Voynich’s manuscript: I have always been fascinated by this enigma. Being an unconditional fan of the fantastic and the mysterious, it could not be otherwise. This manuscript is a secret all by itself, pages after pages, jealously guarding the smallest piece of truth. Lara Croft and Sydney Fox would gladly pull it off, trying to uncover its true story – Indiana Jones, seeming to have already done it…
How can a simple block of leaves, connected together, arouse so much wonder and mystery at the same time?
After all, it’s just a book! Yes, but precisely:
What is this book? Its goal ? When was it written? Who is the author ?
Even today, all these questions remain in suspense, lost between mysticism and more down-to-earth theories. However, despite these many assumptions, all doubts remain allowed. That is what fascinates so much.
The discovery of the manuscript
The manuscript bears the name of the man who discovered it in 1912, near Rome, in a Roman religious congregation: Wilfrid M. Voynich. Composed of 234 pages, this book is made of vellum (dead-calf skin, worked in parchment). It would seem, according to pagination, that the work is missing 13 folios. Presumably, the latter were already missing when Voynich acquired the manuscript. Written in a totally unknown language, the book contains many illustrations, mainly plants, unidentifiable.
A carbon-14 analysis showed that it was manufactured between 1404 and 1438. Apart from what we know from our technologies, the manuscript only appeared in history in 1665. In fact, a letter dated from this time, Jan Marek Marci (scientist and philosopher) indicates that the book was bought by Rudolf II of the Holy Roman Empire (Prince of the House of Austria – great royal family). According to a correspondence study, the oldest owner of this book was Georg Baresch, an alchemist living in Prague in the 17th century. According to the hypothesis advanced, the manuscript will be held by the Roman College between 1648 and 1912.
The only signs reflecting the antiquity of the Voynich manuscript – the text remains incomprehensible – can be found in the illustrations, more specifically in the dresses and headdresses of the characters, as well as in the two castles that appear. These elements are characteristic of the European style, between 1450 and 1520. Although these illustrations remain mysterious, they were classified by researchers into six sections:
Even the American cryptologist William Friedman, known for having successfully deciphered the code used by the Japanese army during the Second World War, failed in his attempt to understand Voynich’s manuscript.
The main theories
The Voynich manuscript would be an encyclopedic work listing therapeutic plants, as well as substances of animal and mineral origin.
Some hypotheses suggest that it would be a medieval recipe to create the philosopher’s stone.
In 1970, a cryptographer of the US Navy said that the book had been written by several authors. This conclusion has recently been challenged by a writing expert.
Many authors have been attributed to this book, some of which have been discarded recently thanks to carbon-14 dating, others by the results of research – and for some, the mystery remains: Roger Bacon (author dismissed but long evoked John Dee, Edward Kelley, Anthony Ascham, Jacobus Sinapius, Jan Marci, Raphael Mnishovsky, Wilfrid Voynich (also dismissed by correspondence dated 1639).
An undecodable manuscript
The manuscript would be written in a European language, intentionally hidden by letter-coding.
Words would be encoded so that they can be found using a dictionary or an encryption table.
Much of the text would make no sense, hiding information in unnoticed details.
The language used would be invented from scratch.
The linguist Jacques Guy suggested that the manuscript used an exotic natural language, written with an invented alphabet. This theory would be the most coherent, and historically plausible.
The manuscript would come from Mexico and not from Europe, some plants appearing to resemble Mesoamerican species.
Many people think that this manuscript is purely an imposture. However, this hypothesis has been ruled out by all the studies carried out on the book.
The very fragile Voynich manuscript aroused so much curiosity in the world that the Beinecke Library where it was preserved (Yale University, United States) decided to cede – to a secret amount – the reproduction rights to a house Of Spanish edition, specializing in the publication of ancient manuscript facsimiles. Thus, 898 replicas will be produced, for a price of 7000 to 8000 euros each. For the manufacture of the first facsimile, the process will take no less than eighteen months.
Skeptics and more convinced must all admit a fact: the Voynich manuscript contains many mysteries. For to the questions “who?”, “when?”, “where?”, “why?”, no one can answer with absolute certainty.
And you, are you subjugated by the secrets that hide this old work? What are your theories?
Article written by Maud Wlek (Author of Nayra).