Skip to comments.Breakthrough over 600-year-old mystery manuscript [Voynich]
Posted on 02/23/2014 6:43:08 AM PST by SunkenCiv
The Voynich Manuscript, carbon-dated to the 1400s, was rediscovered in 1912, but has defied codebreakers since.
Now, Bedfordshire University's Stephen Bax says he has deciphered 10 words, which could lead to more discoveries.
The manuscript, which some think is a hoax, is full of illustrations of plants and stars, as well as text...
It largely disappeared from public record until 1912 when Wilfrid Voynich, an antique book dealer, bought it amongst a number of second-hand publications in Italy.
Since then, scholars and cryptographers have studied the document but have failed to find meaning in the text.
It was investigated by a team of code breakers during WWII, but they also failed to find meaning in the words.
Academics across the world have been trying to decode the manuscript.
In June last year, Marcelo Montemurro, a theoretical physicist from the University of Manchester, UK, published a study which he believes shows that the manuscript was unlikely to be a hoax.
Dr Montemurro and a colleague, using a computerised statistical method to analyse the text, found that it followed the structure of "real languages".
In February this year, a paper published in the journal of the American Botanical Council said one of the plant drawings suggested a possible Mexican origin for the manuscript.
Prof Bax, an expert in applied linguistics, said he had been working on the Voynich Manuscript for about two years.
He said he had managed to find the word for Taurus, alongside a picture of seven stars (seen as part of the zodiac constellation of Taurus) and the word Kantairon alongside a picture of the herb Centaury.
Prof Bax said he had been trying to crack the manuscript using his knowledge of medieval texts and his familiarity with Semitic languages like Arabic.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
The 15th Century Voynich Manuscript has been described as the world's most mysterious book written in a complex code, an unknown language or simply a hoax
Inside the book there was a letter thought to be dated to 1666. It claimed the book once belonged to the Emperor Rudolf II, a member of the house of Habsburg, known to be a patron of artists and scientists
Not so much a hoax as a whimsical prank.
Worthia remusng dorplat igmungium. Dowtop soldera ya de manga
What you said.
Ah yes.... the Doo-Wop soldiers of Manga.
Apparently Ovaltine was originally made from many exotic herbs.
What I had read in a different article recently was that many of the plants depicted in the book were recognized as Mexican, and the language was found to be an obscure Aztec dialect. The speculation was that the manuscript was likely written by a native convert soon after the Conquest.
Not so much. During the time period that this was written in, seeking secret knowledge was often frowned upon and even persecuted. Those who still sought to seek the unknown would create secret codes that weren’t easily broken.
So while this particular book may not have been that important in the realm of the sciences, it may have been done to protect what the author discovered that was previously unknown.
“scholars and cryptographers have studied the document but have failed to find meaning in the text.”
Then why bother
it's... it's a cookbook!
Joking aside, an interesting mystery that I read about several years ago. Thanks for posting.
I had that reaction reading your post.
Sorry, I wrote this while drunk in a small bar in France. I didn’t realize anyone would take it seriously.
I don't know...looks like High Valyrian to me.
Also, if anyone wants to see a digitalized copy of the actual thing, go here.
Maybe it is simply a book of plants and their medicinal/culinary uses?
I have a number of books on the subject of herbs, their medicinal and culinary uses and the benefits thereof-they are written in English, but the illustrations in several of them look very similar, and have the Latin name of the plant below the picture.
Or, to quote a Star Trek TNG episode about breaking a code-it could just be someone’s recipe for biscuits...
If so, then it is a very lengthy and elaborate prank.
I suggest that it may have been the work of autistic person. In the past they were called 'eccentric' but it seems their mental abilities were a step above most of humanity. I could easily envision someone like that creating this book, and their own language. A book written by someone who never planned to have anyone else read it. It may have been a personal diary, depicting his(her) view of life.
Well, that's just your opinion.
Dowtop soldera ya de manga
Of course. Who would argue with that?
Maybe the author ingested a few too many exotic herbs while writing the book.
Because 'bothering' is the only path to success?
Thanks. It's a long book with lots of pictures of vegetation. I can't imagine that the "code" is very interesting.
Sorry to pick on you, but FR would be no fun if we couldn’t have these lighthearted hazings. So... back to the camaraderie.
Have you ever bought a lottery ticket ?
Unless it from another planet...:-)
If I remember correctly they tried to match it up to every known language except Aztec.
Its Aztec—writen using Spanish Alphabet—Aztec herbs and plants—with mystical astrological applications. Like a medicial uses manuscript—made in Mexico City. That’s my take.
That argument made the most sense to me.
That was the view taken a few months back, in the previous topic about it.
New World plants, so probably New World language.
It’s been approached as if it were a natural language by most who’ve worked on it; there are also those who studied it and found it wasn’t a natural language. So, obviously, some degree programs are better than others. ;’)
The same has been claimed for the Phaistos Disk — that it was faked by the excavator; most who’ve worked on it don’t think so. Barry Fell published a translation in the ESOP 25-30 years ago, his at least made geographic sense.
A few years ago there was a flap about the Indus Valley Script — a couple of researchers (not linguists) fed the known inscriptions into a program and determined it isn’t a natural language; everyone else who has worked on it says it is, but it remains unknown. Some (probably most) accept that it conceals an agglutinative language, into which category many Asian languages fall, but there is at least one who claims it is Sanskrit. There’s a big stone with Indus Valley script carved into it that sets outside one of the old Harappan city sites, and it appears to be a “welcome to indusville” sign.
I believe this is written in Austrian. Perhaps President Obama can translate it for you.
Thanks for the YouTube.
That makes perfect sense-and it can’t be easy to translate into writing in the alphabet we use from say, the one Chinese or middle easterners use-the contractor I work for and I sometimes write bids in Spanish, which we were taught as children, being from S Texas-the vowel sounds don’t work right when written, and that is in the same alphabet...
If I were going after the Phaistos Disk I would look at SE Anatolian scripts there seems to be some similarity.
It is hard to explain-it is a matter of spelling phonetically in a different language because my first language-the one I speak at least 90% of the time-is English...
There are other agglutinative languages, and many of them appear to be isolates; Sumerian, for one example, was spoken by a people who, by their own account, came into Mesopotamia by sea, then proceeded to invent a writing system (cuneiform) which was in use until sometime in late antiquity or the early Middle Ages (and then its secrets were lost for over a thousand years), in use longer than any writing system including the Chinese script. As a people they just vanished in a demographic tide, leaving behind some of their legends, and practically no geographic placenames (they used the existing names for their cities and the rivers etc). Sumerian has been suggested as the language of the Indus scripts, but I think that has been shown to be impossible. It’s possible that it hides an ancient version of Dravidian, but it’s at least as likely that it will prove to be an otherwise unknown language that is an isolate.
That’s what Barry Fell’s approach was.
Thanks-fascinating subject, any way you look at it. A couple of nights ago I watched a rerun of a program about long-lost cities that have been found on H2, and the fact that nearly nothing is known about them-who the people were, where they came from/went, whether they spoke/wrote a language that is known, etc. I’d seen the program before, but it is still very interesting to me.
I’m always delighted when objects found among ruins prove to be from other areas, likely trade goods. It seems that no matter how far back you look, people always liked and wanted stuff from other places. And in order to trade, there must have been at least some common words in everyone’s language that was used in the marketplaces for such goods.