By D.N. O'Donovan

Language as line.

Zodiac issues and others

 clarifications and minor corrections made: 6/12/2017 The Voynich archer figure – revisited. A couple of years ago,  I posted the comment quoted below, after which Nick Pelling said that  sagittarius was ‘an ordinary Latin word for an archer’.  And so it was; that was  my point –  the Vms figure isn’t an ‘ordinary archer’ but a fairly unusual sort of crossbowman;  and the word I used wasn’t ‘sagittarius’ but  sagittario/s.  I said: November 28, 2015 at 10:23 am : The later popularity of the [crossbow-bearing] type in ‘central Europe’ is easily explained – not by any direct connection to our manuscript, but simply…

Musing.. cloudbands?.. addendum A

Koen’s comment to an earlier post offered helpful comparisons (repeated below) for the bordering line which appears in numerous folios of the Voynich manuscript (illustrated left from f.68v). In Voynich studies, a convention (whose original proponent I cannot discover), sees this sort of line  described  as a ‘cloudband’,  a term that  by analogy suits its employment in f.68v pretty well.  I say  “by analogy” because in Latin art the cloudband appears consistently in a different form, though to the same purpose as the liminal line is used in f.68v namely, to indicate the boundary between the mundus and the realm of…

Cloudband history in brief

This history was (as I promised)  in a coming post – the next part of the ‘orb and book’ series – but as it  happens  JKP decided a few days ago to  post something about the ‘cloudband’ in general, taking as his reference [MS] Národní knihovna České republiky   XXIII.C.124,  also known as Velislavova bible  or Biblia picta Velislai.   It is online, digitised, courtesy of   Manuscriptorium’  (a site offering its readers tutorials on how to use it. See Tutorial 3). JKP’s post, ‘And the Clouds parted‘  is at voynichportal.com  (20th. November 2017). The Velislavova bible was made just when you’d expect: c.1340*. It is…

Text to test: Gersonides

Apropos of the Book of Job and commentaries on it – Sorting through the material to work out which modern writers and wikis etc. do or don’t correctly distinguish  ‘Gersonides’ from Jean Gerson, it began to dawn on me, not altogether to my joy,  that Gersonides’ Wars of the Lord  ticks an awful lot of Voynich boxes. Readers should take as a compliment my decision not to append any list of recommended reading.

The orb, the book.. – Pt 2

I’m away for a few days; any typos or other errors attended to when I get back. The header is a detail from a copy of the Pauper’s Bible (or Bible moralisée) made c.1250.  The pair below  from a copy of L’Image du monde, another mid-thirteenth century work, though largely dependent on its author’s French translation…

The Orb, the Book, and implied equivalence

Correcting misinterpretations of  ‘orb-‘ and cloudband isn’t the most exciting thing to be doing, but has brought up an interesting question: How was it that certain Norman-Anglo-French illustrators came to substitute the orb for  the book in imagery of Christ in Judgement – an iconic form fixed for more than a thousand years in   the Western (Latin-) Christian and in the Eastern (Byzantine/Greek) traditions?  And further – how did the illustrators get away with it? And why was the newer type so rapidly and widely disseminated –  in England and France apparently as a ‘template’ design?  Within less than a…

“inverted T-O”? – not exactly. (Pt 3 – a digression) in summary form

Preliminary remarks: This post was originally a three thousand word essay provided with the usual   historical, iconographic and comparative detail, cross- referenced to earlier commentary by the present author, as to other academic sources. The whole was provided with a bibliography. On reflection, what is now almost a decade’s experience of publishing ‘Voynich’ research and…

“inverted T-O”? – not exactly. Pt.2

During the earlier Christian centuries, Christ was not envisaged with royal regalia.  ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18: 36/37 ) though he was recorded as saying he would return on the world’s Day of Judgement  ‘in great power and glory/majesty‘.  [texts]. The Byzantine Christ Pantokrator (ruler of all) bears neither  sceptre nor orb;…

” inverted T-O”? – not exactly. (pt1)

Ellie Velinska has suggested that I contribute something positive to a discussion which has developed following the revival of a comparison she made in 2014 between a detail in the Vms and one in the frontispiece to a manuscript copy of Nicholas Oresme’s ‘Treatise on the Sphere’ (BNF. fr. 565).  Here’s the frontispiece. here’s the pairing. I contributed my comment on Ellie’s suggested comparison in 2014, but since the  recent revival finds certain new assumptions and assertions made without sufficient thought or preliminary investigation, I suppose there is something more I might say. Among these new assumptions and assertions, I’ll…

Containers in the “leaf and root” section – a selective review

*click to enlarge I have agreed to assert intellectual rights over the research and conclusions for which these comparative images were first introduced to Voynich studies as illustration. It is not pleasant to have to make the assertion, which would be unnecessary were all Voynicheros in the habit of observing the usual civilities and formalities. However, I agree that a positive statement may lessen the likelihood of future difficulties for my publisher.   Some of the same images – with or without reference to their associated matter and/or the present author – have since been taken up and so appear now…

