Enlarge / Composed circa
1420, the 240-page Voynich manuscript is considered by scholars to
be the most interesting and mysterious document ever found.
(credit: Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)
The Voynich manuscript
is a famous medieval text written in a mysterious language that so
far has proven to be undecipherable. Now, Gerard Cheshire, a
University of Bristol academic, has announced his own solution to
the conundrum in
a new paper in the journal Romance Studies. Cheshire identifies
the mysterious writing as a “calligraphic proto-Romance” language,
and he thinks the manuscript
was put together by a Dominican nun as a reference source on
behalf of Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon. Apparently it took him
all of two weeks to accomplish a feat that has eluded our most
brilliant scholars for at least a century.
So case closed, right? After all, headlines are
already trumpeting that the “Voynich manuscript is solved,”
decoded by a “UK genius.” Not so fast. There’s a long,
checkered history of people making similar claims. None of them
have proved convincing to date, and medievalists are justly
skeptical of Cheshire’s conclusions as well.
What is this mysterious manuscript that has everyone so excited?
It’s a 15th century medieval handwritten text dated between 1404
and 1438, purchased in 1912 by a Polish book dealer and antiquarian
named Wilfrid M. Voynich (hence its moniker). Along with the
strange handwriting in an unknown language or code, the book is
heavily illustrated with bizarre pictures of alien plants, naked
women, strange objects, and zodiac symbols. It’s currently kept at
Yale University’s Beinecke Library of rare books and manuscripts.
Possible authors include Roger Bacon, Elizabethan
astrologer/alchemist John Dee, or even Voynich himself, possibly as
Source: FS – All – Science – News
No, someone hasn’t cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript