Baresch news report

From: "Rafal T. Prinke"
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 23:42:56 +0200

I have just come back from Warsaw where - having some time - I went to a library which I had known had what is the best monograph on Marci, namely:

Servit, Z.: Jan Marek Marci z Kronlandu, zapomenuty zakladatel fyziologie a mediciny, Bratislava 1989

I had little time - and the book has no index - but paging through it I have spotted some interesting information, which I am immediately passing on to the Group:

1. On p. 49 there is a very interesting mention of our (and Marci's) elusive friend: "For many years Marek's close friend was Jiri Bares (Georgius Barschius), experienced chemist (rerum chemicarum peritissimus), from whom Jan Marek often obtained valuable information in this field. Bares after his death gave to Marci the collection of his notes and observations, as well as his chemical library. Marek wrote about it in his _Philosophia vetus restituta_ (p. 280)."

The book in question is:

[Pan ek Pantôn] seu philosophia vetus restituta. Prague, Typis Academici, 1662

Perhaps there is a copy in the British Library or other available to someone - it is just a matter of checking page 280 (alternatively, a copy can be bought on-line at US$ 4,800)?

It seems to indicate that Baresch had already died by 1662. And that he was indeed a real person...

2. On p. 52 there is something about VMS - but it appears that Servit knew only what was in Newbold (whom he quotes) and does not link Bares to VMS. He also says that Marci's valuable library was inherited by his son Jan Ludwik but it is not known what happened to it later. "It is only known that a year before his death he sent to Athanasius Kircher one of the most valuable manuscripts from this collection, the so called _Cabalistic manuscript of Roger Bacon_. As it appears from the letter by G. A. Kinner to Athanasius Kircher of 5 January 1667 (Carteggio Kircher, Roma, VIII, fol. 150), it was probably in 1666." [and then a few lines based on Newbold, including a suggestion that Marci may have obtained it via his brother-in-law Dionisius Misseroni]

I can't remember if we have the above letter by Kinner?

3. On p. 57 Servit says that at the end of his life Marci has problems with sight and memory (as he says in one of his letters - "corruptis oculis et infirmata memoria"). "Still in 1665 or at the beginning of 1666 he sends the Roger Bacon manuscript to Kircher with a cover letter which does not exhibit any intelectual deficiencies. Comparing it to other of his letters, it even seems that he wrote it in his own hand (but it could only be proved with proper graphological analysis). At the end of 1666 he made his last will but could not sign it because of weak sight." [it was signed only by 3 witnesses - 2 professors of the medical faculty and one lawyer]
posted by ぶらたん at 19:20| Comment(0) | その他


The castles

From: Dana Scott
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 11:15:46 -0800

When I examine these nine "circles" in the VMS I start with the premise that everything depicted is meaningful and significant. The author of the VMS exerted a great deal of effort and imagination to illustrate the perceived world and universe. It may very well be that the castles, walls, roads, and towers drawn in these circles are in part extentions of the author's imagination and inner and outer universe. Think microcosm/macrocosm when viewing these diagrams. A square castle with a circle may reflect this concept. Think also in three dimensions. Try to imagine the "circles" drawn around a globe with the heavens above. All the primary forces of Nature may be depicted in these diagrams. Tiny little round circles like the letter 'o' drawn between the upper middle and central circles may be raindrops and/or dew. Opposite to this (lower middle circle to central circle) Vs may be light rays. Then there is the question of flow. Which way is the flow in relation to the central circle? This is hard to say but for now I will say that it is from the central circle outwards towards the four NEWS surrounding circles. Notice that there are no land bridges to the central circle. How many roads are there anyway? Aren't there some roads leading from/to the outer edges of the diagrams? Not all diagrams are really circles. They only appear to be because of the encyphered text written within the circular bands drawn around the delineated subject matter. Try to mentally remove the circles containing text and you may see a different set of pictures. Without knowing a great deal more about the VMS (who wrote it, when, where, why, etc.?), identifying and matching the man-made structures in the diagrams with real earth constructions is a very arduous task . The author of the VMS may very well have been familiar with Dante. The correlation of the castle in the VMS to Dante's Jerusalem is interesting.
posted by ぶらたん at 00:11| Comment(0) | その他



# From: Nick Pelling
# Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 16:48:12 +0000

Looking closely at the pictures in the balnaeological section, I noticed that many of them appear to be holding (pretty much) the same curious object:-

f79v top left nymph
second nymph down
f80r second nymph on top row
(what the bottom left nymph is holding is another matter entirely!!)
f80v top left nymph (long version?)
second nymph down


# From: "GC"
# Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 15:47:56 -0600

Do you mean the object that some say looks like a *flute*? One of the instruments of physicke associated with bathing is a bladder for inserting herbal washes and medicines into the "matrix". This tool was called a "syringe". I've been searching for a picture of this instrument, but all I've found to date is the description. There is a second type that looks something like a child's wooden top that was used for inserting suppositories into the "foundament" (you guessed it). Until I find a picture of the "syringe" bladder, I can't be certain, but it's a good probability.
posted by ぶらたん at 21:53| Comment(0) | その他




Athanasius Kircher Correspondence Project at Stanford University:
(contains copies of correspondence from Marci and Baresch to Kircher)

posted by ぶらたん at 02:14| Comment(0) | その他



posted by ぶらたん at 21:32| Comment(0) | その他


On 30 Oct 2001, at 11:37, Zachary Owen wrote:

> I seem to recall someone stating that there were no numbers
> found in the VMS, I'm not too sure about letter frequencies, so I was
> wondering how this conclusion was reached.

