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Re: VMS foliation - Rafal Prinke's theory examined...

Hi Nick,

> .....he argues that the belief that the VMS' foliation was done by John Dee,
> whether true or not, cannot be properly inferred from the documentary
> evidence we have.

Actually, I argue that it can be inferred it is not in Dee's hand!
Clay Holden and (now) Joseph Peterson - both unquestionable
experts on Dee/Kelley MSS - confirm my observation that Dee wrote
his 8's in a different way.

It is great you have checked Kelley's foliation - we have one less
candidate :-)

> The only numeral that is questionable is "8": Rafal's page has a diagram of
> how John Dee's 8's start at the top, whereas the VMS folio 8s start at the
> bottom... except they don't quite (the 8s in the VMS itself most definitely
> do start at the bottom, often leaving gaps there).
> It looks to me like the folio numbering 8s start in the middle (written in
> italic), "go thin" with the italic direction down left, pause briefly to
> change direction, and then follow it round to the top and down again,
> finishing "thin" in the middle... which is how Edward Kelley appears to
> form his 8s.

Which is, again, confirmed by Joseph. It leaves no doubt to me now
that it wasn't either dee or Kelley who numbered the pages.
Dee started his 8's at the top, Kelley in the middle and 
the VMS foliator - at the bottom. Can there be any doubt?

When writing that Web article, I experimented writing
the 8's myself - and I start them at the top (like Dee).
Trying to write them in the VMS manner was rather awkward
and I hardly could do that (and certainly not as quickly
and unconsciously as in my usual manner). 

Note also that in VMS the way of writing them is consistent
so even if hard research discovers a single similar
8 in Dee's or Kelley's hand, it will be far from meaningful.

Moreover, if we find someone in the correct period and
area with exactly the same 8's (or all numbers) - it
might only be suggestive but certainly not proving anything.
People used to learn how to write digits at a very early age
at school - exactly as they do now. So I would not be
surprised if most people in the area where Dee was born
and went to school wrote the 8's in a similar manner.
Actually, it might be interesting to see if anyone
in Elizabethan England actually started the 8's at
the bottom. To me modern American handwritten digits
look all the same - and totally different from what
those written by a Pole look. 

> I now strongly believe that the identification with John Dee's handwriting
> is weak, and that it is significantly more likely to be Edward Kelley's.

That's exactly the attitude of early VMS researchers with
which I cannot agree. It assumes that because Dee and Kelley
were in Bohemia during Rudolf's reign, they must have had
something to do with the VMS. There is no trace of any other
evidence to connect them. It is just that their story happens
to be well known - as if there was no one else in Prague
except Rudolf, Dee and Kelley (well, and Rozmberk perhaps)
interested in curious magical/strological/alchemical MSS.
In reality, there were doezens if not hundreds of similar
"types" who just did not happen to leave diaries in English.

I have promised on my Web page another possible scenario
which I had no time to write down yet. I do not believe
it - but just want to show how easy it is to construct
equally (im)possible hypotheses. They may be true - and
they may be wrong.

Best regards,