In this connection I must add that we still have a few voynich estate mss. (requiring additional research which I never found time for, before i attempt to sell them) which include one beautifully written text on fine vellum and some well and some poorly written manuscripts; and in none of them is there any difficulty in detecting corrections, erasures. This apparent lack of corrections has occasionally been taken as evidence that the scribe could not understand what he wrote, or even that the text is meaningless. Ever since high-resolution images of the ms have been publicly available, closer scrutiny by many people has revealed a few cases where it appears that the text has been emended. Following are those cases i am aware of, which shows that such corrections are few and minor. F16r f20v f24v f39r f39r f42r f50v f79r f80r f83r f102v2 f112r This general term is used to indicate several different types of additional writing that may be found in the. Only very few barely legible phrases in the normal (non-voynich) alphabet may be observed in the voynich. These are listed below, including the numbering of folios and quires.
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Pending that, it would appear as if Currier's correlation between hands and languages, which he based mostly on the herbal section, may not be valid for the other sections. It is worth noting here, that the features of the last lines of paragraphs described under the term 'titles' above, mostly appear in both 'styles'. Centred and right-justified lines appear in pages of all hands, while titles in the strict meaning of the word are only found on pages in language a and hand 1 (13). Apparent lack environment of corrections One unusual feature of the writing of the voynich ms is that it appears to have no corrections. The first mention of this (that i am aware of) is in a letter preserved in the beinecke library, from Anne nill to Theodore petersen, dated 19 Feb. She writes: I remember I talked too much, but did I really say "the. Does not include a single erasure or correction whatever I said, this is my present opinion: in all my experience of manuscripts I have never come across one in which corrections and erasures are so unobtrusive as they are in this. If it contains repository any. I have looked through it again - of course not every word, and have nothing to add to the one or two probable corrections I recorded. 1936 when I worked with photostats.
He called the main hands '1' and '2 and the textual variations languages 'a' and 'b and proposed that the 'a' text was written mostly in hand '1' and the 'b' text mostly in hand '2'. Currier even tentatively identified several more hands, which he called 3, 4, 5, x and. The following 'cuts' from various pages of the voynich ms show the different handwriting styles usd in the different sections of the manuscript. Currier's classification of languages into a first or B has been reflected in the font used in the captions. Red and bold for A-language, blue and italic for B-language and neutral when no identification was given. Each image represents a similar-sized section of a page. F2r, herbal f26r, herbal f70r2, cosmological f79v, biological f86v5, text-only f88v, pharmaceutical f116r, recipes At first sight, only the herbal-B page seems different, but more samples should be compared before any conclusions can be drawn. In addition, this sort of analysis should be done by an expert paleographer.
While some doubts have been expressed over the years by non-experts, it was recently confirmed by another handwriting expert (9). An interesting point with respect to the humanist hand is, that this was not at all popular in the time before printing, and it was an elitist hand primarily used for classical texts, but not for medical texts or by scribes (see note 9). The second question is whether the text is all by a single scribe, or one may identify different scribes, or at least different hands. Several experts have stated that the handwriting appears to be uniform throughout the. Panofsky made a short remark to his extent (10), and a more specific statement from. Carter (1946) is"d in section.1 of d'imperio (see note 2), who even goes further and says: Because the same ink and the same kind of penstrokes appear in the illustrations and because the text forms an integral and unified part of many. Toresella also stated (see note 8) that the entire ms appears to be in the same hand. Currier's Hands A contrary opinion was stated by Prescott Currier, who was the first to point out (11) a variation in handwriting style. He also correlated these with textual statistics, gender which are described on another page (12).
Many of these appear only once in the ms, and could be considered aberrant forms of standard characters. Others appear several times, and are concentrated in some pages of the. One of these has been called the 'picnic table' (x). Other examples may be found in the next page about transcription of the text. General A still largely unexplored area of the voynich ms is a palaeographic analysis of the writing. Since the script is unique, it does not lend itself very easily to such analysis, but a few comments have been recorded. They fall into two categories. The first is whether the type of script can be placed in a geographical or temporal context. In this respect, the herbalist Sergio toresella stated in 1995 (8) that the handwriting of the ms was a humanist hand, which belongs to 15th century Italy.
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Of particular interest is the codex of Tranchedino (ms vindobonensis 2398 in vienna which has been issued in a facsimile edition (6). This ms lists numerous, rather similar sets of ciphers to be used with different correspondents, and they are dated from 1450 to 1496. None of these ciphers uses the gallows characters mentioned above, but the common sequence 4o (see also the various illustrations of voynich ms text above) appears several times, typically representing a single character. Other typical features of the ciphers in Tranchedino are that they include nulls (characters that are introduced but have no meaning and that double characters are usually represented by a single code character. Among the few known examples of manuscripts from the 15th century that have been written in code are two manuscripts by the humanist giovanni fontana (ca. Also these are available in facsimile edition. More information about Fontana and his cipher may be found on a web page by Philip neal (7).
Initials The initial characters of many paragraphs are larger homework than usual, and are sometimes embellished with additional curls or dots. Not all characters in the ms can appear in a paragraph-initial position, and indeed these characters form only a very small subset. In addition to this, there are two initials highighted in red on the first page of the ms ( f1r which are not standard characters in the voynich ms alphabet. These have been the subject of some speculation, and many years ago i was struck how one of them appears almost identical to the old Aries symbol in Greek astronomical manuscripts (see in particular here. More recently, a convincing argument has been presented on this blog page by tersen. The conclusion is that these symbols have been used for centuries as emphasis or paragraph markers, and it is apparent that the voynich ms scibe was familiar with these. Rare characters The text of the ms includes numerous rare characters.
