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The Voynich Manuscript - Andrasta - 05-12-2010 03:19 PM

Quote:The Voynich manuscript is a mysterious book thought to have been written in the 15th or 16th century and comprising about 240 vellum pages of handwritten text, of which the majority have illustrations. The text of the manuscript has never been deciphered, and the author, script and language remain unknown.

Since its recorded existence, the Voynich manuscript has been the object of intense study by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including some top American and British codebreakers of World War II fame, all of whom failed to decrypt any portion of the text. This string of failures has turned the Voynich manuscript into a famous subject of historical cryptology, but it has also given weight to the theory that the book is simply an elaborate hoax—a meaningless sequence of arbitrary symbols.

The book is named after the Polish-Lithuanian-American book dealer Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912. Currently the Voynich manuscript is stored in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University as item "MS 408". The first facsimile edition was published in 2005.
Wikipedia

This is one of the more fascinating mysteries to me, because it involves something I find fascinating: language. I studied English in college and hold a BA in English and one of my courses was on the history of the language. Sometimes I think we forget how inter-connected languages can be. Although our own language here in the United States is not truly ours, but one brought here from the lands of our forefathers. It has then morphed and assimilated bits and pieces to become something that stands alone. So you might understand why I would be fascinated with something that others have yet to decipher. Or have they?

When I was searching around for some good information regarding this mystery, I discovered the website of one Edith Sherwood, PhD. Although the website does not offer information regarding Dr Sherwood's credentials, she has written many articles on the manuscript including what appears to be a two part article on how she has allegedly decoded the manuscript.

Quote:I give examples to show that the code used in the Voynich Manuscript is probably a series of Italian word anagrams written in a fancy embellished script. This code, that has been confusing scholars for nearly a century, is therefore not as complicated as it first appears.

All attempts over the past century to decode this mysterious manuscript have met with failure. This is probably due to the initial error made by Voynich and his followers attributing the authorship of the manuscript to Roger Bacon, the 13th century British scientist, monk and scholar. As I showed in a previous paper on my Website, The Voynich Manuscript, was the author left handed?, Roger Bacon could not have written this manuscript and I suggested that a young (around 8 to 10 years old) Leonardo da Vinci was a likely author. Using this premise I proceeded to consider what would be required to decode this manuscript and reached the following conclusions:

1.Determine the language used in writing the manuscript
2.Correlate the Voynich alphabet with the modern English alphabet
3.Decipher the code
Source

I'm not any kind of authority on other languages so I cannot say for certain if her conclusions are accurate or a bunch of hogwash.


RE: The Voynich Manuscript - scarygirl67 - 05-12-2010 08:04 PM

I've bookmarked the source article for reading a bit more later...I have heard of this, but like the page on Wikipedia said, I had always heard that it was essentially a hoax.

From what I've read a bit online about it...still a lot of skepticism of course. It appears she found the words to be anagrams of Italian letters..as though it were written in code. (couldn't help but notice...another DaVinci code perhaps?)

It doesn't sound like she was an authority on the language either...but then again, no one's ever been sure what the language was.

Interesting topic! I look forward to hearing what others who may have read more about it have to say.


RE: The Voynich Manuscript - kraken - 06-26-2010 08:15 PM

I have a copy of this Manuscript (in color some are not) and when there is time it is gone over and I find if it a fake it is a good one, it is a good one! I think that it is in the Yale University Library at this time. Strange but some of the plants in it are native to Mexico?


RE: The Voynich Manuscript - 1TxLady - 06-26-2010 09:15 PM

Andrasta, fascinating indeed. I couldn't find anything on Edith's education beyond the Ph.D, but that could be in under water basket weaving. I wonder if it is an herbal cure or alchemist's "recipe" book. I know one report implied possibly filled with recipes. I must agree what she had decoded using anagrams was quite interesting.

To kraken, did you come by your copy when a copy was published in 2005? Which plants are native to Mexico?

I can't believe I missed this thread earlier.