2001/10/31, posted by Gabriel Landini

I had a look at the word patterns in EVA and could not find any obvious EVA characters behaving exclusively as roman characters.

This assumed:
1. numbers from I to III should appear at least once
2. the transcription was correct
3. the eva alphabet is the correct coding of the vms
4. the numbers were written as single words
5. the numbers were coded with a simple substitution (not
considering equivalent characters),

I can repost the text, otherwise it may be found in the mail achive (around 1998?).

Also note that some EVA characters are very close to arabic numerals: r~2, l=mediaeval 4, d=8. This prompted Dennis Mardle to suggest that <olld> in folio f66r.23 could mean 1448.

Also note that some EVA characters are very close to arabic numerals: r~2, l=mediaeval 4, d=8. This prompted Dennis Mardle to suggest that in folio f66r.23 could mean 1448.

2001/11/2, posted by Dennis Stallings
I don't remember where it is, but in the VMs there's a diagram of a circle with 5 degree increments marked out. Each 90 degree quadrant has the 5 degree increments marked with the same sequence of VMs characters. These seem like good candidates for VMs numbers. Surely someone remembers where this diagram is.
posted by ぶらたん at 21:04| Comment(0) | その他


2001/2/22, posted by Adam McLean

It seems to me that many of the skilled cryptographers on this group have puzzled and worked over the Voynich now for many years and yet seem no nearer to cracking the code.

It also seems unlikely to me that someone in the 16th century could devise a code that could defeat 21st century methods.

But how else can we proceed ?

I know I must sound like an old bore, always coming back to the same theme, but it seems to me that we have not yet exhausted an approach based on seeing the context of the manuscript - and relating it to other similar material. There may not be a Rosetta stone for the Voynich, but there may be some manuscripts out there that might help us see the context of the Voynich. Recently Dana Scott seems to have spent many hours surfing the net looking for images and parallels in manuscripts. A valient effort, however, I suspect only 0.01 % or less of medieval manuscript material has been scanned and placed on web sites. We really need some primary research done in libraries and special collections of such material, or to tap the knowledge of someone who has studied such material in depth.
posted by ぶらたん at 14:33| Comment(0) | その他


Antoine Casanova's research

2000/10/16, posted by Adam McLean

I have just reread Antoine Casanova's posting on 6th March 2000, based on his thesis, which reveals a structure within the individual 'tokens' in the Voynich language. These he shows as a series of rules, and from these he concludes that the language of the Voynich is not a natural language but has the characteristic signature of an artificial language.

2000/10/17, posted by Jorge Stolfi

In my view, the most significant feature of Antoine's substitution patterns is that the first letter of a Voynichese word seem to have more "inflectional freedom", while the final letters are relatively invariant. These patterns are precisely oposite to what we would expect to see in Indo-European languages (at least Romance and Germanic), where grammaticalinflection usually modifies letters near the end of the word.
Presumably this is what Antoine has in mind whe he says that Voynichese words are "built from synthetic rules which exclude ... natural language". Anyway, I think that this conclusion is unwarranted. After all, there are non-IE natural languages, which I do not dare to mention by name 8-), that do seem to have `substitution patterns' similar to those of Voynichese.
Thus I don't accept Antoine conclusion that Voynichese must be an artificial language, or at best a code based on "progressive modification [similar to] the discs of Alberti". It cannot be just some IE language with a funny alphabet, sure; but we already knew that.
I find it interesting also that his analysis yield a very anomalous pattern for n = 8, namely P_8 = ( 6 8 1 2 3 4 7 5 ). While that pattern may be just a noise artifact, it may also be telling us that the rare 8-letter words are mostly the result of joining a 2-letter word to a 6-letter one.
I am not sure what to make of Antoine's rules for generating P_n from P_{n+1}. For one thing, they seem to be a bit too complicated given the limited amount of data that they have to explain. Moreover, the counts s_2,.. s_{n-2} seem to be fairly similar, and the differences seem to be mostly statistical noise; therefore, their relative ranks do not seem to be very significant. Indeed, applying Antoine's method to Currier's transcription we get P_6 = ( 1 4 2 6 5 3 ), whereas from Friedman's we get P_6 = ( 1 5 2 4 6 3 ). Moreover, the latter would change to P_6 = ( 1 5 3 4 6 2 ) if we omitted just two words from the input text.
But the main limitation I see in Antoine's method is that he considers the absolute position of each letter in the word to be a significant parameter for statistical analysis. I.e., he assumes implicitly that an n-letter word contains exactly n "inflectional", slots, each each of them containing exactly one letter. This view seems too simplistic when one considers the patterns of inflection of natural languages, where each morphological "slot" can usually be filled by strings of different lengths, including zero. To uncover the inflection rules of English, for example, one would have to compare words of different lengths, because the key substitution patterns are

dog / dogs / dog's / dogs'
dance / dances / danced / dancing / dancer / dancers / ...
strong / stronger /strongest / strongly

and so on.