Of '4' both an early Arabic and a modern variety exist.(r l q d y some characters look like abbreviations found in Latin medieval manuscripts. They are briefly discussed below; The remaining set has been compared with alchemical symbols or early renaissance ciphers. These are also briefly addressed below. Latin abbreviations In medieval manuscripts numerous more or less standard abbreviations and ligatures were in use. A collection of such abbreviations may be found in the dictionary of Cappelli (1912) (3), which lists, in alphabetical order, a large number of abbreviations found in Latin and Italian manuscripts. While browsing through this dictionary, one will immediately recognise the similarity between some of its enties and the writing in the voynich.
D'imperio (see note 2) shows a few cases in Fig.17. A particular set of characters in the voynich ms is usually called 'gallows' characters. They ascend above the majority of other characters. There are four of these: They also occur in combination with the character ch, in which case they have been called 'pedestalled gallows While these characters are not typical abbreviations, one illustration in Cappelli (1912) (4) provides a striking comparison: Alchemical symbols Figure. There are only a few examples, and it is not certain whether this is coincidental or not, since these alchemical symbols were not known to me to have been in use in the early 15th century. 14th and 15th Century cipher Potentially of great interest is the comparison between the characters in the voynich ms and the symbols found in early renaissance cipher systems. D'imperio (Fig.39) shows examples from a cipher of Parma (1379 a venetian cipher (1411) and the code of Urbino (1440). While these do not show exactly the same characters as the voynich ms, there are some striking similarities, and the author of the ms may well have been inspired by these, or similar, examples.
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The following example is one paragraph on f88v. In addition, there are several places in the ms where writing seems to have been added 'afterwards' or where the text was perhaps not written in a strictly top-down line-by-line manner. One clear example is f105r, where one may observe a text break and a use of different inks before and after it, and also a partial line added above the last paragraph in the darker ink. There are more examples of this type of change in the. While the earlier owners of the voynich ms (Barschius, kircher) may possibly have believed that the writing represented a languague unknown to them, nowadays we know that there is no other old ms that uses the same writing. Ever since it was brought to light by voynich, people have compared the script with examples of writing. A summary of this is provided proposal in section 4 of d'imperio (1978) (2), and this may serve as the basis for the following. A number of characters are very similar to latin characters, and look like 'a 'c 'i' (undotted 'm' 'n' and 'o'. (a e i iin in o others look like numerals, such as 2, 4, 8 and.
Character or word sequences In some circular designs and occasionally also in parrot in the margins of some pages, sequences of single characters or short words may be found. These are usually referred to as key-like sequences. They have been included in the table at the bottom of this page, with the keyword 'seq'. The circular diagram on f57v deserves special mention here, as there appear to be several sequences of words and characters integrated in this figure. Since there is no reason to call these 'additional' or 'extraneous these alone are not included in the table. Non-sequential writing In a few places it appears as if the first characters of lines were written in a vertical column first, possibly in order to create a straight left margin. The remainder of the text was then added later.
not necessarily near an identifiable object. Titles The term 'titles' was introduced by john Grove. This term is related to the layout of the last lines of some paragraphs. Normally, these last lines are left-justified and do not reach the right margin. Three alternative formats are used occasionally: The last line is short and centred The last line is short and right-justified The last line is left-justified, but has additional words that are right-justified The last example is strictly speaking what John Grove called titles, but all. I have counted 17 pages that include centred end lines, 11 pages with right-justified end lines and 5 pages that use 'titles'. Text in circles Almost all astronomical, astrological and cosmological pages have circular drawings, some with text written in normal paragraphs, but all with text that has been integrated in the drawings. Frequently, text is written along the circumference of these circles, and occasionally also along radial lies. The following figure shows an example of text along the circumferences and along radii of such a circular drawing.
Pages in the so-called biological section tend to have much more text, filling the entire page, sometimes with just three paragraphs, but occasionally also more. The text tends to have a straight left margin, and is only roughly right-justified, except for the last line of each paragraph which tends to be shorter. The text consists of groups of characters separated by spaces, and these groups seem to form words. The same words tend to appear throughout the ms, with a frequency distribution that is quite normal for a meaningful text (1). Labels, in some places, single 'words' are written near elements of drawings. These have come to be called 'labels'. There is a clear suggestion that these words provide the name of the object in question. Many of the label words also occur in the running text, though only rarely do friend they also occur in the immediate vicinity of the label. The following types of labels may be found in the voynich Ms: A few whole plant labels in the herbal sections, on f2r, f41v (uncertain) and f65r ; A label near the dead body on f66r ; Star labels on the astronomical and cosmological pages.
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Voynich ms - text Analysis - the essay Writing System. Introduction, the main mystery of the voynich ms is clearly its unknown writing. This topic is addressed from three different aspects, on three (sets of) pages: A look at the writing system, describing its main properties, and similarities and differences with other known writing systems; Transcription of the text; Statistical analysis of the text of the ms (further. This page addresses the first part, the analysis of the writing system. Following are the main topics of this page: main text writing, almost the entire voynich ms is written in a script that is not found in any other surviving (old) document. The text of the ms has been written mostly in a line-by-line manner, obviously from top to bottom and from left to right. The majority of this text is written in short paragraphs, which are often separated from each other by a larger line spacing. Herbal pages typically have two or three such paragraphs, which tend to occupy mostly the upper half of the page, clearly avoiding the herb drawing.