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Voynich -- Opening The Doors #2

    What other books were of great importance during the Renaissance that would have been used by tutors or taught in schools? Well, even today we still hear of Dante and I think that he was a major infulence on the author of the Voynich manuscript. Since I am a new member on the Voynich mailing list, forgive me if I am repeating what might already have been discussed. For quite a while I was puzzled by the unusual Astrological figures in the Voynich manuscript. I first tried to identify the kind of fish shown in Pisces. I thought that they might have been sturgeon, but the tail fins didn't look right. Then I realized that they are dolphins, well known in the Italian maritime to fishermen and sailors.


    Then I took a close look at Leo. This big cat sort of looks like a lion, but not quite. It seems to have spots. And Scorpio has a large tail, but doesn't look at all like the familiar scorpion to me, even though it is dark in color. Actually the facial features of scorpio are a bit difficult to visualize properly making it difficult to identify the type of animal represented. Now while looking through a book on Dante's Inferno, I discovered a wonderful painting that I think will answer these questions.



Leo is not a lion, but a leopard, and Scorpio is not a scorpion, but a black she-wolf with a long tail. What a revelation this turns out to be. Our mysterious author of the Voynich manuscript has read Dante and admired him enough to incorporte his philosophy and teachings into the Voynich manuscript. This is great stuff. But what is the significance? Well there is more. The leopard, by the way, was thought to a cross between a lion and an all black panther (pard). And remember the she-wolf who took care of Romulus and Remus? Well, this narrows our focus point a bit. Dante was born in Florence, the center of the Italian Renaissance. So why the Leopard and not Leo? There seems to be some reference to black and white in the Voynich manuscript. If we take a look at the history of Florence, we learn that there were two political factions in conflict with each other called the Guelphs (who supported the Pope) and the Ghibellines. Dante was caught up in the battle between these two groups, and it appears that Dante wasn't too pleased with Pope Leo III.


The Guelphs later split into two separate rival groups called the Blacks and the Whites. But there is more. It appears that major portions of the Voynich manuscript (Botanical, Anatomical, Cosmological, Astrological charts) are patterned after Dante's Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradiso). We can find pictures of naked people underground vaguely similar to the naked ladies in the Voynich manuscript.




The similarities in the styles of the documents are remarkable. I am convinced most of all by diagrams illustrating the different levels in Dante's Divine Comedy.


There is a diagram that clearly relates to my interpretation of the Botanical text where I claim there are different levels of the plant referenced in the text, both above and below ground. My simple diagram of the levels in the Voynich looks like the following:

 c c c c
  c c c
   c c
   \  \
  \  \  \
 \  \  \  \

Now look at the following diagram related to Dante:


Notice the dates at the top left of the diagram in Roman numerals with all the D's and C's. This comparison to Roman numeral needs further analysis, but I am entrigued by what I see here.

    So now we know that the author of the Voynich manuscript most likely studies a Book of Hours and Dante's Divine Comedy. At this point I would also say that this individual knew both Latin and the Tuscan dialect used by Dante.

Dana Scott

Additional references to Dante:

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