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Re: Caramuel, Lobkowitz y Chinese

    > [Rene:] [Caramuel] was 10 when Rudolf died. He was considered an
    > 'enfant terrible', but perhaps not quite weird enough to have
    > written the VMs, even if it had been chronologically possible.

You are taking it as a fact that the VMS did belong to Rudolf and
Jacobus. But the supporting evidence is not very solid. Until we get a
sample of Jacobus's signature, there remains the possibility that the
scribble on f1r was written by a late owner (e.g. Kircher) who read
Marci's letter, searched for a likely "bearer" in sources like
Schmidl, and jumped to the wrong conclusion. And, if the VMS is indeed
a cryptographic prank/test/demo/challenge, then the stylistic clues
may be decoys, Raphael's story may be pure fiction, and the actual
creation date may be late enough for Marci, Caramuel, or Raphael (to
cite only three out of a zillion suspects) to have done it.

As I said, I don't really believe any of this --- I am mainly trying
to be the devil's advocate. Surely you agree that the connections to
Jacobus and Rudolf are an order of magnitude weaker than those 
to Baresch?

BTW: was Jacobus's name scribbled in pencil, or in ink? If the former,
isn't it unusual for someone to write his "ex libris" in pencil? If
the latter, how was it erased? (Iron-gall ink on parchement is
supposed to be water-proof and scratch-proof.) And, if the book at
some time belonged to the Imperial library, and was thought to be
worth 600 ducats, shouldn't it show some mark (stamp, seal,
annotation, etc.) of its proud owner?

    > Caramuel's interest for Chinese (Oriental) culture is typical
    > for the age.
Indeed: by the mid-1600's, Chinese culture was fairly acessible to
Europeans like Kircher --- who even had a Chinese-born assistant
working for him in Rome at some time.

On the other hand, there was essentially no direct contact between
Europe and China from the 1300's to about 1540, which is a bit too
late given the stylistic evidence. There are ways around this problem,

    > It is worth remembering that Baresch proposed to
    > Kircher that the VMs was of Oriental origin (presumably
    > near-East).
More precisely, that the author was some European who 
had visited some Oriental region. 
    > Another witness is one Zanoni, contemporary of Kircher and
    > author of a book about the history of herbal medicine,
    > who refers to mysterious oriental books with plant drawings 
    > owned by Kircher. Perhaps this is how K classified the VMs
    > despite Marci's letter...

Well, Kircher and his colleagues in Rome must have seen right away
that the VMS had nothing to do with Bacon. So K probably believed
Raphael's story, but concluded that poor Rudolf had been duped; and he
subscribed to Baresch's theory as the most plausible one. (Where else
could that script have come from?)

    > Finding Caramuel's name in Knuth cannot be but a curious
    > coincidence. 
Ha! That's what you say! It is a Cosmic Ressonance, for sure... 8-)

All the best,