Another problem of Antoine's method is that the most important structural features of words in natural languages are usually based on *relative* letter positions, and may not be visible at all in an analysis based on absolute positions. For example, in Spanish there is a particularly strong alternation of vowels and consonants, so that if words were aligned by syllables one would surely find that the "even" letter slots have very different substitution properties than the "odd" slots. But since Spanish words may begin with either vowel or consonant, and may contain occasional VV and CC clusters, the 3rd and 4th letters in a 6-letter word should be about as likely to be VC as CV; and, therefore, will probably have very similar substitution statistics.

Indeed, aligning words letter-by-letter is a bit like classifying fractional numeric data like 3.15 and -0027 into classes by the number of characters, and then analyzing the statistics of the ith character within each class, without regards for leading zeros, omitted signs, or the position of the decimal point. While some statistical features of the data may still have some visible manifestation after such mangling, we cannot expect to get reliable and understandable results unless we learn to align the data by the decimal point before doing the analysis.
posted by ぶらたん at 21:07| Comment(0) | その他

意味がある vs 意味がない

2000/1/23, posted by Rene Zandbergen

In order to have real, strong evidence that the VMs contains meaningful text, we need to know how one can create a 'meaningless' text that still exhibits the same properties as meaningful text. More to the point: we need to find a mechanism that could have been applied 400-500 years ago.

Jacques already pointed out that we don't actually know how to define meaningful and meaningless. This may well prove to be a serious problem. When trying to generate meaningless texts which the LSC would classify as mneaningful, or vice versa, we're likely to end up in the no-man's land bordering on the two.... Take a meaningful text and start removing words (every 10th, every 2nd, at random...). When does the text stop being meaningful? How does the LSC curve behave?

2000/1/24, posted by Jorge Stolfi

Consider that an ideal text compression algorithm should take "typical" texts and turn them into random-looking strings of bits. Of course this transformation preserves meaning (as long as one has the decompression algorithm!); but, for maximum compression, the program should equalize the bit probabilities and remove any correlations. Modern compressors like PKZIP go a long way in that direction. The compressed text, being shorter than the original, will actually have more meaning per unit length; but it will look like perfect gibberish to LSC-like tests.

Or, consider a meaningful plaintext XORed with the binary expansion of pi. The result will have uniform bit probabilities, and no visible correlations; but it will still carry the original meaning, which can be easily recovered. It would take a very sophisticated algorithm (one that knows that pi is a "special" number) to notice that the text is not an entirely random string of bits.

So the LSC and possible variants are not tests of `meaning' but rather of `naturalness.' They work because natural language uses its medium rather inefficiently, but in a rather peculiar way: it uses symbols with unequal frequencies (a feature that mechanical monkeys can imitate), but changes those frequencies over long distances (something which simple monkeys won't do).

However, with slightly smarter monkeys one *can* generate meaningless texts that fool the LSC; and the same applies for any "meaning detector" that looks only at the message. Conversely, one can always encode a meaninful text so as to make it look "random" to the LSC. In short, a naturally produced (and natural-looking) text can be quite meaningless, while a meaningful text may be (and look) quite unnatural.
posted by ぶらたん at 10:54| Comment(0) | その他



1999/1/18, posted by Jorge Stolfi

> [Takeshi:] Isn't it difficult that we assume plants and human
> have common properties?
> e.g.
> zod f70v2.S2.13 ACKV =otaldy=
> pha f101v2.R1.2 AHV =otaldy=
> By the way, I thought one person represent one day in the zodiac
> calendars. But it is not true, right? (I mean, there are 30
> women in each zodiac calendars. But some women have the same
> label.)

Well, have you seen my "Chinese theory" page? Perhaps the correct
reading of <otaldy> (as the VMS author intended it) is <chang>, but
one of those <otaldy>s is <chàng> and the other is <cháng>...

> What do their labels mean in the zodiac calendars? What do you
> think kind of property they have? Their name? their birthday?
> where they live? They have a same kind of star? who and who are
> relatives by blood and marriage? etc.

