By in Writing

The Strange Voynich Manuscript

Have you ever heard of the Voynich Manuscript? (Sorry, this photo is not really representative but I chose a Pixabay image for the sake of a photo).

The Voynich is a mysterious manuscript that is written in a strange, unknown language, illustrated with what look like watercolour drawings of various types, and carbon-dated to about 1404-1438.

It was bought by a Polish book dealer in 1912, whose name was Wilfred Voynich so the document came to be named after him. Eventually it found its way into the Yale Beineke rare book and manuscript library.

You can view the entire document here at Internet The Voynich Manuscript today.

It has about 240 pages which have been tackled by cryptographers and codebreakers, to no avail! Every page nearly has some kind of illustration on it, often of plant life, but also of astrological figures, and other inexplicable images such as strange circular charts, and women bathing, etc. It is said there are some side notes in Latin.

Perfect for that day when we have nothing, seriously nothing, to do but investigate the mysteries of the world!

Image Credit » by Hans

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xstitcher wrote on June 17, 2015, 6:48 PM

KristinRavelle wrote: Perfect for that day when we nothing, seriously nothing, to do but investigate the mysteries of the world!

Oi...yeah, I'd like to have a day like that...;)

Kasman wrote on June 17, 2015, 7:15 PM

There have been some doubters who believe that this manuscript is either a hoax or an elaborate joke. Why anyone would spend so much time and trouble to hoax future generations is beyond me. It falls into the same category as the Antikythera mechanism ( ) - another ancient device about which we will probably always speculate and wonder and probably never know the truth.

KristinRavelle wrote on June 17, 2015, 8:09 PM

Oh yes, I've heard of that and it's just as odd!

KristinRavelle wrote on June 17, 2015, 8:10 PM

Yikes, I see my missing word typo! But, I would like nothing better than one day like that.

valmnz wrote on June 17, 2015, 9:04 PM

No, I haven't heard of it before, but it does sound interesting. It would be great to see it, though I'm afraid trying to fathom it out would be just a little too much!

Last Edited: June 17, 2015, 9:04 PM

xstitcher wrote on June 17, 2015, 9:23 PM

I didn't notice your missing word until just now. ;p No worries! ;)

xstitcher wrote on June 17, 2015, 9:24 PM

Another thing I have never heard of, and now must go check out. ;)

VinceSummers wrote on June 17, 2015, 9:58 PM

I'm not a linguist, but will examine the downloadable manuscript to see if I get any hunches.

MegL wrote on June 18, 2015, 2:17 AM

That's interesting. No I had not heard of it. It is tantalisingly familiar. Some of the letters look familiar from different languages, like Greek and Arabic. But what interests me about it is how it was written. In those days, books were very rare and took a long time to prepare, by hand. Yet that book looks as if it was written quite hastily in terms of the text (not in terms of the drawings). Not many people could read or write in those days either, so it had to be a learned person who wrote it. I wonder if it is a hoax?

KristinRavelle wrote on June 18, 2015, 1:45 PM

It's very strange looking and not like anything I've ever seen and I've studied Russian, and speak/read a little Finnish. Something to puzzle over when one has time!

KristinRavelle wrote on June 18, 2015, 1:46 PM

I think if one spends some time over it, maybe get some ideas.

KristinRavelle wrote on June 18, 2015, 1:49 PM

There are some that say it's a hoax, but who would bother with 240 pages of script and illustrations to perpetrate a hoax? It's been carbon-dated too so at least as far as we can tell there is some truth to it being from 1400's. But I think you're right; someone had a very fluid hand, and very good penmanship skills. I'm wondering if it's some sort of herbal compendium about uses and relationships of plants?

cmoneyspinner wrote on June 18, 2015, 2:23 PM

What a fascinating mystery? An indecipherable manuscript? No known language and it dates back to the 1400s? A person could have a field day just speculating. My mind is going in all different directions. Is it a code? Is it a language developed by a specific person to preserve their work because it was unlawful or considered heretical? Was the manuscript writer like the last of the Mohicans and the only person alive from his culture or civilization and this was written to preserve the memory of what they knew? Are these plants recognizable? Where do they grow? On and on and on … Cool post!

AliCanary wrote on June 19, 2015, 10:05 AM

I've never heard of it, but it sounds fascinating! I like illuminated manuscripts and have even tried my hand at it.