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Voynich -- Opening The Doors #1
Deciphering encrypted text, such as that seen in the Voynich
manuscript is at best a very arduous task. Sometimes it might be easier
to first look at the obvious and try to develop a profile of the type of
person who composed the manuscript. If we can see through this
individual's eyes then perhaps our task will be greatly simplified.
After analyzing the text, I have decided that the content is not bogus
and that it is both meaningful and purposeful. We have the added
advantage of 20/20 hindsight and with a little bit of luck may even be
able to determine what other texts and manuscripts the author may have
Based on numerous dates associated with the manuscript, lets choose
the Renaissance period of the 16th century to focus our attention
concerning the contents of the manuscript. This is time of Leonardo da
Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Copernicus, and Galileo. The genius of the
Renaissance man was to be very knowledgeable and well educated in
numerous fields of endeavor. The text of the Voynich manuscript
certainly has the look and feel of Leonardo's reverse mirror image
writing, but Leonardo's cryptic writing served as much as a convenience
as a method to keep its secrets from the masses. The text of the Voynich
manuscript is truly cryptic requiring a key and intimate knowledge to
understand its secrets.
Lets consider what books, manuscripts, and texts a priviledged
student might have studied during this era. It turns out the there was a
book common to most individuals during the 16th century and before known
as the Book of Hours or Horae. In fact, it was the most often printed
book of its time. Everyone who could read and many who couldn't probably
at one time or another studied the Book of Hours which is a prayer book
centered around the Virgin Mary. These books are filled with beautiful
miniature paintings in the borders, full of religious references,
flowers, animals, drawings and colors. The paintings and borders added
great beauty to the Horae and served in part to attract those were less
adept at reading the Latin text. The colors used included red, blue,
green, and gold, as well as black and white, the same colors that can be
found in the Voynich manuscript. As may expected, the colors were giving
religious significance. Red can be said to be associated with Jesus
Christ or perhaps Adam and the red earth, blue is for the Virgin Mary,
green seems to refer to Saints and other scholars within the Bible, and
gold is a reference to God.
Now why might this be important to the Voynich manuscript? Well, it
seems very likely that whoever wrote the Voynich manuscript also studied
the Book of Hours. They both have a similar look and feel. It also seems
to make a great of sense that those who studied the Book of Hours on a
regular basis were both well educated and quite religious. They believed
in what the Christian religion had to teach.
Attached here is the first example that I came across on e-Bay a few
months ago. I was looking at samples of vellum and came across this gem
which is not in color, but it certainly attracted my attention,
especially when looking at the border and seeing a correlation to the
columns in the borders of the Voynich manuscript (f99-f102). This Book
of Hours vellum leaf is attributed to Philippe Pigouchet who apparently
designed the woodcut for Simon Vostre sometime around 1510 in Paris.
Often the styles, ideas, and designs that an author uses are borrowed
either consciously or subconsciously from what was previously studied.
Pictures certainly imprint very powerful images in the mind's eye. There
are numerous similar examples of these columns of stacked jars or vases
to be found throughout the Renaissance art.
(Note: the attached docuement is in jpeg format; hopefully you won't
have difficulty viewing it. If you do have problems, let me know and I
will see what alternatives might used for displaying the attachment).