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Archive of communications of the Journal Of Voynich Studies

Index of Subjects in all Volumes

Vol. III, 2009

From: Greg Stachowski
Date: Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 5:48 PM
To: Journal of Voynich Studies

Subject: J.VS: Villa Mondragone brochure link

For those interested in the history of the Villa Mondragone, there is a PDF brochure in Italian and English available from the Jesuits:à_editoriali/Villamondragone.pdf

Only one small mention of the VMS, but nonetheless interesting.

From : Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To : Journal of Voynich Studies
Date : Sat, 3 Jan 2009 16:51:52 +0000

Subject : J.VS: Re: Villa Mondragone brochure link

A very interesting and useful find Greg!

On Mondragone's history we even get pictures of Pope Pius XI (Fr. Achille Ratti, friend of Wilfrid Voynich) observing Marconi preparing a radio installation at the Mondragone, in 1932.

Yes the VMS mention seems to be based merely on the usual old assumptions, so popularly rehashed all over everywhere. I wonder what made the authors choose f88r for the one VMS picture.

I was hoping to find, but did not, something on the villa's Sala Rossa, which today has that fresco?, the geometry of which is so strikingly similar to the plan of the VMS nine rosettes foldout. [1]

There are some interesting architectural pictures to study, with VMS castles and tower-in-a-hole coming into mind also.

This too is interesting:

" From 1865 a deal has effect between the owner Marcantonio V Borghese and the Jesuits in order to use the Villa as a college: the Jesuits, in lieu of the rent, proceed to ongoing renovations of the building. ..... "

It would seem then that the renovating Jesuits would begin to know every nook and cranny of the villa, far more so than as ordinary renters, and be in a position to find any long lost items under the dust, including manuscripts.


[1] see J.VS communication #69 (12 AUG 2007, Vol. I):

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Sat 1/03/09 8:51 PM

Subject: J.VS: The Hippodrome of Constantinople and the f85v2-86r4 portion of the Voynich Nine Rosettes illustration

Dear Colleagues

As you know from off-J discussions, as well as some brief comments by me recently on vms-list, Jan Hurych and I have lately done some exploring of construction patterns and geographic details in and around civilization sites, around the globe by means of the online internet geo-image service: Google Earth. [1]

We've looked at man-made constructions and natural features that might be reflected in some of the Voynich manuscript's illustrations. There are many eye-catching artificial ground-patterns around the globe that have some resemblance to VMS illustration components, especially in the nine rosettes illustration, which for long is commonly regarded as an elaborate Mappa mundi of some kind. Google Earth is a modern tool for helping the traditional-methods searches.

Evaluating patterns is not easy of course, because each new observed interesting pattern-similarity quickly causes a launch into an intensive investigation as to its potential relevance, complicated by the VMS illustrations' unknown stylization-degree, and the particulars of modern images delivered by the Google Earth service. For example, we are all familiar with long running attempts to match ancient Jerusalem's details, with details in the nine rosettes illustration - it is not so straightforward a task as one might hope.

Here I'd like briefly to point to an interesting exploration possibility so as to show some typical research problems: comparing parts of the VMS nine rosettes picture in its f85v2 and f86r4 panels (the upper left, and upper central panels of the foldout) with the ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople, which is situated near Justinian's Hagia Sophia Basilica Cathedral.

As we know, the VMS upper-left and upper-central rosettes are connected by an elongated walled construction which is associated with what could be cliffs, and water. This elongated construction has within it some odd features, notably a column that is situated in a recess of some kind, suggesting perhaps a fountain's column and its reflection, or as it has also been called a "tower-in-a-hole".

Now, lets plug these geo- latitude and longitude coordinates into the Google Earth Fly-to box, so as to obtain the from-above altitude view of the U-end half of the Hippodrome of Constantinople:

41.00566N, 28.975123E

We zoom in enough so that the U-end is close to the bottom of the screen. We compare what we see there with the above-mentioned VMS structure that bridges the f85v2 and f86r4 panels. There is a little bit of noticable similarity, and it starts the ball rolling to investigate further.

The most interesting thing is the circular structure bearing a central column, halfway between the two obelisks. It is the remains of the famous ancient Greek Serpent Column. Originally it was installed at Delphi to commemorate the Greek victory after the Battle of Plataea in the Greco-Persian wars, but later it was moved from Delphi to the Hippodrome on the orders of Constantine. Today the Serpent Column rests in a hole-in-the-ground, giving an impression of a little tower-in-a-hole. But today's Hippodrome ground level is built-up over what it was in ancient times, moreover the Hippodrome has not been archeologically thoroughly excavated, and so it is uncertain if the Serpent Column was originally intentionally placed in something resembling a hole, round or other. [2]

So, that is just an opening problem in trying to find out if the nine rosettes illustrator had the Serpent Column in mind, even remotely, and allowing for him discarding the details of the actual column's three coiled serpents etc., when he sketched the f85v2 and f86r4 panels. Was he aware of the Serpent Column, and did he borrow from its situation only the mere geometric basics?

The nine rosettes illustration is one of blending between somewhat realistic components like the walls and castles, and rather abstract devices like the rosettes themselves. To the extent it is a Mappa mundi, or just a restricted Mappa, what rules apply to reading it, starting with its orientation? Just to the left of the upper-left rosette is some Voynich text. It indicates that in the manuscript's binding, the foldout is correctly oriented, correctly with respect to the text in the other folios.

The foldout illustration has two suns, placed diagonally, one at the upper left corner, the other at the lower-right, and it has been natural to think these give east-west information. We might then rotate the rosettes counter-clockwise by 45 degrees and take the originally upper-left sun symbol to designate the western direction. That would seem to rule out the oriental Hippodrome possibility, unless the map's western extent was not much farther west than Constantinople. To complicate matters, even before any rotation of the foldout, the nearly bare-bones T-O map symbol at the upper right corner of the rosettes would seem to be somewhat at odds with the map orientation suggested by the line between the two suns. Does a precession axis-angle enter into the considerations? So, just where is east in the nine-rosettes "map" ?

There are too many obvious differences between the VMS tower-in-a-hole, and the Serpent Column and Hippodrome, to give much weight to the idea that they are connected. But at the same time, the nine rosettes illustration has so many ambiguities in orientation, style, and symbolism, that we cannot even totally rule out a possible connection. The good thing is that in following up each potential lead, we add to our stock of classified relations. Nevertheless we are back to needing at least one solid clue from the nine rosettes that will allow us to pin this illustration to something known in detail. The symbolized keys that make up the "hands" of the "clock" in the nine rosettes foldout do seem to suggest that such a clue is to be found within its panels.

Berj / KI3U

[1] The online website for Google Earth is here:

[2] Some views and information on the Serpent Column are here:

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Wed 1/07/09 4:42 AM

Subject: J.VS: An Angulis Crucis cipher experiment: n-graph morphing and frequency banding

Dear Colleagues

Below follows a little experiment with the Angulis Crucis cipher system discussed in J.VS communication #234 [1]. In #234 I noted that if nothing else, the Angulis Crucis can serve as a reference for general cipher work; it allows quite a variety of cipher explorations while requiring only a modest overhead in alphabet tables etc.

In comm. #234 only the very basics of the system were presented, including the "LRTJ" transcription system for it. From the basics it is quite apparent that there are many possibilities for further manipulations in order to modify, and strengthen the ciphering properties of Angulis Crucis, whether it be employed steganographically with its original bracket symbols, or remapped to other symbols, in particular alphabetic. Here we will experiment with remapped Angulis Crucis, while building upon its inherent properties.

Lets get something to encipher:

{1} have_a_nice_day

The symbols frequencies for the 9 involved symbols (ignoring the spaces) are:


a : 3/12 = 0.2500
e : 2/12 = 0.1667
c : 1/12 = 0.0833
d : 1/12 = 0.0833
h : 1/12 = 0.0833
i : 1/12 = 0.0833
n : 1/12 = 0.0833
v : 1/12 = 0.0833
y : 1/12 = 0.0833

Using the LRTJ transcription table from comm. #234, Table 234-I., we transform {1} into:


And the frequencies for the LRTJ symbols are:


J : 12/24 = 0.5000
T : 5/24 = 0.2083
R : 4/24 = 0.1667
L : 3/24 = 0.1250

Now, an outstanding property of the Angulis Crucis system is that it creates apparent n-graphs, including those made up of repeating consecutive same-symbols. For example in {3} we see a trigraph JJJ and a tetragraph JJJJ. Lets explore n-graphs morphing around this n-graphs property with a new enciphering rule: n-graphs are to be reversed in direction, say every pair of symbols, beginning at left:


Whereas the data in {4} remains unchanged, the n-graphs spectrum has now changed quite a bit, and in particular the JJJJ tetragraph has vanished. A new JJJ trigraph is available with concatenation:


Before we re-parse, lets expand the codes by introducing an example mapping alphabet:

Table I. Example re-mapping of the Table 234-I. Angulis Crucis digraphs system to 17 symbols, and optionally 26.

L = L
LL = A
R = R
RR = D
T = T, U
TT = G, V
TTT = H, W
J = J, O
JJ = K, P, Y
JJJ = M, Q
Z = Z = utility

Undoubtedly a statistical study of Angulis Crucis applied to, say Latin, could point to better mapping assignments of the optional nine letters O - Y, say for the purpose of flattening or otherwise manipulating frequencies. However, with this remapping we seem to be in Voynich familiar territory, because this expansion of the cipher codes created a core code table of 17 letters, and the VMS text is long famously regarded to revolve around primarily 17 Voynich symbols. The mapping added a general utility glyph, Z, one that could be assigned to stand for a true, or false group-separator space, or even a wild card joker able to be anything from a frequency-altering double, to a harmless filler.

We note a key feature of the remapping table: it presents us with many possibilties for transforming {6}, for example:




And of course each possible transformation has its own set of symbols frequencies. Lets reparse {7} :


The frequencies of its 9 symbols are:


R : 4/19 = 0.2105
J : 4/19 = 0.2105
T : 3/19 = 0.1579
L : 3/19 = 0.1579
K : 1/19 = 0.0526
G : 1/19 = 0.0526
Q : 1/19 = 0.0526
Y : 1/19 = 0.0526
P : 1/19 = 0.0526

And we can compare {11} with {2} of the plaintext. The most interesting thing here is that the process of getting to {11} has created more pronounced frequency-bands:

{12} Showing the frequency-banding in {11} :

R : 4/19 = 0.2105
J : 4/19 = 0.2105
T : 3/19 = 0.1579
L : 3/19 = 0.1579
K : 1/19 = 0.0526
G : 1/19 = 0.0526
Q : 1/19 = 0.0526
Y : 1/19 = 0.0526
P : 1/19 = 0.0526

And whereas we don't often mention it, the so-called 16 or 17 commonest Voynich text symbols do exhibit frequency banding across the corpus. Of course this experiment, starting just with the little piece in {1} is far from producing anything to generalize around, but it does diagram some interesting possibilities for using Angulis Crucis principles as an analytic tool to explore the Voynich text.

Berj / KI3U

[1] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #234 (9 DEC 2008, Vol. II):
J.VS: The steganographic Angulis Crucis cipher-codes of Bernardus de Martinitz in Kircher's papers; by Berj / KI3U.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
Sent: Wed 1/07/09 11:41 PM
To: Journal of Voynich Studies

Subject: J.VS: Re: An Angulis Crucis cipher experiment: n-graph morphing and frequency banding?

Dear Colleagues

I have found an error in communication #240 that I will correct here.

In comm. #240 when rewriting {6} as {7}, specifically when remapping a "JJ" to "Y", I accidentally kept a J and typed it before the Y: JY. The corrected {7} becomes:


The corrected example parsing of {10} becomes:


And the corrected {11} and {12} become:

{11} Frequencies of the 9 symbols of {7} :

R : 4/18 = 0.2222
J : 3/18 = 0.1667
T : 3/18 = 0.1667
L : 3/18 = 0.1667
K : 1/18 = 0.0556
G : 1/18 = 0.0556
Q : 1/18 = 0.0556
Y : 1/18 = 0.0556
P : 1/18 = 0.0556

{12} Showing the frequency-banding in {11} :

R : 4/18 = 0.2222
J : 3/18 = 0.1667
T : 3/18 = 0.1667
L : 3/18 = 0.1667
K : 1/18 = 0.0556
G : 1/18 = 0.0556
Q : 1/18 = 0.0556
Y : 1/18 = 0.0556
P : 1/18 = 0.0556

By a frequency band we of course mean a group of two or more symbols with very similar, or identical frequencies, and distinctly separated in frequency values from the next below, and next above symbols.


