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Re: VMs: Astronomical folio
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
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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