A question I have trouble with is this:
If a person is able to work comfortably to such a scale that to read it today we need lenses or a ‘zoom’ (and even then it is difficult to make out) – then why on earth should they bother encoding information at all, let alone in comparatively huge characters? The result, as many have mentioned, is to make any viewer immediately feel deeply and incurably interested in what it is about. Why draw attention to a secret? Why risk keeping it, or carrying it, in a world where any city guard, any priest or any tax-clerk would be sure to see it, and very likely take it from you?
The scale of writing in f.9v, or again in f.85v-ii is such that the scribe could surely have written the entire text in such a way that it would scarcely ever be noticed: perhaps within images from a more innocuous-looking herbal or within an abstract design such as those appropriate to life under Islamic rule. A picture could be covered then with a light wash of colour and thus pass unremarked.
On the other hand, if the thing is a fake (as some still argue), then why bother adding that miniscule script, except to record the name and brilliance of the faker?
I have to bow to the wisdom of experts who are sure that the written text is enciphered in some way. But I can’t imagine why it should be.
Its oddness in the European context makes it hardly secret; and if it were supposed to be kept secret, such obvious means as an incomprehensible text was hardly necessary if that alternative means for obscurity were available.
I wonder – if I could only see those tiny inscriptions at a legible size: I wonder if their language would be recognisable?