Letter from the Ether

It happens every now and then that someone will stumble across this blog and leave a comment in one of the posts, outlining his own theories about the VM. While in general I’m always happy to discuss new findings, leaving them in the post’s context will derail the comment thread of the original post. Thus I will henceforth take the liberty of transplanting such comments into posts of their own.

Here, for example, is what “bdid1dr” wrote last night:

Mr. Vogt,
At the risk of becoming a total bore, I’d like to refer you to folio 86r3, where the discussion for the illustrations on all four corners of that folio translate to the (Latin)identification of the agaricales/coprinicae mushrooms; of which two specimens are often mis-identified. Both are similar in appearance (Shaggy, w/black gills which delicquesce. The illustrations show a bird apparently floating down a waterfall. The various illustrations also show humans peeking around the stems, apparently in the throes of hallucinations, begging for rescue.

I’ll cut my note short by simply giving you “quo per lessus” and “quo per laetussum” The bird is a kingfisher. The “humans” are Alcyone and her mate Ceyx (Aesaxos-King of Trachis/Trachinis.

I hope you can have as much fun as I have had– and maybe you’re up to finishing this partial translation?

If I understand correctly, this refers to this page, although Jason indexes it as f86v3.

I’ll look into it! If nothing else, I will at least have learned what “delicquesce” means.


44 thoughts on “Letter from the Ether

  1. Hi bdid1dr: In my opinion, it is far more likely that this page is representing the elements, Air, Earth, Fire, and Water.

    The bird you believe is “floating down a waterfall” has its wings extended, so I think it is meant to be flying. This symbolism has in fact been used for the classical element, Air. The same with the nested bird below it, which symbolism has been used for “Earth”. True, the emanations from the lower left are not orange or red, as fire would be, but then there are theories that the VMs was colored by a different person, long after being penned. The colorist may not have understood the Fire reference (as many don’t see it that way, today).

    The upper left is then Air.

    If you are interested, you can see the reasoning on my blog, along with some very close comparitive images from Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens for the bird Air and Earth. It is not the first comparison at the top of the page, but further down. The first one is another page I believe could be the elements: http://proto57.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/elements-in-the-voynich/

  2. Thanks, Rich, for replying! My translation of that entire folio gave me references to the legend of Alcyone and Ceyx. Mythical figures which were eventually turned into kingfishers. (Kingfishers are noted for making their nests on or near water/seas.) Other items in that folio also attributes Alcyone as being able to calm the stormy waters when sailors were at peril on the seas and prayed to her.

    Just as in every folio of the Vms, one will not find written identification of those figures which appear in each corner. They were immediately recognizable to me as being the “Shaggy Mane” mushroom which is “choice” eating with no ill effects. However, the other mushroom (which has the nickname “Alcohol Inky”) is just as delectable — but MUST not be eaten within three or four days of any consumption of any alcoholic beverage. Hallucinations are the mild form of negative reactions — liver damage and death are more often the results. (My husband and I have, in past years, been mushroom hunters — and not at all interested in psylocybins.)

    I think you’ve already arrived at the realization that the writers of the Vms don’t label any of the items of discussion on any folio?

    • bdid1dr writes, “Thanks, Rich, for replying! My translation of that entire folio gave me references to the legend of Alcyone and Ceyx.”

      I’ve read your comments in various places, on different blogs, but I missed that you have a translation of the Voynich Ms. Of course I would be very curious what code/cipher system you believe was used, and if you would be willing to share that I’m sure many would be interested.

      I disagree about your take on this page, strongly feeling these are the elements, as I’ve said. But of course I could be persuaded to rethink my opinion, if you can offer a cipher system that is repeatable by me, and others… and of course, you will have made literary and cipher history (nice bonus!).

