By D.N. O'Donovan

Language as line.

Incidental words – 3 labels

Koen Gheuens’ latest post talks about methods used to tackle the Voynich text. Label reading Computer attacks Block paradigm I’d add a fourth –  Linguistic analysis –  but I guess it could be described partly as a computer attack (e.g. Jorge Stolfi’s statistical analysis), and partly as the slow, careful identification of patterns, either in…

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Hostile Architecture: ‘Design Crimes’ Campaign Gets Bars Removed from Benches [ARTICLE] — 99% Invisible

Hostile designs can look innocuous, like “armrest” bars dividing up a public bench to prevent rough sleeping. So artist Stuart Semple has launched a new sticker series and website to highlight these approaches around the world. 589 more words via Hostile Architecture: ‘Design Crimes’ Campaign Gets Bars Removed from Benches [ARTICLE] — 99% Invisible

A brief sketch – resources on Sozomeno’s teacher

This has to do with a possible intersection of Nick Pelling’s “block-paradigm paradigm” ( YouTube interview 12:48-18:55)  for attacking the Vms’ written text, and Michelle Smith’s bringing to notice a school-boy’s note book,  produced for his teacher –  Maestro Antonio di Ser Salvi Vannini. Now, when you think about it, the real mind behind a schoolboy’s book…

Michelle Smith – what a find!

A few months ago now Michelle Smith recognised a correspondence between the style of the Voynich ‘bathy-‘ folios and a  schoolbook which had been made by the (-later) famous humanist-and-copyist, Sozomeno.  Smith chose not to talk about this publicly, but delivered the find to the forum ‘voynich.ninja’ via a well known Voynichero, Rene Zandbergen.  …

folio 13r – a fuss of bananas

  I’ll begin with a correction to an apparent error published at voynich.nu where the Voynichero who runs the site – Rene Zandbergen – comments under folio 13r that “This has been compared to a banana plant but this tentative identification is not generally accepted”. Rene Zandbergen   This is not quite the situation today. …

Another detail

The trusty search engines tell me that before July 1st., 2017 at 5:08 am, when marenostrum-2 tweeted the following image,  no-one had referred to it online, so that is the original source to be cited for its dissemination, I should say.  The folio pictured is from  Biblioteca de Catalunya. Ms. 1452  (f.58).   That manuscript is a…

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f.33v ‘Lotus-like’ Plants – updated (Part 2)

In addition to other differences in style and attitude, the large botanical images manifest another – definitive – difference from western herbals.   Each shows a systematically-constructed composite picture, presenting a group of plants that the makers regarded as interchangeable or (less often) complementary in their commercial and practical uses. Medieval herbals, on the other…

f.33v Preliminary remarks

Jorge Stolfi’s paper The header to this post shows details from an article published by Jorge Stolfi.   Jorge Stolfi, ‘Is folio 33v a sunflower?’ (last edited 17th. January 1998 at 07:52:44 by Stolfi)   Stolfi’s paper is important to the history of this study not because he supposed O’Neill’s sunflower was on f.33v, nor…

Style – the critical element

  The style in which the botanical pages  are drawn shows Indian and south-east Asian habits in art  have affected images first enunciated in a Hellenistic environment, something confirmed (not least) by the relative placing and weight of image over text. In addition there is some relatively late and fairly specific influence present in the…

Crux and Ursa minor in the Voynich manuscript

Started out re-formatting a post from 2015; ended up with something rather different. It is evident that the cardinal directions are represented several times on folio 67v-1 and that the astronomical markers are late additions to the diagram.  By ‘late’ I don’t mean post-production.   It is undisputed by historians of European astronomy that Crux…

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Site overhaul

The new theme has solved a lot of older problems but brought a couple of new ones, prompting me to stop putting off a long needed overhaul.  Old formatting glitches, dislocated images, quotations in blaring default font; the too-long and too-numerous Categories, and old posts which need links to newer material on the same matter.…

More on hands, mathematics – and the ‘ladies’.

As many readers are well aware, I read the ‘bathy-‘ section as cosmographical-geographic.  That is, I read that imagery as treating in parallel the astronomical and geographic co-ordinates of loci upon certain specific routes of the east-west trade, and more exactly of the maritime trade.   The calendar may be an exception, and certainly its…

zodiac and other issues Pt 3

[Weekend/holiday reading: effectively parts 3-5  to which is appended a very short post on the rubbishy ‘Children of the Planets’ notion… so take your time!]   A twenty-first century westerner’s instinctive response to pictures made for, and by, persons dead these last six hundred years can sometimes be quite correct – that is, they read…

Zodiac issues and others Pt2

“Sagittario” and “Sagittipotens” (and a German in Kircher-era Venice). IN 1611 (when the Voynich manuscript may, or may not, have been in Prague), a musician named Heinrich Schütz  was in Venice. Some of  his Venetian-style madrigals were published by a local printer, who rendered the composer’s name  Henrico Sagittario allemanno—“Henry Archer (or: Bowman),  the  German”. The example neatly…

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, 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…