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I've been researching intra-document references, with the idea of trying to
determine the type of reference mechanisms that would be most likely to be
found in the VMS.
The problem is that doesn't appear to be a great deal of literature on
this: it appears to fall somewhere between knowledge representation,
medieval semiotics, and classification systems, while staying distinct from
However, I've been very kindly pointed to a recent publication by Paul
Saenger, which (I'm told) deals with this very issue (though I've yet to
Word and Image
Volume 17 Issue 1 2001
Benito arias montano and the evolving notion of locus in
sixteenth-century printed books
P Saenger 119-137
Some of you may already be familiar with Paul Saenger from his review
article on the Vinland Map, another Beinecke holding:-
Quick sideline: the medieval mind has been described as "memorial" and the
modern mind as "documentary" - the move to silent reading was aided by the
insertion of spaces between words, as before that much was deliberately
written in rhyme or rhythmically so as to aid auditory recall.
The best related book on this is (supposedly) "The Book of Memory" by Mary
Carruthers, a medieval memory scholar (though, again, I've yet to read it).
I wonder: might steganography, by its necessary mindset of approaching a
page abstractly (ie visually, rather than auditorily) have been partly
responsible for this change in approach to writing and thought? If so, then
the VMS - as a densely encoded manuscript - would have been on the cusp
between the two worlds, medieval and modern.
Today's thought on <EVA ot-> words: the letters/symbols following <ot->
might be *initials*, with the full name (or item) listed elsewhere in the
VMS *alphabetically*. I do believe that there are at least two (and quite
possibly as many as 12, one per astrological sign) different systems of
steganography/encryption present in the VMS. Consequently: "ot-" could also
be read as "Mr", and "yt-" could be Mrs", etc.
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....