  3. Several times in the past two months I’ve left an explanation of each of the mystery letters which appear consistently in every folio of Boenicke 408. Mostly, I’ve been posting in Nick’s “That Which Brings Your……..Down” pages. I’ve also posted my identification of each character on Nick’s Bracket discussion page. I’ll try one more time:

    “8” or “&” = syllable Aes

    “c” = c but smaller “c” is actually “e” and the two ciphers often appear as being linked.

    large 9 = syllable guh or kuh, but when ending a phrase can be saying ceus, keus, ceus

    tiny 9, where tiny loop curves around and extends slighty behind the upright (and which sits right on the line of script = “ex”

    I’ve given a “longer-winded” explanation several times in several different places. I’ve almost given up. So far, one of the most interesting discoveries has been my brief ID of the globes pictured in folio 83v. A good explanation of what they might be can be found on a website called “Ambrosia Society” (whose host recently died). Find his discussion of the “Solanacea” and the benefits of the use of the various parts of the Mandragore (and not just about the root of that plant but also the diluted fruit juice. This particular folio was of particular interesting to me because of its medicinal/anesthesiological properties for battlefield surgery as well as obstetrics. (I’m a former medical student which adversity prevented me from completing my studies.

  4. I looked up the reference on the site, and I agree that is a good comparison to the objects on f83v: http://www.ambrosiasociety.org/angels.html

    I still think it can be many other things, but do like your comparison, and direction of thought. If you do ever come up with a repeatable code scheme, that others can use, independently, to decipher the Voynich, by all means let us know. And best of luck with your work… I’ll keep my eye out.

  5. Thanks, again, Elmar and Rich for considering my offered translations (which is a 3-step process). Just this morning I finished Boenicke 408 folio llv . This folio has only six lines of commentary. It was most amusing to me because of how carefully the script writers were avoiding the grisly process of sericulture.

    Again, all you see is a picture of a berry (NOT an artichoke–I lived for 6 years in artichoke country). My hunt for other pictures of that berry led me to “Carmina Cantabrigiensia” — and subsequently to my reference books of tree fruit. Several years ago I had read a novel (Portrait of an Unknown Woman) about the life and times of Sir Thomas More (who corresponded with his philosopher friends as “Morus”). Ennyway: Folio 11v –you can find my latest identification/translation on Nick’s page/discussion “That which brings your website to its knees”. I posted it earlier this morning.

    Adieu, gentlemen! By all means — have fun!

  6. Oops, I meant to correct a confusing word usage: Liquesce, liquify, melt…..many mushrooms melt. I’m becoming more like a morel every day!

    Here is one more translation of an elaborate Prefatory cipher:

    The very elabortate curlicued “P”: Is used to reference such words as PRescription, PLeasant, BRocade, Beginning, BRacket…….

    Most recognizable to a medical PRofessional would be the combined symbol which appears as the capital letter R which has a small slash on its lower leg: Rexall Pharmacy was a very PRominent drugstore chain in the US and their logo was immediately recognizable anywhere.

    ‘bye guys!

  7. Addendum: Rexall Drugstore filled many PRescriptions — which doctors PRescribed by using the symbol I’ve just xPLained. I hope you’re having fun translating my XPL-n-a-ch-n. Vms character for “n” looks like a fish-hook, single barb. Vms character for “m” looks like a fish-hook with two barbs.

  8. Dear Sirs,

    Once again I have to correct a reference, specifically it is “Carmina Burana” which has that beautiful illustration which may be the product of a bunch of very rowdy, beer drinking students?.

    Thank you for your patience with me Rich!

  9. VMs folio 2v: oatlaom eceospecos ollamosan ceos aes–r aesaes ceruleaesum:

    Translates to water lily species which flowers are waxy/white/blue.

    By the time I finished the line by line translation, I was able to differentiate between the archaic Latin language terminology used for identifying the Aquatic flowers of the Nymphaeacae species of the water lily and the eventual re-classification of the water lotus to its own scientific category of Nelumbo.

    I have tentatively identified Vms folio 55v as being an aquatic legume known as the “Sacred Bean of Egypt.” Probably because the scribes were being “pushed to the limit” when dealing with very “iffy” nomenclature, things could get rather “obscure”. I give them full credit and my admiration for their efforts in classifying both water flowers — only one of which was a “bean: The beautiful Lotus

    bdid1dr (getting beadier-eyed every day)

  10. Several days ago I meant to refer y’all, one more time, to Phillip Neal’s archive. One particular document was a letter addressed to Athanasius Kircher. That particular letter was a recipe for making colloidal silver. Apparently Father Kircher was very leery of anything which might be “alchemical”. The letter was written in Latin; what stood out most was the elaborate “P”.

