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Re: VMs: Astronomical folio

Dear Francisco,

At 15:24 09/09/1970 +0000, you wrote:
From February I study a digital copy (color) from the folio f67r1
-paragraphs and labels-, searching some astronomical names in this
voynichese words for translate the folio to Spainsh (!): I believe that
they can are zodiacal constelations (12) or the names of the twelve

Some good idea about this folio? And about the data of this numeration
(the number 67)?

Many of us now think that quire 9 has been re-bound incorrectly, which means that f67r1 (moon in centre, divided into 12/24 segments) and f68v1 (sun in centre, divided into 8/16 segments) would have originally appeared next to each other - in fact, visually they are almost mirror images. This suggests to me that the function of the two pages (ie taken as a pair) is to contrast a 12-sign lunar-based zodiac with an 8-period sun-based calendar.

As I understand it (though I'm sure Pam will correct me :-) ), "tabloid astrology" (ie based on the sun-sign) originated with Alan Leo circa 1890-1910: by constrast, medieval astrology seems to have been more concerned with the position of the moon against the fixed stars. So, placing the moon (rather than the sun) at the centre of a zodiac is consistent with medieval astrology.

Basically, I think that contrasting f67r1's 12-sign lunar-based zodiac with f68v1's 8-segment sun based (probably agricultural) calendar makes a lot of sense. On f68v1, note also the marker in the sketchy outermost (otherwise empty) circular band at about 10 o'clock: the Stregheria year (whose eight-fold calendar is my best current guess for f68v1) commences with "Shadow Fest" / "La Festa Dell' Ombra" on October 31, so perhaps this is what that mark indicates.

But I'm losing focus here: you particularly asked about the names on f67r1. All I can really say is that if you're hoping for a single-substitution cipher answer to map them into zodiac names in any known language here, you're probably hoping in vain: Voynichese has a lot of remarkable properties (nearly all of which appear singly in natural languages) which go well beyond this.

If you want to build up a fuller understanding of the VMs' astronomy, I'd recommend printing out the contents of quires 9 and 10 and rebinding them together (but in the correct order), so that you can see the pages as they probably originally appeared. You'd then notice that the first real page of quire 9 (f67r2) explicitly overlays the 12-sign zodiac with an 8-segment year division: the second real page (f67v2) has an eight-segment division, and so on.

There's a further possibility: that if f67v1 represents the sun and f67r1 represents the moon, then perhaps f68v2, f69r, f69v, f70r1 and f70r2 represent the other five classical planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn? These seven bodies appear on sequential pages, and are immediately followed by the "zodiac" section, so I think there's good reason to suspect that one of the 120 (ie 5!) possible permutations might well be the correct one... but which one?

Perhaps looking at the visual segmentation of each might identify connections with the movement of (or perhaps some of the Ptolemaic epicycles of?) its candidate planet: I've listed here my current set of guesses, but I've long thought that an interested historian of astronomy might be able to infer the underlying pattern... just a thought! :-)

        f68v2   4 named stars, 8 segments                       Mercury?
        f69r    6 starfish, 12 bands, 46 pipes, 16 outer                Mars?
        f69v    8 starfish, 14 small pipes, 28 pipes            Jupiter?
        f70r1   6 starfish, 29 dotted, 58 stones, 9 mushrooms   Saturn?
        f70r2   face in centre, 8/16 divisions                  Venus?

BTW, here are a couple of nice PDFs related to epicycles and the history of astronomy:-

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

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