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VMs: Re: Introduction
It is clear to me that the script is that of an experienced writer. I would
not call him/her professional, but semi-professional at least.
Thus it is also clear that this is not the first thing (s)he wrote in this
script. He must have used this script before and often. (I know Greek quite
well but still cannot write very good in it and it looks not very regular.)
What does this mean? The writer wrote this script often. Therefore it is
quite improbable that a difficult code system is needed to create it. He
wrote many things in this script. It must therefore be some language, either
an artificial or a natural one that is dead now.
I too have noted a number of times here that the Voynich script appears to
be "mature", and have drawn much the same inferences that you have.
However, I should point out that - with the VMS - any option that initially
appears to be a binary either-or choice, normally degenerates quickly into
a continuum of possibilities. :-)
FYI, my own working hypothesis is that:
(1) the VMS is something like a "compilatio", whose constituent text is in
(2) it is written in a multi-level cipher, constructed out of several
(3) the alphabet evolved out of a very late wax-tablet tachygraphic system
(4) the alphabet evolved out of an specialist shorthand system, probably
Obviously, (3) and (4) overlap, but they're distinct assumptions, perhaps
In terms of your post, I think that the writer may have used the *alphabet*
often... but not necessarily in the same way as in the VMS. An single
earlier example of similar script would be enough to prove this... but we
don't have this. :-(
However, I should also point out that the "gallows characters" do remind me
strongly of the "vinci" motif that was introduced by Leonardo in his
protrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine), and that this motif
became widely used (in different media - painting, jewellery, fashion,
musical instruments, etc) in courtly patronage in Northern Italy between
This would argue against the alphabet (in itself) having been invented
before (say) 1480 - though it's certainly possible that the gallows
characters were added on as a misdirection level of encoding late in the
cipher's design. (This is an additional weak hypothesis of mine).
And I should also point out that it is possible to argue that any
professional copyist of the time worth his/her salt would probably pick up
pretty much any alphabet quickly, and be able to write it evenly and clearly.
From that, I infer that:
(5) the ciphertext (and rough layout) was originally done (at speed) by an
intelligencer on a wax tablet - the single-stroke (wax) alphabet requires
many substrokes to render (in ink) on paper.
(6) that text was copied by at least one (probably two) separate
It is interesting that the script does not contain any accents and
breathings and no punctuation as far as I can see. This is quite unusual.
On the contrary, I would say that these (and the extreme rarity of doubled
letters in an obviously artificial script) make it closely fit the
ciphertext paradigm of the day (circa 1500) - see the Tranchedino ciphers
accumulated in the Milanese State Archives for a large number of these.
Naturally, others here wildly disagree - but I don't mind at all, that's
their prerogative. :-)
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....