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Fri 1/09/09 6:03 PM

J.VS: Hemingway's coded communications

Dear Colleagues

Cuba is making available online thousands of pages of Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) documents, and:

" The archive includes coded messages which Hemingway sent while using his yacht to search for German submarines operating off the island. "

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Wed 1/14/09 4:11 AM

Subject: J.VS: Are there Hexaplaric-like markings in the Voynich Manuscript?

Dear Colleagues

One thing is for sure from a careful high resolution survey of the Beinecke SID images of the Voynich Manuscript: the indications of possibly significant subtle details across the manuscript's folios are very great in number. Lets have a look at yet another curious couple of similar details, which seem to appear each only once, on each side of folio 107.

Voynich star-pages section page f107r is all text, except that it has 15 drawn stars, of varying constructions, running down the left margin suggesting a connection to the text "paragraphs" to their right. From the top, let us count down to the 11th star.

As you can see, to the left of this 11th star there are three little marks, roughly dots, close together horizontally. The SID image suggests they were inked, and at the time the text was inked. Why were they put there?

Flipping the page to f107v, lets look at the top where the text begins. We see the first star and to its right the page's first text group, GC-haisAy. On both sides of the star we see three little marks, in a line. The righthand group of marks is positioned between the star and the GC-h. These marks are closer to short strokes than the more dot-like marks on the recto side, but we might entertain some common significance. What could it be?

Searching for something to compare with, to this point all I have been able to come up with is the so-called hexaplaric signs. Early Church father Origen of Alexandria (died ~ A.D. 254) produced a massive comparative six-versions comparison of the Old Testament Bible, known as the "Hexapla", wherein he used a system of text-criticism markings:

" Origen here had recourse to a system of critical signs, invented and employed by the grammarian Aristarchus (3rd century BC) in his edition of Homer. Passages of the first class were left in the text, but had prefixed to them an obelus, a sign of which the original form was a "spit" or "spear," but figuring in Septuagint manuscripts as a horizontal line usually with a dot above and a dot below; there are other varieties also. The sign in Aristarchus indicated censure, in the Hexapla the doubtful authority of the words which followed. The close of the obelized passage was marked by the metobelus, a colon (:), or, in the Syriac VSS, shaped like a mallet. ..... [1]

So, there are variations of text-critical symbols, both in their graphic aspects, and precise meaning. That's a mild way to put the general picture.

The Greek-Uncials, Alexandrian text-type, Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03, a rather important and famous bible manuscript, exhibits a hefty spectrum of text-critical markings. I looked them over at the well-known and very interesting Vaticanus webpages of Wieland Willker. [2]

In his Vaticanus website sub-section, Observations in the Old Testament, the first image Wilker presents of text-critical / hexaplaric signs, is the example of three horizontal dots, which is what the three dots to the left of the 11th star in VMS f107r call to mind. [3]

About these Wilker writes:

" The text written by scribe A (according to Milne/Skeat) is labeled with three horizontally aligned dots in the left margin used as Obeli: . . .
These signs are many and quite clearly unenhanced, probably original. "

So, is the f107r horizontal triple of dots a hexaplaric-like marking in the Voynich manuscript? I don't really know what to think for sure. At the moment it is the best possibility I can entertain. It would imply that the material in the VMS star-section, at least on f107, records the writing of person or persons other than the VMS author. If the VMS star section concerns astronomical data, perhaps the triple on f107r by the 11th star is meant to indicate that the VMS author is critical of what he is recording there next to the 11th star, considers it legendary, or corrupted as to its accuracy.

Some VMS students hold that the star-section material is "recipes", as in medicinal preparations. In that case the triple by the VMS author, or scribe, could equally well indicate criticism of the recipe's accuracy, or reported application / effects.

Another possibility, seeing as this is the Voynich Manuscript where so little is as yet certain, is that the VMS author / scribe is experimenting, perhaps even playfully as in creating the diversionary illusion that a hexaplaric is to be understood.

As for the more complicated case on f107v, there the star seems to be integral with the marks. The simplest thought there is that emphasis may be being added to the meaning of the marking.

Although, as best as I can tell, these markings on f107 are unique in the manuscript, there are quite a number of other possibilities in the VMS pages for the idea of text criticism or text annotation. A rather strong example occurs on f2v of the botanical section. In the second / bottom paragraph of text, floating just above the first group, note the scribble there - what is that thing? It looks like a script lower-case tightly connected "fc". It is unmistakable for having been put there with the same ink used for writig the text, and like many VMS text letters, it has been emphasized, made heavier. It is no accident. The easiest conclusion on it is that it is some sort of note concerning the text below, or at least the group immediately below it. Now if we go down to the second line of that second paragraph of f2v, we will see a single dot to the left of the initial GC-8. On the high resolution SID image that dot appears as it well might be inked. Here and there throughout the VMS's pages we will find more examples of these little nearly un-noticable dots to the left of text in the margin. Are they hexaplaric-like signs, or pre-scripting text-aligment markers, or something else like an ink check?

So, altogether we have here another example of the Voynich manuscript's cornucopia of details-mysteries. We find something interesting, and variously subtle, and go hunting for comparisons in known materials. Sometimes in doing that we hit on really odd coincidences: for example, we can't help but notice that there is more than just a tiny resemblance between the common VMS text group GC-M (EVA-iiin) and the sign for the angel "Symiel" in Trithemius's Steganographia [4].

Berj / KI3U

[1] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Septuagint, H. St. J. Thackeray. SBL Ministries:

[2] Wieland Willker has online a website, in English and German, devoted to Bible manuscripts, and there is much there of interest in Voynich work, just for example: "Photographing ancient manuscripts". [2a]

Willker devotes an entire major section of his website to the 4th c. dated vellum Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03. [2b]

There in the sub-section, General description of the codex, [2c], Willker writes:

" Codex Vaticanus is considered unanimously the most important single manuscript of the Bible we currently possess. With only a few competitors (which are only fragmentary) Codex Vaticanus has the best text of all known manuscripts. It deserves our utmost interest. "

" The Codex is still in the Vatican library and deteriorates. Nobody seems interested in analyzing it. The master has not yet been found... "

Willker devotes another major sub-section to the socalled "Umlauts" of the Codex Vaticanus:

" In 1995 Philip Payne discovered the so called "umlauts" or double dots. These are two small horizontally aligned points like those above the German ä, ö, or ü. They are in the margin of the columns next to a line and are scattered all over the NT. Payne concluded and all scholars seem to agree with him, that these umlauts indicate lines where a textual variant was known to the person who wrote the umlauts. "

" The umlaut question appears to be more difficult than at first thought, ..... " [2d]



[4] Joseph H. Peterson's digital edition of Trithemius's Steganographia is available online at his Twilit Grotto: Archives of Western Esoterica, here:

From Greg Stachowski
To Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent Date 01-15-2009 4:57:46 PM

Subject JVS: Interconnections

Some of you may remember that back in 2007, I posted in J.VS comm #86 that WMV's name came up in the list of Herbert Hoover's correspondence.

Well, looking at Georg Agricola's De Re Metallica for our off-J discussion on alchemy, I discovered that the first English translation was published in London in 1912. The translation was made by ... Herbert Hoover, together with his wife Lou. Herbert was of course a mining engineer, his wife was a geologist and apparently a classicist.

The Hoovers' translation is available online:


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Mon 1/19/09 8:43 PM

J.VS: The red botanical illustration in Grueber's 7 OCT 1669 letter to Kircher, 558 APUG 143-144rv

Dear Colleagues

As you know, in our off-J discussions our colleague Jan Hurych suggested some attention upon the Jesuit mathematician and astronomer Valentin Stansel / Estancel (1621-1705) who was born in Moravia, and died in Brazil, and had a strong career interest in comets. [1]

Jan suggested starting with Kircher's papers, and so I did a quick search in Athanasius Kircher's papers in the APUG and immediately came across a letter to Kircher, apparently written 7 OCT 1669 in Tyrnavia (Trnava in west Slovakia) by Joannis Grueber, and mentioning Valentiny Stansel. This letter has, presumably drawn by Grueber, a botanical illustration in red paint. [2]

Perhaps this botanical illustration can be useful for comparisons with Voynich Manuscript botanical illustrations. Grueber has drawn the plant not complete, but some parts of it, including what appears to be its open flower. To the left are some numbers in graphite?, and to the right some more drawings which may or may not relate to the red plant, also in graphite pencil. The reverse side of the plant page is worth a look too: while basically blank, there is at its bottom right a watermark or faint graphite illustration of something reminiscent of a three-leaf clover, with a kidney-shaped leaf at its lower left.

Grueber's script is not easy to transcribe. In addition to Stansel he seems to mention other Padres. I also see the word "Baccoricas" or "Baccorica", which perhaps refers to a Boehemian plant species - I don't know yet.

Who is Johann Grueber (b. 1623) ? Amazingly, he turns out be a Jesuit explorer, mathematician and astronomer who was an assistant to Fr. Adamus Schall in China. The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Grueber states:

" Tonnier says: "It is due to Grueber's energy that Europe received the first correct information concerning Thibet and its inhabitants". "

" An account of this first journey through Thibet in modern times was published by Father Athanasius Kircher to whom Grueber had left his journals and charts, which he had supplemented by numerous verbal and written additions ("China illustrata", Amsterdam, 1667, 64-67). " [3]

Indeed, there is more Grueber material in Kircher's APUG for us to look through. And of course Stansel. I am especially intrigued with the result that Grueber connects directly with Fr. Adamus Schall, since it is Kircher's 1664 letter to Schall which contains the only known historical Voynich text-group outside of the Voynich manuscript. [4]

So then, here we have some new interesting grounds to explore in connection with the VMS, launched so suddenly by Jan's almost-casual suggestions.

Thanks Jan!

Berj / KI3U

[1] Catholic Online encyclopedia biographical entry on Stansel:

[2] Grueber's letter, 558 APUG 143-144rv, appears to be missing a page or pages, but four pages, including 144v with the botanical drawing are here:

These pages do not have a date, place, and signature, but combining information from the Luna Insight service, and the original Kircher papers catalog entry which is here:

and then making the assumption that old catalog "43" equates to new "143" in 558 APUG, we obtain that Grueber wrote from Tyrnavia on 7 OCT 1669. Of course this needs checking, because immediately we have a dating problem: Grueber's death is reported as 1665, or 1680, depending on where you look [3]. In any case, the old Kircher catalog page in APUG unambiguously has Grueber writing in 1669.


[4] The 1664 Kircher-to-Schall letter is discussed in J.VS communications #13, 15, 82, 83, 139, 154, 161, 166, and 221. The original finding of the apparent VMS text-group in the Kircher-Schall letter was posted on vms-list 18 FEB 2007, about which all information is in J.VS comm. #83:

Journal of Voynich Studies communication #83 (14 SEP 2007, Vol. I):
J.VS: Pictures: possible Voynich-alphabet word in Kircher's letter to Schall

J.VS comm. #83 also has the link to the pictures of same on deposit in the J.VS Library, accessible online. The particulars of the VMS text-group and some Voynich letters around it in this 1664 Kircher letter, giving the impression it "got away" from Kircher's hypothetical extirpations, are one motivating factor for the hypothesis of "Jesuit Secret Script" (JSS), considered in comm. #221:

Journal of Voynich Studies communication #221 (13 OCT 2008, Vol. II):
J.VS: Image artifacts, or obliterated Voynich-similar script?

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent Date: 01-24-2009 11:55:27 PM

J.VS: Two letters to Kircher from Martinus Santinus, S.J.

