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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 06 Feb, 2008 10:37 pm    Post subject: The Most Mysterious Late Medieval Manuscript in the World         Reply with quote

While browsing Wikipedia today, I came across a medieval manuscript that I'd never heard of before. Catalogued as Manuscript 408, better known as the Voynich Manuscript, in the Beinecke Rare Book Library in Yale, it is the most mysterious medieval manuscript in the world. It appears to have been written between 1450-1520. But what makes it so mysterious is that the script it is written in is unique, and it is not written in any known language. Numerous cryptologers have tried to decipher it, but no one has been able to produce a satisfactory translation of anything in the text. Some have suggested that the entire manuscript is just a hoax and is meaningless, and yet statistical analysis has revealed that it has patterns similar to natural languages. The book itself seems to be a late medieval miscellany, perhaps even a tome on magic, since there are illustrations of plants, illustrations of astronomy and cosmology, a pharmaceutical section , and what appears to be a number of written recipes of some sort.

Here's an image of some of the script:



More on the manuscript can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voynich_manuscript#_note-0
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Mike Arledge




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 4:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I am not too tired to think clearly, that is often attributed to perhaps Roger Bacon. I think there are numerous books on it, but the one I read was "The Friar and the Cypher".

It is a wacky manuscript by all accounts.
http://www.amazon.com/Friar-Cipher-Unsolved-M...amp;sr=8-8

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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 7:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From the illustration it's obviously just a book on how to fill your pants with water. What's so myterious about that???? Laughing Out Loud
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 10:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aw come on, you guys seriously never made up your own language to pass notes to your lover without others knowing what's being said Wink ?

Still, it is strange.

M.

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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The strangest being the absolute lack of context.

Whatever it is, it is an impressive piece of work. If it is a forgery it must be considered a work of art in it's own right. A brilliant work of art in fact. More so than if it was genuin. Like the thingus of Turin Wink

Even off topic it has nothing to do with this Forum though, unless there are pages on swords but I doubt that as it is a herbal those will not be a feature other than as tools for cutting/preparations.

peter
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James Holczer




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
From the illustration it's obviously just a book on how to fill your pants with water. What's so myterious about that???? Laughing Out Loud


I have a different take and it doesn’t involve pants. The naked dude is obviously standing in a large wash tub and what appears to be pant legs is actually water draining from holes in the bottom of the tub. Therefore it must be some kind of do it yourself manual for constructing a crude shower stall for washing away nasty stuff like bubonic plague. After all it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise when you consider just how preoccupied medieval society was with personal hygiene and overall cleanliness. Confused
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting. Maybe someone who was illiterate was just tired of the writers getting all the glory and decided to write his own book. Wacky medievals.......
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Gary A. Chelette




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 2:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It looks like he's a sewer pipe cleaner?
It looks all to modern to me.

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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, the book originates from the beginning of the renaissance AND the preceeding middle ages were not nearly as ' primitive' as is generally thought today.
To put the book into perspective I would like to point out that is contemporary or a bit later than the works of Leonardo Da Vinci.
Both sewage systems and plumbing for running water had been around for >2 millennia Idea

Moders forensics should be able to ascertain fairly accurate when the book was written and where is has been, possibly where is was written even.

That still does not solve the enigma of the writing BUT Leonardo Da Vinci wrote in his own ' secret code' and possibly it is just that; a personal 'code' to be able to write in a time when enlightened ideas where reborn but not always wellcomed.
The compound but so clearly not at all innovative nature of most of the illustrations may signify that those are camouflage and not what they appear to be.
We do not know but either way it is a gem.

peter
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:


Even off topic it has nothing to do with this Forum though, unless there are pages on swords but I doubt that as it is a herbal those will not be a feature other than as tools for cutting/preparations.

peter


Actually, it's not. Re-read the description of the myArmoury Off-Topic forum: "Discussions of general history and other miscellaneous topics relating to arms and armour that do not specifically fit in other forums". One of the reasons I know this is because I sent Nathan a PM once asking if I could post a question on medieval history that had nothing to do with arms and armour. He said that it was fine to post it in the Off-Topic forum, although at the time, the description of the forum did not indicate this. Since then, the description has been revised to include topics of general history.

And if you think about it, it's a good thing that other topics are permitted in this forum. While most people here know quite a bit about arms and armour, there's also a lot of well-informed people on other topics in history. That means that if you have a general question, you don't have to go to some other forum just to post it.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Based upon the responses I got from the image that I posted, I'm glad that I did not go with my original idea of posting the page with a bunch of nude women bathing together... ;-)
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a question: if it's just a medieval/renaissance miscellany, why bother going to all the effort to come up with a totally new language to disguise it?

And here's two relevant questions Wikipedia mentions that arise if we posit it's a hoax:

1) Why is it such a sophisticated hoax when most hoaxes from the early modern period are sloppy and crude? If it is a hoax, it's very sophisticated, so why bother going to all that expense and work for something that's fake?

2) The first question might naturally lead us to posit that its a modern hoax, and indeed several people have posited that its former owner, the antiquarian Voynich, might have created it. "But if a fabrication, the question arises as to why neither Voynich nor his widow ever attempted to sell it. To fabricate a document for profit but never attempt to sell it would be highly unusual. Fame rather than fortune might be speculated as a motive, but that would not explain why Voynich's widow never attempted to sell the manuscript after his death." In other words, the circumstances surrounding Voynich's ownership of the manuscript do not really point to it being a hoax that he fabricated. There also is evidence of the manuscript's existence in historical records, although whether the manuscript mentioned in the records and Voynich manuscript are one and the same is not clear.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Feb, 2008 12:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:

And if you think about it, it's a good thing that other topics are permitted in this forum. While most people here know quite a bit about arms and armour, there's also a lot of well-informed people on other topics in history. That means that if you have a general question, you don't have to go to some other forum just to post it.


And general history can give useful context even when unrelated to weapons or armour.

( Added comment: Sorry about that Nathan ...... read his post below. Also avoiding making a new off-OFF topic post )

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Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Fri 08 Feb, 2008 1:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Feb, 2008 12:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
One of the reasons I know this is because I sent Nathan a PM once asking if I could post a question on medieval history that had nothing to do with arms and armour. He said that it was fine to post it in the Off-Topic forum, although at the time, the description of the forum did not indicate this. Since then, the description has been revised to include topics of general history.

And if you think about it, it's a good thing that other topics are permitted in this forum. While most people here know quite a bit about arms and armour, there's also a lot of well-informed people on other topics in history. That means that if you have a general question, you don't have to go to some other forum just to post it.


Fair enough and thank you for the explanation.

peter
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Feb, 2008 1:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

People, let me and the moderators decide what is appropriate for the forum and what is not. Let's face it, what is absolutely off-topic to the forums is the discussion and debate of what is or is not off-topic. In fact, our rules of conduct specifically include a point saying "Do not take it upon yourself to moderate our forum".

This forum, the off-topic forum, is described as "Discussions of general history and other miscellaneous topics relating to arms and armour that do not specifically fit our other forums". The key phrase is relating to arms and armour. This site is about arms and armour. There are several topics that relate to arms and armour that aren't specifically about arms nor armour. As one example, discussions of the culture (art, politics, daily life, fashion, diet, etc) surrounding the period or area of study of a subject relating to arms and armour is often valuable in gaining context or generating interest and further research.

Anyway, this topic does stray pretty far off from the intent of the site, but not nearly as much as the tangential posts regarding it being appropriate. Save that discussion for private message with a moderator or use the "report post" function should you feel the need to put such things into question.

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