- Books, Literature, and Writing
The Voynich Manuscript - Decoded?
The Most Misunderstood Manuscript
The Voynich Manuscript is quite possibly the most famous book that has never been read . No one knows who authored the manuscript, who the illustrator was, nor do they understand the language it's written in. Not one word of it has ever been agreed upon.
This particular book of secrets is composed of an intricate text that appears to mimic a language. To date, no one has discovered another example of it's kind. The illustrations are of plants and roots painted in blues, yellows, reds, greens and brown.
The Voynich Manuscript is believed to have been written in the 15th or 16th century. The antiquated, vellum pages have been radiocarbon dated. The results yielded that the paper was made of a type of animal skin that lived during that period of time. The paintings were done in pigments that could have been the traditional type used in medieval times. Scientists were careful to point out that they tested the age of the materials used in the paper so the text and illustrations could have obviously been added much later.
The Voynich Manuscript has been examined by linguistic experts, forensic experts, professional cryptographers and thousands of amateur sleuths. The cryptic text has been analyzed in syntax and grammar by millions of eyes and many computer programs. Still, not one person has been able to answer the questions unequivocally, if at all.
Has the Code Been Cracked?
Edith Sherwood, Ph.D., has been trying to decipher the meaning of the Voynich Manuscipt for over a decade. Her belief was that it was written in an Italian dialect and composed in anagrams. Dr. Sherwood thought it possible that earlier attempts to decode the manuscript were unsuccessful because the process to decode it was more complicated than it needed to be.
Dr. Sherwood's findings are very compelling. In her abstract, "The Voynich Manuscript Decoded?" She has several examples of text that she deciphered based on her analysis and beliefs. Dr. Sherwood is convinced that Leonardo Da Vinci is the author of the Voynich Manuscript. She has illustrated examples of many areas she believes she sees Da Vinci's signature hidden within the text to back up her claims.
"All our knowledge has it's origins in our perceptions." ~Leonardo Da Vinci
What is Known about the Voynich Manuscript?
This fantastic mystery persists due to the unknown origin and meaning of the content. The modern history of the Voynich Manuscript was revived by rare book dealer, Wilfried Voynich, in 1912. He purchased the famous book from an Italian Jesuit College. It's ownership is debated and not well documented for over a century of time prior to his acquisition.
- No other known document exists in it's language.
- It is not clearly divided into chapters
- Has no subtitles
- Has no subheadings
- It has no visible corrections
- It doesn't appear to have any words that are more than 10 characters
- Each page seems to begin with a "capital" letter
- Appears to be no punctuation used throughout
- Has six "sections" of material thought to be: Biology, Herbal, Pharmacology, Astrology, Cosmology and Recipes.
Da Vinci: Self Portrait
Well documented is that the manuscript was owned by Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II of Hapsburg. It is thought that he purchased the book and kept it in his vast library. Rudolph had an impressive collection of books for that time period. A large portion of the library contained books about alchemy and the occult. Rudolph hoped to be able to prove the book was written by an English Monk named Roger Beacon. He never did.
I think it's interesting to note that there was no actual standardized language or pronunciation in Bohemia during the renaissance period. The Czech Language didn't come into existence until the 15th and 16th century. Perhaps this is why there was so much secrecy involved in the manuscript.
The modern day mystery was picked up again in 1912 when Wilfred Voynich rediscovered the manuscript from a Jesuit college at Frascati near Rome. Voynich became fascinated with the manuscript and trying to decode the mysteries of the book. He too, was unsuccessful.
The famous manuscript was then purchased from the estate of the widow of Wilfred Voynich by J. P. Kraus who then donated it to the Beineke Library where it remains today. It still baffles and frustrates those who dare to crack the code.
"The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding." ~Leonardo Da Vinci
Did Leonardo Da Vinci Write the Voynich Manuscript?
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 - 1519) was known as a genius of many talents and interests. He painted, sculpted, fancied himself an inventor. Da Vinci was interested in science, biology and anatomy and physiology. Some historians claim he had a reputation for being a prankster while others will deny there is any evidence of that at all.
Da Vinci had a history of hiding his signature within his paintings as it wasn't common during that period of time to sign them. His painting were of many dimensions and would often render a new surprise when viewed in front of a mirror. Also widely known is that Da Vinci's notebooks were written backwards. A mirror had to be held in front of it to read the entries. It was believed he did this so that only a person intelligent enough to figure this out would be permitted to read it.
Enthusiastic researchers gathered in the Villa Mondragone near Frascati, May, 2012. It is believed Voynich bought the manuscript there in 1912. Interested people across the world gathered to present their opinions and newest discoveries about the Voynich Manuscript.
Is is a hoax? Is it a language that has never been recorded on any other document in the world due to the fact that is isn't of this world? One school of thought is that it comes from another world and that's why we can't decipher the hieroglyphics.
Does it contain recipes for spells? Magic? Medicine? Or is the the worlds longest reigning and most elegant forgery in history?
"One should not desire the impossible." ~Leonardo Da Vinci