    What had first caught my eye was that “capital P”. What I found, when I enlarged the download so that I could translate, was even more riveting:

    Father Kircher had shakily scratched, here and there, in the sentences:

    A L C H E M Y

    Keep in mind that Father Kircher was also responsible for the development the Museum of artifacts (Hapsburg furnishings and literature/manuscripts and other detritus of the Thirty Years/Hundred Years wars in Europe. He probably was also the recipient of Inquisitional correspondence and reports.

    While I’m still online, courtesy of Elmar Vogt, I’d like to refer you to a fascinating discussion on a website “SpyEye” which host discusses the many dialects/linqua franca/etc of medieval texts/manuscripts, including Carmina Burana and Cantabrigiana.

    Have fun!


    • Bead-eyed wonder, are you familiar with the concept of hyperlinks?
      The use of those would help us tremenduously in tracing your concepts… right now, you’ve got me pretty much at a loss as to what it’s all about.

      • Yes I’m sorry, I agree with Elmar: You have thrown many concepts at us, and I lost track of what you are trying to say. Do you have a blog or website, which outlines your ideas?

  11. I’m sorry, gentlemen, if I’ve led you down blind alleys. Rich asked me if I could come up with a repeatable “code scheme”. I have been trying for months to demonstrate that there is no code in the Voynich manuscript’s handwriting.

    I have personal reasons for not attempting a blog of my own. So, unlike Knight and Reddi, I also cannot go on tour. Thank you for your patience with me while I have been trying to demonstrate the archaic shorthand and abbreviations which appear consistently throughout the entire document. I am at the point where I can coherently read every line of every page of script.

    Until very recently, I have posted my comments to Nick’s “That Which Brings Your Website It’s Knees” pages. Prior to that I had been posting in Nick’s forum pages which he set up for us while he was at the conference in Frascati: Round n’ Round We Go.

    Anyway, I just thought you might like to catch up with me, and maybe you would be able to see for yourselves what the “Voynich” is all about.

    A tout a l’heure! Merci beau coup!

    Beady eyed wonder

  12. Hi bdid1r: When I asked for a repeatable system, I didn’t mean to imply any specific type of system… code, cipher, artificial language, whatever it is, I don’t know what it is, and I was not asking you for it.

    You miss the point I am making.

    It is simply this: First of all, you say, “I am at the point where I can coherently read every line of every page of script.”

    OK.. you say you can read it. There is a test to see if you are correct, and it is a two part test. I did not make it up, it has been around, and is logical and practical.

    First, you show others how you do it. Then, they do it. If they come up with the same results you do, then you have passed part one.

    Second, both those results can’t just be the same, they have to make some sort of sense.

    Since you can’t do both of those things, that is clear, then you have not “read every line of every page of script”. You can’t have the right solution, and you don’t.

    There are many people, like you, who think they can read that which noone else can, the Voynich included. There are many people who think they can read new meanings into exisiting texts… like those who think they can read Francis Bacon’s writings in Shakespeare, and who can read Da Vinci’s writings in the Bible, and thousands of more examples like that. There are hundreds who think they can read the Voynich as English, Arabic, Native American, Hungarian, Latin, Polish, Korean, Chinese, and many more.

    This is a human trait, this “ability” to make sense out of seeming nonsense, and find new sense in the pre-existing. It probably stems from some very important human ability, which allowed us, while evolving, to understand the world around us, so that we could determine what mattered to us, and what was unimportant. That is, the ability to search for, and find, patterns.

    The important thing is that we all know when this wonderful talent, to find patterns, has led us astray. One of our most wonderful tools can, if we can’t see this, destroy us. We must be introspective, or we will be lost.

  13. Bdid1dr
    As for repeatability – well, that does depend on skill-levels, as anyone knows who has tried to understand specialists’ comments on areas of knowledge not in their own competency.

    However, you have a great many people interested in languages, enciphering systems, and the Voynich. Their skill-levels in that area (unlike mine) should allow them to test the repeatability of any method you have applied.

    All the methods for processing the text seem equally good to me – but then, for people unused to the idea of analytical rigour in regard to imagery, the reciprocal is just as true.

    I’d probably “buy” your translation no less than any other done to date – but about such things my opinion is of no use to you. Theirs is.

