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Roesslin's Rosegarten

I found this book most interesting as the first
real book published on child birth and midwifery.

"Roesslin's obstetrical treatise, first published
in German in 1513 under the title 'Der swangern
Frawen und hebammen roszgarten', had an enormous
impact on contemporary obstetrical practice and
remained influential for two hundred years, going
through over one hundred editions before the close
of the eighteenth century..."

"...His son, also named Eucharius Rösslin,
succeeded him as town physician. In 1532 he
published a Latin translation of his father's book
as 'Du partu Hominis' and in 1540 a "studious and
diligent clerk," Richard Jonas, retranslated this
edition into English with the title "The Byrth of
Mankynde" or "The Woman's Book". He re-dedicated
the book to "the most gracious Lady Quene
Katheryne" (the 5th wife of Henry VIII) with the
comment: "... it is nowe so plainly set forth that
the simplest Mydwyfe which can reade maye both
understand for her better instruction and also
other women that have need of her helpe." In 1545
a new and amended edition was published by a
physician, Dr Thomas Raynalde."  [I have a copy of
Thomas Raynalde's edition, and he never mentions
it was actually written by Roesslin.]

The existence of this book demonstrates that by
1540 there was little reason to encipher books on
female disorders and child birth, setting a
logical high end date to the creation of the

Also, for those of you that believe Strong created
his decryption out of his imagination, you'll find
that these passages match the contents of Strong's
decipherment from folio 78r.  This brings up two
possibilities - that Strong read this book before
working on his decipherment and intuited his
decipherment subconsciously, or that the Voynich
author was in possession of a manuscript copy of
this book:

In Strong's decipherment, the breaking of the
water is written as "When skuge uf tunc-bag rip",
in Roesslin, it is described thus:

"Now when the woman perceiveth the Matrix or
Mother to waxe laxe and loose, and to be
dissolved, and that the humours issue foorth in
great plenty..."

This is followed in Strong by "seo oogon cum sli
of se mosure", translated  as "you see the child
coming slyly from the matrix".  This is followed
by "issue ped-stans, sku bent, stokked kimbo elbo
crawknot, migt vilani turn mite once around."  The
translation is - "(coming) feet first, (or)
sideways, with elbows stokked(bound) akimbo by the
umbilical cord, the servant (vilani - form of
villain, the Olde English meaning was servant)
should turn the child once around.

"Mosure" is a form of the word Moddor or Modder,
used twice in Strong's decipherment of 78r.  In
Raynalde's edition he says that the words
"matrix", "mother", and "womb" are all used as a
collective for the female apparatus, and then goes
on to give latin names for the various parts.
Another book by the same publisher of Raynalde's
uses the word "modder" as a variant spelling of
"mother".  (I don't know that the latin breakdown
of the various parts was in the original by
Roesslin, as Raynalde's edition is an augmented
and expanded edition.)

  After this is a Strong passage that reads "suthi
tuch guars accte of hatch.  The groth boom un
doubl sure to inune neuf". Soft touch guarantees
act of hatch" is obvious, although I have no idea
what "groth boom" means.  "Neuf" means "hands",
which makes this passage basically read "a soft
touch guarantees act of hatch, and be double sure
to anoint hands".  Compare to Roesslin's
description and advice:

"But when the birth cometh not naturally, then
must the midwife doe all her diligence and pain
(if it may be possible) to turn the birth tenderly
with her anointed hands, so that it may be reduced
again to a naturall birth. As for example;
sometime it chanceth the childe to come the legs
and both arms and hands downward, close to the
sides, first forthe ... In this case she must do
all her pain and tender handling and anointing to
receive forth the child, the legs being still
close together, ... Howbeit, it were far better
(if it may be done by any possible waies or means)
that the midwife should turn these legs coming
first forth, upwards again by the bellyward, so
that the head might descend downward by the back
part of the womb, for then naturally again and
without perill might it proceed and come forth as
the first."

Beside the fact that both are descriptions of
unnatural child birth, they have these features in
common:  the breaking of the water as a prelude,
the anointing of hands (with herbal oils), the
necessity of a gentle touch in performing the
midwifing, instruction for the midwife to
carefully attempt to turn the childe around by
hand so that the birth may proceed naturally.
(There are two passages of significance I've
omitted because I can't translate them properly,
but my sense is that they also agree with

As with any book from this time period, the
English publication in 1540 of Roesslin's book
most probably meant that the translation in
manuscript existed for some time before, in this
case it must have existed only after 1513.  Around
this time the printers were paying around 3 pounds
for manuscripts to be set into print, but a
handwritten and illustrated copy could be sold to
a nobleman or physician for a much higher price,
sometimes upward of 20 pounds.  As a general sense
of what this meant, the head master of Stratford
Grammar School in 1554 earned 20 pounds per annum,
out of which he had to pay the 4 pounds per annum
salary of his assistant, as well as pay for upkeep
on the school-house.  This is one reason you find
many manuscripts appearing in print only after the
death of the author.  Print was not nearly as
profitable, and once it was in print, the
manuscript copies lost their appeal.

If Strong subconsciously invented his decryption,
he must have read this book, as well as Macer's
Herbal, although his notes indicate he only
consulted Gerarde's herbal with no hint he
consulted Roesslin.  If his decryption is an
accurate representation of the contents of the
Voynich, then the Voynich author must have read
Macer and Roesslin.  This would narrow the dating
to somewhere between 1513 and 1540, a very slim
margin.  I really need to get a look at Ascham's
manuscript of SacroBosco, dated 1526-27.  In it he
uses light and dark in his volvelle calendars,
"the whitte colore stand for the change and the
blake for the fulle".  This is somewhat
representative of many of the astrological