Dear Colleagues

The most recent recap of information on the Jesuit VMS-person-of-interest Martinus Santini / Santinus was posted by our colleague Dana Scott on vms-list:

Subject VMs: Santinus Revisited
Sent Date 09-23-2008 3:32:27 AM

Rene Zandbergen added interesting information in that thread. Dana's thread had followed a post, also on vms-list, by Rene Zandbergen reproducing a brief 2005 chronology of the life of Santinus:

Subject Re: VMs: [IC/VMS] Jan Hurych's article on the "Raphael Hypothesis"
Sent Date 07-23-2008 8:19:27 AM

I've come across a couple of letters by Santinus to Kircher. Since they seem to be absent in the above data collection, lets list them now, and then we will have here all in this one communication a handy guide to Santinus information:

APUG 567, 27rv
20 JUL 1640 letter from Prague by Martinus Santinus to Kircher; Dr. Marcus (Marci) mentioned, and also it looks like a Padre Ignatius, but no mention of Moretus; subject of letter seems to be science.

APUG 567, 89rv
14 OCT 1645 letter from Prague by Martinus Santinus to Kircher; heavily stained; subject seems to be chemical mysteries and this letter may have significant potential in connection with invisible-ink writing as per J.VS communication #221 [1].

Berj / KI3U

[1] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #221 (13 OCT 2008, Vol. II):
J.VS: Image artifacts, or obliterated Voynich-similar script?

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Date 01-31-2009 11:13:58 PM

J.VS: The antique script communications-to-Kircher of Fr. Matthieu Coupain

Dear Colleagues

Taking the last letter of Marci-to-Kircher at face-value, and therefore that in 1665 or 1666 Kircher received from Marci a mysterious manuscript that Kircher was already aware of to some degree, we might conjecture that following receipt of the ms Kircher would spend some time on it, and perhaps compare its script with other scripts, and perhaps even exchange letters with someone for such a purpose.

Recently off-J I gave an example of the occassional GC-k gallows similar appearing in Kircher's papers, 563 APUG 35v:

On this particular example with its intruded-upon-from-left GC-k, our colleague Greg Stachowski noted the relation to runes, of the entire block of script.

In the old catalog of Kircher's papers [1], this 563 APUG 35 document is listed as "Effigies quadam numismatum". Indeed, we see drawings of a coin or coins and associated details, possibly ancient Greek, along with the interesting five lines of unusual script, with the GC-k, residing within a square.

In the old catalog the next entry, 36, shows:

P. Matthiac Coupain Soc. Jesu. Lugduni 30. Septembr. 1666.

Following up on this we find that 563 APUG 36-37rv is a 30 SEP 1666 letter to Kircher, written it appears in French, by a fellow priest whose name appears spelled differently on 36r and 37r, respectively "Matthieu Coupain", and approximately "Matthiceu" or "Matthieu Compaius". Perhaps the 36r writing at the bottom of the page along with "Lyon" was added by Kircher. Anyway, Matthieu's hand is very tough to read, but from a first glance it seems that he is talking about inscriptions on medallions, and so there is some reason to believe that the 563 APUG 35v document belongs with this 30 SEP 1666 letter:

Looking for more of Fr. Matthieu in the old catalog, we find the 558 APUG 48 entry:

P. Matthia Compairy (Compairus?) Lugduni 23 Decembr. 1666. [2]

Going there:

we find Fr. Matthieu's 23 DEC 1666 letter, written in Latin, and such that it should be easier to transcribe than the 30 SEP letter. From a first glance, in this 23 DEC letter he appears to discuss numismatics, and obscure magical script. Thus there is more reason to believe that the 563 APUG 35 document is connected with Fr. Matthieu. Indeed, the database of the Athanasius Kircher Correspondence Project (which is not perfect), as accessed via Luna Insight, groups the above two letters with 563 APUG 35 under the name of the Jesuit: Matthieu Compain.

I have so far not been able to find out anything about Fr. Matthieu, however his last name is actually spelled. But I think we might take a closer look at his letters, determine if the correspondence with Kircher was fully two-way, and get a better idea of what Matthieu and Athanasius had in mind in their correspondence.

Berj / KI3U

[1] Specifically the first page of Index Tomum IX :

[2] The second page of TOM I IV:

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Thu 2/05/09 12:29 AM

J.VS: In a Gaspar Schott letter: Santinus maybe

Dear Colleagues

After a brief look, Jan Hurych and I decided it is better to note the following little datum rather than to let it slide. It won't hurt to note it.

Have a look at the 2nd-last word in the second line:

Is it Santinus as in Padre Martinus Santinus, or is it Sultanus, Scaltanus, or whateverus?

This is the verso of a 9 MAR 1659 letter to Athanasius Kircher, S.J., from Kaspar Schott, S.J. (~1608-1666) writing in Herbipoli (Wuerzburg) [1]. As we know, this Jesuit mathematician / physicist and prolific writer was a friend, and former student, of Kircher. In the Archivio della Pontificia Universita Gregoriana in Rome (APUG) holdings of Kircher's papers are quite a few of Schott's letters to Kircher, in addition to this one.

Schott's letters in APUG are nearly all quite challenging to deal with on account of the faded ink, and his hand, and also he seems to use abbreviations in strange ways: see for example in line 16 underneath "P. Beck" of line 15, where he gives the name of a Padre that seems to start with a capital "C" but then the next letter, which I'd expect to be a vowel, is written like a classic VMS GC-1 (EVA-ch). I seem to remember he also wrote a GC-2 somewhere I saw.

I've only quickly scanned Schott's letters in APUG, but it seems he writes to Kircher in Italian, and Latin, and this one seems to be Latin. From the recto side I gathered he was discussing planetary astronomy among other items. Common subjects in his letters are mathematical and scientific and engineering subjects, his Magia Universalis, and Kircher's Musurgia Universalis (Kircher's exploration of the connection between music and medicine) [2].

Berj / KI3U

[1] Biographical information on the fascinating Schott (Pied Piper of Hameln / Hamelin storyteller too!):


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Fri 2/06/09 1:05 AM

J.VS: Gaspar Schott's Shola Steganographica

Dear Colleagues:

Gaspar Schott's Shola Steganographica, 1665, is available for download (22.4 Mb) from Google books. The scan seems to be excellent, with dozens of code tables, codewheels, pictures of code machines, and musical notation resolving quite crisply. Schott's book is mostly in Latin, but also has sections in German and Italian. The ideas of Trithemius, Porta, and Kircher receive a lot of development. The range of subject matter is rather amazing, and most surprising to me in this crypto-book is the inclusion of a section on herbs! It has an index. This book may prove useful in VMS work, and in any case ought give us better facilities for understanding Schott's manner of writing, especially his strange use of abbreviations, as seen in his letters to Kircher.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Sat 2/07/09 5:17 PM

J.VS: Possibly ancient Syriac Bible seized in Cyprus

Dear Colleagues

Here's some interesting manuscript news, with a good picture:

" Authorities in northern Cyprus believe they have found an ancient version of the Bible written in Syriac, a dialect of the native language of Jesus. ..... Experts were however divided over the provenance of the manuscript, and whether it was an original, which would render it priceless, or a fake. "

In APUG we see that Athanasius Kircher was quite interested in variations of Syriac script.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Wed 2/11/09 2:44 AM

J.VS: P. Santino, Prester John, and other APUG odds and ends

Dear Colleagues

Briefly listed for handy reference in this data-gram, following are a few odds and ends from the APUG Kircher documents collection.

I. Santino, Schott, Gulden, Grienberger, Kepler, Inchofer, Martinis, Martinio, Kinner, Berck, Kedd.

In J.VS communication #248 I pointed to some oddities in a 9 MAR 1659 letter of Gaspar Schott. One problem there was trying to figure out a word that possibly suggested "Santinus". There was some interesting discussion on this on the vms-list [1] and my last contribution there was to point to "Saladinus AEgypti Suldanus" appearing in Schott's Shola Steganographica (see J.VS comm. #249), as a possible clue to figuring out what Schott wrote. At this point it seems unlikely that Schott indicated Father Martinus Santinus in that 1659 letter, but Schott's works and his peculiar handwriting style remain very much of high VMS interest.

However, another Santinus possibility arises in 567 APUG 241-242 :

where on the 10th line up from the bottom of 241r we see "P. Santino". This is a 28 JAN 1629? letter from Paul Gulden in Graz to Christoph Grienberger. Possibly there is a greeting to Athanasius Kircher, and that is why this letter is among Kircher's papers. In the letter telescopic observation of a comet is discussed, and Kepler is mentioned.

Now, is this Padre Santino the same Padre Santini / Martinus Santinus we are interested in as a possible lead to more information on Baresch? As we know, names (not to mention dates) are frequently a problem, and it is not just spelling variations [2] like Kircher, Kirchner, Kirker, Kircherio, Chircherio, and so on. The writers back then varied also in using the first and last names after the Padre, and we can for example find P. Athanasius or P. Kircher. Or, P. Melchior, where with the latter it could well be that the thorny Jesuit Padre Melchior Inchofer is being meant. There happen to be in APUG letters to Kircher from a Martinus de Martinis who usually seems to write mathematics, and I am not absolutely certain he is NOT a priest (see aliases below). So, we can have this kind of sorting-the-name-out problem, as for example in Mueller's 555 APUG 284 letter of 1661 wherein appears the priest "Martinio" :

And we are reminded of the two "Cyprian Kinner" persons about forty years apart that are yet to be definitively sorted out.

Here's a 3 DEC 1638 letter from Borges, 567 APUG 2, that maybe can help clarify the Martin*** names:

Further complications arise with the use of protective aliases, for example in 561 APUG 241r :

we see the writer, Theod Berck, admitting "alias Jod. K.", but giving only "25 Febr." for the date without the year. [3]

II. S. Marci, P. Marcus, Milchior, doctor Marco, Martinitz, Thurn.

567 APUG 5-6 :

is a 4 ??? 1637 letter from Milchior / Melchior Inchofer. On the 4th line up from the bottom of 5r we find "S. Marci" or possibly "S. Maria". An immediate thought is that "S." stands for "Saint", but knowing about aliases and such, I thought it would be hasty to just fly by it.

The verso, 5v, on line 6 has "P. Marcus" followed by Noilius / Noclius ?; Count Thurn is mentioned.

Melchior Inchofer's 11? JUN 1637 letter, 561 APUG 111 :

also mentions Thurn, and "Marcus". It would perhaps be too much to hope for an odd variation of Minishovsky appearing in this letter, but we note the M-something near bottom left. Perhaps Inchofer's 4 JUL 1637 letter, 567 APUG 152, can resolve these matters.

The always interesting Count Bernardus Martinitz (J.VS comm. #234) in his 8? SEP 1640 letter:

writes "doctor Marco" in the second line up from the bottom of 285r. As usual he mentions Trithemius. I am very curious if smudging the date-line at the bottom of 285v that is his, or even Kircher's fingerprint. [4]

III. Moretus, Moreti

I'm still trying to figure out if, in his 5 FEB 1670 letter, it is news to Ferdinand Hartman that Fr. Moretus / Moreti died (as far as we currently know: in 1667):

The recto side is by Hartman, and the verso has writing by two other fellows. Both sides show mention of Moretus. As we see, on the recto side Hartman begins his letter (after some quick Greek Aristotle something) by writing what looks to me that he just received the sad news, from P. Carolus, of Moretus's death. And then something about a memorial mass maybe. I am not sure, as this will take deeper Latin than I've gone into yet. But, here's what I transcribe Hartman as writing:

04: Scripserat misi P. Carolus Przichovsky Wratislaviam / quo in [brum] Rdi P. Theodori Moreti demortui,
05: ex Pragensi Mathensi ante annum missus [fueram] : / .............

which I am guessing reads something like:

04: Wrote sadly Padre Carolus Przichovsky of Breslau / on Rev. Father Theordori Moretus's death,
05: of Prague mathematics before the year of { missus [fueram] : / ........ }

Przichovsky I take to be a Polish Padre in Breslau, so he should know well of Theodoro Moreto:

Perhaps it means that three years after Moretus's death this P. Przichovsky wrote a memoriam to Moretus? I wonder what the purpose of the "/" is in Hartman's writing? It would seem strange if Moretus died in 1667, and Hartman was just learning of it in 1670. This ought to be fairly easily resolvable with some good Latin crunching. Our colleague Jan Hurych has given us some sources for the 1667 death of Moretus:

and Jan points out that since Moretus died in Vratislav i.e. Wroclaw, or in German Breslau, in Latin Vratislavia or Wratislavia, in Poland, then there must be some Polish records, and I would think these would be primary Polish Jesuit records.