I have no satisfactory theory for what the "zodiac" diagrams and the
numphs are supposed to be. If they indeed represent the zodiac signs,
why do they all have 30 "stars"? Why are Aries and Taurus split in

Even the zodiac symbols at the center are a bit suspect; it is
possible (although, I admit, unlikely) that the central circles were
originally empty, and the signs were added later, by someone who just
guessed they were related to the zodiac. Or perhaps the guess was made
by the VMS author himself, as he copied the diagrams from some other

If the nymphs are real or imaginary individuals (not just decoration),
then the labels are likely to be their names; in which case it is not
that strange to see repetitions.

> occurrence count
> ---------------------
> okaly H 4 (A 5)
> okoly 2
> otal dar 2
> okam 2
> okaldy 2
> okeoly 2
> okalar 2
> oteolar 2
> okeey ary 2
> otaly 2
> okal 2
> otaraldy 2

I hadn't noticed that there were so many repetitions in the Zodiac.
Very strange! Why is no label repeated three times? Is there any
pattern to these repetitions (such as position of labels in
diagram, etc?)

> Is it possible to think that <okal> or <otal> itself have a
> meanings and +<y> or +<dy>?

I wish I knew the answer....

If the language is Chinese, this is somewhat unlikely (although the
<y> or <dy> could be tone marks, and I believe that in Chinese
there are some rules that say that tone X changes to tone Y when
it comes before a word with tone Z.)

On the other hand, if the language is Chinese then those resemblances
are not surprising, and they do not mean anything: "ching" and "chi"
are not related...
posted by ぶらたん at 23:28| Comment(0) | その他


1999/1/15, posted by Jorge Stolfi


Besides <otoldy> we can look at the similar words <otaldy>, <opaldy>,
<ytaldy>, <ytoldy>, etc., which could be alternative spellings of the
same word.

I count 9 occurrences of those words as labels, and 17 as words in the text.

Here are those occurrences, extracted from the concordance I posted
recently. I have split them into labels and text, then sorted by
section and page. (I have kept only the "majority" version ("A")
of each occurrence. There were only a few dissenting votes, usually
by the FSG/SSG transcriptions.)


sec location trans occurrence
--- ------------ ------ ----------------------------------------------------
cos f67r1.S.1 ACHV =otaldy=
zod f70v2.S2.13 ACKV =otaldy=
bio f82v.L3.14 AHV =otoldy=
pha f88r.m.1 AHLV =otaldy=
pha f89r1.t.4 AHKLV =otoldy=
pha f89r2.L2.0 AHUV =otoldy=
pha f99r.L1.12 AHU =otoldy=
pha f99v.L1.1 AHUV =otoldy=
pha f101v2.R1.2 AHV =otaldy=


sec location trans occurrence
--- ------------ ------ ----------------------------------------------------
bio f78v.P.26 ACFHV shedy sol fchedy otaldy/lol *ar shr r ol
bio f79r.P.28 AFHV dai*n yteey chyteey otoldy lchey/lcheey qochey
bio f79v.P.1 AFHV olk*ry qotolol otaldy otedol or olorol/
hea f22r.P.11 ACFH yckhody qokchy oky otoldy yty dol or-dachy
hea f28r.P.7 AFH shockhy shocthy otoldy-dshor dol dar/oschotshl
hea f2r.P.6 ACFH daind-dkol sor-ytoldy-dchol dchy cthy/
hea f44v.P.1 ACFH shol tol qotshol otoldy/yolkol cheol qokchain
hea f52r.P.2 AH dar yty/oty shor ytoldy qoky koldal oteees
hea f52r.P.3 ACFH tchody qotam oky-ytoldy/lshopchy qoky qotchy
hea f53v.P.13 ACH -*dam/ycthodaiin otoldy=
hea f9v.P.9 ACFHU tor chyty dary-ytoldy/oty kchol chol
heb f43v.P.1 ACFGU r araiin otedy opoldy/shedy octhy otedy
heb f48r.P.1 AFH ykeeody olaiin opaldy/daiin yteeol choody
heb f48v.P.9 ACFGH loldy lol-otchdy otoldy ytam otedy/tol
heb f95v1.P.4 AFH qokal oty shekshey otaldy okshey ytshedy
pha f89r2.P3.8 AFHLU che* oldy sheodal ytoldy/daiin cheok o keol
str f58r.P.30 AFH chody cheol okolchy otaldy/odshchol taiin

Note that almost all occurrences of <otoldy> and friends *as labels*
are in the pharma section, and almost all occurrences *as text* are in
the herbal section. Of these, 8 are in herbal-A (all <otoldy> or
<ytoldy>), 4 in herbal-B (one each of <otoldy>, <opoldy> <otaldy>,
<opaldy>; so these may be bogus).

Note also that <ytoldy> tends to occur right after gaps in the text
due to intruding plants (marked by "-" above). I take this fact as
evidence that <y> is (always? often? sometimes?) a calligraphic
variant of <o>, used at end-of-word and sometimes at

There is one occurrence of <ytoldy> in the *text* of pharma page f89r2.
Coincidentally that is the only page with *two* occurrences of
<otoldy> as a label.