Text/image disjunction

As my longer-term readers will surely know, the bizarre dichotomy which exists  between  Voynicheros’ standards and methodology in treating the written part of the text versus that applied in relation to the pictorial text has, over the years, elicited from me  reactions from astonishment through blank incredulity, to smiling bemusement  – even occasional sympathy –  into frustration and positive outrage. How CAN the same persons who apply rigorous analytical-critical method to discussion of script, cryptanalysis and data entirely abandon that standard  as soon as the subject switches to the imagery? For any casual reader here, let me give an example…

Reading [the] script: inscribe and DigiPal

http://www.digipal.eu/blog/inscribe-training-platform-for-palaeography-and-manuscript-studies/ “More often than not, the exploration of the codex as an archaeological artefact helps one to better understand its origin, provenance and even its very raison-d’etre” – from the Introduction ” The PAL is a Platform Abstraction Layer that is used in a variety of projects. The PAL allows for easy compatibility between many different flavors of UNIX/Linux, including AIX 6.1 and later, HP/UX 11.31 and later, Solaris 5.10 and later, and most versions of Linux as far back as RedHat 5.0, SuSE 10.1, and Debian 5.0.” from https://github.com/Microsoft/pal as example:  Visigothicpal (in Spanish) http://litteravisigothica.com/las-plataformas-pal-guia-basica/ (Jan 15th., 2017) http://litteravisigothica.com/las-plataformas-pal-puntos-fuertes/ (Feb. 15th., 2017) http://litteravisigothica.com/visigothicpal-intranet/…

A History of Voynich ideas/An idea of Voynich history (de-clunked)

Through 2014-15  I wrote three series in which I  traced the history of Voynich studies. These posts were ones I was driven to research, out of pure frustration that it was apparently impossible to discover  who had first asserted or argued a given ‘Voynich fact’ or where one might read and evaluate that idea’s first exposition. It was a passing comment made elsewhere by Philip Neal (if I recall) which pointed me to the publication, in 1921, of papers delivered to the Philadelphia College of Surgeons.  The papers were by Wilfrid Voynich and by William Romaine Newbold, in which each…

‘Dispensatories’ and related – by request

POSTS published at voynichimagery with tag/category ‘Dispensatories’. 2013 ‘Hypothetically’, (June 22nd., 2013) – not available to the public at present. ‘The Language Elephant’ (June 23nd., 2013) ‘ “In these same characters” – Pt.2′ (Aug. 30th., 2013) 2015 ‘Barsch’s “virum bonum” and Theriac’  (Feb. 20th., 2015) 2016 ‘The Voynich “albarello” – deconstructing a phantom. Pt 2’ (January 24th., 2016) _____________ — with  tag/category ‘Sandalani’ 2014 ‘Roger Bacon, Itineraries, Maths and Ludah Loew’ (Nov. 25th., 2014) – no public view. 2015 ‘Theriac – our rosetta stone?’ (Feb. 23rd., 2015) ‘Response Pt.2: Winds and Wings’ (Jan. 12th., 2015) –  no public view . …

Footnote to Pelling’s comment of 2002

Almost fifteen years ago, in a post written to the first mailing list (Tue, 24 Sep 2002 12:34:03 +0100) Nick Pelling wrote: David A. King’s book “The Ciphers of The Monks” describes a number of ciphers which (he postulates) come from a mostly-lost Ancient Greek cipher, through the Basingstoke cipher and John of Tilbury, to various Cistercian ciphers (where they mostly faded out).   —————————— I have not come across any subsequent mention of the Tilbury cipher in connection with Beinecke MS 408 – which isn’t to say there has  never been one  – but thought I might add the…

Asterisms and Constellations and how not to confuse them with Tropical Signs.

Originally posted on The Renaissance Mathematicus:
If you are going to write about something, especially if you intend to lay bare somebody else’s ignorance, it pays to actually know what you are talking about otherwise you could well end up looking like a total idiot, as does Anna Culaba in her article on the RYOT website, The Stars and Your Astrological Signs Have Been Lying to You This Whole Time. I should point out that Ms Culaba is by no means the first person to publically embarrass themselves pontificating on this subject, in fact it’s a reoccurring theme much loved…

Some questions – part of the research plan

Here are some among the questions formulated as part of my  research plan, and which then gave structure to the work which I did on this manuscript, publishing selected items online, in blog form, between 2008-2017.   Given the extent to which the results obtained have proven so stimulating to tired imaginations, I hope the questions may prove useful to people who enjoy the actual work of research. Consider the most frequently-repeated assertions and assumptions made about this manuscript. Can each be tracked to origin in a specific body of research – historical, palaeographic or iconographic?  Is it possible to name the first person to give…