RE: The Voynich Manuscript - kraken - 06-26-2010 10:09 PM

(06-26-2010 09:15 PM)1TxLady Wrote:  Andrasta, fascinating indeed. I couldn't find anything on Edith's education beyond the Ph.D, but that could be in under water basket weaving. I wonder if it is an herbal cure or alchemist's "recipe" book. I know one report implied possibly filled with recipes. I must agree what she had decoded using anagrams was quite interesting.

To kraken, did you come by your copy when a copy was published in 2005? Which plants are native to Mexico?

I can't believe I missed this thread earlier.

Yes to the 2005 copy and a type of castor bean but it could be also from India also the drawings are somewhat crude. Maybe the book belonged to Marco Polo LOL


RE: The Voynich Manuscript - 1TxLady - 06-26-2010 10:28 PM

LOL Marco Polo. I was having difficulty going with the implication it was DaVinci because of the rudimentary drawings.


RE: The Voynich Manuscript - kraken - 06-26-2010 10:55 PM

I just thought that it is interesting that Marco Polo described The Island of Nicobar in detail with it's plants and what have you plus these are Hindu Islands. On top of that he being a man to jump right into the lifestyle of the country the writing does look somewhat like Sanskrit. This is just conjecture on my part. I have seen this script somewhere else that's why I have the book. One day I'll get back on it, right now I have other things to do.


RE: The Voynich Manuscript - Ayesha - 08-22-2013 08:38 AM

This manuscript has been in my head a lot recently and I thought I’d start a thread about it...but searched & found one.

It’s been radio-carbon dated to 1405-1438, the inks and pigments used were contemporary to that time period and applied to fresh vellum. I have to agree that this is when it was written.

The plants are so highly stylized/badly drawn that they can be (mis!)identified as nearly anything!

Personally I don’t buy into the DaVinci/anagrams theory; the ‘encoding’ in the text is far more complicated than this suggestion.

Hi-def scans of the entire book can be viewed here: http://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/vufind/Record/3519597

It doesn’t help decoding that no-one knows what language it should be decoded back to; Latin? German? English? It could be an entirely fabricated language of it’s own. (from my observations the ‘alphabet’ of the text has a maximum of 19 characters which isn’t enough to directly translate into any language I know?)

People have suggested syllables, meaningless nonsense, cleverly-constructed fake text that hides a code....?


RE: The Voynich Manuscript - the_wonderful_fairy - 08-22-2013 05:59 PM

Scientists have used algorithms to try and determine whether the script is real or gibberish. I can't really remember the article but what I do remember is they looked for words that are regularly repeated within texts. Things like conjunctions and adverbs. The words you pay little attention to. They applied this to the script among other texts, including the bible. I'd love to give a definitive answer. But everyone is always sceptical. Like most articles in that particular magazine the results are inconclusive.

If you want to check out the article online you must have an subscription however some Library's stock it.
"New Scientist" Somewhere within the past 12 months. I have a collection. I'll look for the exact date when I get home if you're interested.


RE: The Voynich Manuscript - ancientmysteries - 03-02-2014 11:41 PM

(08-22-2013 05:59 PM)the_wonderful_fairy Wrote:  Scientists have used algorithms to try and determine whether the script is real or gibberish. I can't really remember the article but what I do remember is they looked for words that are regularly repeated within texts. Things like conjunctions and adverbs. The words you pay little attention to. They applied this to the script among other texts, including the bible. I'd love to give a definitive answer. But everyone is always sceptical. Like most articles in that particular magazine the results are inconclusive.

If you want to check out the article online you must have an subscription however some Library's stock it.
"New Scientist" Somewhere within the past 12 months. I have a collection. I'll look for the exact date when I get home if you're interested.

One study applied, demonstrates the language curve whereby characteristics of a language are plotted on a chart. There is definitely intelligent language of some sort in the Voynich according to scientists who used the technique. A sign of intelligent communication will show a steady, almost 45 degree, plot. Language lacking any sort of intelligent communication will show only a flat line. The beauty of this type of study is that the language does not need to be understood so long as the communicable signals are present. For example, they tried the language test on dolphins, the curve demonstrated intelligent communication. Ground-breaking research for sure, and to the point this might be another way to detect and identify alien signals in space without knowing what they say.