find the parallels which you suggest intriguing. Your sign-sound mappings are also very interesting.

      I’ll look into them in the next few days and see if I can find more examples and evidence.

  15. Marco


    Liber astrologiae Georgii Zapari Zothori Fenduli (Book of Astrology by Fendulus) XIV Century BNF Lat 7330

    This manuscript presents images and Latin names for all the “paranatellonta”, i.e. symbols corresponding to the 360 degrees of the zodiac, possibly related to the nymphs in Voynich Zodiac pages.
    If I understand correctly, the text is derived from Albumasar’s works.

  16. Marco

    Hello Stephen,
    I found here
    that Getty MS 72 was copied from BNF lat 17868

    The “mansions of the Moon” diagram is at pg. 38

    Both the BNF and the Getty manuscript present a mansion of the Moon in Taurus with a group of seven stars. In both diagrams, that mansion is labeled “aldarai” (I must correct the “aldani” of my previous post). D’Imperio gives “Al-Turaija” and “Athoraye”.

    About the “doary” EVA label in f68r
    in footnote 8 of your paper you write that “the Arabic for the Pleiades is ‘Al Thurayya’, though this is etymologically unrelated to ‘thaur’.”

    I find here:
    “Mansion: al-Turaija, The Many Little Ones, 25* Aries 42’ to 8* Taurus 34’. Related to the Seven Sisters or Pleiades.”

    Does Al Thurrayya mean “the many little ones”? Could you please explain why the association doary/thaur is preferable to the alternative doary/thurayya?

    • Stephen Bax

      Yes, Thurayya is supposed to mean ‘the many little ones’. The reason I think that Tawr/Taurus is more likely for the Voynich label is partly the absence of a clear ‘y’ in the voynich word, plus apparently two elements before the ‘r’.

      • Marco

        Thank you for the clarification, Stephen!

  17. Marco

    In a previous comment I linked an image I found on this blog:

    Here is the image:

    It is from the Book of the Philosopher Alchandreus, French, Paris, about 1405:

    The illustration represents the mansions of the Moon, although (as noted by Matthew Dean) it only presents 26 mansions, instead of the usual 28.
    The diagram is rather similar to some of the Voynich astrological pages, such as f68v1:

    The names of the Mansions are consistent with those in D’Imperio fig.30 pg. 108 (here in upper case D’Imperio / Agrippa’s names of the mansions):

    Alnath [ALNATH]
    Albotam [ALLOTHAIM]
    Aldani [ALTHORAVE]
    Aldebaran [ALDEBRAM]
    Almisen [ALCHATAYA]
    Altava [ALHANNA]
    Aldaram [ALDIMIACH]
    Alnatra [ALNAZA]
    Altaiuf [ALCARPH]
    Alcebata [ALGENBH]
    Alconaten [AZOBRA]
    Alfarfa [ALZARPHA]
    Alana [ALHAYRE]
    Alsemer [AZIMETH]
    Alitafana [ALGAPHA]
    Alzebenen [AZUBENE]
    Alcalnaladila [ALJOB] [ALCHIL]
    Aleuva [ACHALA]
    Alnaam [ABNAHAVA]
    Albelda [ABEDA]
    Sealdebo [SADAHACHA]
    Tadsura [SABADOLA]
    Scaldabia [CHADEZOAD]
    Gaufalan [SADALABRA]
    Alnaten [ALCHALH]

    The Latin text under the diagram reads:

    Left column (see also D’Imperio fig.36):

    Summum bonum
    Mangum bonum
    Quoddam bonum
    Creat et non creatur

    Creatur nec moritur

    Creatur et moritur

    [Deus] Movet et non movetur
    [Anima] Movetur tempore et non loco
    [Corpus] Movetur tempore et loco”

    the greatest good
    a great good
    something good
    creates and was not created

    The soul
    Was created and does not die

    The body
    Was created and dies

    God moves and is not moved
    The soul moves in time and not in space
    The body moves in time and in space)

    Right column:

    “Dum vivificat corpus anima est
    Dum vult animus est
    Dum scit mens est
    Dum recolit memoria e[st]
    Dum effectum iudicat ratio est
    Dum spirat spiritus est
    Dum aliquis sentit sensus est.”

    (As long as one lives, there is the soul
    As long as one desires, there is the will
    As long as one knows, there is the mind
    As long as one remembers, there is memory
    As long est one judges the effects, there is reason
    As long as one breathes there is the spirit
    As long as one feels, there is sense)

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks Marco. This is a really useful comment because it gives us an alternative series of names for the important stars, to compare with D’Imperio’s list.

      Does anyone else know any good sources for star names, for example in Persian, Indian languages, Armenian and so on? Or others in Latin or Italian?

  18. Ward Billingsley

    Have you ever considered an inner earth theory origination this would certinaly explain the mystery surrounding it and could also change your focus good luck

  19. Marco

    Here it is possible to download a poor b/w scan of Tratado de astrología y magia attributed to Alfonso X, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. ms Reg. lat. 1283

    It is the text from which the image of Scorpio linked here was extracted:

    In this case, Libra has a symbol for each one of the 30 degrees of the sign, so the image is more consistent with the illustration in Voynich f72v1 and its 30 “nymphs”.

  20. Marco

    Thank you for the new section, Stephen! I wish I knew more of classical astrology. Many great manuscripts are available online, but understanding their possible relation with the Voynich ms would require specific expertise in the field.

    The Warburg Institute has many images from a 1379 Italian translation of Alfonso X of Castile “Libros del saber de astronomia” (Book about the science of astronomy) – ms Vat. lat. 8174.
    Most of the images have a structure similar to the Voynich astrological tables folio 70 ff: the symbol of a constellation at the center and single stars ordered radially around the center (but in this case the stars are not personified as in the Voynich ms).

    For instance, the image of Libra.

    The text in the inner circle divides the stars in four quadrants: North, South, North, South.

    “Di set [ten] tri on e – Di mez zo di e – Di set ten tri o ne – Di mez zo di e” (what appear to be single short words are actually parts of longer words: “Di settentrione, di mezzodie”).

    The external circle numbers the stars making part of the constellation:
    “prima” (first) “II”, “III”, “IIII” etc

    Each star has a description. For instance the first star:

    ”La piu lucente delle due che sono in capo della bilancia meridionale si e in Scorpione 4g e 8m la larghezza e 0g e 40m ed e della iii grandezza. E la sua natura e di Saturno e di Mercurio ed e fredda e secca”

    “The brightest of the two which belong to the lower scale is in Scorpio. Its width is 4 degrees and 8 minutes and 0 degrees and 40 minutes. It is of the third size. Its nature is Saturnine and Mercurial. It is cold and dry”.

    In this manuscript, Libra has 17 stars, while in Voynich it has 30 stars (which most likely correspond to the days of the month).


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