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Re: VMs: The Glyphset

Hi Dennis,

At 22:43 28/01/2004 -0600, Dennis wrote:
Jeff wrote:
> What theory does anyone have about
> the core ideas or characters from which the glyphs were originally derived?

I think these three are generally accepted.

1) Early Arabic numerals and medieval Latin
abbreviations, as mentioned by D'Imperio and seen in
2) Early Renaissance cipher scripts, as seen in
Trandechino; and
3) Medieval gallows-style letter embellishment, as I
show in a later reply to Petr Kazil.

        Other elements, such as Tironian notae, astrological
or alchemical symbols, etc. are much more

AIUI, medieval Latin abbreviations are (basically) Tironian notae, though as the Middle Ages progressed, fewer and fewer remained in active scribal use (by about 1500, the vast majority of notae seem to have been forgotten). The ones most obviously relevant to the VMs are (in EVA) y-, -y, d-, and -m.

EVA q- does appear to (visually) correspond to how some (typically 14th Century) authors wrote "q": but the gallows (shape-wise) remain a mystery.

I strongly believe that these are *not* early Arabic numerals, but are instead fossilised Tironian notae: I assert that the VMs' mindset dates from *before* the broad acceptance of Arabic numerals - that is, its heart is late medieval.

BTW, in the Quattrocento, "ch" was often written as a single (combined) shape, and "che" (because of its high frequency) often appeared as "ch-(overscore)", which resembles the lower part of (EVA) ch-strikethrough gallows (especially the single-leg gallows).

Astrology is a mystery: the signs and symbols of astrology were a dominant force in mental constructs of the universe circa 1400-1500, and so we should expect that the text in the cosmological section (and the zodiac section, and probably the herbal and recipe sections too!) should contain astrological symbols (for signs, planets, and perhaps aspects) - but, similar to the apparent absence of numbers, there seems to be no obvious constructs by which these are represented.

Alchemy seems more straightforward: while I do believe that heraldic images are hidden inside some of the images, I don't believe that there is a metaphorical/allegorical internal dimension to the images - that is, I don't see any signs of alchemy at all. Oh, nor of Hebrew, nor of the Kabbala. :-o

My general conclusion on the glyphs is that they were mostly appropriated from contemporary (Quattrocento) wax-tablet scribal single-stroke tachygraphy (shorthand) practice, even the gallows (which I suspect probably encoded low multiples of 10) - plus a (very) few Tironian notae 'fossils'.

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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