    • Diane: You are also misunderstanding the meaning of “repeatability” (test one), and “meaning” (test two). It is not a matter of “opinion” at all. Our opinion does not matter, at all. Opinion does not figure in, subjectivity does not figure in, at all.

      Bdid1dr cannot give a method… call it a system, technique, etc… or any instruction to use one, to another person, so that that person can look at the same voynich text that she does, and come up with the same results, she does. That is “repeatability”, and it fails that test.

      A cipher, code, unknown language must past that test, to consider test number two: Meaning. I person may think they have meaningful results… and in fact, they may produce them (produce as in “show” them). I’ve seen recipes for possum (no kidding… and other foods), poetry, prayer, formulas, and geographical descriptions and directions… yes, all have meaning of some kind, if rudimentary. But none of the people who have shown these claimed “results” have ever been able to pass test number one: Repeatability.

      It is also often common, when this is explained, and the news is given, for the recipient… who is of course usually very passionate about their work, and understandably so… to assume that the person who cannot repeat their work is the one in error. It is clear to them that it is “the answer”, and of course very exciting to them, to have read the work. I don’t blame them, it would be exciting.

      So then it is difficult, I am sure, to look at what I have written, and why the test is important, because it takes a great deal of painful introspection to realize that one’s own results may be in error. But those who can go through the process can save themselves a great chunk of the time allotted to them on this planet, and it is not much, as we know. I show how to test these results, I take the time, in order to help people save the time, and give up on error… in the hope that they will take it to heart, and give up on the error themselves. Perhaps one of these people will come back with the real answer, and a real translation, in fact. But at I will have helped them, should they choose to listen.

      They never have, they never do, and it breaks my heart. Or almost never do… Michael Ventris is a famous case of one who did: He thought Linear B was Phoenician, and only near the end did he realize it was Greek, as his predecessor did. And by the way, he did not claim success until “test one” was passed: Repeatability, on another set of Linear B, found independently, by an archeologist.

      But the best thing I can do, even if no one listens, is explain it. The worst thing a friend could do is to suggest that there was some ulterior motive, as you have, and in that way you enable the continuation of a failed work. Who is that helping? Yes, my thoughts on this are correct. And yes, they do matter. Whether or not you, or the very kind Bdid1r wants to take it to heart, is not something I can control.

      But while I am at it: You suggest to Beady that her work is correct, and encourage her to continue with it. And yet, you also cannot repeat it. Is that scientific? Is that kind? Rich.

  14. Rich –
    a few points:

    (i) my remarks were not addressed to you.

    (ii) you’re a twit.

    (iii) this is not your blog

    If you spent more time examining what you imagine you know, you might become one day not only more intelligent but more worth reading.

    • No need for name calling, Diane. The question is pertinent and appropriate to Elmar’s blog, because we are having a discussion about a claimed decipherment. I will stay on topic, for the sake of the blog thread, and repeat it, “You suggest to Beady that her work is correct, and encourage her to continue with it. And yet, you also cannot repeat it. Is that scientific? Is that kind?”

    • Diane,

      Please don’t try to tell people here when to talk and when to shut up, and please do not call anybody names.
      As you correctly surmised in (iii) with your usual impeccable scientific rigor, this is my blog, and I’m the only person entitled to both the above activities.

  15. Dear Elmar and Rich,

    Thank you very much for your kind consideration of my offerings on your pages. I am continuing my decipherment but will not impose my findings on your very kind and courteous blogs. I recently ventured into Goliard and Macaronic script writings; and almost as recently backed out (even though I was able to successfully compare the Voynich script/alphabet with the Latin verses).

    It could be that Diane is “up in arms” because she has been following my translation of “Dum Dianae” (from Carmina Burana and/or Carmina Cantabrigiensia). She perhaps thinks I was casting aspersions.

    Not the case, Diane and gentlemen. I much prefer to profer my discoveries to the open worldwideweb for anyone’s perusal. When I can find a receptive reading audience, I shall continue, but will not impose on you any further.

    Very sincerely yours,
    Beady-eyed wonder

    • I don’t personally consider it an imposition at all. I love discussion of this kind, and I’m really open to all ideas. I appreciate that you didn’t take my suggestions as hostile… I really only want to communicate with you, or anyone, who wants to solve this.