Neither the old 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia:

nor the newer one:

list Fr. Moreti, that I can see.

IV. Drebbel

Rich Santa-Coloma has firmly established Cornelius Drebbel as a member of the VMS NOI. On vms-list recently [5] I gave 557 APUG 237-238, where in a 16 SEP 1647 letter to Kircher, Cyprian Kinner mentions "Drebbeliano Globo". Since then I've come across a mention of the exploration of Drebbel's perpetual motion, in 567 APUG 159:

where in his 8 MAR 1640 letter, Laurentius Mattenkloth, on lines 16-17, writes "Motu perpetuo Drebbely". This letter is one of the finer works of writing in all APUG.

V. Presbyter Joannes

The legendary Prester / Presbyter John has come up in Voynich talk, most recently mentioned on vms-list by Wolfgang Fritsch [6]. Coincidentally I cam across Prester John in APUG a few days ago. It is of course possible to imagine that the conception of the Voynich nine rosettes foldout illustration had been influenced by notions of Prester John's fabled realm. In 567 APUG 13-14, among other items like Kepler, Copernicus, and magnetism, we find "Presbyteri Joannis Asiae" :

and considerable discussion of Prester John. I'm not sure yet who wrote this letter, but possibly: Joan. Baptista Cisaty. This letter is also visually entertaining for having "Radio", although meant geometrically / archaically of course. [7]

VI. Comment on viewing APUG images

Currently off-J, one of our discussion threads in progress began when our colleague Greg Stachowski noted that the interface to APUG is supposedly to be shut down at some point, according to the AK Correspondence Project page, in favour of the Luna interface. For the sake of good manners I'll suppress the literal version of my initial thought reaction to this. The LunaInsight software from the Luna Imaging company has never been my preferred method of viewing the APUG images. My preferred method has been to grab an APUG image directly via its archimede url with a good browser (currently Firefox), magnify with the browser if desired, and if I want to do serious examination of the image, then download it, and load it into an imaging program that works efficiently, notably IrfanView. LunaInsight I find wastes too much of my time for combing the image, and coupled with the operating system which is the currently crowned King of Bloatware, the quirks and bugs are worse than ever - they waste time! Needless to say, if LunaInsight becomes the only way to access APUG images, then all the references in VMS literature of the type:

will no longer work, and what up to now has been a simple click on the above url to see the image, turns instead into an inefficient LunaInsight session. Well, it is not us who is paying to have the APUG images available online, so as Greg points out, whoever runs the archimede site may simply be unwilling to continue committing the resources to it, particularly as the Luna site exists. Now, I have found LunaInsight useful for access to the Kircher project's text data, which I consider complimentary to the data I've collected independently over the years, and in any case not to be taken as 100% reliable. LunaInsight's thumbnail images is also somewhat useful if the download happens to be only twenty or so, before the program bugs kick in. Incredibly, the program will not let you bring down less than 50 at a time, so that you can view bigger thumbnail pictures.

Berj / KI3U

[1] vms-list thread:
VMs: A Gaspar Schott letter: Santinus maybe?
launched by Berj / KI3U on 5 FEB 2009.

[2] We have to remember also that like we sometimes do today, the boys back then sometimes may have mis-spelled, aside from proper spelling variations.

[3] I've seen at least a couple of identifications of P. Jodukus Kett / Kedd = Theodorus Berck, and the handiest at the moment is the Friedrichstadt Stadtgeschichte Heft 15:

[4] One can already guess another nutty scenario for consumption by the Voynich science fiction world: DNA extracted from Kircher's fingerprint is used to clone him. When he is fully grown (accelerated in a special incubator of course) he is finally questioned about the Voynich manuscript. Whereupon Kircher II answers: you don't have a need to know :)

[5] vms-list post:
RE: VMs: Progress closing the 1610/20 gap...
Sat 1/31/09 5:51 PM; by Berj / KI3U.

[6] vms-list thread:
VMs: Tower in a hole
launched by Wolfgang Fritsch on 9 FEB 2009.

[7] Just for fun, for a really archaic anticipation of wireless spark telegraphy, see JOB 38: 35.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
Sent: Fri 2/13/09 5:14 AM
To: Journal of Voynich Studies

J.VS: Sphinx manuscripts and Philibert dela Mare (1615-1687)

Dear Colleagues

As we know, Baresch in his 1639 letter to Kircher (557 APUG 353-354) refers to his mysterious manuscript as a "Sphinx", and in the presumed last letter of Marci to Kircher (Beinecke MS 408 A), the mysterious book there is also refered to as being among "Sphinges". By chance I've found another interesting letter to Kircher which uses this word bibliophilically.

568 APUG 18-19 is a 7 FEB 1654 letter to Kircher from Philibertus delaMare in Dijon:

and the old catalog entry:

records this letter as follows:

" Philiberti de la Mare. Diuione. 7 Kalend. February. 1654. "

Michael Kramer, here:

Un recueil de proverbes inédit du XVIIe s. et Philibert de La Mare : une étude des mss. fr. 1599 et 6170 de la Bibliothèque nationale de France


" Selon le catalogue des manuscrits français de la Bibliothèque nationale, les mss. 6170 et 1599 proviennent de la collection La Mare. Il s’agit de Philibert de La Mare (1615-1687), conseiller au Parlement de Bourgogne, ami de Saumaise, érudit, collectionneur de manuscrits et de livres anciens et auteur lui-même. Sa collection, enrichie d’une partie des archives de Saumaise après la mort de celui-ci et citée en 1680 comme une des curiosités de Dijon, contenait « une belle collection de manuscrits anciens et de très volumineux recueils de pièces modernes, dont beaucoup en original. "

So it would seem dela Mare would have some weight in what makes for a manuscript accorded the label "Sphynx" in the 17th century. Of course he too is writing to Kircher, the Oedipus, who is extraordinarily concerned with things ancient Egyptian.

In dela Mare's letter, which at first glance seems to concern a manuscript or manuscripts and his comments on oriental languages and their script characters, the word "Sphinqis" appears on line 16. Perhaps with an effort on this letter, we can learn something VMS-useful about books that back then were called "Sphynx".

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Sat 2/14/09 4:50 PM

J.VS: Santinus in Kedd's letter of 5 MAY 1635

Dear Colleagues

It appears possible that Padre Martinus Santinus, in connection with activities in Germany, is mentioned in the 5 MAY 1635 letter to Kircher, written in Embricae / Emmerich, by Jodoeus Kedd (Theodorus Berck):

561 APUG 203rv

We see what could be a corrected "P. Sandinus" on the 6th line up from the bottom on the recto side. Of course as Rene Zandbergen first motivated, the more we know of Santinus's movements, the better presumably are our chances of bumping into Baresch again.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Mon 2/16/09 5:52 PM

J.VS: Re: Santinus in Kedd's letter of 5 MAY 1635

Dear Colleagues

The apparent "P. Sandinus" in 561 APUG 203 has been convincingly resolved as "P. Sandaeus", i.e. Maximilian Sandaeus, S.J. :

by the efforts of Philip Neal and Rene Zandbergen: vms-list thread:
VMs: Santinus check: Kedd's letter of 5 MAY 1635; thread launched by me Sat 2/14/09 5:51 PM.

Berj / KI3U

From Greg Stachowski
To Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent Date 02-20-2009 7:36:21 AM

J.VS: The growing need for Voynich Manuscript Information Services

(Based on recent off-J discussions)

The internet explosion of the last few years has moved us beyond the time when following a simple mailing list and one or two information websites such as were all that was needed to maintain currency with VMS research. The vms-list itself accrues posts at an average rate of about three thousand per year. There are already some 25000 mails since the beginning of 2001 - a period which covers many of the most significant recent developments, including (but not limited to) the Tepenec signature debate, new details of Mnishowsky and Baresch, and much work by Robert Teague, Glen Claston, Nick Pelling, Dana Scott and many others.

In addition, new websites have appeared or expanded rapidly, both directly VMS-related such as J.VS itself or voynichcentral, or containing information often related in some way to VMS research, such as Wikipedia or the various digital repositories of documents such as the Kircher Correspondence Project.

There is now so much data, so widely scattered, that encompassing the available information and searching within it is becoming increasingly difficult. We will find ourselves going round in circles and reinventing the wheel, as has happened recently both on vms-list and in off-J discussions.

The power of Google, as harnessed for example by Jan on his site ( has delayed the collapse by providing some search capability. Nonetheless, effective searching still requires much knowledge, time, persistence and hard work. There is very little direct cross linking of resources, and the existing searches are necessarily limited by the way existing information is stored. Even Jan's search, which is very useful, cannot do things like: "give me all the posts by Jeff Haley on Harriot" directly -- not from any failure of Jan's or Google's, but from the fact that the archives he searches do not expose that information in any meaningful way.

Thus, we now face the need for (as Berj has called it) VMS "information services". Whoever takes up the "information services" challenge needs to address the storage issue, needs to address tagging and cross-linking between different data stores - for example, a reference to Harriot in a vms-list post should automatically be linked to other Harriot-related VMS posts, articles and materials; or, references to folio images should link to those images, perhaps those on voynichcentral. All of this is doable with current technology, but requires a certain amount of time and dedication to be made to work properly. Nevertheless, unless this challenge is met we will find VMS research either increasingly fragmented or increasingly unworkable.


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Sat 2/28/09 2:46 PM

J.VS: Self-portrait hidden under writing in a Da Vinci notebook

Dear Colleagues

This news seems worth following in considerations of hidden material in the Voynich manuscript:

" A sketch found in one of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks could be an early self-portrait, experts believe. The drawing had been obscured by handwriting for 500 years before being discovered by Italian scientific journalist Piero Angela. After months of restoration work, the image was aged using criminal investigation techniques and compared with older self-portraits of Leonardo. The findings will be revealed on Italy's RAI television channel. "

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
Sent: Wed 3/18/09 4:44 PM
To: Journal of Voynich Studies

J.VS: Voynich text analysis and elitist jargon versus plain talk

Dear Colleagues

Attitudes reflected in, and toward language, for whatever purpose it is being used at the moment, even joking, have presumably always been complex. So for example in the study of a book of jokes by the ancient Greek writer Philogelos, we have considerations such as:

" Some jokes are likely to baffle modern audiences, however - especially the ones about lettuce, which only make sense if you share the ancient superstition that the vegetable is an aphrodisiac. "

That's from a 13 NOV 2008 BBC article, online here:

This notion of the connections between attitudes (including superstitions) and language, does enter our considerations when we investigate the centuries-old Voynich manuscript's text, especially when working with hypotheses that the text transcribes, more or less directly, either some kind of natural language, or some system of universal language.

Toward this, perhaps we may get some useful ideas from a recent language controversy involving the Local Government Association (LGA) in Great Britain:

" Councils ban use of Latin terms
Several councils have banned the use of Latin terminology
A number of local councils in Britain have banned their staff from using Latin words, because they say they might confuse people. Several local authorities have ruled that phrases like "vice versa", "pro rata", and even "via" should not be used, in speech or in writing. But the ban has prompted anger among some Latin scholars. ..... Some local councils say using Latin is elitist and discriminatory, because some people might not understand it - particularly if English is not their first language. ..... But the move has been welcomed by the Plain English Campaign which says some officials only use Latin to make themselves feel important. A Campaign spokesman said the ban might stop people confusing the Latin abbreviation e.g. with the word "egg". "

The 3 NOV 2008 online BBC article is here:

We see that the LGA suggests that the word "procure" be translated to the preferable "buy". Now that, it seems to me, is surely a reflection of mental attitude. I tend to think of "buy" as closer to discretionary or consumer spending, and "procure" closer to necessary spending, in any situation where the difference is of some importance. Perhaps a plain English campaign, if not careful, is itself liable to become elitist in fostering a condition of imprecise thinking and expression.

In an 18 MAR 2009 BBC article we learn that Councils get a banned jargon list:

The list of banned words is here:

and includes: Capabilities, Dialogue, Exemplar, Priority, Vision, Welcome, and Wellbeing.