Moreover, there is some evidence that <k> and <t>, while distinct, were
interchangeable to some extent. Indeed the distribution of <okoldy>
and its variants is somewhat similar to that of <otoldy>:


sec location trans occurrence
--- ------------ ------ ----------------------------------------------------
cos f68r1.S.14 AHUV =okoldy=
zod f72r2.S2.5 AHV =okaldy=
zod f72v3.S1.18 AHUV =okaldy=
bio f82r.L2.5 AUV =okaldy=
bio f82v.L3.14 U =okoldy=
pha f88r.b.3 AHKV =ofaldo=
pha f89r2.L2.0 L =okoldy=


sec location trans occurrence
--- ------------ ------ ----------------------------------------------------
hea f18r.P.8 AFH qokchor ckhol olody okaldy-dary/chol chcthal
hea f36r.P.7 ACH -dan/qotol cthol okol dy okchy-ytorory-sold/
hea f3v.P.4 ACH **s eey kcheol okal do r chear een/y**ear
hea f54v.P.9 ACH qockhey qodal ytam okal dy/kol c*kaiin chckhy
heb f33r.P.2 ACFH ytchedy qokar cheky okaldy qokaldy otor oldar
heb f40r.P.4 ACFH okaiin okar oky okoldy ol/lokar qokar
heb f43r.P.2 ACFGHU chety dar aiir okaldy daral otchdy daiin
heb f43v.P.2 ACFHU ches***y okeody oky okaldy kchdy okar/tody
cos f57v.R1.1 AHU daram qokar okal okal d o l shkeal dydchs
bio f75r.P.27 ACFHV qoty pshar shedy okaldy-dar otar otedy
bio f75r.P.44 ACFHV okedy qokedy otedy okoldy otar otam olaiin
bio f82v.P.12 ACFHV qokchey qokain okal dy lchedam/orain shedy
pha f88r.P3.11 AHL lkeey cthol poldy s-okoldy/qokol chol qokol
pha f89v1.P1.12 AHL kaiin ykchol qockhy okalda otal dal chodar
pha f99r.P2.7 AFH cheody qokol okoly okoldy qokoly qokal okchol
pha f99v.P1.2 AFH qokchol qokeol okoldy-q*kholdy t*ly daiin/
str f105v.P.3 AFHT okair qotol dol okoldy qokedy opched oteedy
str f113v.P.48 AGH qokeeedy lkaiin okal dy/yshey teeo oteedy
str f58v.P1.10 AHU qokal* qokaiin okal okaldy ory/tchol shol
str f58v.P2.27 AHU okey okal o*aly okaldy okeor sheey=

Note that there are three <okoldy>s in the *text* of the pharma pages,
all of them on pages where <otoldy> occurs as a label (f88r, f99r,
f99v) --- one more bit of evidence for a close relationship between
<k> and <t>. (Grammatical inflection, perhaps?)

> Is it evidence that the manuscript itself is meaningless?

On the contrary, I think that the highly skewed distributions of
<otoldy> and <okoldy> confirm (once more) that the VMS is *not*
random text.

> I don't think these four plants are the same. Why do different
> plants have same name? ... After someone succeeds in identifying
> what language or code is in the Voynich MS, can we explain these
> repetitions? I don't think so...

The labels may indicate properties of the plants, not their names. The
properties could be the plant's usage (e.g. "poison", "tonic",
"emetic", "diuretic", "too strong", "doesn't work"), its
smell/flavor/color/size, which parts of the plant are used, how it is
repared ("infusion", "poultice", etc), the season for picking, the
place or date of the finding, the country where it grows, the dealer
who sells the plant, the sympathetic star, the name of the daemon who
summoned by consuming the plant, etc. etc.

Someone suggested that the labels may be meaningless tags, used
just as we would use (a), (b), (c) or (1), (2), (3), etc.

Or perhaps (ahem!...) those <okoldy>s were distinct but
similar-sounding words in an unfamiliar language, and the author was
unable to hear the difference.

In any case, I am almost convinced that the drawings in the pharma
section are "field notes", where the author recorded plants as he
"found" them; and the herbal and bio pages are later elaborations on
those notes. The pattern of <otoldy> occurrences above seems at least
compatible with this theory.

The main evidence for this theory is the fact that some pharma
drawings are repeated in the herbal pages --- enlarged and done with
more care, sometimes with fancy flowers, but in the same pose and with
the same details (i.e. definitely a copy of the same drawing, not just
an independent drawing of the same plant.)

Note that the pharma plants may have been "found" in a pharmacist's
shop, in a library, in the teachings of a master/guru/shaman/explorer,
in conversations with natives, etc.. However, since many pharma plants
are unlabeled, or bear repetitive labels, I think it is slightly more
likely that they were found in the wild by the author, and he did not
know their names (except for a few plants, eg. the maidenhair fern.)

