The Voynich Manuscript is perhaps the largest Medieval enigma of them all. New digitized edition might help scholars along
The Voynich Manuscript is a medieval book dating from the late 15th century (C14-dated); its strange, flowing script has never been deciphered, although theories are abundant; neither have its origins been determined. Furthermore, it contains 113 plant illustrations; however neither seem to depict flora found on Earth, and throughout its vellum pages are visuals of the cosmos, a small army of naked women cavorting through pools of water, and the arcane alphabet that has so frustrated linguists and cryptographers; and inspired hordes of non-specialists intrigued by the “esoteric knowledge” seemingly hidden away beneath the conundrum. Recent – more serious proposals stem from a linguist at the University of Bedfordshire in the UK, who claims to have identified fourteen sounds which match the symbols. Meanwhile, researchers at Delaware State University have argued the manuscript may have its origins in central Mexico after analyzing the nature of the bizarre plant illustrations. They are also of the opinion that the text of the manuscript might be in Nahautl, the language of the Aztecs.
Recently Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library site published the manuscript in a high definition digitized version allowing scholars from all over the world to study the manuscript in more detail. “Digital versions were previously available to the curious through the Beinecke, but the new scans are even sharper, and in sequential order, which means it is possible to examine each page following the next. It appears that recent conservation work have also addressed folds and curls that has previously blocked some pages, and new scanning equipment have made the colours more accurate”, writes Allison Meier for the Hyperallergic