The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated book dating from the 15th century, written in an unknow language and with unknown handwriting. In addition to the text there are images, mainly of unknown plants and constellations.
The book is written on parchment and its 102 pages are divided into 4 categories, deduced from the drawings:
The history of the manuscript
Many hypotheses have been made about this mysterious manuscript, but let’s start from the certain data.
This book was purchased by a book dealer of Polish origin, Wilfrid Voynich, from a Jesuit college in Villa Mondragone in 1912. It was Wilfrid who gave the manuscript its name.
Inside the book was found a letter written by Johannes Marcus Marci, rector of the University of Prague and royal physician of Rudolph II of Bohemia. The date was 1665 and from the letter it was clear that Johannes sent the book to Rome to a friend to be deciphered.
Initially it was thought that the book was from the sixteenth century, but in 2011 with the dating to Carbon-14 it was discovered that it was written between 1404 and 1438.
Many have tried (and are still trying) to decipher it, but no one has yet succeeded. Many hypotheses have been put forward:
- that it was a fake.
- that it was a camouflaged Latin.
- that it was written with special tables to encrypt documents, already known in the past.
But none of these hypotheses could give a complete translation of meaning to the things written in this mysterious book.
Modern decryption techniques were also applied, used during and after World War II by the US Navy, but the manuscript was the only text to have produced no results.
The Voynich manuscript: a possible solution
In 2014 Stephen Bax, professor of linguistics at the University of Bedfordshire, proposes the provisional coding of some words belonging to some plants and the constellation of Taurus and the translation of 14 of the signs of the mysterious alphabet.
Bax started from the images of subjects known to us to derive some safe name and after his research has put forward the hypothesis that it is neither a fake nor a cryptographic alphabet but simply a language or dialect now extinct.
According to the professor, it was written in the Caucasus area.
The book is still a mystery for now and has been mentioned in some novels and stories in which they give explanations of the same fantasy.