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VMs: Hunting for VMS lookalikes

> Epigraphically the simmilarity of forms is irrelevent for two reasons.
> One is that given similar materials and writing methods indipendent
> creation of the same or similar letterforms is almost inevitable

> Second is even *if* (and it's a very big if) the VMS author(s)
> borrowed letterforms known to them, then it is highly unlikly (given
> that they obviously intended the contents to be
> confidential) that they would also borrow the phonemic or semantic
> symbology too

Having spent this afternoon off sitting in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and
browsing through the "Manoscritti datati d'Ialia" specifically looking for
VMS-lookalikes I am "not amused" at your remarks :-)

I agree that similarity of letterforms doesn't mean anything, see the
similiraty between signs from the Indus Script, Linear-A and even
Rongorongo. But still I believe in the exercise of trying to find
lookalikes. We may never find another example of the VMS glyphset, but it's
reassuring to see for yourself that "1400-1500" seems a good timeframe and
"European" seems a good location guess for the VMS. Nothing works better
than looking at the evidence yourself.

I have found:

- Examples of Bright's Characterie
- Examples of Tironian notes

- A lot of references to wax tablet literature:

Nice book:
Bibliologia 12, LEs tablettes à écrire
Brepols Turnhout 1992
Elisabeth Lalou, Inventaire des tablettes médievales et presentation
Wax tablets were uses from 5th to 14th century - From Italy to Norway and
Anything was written on them: psalms, lists of saints, schoolwork, law,
administration ...
But the standard character sets were used, I found *no* reference to
A set of waxed tablets from Swinegate, York were written in "cursiva
Lübeck has a whole set of tablets, but als in normal script.

Elisabeth Lalou seems to be the authority on this subject.
A. Grassmann - Das Wachstafel Notizbuch des Mittelalterlichen Menschen, 1984
Wilhelm Wattenbach, Das Scriftwesen im Mittelalter

- Some Italian manuscripts on law, 1441 (?) that contain some VMS-like
characters (abbreviations)
- VMS like plants - used as illuminations in manuscripts, probably fantasy
- A primitively drawn naked lady (nymph) emerging from a flower (but this
one has all the pubic details neatly drawn - 1467)
- A VMS like rosette ornamentation 1460
- Numbers that look like VMS characters (9, 8, 4, 5) 1394
- Ornaments on letters that look a bit like gallows (14th century)
- Set of primitive ladies faces (Angels - Illustration to Dante)
- An astrological table where the numbers - written close together - look a
bit like gallows: 49, 48, 47, 46, 41 very much, 40 quite a bit (1438)
- A weird picture with sun and moon in trees
- A herbal with plants and snakes near their roots
- A lunar table where the Roman numerals look a bit like VMS glyphs

At 17:00 they kicked me gently out of the reading room (weekend!)  so I
didn't have a chance to scan all the material. But I'll try to do it ASAP.

My preliminary impression is that any *weird* element in the VMS can be
found in the *normal* literature. It's the combination of *all of them
together* in one book that makes the VMS so surreal. But the "building
blocks" of the VMS all fit the time and place that we have some consensus

But it's not easy to find VMS lookalikes. I guess I saw 500+ pictures and
only 15 or so had that VMS feeling.

I managed about 40cm of books this afternoon. I have some 10m to go I guess

To accomodate all the new stuff I've rearranged my website. It should be
much better organized now and everything is in one place. Please take a look
at http://uair01.xs4all.nl and tell me if the links are working.

Greetings, Petr

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