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Re: Jacobus, Raphael, and Schaffner

    > [Gabriel:] 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".
When I stretched the contrast of page f66r to the limit, I thought I
could see some extremely faint line drawings in the blank space at the
bottom, including lines connecting the "dead nymph" to the nearby round

Are those lines really there? I still don't know; probably not. It has
been noted that our eyebrain is hypersensitive to lines, and can "see"
plenty of them when presented with a field of perfectly random dots.
(I think we could call this the "Martian channels" effect.)

To make things worse, it seems that the VMS vellum has plenty of
crinckles and faint grooves (presumably vein imprints, or scraper
marks). Dirt, lighting, and xeroxing can easily make such defects
resemble faint drawings...

I have looked at your images of f1r, and I could indeed see the lines
you mention --- but only after you told me where to look. Is that
really writing, or are my eyes playing tricks on me? I don't know...

By the way, note that when a drop of liquid is placed on
poorly-absorbing paper and allowed to dry out, the resulting stain
often looks like an irregular pen stroke. Thus, the fact that J's
"signature" was seen only on a B/W photograph, *after the application
of chemicals*, sounds a bit suspicious...

    > You see... we need that colour copy :-)


    > 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...
Hm, yes, that is a plausible explanation for why Baresh did not
mention the fact that Rudolph had once owned the book.

Marci apparently did not have such guilt feelings, given that he
reports Raphael's story. Moreover he placed himself as a mere
intermediary between B and Kircher --- so any troubles would be K's,
not his. On the other hand, he may have not known about J, or may have
felt that J's ownership was an irrelevant detail. So, yes, I agree
that Marci's silence about J is not very surprising.

In fact, Baresh may have had more reason to omit Jacobus's name than
Rudolph's. Jacobus willed all of his posessions to the Jesuits; so if
Kircher found out that J once owned the book, he probably would
have demanded that the book be returned at once to the Society.

    > > 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.
That is not how I read Marci's letter:

  Dr. Raphael, tutor in the Bohemian language to Ferdinand III,
  then King of Bohemia, told me the said book had belonged to
  the Emperor Rudolph and that he presented the bearer who
  brought him the book 600 ducats. He believed the author was
  Roger Bacon, the Englishman. 

  On this point I suspend my judgment; [...]

Marci is just reporting Raphael's story, but not taking any stance
about it. Strictly speaking, we cannot conclude from the letter that
Raphael had seen Rudolph's "Bacon manuscript". He may have only heard
about the deal, and assumed that the VMS (having belonged to Jacobus)
must have been it.

(In fact, to be really nit-picking, it could be that the last "He" in
the quote refers to Raphael, not Rudolph.)

    > Mind you, *many* people at the court must have known about the 
    > ms.
Possibly; but, so far, we have got no other mention of Rudolph's
"Roger Bacon" deal, other than Raphael's story.

Thanks to Rene's find, we can now claim "100% certainty" (in the human
sense, of course) for Baresch having owned the VMS. I think that we
need to find at least one independent bit of evidence, *not known to
Voynich*, before we can make the same claim about Rudolph or Jacobus.

All the best,