We don't know what the VMS text author's attitudes toward language(s) were. We can surmise from the design of his / her text that they possessed a great appreciation for visual harmony, while retaining the controlled power of complexity - we see that in the intruding gallows symbols. And so then, if that text directly reflects the author's attitudes toward language, as it surely would to some degree at least, we are naturally led to ponder if the VMS author would have used "buy" as a universal term which included "procure", or perhaps more specifically within the context of the Voynich herbal / botanical folios, used the word "grow" as a universal which included the notion "expand". If so, then we might find, in some of the Voynich text blocks, less sophisticated or more fuzzy expressions of language, where a term like "grow" is an umbrella covering among others the particular notion "expand", and consequently the diversity of the VMS vocabulary is reduced.

Some mature plants expand during daylight hours - are they thereby also "growing"? Has our knowledge of the Voynich Manuscript, especially since the availability of the high-resolution SID images of it, been "growing" and / or "expanding" ?

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
Sent: Sat 3/28/09 3:35 PM
To: Journal of Voynich Studies

J.VS: Music attacks on the Voynich text: A hidden message in the music of Ravel

Dear Colleagues

In a 27 MAR 2009 online BBC news article, "Hidden clue to composer's passion" :

we learn concerning current studies of the musical works of Ravel (1875-1937):

" The French composer, Maurice Ravel may have left a hidden message - a woman's name - inside his work. A sequence of three notes occurring repeatedly through his work spells out the name of a famous Parisian socialite says Ravel expert David Lamaze. He argues that the notes, E, B, A in musical notation, or "Mi-Si-La" in the French doh-re-mi scale, refer to Misia Sert, a close friend of Ravel's. "

This, besides being interesting in its own right, reminds us that far more could be done, than has been to date, in employing music theory in analytic attacks on the Voynich text. And, as seen from the above, some experiments could be extremely simple, requiring mainly a suitable transcription system of the Voynich text, and familiarity with elementary music theory as expressed in a trial language. Since some VMS hypotheses / theories postulate as an extreme that the text is a meaningless random hoax, it is, for example, also conceivable that only most of the VMS text is random, but serves as a host for carrying multiple / repeated displays of just one, or just a few words, perhaps a name or names of special significance to the Voynich manuscript author, encrypted with musical notation.

Musicians have their own way of thinking - it would be of great interest to collect comments from practicing musicians who are also advanced Voynich MS students, concerning their reactions to the Voynich manuscript as a whole, and their feelings and hunches about the VMS author's musical familiarity and leanings.

During last year's particular music experiments with the Voynich text I found Currier's transcription system to be the most suitable. [1,2]

Berj / KI3U

[1] Currier's transcription system for the Voynich text is detailed in D'Imperio:
The Voynich Manuscript - An Elegant Enigma, by M.E. D'Imperio, Aegean Park Press, c. 1976-80, ISBN 0-89412-038-7

An edition of D'Imperio's book is available online for downloading from NSA (31.2 MB pdf) :

[2] Music, as an approach to analyzing the Voynich manuscript, has been considered to various levels in the following J.VS communications:

Vol. I: # 132

Vol. II: # 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 203, 212, 217,

Vol. III: # 248, 249,

Some more music references can be found in these files in the J.VS Library:

J.VS Library deposit # 1-1-2007-05-05/


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
Sent: Mon 3/30/09 3:39 PM
To: Journal of Voynich Studies

J.VS: The J.VS Banner, and the new Library Index system

Dear Colleagues

The J.VS Banner, conceived and designed by our colleague Robert Teague, has been installed on the web pages of the online Archive of the Journal of Voynich Studies, and also on the new J.VS Library Index.

As a step toward addressing the general Voynich information management problem he discussed in comm. #255, our J.VS Librarian, Greg Stachowski, has completed the first online implementation of a new indexing system in the J.VS Library. This new Library Index is accessed here:

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
Sent: Tue 3/31/09 4:25 PM
To: Journal of Voynich Studies

J.VS: Philosophy of VMS research successes vs failures; case study of a disappointed researcher

Dear Colleagues

A new paper by our colleague Jan Hurych has been installed by our Librarian Greg Stachowski in the J.VS Library as deposit # 14-4-2009-03-30 :



Jan. B. Hurych

The Library url for Jan's paper is:

Jan's paper begins to fill a void in Voynich literature - he discusses the Voynich research community's philosophy and attitudes toward, and its interaction with, the efforts at progress of researchers, while illustrating his points with an analysis of the disappointments and frustrations of a particular Voynich Manuscript student, Dr. Leonell C. Strong of Yale University, who was active in VMS work from the mid 1940's to the 1960's.

Jan's discussion is therefore different from the routine and more or less straighforward action-reaction type of public or semi-public VMS proceedings, for example, Manly's well-known 1931 "debunking" of Romaine Newbold's VMS efforts.

To quote Jan and Greg from the off-J discussion on Jan's paper:

Jan says:

" While Strong was rather controversial person, so were the ways he was treated. ..... But to the point: I guess we need some encyclopedia of the "VM solution attempts" done so far - not to carry on with them, just for completeness. For instance: how many people tried to crack the VM as multialphabetical cipher and how did they go about it? What is missing is some consistency and determination of voids ( i.e. methods that were not tried for whatever reasons) - there might be some source of new ideas. "

Greg says:

" Yes, Strong was badly treated. ..... The VM solution attempts thing is a good idea. You are particularly right about the 'determination of voids' - what hasn't been done is often as important as what has been. It seems like the sort of project which is finite-time (as opposed to actually cracking the VMS, which seems infinite-time at the moment :) . "

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Mon 4/20/09 10:00 PM EDT

J.VS: Some newly available online Voynich Resources

Dear Colleagues

Lets get the Journal caught up with the newly available online resources we've been discussing on vms-list (which serves beautifully as a Voynich telegram bureau or BBS).

Beinecke has added some materials, pictures of Ethel Voynich's 1930 VMS-provenance-changing letter, and more, to the Voynich MS-408 online offerings:

The new matter starts off with a high resolution color picture of Marci's critical last letter, and as we've determined on vms-list, it looks now more than ever that its date is 19 AUG 1665, and not 1666. We wish for an equally good image of the letter's verso so that we can better study its seal. The letter's paper is revealed, especially along the upper edge, as extremely interesting.

There is finally now online a copy of Wilfrid Voynich's 20 APR 1921 paper on the VMS he read to the Philadelphia College of Physicians, officially introducing the VMS. Voynich's paper was accompanied by a paper by Newbold, and this too is in the google books online offering:

The entire College of Physicians of Philadelphia 1921 Third Series Volume 43 Transactions containing these papers can be downloaded from the above url as a pdf of about 14 Mb.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
Sent: Wed 4/22/09 8:00 PM
To: Journal of Voynich Studies

J.VS: Marci's last known letter to Kircher: 10 SEP 1665

Dear Colleagues

Now that we've determined to high probability that the letter Wilfrid Voynich alleged he found with the VMS, written by Joannes Marcus Marci to Athanasius Kircher, S.J., is dated 19 AUG 1665, and not 1666, therefore the last known letter from Marci to Kircher becomes 562 APUG 114, which is dated 10 SEP 1665.

It is now necessary to study the effects arising from this new ordering: the 19 AUG 1665 uncertain-provenance letter comes the month BEFORE the APUG-provenanced 10 SEP 1665 letter. Looked at differently, we have a letter from Marci to Kircher, 562 APUG 114, written by Marci the month AFTER Marci has supposedly sent to Kircher a mysterious book etc.

The 10 SEP 1665 letter now needs to be re-studied for clues to what happened the month before.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
Sent: Thu 4/23/09 4:48 PM
To: Journal of Voynich Studies

J.VS: Re: Marci's last known letter to Kircher: 10 SEP 1665

Jan Hurych says:

That is very interesting discovery!

But then again, wouldn't Marci mention the book in his next letter he sent about a month later? I bet he would, but is there any hint about it in that letter? And whom did he sent it by? There was no regular mail as we know it today and both Baresh and Marci used probably the Jesuit service with its "diplomatic" pouch, usually delivered personnaly by next traveller to Rome. That also made for long time delay before writing and the delivery of the letter because the letters were probably written long time before the departure. That makes comparison of dates sometimes inaccurate. But it looks strange Marci would send two letters to Kircher within one month - the others are usually almost a year apart.

Berj / KI3U says:

We should immediately look at the first two sentences in Marci's 10 SEP 1665 letter - I think they are most likely to give us a clue about the month before. Philip Neal has a transcription of the 10 SEP 1665 letter here:

Greg Stachowski says:

Berj wrote: " Now that we've determined to high probability that the letter Wilfrid Voynich alleged he found with the VMS, written by Joannes Marcus Marci to Athanasius Kircher, S.J., is dated 19 AUG 1665, ..... "

It bears noting that Wilfrid himself was unsure of the year, although he, too, leaned towards 1665. In the paper in 'Transactions of the College of Physicians', to which we now have access, he gives the date as:

"19th August 1665 (or 1666)",

and repeats this each time he refers to the letter, a total of four times. Voynich had direct access to the actual letter, in as pristine form as possible, could study it at will, and had a lot of experience. Yet he was unable to decide unequivocally on one or other year. Thus I think it is somewhat pretentious to say that we can state the year with any greater certainty, based on a digital image taken almost 100 years later, the resolution of which - 125dpi - is about that of a magazine image. Modern imaging techniques - say multispectral imaging - might help here, but as far as I know that has not been done in this case, and this is just an ordinary image.

By the way, Beinecke lists the date as "1666 [1665?]".

I take back the resolution point, I have just discovered how to get a very much higher resolution image. Nonetheless I still think it is significant that Voynich could not determine the date either. Having said that, and also having looked at the very high resolution image, it seems to me that on balance it is more likely to be 1665 (as Voynich preferred) than 1666, there seem to be 3 strokes forming the disputed digit, not a clear single stroke as in the two undisputed sixes. Nonetheless it is not impossible that it is a 6, just not very, I think, likely.

Berj says:

In any case, let us assume for the moment that the Voynich-provenance Marci letter is dated 19 AUG 1665, that is the month before the 562 APUG 114 letter of 10 SEP 1665, and study the 10 SEP 1665 letter on that assumption.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Thu 4/23/09 4:45 PM

J.VS: Thirty-nine examples of Joannes Marcus Marci's signature for comparisons

Dear Colleagues

The developments discussed in J.VS communications # 262 and 263, concern Marci's letter to Kircher which Wilfrid Voynich said he found along with the Voynich manuscript - it now seems more likely that that letter's correct date is 19 AUG 1665, and not 1666. Therefore the Voynich-provenance Marci letter is NOT the last known letter of Marci to Kircher, and instead the 562 APUG 114 letter, dated 10 SEP 1665, appears to be the last known letter of Marci to Kircher. So, this opens up new analysis of Marci's sending a mysterious book to Kircher. [1]

These developments prompted me to collect crops of all the images of Marci's signatures or presumed signatures, so that we can quickly view them one after another for comparisons.

Should, for example, it be clear that there is a radical difference in the signatures on the 19 AUG 1665 and 10 SEP 1665 Marci letters, less than one month apart, then we would be very interested to know why. Having a handy set of Marci's signatures images also has many other potential uses, for example should a new letter be discovered which contains "Joannes Marcus Marci" but it is uncertain if indeed Marci himself signed it, then we can compare it with the Marci signatures collection.

I have sent to our J.VS Librarian Greg Stachowski, for deposit in the J.VS Library as deposit # 22-1-2009-04-23 the zipfile: [2].This zipfile is about 7 Mb in size and contains otherwise unprocessed image-crops of these 39 examples of Marci's signature or presumed signature, with their individual filenames providing all necessary identification as to source etc. :

Joannes Marcus Marci signatures images:

















For working with these images, the J.VS communication #4, and its related Voume I communications #'s 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 14, are also very useful [3]. We must be careful because some of the dates in the source documents are uncertain for one reason or another, notably the badly corrupted date-inking in the 557 APUG 97r letter, which is usually taken to be July 9, 1644, from the 557 APUG 2r old Kircher correspondence catalog entry. Size comparisons among the signatures are difficult owing to unavailable information on the size of the source documents, but I've cropped so as to include a word or two in addition to the signature as a simple aid in that regard.

