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Re: Jacobus, Raphael, and Schaffner

On 19 Feb 00, at 4:09, Jorge Stolfi wrote:
>     > [Rene:] No doubt [that Jacobus] owned [the VMS].
> Well, I am not entirely convinced.
> I think that the "invisible signature" story is a bit shaky. The
> writing could be a modern forgery (by Voynich, or by someone who
> wished to "help" him), or self-delusion (Voynich may have seen faint
> lines in the photograph, thought that they spelled "Jacobus...", and
> "enhanced" them by hand). 

Well, of course it could have been a forgery. One wonders whether 
Voynich knew about Jacobus before or after he read the signature.
In the images of f1r I've seen, *there is* something at the bottom, 
but I cannot make up exactly what, There is a possible "T" , with 
imagination you read "Tep" and in another level something like 
"obi", but the latter does not fit where Voynich supposedly saw the 
"Jacobus". (BTW, there is an image of the bottom of f1r on 
Voynich's article, but my copy is not clear enough to be able to 
read the signature with no reservations).
There could be a "To" or a "By" in front of the name, and that would 
change it all.
You see... we need that colour copy :-)

> I am also a bit bothered by the fact that neither Marci nor Baresh
> make any mention of Jacobus in connection with the book. Baresh in
> particular must have known about Jacobus, since he must have seen
> Jacobus's name on it (unless there was yet another owner between the
> two!) 

Well, I thought that the idea was the B knew J and when J "flew the 
country" he left many things behind (in charge of B).

> Yet, although Baresh spends some ink speculating on the book's
> origin, he does not think it is worth mentioning that it once belonged
> to Rudolph's doctor and chief chemist --- a datum that should have 
> make the book more respectable in Kircher's eyes.

I agree completely. But we must be a bit cautious about the 
meaning of what had not been said :-)

It could be that the Jacobus ownership of the ms. was not 
completely cleared. Let's say: [Rudolf]: "Here, Jacobus I give you 
the title of Tepenecz, BTW, I have this ms I bought and which I 
cannot read, will you give it a try?" . So our friend keeps the ms, 
(really it is not "his") but with the Emperor dies and having to run 
away from Prague it passes it to Baresch. I suspect that B would 
feel that it was a bit naughty to let everybody know that he had 
something that he should not. Specially when it was known that 
Rudolf paid 600 ducats for it. It was certainly a "hot" item...

Remember that something similar happened with Voynich and 
Mondragone. I am sure that he knew (and so did the 
Mondragonians) that the selling of the mss. was a bit "under the 
table"... and so he was very reluctant to say where he bought it 
> Moreover, even if Jacobus did own the book, it does not follow that
> Rudolph did too.

Why? I think that Marci's account of Raphael's comment in Marci's 
letter to Kircher are quite convincing. 

> I don't think that Jacobus was highly regarded as a cryptographer.
> I would rather belive that he received the book as a present,

Or "on loan" due to the herbal nature of most of the ms....

> or that he got hold of it when Rudolph's collection was scattered.

Yes, very possible.

>  OK, but there is no evidence that Raphael
> actually saw Rudolph's "Bacon Manuscript".

No, you are right. But evidently they were talking about the same 
thing. Marci seems quite convinced about it.
Mind you, *many* people at the court must have known about the 

> Or Jacobus may have become acquainted with the book while
> studying
> with Schaffner, and may have purchased it (either for himself, or
>  for  Rudolph) as soon as he got rich enough. 
> From the bio you posted, Schaffner died in 1608 (at age 44 
> -- hmm... was he really such a good doctor? 8-). 


> And Raphael's story may be 100% conjecture on his part...

I don't understand why...