FOOTNOTE POSTS (most of them)

SUMMARIES – #1: Summary of Posts June 2012-March 2013;

Method and philosophy:

* Kircher’s sieve;

* Citing sources is a problem;

* Diaries – how art and science intersect.

* Questioning imitations and fakes.

* Excellent memory – poor handwriting (Mnemonics; Nihil obstat & Augustine).

* Applying analytical method to botanical imagery in the Vms – first exercise offered to members of the Voynich mailing list (addressed);  Second;

Marginal notes for fol.86v:

* The Square Earth.

* the Angel of the Rose (detail in the north-west roundel).

* Trade Routes and Scripts

* Patterns and points

* of Portolan charts and Trebizond

* More on Trebizond

* A question of scale. A note on methodology.

Historical periods:

* The 1stC AD stratum

* More on the early centuries AD – postcard style

* Just before the Voynich cattle died: Clavijo, Timurlane and Samarqand.

Stylistics and details: .

         Aegis and Wolkenband for example:

* Pt 1 (Month roundels take  ‘shield’ not ‘zodiac’ form.)

* Pt 2: Inference from details – the  ‘nymphs’ sections.  (Notes)

* Pt 3Nymphs as abstractions/personifications – Connections to Egypt.

Comment:  Baresch and Kircher – re Egyptian style and months.

* Pt 4: Aegis and Wolkenband –  Greco-Egyptian culture in pre- and early Hellenistic regions: Libya and Bactria.

* Formal gestures in art. Pt. 1 EuropePt.2 India ….. Mudra [Mudhra] and Hasta.

* Drawings in scale: example fol.34r

*Hiatus (contains some comparative details, referring to the 1st-3rdC AD)

Codicology &  Technical details ~ including Textiles’.

The chances are high that any observations I might make about  things such as codicology, inks and pigments have already been made by another researcher – or twenty. The standard reference for the manuscript’s codicology is Nick Pelling’s book, The Curse of the Voynich (2008) and later additions or emendations published through his site,

I believe, though, that I was the first to suggest a connection between matter in the manuscript and the goods being traded across the silk road (apart from a person mentioned on ciphermysteries, who suggested trade of a rather different kind). I am quite sure that I was the first to link this manuscript’s imagery (and possibly its written text) to the early centuries AD, the world east of the Bosphorus, and the trade conducted by land and sea through the eastern sphere, especially the production of and trade in textiles, to which the botanical folios also apparently refer. Introductory to the topic:


* Passing note: the ‘Bargello’ design in the cathedral at Trabzon.

* Weaving the Voynich manuscript: short version

* Weaving the Voynich manuscript – seriously.

* short note: Voynichese pairings

* Textiles, storax and the alchemy of alum


I think most of the technical details have been noticed before but in this post I’m discussing possible connection between the manuscript’s written text and the imagery in different sections.

* Inks and pigments

* f.9v Viola group – hidden letters and lenses

* A bit more on dyes.

‘Alchemy’: perfumes and dyes.

Saba’s medicine

*Botanical and pharma sections – note.

.. in regard to which, here is Marignolli’s account of a cure in ‘Saba’:

I have referred in a couple of posts to Marignolli’s account of the physic which saved his life in a court he believed that of Sheba’s queen. For convenience I reproduce the relevant passage taken from the complete translation at the Silk Road Seattle site:

At this time God pitying his people caused Elias to appear, who had been kept by God, it is not known where. …It is asserted both by the Hebrews and the Sab Bans, i.e., the people of the kingdom of the Queen of Saba, that he had his place of abode in a very lofty mountain of that land which is called Mount Gybeit..

And there is a spring at the foot of that mountain where they say he used to drink, and I have drunk from that spring myself. But I was unable to ascend that Blessed Mountain, being weighed down with infirmities, the result of a very powerful poison that I had swallowed in Columbum, administered by those who wished to plunder my property. Although I was passing pieces of flesh from my intestines with a vast amount of blood, and suffered from an incurable dysentery of the third species for something like eleven months, a disease such as they say no one ever escaped from with life, yet God had compassion on me and spared me to relate what I had seen. For I did recover, by the aid of a certain female physician of that Queens, who cured me simply by certain juices of herbs and an abstinent diet.

I frequently saw the Queen .. I rode also upon her elephant, and was present at a magnificent banquet … in the presence of the whole city she honoured me with splendid presents. For she bestowed on me a golden girdle, such as she was ac­customed to confer upon those who were created princes or chiefs. This was afterwards stolen from me by those brigands in Seyllan. She also bestowed raiment upon me, that is to say one hundred and- fifty whole pieces of very delicate and costly stuff. Of these I took nine for our lord the Pope, five for myself, gave three apiece to each of the chief among my companions, with two apiece to the subordinates, and all the rest I distributed in the Queens own presence among her servants who stood around; that so they might perceive I was not greedy. And this thing was highly commended, and spoken of as very generous. I trust this little anecdote will not displease [His Majesty].

– this passage appears in the last excerpt: “from the chapter Concerning Jehoiada [Yoyada] the Priest”.

Other Incidental Posts

 Old Coptic

  See what I mean?

‘What’s wrong with Claudius Ptolemy?’

‘Passing note’  (Trebizond cathedral’s  ‘Bargello’ ceiling)

Community of St.Thomas – India

Déjà vu and SD on behalf of Edith Sherwood (again)

Holiday ramblings:

*New Year’s Resolution; *Holiday Announcement; *Early centuries AD -postcard style; *Botanical folios- gosh; *James, Odoric and the Octopus vine (f37r) [deleted]; *Annoying problem; *Not a cliff-hanger; *32-blink; *Convergence, coincidence and imitation; *Just before the Voynich cattle died (re- Clavijo); Beinecke Library site changes; Savage reviews; Plainly incomprehensible; Beinecke Library (post 3);


– these are mostly private posts –

Comment: Voynich studies is so diffused a field of research that the usual custom of finding and noting all previous work, to credit precedence, is  extremely difficult and unusually time-consuming. In effect, the history of Voynich studies resides in the memories of long-term researchers, and in the mass of a mailing list now defunct almost a decade.

A selection of some previous ideas and sources are found in Pelling’s book and website, and on Rene Zandbergen’s  Neither is comprehensive and for work done since about 2006-8, the only convenient source for reviews, as far as I know, is although a simple and pretty comprehensive list of researchers is offered by Knox at Notakrian/Links

Personal messages:



Peripheral matter:

Vague Speculations:

Pointless Voynich day-dreams

Stone and fabric: de Boodt musings

* POSTCARDS  – some are being posted on DeviantArt under ‘Voynicheriana’.


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