Even a quick run through the 39 examples indicates a grouping into at least two broad style classes: a more cursive signature as in 557 APUG 113r ( 3 SEP 1644 ), versus a more hand-printed signature as in 557 APUG 116r ( 10 JUN 1645 ). Further analysis comparing styles with other details like with / without first name, and / or sine, should be interesting.

Berj / KI3U

[1] In vms-list discussions in the past several days I diagrammed once more, probably the best yet, the two-books problem arising from Godefridi Kinner's letters to Kircher of 4 JAN 1666 and 5 JAN 1667. This problem directly relates to Marci's sending the mysterious book to Kircher which, it is commonly assumed, is the Voynich manuscript. Discussing the two-books problem on vms-list with our colleague Jan Hurych made me realize the significance of the Voynich-provenance Marci letter now being highly likely dated as 1665, and not 1666; this significance then led to J.VS communications # 262 and 263. The vms-list thread containing the two-books problem was launched with the post:
VMs: New additional VMS-associated pictures from Beinecke, by Berj / KI3U, Sun 4/19/09 6:29 PM.

[2] Library of the Journal of Voynich Studies:

[3] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #4 (Vol. I, 27 FEB 2007) :
J.VS: Just Latin, or something more? - Marci vs Marcus vs Marcius etc., by Berj / KI3U.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Fri 4/24/09 4:26 AM

J.VS: Re: Marci's last known letter to Kircher: 10 SEP 1665

Continuing from J.VS communication # 263 the discussion of the last two letters from Marci to Kircher:

23 APR 2009

Jan says:
Greg, the part of the problem is that we do not know what was originally written there [in the 19 AUG 1665/6 letter]. As Berj suggests, it could have been incomplete "6" or even "5", later corrected to "5".

Greg says:
This is true.

Jan says:
The original "6" - if it was indeed "6" - does not have any visible upper arch - could we somehow reliably identify the traces of the whole "6"?

Greg says:
Again, true.

Jan says:
Now for stronger lines (the final version) [seen in the letter], they really vouch for final "5".

Greg says:
Again, true.

Jan says:
As for Voynich he could not have known any better so I would not rely on him (unless he did the correction himself :-).

Greg says:
My point, somewhat diluted now, was that Voynich himself, having direct access to the letter, wasn't sure of the date, although clearly his preferred reading was '1665' since he put that first. So rather than saying that 1665 was the absolutely correct date I was doubting it.

As to "unless he did the correction himself :-)" you jest, of course, but as a serious note there is no reason, none at all, for him to do so. Even in the darkest version of the conspiracy theory, of Voynich faking the Tepenec signature and maybe the whole manuscript, there is no reason to modify the date of the letter. It is largely irrelevant which it is, 1665 or 1666, and indeed as you say Kinner's letter and Marci's letter-timing pattern would prefer 1666, i.e. the 'unchanged' version. Which in turn suggests that the change to a 5, if that is what it is, was original and contemporary with the letter.

Jan says:
But there are several objections now against the final "5": Kinner's letter suggests 1666, also previous Marci's letters were mostly about a year apart and if these two would be only one month apart, Marci could not - in the time he wrote the second letter - have any answer from Kircher. Nor he could have any reply via Father Provincial who took off probably several days later and the trip and his business in Rome could take several weeks alone. Either way, Marci would either repeat in the letter the info he sent [about] the book, just in case it got lost. Even in the case that he knew the book arrived, he would not in his excitment be silent about it. Either way, is there in the September letter any indication it was written one month or so after the VM was shipped?

That Kinner mentioned mistakenly two different dates himself could be explained by the possibility that Kinner meant in his second letter only "about a year ago" not remembering exactly when it was sent.

Greg says:

Jan says:
As for the other objections however, they are not so easy to dismiss.

What is even more disturbing is the fact Marci probably did not get from Kircher between 1665 and 1667 [the book], otherwise he would not beg Kinner to especially inquire about it. He might have got the message the book was delivered and even Kircher's letter via Father Provincial when he returned from Rome, but that could not have been sooner than say beginning of October 1665. It could suggest the VM was indeed neglected by Kircher (Marci certainly was :-) or that Kircher possibly soon abandoned the task of its decoding.

Greg says:
Do we know what Kircher was up to in later 1665 (and indeed 1666)? Is there any evidence of him being busy with something else, something more important than the VMS?

Jan says:
One little note: his curiosity shows that Marci was obviously interested in solving the VM, even later by Kircher and that was the real reason he sent it to him. That's also why he did not send it immediately after Baresch's death - dying Baresch probably asked him to carry on the solution himself first. Losing his eyesight however, Marci knew he could not carry on and apparently believed (like Baresch did) that Kircher can solve it.

Kircher disinterest, on the other hand, could be explained several different ways.

Well, it looks like the correct date of Marci's historical VM letter is rather important now that we have two Marci's letters in collision course and two different datings by Kinner :-).

[commenting on an image processing experiment with the 19 AUG 1665/6 Marci letter] Jan says:
Greg, While embossment depends on the density of the scribble, it still gives some idea, [see this] in [the] attached pictures, both positive and negative.

Greg says:
Thanks, Jan, for the embossed images. One problem with them, though, is that they broaden the stroke slightly, so some of the gaps disappear. However there is no evidence of an upper arch in the disputed last digit, as you said.

I played with trying to enhance the image myself. I thought I might be able to enhance the ink density ( see attached ycbcr709F-compose.jpg ), however it seems that the JPG compression artefacts (visible as little squares) are of the same scale and very unfortunately placed and thus the image is unreliable in this regard. In several places what looks like lighter ink density matches perfectly with the 8x8 JPG encoding grid and cannot be trusted. These lossy images are no good for extensive image processing, especially colour work.

Jan says:
Yes, the filtering by color probably would not help if the same ink was used, but of course the more pressure, the darker the trace (which usually happens when one wants to correct something).

Greg says:

Jan says:
Your picture shows clearly that the dash above the last digit is the descending upper arch of preceeding, (second) 6, with rather generous swing.

Greg says:

Jan says:
Now there should be some third info making that 5 more probable, say the date of visit of Father Provincial. We have however the first letter by Kinner (as Berj stressed) which says Marci sent the letter already, so neglecting those 4 days in January, it must have been sent in 1665. As I said, with Kinner's vague memory in his second letter - everything works for 1665, except again that Marci's letter one month after VM departure is surprisingly silent about it. But I have some explanation for that too.

The letter date is one thing and its delivery the other: what if the VM letter - with the VM - was delayed say half a year, sitting at Father Provincial office and waiting for his somehow delayed departure for Rome (say due to his sickness - after all, Father Provincial was a leading figurehead of the whole Jesuit Province (region) and it was proper to wait for him to get better instead [of] sending somebody else, sooner. In that case Marci had no reason to mention the VM which he knew was still in Prague and he had no idea when it will depart for Rome.

Greg says:
Yes. Alternatively rather than sitting in Prague, the Father Provinical may have been delayed or diverted to some other part of the region on Jesuit business, carrying the VM with him but delaying its arrival in Rome. Some details of his movements in 1665-1667 would be useful.

Jan says:
By the way, Voynich could have had a reason to change the 6 to 5, if by some mistake he learned that Marci died before August 1666 :-). Of course he did not, but say some mistake in records he found.... :-) Just kidding, of course, the ink is the same and he would have to fake that as well.

Funny we do not have any confirmation the VM ever reached Italy: Marci kept asking Kircher. . . Just kidding again, if the letter reached it, so did the VM (unless the Father provincial has a hole in his pouch and did not have a heart to tell Marci about it :-)

Berj says:
This is a fascinating dialog you guys are carrying on - things I didn't think of. The 39 signature-image files [J.VS comm. #264] serve as a pretty good catalog of what we have of Marci's letters to Kircher. As you can see there is a gap from 19 AUG 1658 to the Beinecke-Voynich 19 AUG 1665 - note the same month and day. There is the recently discovered (by Philip Neal I think it was) torn letter of 7 ? JAN 1646, 557 APUG 424r, but with its bottom torn off there is no signature of Marci.

You really start to see things flipping through the signatures images, and that causes you to check some of the source documents for further details.

The Voynich-provenance 19 AUG 1665 letter at Beinecke is definitely unusual in a couple of ways. Of course first of all is its paper - from the image it looks like fine clean white machine-woven cloth, nothing like the papers in the admittedly-lower-image-resolution APUG pictures look. This letter was folded and sealed with wax, but judging from the only picture of its verso which I have ever seen - brought back from Beinecke by Dana - there is no writing whatsoever on the "outside" of the sealed letter. In other words it was sealed, but not addressed - how to explain that? That is supposed to be a rather critical letter concerning a precious (to Marci) manuscript he has destined for Kircher, yet the sealed letter presents a blank. Would the seal emblem be enough? We need a good image of the seal to study and compare with the seals on the APUG letters.

Finally, the signature differs in one way from all the other Marci signatures: the norm in Marci's letters is that his signature is about the same size, or larger, than the good-bye writing just preceeding it (usually a word or two just above the signature). But in the Voynich-provenance 19 AUG 1665/6 letter, we see an exception: the signature is considerably smaller than the good-bye "Ad obsequia".

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Sat 4/25/09 12:01 AM

J.VS: Re: Marci's last known letter to Kircher: 10 SEP 1665

Continuing from J.VS communication # 265 the discussion of the last two letters from Marci to Kircher:

23 APR 2009

Berj says:
Have you guys looked at the first couple of sentences in Marci's (LAST) letter of 10 SEP 1665, where he seems to be talking about "libellos curiosos" ? Is there any hint in this letter that Marci sent anything unusual to Kircher less than a month earlier?

24 APR 2009

Greg says:
This was what prompted my query. The first line after the greeting is (as usual, first pass approximation):

"A year has gone by since I consigned a letter [or writing] to the Rev. Father ...".

The next word is "Nadasdi". The only plausible interpretation of this I have so far come up with is that it refers to one Ferenc Nadasdy, a Hungarian nobleman, almost certainly a Count, who lived roughly 1625?-1671[*] and who, it seems was executed for being involved in a plot against the Holy Roman Emperor. In at least the first half of 1665 he appears to have travelled to Rome.

The problem is, that the latinised surname ends in 'i' and I am having trouble figuring out which case it is supposed to be in, thus hindering my interpretation of the sentence (letters of Nadasdy? sent via Nadasy? As far as I know, Ference was not a priest, so Rev. P. doesn't refer to him, but as usual to AK). Hence my query.

It is possible (still working on the cases and syntax) that it was "a letter to R.P. consigned [entrusted] to Nadasdi [for delivery]". However, this is still extremely preliminary and should not be considered reliable in any way.

* the Wikipedia articles on him disagree on the dates; one even has the dates a century earlier and may refer to his father or grandfather, but my Slovenian is a tad rusty. 1625-1671 is from the Hungarian article, which is probably the most reliable.

Berj says:
r. Looks like Marci starts out talking about sending a book or books. Btw, on a different matter, I seem to have an error in the filename of Marci's 28 NOV 1643 letter - it should be 557 APUG 102r, not 101r.

Greg says:
I take it you want me to change it.

Berj says:
Nah - LunaInsight brings it up as 101r, even though Archimede blanks at 101r and brings it up on 102r. Lets wait til all those guys sort it out :-)

Marci's signature in this 28 NOV 1643 letter is rather strange: the second half of the "Marcus" suddenly drops downward. At first I thought it was distortion in the paper, but it appears he just wrote it that way. Curious.

Greg says:
Perhaps he was writing it on his knee in a carriage or something.

Berj says:
Interesting thought.

Anyway, back to Marci's AUG and SEP 1665 letters (with reference also to Kinner's 1666 and 1667 letters): it seems to me we have some serious sorting out to do, but first need a good idea of what Marci wrote on 10 SEP 1665. Then too, Jan's more-or-less in-jest comment that Fr. Provincial may have screwed up the delivery, really might be taken as a serious possibility. If I recall, not all the books that were sent back and forth over the years, actually made it safely.

Jan says:
Greg,could it be Nadasy? I haven't seen it yet, but it might be misspelled name. Nadasy was a Hungarian nobleman, the husband of notorious Lady of Cachtice, the murderess of young girls, name Bathory-Nadasy. Apparently her husband was on it as well, see:
The story is from 16th century. Apparently has nothing to do with the letter, only with somebody of the name Nadasy. The termination - sdi - is not so common there.

