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Re: Why not Dee?
Karl Kluge wrote:
> There is no endnote giving a specific citation. I just got back from the
> graduate library here at U of M, looking through
> Title: The private diary of Dr. John Dee, and the catalogue of his library
> The entries for 1586 cover roughly a single page of text, and I could find no
> trace of an entry mentioning "630 gold doucats."
Oops! I am sorry - I have omitted the reference. It is in Casaubon's
of _True and Faithful relation_ on p. 447-448.
> The memorandum quoted on Rafel's page in is Latin and does not
> include the phrase "630 gold doucats."
It does include it: "630 Ducatos illi exhibuimus coram Deo".
> 2) The Thomas Browne quote
> Plus, it seems somewhat odd to reject the identification of the "book...
> containing nothing but heiroglyphicks" with the Voynich on the grounds that
> a 7-9 year old would find it more interesting for its pictures and then
> argue for an identification of it with a book containing nothing but pictures
> and no text at all.
Maybe you are right about the nudes. Still, I think that there are
many more arguments against the identification (the time elapsed).
But the key point is whether a 17th c. Englishman would call
unknown letter-like script "hieroglyphics" (perhaps a check in
the big Oxford Dictionary would elucidate it?). also, how could
a 7-9 years old tell the difference between VMS script and
Greek or Hebrew?
> In short, while I agree that we can't see this as a clear reference to the
> Voynich, neither am I willing to accept that it's not a plausible
Another argument that I have just thought of: suppose the MS that
Arthur remembered was indeed VMS. Then why Dee and Kelley don't
ask Angels for help with its decipherment? If Dee spent so much
time on it, he would certainly make more attempts at getting help.
> 3) The hundred ducat "Arabik boke" and the impressiveness of a 600 ducat
> price. Based on the discussion with Il on April 18, 1583, this "Arabik boke"
> would appear to be the Book of Soyga. Given Dee's strong interest in the
> contents of that book (and it's comparative scarcity -- only two surviving
> mss), that to some extent calibrates the value of magical mss at the time. A
> magical text worth six times the value of the Book of Soyga would be nothing
> to sneeze at.
But at the same time a printed (!) herbal published in Cracow had
the price of 100 ducats - so the prices were very relative.
My point was that 600 was not that much for Dee and that he really
did not like to part with his books.
> 4) Other candidates to have brought it to the court of Rudolph: how about
> Tycho Brahe, whose books were bought after his death in 1601 by the Emperor?
> Or if we favor an Italian origin for the mss, how about Jacopo di Strada of
> Mantua (d. 1585 in Prague), whose collection (along with that of Max. II) was
> the nucleus of Rudolph's Kunstkammer?
Of course - there are many other candidates. And on the other hand
- we only have Rafael Misovsky's word (and even that is second-hand)
for the fact that VMS was in Rudolf's collection. I do not mean to
say it wasn't (after all, I should trust a name-sake <g>), but
really certain history of VMS starts with the elusive Georg Baresch.