5.22.2013

An Undeciphered Mysterious Book: Voynich Manuscript

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      This morning I read about a manuscript which I have never heard of before. It is the Voynich Manuscript written in an undeciphered language. I found it very very interesting so here are some information about it.
      It is a mysterious book thought to have been written in the 15th or 16th century (possibly in northern Italy). It is named after the Polish-American book dealer Wilfrid M. Voynich, who purchased it in 1912. It has 240 pages, the majority of which is the illustrations. Based on the subject matter of these drawings, the contents of the manuscript is divided into 6 sections:

1) Botanicals containing drawings of 113 (unidentified) plant species
2) Astronomical and astrological drawings, astral charts with radiating circles, suns and moons, Zodiac symbols, nude females and courtly figures
3) A biological section containing drawings of miniature female nudes, most with swelled abdomens, immersed or wading in fluids and oddly interacting with tubes and capsules
4) An array of nine cosmological medallions, many drawn across several folded folios and depicting possible geographical forms
5) Pharmaceutical drawings of over 100 different species of medicinal herbs and roots
6) Continuous pages of text, possibly recipes, with star-like flowers.

      Thinking about its purpose, it gives the impression to address topics in medieval or early modern medicine. However the details of illustrations seem quite puzzling. The "biological" section is sometimes interpreted as implying a connection to alchemy. Furthermore, in the astrological section, no one has been able to interpret the illustrations within known astrological traditions.

      I find it very interesting that although many professional/amateur cryptographers and codebreakers worked on it, it still remains undeciphered -not only by means of language but also by means of content.
      In 1969 it is donated to Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and you can find the whole book in this link:
 
 

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