Greg says:
I think you missed my earlier mail, in which I suggested that it was Ferenc Nadasdy, 1625?-1671, a relative of your Nadasdy (I believe the family still exists). The family name is known to be latinised as Nadasdi.

Jan says:
Berj, as I mentioned before, we do not have ANY confirmation the book ever reached Rome. Well, the letter surely did but then again, even if the book reached Kircher, it could have been lost during Risorgimento purges. Of course, the letter survived (if it is no forgery) and could have been inserted in another, totally different book (especially since there is no identification in the letter that describes any VM details. Baresch wrote more about the VM but his letter was not found in the book either :-). The letter however addresses Athanasius so there is certain connection after all. Too bad Voynich did not reveal the sellers while they were alive, they could have confirmed the letter was really in there and put the question in rest. The damage Voynich did to the manuscript is so extensive that his unsatisfactory explanation just makes his other information dubious as well.

No answer from Kircher is another strange detail (even if all Kircher's letters in Prague are apparently lost, Kinner would probably describe in his next letter to Kircher (was there any?) how happy Marci was when he read Kircher is working on it. So much strange since we have 3 independent confirmations the book was really sent: first Marci's letter and two letters by Kinner.

Also, what can we make about Marci's request via Kinner, asking how much progress Kircher made: does that means he did not get any progress report from him or even no confirmation of delivery at all? He certainly did not get any progress report, we can almost feel his curiosity. After all, it was VERY GENEROUS gift (and expensive, as Marci quotes the original price). I would assume Kircher should appreciate such gift from friend and let Marci know about it: he himself valued his manuscript by rabbi Barachias so much he did not even show it to anybody :-).

So the option the book was lost (and never found) cannot be easily dismissed. Of course, the VM is only one book we have at hand and we surely have full hands solving that one :-). Still, the provenance of the VM could eventually turn quite differently . . .

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Sat 4/25/09 4:50 AM

J.VS: Did Godefridus Kinner write Marci's last two letters?

Dear Colleagues

During our current off-J discussions on the 1665-1667 Marci and Kinner letters, last redacted in J.VS communication #266, our colleague Jan Hurych commented:

" ..... No answer from Kircher is another strange detail (even if all Kircher's letters in Prague are apparently lost, Kinner would probably describe in his next letter to Kircher (was there any?) how happy Marci was when he read Kircher is working on it. So much strange since we have 3 independent confirmations the book was really sent: first Marci's letter and two letters by Kinner.

Also, what can we make about Marci's request via Kinner, asking how much progress Kircher made: does that means he did not get any progress report from him or even no confirmation of delivery at all? He certainly did not get any progress report, we can almost feel his curiosity. ..... "

Indeed, we can almost feel Kinner's curiosity!

Thus Jan's comments prompted me to go have another look at Kinner's letters, and compare them with Marci's. I was amazed to notice for the first time how similar Kinner writes his numeral "5" to the way the infamous "5" or "6" is written in the Voynich-provenance 19 AUG 1665/6 letter of Marci. And that's not all.

I've sent to our J.VS Librarian Greg Stachowski the new Library deposit # 23-1-2009-04-24 containing 23 otherwise unprocessed image-crops, with their filenames identifying sources etc. in one zipfile:

These images are for comparing the numeral "5" in Marci's letters with some of Kinner's renditions of "5". Some more images are for comparing the greeting lines in the letters of Kinner and Marci. This set of images is not exhaustive, but extensive enough to get a good start on these comparisons.

In the date-lines, compare Kinner's "5" from his 4 MAR 1665 and 5 JAN 1667 letters, with the "5" in Marci's 19 AUG 1665 letter. Then compare the entire "1665" in Kinner's 4 MAR 1665 letter, and Marci's 19 AUG 1665 letter. To my eyes there is a great deal of similarity.

Looking over all the 5's in the dates in all of Marci's letters which we have, it appears that the closest similarity to the "5" or "6" in the 19 AUG 1665/6 letter is with Marci's 15 AUG 1647 letter, 557 APUG 109r . Otherwise Marci writes his "5" quite differently.

Now lets look at the greeting lines. Across the decades Marci always abbreviates "Reverende" as "Rnde", and he does not expend any great calligraphic effort on the initial capital "R" - a typical example is seen in his 23 FEB 1654 letter. But all this changes in his last two letters. There, suddenly we see the "Reverende" written out, and with considerable calligraphic flourish. But that is the norm for Kinner!

All this has me wondering if during Marci's decline, attended by increasing blindness and mental deterioration, Kinner sometimes acted as a kind of secretary to Marci, in particular with Marci's last two letters to Kircher that we have. We have long suspected that Marci's last two letters were not written by his hand - it is interesting to ponder if Kinner wrote for him.

If Kinner wrote the last two of Marci's letters, or even just one of them, then the mystery points Jan raises, plus the points I raised at the end of J.VS comm. # 265, start moving toward both potential clarifications, and further major questions. In his condition, just how much aware was Marci of Kinner's writing to Kircher about the mysterious book?

Kinner may have been far more involved with the mysterious Sphynx book than we have so far suspected, perhaps involved for many years. Everything available of Kinner would need to be gone over with a fine tooth comb from the new perspective, remembering also the Cyprian versus Godefridus problem. And, what if anything, might Kinner have had to do with Marci, shortly before Marci expired, entering the Societas Jesu?

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Tue 4/28/09 3:15 PM

J.VS: The libellos curiosos in Marci's 10 SEP 1665 letter to Kircher

Dear Colleagues

In light of Godefridus Kinner possibly having written Joannes Marcus Marci's last two letters (J.VS communication #267), here's a start on a timeline focused on that, to help further investigations [1,2]:

* 11 OCT 1664 Kinner-to-Kircher letter, 562 APUG 130, Kinner reports that Marci's powers are failing, and Marci's deteriorating eyesight prevents Marci from writing.

* 19 AUG 1665 Marci-to-Kircher letter, Beinecke MS 408A, apparently written for Marci by Kinner, signed plausibly by Marci himself, and with "a Cronland" for the first time in a letter to Kircher. This letter destines to Kircher (and is apparently sending herewith) a Sphynx ms with a Roger Bacon attribution rumor, and is definitely sending herewith decipherment attempts by the former un-named owner of the manuscript. This is the Wilfrid Voynich provenanced letter which is central to the standard theoretical VMS history, and the letter is odd in several respects, including that it is uncertain if it was ever sent to Kircher - see J.VS communication #265. For long the year in the date was uncertain as either 1665 or 1666, but recently 1665 has emerged as the most likely (J.VS comms. #261 and following; associated vms-list discussions).

* 10 SEP 1665 Marci-to-Kircher letter, 562 APUG 114, apparently written for Marci by Kinner, signed plausibly by Marci himself, and with "a Cronland". Has considerable information including names; begins about a member of the Nadasdi family, and "libellos curiosos" - possibly a little book(s) of investigations into curiosities (note: the Voynich manuscript is not a large book, being approximately just 16 cm wide by 22.5 cm high; off-J discussions on all this are currently in progress). This is now the last known letter in Marci's name to Athanasius Kircher.

* 4 JAN 1666, Kinner-to-Kircher letter, 562 APUG 138, mentions the Royal Society, and Kircher having read Marci's Philosophia. Mentions Francis Bacon and New Atlantis (see R. SantaColoma vms-list posts on that subject). Kinner asks (and per Jan Hurych's critical observation: we can almost feel Kinner's curiosity) for an interpretation of the arcane book Marci sent to Kircher:

" You will be the occasion of even greater joy if your craft and skill can uncover the interpretation of that arcane book which he gave up to you, and I would dearly like to know myself. "

* 12 or 22 MAY 1666 Father Schott dies. This serves as a reference for sorting the relevant events and letters in these investigations. (Recent Gaspar Schott material is in J.VS comms. #248, 249, and 251).

* 5 JAN 1667, Kinner-to-Kircher letter, 562 APUG 151, Kinner's first letter to Kircher since the death of Fr. Schott. Kinner writes:

" Dominus Marcus has lost his memory of nearly everything but still remembers you. He very officially bids me salute you in his name and he wishes to know through me whether you have yet proved an Oedipus in solving that book which he sent via the Father Provincial last year and what mysteries you think it may contain. It will be a great solace to him if you are able to satisfy his curiosity on this point. "

It appears that Kinner may have been acting secretarially for Marci for a year before Marci's Sphynx ms letter was written - we could well imagine Kinner handling many of Marci's old papers. This seems to increase the likelihood that Kinner was aware of the identity of the former owner of the Sphynx manuscript - why doesn't Kinner ever mention the name to Kircher? A possible explanation is that Marci's mental condition is too far deteriorated to recall the former owner's name (M. Georgius Baresch ?), but that would also require Kinner never seeing Baresch's name on any of Baresch's decipherment attempts.

What, if anything, is the connection between the Sphynx manuscript and the "libellos curiosos" ? If the libellos curiosos is partly or all the Voynich Manuscript, then does this mean that the subject matter of the VMS is specifically focused on curious aspects of otherwise ordinary or established matters, in botany, medicine, astrology / astronomy etc. ? That could help explain the VMS's odd illustrations: they are exaggeratedly emphasizing not the ordinary aspects, but the unusual aspects to the plants etc. being illustrated.

We note also the Royal Society (an English Institution), and the Englishmen Roger Bacon and Francis Bacon, appearing in Kinner's letters, both his own, and the ones he is writing for Marci. Is this clustering of English themes significant? Did Kinner play an important role in Marci's being invited into the Royal Society (Marci died just before, so the invite came too late).

Berj / KI3U

P.S. As you know, J.VS CM has made progress with arrangements that will soon see the public online J.VS Archive move to a new host server. CM is working on making a smooth transition, and will make necessary announcements as soon as practical.

[1] I've borrowed some material from my vms-list post of 20 APR 2009 wherein the Kinner two-books problem is diagrammed; vms-list post:
RE: VMs: New additional VMS-associated pictures from Beinecke, Mon 4/20/09 8:27 PM, by Berj / KI3U.

[2] For the summaries and translations of Godefridus Kinner's letters to Athanasius Kircher see Philip Neal:
Athanasius Kircher's Prague Correspondents, Summaries of the correspondence :

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Thu 4/30/09 4:53 PM EDT

J.VS: Theodorus Petraeus and the distinctive "d" in Marci's last two letters

Dear Colleagues

A couple of days ago on vms-list I responded to comments of Philip Neal on J.VS communication #267. [1]

Since Philip Neal brought up the topic of hunting for similars to the 408A "d", it seems indicated now to produce a list of what I have found in that respect in my travels through APUG. Of course the 10 SEP 1665 letter of Marci, 562 APUG 114, exhibits the same situation as 408A, where the body of the writing is in one hand, quite apparently the same as in 408A, and the signature of Marci is in another hand, again the same as in 408A. The 10 SEP 1665 letter has the same distinctive d's seen in Beinecke MS 408A.

As Philip Neal, so too I have not found a smoking gun, which would require not just similar d's but similar script in general, but there are some interesting cases nevertheless, one very interesting one in particular.

In d-hunting the object is to find a clue or connection, to the Beinecke MS-408A 19 AUG 1665/6 letter of Marci to Kircher, that somewhat odd letter which is so central to standard theoretical Voynich manuscript history. As I shall attempt to show, the d-hunt is potentially more complicated than just finding similar d's, that is finding a similar hand, in some writings other than MS 408A.

First, my subjective reaction to the "d" in Beinecke MS 408 is that the writer is at home with writing Greek: the d's in the letter appear similar to a Greek alphabet lower-case letter delta.

The main distinguishing feature of the average 408A lower-case d-letter is an indent to the left in the ascender. This indent is sometimes only slight, but more often than not it is rather noticable. It appears to me that in MS 408A usually the d is scripted starting at top, with the nominal ascender formed first on the way down, and the d is then completed with the line-level closing arc or loop. Variations are most noticable on the ascender, especially at its terminus tip at the top. The d sometimes resembles a little alchemical-symbol alembic, especially in its third appearance, in the last word (partial) on line 4, "des-".

