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Re: Back to basics - or musings of an old bore

Dear Adam,
     How true. The women figures you reference look very nice. I'd like
to get to at least 0.1%, but I've only been working on this for four
months so far and though the internet does have a wealth of knowledge
and leads, my options are very limited as you point out. While there are
of course a number of excellent web sites dedicated or of interest for
the VMS, what seems to be missing here is the cohesion, the updating and
continuous bringing together of all the elements, the salt if you will.
I know this is wishful thinking, but wouldn't it be wonderful to have a
library accessible to all interested parties with a collection of the
ancient texts and manuscripts. Dioscorides, Aristotle, Paracelsus (you
have probably got him covered) and many others seem appropriate for
close scrutiny at the source.

Dana Scott

Adam McLean wrote:

> It seems to me that many of the skilled cryptographers on
> this group have puzzled and worked over the Voynich now
> for many years and yet seem no nearer to cracking the code.
> It also seems unlikely to me that someone in the 16th
> century could devise a code that could defeat 21st
> century methods.
> But how else can we proceed ?
> I know I must sound like an old bore, always coming
> back to the same theme, but it seems to me that we
> have not yet exhausted an approach based on seeing
> the context of the manuscript - and relating it to other
> similar material.  There may not be a Rosetta stone
> for the Voynich, but there may be some manuscripts
> out there that might help us see the context of the Voynich.
> Recently Dana Scott seems to have spent many hours
> surfing the net looking for images and parallels in
> manuscripts. A valient effort, however, I suspect only
> 0.01 % or less of medieval manuscript material has
> been scanned and placed on web sites. We really
> need some primary research done in libraries and
> special collections of such material, or to tap the
> knowledge of someone who has studied such material
> in depth.
> >From my experience looking at manuscripts I can
> see three things that we should follow up
> further, avenues that to me appear not yet to be
> exhausted.
> 1. The 'herbal section' appears very similar to early
> manuscripts of Dioscorides.  A while ago I posted
> images of the version in Vienna which is 6th Century. It
> would be good if someone could survey all the Dioscorides
> manuscripts.
> 2. A number of manuscripts have been identified
> which parallel the imagery in the astronomical section.
> Some of these appear to be from a quite early period.
> Thus the greek manuscript  Vat.Gr. 1291 of Ptolemy's
> Tetrabiblos in the Vatican is from the 9th century.
> It has already been pointed out that the  women in
> the first ring seem similar to that on one of the
> Voynich 'astrological/astronomical'  folios. I
> have posted an image from this manuscript onto
> one of my web sites:
> http://www.alchemy.dial.pipex.com/tetrabiblos.jpg
> The women figures in the Vatican manuscript are
> coloured. Are they coloured on the similar
> Voynich drawing ?
> 3. The Voynich script itself. No other example of
> this has yet been found, though some characters
> seem very familiar. On Stolfi's site he shows some
> examples of abbreviated Latin which have some
> elements in common. There are many many
> medieval manuscripts using abbreviated Latin and
> these are difficult to read, but anyone familiar with
> Latin can quite quickly read some words and then
> the whole text rapidly becomes accessible. So it
> is not merely written in abbreviated Latin.
> Now in view of the fact that in 1. and 2. we can
> identify parallels with early greek manuscripts, is
> it not possible that the Voynich characters may
> be related to some form of abbreviated late dark age
> or early medieval greek. Have anyone looked
> at this possibility ?  Or gathered some examples
> of abbreviated greek? The Vatican manuscript
> I mentioned above has the text around the
> images in an abbreviated greek.  Of course it would
> be unlikely that the Voynich Ms was written simply
> in an abbreviated greek transposed into its own
> characters, but if it's character set related in some
> way to a particular version of abbreviated greek,
> it might give us some handle on how the text was
> coded. I don't read greek so cannot help here,
> but has anyone with a  medieval greek background
> looked at the manuscript ?
> Adam McLean
> ----------------------
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fn:Dana Scott