      I think that one day, when I give my “two test” speech, someone may come back with “OK… here is number one, and here is number two”… and I will fly out to wherever they live, and be the first to share a nice bottle of bubbly with them… because they will be one of the most admired people in the history of cryptography, and I would love to be a witness to it. Is it you? I’ve no problem with that, if it turns out to be so… in fact, you seem like one of the nicer candidates. Best of luck.

  16. I repeat:
    the ability to repeat results obtained in any discipline depends (not least) on whether or not the person concerned has the necessary skills, and at the required level.
    I repeat:
    (I agree with other comments in saying that) there are people here who have the skills needed to test proposed translations, and the repeatability of a proposed method.
    I repeat:
    I would encourage “bdid1dr” to explain the method and allow such testing.

    I see nothing in those fairly commonplace remarks to which objection could be taken by any rational person.

    • Diane,
      Would it really hurt so bad to say, “Sorry, I lost my cool, the name-calling was unasked for”? Heck, even *I* do it occasionally, und usually it changes the climate of the conversation for the better.

      More on topic, I disagree with your first point above. As opposed to a translation from one language to the other, where a lot of expertise is required, a (successful) enciphering method depends on a reliable and unambiguous algorithm which will allow one to go through an enciphering/deciphering cycle and arrive back at the original text. As the term “algorithm” implies, this means a sequence of well-defined steps which can be reproduced by anybody, as long as they know the method and the key.
      (Please note that the *application* of the algorithm is as different from *deriving* the algorithim as driving a car is from being a mechanic.)
      In all fairness, I understand Beady suggests something between a translation and genuine enciphering, more along the lines of a personal shorthand. Here of course the problem is that the method introduces so many degrees of freedom that no two decipherers will arrive at the same results, which makes the claims difficult to prove or disprove.

  17. Rich and Elmar,

    I have explained my method of “decipherment” on several occasions and on several different blogs and have given an example of each and every “Voynich cipher by which the latin script can be read. So, here is one more “essay”:

    What looks like an ampersand or a numeral 8: aes

    Elaborate “curlicued” P : represents the sound/syllable “b” or “p”, which can elaborated on by the curlicues/loops to represent, for example the word “represent”. Also, the elaborate “P” can sometimes represent such a word as “Prescription”: I grew up in towns where every drugstore would display the latin symbol used for filling doctors orders “Px”: Which actually looks like R with a slash on its lower leg.

    “c” comes in two sizes: the smaller “c” is actually “e”. When you see what looks like a whole bunch of c’s lined up, and sometimes with a small half-curlique above a pair of c’s, an abbreviation is being indicated. Sometimes the “missing letters” will not become apparent until one is able to read the context of the discussion.

    d and/or t are usually linked with a letter “l”, and appear as what I call telephone poles: the pair which has only one loop is the sound of tl as in tell, telephone, battle…..

    My husband is home, and we have to eat. If you wish, I’ll continue my discussion tomorrow. In the meantime, you might like to visit Nick’s “That Which Brings Your …….” I don’t write the entire url etc. for reasons I’m sure you are already aware. Check out my discussion about “mushroom folio” and the legend of Alcyone and Ceyx.

    A tout a l’heure!

    beady eyed wonder (er)

    • Rather than repeat references I’ve made prior to this regarding my syllabification of the Vms “scribbles”, I’d like to refer you to Vms folio 33v. A photostatic copy of that folio is in the US government files of Brigadier General John H. Tiltman (specifically DOCID:631091),

      First line translates into Latin as: Cor-oll-as-aes-am a aesan celleceus- aesaxeus scabioseum: English translation of this first line of latin is:

      Curialim sanatio: A cure for scabioseum/scabies

      The next line of Vms script begins with telecaeseus—–

      “Tellus (of the soil/earth/dirt)

      Though I was unable to complete my university pre-med studies, I still keep up with developments in the field of plague prevention.

      Thank you, gentlemen, for your courteous review of my offerings.

  18. Folio 35r: Line 7 next to blossom and prominent stamens/pistils:
    croceusaum-yellow/golden (saffron). The flower, itself, is blue.

