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    Voynich Manuscr ipt

    http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/voynich.html

    Written in Central Europe at the end of the 15th or during the 16th century, the

    origin, language, and date of the Voynich Manuscript—named after the Polish- American antiquarian bookseller, Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912— are still being debated as vigorously as its puzzling drawings and undecipheredtext. Described as a magical or scientific text, nearly every page containsbotanical, figurative, and scientific drawings of a provincial but lively character,drawn in ink with vibrant washes in various shades of green, brown, yellow, blue,and red.

    Based on the subject matter of the drawings, the contents of the manuscript fallsinto six sections: 1) botanicals containing drawings of 113 unidentified plantspecies; 2) astronomical and astrological drawings including astral charts with

    radiating circles, suns and moons, Zodiac symbols such as fish (Pisces), a bull(Taurus), and an archer (Sagittarius), nude females emerging from pipes orchimneys, and courtly figures; 3) a biological section containing a myriad ofdrawings of miniature female nudes, most with swelled abdomens, immersed orwading in fluids and oddly interacting with interconnecting tubes and capsules; 4)an elaborate array of nine cosmological medallions, many drawn across severalfolded folios and depicting possible geographical forms; 5) pharmaceuticaldrawings of over 100 different species of medicinal herbs and roots portrayedwith jars or vessels in red, blue, or green, and 6) continuous pages of text,possibly recipes, with star-like flowers marking each entry in the margins.

    For a complete physical description and foliation, including missing leaves, seethe Voynich catalog record .(http://130.132.81.132/pre1600ms/docs/pre1600.ms408.htm)

    Read a detailed chemical analysis of the Voynich Manuscript (8 p., pdf)(http://hdl.handle.net/10079/8cz8wkh)

    History of the Collection

    Like its contents, the history of ownership of the Voynich manuscript is contestedand filled with some gaps. The codex belonged to Emperor Rudolph II of

    Germany (Holy Roman Emperor, 1576-1612), who purchased it for 600 goldducats and believed that it was the work of Roger Bacon. It is very likely thatEmperor Rudolph acquired the manuscript from the English astrologer John Dee(1527-1608). Dee apparently owned the manuscript along with a number of otherRoger Bacon manuscripts. In addition, Dee stated that he had 630 ducats inOctober 1586, and his son noted that Dee, while in Bohemia, owned "abooke...containing nothing butt Hieroglyphicks, which booke his father bestowedmuch time upon: but I could not heare that hee could make it out." Emperor

    http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/voynich.htmlhttp://130.132.81.132/pre1600ms/docs/pre1600.ms408.htmhttp://130.132.81.132/pre1600ms/docs/pre1600.ms408.htmhttp://hdl.handle.net/10079/8cz8wkhhttp://hdl.handle.net/10079/8cz8wkhhttp://130.132.81.132/pre1600ms/docs/pre1600.ms408.htmhttp://130.132.81.132/pre1600ms/docs/pre1600.ms408.htmhttp://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/voynich.html

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    Rudolph seems to have given the manuscript to Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenecz(d. 1622), an exchange based on the inscription visible only with ultraviolet lighton folio 1r which reads: "Jacobi de Tepenecz." Johannes Marcus Marci ofCronland presented the book to Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) in 1666. In1912, Wilfred M. Voynich purchased the manuscript from the Jesuit College at

    Frascati near Rome. In 1969, the codex was given to the Beinecke Library by H.P. Kraus, who had purchased it from the estate of Ethel Voynich, WilfridVoynich's widow.

    References

    Goldstone, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. 2005. The Friar and the Cipher:Roger Bacon and the Unsolved Mystery of the Most Unusual Manuscript inthe World . New York: Doubleday.

    Romaine Newbold, William. 1928. The Cipher of Roger Bacon . Philadelphia,

    Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.Manly, John Mathews. 1921. "The Most Mysterious Manuscript in the World: Did

    Roger Bacon Write It and Has the Key Been Found?", Harper's MonthlyMagazine 143, pp.186–197.

    Cite as : General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, YaleUniversity

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