In a Nutshell

If you’re interested in a short overview over the Stroke Theory, read here:

Outline of the Stroke Theory (ca. 140k)

I’ll update this pdf from time to time, whenever I have new results or modifications to the theory.

Comments and suggestions, as always, welcome!

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10 thoughts on “In a Nutshell

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  3. Hi Elmar: Just a few questions and thoughts. Please forgive me if I misunderstand, or missed an explanation for my concerns.

    “For example, above we have demonstrated that the letter A could be enciphered in different ways – as ****** and *******. Both methods are equally valid and require no change of a key on the decipherer’s part. Thus, the encipherer can change these details on a whim without causing the decipherer undue trouble.”

    But why would it not cause trouble for a knowledgeable decipherer (as opposed to a code breaker, I mean one who is versed in the code, and so should be able to decipher it)? Especially combined with your concern later on:

    “Which sequence? The letters can be broken down top-to-bottom, left to- right or in an arbitrary sequence. This would generate different
    ciphertext letter sequences.”

    Actually the latter seems a moot point, since an encipherer may decide on the order in any case, then this means there would be no rule for the breaking down at the onset. Or are you saying that the strokes for an “A” for instance, will always be comprised of the same three VMs characters, even though out of order, and so could not be confused with any other plain text letter? Like “qoc”, “coq”, “qco”, “cqo”, “oqc”, etc., will always be “A” and only “A”? But then I don’t understand how the strokes for a “b” can be distinguished from a p, q, or d’s word, with out a height or left-right designation for the “o-shape”.

    It seems to me… and I am asking, and admit that I may have gotten this wrong, and these variations are not a problem… but it seems to me that there are too many variations in interpretation in the outcome of letters, so that it might confuse even a knowledgeable decipherer.

    I am also curious if you know of any system which relies on the breakdown of the structure such as this… I mean, do you know of any historical parallel which shares this concept? You know me, I don’t think this is necessarily a requirement, as the Voynich is granted to unique, therefore any system or content may be unique also… which is why I dismiss many probability arguments, such as “That is rarely done, therefore the Voynich is probably not done that way”. But I was curious if you came across anything. For one thing, if such a concept was used anywhere else, or even suggested, it may help both the structuring of your analysis, and also to place the work in a specific time and culture.

    • Hi Rich,

      Thanks for the comments; you hit the nail on the head on several issues.

      You’re right; “A” would always be decomposed into the three same strokes, but, as far as the algorithm is concerned, the order is arbitrary.

      The encipherer may decide to follow a top-down-left-right pattern or something to reduce ambiguity, or he might in contrast randomly change the letter order to hide repeating “patterns”.

      Either way, some ambiguities would remain. Not so much in distinguishing d/q or b/p (a vertical stroke extending below the baseline could be assigned a different code than a vertical stroke above), but due to the fact that plaintext letter boundaries would get lost in the encipherment.

      For example, the stroke sequence for the plaintext letters “bdo” would be “l-o-o-l-o”. Reassembling these after decipherment could result in equally valid plaintext sequences of “loolo”, “bob” or “lodo”. This may be (partly) overcome by the alternating sequence of upper/lower case letters (or a similar system which makes plaintext letter boundaries clear).

      But I also think that, while being a “lossy” algorithm, a somehow experienced “reader” of the ciphertext could fairly fluently recognize the syllables and resolve the ambiguities with the help of context. Even with the limited amount of experimenting I have done, I find in the ciphertext synthesized based on the Stroke algorithm syllables which I recognize. After all, it’s a fairly limited “vocabulary” you use. Muchlikewecanstillreadasentenceevenifthewordbreaksaregone. ;-)

      As for historical instances of this algorithm being used, I know of none. Although the system is quite straightforward (and, I’d say, fairly powerful), I reckon that it may have been considered “unclean”, inasmuch as it depends on the concrete shape of the letter rather than on the letter as a symbol. But this is pure conjecture.

  4. When I first wrote a reply to your post, I included the example “balloon”… and how it could be interpreted “l oa l b o n”, or “d a l d o n”, and so on… but then I thought that you were thinking that each VMs word was a letter… meaning that the spaces were the deliniators… so I deleted that. I see now that you are considering some cases where strings of plain text letters are represented by one VMs word. However, your “Muchlikewecanstillread…” example puts concerns about confusion over this, to rest. I could see a person, who is seeing a VMs word in this system, quickly discarding “daldon” and reading “balloon” (Although I do remember one daldon vender at a carnival once, but the kids were all afraid of him).

  5. Ahoj všichni Voynicheros,

    Koukám že neustále hledáte odpověď, na otázku, kdo napsal rukopis a co rukopis obsahuje.

    Rukopis se jmenuje Zlato – bláto.1454.

    Zde vám ukáži co znamená strana ,,Rozeta ,,

    Spodní prostřední diagram :

    oMcdaR, oModq,oManR,occdq, oNaRae,Mccodq,
    SaRae,Mccdq,oMcdam,oeMq,oR,am odq,oSan,
    (-)daR,odam,oMcdae,oeoR,ocMam,qeo,Saeda,
    oMccdq,oMocdam,oMcq,oMaSam,qMq,odam,
    oMae,oMaeaR.

    To jsou znaky velký kruh. Po překladu jsou slova v starém českém jazyce. Tyto stará slova 15.století přeložím do současného českého jazyka.

    Český jazyk současnost,překlad a význam:

    Zrodí (R),100 vloží, z muže(R),zlata,ona je(R),mlhu získá,
    síran, mlhy2 vloží,rtuť také,získal, oči, těm dá 100,z draka,
    Borax dá(R), s tím,zrodí,oči,kyselinu vložím,ano, draka získá,
    z mlhy,z moku dělám,zrodí, 100 vloží,a vloží,s tímto,
    z muže, z muže rtuti.

    Tak takhle vypadá překlad rukopisu.
    Rukopis je alchymie.

    Info na. http://voynich.blog.cz/
    http://alchymista.blog.cz/
    http://janzlazu.blog.cz/

    Na uvedených stránkách je dost přeložených stran rukopisu voynich, rukopisu Jana z Lazu ,Gold Mud.(zlato bláto).

    zdravím všechny voynicheros Zlatoděj Josef.

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