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RE: Starting Points for circle diagrams
In my Beinecke copyflo I am lacking one of the
most important pieces of information - color.
Greyscale variations in the stars and drawings do
help to separate sometimes, but are highly
ambiguous. Nevertheless, I only find one of the
zodiac diagrams that is particularly ambiguous as
to starting point, that being November. Here is a
quick list of where I would start on each of the
On Pisces I would choose the 11:30 starting
position because each circle of women has two
women facing each other, but without color
information I may be wrong.
First "Goat" has the same on the outer circle at
3:00 and the inner circle at 7:30.
Second "Goat has clear division marks at 10:00.
The two Ram drawings have gaps at 10:00 and 8:00
respectively, but there may be missing color
information on these two.
Gemini is divided at 10:00.
"double lobster" is divided between 8:30 and 9:00.
Leo appears to be divided at 9:00.
"Man holding a star" is divided at 9:30.
"Scales" divided at 8:00, and may contain further
"Novembre" is not defined, may be color oriented.
"Archer" is divided between 9:00 and 10:00.
"Novembre" is the only one I'm uncertain about,
but I'm willing to bet that a color version of
this diagram makes the starting point quite clear.
From: Jorge Stolfi [mailto:stolfi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2002 10:37 AM
Subject: Re: Starting Points for circle diagrams
> [Glen Claston:] These [astrological
diagrams] are written in
> natural language, and each time the author
sees no need to mark
> a starting point for circular text. On the
other hand, the
> Voynich author always needs to mark the
starting place. ... in
> the Voynich system it is absolutely
necessary to point out where
> the text begins.
I do see a "start here" marker in some diagrams,
but in most of them
the starting place is quite uncertain, or is only
suggested by the
size and alignment of the word spaces (which may
not be intentional).
Beware that many markings on the Marshall library
images were done by
Friedman & co., and those may include some of the
> Why would [the VMS author] need to do this
if it were written in
>From the images I have, the most conspicuous
"start" markers (a
characteristic "notched square" design, sometimes
edges) seem to be found only in the
crudest-looking diagrams, such
So perhaps the answer is simply "inexperience". My
guess is that the
author initially used elaborate "start" markers,
but, as he refined
his style and standardized the starting place at
10--11 o'clock, he
simplified the markers and eventually dropped them
Note that the Zodiac diagrams may not have been
drawn in the current
binding order. Considerind the style, layout, and
details, my guess is
that Pisces was done originally as two 15-degree
sections, on the
first folio of a new quire; but sometimes during
the drawing of Taurus
the original Pisces was discarded, and redrawn as
a single 30-degree
panel, on the last page of the preceding quire.
The 30-nymph layout
was then used for all signs after Taurus. That
sequence would explain
(among other things) why there is a start-marker
on Aries-1 but not
in Pisces or (AFAIK) on any of the other Zodiac
All the best,