THE NEW SIGNATURE OF HORCZICKY (and the comparison of them all)
J.B.Hurych (23rd January 2007)

Signature No.1.: Discovered in 2003, in the Archive of the Castle Melnik, Bohemia. The signature is on the official order document issued by Horczicky himself (1617) - he was then the heytman of the Castle. The search was suggested by J.B. Hurych, the document found and copied by Karel Slajsna).

Signature No.2.: The second signature was discovered in Prague by René Zandbergen as the exlibris in one of the books owned by Horczicky. It was once the property of Clementinum, see It does not however contain the word "Tepenec"(as does the one in the VM as well as the other two signatures). Instead, it has the old name "Sinapi", the latinized "Horczicky" .

Signature No.3.: In January 2007, Petr Kazil copied another signature from the book in National Library of Prague, on the recommendation of Rafal Prinke (it was announced by Rafal in 2000, but it was somehow overlooked until 2007. The photographs by Peter are at

Our comment: The reaction of the critics on our first discovery (in 2003) was slightly negative, in spite of the fact it was confirmed by the Archive to be genuine and properly dated. It happened to be on official document signed by Horczicky and it was objected that it was too "ceremonial" signature to be used for analysis of Horczicky's name in the VM. When the second signature was found, it was hurriedly considered as "similar" to the one in the VM, without any further proof. Now, when the third, non-ceremonial signature was found, one can see clearly it is by the same hand as the first signature and what was considered "ceremonial" are the same embellishments as in that exlibris except of several loops at the end, added. So our first signature is now vindicated and to further prove the similarity of those two "signatures", i.e the first and the third, the following comparisons are given. Also at the end, the comparison with "signature" in the VM is made as follows.


Both first and third signatures are in Czech language, i.e .the words "Jakub z Tepence", in first case are in nominative (it is the official signature), and it is slightly modified, in the third signature, as "Jakuba z Tepence" where "Jakub" is in genitive (since it is exlibris, that is the way to indicates his ownership). Note: it seems that he actually wrote it Tepencze). First we show here the first signature, slightly magnified - please adjust the intensity of your monitor or the screen angle for laptop for the best viewing of the scans.

The whole third signature can be seen by clicking on the link above, here we only compare some letters in the same sections. First the letter "k". The agreement in the shape and form is extremely good. Then follows the section "Tep", please notice the similarity of peculiar letter "p" in both cases.

The word in between "Jacobi" and "Tepenec" is in both cases the Czech letter "z" written in the old fashion, looking like number "3". The meaning of "z" in Czech language is the same as in Latin "de". Even here are certain similarities in both samples. For comparison, the third picture is from the VM and the symbol is written at the beginning of the word "Tepenec". It was guessed once it was really the Latin "de" or a Greek letter "delta", i.e. the shorthand for Latin "de". None of this can be seen here and it seems it is in all three cases simply the letter "z" . Of course, we cannot be sure, the symbol in the VM is hardly visible.

Before we carry on, some words about the signature No.2, that is the "Sinapi" signature. There is no doubt that it is the Horczicky's name before he received his title, however latinized, followed with serial no. of the book owned by Horczicky (se the link above). The word "inscriptus" added after the name could confirm his name was written by him personally or that the book was donated by him to Clementinum as a gift (since no such word exists in the signature No.3 and that one was definitely his property). In second case, the name may not be in his own hand but in the hand of some archiver of the Clementinum, where is the book now. Also, the comparison of that signature with two other signatures is very difficult and as much as we can say, the script and the style are rather different (there are only few letters that are the same, while letter "p" is quite different and the rest cannot be compared at all. So we cannot compare it with the VM "signature" and for that reason we will not use it in our analysis. Also only letters "p" and "n" exist in both samples for comparison and we cannot find any tell-tale peculiarity that would give away the hand and confirm any similarity or identity with the one in the VM.