Since we are on the subject: I think that the "containers" in the
pharma pages were added after the whole section was complete, as an
afterthought. Note that they are all squeezed in the margin (except in
one instance where the container lies between two plants).

The containers could represent plant categories, of course; but
perhaps they are (also?) "thumb marks" for quick page finding...

In any case, it seems that the plants in the pharma section seem to
have been sorted by some criterion; not only by inference from the
presence of the containers, but also from looking at the drawings
themselves. So they probably aren't the primary field sketches, but
clean-copies made sometime later at the "office".

However the relative realism of the pharma drawings says to me that
they were made by someone who had seen the plants --- which cannot be
said of the herbal drawings. In fact I would bet that the herbal
drawings were done by assistants or hired illustrators.
posted by ぶらたん at 22:59| Comment(0) | その他


1998/11/25, posted by Jorge Stolfi

--- okal (VERY COMMON) -------------------------------------------

A very common word in the VMS. It could mean "Sun", or perhaps "Moon". (Or "water"; the planet Mercury is literally "Water-Star" in Chinese... 8-)

--- opchol dy (RARE) ---------------------------------------------

The words "opchol dy" or "opcholdy" do not seem to occur elsewhere, but there are half a dozen near misses:

"otshol dy" occurs in Herbal-A text (f7v).

"qokchol dy" ditto (f18r).

"okchaldy" ditto (f23v).

"opchaldy" ditto (f45r).

"okchol do" ditto (f52r).

"ofsholdy" is a Zodiac star label (Cancer, f72r3).

"ypcholdy" is a Pharma plant label (f102v1).

"yteeoldy" mentioned in Pharma text (f101r1).

--- ytoaiin (RARE) -----------------------------------------------

My concordance finds no exact recurrences, but does find half a dozen near missses:

"ykoaiin" in the text under the same diagram (f67r2, line 1), and in an early herbal-A page (f3v, line 1).

"qokoaiin" in the text under the same diagram (f67r2, line 3), and part of a label in the Cosmo diagram overleaf (f67v2).

"otoaiin" in text around a "Sun face" on a nearby page (f68r2), and in an early herbal-A page (f1v, line 5).

"okoaiin" in a Pharma text (f89v1, line 10).

"opyaiin" in a herbal-A page (f23r, line 1).

--- dolchsody (VERY RARE) ------------------------------------------------

Occurs just once more (split and without the "s" plume), on page f66r, line 19:

...daiin daiin dal DOL CHEODY dairaly dairal...

--- okain am (VERY RARE?) ------------------------------------------------

Occurs once more (with the "q" prefix), on f111v, line 9:

...okeey qokeey qokey qOKAIN AM- soiin shed qoksheo...

But "am", like most words ending with "m", is almost surely an abbreviation (note its occurrence at end-of-line). The word "okain" alone is extremely common.

--- yfain (VERY RARE? VERY COMMON?) -------------------------------------

The word "yfain" itself does not seem to occur elsewhere. On the other hand some `equivalent' words like "okain", "ykain", "otain", "ytain" etc. are exceedingly common.

--- ofar oeoldan (VERY RARE) --------------------------------------------

The word "ofar" is very common, but "oeoldan" does not seem to occur elsewhere, not even in disguise ("ysoldon", "araldan", etc.).

(BTW, the whole phrase "ofar oeoldan" did not make it into the index because of a bug in my code, in the handling of comma-spaces. One more thing to fix for the next release...)

--- doaro (VERY RARE) ---------------------------------------------------

The concorance shows no other occurences of this word or its `equivalents' ("dyary", "doary", "daosy", etc.).
posted by ぶらたん at 20:57| Comment(0) | その他




> Likewise the strange thing that ends line 6 of folio 24v,
> which I would write in advanced Frogguy:

> s
>c-lj a 2 A-2

I would say: a correction. The writer forgot the s and inserted it later.
posted by ぶらたん at 18:04| Comment(0) | その他


Voynich mini-FAQ

December 8, 1996 by Dennis Stallings

In 1912, Wilfrid M. Voynich (a book collector) bought a medieval manuscript (235 pages) written in an unknown script and what appears to be an unknown language or a cipher from the Jesuit College at the Villa Mondragone, Frascati, in Italy (near Rome). However, despite the efforts of many well known cryptologists and scholars, the book remains unread. Since 1969, it is at Yale University, at the Beinecke Rare Book Library with catalogue number MS 408.

It is known (from a letter of J. M. Marci in 1665/6) that the manuscript was bought by Emperor Rudolph II of Bohemia (1552-1612) for 600 ducats (an exorbitant sum in those days). The manuscript somehow passed to Jacobus de Tepenecz, the director of Rudolph's botanical gardens (his signature is present in folio 1r) and it is speculated that this must have happened after 1608, when Jacobus Horcicki received his title "de Tepenecz". Thus 1608 is the earliest definite date for the Manuscript.

