Time being so short for Voynich things now, it is often easier for me to add my notes as comment on another person’s posts on a given item.

As example – re the illumination in the copy of Oresme’s work, as noted by Ellie Velinksa, and about which I wrote here a post on methodology.

Robert Teague had also troubled to count the ‘ins and outs’ of the border and found their number to be the same as the Voynich diagram’s.

From this he concluded (rightly, in my opinion) that this was no co-incidence.

We differ, though, in the inferences drawn from that non-random correspondence.

In Robert’s post of October 9th., which I first saw yesterday, Robert counted the number of ‘waves’ as being in both cases – 43.


Because the ring of waves must have 360 degrees, and by considering how many allusions occur in MS Beinecke 408 to the customs of mariners and maritime chart-makers, I wondered if the number 43 (or 86) would coincide with measures used by eastern mariners.  It came close enough to being a measure in isba’, whether the number was taken as 43 or as 86.

Because Robert is chiefly interested in the Voynich stars, I wondered if he might have done the same already, but his reply said he had no explanation for the two manuscript’s use of that number of divisions, while he evidently supposes it proves that one is directly copied from the other.  It could be so, but since there is the possibility that both simply refer to a once-common convention, I added a comment, as below:


Possible hint:
Risāle-i Miʻmāriyye, Seventh chapter. (An English translation of the whole text has been made by Caʻfer Efendi and this chapter is online.

but see also definition of the isba’ given by a fifteenth century master, Ibn Majid.

An English translation of his work was made by GR. Tibbetts (ed. and trans.), Arab Navigation in the Indian Ocean before the Coming of the Portuguese. A translation of “Kitab al-Fawa-‘id fi usul al-bahr wa’lqawa’id,” of Ahmad ibn Majid al-Najdi

Being engaged at a distance from my library, I cannot consult the index, but from memory the isba’ measure varied from one and a half to 2 degrees, and a ‘two isba’ measuring stick was common.

Even today, when the measures are not being used so formally, astronomers habitually use hands and figures as accurate gauges. See for example

Hope this helps.


Thomas Sauvaget’s weblog created considerable interest when it was running, but he ceased to publish in 2012.

However, as I hunted for someone who’d earlier made some comment on folio 57v , his post came up.  In stopping  to re-read his very interesting post pn the subject of a notation on the folio, I forgot all about the comment I’d intended to leave, because after following a link which he’d included I found something quite interesting: the Latin is a translation of a Coptic version of the Sanctus. What I wrote there still awaits his moderation, so in the meantime, here they are:

(December 4th).

I’ve just re-read [your] post.  And for the first time followed your link. The page reproduces, more or less, the content of the ‘Sanctus’ (as I expect you and other readers of your blog already know). For those less familiar with medieval western thought, there’s a fair wiki entry:

Including the cherubim and seraphim [as the linked manuscript’s text does] is not usual, as you’ll see..

[so] see also

[and] search in the pdf for ‘Seraphim’



That’s it for me for the next ten days..


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