Can anyone crack the code of the Voynich Manuscript?
March 2, 2019
It is described as a codex written on vellum in the early 15th Century, 1404-1438.
Have you ever heard of the mysterious Voynich Manuscript? I don’t think it has ever gotten my attention until now. The manuscript is 250 pages long, written by hand, on parchment paper. It has been carbon-dated to the 1400s. Some think it was created in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance.
In addition to some writing, it contains detailed drawings of plants that are not in existence, anywhere. The plants resemble no known species. There are scattered, and often comical, drawings of a few people. The written text is in no known language, and experts are still trying to decipher it. What does it say? Who wrote it and why? Who is the more-than-competent artist?
The Voynich Manuscript got its name from the man who purchased it in 1912, Wilfred Voynich, a Polish-Samogitian book dealer.
It is described as a codex written on vellum in the early 15th Century, 1404-1438. The illustrations were added after the text, and even though it is of an unknown language, some actual words have been pulled out—a few—and they are Latin and High German. There are theories that it is of an ancient Turkish composite script. Some of the pages fold out, for the convenience of the reader, to get a larger view.
A list of ten or so possible authors has been offered up by various people. At the top of the list is Roger Bacon. Other possible are Athanasius Kircher, Raphael Mnishovsky, Antonio Averlino Filarete, Cronelis Drebbel, Anthony Ascham, John Dee, and Jakub Sinapius.
Roger Bacon was an English Franciscan Scholar, educated at Oxford, who was given the title Doctor Mirabilis. He was born in 1214 and died in 1292, which would put him off as far as the creation of the manuscript was concerned. He did not live in Northern Italy, either. Otherwise, he is a fairly good fit. He was a philosopher and scientist who studied nature.
The Renaissance work is quite baffling—beautiful but baffling. The best codebreakers have not been able to crack it. Recent claims that some geniuses and computers have, turned out to be false starts. The contents are described as herbal, astronomical, biological, cosmological, and pharmaceutical. It originally had 272 pages but some were damaged—contains about 170,000 characters.
The Voynich Manuscript now resides in Yale University’s Rare Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, waiting to be decoded. If you would like to study it further, there are several books on the Voynich Manuscript and many articles online. It is a baffling attention-getter. Maybe you will be the first to crack the code.
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