Please note, that the quotation marks when we use the word "signature" in the VM are applied here to indicate that we have to yet prove that there is really Horczicky signature in the VM. I believe that we have now enough material to compare with both "signatures" No.1. and No.3 with the one in the VM. For comparison, we used the color scans of the VM folio from Beinecke, not the old xerox copies that may be further distorted, probably being only the "copies of the copies". Not too much is seen at xerox copies anyway, only the fractions of words "Jacobi", "Tepenec" and possibly the word "Prag".

There is however clearly the whole word "Tepenec" in the colored scan that can be enhanced by filtering in graphic editor and luckily, that word also appears in both signatures No.1 a and No.3.. The word "Tepenec" has good outlines and shape so it is sufficient in details to identify any similarity of the the hand that wrote them. As for the person, there was no other Tepenec in his time, the name given to him at nobilitatio was of the castle Tepenec that was already then in ruins for 200 years and there was no bearer of that name before him.

For comparison, we present here small sample of colorgraphic filtering of the "signature" .

We studied only the area of the word "Tepenec" with proper magnification and below are the "signature" in the VM and corresponding No.1. and No.3. signatures, with proper scaling for better comparison .

As can be seen, we could not find any resemblance between those two signatures and the one in the VM. What remains to study are the words "Jacobi" and "Prague", but we did not do it since our graphic enhancement did not show them clearly enough. Apparently, they can be seen only under the ultraviolet light and or on some Xeroxes and even there the quality is not too god for any decent comparison.

CONCLUSION: We could not confirm that the "signature" in the VM was written with the same hand that wrote the signatures No.1 and No.3. The script in the VM is also rather simple, totally disconnected and reminds some modern script, it may even stand for the one of the twentieth century cursive. If there was an intent to simulate Horczicky's signature, the forger apparently had no idea how his signature looked like, especially if the ending should truly be "-encze" as in the signatures and not "-ence" as in the VM.

COMMENT: Since the time this article was published, several additional points were cleared, thanks to documentation posted by Dana Scott, at The most valuable is the clear copy of xerox picture after Voynich treatment. The question still remains what is the second word (is it "z" or "de"?), since in none of the xeroxes nor on Beinecke scan is clear enough. However, if it is Czech "z" then the word Tepenec is wrong - it should be in proper Czech declination "z Tepence" (as seen in the signature no.3) otherwise it is a serious grammatical error (it should be in genitive, i.e. "z Tepence"). Horczicky never made such mistake in his own signature and neither would any Czech, only foreigner probably would,. If it is however "de Tepenec" then it is in good Latin. Of course, Horczicky never signed himself in Latin form, except in the signature No.2, but as we said, it may not have been written by him, since there is no similarity with No.1 nor with No.2. signatures.

As for Voynich xerox copies, several parts of the "signature" can be also seen in Beinecke scans, but very little of the visible chemical damage to the vellum can be seen on rough xeroxes.

Because of the damage, we cannot date the signature neither the erasure (if there really was one). Voynich actually never talked about the spilling some chemicals on the folio, only about "underdeveloping" of the Photostat. Voynich claims it was due that "underdeveloping", that the "signature" appeared visible. Photostat technique of course only projects the original on light sensitive paper, so no chemicals were needed to be applied to the original itself. Later, he admits, some chemical treatment was applied to the vellum, probably to make the "signature" permanently visible but also with some catastrophical effect to the surface of the vellum. Was that really necessary? Couldn't they do some experiments first? Even more problematic is that we do not know now which spots are old and which happened during the claimed former erasure ( the "signature" was first not visible at all). Also, some spots and/or text may have disappeared during the last 90 years, thanks to the light exposure and/or continuing process due to those chemicals (which were never really specified either). Neither we can distinguish the traces of alleged former erasure nor even the means the "signature" was erased (mechanical, dilution, chemical?). What we may need is the special depth penetrating scan to distinguish between several layers of spots. What¨s more: since the "signature" is not in Horczicky's hand, we do not know who wrote it and when. And of course, the suspicion of the planted "signature" now even more enhanced.

Still, there is one positive result: we can clearly accept the signature No.1 (in the official document) and the signature No.3 (the exlibris) as the true signatures of Horczicky - the similarity is simply overwhelming.