Progress on deciphering the Voynich Manuscript

hg100-Voynich1Who isn’t interested in grimoires and strange texts we can’t decipher? Two years ago, I made a brief post about two such occult tomes, the Voynich manuscript and the Copiale Cipher. In that initial post, I noted how the Copiale Cipher had been cracked (it was revealed to be composed by a German secret society interested/obsessed with human eyeballs — and no, I’m not kidding.) As I noted, the more (in)famous Voynich Manuscript continued to resist all efforts to translate it. Well, it’s still untranslated, but the first cracks have appeared — some of the hitherto unknown animal and plant species drawn in the Manuscript have now been identified by ethnobotanists.

Here is a link to a news article that discusses the new findings, and here is a link to the scientific study. And what exactly did they find? I’ll quote from the original study’s conclusion:

“We note that the style of the drawings in the Voynich Ms. is similar to 16th century codices from Mexico (e.g., Codex Cruz-Badianus). With this prompt, we have identified a total of 37 of the 303 plants illustrated in the Voynich Ms. (roughly 12.5% of the total), the six principal animals, and the single illustrated mineral. The primary geographical distribution of these materials, identified so far, is from Texas, west to California, south to Nicaragua, pointing to a botanic garden in central Mexico, quite possibly Huaztepec (Morelos). A search of surviving codices and manuscripts from Nueva España in the 16th century, reveals the calligraphy of the Voynich Ms. to be similar to the Codex Osuna (1563-1566, Mexico City). Loan-words for the plant and animal names have been identified from Classical Nahuatl, Spanish, Taino, and Mixtec. The main text, however, seems to be in an extinct dialect of Nahuatl from central Mexico, possibly Morelos or Puebla.”

So there you have it. Our first real clues to identifying what the heck it says. Speakers of Nahuatl, we await further findings!

2 thoughts on “Progress on deciphering the Voynich Manuscript

  1. The Voynich manuscript is not written with letters and characters denoting letters of the alphabet one of the ancient languages. Moreover, in the text there are 2 levels of encryption. I picked up the key, which in the first section I could read the following words: hemp, wearing hemp; food, food (sheet 20 at the numbering on the Internet); to clean (gut), knowledge, perhaps the desire, to drink, sweet beverage (nectar), maturation (maturity), to consider, to believe (sheet 107); to drink; six; flourishing; increasing; intense; peas; sweet drink, nectar, etc. Is just the short words, 2-3 sign. To translate words with more than 2-3 characters requires knowledge of this ancient language. The fact that some signs correspond to two letters. Thus, for example, a word consisting of three characters can fit up to six letters of which three. In the end, you need six characters to define the semantic word of three letters. Of course, without knowledge of this language make it very difficult even with a dictionary.
    If you are interested, I am ready to send more detailed information, including scans of pages showing the translated words.
    Nicholas.

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