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RE: Picnic table variants...
I had originally had this combination listed as 5
characters, but I finally took it down to two
combinations. The curl many times forms a 9, but
the variations (or closeness) of the loop is so
unstandard that I feel these are all the same
character. The teardrop is the second one I've
kept as a character, because it appears often.
Sometimes it forms an O above the picnic table,
but I'm still listing this along with the
teardrop. So then we would have the picnic table,
the picnic table with a curlie, and a picnic table
with a teardrop, or at least this is the way I
Now one of my problems with the teardrop/curlie
character is that when I do my "probable word"
thing on sections of the manuscript, both these
characters keep falling into the same column.
They're clearly different than a bare picnic
table, but my evidence seems to suggest that the
teardrop/curlie is the same character. This is of
course the second stage of determining what a
character actually is, but it is basic information
From: Nick Pelling
Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2002 6:24 PM
Subject: Picnic table variants...
Just my $0.02's worth: on f1r, line 13, right in
the middle of the line,
there's clearly a picnic table with a "9" through
it - well worth closer
My guess is that this is probably one extremum of
the looped picnic table
type (EVA "Sh") type, and was probably done early
in the encoding process,
perhaps while the underlying code was still
somewhat in flux - I don't
recall seeing other instances within the text even
half as clear as this.
Similarly, on line 15 (not far to the the left of
the picnic'ed 9), there's
a picnic'ed "tear-drop", of the kind that Strong
Given that f1r alone would, from the above, seem
to display at least three
kinds of picnic tables (ie, the above two, as well
as numerous instances of
the unlooped picnic table character), I'm not sure
that I'm particularly
comfortable treating all the picnic tables as a
single character (yet).
My intuition (ATM) is that the picnic tables
(including the "cc" Beneventan
character, which is effectively an uncrossed
picnic table) may well all
turn out to be special characters within the
cipher alphabet coding for
doubled letters. Removing these was a key part of
most ciphers in the
Tranchedino collection (which dated from
1450-1500, and so were likely to
be fairly contemporary of this manuscript), so
that the decipherer didn't
have pairs to work backwards from - and I don't
see why the VMS should be
any different in this basic respect.
In a way, this pattern would fit in well with my
idea of the code-designer
wanting to hide much of the mnemonic in plain
sight within the alphabet -
if "cc" is the basic mnemonic for "doubled letter"
(it is, after all, a
doubled letter), then the whole family of picnic
tables may well all be no
more than variations on the same basic theme (ie,
they'd all be types of
Then: what doubled letters would I expect to see?
Taking a typical recipe
page from the Gli Experimenti (page 627 in
Pasolini's Vol.3), the doubled
letter counts I noted are:-
However, many (if not most) of these instances
could be converted to single
letters without affecting the sense of the
sentence - as you'd expect. But
even so, it would seem to point (if the underlying
language was the same as
that of the Gli Experimenti) to LL being the most
likely candidate for the
simple picnic tables (EVA "ch"), and perhaps SS
being the most likely
candidate for EVA "cc".
Further: if one gallows character somehow coded
for "de", then that same
gallows when struck-through could perhaps code for
"delle", which is
extremely common in the Gli Experimenti. Just a
It might not then be a coincidence that EVA "f"
when drawn upside-down
looks (a little) like not unlike a
"de"... but feel free to disagree (as wildly as
you like). :-)
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....