The Voynich manuscript, generally described because the ‘world’s most mysterious textual content,’ makes use of proto-Romance, a language that arose from a mix of spoken Latin (Vulgar Latin) and different languages throughout the Mediterranean throughout the early Medieval interval following the collapse of the Roman Empire and subsequently developed into the numerous Romance languages. The manuscript originates from Castello Aragonese, an island fortress and citadel off Ischia, Italy, and was compiled by a Dominican nun as a supply of reference for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon, in accordance with analysis by College of Bristol’s Dr. Gerard Cheshire.
The Voynich manuscript, named after the Polish-American antiquarian guide seller Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912, is a small guide 23.5 x 16.2 cm of about 240 pages.
Practically each web page of the manuscript comprises scientific and botanical drawings in numerous shades of inexperienced, brown, yellow, blue, and crimson. The vellum used within the guide was carbon dated to 1404-1438.
Though the aim and meaning of the manuscript had eluded students for many years, it took Dr. Cheshire two weeks to determine the language and writing system of the famously inscrutable doc.
“I skilled a sequence of ‘Eureka!’ moments while deciphering the code, adopted by a way of disbelief and pleasure once I realized the magnitude of the achievement, each by way of its linguistic significance and the revelations concerning the origin and content material of the manuscript,” Dr. Cheshire mentioned.
“The Voynich manuscript is written in proto-Romance — ancestral to today’s Romance languages including Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, Catalan and Galician. The language used was ubiquitous in the Mediterranean during the Medieval period, but it was seldom written in official or important documents because Latin was the language of royalty, church and government. As a result, proto-Romance was lost from the record, until now.”
“The manuscript’s alphabet is a combination of unfamiliar and more familiar symbols. It includes no dedicated punctuation marks, although some letters have symbol variants to indicate punctuation or phonetic accents. All of the letters are in lower case and there are no double consonants.”
“It includes diphthong, triphthongs, quadriphthongs and even quintiphthongs for the abbreviation of phonetic components. It also includes some words and abbreviations in Latin.”
Translations by Dr. Cheshire reveal that the manuscript is a compendium of data on natural cures, therapeutic bathing and astrological readings regarding issues of the feminine thoughts, of the physique, of replica, of parenting and of the guts in accordance with the Catholic and Roman pagan spiritual beliefs of Mediterranean Europeans throughout the late Medieval interval.
“Within the Voynich manuscript there is a foldout pictorial map that provides the necessary information to date and locate the origin of the manuscript,” Dr. Cheshire mentioned.
“It tells the adventurous, and rather inspiring, story of a rescue mission, by ship, to save the victims of a volcanic eruption in the Tyrrhenian Sea that began on the evening of the 4 February 1444.”
“The manuscript originates from Castello Aragonese, an island fortress and citadel off Ischia, and was compiled for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon, who led the rescue mission as regent throughout the absence of her husband, King Alfonso V of Aragon who was in any other case occupied, having solely not too long ago conquered after which taken management of Naples in February 1443.”
“The island of Ischia is historically famous for its hot volcanic spas, which exist to this day. The manuscript has many images of naked women bathing in them, both recreationally and therapeutically.”
“There are also images of Queen Maria and her court conducting trade negotiations whilst bathing. Clearly the spa lifestyle was highly regarded as a form of physical cleansing and spiritual communion, as well as a general means of relaxation and leisure.”
“The next step is to use this knowledge to translate the entire manuscript and compile a lexicon, which will take some time and funding, as it comprises more than 200 pages,” Dr. Cheshire mentioned.
His paper was revealed on-line April 29 within the journal Romance Research.
Gerard Cheshire. The Language and Writing System of MS408 (Voynich) Defined. Romance Research, revealed on-line April 29, 2019; doi: 10.1080/02639904.2019.1599566