The Voynich Manuscript, as it has come to be known, contains many drawings of plants, but the plants have not been identified, nor have the drawings been identified with known fanciful or distorted drawings of plants from the Middle Ages. There are what look like astrological drawings. There are curious drawing of little nude women bathing in baths with convoluted plumbing; nothing else like these drawings is known. The persons and costumes look generally European. The script seems to have been developed from early Arabic numerals and medieval Latin abbreviations, but composed of these elements in a unique manner; no other examples of the script or any like it are known. Nothing else about the Manuscript is even this definite; it is a completely unique artifact.

Computer analysis of the Voynich Manuscript has only deepened the mystery. One finding has been that there are two "languages" or "dialects" of Voynichese, which are called Voynich A and Voynich B. The repetitiousness of the text is obvious to casual inspection. Entropy is a numerical measure of the randomness of text. The lower the entropy, the less random and the more repetitious it is. The entropy of samples of Voynich text is lower than that of most human languages; only some Polynesian languages are as low.
posted by ぶらたん at 20:46| Comment(0) | その他


1996/7/9, posted by Robert Firth

A fascinating short article in the April 1995issue of 'Discover' (a popular science magazine)tells how a group of researches into human DNAdecided to see whether the codon sequencesfollowed Zipf's Law.

Somewhat to their surprise, they did, even in theso-called "junk" DNA (the 95%+ of human DNA thatdoesn't seem to do anything).

Their conclusion: "we don't know what it says, butit's language". Sound familiar?

1996/7/9, posted by Gabriel Landini

I 've been to a talk by of the authors of that research group (S Havlin)presenting the data in Marseille in the Fractal 95 Conference and I was not very impressed.The problem is that DNA does not have "words" and so they invented the "word" as n-base subsequences.This of course does not have anything to do with Zipf's law but to the relative probability of the bases. Yes, the DNA is different in coding and non-coding parts but this has been known for ages, so this "new finding" is not that new. The same results can be achieved with the n-base entropy, and it has a much more solid basis than "Zipf's law".

Also, you can get Zipf's distributions with absolutely random sequences.So the "language" of the junk DNA is a very far fetched hypothesis. I am not saying that it is not right, only that the evidence for having a "language" is very weak. The junk DNA is there for some reason and there are more interesting hypotheses on why we have accumulated DNA which is of no use.

The reason for the Zipf's law in random sequences is a different one from the one in the texts (well, as far as I understood W. Li's paper).Zipf's laws in texts may be important when you know that you have a "real" text and want to compare "distances" between the Zipf's plots. (I think that a reference for that is a short paper in Physical Review Letters E, by S. Havlin. If anyone is interested I can look for the reference).
posted by ぶらたん at 10:00| Comment(0) | その他



1996/3/22, posted by Rene Zandbergen


In the file 'checklist' (Jim's AT&T site) it is mentioned that14 folios are missing according to Kraus' catalogue in ~1960, but initially (1912) these were only 8. The 8 earlyones are 12, 74, 91,92, 97,98, 109,110. The six later ones, of whichit is assumed they went lost between 1912 and 1960, are 59-64.

In a letter to Jim Gillogly, Mary D'Imperio mentions that she noticedwhen visiting the Beincecke that more than the originally 8 folioswere missing, but she mentions only some stubs between pages thatshow no gap in the numbering.Does this mean that D'Imperio's copy (derived from Petersen's 1931copy) still had ff.59-64? Does anyone have copies derived from these?

Several people have seen Petersen's hand transcriptions and if ff.59-64were in there, we would have heard by now... Did Mary send copies ofher copies? I think her letter implies that her copies were classifiedto some extent (normal NSA procedure?).

Does this then mean they went missing between 1912 and 1931?How do we know only 8 were missing in 1912?

1996/3/25, posted by Jim Reeds


About the mystery of the missing folios (that is, folios reported missingby Kraus but not by Newbold) that Rene brought up. I assume that Newboldmade a mistake. Newbold might not have examined the VMS itself very carefully,and might not have been supplied with a complete photocopy.

The photocopy D'Imperio used is almost certainly derived from the copy inthe Friedman collection; that copy is probably derived from Petersen's;it lacks ff.59-64. Currier compiled a checklist somewhat analogous to mine; his lacks ff.59-64, as does Petersen's hand written copy of the VMS.
posted by ぶらたん at 10:28| Comment(0) | その他