    Folio 35r: line 1 on the stem: Speciam cecas-am crocoseam
    Folio 35r: line 2 on stem: oam ecam etlceaus secex recoecoeasesum: to recognize/gather

    Folio 35r: line 3 on stem: MAY be referring to Ceos on the Ottoman mainland, not the island of Chios just five miles away.

    One last clue: the “roots” are not roots, nor bulbs, but rather corms. Corms are recognized by having flat bases rather than bulbous.

    ’tis five in the morning. So, the folio I am referring to above IS the Vms. I am now going to try to catch another “forty winks”.

    Top o’the mornin’ to y’all!

    More bdid than usual. BTW, if you indicate any interest at all, I’ll discourse on Morus alba and the “pabulumox” which was fed to silkworm caterpillars (Vms folio 11v)

  19. Several weeks ago, I left several references on Nick Pelling’s “Irony Question Marks and Brackets” pages. At that time I tried to refer him and friends to the use of the “double looped” “ell” phoneme which can be stretched and re-inserted further along a particularly long stretch of commentary:

    “Salvia Sclarae” — “Clary Sage”

    Whenever I’ve seen that particular stretched phoneme, I’ve “solved” another syllable being stretched across at least two words in a phrase.

    Check it out. Most of all, have fun!

  20. Oh, I’ve just now finished reading an item I downloaded/printed from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Cloister garden:

    Their discussion begins with “Vegetable Gold”, and mainly compares the relative safeness of using pigments derived from plant material (saffron, weld, celandine) with chalk and clay, rather than orpiment and realgar. The crux of matter being discussed was the scribes and illustrators efforts to “gild” (apply gold) to the various “Books of Hours” and other manuscripts commissioned by the wealthy and/or noble patrons.

    I hope this latest blurb from me motivates you to visit “The Met” and its beautiful garden, The Cloisters”! The VMs folio 35r is all about the Saffron Crocus (Autumn blooming).

  21. Gentlemen,

    All during the past months of February and March, I posted quite frequently on Nick Pelling’s blog page “That which brings your website to its knees” and on his pages “Irony, Question Marks, and Brackets”. I don’t know where else I can provide my methods of deciphering and translating the Vms (Boenicke 408) except here on your pages, Elmar. Wherever I post, within moments Diane appears with diversionary comments, as just what has occurred here.

    So, my donations to the puzzle-solving discussions usually get buried under “tons” of “side-bar” discussions and witty comments/jokes.

    So, at this point, I’d like to refer you to Boenicke 408 folio 11v:

    The illustration is a MULBERRY tree fruit. The leaves of the white mulberry is the preferred food (pablum or pablumox) for the silkworm caterpillar. You will find no mention of the insect, but references to Chinese (Serecum) origins (sericusaum) silk species.

    Line 5 is the only reference made to the tree (arbor-og-kae-seus) and “celeos-cer-cas-aesum”. The tree was imported along with the cocoons & insects).

    Line 6 MAY be a very loose translation for the description of the insect’s habit of trying to emerge through a hole in the very valuable cocoon (which MUST remain intact throughout its mile-long wrapping thread): the latin word “blattae”: moth-eaten.


  22. Morus alba — the tree.

    At the risk of maybe confusing things even “more”, I’d like to refer you to a fascinating historical novel based on the life of Sir Thomas More and his fascinating family:

    Portrait of an Unknown Woman” written by Vanora Bennet

    I mention this book because Thomas More corresponded with philosophers of his times, and apparently they also enjoyed puns on the name More.

    In fact, just yesterday, I downloaded/printed a document
    written by Patricia Parker (Stanford University) : “What’s in a Name: and More”. The is jam-packed with footnote/references to just about anything “More”. I’ve just now noticed that I may not have downladed the entire document. I am now proceeding to read what I’ve got on hand — and maybe download the rest later.


  23. Last night I downloaded another badly reproduced (a photostat) copy of VMs folio 49v which is in Brigadier Tiltman’s DOCID file 631091:

    I ignored Tiltman’s alpha-numerical notations and ploughed through my botanical/gardening books. I am tentatively ID’ng the plant drawing as “Persian or Turkish Rananculus”. I’ll be doing a rough translation after I pull down a “clean” copy from Boenicke and/or wikiipedia.

    I’m at the age where I can comment “What did we do before the WWW and Wiki?

    bdid1dr (which translates to beady-eyed wonder).

