A lordly chap in 15thC northern Italy

Every now and then a wave of compassion overcomes me for those people who desperately want to associate the Vms with that imaginary figure in which so many have earnestly believed: its ‘author’.

Usually assumed male, European, Christian and not poor: au fait with antiquarian and other fifteenth century fashion and preferably artistic. On happy, chatting,  terms with the nobility.

We’ve had a long line of candidates.

Frankly, I don’t accept any one  ‘author’ for this manuscript myself, but every now and some character turns up who would do, and upon whose shoulders might reasonably be laid the burden of complaint. The hero who devised Voynichese.

So in that context – here’s one more.

Ciriaco de’ Pizzicolli is routinely described as “an insistently peripatetic humanist antiquarian from 15th-century Ancona who travelled the world drawing ancient sites.”

~ which would be an easy way to get around the clearly antique imagery in much of the Vms.

You could even employ a Greek pun on his name to justify Baresch’s description of that ‘noble chap’ : variant spellings for Ciriaco include Kyriacus, the Greek word for ‘lord’ or ‘nobleman’.

Other variants include:

Cyriac or Cyriaco or Cyriacus or Cyriaque or Kuriacou or Kuriakos or Kyriaci.

Most stock biographies for him begin by by repeating that he was  “a Renaissance merchant who loved to travel by ship throughout the eastern Mediterranean and its contiguous seas”.

His handwriting was very nice.  He could draw pretty well, too.

Just don’t try arguing that the ‘castle’ in f.86v is Ancona – at least, not unless you have a plausible explanation for why any town so  staunchly Guelf would want swallowtail crenellations early in the 15thC.

I place it on the other side of the Mediterranean, myself: perhaps  *Laiazzo. Constantinople.

Afterthought – the BBC ran a popular history programme a while ago, mentioning Ciriacus and his travels. No more details, sorry.



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