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Re: VMs: The "key" f116v.1-2: a Latin Prayer to Virgin Mary

G. Damschen wrote:

The "key" f116v.1-2: a Latin Prayer to Mary

This is an addendum to my earlier note on folio 116v.1-2 from 3 September 2005.

If we read line 1 as I did the day before yesterday ("archicon ola dabas.") and if we read the sign in line 2 behind "si", "mari", "mori" and "vi" as "s" (as Jorge Stolfi rightly proposed in an email from 13 April 1999) we get:

f116v.1:   + árchicon óla dabás / + multás / + #e + cárcere + pórtas +
f116v.2:   sis + maris + moris + vis + apta + ma+ria +

Now I think it is quite obvious that this is nothing but a Latin prayer to the Virgin Mary: In Medieval theology Mary is called the vessel ("vas", sometimes "aula", "templum") which gives birth to the Ruler ("archikos"), i.e. Christ. By that, she also gives us many doors out of the prison (the body?, the Underworld?) ([#]"e carcere") to Heaven, she is called "door to the Heavens" ("porta celi"). She is the force or essence ("vis") of man ("maris" from "mas") or of sea ("maris" from "mare", cf. Mary as "stella maris") and the force of moral ("moris" from "mos"), the neat Mary ("apta Maria").


f116v.1: + You, vessel, gave the Ruler and many doors out of the prison. f116v.2: May you be the power of man and moral, neat Mary. +

The so-called "key" to the Voynich manuscript (VMS f116v.1-2) is a prayer to the Virgin Mary in clear Medieval Latin. This prayer reflects Mary's role as mother of Christ and as Porta celi. It is bound by metre (line 1 is a hexameter; line 2 has a somewhat metrical structure  -- though it is no pentameter). There is absolutely no indication that these lines contain any cryptological key, null-letters or mess. Newbold's and Brumbaugh's readings were misleading. Furthermore, there seems to be a connection between the word "archicon" in line 1 and the words "oror.sheey" in line 3: "archicon" probably is a 'translation' of "or.sheey" (see my last mail).

P.S.: Just a guess: If we assume the woman left to the lines on f116v is Virgin Mary, then the animal above her could be a lamb and the thing above it a vessel?

Any comments?

Hello Gregor,

I very much appreciated your sophisticated and thorough examination, but, honestly, I don't really buy the solution.

I have issues with the handwriting as detected by you: You have consistenly translated the "8" shape in the first line as "s", whereas in the second line it's "x" which turns into "s". Why would the author use two different shapes?

To me, the claimed "r" in "archicon" appears to be the exact shape as the "u" in "multas" -- and both look more like an "n" to me.

At best, the author wrote "abta", not "apta", IMHO.

I'd be willing to accept this, though, if the prayer would make sense in the overall context of the VM:

But, first of all, we have the "pontifer" line at the very top of the page, and the VM code and "so nim gas mich" directly underneath, which fail to fit into the picture of the prayer. Furthermore, by assuming that the figure to the left is the Virgin Mary, you assume that the notes on f116v were written by the VM author(s), ie are not an independent text by a later owner.

Now, this would be very odd -- the VM is characterized by the absence of Christian iconography, so ending this book with a latin prayer (in plain text, rather than cipher!) is jarringly different. Likewise, depicting the Virgin Mary *naked* and without any attributes of her rank is even more weird. (One could say that she is "disguised" as a part of the VM encoding, but that wouldn't make sense with a Christian prayer identifying her right next to it.)

So, I wouldn't really place my money on a bet for your solution, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.



Elmar Vogt / Königswarterstr. 18 / 90762 Fürth / GERMANY
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