  24. Sometime last year Jim Reed commented (on one of Nick’s pages) an idea that “people would probably remember the name of the person who solved the Voynich just about as much as one remembers the name of Elizabeth Taylor’s last husband.

    So, Rich, hold the bubbly! No need to acknowledge my contribution to various discussions. I do hope that people will pursue my leads and confirm/deny my findings rather than “dig a hole, dig a hole, and bury the “bone”.

    Correction to plant name in my previous-to-this post: Ran-un-culus

    bd :)

  25. Elmar & Rich:

    This morning, I did a cipher-by-cipher translation of the first numbered lines of Vms folio 49v (courtesy of a great photocopy of the document, itself, from Boenicke):

    Although, and as usual, the writer does not come right out and label the flower as “Persian” or “Turkish” ranunculus he does identify it thusly:

    ranun-quollr-ec-o-aes-an-aesox : Ranunculus species

    and: Esp-ec-i-o-s ce-c-e-o-aes-tl-c–c-c-oaes-ex: translates to:

    Species of coast of Turkey –Ceos

    How’m I doing, Rich, with tests 1 & 2?

    beady-eyed wonder

    • Hi Beady: “How’m I doing, Rich, with tests 1 & 2?”

      I don’t meant this in a hurtful way, but you don’t understand the purpose of the test. At one point you did give a few possible sounds for various bits… but this information is not in answer to the problem of providing a method/system/technique for another party to decipher the Voynich.

      I’m not sure why I was unable to explain this to you, so that you know what is needed to prove a translation, or understand why it is important. And further, it is unfortunate I have been powerless to explain it to you… because if you did understand the requirement, you, too, would see why your posts do not in any way address it, then you, too, would realize… as I do… that this is unfortunately not a translation of the Voynich. It simply is not. Again, you seem like one of the nicest Voynich scholars, and I say that not to hurt you, but to help you.

      Another thing… about your plant identities. I am not a plant person, and I don’t follow the many people who do try to make these identities, but are you aware that there are many, many, identities out there? You may like some of them. I found a notebook of Ethel’s which has many, Rene Z. found another she made… and Edith Sherwood has a list, and many other scholars have made, and are making, many more.

      My point is, you might like some, as I’ve said, but also, you might like to suggest some of your identities with others.

  26. Oh yes, I get the point. Do you objectively compare your own analysis of folio 86r3 with the contributions of others (such as my three-step translation)? Have you offered your translation to other persons on the WWW?
    Have you or Nick alerted Rene Zandbergen as to my “take” on this same folio? I have asked Nick to alert Rene. If I had any means to alert Rene, myself, I would. I admire Rene tremendously — I have followed up on his numerous citations for each of his offerings. It is unfortunate that he seems to be under constant siege from not-so-well-wishers.

    So, as far as offering my findings onto the WWW, I am obviously limited in my options. I notice that Nick has yet to up-date us on the findings of the meeting in Frascati.

    As far as my options: I am hoping to contact a curator/consultant at the Boenicke who MAY be able to advise me (and other enquirers) as to how one might contribute material to the Boenicke archive, on any particular item they have on display or stored.

    Would you, Rich, like to read and follow my translation of the first lines of script which appear on all four sides of Vms folio 86r3 ? Mind you, it is a tedious process of extracting “key-words” amongst the tedious repetition of Latin multiple nomenclature terms. It is so tedious that you are allowed to throw up your hands in dismay, and exclaim “Awgod, not me!

    Remind me to tell you how the “Smiley” button developed. :)

    • Hi Beady: You ask, ” Do you objectively compare your own analysis of folio 86r3 with the contributions of others (such as my three-step translation)? Have you offered your translation to other persons on the WWW?”

      I have no translation of any part of the Voynich. I’ve played around with various ideas, but never came up with anything which I thought was anything but subjective on my part.

      “Have you or Nick alerted Rene Zandbergen as to my “take” on this same folio? I have asked Nick to alert Rene. If I had any means to alert Rene, myself, I would.”

