Sunday, February 23, 2014

Voynich Manuscript Decoded - Again?

Earlier this month I posted an article about a botanist who believes that the mysterious Voynich manuscript may have been written in some form of the Aztec language Nahuatl, based on illustrations that resemble plants found only in the Americas. This is apparently a good time to be studying the Voynich, because now British linguistics professor Stephen Bax has announced that he may have decoded part of the manuscript - and the language is most definitely not Aztec.

Professor Bax however has begun to unlock the mystery meanings of the Voynich manuscript using his wide knowledge of mediaeval manuscripts and his familiarity with Semitic languages such as Arabic. Using careful linguistic analysis he is working on the script letter by letter.

“I hit on the idea of identifying proper names in the text, following historic approaches which successfully deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs and other mystery scripts, and I then used those names to work out part of the script,” explained Professor Bax, who is to give his inaugural lecture as a professor at the University later this month.

“The manuscript has a lot of illustrations of stars and plants. I was able to identify some of these, with their names, by looking at mediaeval herbal manuscripts in Arabic and other languages, and I then made a start on a decoding, with some exciting results.”

Among the words he has identified is the term for Taurus, alongside a picture of seven stars which seem to be the Pleiades, and also the word KANTAIRON alongside a picture of the plant Centaury, a known mediaeval herb, as well as a number of other plants.

I've been skeptical from the beginning about the Aztec hypothesis because (A) the European-style supposed transcription matches no known system and (B) the manuscript has been dated to the early 1400's, before Europeans reached the Americas. It makes more sense that the script might be a code for a language such as Arabic, which was known in Europe at that time. Also, a compilation of Arabic astronomical and herbal lore would have been quite valuable in the 1400's, when European science was just starting to catch up with that of the Arabic world. It remains to be seen how much more of the manuscript Professor Bax can decipher.

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1 comment:

Grzegorz Ostrowski said...

My suggestion to decode the Voynich Manuscript is in the fact that each of its individual pages encodes some other information . Encryption is not just a written form . There's a whole spectrum of gnosis , which, because of the limited capabilities (eg letter runicze - oldest inscriptions are from the second and third century AD, before the Egyptian hieratic writing , etc.) were also encoded in a different form - for example, by means of signs and symbols : see semiotics - from the Greek : " semasticos " - significant , " semasia " - meaning "," semeion " - a sign of " sema " - a sign , the image signal . And in such a manner is encoded Voynich manuscript - it is not my task , classic cipher written , only symbolic rebus - ideogram . Below to better illustrate the time- historical continuum in brief , a summary of the earlier descriptions of each manuscript illustration . ( From 1R to 19R )

1R - Big Bang and Kolaps - cyclical nature of the universe.

1V - Approximately 4.5 - 5 billion years ago - the formation of the Earth's crust.

2R - About 3.5 billion years ago - the first organisms .

2V - About a billion years ago - the first single-celled organisms ( eukaryotes ) .

3R - Approximately 900 - 700 million years ago - the first multi-cellular organisms .

3V - approximately 700 - 600 million years ago - the first invertebrates .

4R - 500 million years ago - the first vertebrates .

4V - 400 million years ago - vertebrates came out of the water.

5R - 220 million years ago - the beginning of the reign of the dinosaurs.

5V - 65 million years ago - extinction of the dinosaurs , evolution of mammals .

6R - About 65 - 30 million years ago - carnivores .

6V - About 30 - 7 million years ago - the formation of plants and animals.

7R - About 12 million years ago - the first hominids .

7V - About 7 - 5 million years ago - the appearance of man .

8R - About 100 thousand . years ago - the emergence of modern man .

8V - Approximately 15-12 thousand . years ago - man hiking - "bridge" Bering .

9R - Approximately 11.5 thousand . years ago - the end of the last ice age.

9V - About 10 thousand . years ago - hunter -gatherers , the birth of agriculture.

10R - Around 4000 , the BC - Development of urban community Mesopotamia.

10V - Around 3000 , the BC - The beginnings of civilization of ancient Egypt.

11R - The turn of the second and first millennium BC - Judaism , Jerusalem.

11V - turn of the century - Christianity . Rome .

12R - None. According to me - Ancient Greece .

12 V - None. According to me - the Empire of Alexander the Great .

13R - The Roman Empire .

13V - Persian Empire .

14R - Huns . Mongol Empire .

14V - Byzantine Empire .

15R - The State of the Franks.

15V - The spread of Islam.

16R - Vikings .

16V - Slavs .

17R - The Crusades .

17V - The Hundred Years War .

18R - Ottoman Empire .

18V - War of the Roses .

19R - The Order of the Teutonic Knights .