1996/1/25, posted by Rene Zandbergen

1. The name Mondragone comes from its dominating position and the fact it's decorated with heraldic dragons

2. It is quite a bit outside Frascati (2 hours walk), and cannot be visited.

3. History:
It was founded by Cardinal Marco Altemps under pope Gregorius XIII(Boncompagni). More about Gregorius below.Building was started by Martino Longhi in 1573-1575. (Tiltman quotedby D'Imperio says 'about 1570').In 1582, pope Gregorius issued the calendar reformation bull fromthe so-called 'Salone degli Svizzeri' (Swiss room) of the villa.Gregorius was also a 'good friend' of the Jesuits. He gave largesums of money for the Gesu' (their main church in Rome).In 1613 it was acquired by Card. Scipio Borghese, nephew(need to check) of pope Paul V (Camillo Borghese, pope since 1605).Now Tiltman says that it probably remained in the hands of theAltemps as in 1620 a late member of this family bequeated theMondragone library to the Vatican library. I need to sort thisout, but since it is still well before 1665, it does not worryme too much.Scipio Borghese extended the villa with the help of Vasanzio.(This irrelevant piece of information just because he isa fellow Dutchman.)In 1865 the villa passed into the hands of the Jesuits, whofounded a (apparently famous) college there.In 1912 W.Voynich found the VMs there (with some other documentsbut don't know which). He kept the name of the site secretfor some years(!)In 1953 the college closed.
posted by ぶらたん at 19:32| Comment(0) | その他


Notes on the Voynich Manuscript - Part 21より 推測

1995/1/8, posted by Robert Firth

1. The symbol "4" stands for 'and'. But it does not spell the word; it is an idiograph with the same function as the "&" of our keyboards.

2. The letter "o" starts (the most common form of) the definite article.But I suspect the full article ends with a consonant that is elided in the written text.

3. Long vowels are represented by reduplication, thus "c c" is long "c". This is one reason our vowel counts are off.

4. Some consonants are made of several symbols, and among them are "iv" and "iiv". This is another reason why both our vowel counts, and our lists of consonantal letters, are off.

5. I believe there is at least one systematically elided consonant in the Voynich orthography. For example, I don't think final "9" is just a variant of "a". I think it stands for "a" plus a final consonant. My current candidates for possible elided consonants are L (anywhere), N (anywhere) and S (final).

As a real example, consider these orthgographic changes:

"sancto" (latin) => "santo" (Castilian) => "sa~o" (Portuguese)

Hmm... and wouldn't the spelling rules for Portuguese also work pretty well with Catalan?

6. The letters "cc" (ligatured) and "ct" have some relationship.I once thought they reflected a dialectical difference, like that between P- and Q- celtic, but now I'm not so sure.
posted by ぶらたん at 19:36| Comment(0) | その他


Hildegard of Bingen

1994/8/24, posted by Joao Leao


Hildegard's own contributions to pre-cryptology has been a pet interest of mine. It is fairly well documented that she introduced the first known attempt to produce what was both an artificial language and a cryptosemic system, called 'Lingua Ignota', which I have seen variously described as a simple noun encoding schema as well as a metasemic system of the kind which became popular in the XVII century. It seems both Trithemius and John Wilkins were aware of her proposals which meant to be used for private comunication between women. The myth and drive of a " purely feminine language" is one of my pet interests with a very curious history.

S. Hildegard of Bingen is another one, by the way! She was no "priestess", Ron, but an abess, mystic and catholic Saint who wrote extensively on matters running from medicine and sexuality to law and theology. She also wrote pretty incredible vocal and intrumental, (pre-gregorian) music which you can find on classical charts. My personal favorite is the "Ordo Virtutae", an abstract operatic work which anticipates Llull's thematics by some 200 years.

The (fictional) possibility that the VMS was the work of an all-female cult of Hildegard's followers is a scenario I have been pursuing mostly for fun. The illustrated part is particularly ameanable to this "interpretations" given that the "herbarium', "astrological" and "plumbing" thematics were very close to Hildegardean themes.
posted by ぶらたん at 22:29| Comment(0) | その他

UV/IR photo

1994/07/15, posted by Jim Reeds


> I saw some fairly recent IR and UV shots (taken under a variety
> of filters) of folio 1 recto. All the UV stuff shows the faded
> signature, the IR stuff shows a blur. There is a tantalizing "key"
> on the right margin of f1r, with a column of roman A - Z with
> obscured Voynich chars standing nect ot it. Some few are a bit
> more visible under UV than under ordinary light.
> Recent, really? I thought the faded signature was uncovered by W.
> Voynich fairly shortly after its discovery, and D'Imperio said she
> didn't know of any more recent work. Any idea who took them, and what
> if any conclusions they drew? It's just folio 1r, not any other part?
> I wonder, especially, about the "key" at the end.

Late 1970's, by the then librarian, whose name I have promptly forgotten.
She had an extensive correspondence with Brumbaugh, and I am sure she
took the UV and IR shots at Brumbaugh's request. By the way, I doubt if
Voynich used IR light as he claimed; it must have been UV.


While preparing for the talk I came across an odd thing: on page 1
of D'Imperio it says

examined under infra-red light, this signature was
found to be "Jacobj a` Tepenece"

yet neither Newbold in 1928 nor Voynich in 1921 says "infra red," and
the Yale catalog entry says "ultra violet". (Voynich 1921 says that
chemicals were applied to the page, and having seen it, I can believe it.
The UV photos in the Beinecke show the sig and the IR photos do not.)
posted by ぶらたん at 21:14| Comment(0) | その他