      Why would you not write him, yourself? Neither I nor Nick are in any better position to let him know of your work, than you are, yourself. Secondly, you know I believe you do not have a correct translation, so I’m not sure why you would want me to tell him about it! Should I write Rene, and say, “This is BD’s work, and she has no translation…? As I’ve written, I am privy to many incorrect translations, either publicly posted, or shared privately, with me. And if I did ever see one that I thought might be correct, I would first suggest the discoverer of the method contact Beineke, then publish their results. So if you think, despite my warnings, that you have a correct translation, you could still do that.

      “As far as my options: I am hoping to contact a curator/consultant at the Boenicke who MAY be able to advise me…”.

      Of course it is none of my business whether or not you write the Beinecke. They do have several “fans” of the Voynich on the staff. I don’t know that you will get any advice from them, though, they tend to remain non-committal on any proposed solutions. That is understandable, in their role as keepers of the scroll.

      “Would you, Rich, like to read and follow my translation of the first lines of script which appear on all four sides of Vms folio 86r3 ?”

      No I’m sorry, Beady.. I did spend much time reading your results, and waiting for the method which never came. I am afraid I am personally 100% certain you do not have the solution, so I would not want to spend more time on it.

      ” It is so tedious that you are allowed to throw up your hands in dismay, and exclaim “Awgod, not me!”

      That is humorous, but my response to these sort of purely speculative, and incorrect translations… of which I have seen many… is not “Awgod, not me!”, but more, “I wish they would understand why they are wrong, so they can give up, or try a new method”.

      I also want to point out that you are not seeing the answer to your error, right in front of you, when you type, “It is so tedious…”. The answer, first off, will probably not be “tedious” in the way you seem to practice ( as in a huge amount of laborious, speculative input by you). Whether the system is complex or simple, cipher, code, or artificial language, it would probably use a very non-tedious, straightforward means to decipher it. Rich.

  27. Beady… the absolutely best thing you could ever do would be to read William and Elizebeth Friedman’s “The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined”. And really, really, absorb it, and how so many well meaning, passionate and intelligent people fell into the trap of believing they saw what was not there in the writings of Shakespeare… just as you have, and so many others have, with the Voynich. Telling you to read that book that was my throwing you a life-preserver… I can’t make you grab hold.

  28. Actually, unless very recently the situation has changed, Rene has not been able to open a “comments” page on his blog. So, I was hoping to give him some positive feedback on his meticulously informed website.

    Thanks for your advice and feedback. I have read whatever has been available, online, about the history and decoding efforts of various generations of codiologists. The only person I have criticized is Mary d’Imperio (see my further note below).

    As far as Shakespearean elements which may (or may not) be apparent in the Vms: It is not an accident that Shakespeare based most of his plays on already-existing Greek and Roman mythology (and/or history: Coriolanus, for one). So, if these various themes also appear in the Vms folios, why would we necessarily be obliged to cite “Shakespeare” with every apparent reference to his work? As it is, I make note of the mythological similarities, when I see them, and on one or two occasions have contacted Bill Thayer at UChigago. Fun!

    I’ll desist my pestiferous notes to you and Elmar. (and you, too, Nick). As far as having my own blog, I don’t have the peripherals to support audio-visual presentations online. Even if I did, I am “semi-deaf” and read lips, facial, and body language. I am also going blind with cataracts . I still assert that there is not one word of secret code in the entire Boenicke Manuscript 408. I am entirely sympathetic to the efforts of Brigadier General John H. Tiltman. However, I still think that Mary D’Imperio actively obfuscated throughout her publication of the codiological team’s efforts and findings. Junk!


    • Beady: I said nothing at all about Shakespeare being in the Voynich manuscript. You misread my post. I’ve never said anything of the kind. I know of no one who has said anything of the kind. The Friedman’s have not, either.

      I was citing a book which describes how the Friedman’s debunked the various claims that Bacon wrote the plays of Shakespeare. I was recommending the book to you. Please re-read what I wrote.

      I think I’m done here now. I’ve given you all the feedback, and my opinion, that I have in me. I think every answer to any of your questions can be found in the myriad of posts, above. I’ve got many irons in the fire, and have to let you be for now.

      All the best, Rich.

  29. Ogier Ghislain d’Busbecq’s “travel diary” — and his closing commentary on folio 116 v of Boenicke manuscript 408 (in re Ankara).
    Leiden University has a huge on-line presentation of Busbecq’s correspondence, as well as Carolus Clusius’ works.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s