Rose on the page: Alberti

I expect this may excite a number of Voynich writers, though it is not, in fact, an explanation of he Voynich map.  What it shows is that ALberti had learned something of the technique by which rhumb-gridded cartes marine had, by then, been created for more than a century.

I add it mainly because in speaking about the patterns created in Juian Bunn’s reduction of the written text, I referred to the colour wheel as  possible key for a cipher.

At the time I hadn’t thought to refer to Alberti.  He’s a man whose style of drawing is pure Renaissance and has nothing in common with the style in which the Voynich map is drawn.

But he did create cipher, and he did create this ‘rose’ wheel for a depiction of Rome, the images below being two re-creations that I’ve just seen today online. For the associated articles, see the links given on each.

This is colour wheel I used in the earlier post. It was used to illustrate the idea of a wheel organised left-right and at the same time, around-the-circle.


  1. .. and here’s a recent-looking blog online on the subject of colour, according to a number of medieval and later medieval writers. In German. Good to read, but not quotable because there’s no date of publication – which means that in theory the matter on that page could have been obtained yesterday from your own blog as easily as the opposite.


  2. Might not this be a clue to the nature of f.57v?

    I don’t mean to suggest that Alberti made the diagram in Beinecke MS 408, but that the folio may be another of those links evinced by the imagery – directly and by implication – to the environment of fourteenth century Genoa and Majorca from which the finished form of the new cartes marine emerged. Although the old habit of terming them ‘portolan’ charts has recently been revived by some writers, eminent scholars have explained the reasons for objecting to it and I accept that opinion myself. The connection to Alberti is via his family’s business interests and connections, to which his knowledge of the ‘mapping wheel’ has often been attributed.


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