Note for those who like ciphers and such

The blog’s header image is from a bas relief found at Porta Romana (actually my notes read ‘Porto Romana’), presumably that near Milan.

However, I chose it both for its points of similarity to Voynich script and points of similarity to scripts attested in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries from the far south of the peninsula, a region deeply influenced by Greek-Byzantine culture and by its own acceptance of cultural and ethnic diversity before the mid-fifteenth century.

The Porta Romana inscription is dated to 1197 AD.

The next, dated 1378/9, is from the Salento.  I used this too as a header for some time, thanks to Linda Safran who gave permission, under the usual conditions.

Full details of that article:

Linda Safran, ‘Greek in the Salento: Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Texts’, in Andreas Rhoby (ed.), Inscriptions in Byzantium and Beyond. Methods – Projects – Case Studies (2015) pp. 247-240.

I mention that paper again because I see now that Safran, and Rhoby, had earlier written papers about Byzantine cryptograms and secret writing.

  • Linda Safran, ‘Greek Cryptograms in Southern Italy (and Beyond)’.. a paper delivered at 48th International Congress of Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, May 2013.

online at

  • Andreas Rhoby: ‘Secret Messages? Byzantine Greek Tetragrams and Their Display’.

online at

Philip Neal occasionally  mentioned thinking that the Voynich text seems to act rather like Latin.

I’ve always thought it interesting how easily individual words, and even the glyphs, can be read as a form of non-standard and slightly wonky Greek.  Neal’s observations are those of a classical Latin scholar; mine no more than observations about the shapes and context in which the occasional label occurs.













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