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Modern Mysteries

Is the Voynich Manuscript a health manual ?

By T.K. Randall
September 10, 2017 · Comment icon 5 comments

Is this a medieval women's health manual ? Image Credit: PD
A history researcher believes that he may have finally solved the mystery of the medieval manuscript.
The enigmatic codex, which was first discovered in an Italian monastery by book dealer Wilfrid Voynich back in 1912, contains 240 pages of strange, indecipherable characters and images.

Written on fine calfskin parchment, the book has been dated back to the 15th century however all efforts to derive meaning from its contents have so far resulted in failure and frustration.

Now though, history researcher Nicholas Gibbs believes that he may have found the answer.
Far from being some secretive codex, he argues, the Voynich Manuscript is actually little more than a women's health manual containing text copied from various other medieval books and guides.

By studying digitized images of the manuscript's pages, he was able to spot a common form of medieval Latin abbreviation used primarily in medical treatises about herbs.

"From the herbarium incorporated into the Voynich manuscript, a standard pattern of abbreviations and ligatures emerged from each plant entry," he wrote. "The abbreviations correspond to the standard pattern of words used in the Herbarium Apuleius Platonicus."

"So this wasn't a code at all; it was just shorthand. The text would have been very familiar to anyone at the time who was interested in medicine."

Source: The Atlantic | Comments (5)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Stiff 7 years ago
Fascinating. Somehow I prefer things with that total air of mystery but I guess it's better to know the truth (if it is, of course) than not.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew 7 years ago
It has been pointed out by botanists that about half of the depicted plants do not exist in real life and are quite fantastical. 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Ozfactor 7 years ago
maybe it was their interpretation of plants, with a bit of free license because some of the plants do not look recognisable . 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Calibeliever 7 years ago
Where the heck has this guy been all these years?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Stiff 7 years ago
https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/09/experts-are-extremely-dubious-about-the-voynich-solution/


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