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

Adam McLean wrote:

> 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.

I agree. Unfortunately, there is a limit to what can
be done by lay people. 
There are places where there are still reasonable 
chances of finding something useful: the Vatican
and Gregorian libraries in Rome (both essentially
inaccessible), the Roman archives of the Jesuit
Society, the Jesuit collections of the National 
library in Rome, and perhaps even more the many
monastic libraries and archives in the Czech Republic.

> 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.

I wouldn't restrict it to Dioscorides. The roots with the
faces from the Bologna MS are from an as yet unidentified

> 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

Probably the one I scanned, but that's OK :-)

> The women figures in the Vatican manuscript are
> coloured. Are they coloured on the similar
> Voynich drawing ?

No, in the VMs they have a natural vellum complexion,
apart from rouge on cheeks and lips.
For Vat.Gr.1291 I managed to get some feedback from
Ms. Anne Tihon, who published extensively about
Ptolemy's handy tables. She stated clearly that such 
nymphs are unknown in other MSs but trace back directly 
to classical statues, reliefs and mosaics.
Interesting, although I don't know what to do with it.

> 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 ?

I have for a long time been toying with the idea that
a famous Greek emigrant named George of Trebizond
may have been 'behind' the MS. His background is just
about perfect. He lived in the 2nd half of the 15th C,
in Italy, was a papal secretary so will have known the
codes of the times, he was a nutcase and a leacher (sp?),
especially at later age, and he was born under the
sign of Pisces :-)
However, his handwriting is very Greek, and totally
different from the VMs script. I mean. also his Latin
text has a distinct byzantine scribbly waviness
(does that make sense?).

But I am not only not a linguist or a cryptologist, I
am also not a  graphologist :-)

Cheers, Rene