The Voynich Manuscript (VM) has held a fascination for scholars and amatures alike for many years being one of the very few un-deciphered manuscripts. It looks in many ways like a typical 15th or 16th century "encyclopedia", and is filled with many botanical images, a zodiac, some that appear to be astronomical and a section that looks to portray baths or pools, tubes and female figures (commonly referred to as "nymphs" by VM researchers). However, the script that accompanies it is not in any known language consisting of unique glyphs rather than any known letters and has frustrated cryptographers since it was presented by Voynich in 1912 (research suggests that previous owners of the manuscript may also have attempted to have it translated), including members of the NSA. In 1978 M. E. D'Imperio published on behalf of the NSA a compendium of the research carried out on the manuscript over the years including by various members of the NSA since the first study group in 1944, part of an "extracurricular" research group set up by William F. Friedman. A link to the monograph by can be found below and other links to the history of the manuscript for those who are new to the subject:
(Cryptology; The Voynich Manuscript - an Elegant Enigma M. E. D'Imperio 1978)
Although I have spent a number of years considering the contents of this manuscript I am not an academic, merely an interested member of the public and have no qualifications in any of the areas related to the manuscript. I came across the existence of the manuscript a number of years ago by chance and was at once captivated by it. Having considered a number of theories myself, including the "faux" manuscript scenario, I came ever more to the conclusion that it contained real data and that this was mainly astronomical in nature. What follows is not a solution, or even a paper trail promising to reveal the author (which is what the research community is waiting for). but an exploration into the possibility that it is a factual if unconventional astronomical treatise. The starting point was my attempt at translation (using my own method of translation which does not follow the strict logical format required by academics) of what could be considered the most obvious and clearly defined of all the possible astronomical folios in the manuscript, f68r, right. I also suggest a way of interpreting the "markers" found on many of the folios which may be of interest to others in their own particular research, even if unrelated.
In conclusion this exploration leads to the possible tale of two stars separated by time, distance and culture. In addition the possibility that the botanical sections are related to the effects of the stars on earth (and particularly on people) as messengers of famine, pestilence and war. The section with the "bathing nymphs" ("biological" section) suggests it may contain later astronomical data, including constellations not named until the late 17th century, making it possibly much later than the carbon dating of the actual vellum. Other possibilities considered are the location of the "star of Bethlehem" and the conflict between astronomers and the authorities of the 17th century over matters such as a geocentric universe, which should not be considered insignificant in the decision to encode information considering astronomers such as Bruno lost their lives for such teachings. Emperor Renzong, Tycho, Kepler, Marci, Kircher, Hevelius and Gallileo are all names that appear in this exploration, but at the end of the day my research only scratches a possible surface and the majority of the manuscript is untouched, some folios just being given a possible context at most. Some data has been held back for the moment because I want to re-examine it or it is a work in progress and any further additions including possible plant identifications will depend on whether or not there is any interest in this being done.
Most recently carbon dating has been carried out on portions of the manuscript, dating it to around 1404-1438 with 95% confidence, which agrees well with the conclusions in "an Elegant Enigma", this however only dates the time of the animals death and the production of the vellum, not when it was written and so the year of its actual authorship remains uncertain. At the very most I can only hope that some of my exploration is correct or opens the way to a better understanding of the purpose of the manuscript and at the very least that it is at least of interest to some and bring a fresh way of looking at the manuscript.
P. Han, 2010.
Copyright © 2010 P. Han