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Re: VMs: Updates and summaries

Florin wrote:

> I noticed too that peculiar 8. Sometimes the left lower side is a
> straight line. There could be a couple of explanations for this:
> 1. Being designed as a "stroke-based" writing system everything starts
> with either
> a "\" or a "C" (ignoring the gallois), or at least this was intended
> at the beginning. In this case  this peculiar 8 could be  a "corrected
> mistake".   The writer had the intention to write
> a "l", "r" or any "\" glyph.
> 2. Based on the on symmetry exhibited by most of the characters/glyphs this
> would be the equivalent of the rounded/normal 8, wrote first with a
> "C", f7v has some
> examples of this.  In another words a standalone glyph.
> Same thing with the "b" and "n" character. Probably the glyph "b" and
> this "8" are very rare
> that's why there are such a few instances of them or they caused
> confusion and they were
> abandoned.  
> 3. Something else.

I think I agree with Nick that the writing was designed for wax tablets, but I do not reach the same conclusions that Nick does with this information.  Shorthand was designed for wax tablets, and these are primarily shorthand symbols used in the cipher.  Given the medium the writing was designed for, the best way to construct shorthand was a system of curves, strokes or points, hence the stylistic nature of the symbols themselves.  This is the one feature of early shorthand that has always stood out in my mind, and it wasn't brought into focus until added to Nick's observations.  

The use of strokes does not mean the "alphabet" is constructed stroke by stroke however, and this is backed up by the fact that the glyphs are composed with a high degree of standardized connectivity, each separated by a small amount of space, just as one would do with the common alphabet.  Too often the "stroke" nature has been a misleading factor in recording the Voynich, and hopefully a fuller understanding of the writing methods employed in this time period will clear up some of the confusion.

Interestingly enough, this tablet scenario is very plausible for the use of cipher, since the script is easy to work out on a wax tablet before transferring to parchment - the largest cohesive segment appears to be the paragraph, which is also in keeping with the encipherment of a small set of coherent thoughts before placing on parchment.  However, Nick has at least one or more scenarios that are just as plausible, so I'll let him cover these at his leisure.  Nick and I are agreed on the "wax tablet" nature of the script, however we differ in our conclusions.

Another factor that suggests the use of wax tablets for initial construction is the fact that when the Voynich was finally recorded on parchment, such a poor grade and small size of parchment was chosen.  This doesn't seem likely even for a copyist, who would copy most probably with the idea of selling the copy, and would have wanted to add as much value as he could to his product.  It's not very likely that the author had a lot of loose change to purchase paper, only to throw it away once it was used.  The initial scratchpad was probably a wax tablet, and it's likely that what we're looking at is a doctor's personal notebook.  Just my opinion, of course.

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