Clear vision

This is the first post of a six-part series. The rest of the series provides the analysis of folio 5v, including its mnemonic elements, consideration of stylistics and an explanation of why, although the image might have held interest for certain medieval Europeans, it could not have been composed in Latin Europe. For the other posts …

Palaeography and orthography – nat eveyon wret wol. Pt1

I wonder whether the written text in the Voynich manuscript hasn't defied efforts to understand it for much the same reason that the imagery is so easily misinterpreted: not because it is the product of a devious or secretive mind but because the past century's accumulated assumptions and presumptions include some small error overlooked. In …

Mnemonics, devices and “pictorial annotation”

I'm gratified to see that in recent months, some Voynich researchers have taken up the theme that the botanical imagery includes elements intended as memory-prompts.  I believe the first among recent writers to do this is Koen Gheuens, though others including Don Hoffmann have taken it to heart, too. I would like, though, to emphasise …

Comparing.. the issue of translating imagery ~ Postscript

Postscript - "Eastern Plants". Tiltman provided me with a precedent for recognition of the images as being composite figures, and his tone suggests an opinion accepted by the Friedman group. However, I had a double-barrelled problem, because the identifications I'd reached and some specific forms used for the imagery, led me to conclude that the …

Comparing… the issue of ‘translating’ imagery Pt2

[corrections and additions in green 29/07/2016 AEST] This post considers the somewhat delicate, but critical issue of the translator in relation to an audience whose reactions may not be purely intellectual, but more human, and the fairly limited set of responses which form the classic model of hostility that inhibits the reception of any translation. …

Comparing… the issue of translating imagery. Pt 1

Visual language, visual vocabulary and visual 'characters'.  Even the more arcane forms of pre-modern European imagery, such as that used in alchemical texts, render individual items in forms immediately legible to Europeans and indeed to most inheritors of Mediterranean culture.  Though the maker's meaning might be obscure to the viewer, most readers here could be …

A detail on folio 80v reconsidered. Pt 1

I do not see that one can argue, on the one hand, that the draughtsman's hand was so steady that he could draw a crossbow to scale in less than an inch on folio 75r, or on folio 80v draw so well the upper half of the face and so curious an object as that it holds, while being too incompetent to draw the rest..

A detail on folio 80v reconsidered. Pt 2

" ... Apparently these instruments were used to determine the latitude as well as to find the hour and the altitude of the sun, or at least they were adapted to determine the hour in different places and latitudes where a traveler might be. - Lynn Thorndike.

Medieval Mathematics

"The Renaissance Mathematicus" is one of my favourite blogs, but occasionally just like everyone else,Thony Christie gets a little too caught up with theoretical constructs and then comes a cropper because the general idea sounds fine, but the facts beg to differ. Even on the rare occasions when this happens on Thony's blog (and they …

events… and evolution of an emblem on f.86v – III-d

Elevation and keen sight are constant characteristics for these winged figures, whether pictured as avian or anthropomorphically,  and are appropriately implied again by the Voynich  'phoenix' / 'Angel of the Rose' . Unlike the Egyptians' bennu, the Voynich figure appears to rise from the palm, or from the wings of that 'Persian Pole' depicted in  …

events … and evolution of an emblem on f.86v. III-c

Claudius Ptolemy, Phoenicians and Greeks of the Hellenistic and Byzantine eras. Claudius Ptolemy did not consider himself to be creating a novel opus, but preserving and annotating the work of the Tyrian and Phoenician 'Marinos'. Writing in the 2ndC AD, Ptolemy says,  “We have  taken on a twofold task: first to preserve Marinos' opinions as …

Great news – the possibilities narrowing, thanks to Alain Touwaide

[edited with remarks from a correspondant who has read the original essay] (quote) "My impression is that Touwaide had been guided by the Beinecke Library's introduction, and believed that there was no debate about certain things, such as it being a herbal and about baths and astrology and so on, and that we was trying …

Heaven to earth; dots and dust (brief note)

I have no idea when the idea of geomancy first cropped up in Voynich studies. I'm not promoting it, either, but in trying to find out who began the new-wave 'geomancy' idea (i.e. post 1970s) of Voynich studies, Google says that on balance though Wayne started it, I deserve some of the blame.. for which I apologise.