We ignore the capital-D's in the letter. Then altogether the letter's 24 lines exhibit 34 d's, of which the last one, on line 24, is the d in Marci's "a Cronland" signature, and on account of this d being completely different from the others which are of the hand of the person who wrote the body of the letter, we ignore it also. So, we have then 33 examples of the distinctive d of MS 408A.

Now, APUG is a handy reservoir of handwritings, and although d-hunting is not restricted to just APUG, it is logically the first place to look for a similar hand, in the hope of finding the identity of the person who wrote the 19 AUG 1665/6 letter to Kircher for the ailing and going-blind Marci. And as you know, I have recently taken seriously the possibility that Godefridus Kinner is the writer of the last two Marci letters (J.VS communication #267, also #268).

Here and there in APUG we do find some d's which come close to one of the d-variations in MS 408A. Of the ones I have collected, the following four APUG documents are some of the more interesting ones for d comparisons, with one d in each pointed out:

565 APUG 178r : 2nd line, in "emendatorum". 1668 multi-lingual (incl. Greek) treatise by M. Theodorus Petraeus (note: LunaInsight on APUG gives "Petreius" - I disagree, as Theodorus Petreius the Carthusian scholar flourished more than half a century earlier). I find only this one document of Petraeus in all APUG: 565 APUG 178-179. It suggests that Petraeus was right up Kircher's alley, and the two men, given the opportunity, would have had much to talk about.

Petraeus has the best similars to MS 408A that I've come across. Petraeus, c. 1588-1672, seems to have been an Ethiopic scholar from Flensburg (Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany), and a collector of oriental manuscripts, and in the habit of annotating. Around 1660 he and J.G. Nisselius attempted setting up an Oriental press in Leiden. [2]

It would appear that M. Theodoro Petraeo is a good target for VMS study - perhaps he knew of the Voynich manuscript, or at least its script, and perhaps somewhere in his papers there is an indication of same. I wonder if Godefridus Kinner and Petraeus were acquainted, and even perhaps corresponded. Can we find some Greek writing by Kinner? And, to take off on an idea just suggested off-J by our colleague Greg Stachowski, it is conceivable that if Kircher received the Voynich manuscript, that for one reason or another he handed it off to someone, say someone like Petraeus.

Three more APUG documents for d-work, all three from the 1630's:

557 APUG 390r : 8th line up from bottom, in the word "expedite". 1639 letter from Grothaus.
558 APUG 80v : 7th line up from bottom, in the word "dici". 1634 Examen draft? written by Kircher.
561 APUG 111r : 5th line up from dateline, in "P. Mundbrot". 1637 letter from Melchior Inchofer.

Of course we would be remiss to neglect a look at the VMS itself, and logically there the first place to turn is the Voynich manuscript's last folio, f116v - there we immediately find an MS 408A similar d in the famous anchiton / mchiton / michiton oladabas, that wonderful phrase which sounds like a magical incantation conjuring up the secrets of the universe in the light of a full moon, and which was forever etched into Voynich studies by the great Prof. Romaine Newbold. As we know, the text on f116v is an odd mix of alphabets letters and symbols [3], including a few VMS glyphs, and several Greek crosses like the ones atop the Jesuit letters of APUG and Kircher's letters found elsewhere. And we know too that there is no certainty the f116v text was scripted by the VMS author, rather than a later annotator or hopeful decipherer.

Going through the variations of the d's in their sequence in the MS 408A letter, we soon suspect some patterns in the curling of the tips, and the thought arises that perhaps the d's are mathematically encoding something. So we investigate this:


Let us assign:

-1 = ascender-tip curling left
0 = ascender-tip no curl
+1 = ascender-tip curling right

L denotes the line-number in the Beinecke MS 408A letter:

L01: -1
L04: -1, 0, -1
L05: -1
L06: 0, 0, 0,
L07: -1
L09: 0, -1, 0,
L10: 0
L11: 0
L12: -1, 0, 0, -1,
L13: 0, 0, 0,
L15: 0, -1,
L16: 0, -1,
L17: -1
L18: 0
L19: 0, -1, -1, 0,
L20: 0
L22: +1

In Table 1 we can see that the variations of the d's distribute in patterns suggesting symmetries, and the single case of a +1 d occurs as the last d, in the word "Ad" in the good-bye "Ad obsequia" just above Marci's signature as the letter closes, as if to signal a closing, or something along the lines of: connect the preceeding codes to the codes to follow in a yet-to-come letter. Interestingly, whereas both 408A and 562 APUG 114 begin with d = -1, the 408A ends with +1, but the 562 APUG 114 ends with a -1.

Are the patterns shown in Table 1 just coincidental, or indicative of conscious and intentional coding? If intentional, then there is a plausibility of mathematical consciousness behind the patterns - this is one of the stronger reasons for my seriously considering Godefridus Kinner as the secretarial writer of the MS 408A letter (as well as the 562 APUG 114 letter), he being a mathematician. [4]

I have not had a chance to make a table for 562 APUG 114, but I have sent to our J.VS Librarian Greg Stachowski for a new library deposit # 24-1-2009-04-30 the zipfile:

This zipfile contains crops of the 34 d's taken from the high-resolution image of Beinecke MS 408A [5]. The filenames facilitate orderly scanning, and identification, for example:


shows the 11th d appearing in Marci's letter (from its begining), being the 2nd d on line 9. If interested, you can use these files to modify Table 1 above, and even increase the variations resolution beyond -1, 0, +1, and reach your own conclusion on whether or not intentional modulation of the delta alphabet letter by the writer is probable. A yes conclusion would then impact on d-hunting.

Berj / KI3U

[1] vms-list post:
RE: VMs: Kinner and the last letters of Marci, Tue 4/28/09 11:37 PM, by Berj / KI3U.
Here following the text reproduced in full:

Philip Neal wrote Tue 4/28/09 7:27 PM:

" Are you saying that you think Beinecke 408A is in Kinner's handwriting? I do not think that they are remotely similar. "

I am saying yes I take it as a serious possibility that Beinecke 408A came from a hand of Godefridus Kinner.

" The lower case d in Beinecke 408A is particularly distinctive and I have kept an eye out for similar writing in the Kircher archive but never spotted any. "

Agreed. Now, in Kinner's usual letters seen in APUG there is considerable variation in his "d", as can be seen for example in 562 APUG 12r (29 NOV 1662), and even right in the opening three greeting lines. Occasionally Kinner does come pretty close to the 408A distinctive "d", as for example in 562 APUG 151r (5 JAN 1667), the 10th line up from bottom, in the word "sed" near the right margin.

That said, on the possibility that Kinner wrote the last two Marci letters, I know of nothing to rule out that Kinner had multiple "hands". His usual letters tell me he had calligraphic skills. So, Kinner may have possessed different hands useful for different purposes. He may have been ambidextrous - I know of no information that would rule that out.

If we think about it, anyone can develop at least a second distinct hand, just by practicing switching physical hands for writing: in my case I am right-handed, but I can, slowly and awkwardly but perfectly legibly, write left-handed. Now if it were important to me to possess a second and distinctly different hand, then I'd make it a habit of routinely writing a sentence or two with my left hand, just so as to develop a flowing practice - then when needed, I would be ready to write more or less flowingly with my "other" hand.

If Kinner did write the last two letters of Marci, then I suspect this is just what he did - switched physical hands, and the distinctive "d" in the last two Marci letters, with its charactersitic indented loop abruptly abbreviated at top end, is an indication of an ambidextrous switch. Perhaps also that is Kinner's other hand we see writing "Kinner", on the back of some of his letters, as we see by turning over 562 APUG 12r to 12v: that "Kinner" is quite different from the two renditions on the recto.

So yes, this is theoretical, which is why J.VS comm. #267 is titled as a question, but I am taking the possibility quite seriously. If during the year and a half or so prior to Marci's death, Kinner was doing sort of secretarial work for Marci, then it seems to me quite reasonable that in cases where he was preparing a letter under Marci's name, that he would write it in a hand different from his normal personal hand, so as to create the letter in a "secretarial hand". Berj / KI3U

[2] Some information on M. Theodorus Petraeus (more is available online in the Dutch language):


[2b] Well-versed in many letters, Non-western typography in Europe and Leiden up to 1800, by P.G. Hoftijser, 2006:

[2c] From a google books offering we learn that Petraeus studied with Golius at Leiden, and worked with Edmund Castell in England, and Christianus Ravius of Berlin:
Eastern wisedome and learning, By G. J. Toomer, Oxford University Press, 1996, pg. 37.

[2d] Inventory of the Oriental Manuscripts of the Library of The University of Leiden, Volume 1, compiled by Jan Just Witkam, Ter Lugt Press, Leiden, 2007 :

[3] For example, in the top text-line on f116v, the second-last letter of the second word, you could fairly deem it an Armenian alphabet letter: a lower-case example of the 16th letter of the Armenian alphabet, "hoh".

[4] The possibility of the MS 408A "d" reflecting mathematical consciousness in its writer, via the d's affinity to the Greek delta, and modulation of the tip of the delta, is certainly out there on the conjectural arc, but we are better off noting interesting possibilities however briefly, than just ignoring them. Here are some online resources for the history of mathematical notation, useful for estimating a European mathematician's involvement with the Greek letter delta in and prior to the 16th century:

From Mactutor, Greek number systems :

By Jeff Miller:
In the section, Earliest Uses of Symbols for Variables :
Miller states: "Greek letters. The use of letters to represent general numbers goes back to Greek antiquity. Aristotle frequently used single capital letters or two letters for the designation of magnitude or number (Cajori vol. 2, page 1)."

In the section, Earliest Uses of Symbols of Calculus :
Miller states: "Delta to indicate a small quantity. In 1706, Johann Bernoulli used d to denote the difference of functions. Julio González Cabillón believes this is probably one of the first if not the first use of delta in this sense."

[5] The 19 AUG 1665/6 letter: High_Res_Image: 1170955 (click on ZOOM) :

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Fri 5/01/09 9:25 PM EDT

J.VS: The hidden 5th man in Voynich f57v

Dear Colleagues

The mention on vms-list earlier today of the four persons in the Voynich f57v illustration, reminded me to point out the possibility of a fifth, hidden man in that illustration. This hypothetical fellow would be hidden behind the fellow at the top / north of the 4-persons ring.

To see him, we first rotate the f57v image clockwise 205 degrees. The nomally north person is then at the bottom, not quite upright, but angled a bit to the left. We see his / her backside, and we see only the back of their head. But if we look closely at the right side of the head, we see what could be another head just sticking out from in front of the north-person's head. The face of this 5th man is so angled, looking to the right, that it cannot be the face of the normal north-person. Either this feature is an accidental result of the crude rendering of the north-person's head, or it is meant to be a fifth man hidden behind.

I've sent a labeled image crop to show this: cr205c1VMSf57v.jpg

to our J.VS Librarian Greg Stachowski as an addendum to library deposit # 9-1-2007-09-16 :

It's yet another one of those VMS curiosities complicating the overall picture.

Berj / KI3U

From Greg Stachowski
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent 05-02-2009 12:36:57 PM

J.VS: Re: Did Godefridus Kinner write Marci's last two letters?

[ off-J discussions following J.VS communication #267:
J.VS: Did Godefridus Kinner write Marci's last two letters? ]

25 APR 2009

Jan Hurych says:
Berj, very good observation!

First I quote Philip Neal:

" Gottfried Aloysius Kinner (Godefridus Aloysius Kinner)
Dates not known, around 1610 - 1670.
A Jesuit mathematician, tutor to Archduke Karl Josef of Austria (1649-1664, younger half-brother of Leopold I). A longstanding friend of Marci, shared his interest in alchemical medicine. Saw the manuscript before it was sent to Kircher and twice raised the question with him. "

There is also my comment ( in the VM List):
" I quote from Wydra's (Czech historian):
Godefridus Kinner was a Silesian from Reichenbach, a doctor of arts and letters, philosophy, law and theology. He so shone in mathematics that he was appointed to teach them to the serene prince Carolus Josephus Archduke of Austria, brother of Emperor Leopold and Grand Master of the Teutonic Order." "

Berj / KI3U says:
Teutonic Order - interesting!

Jan says:
Another Czech source at

quotes the epitaph of St. Procopius in Latin, ending: "Cuius Honori praesens Mausoleum Et brevis gestorum picta series Anno salutis MDCLXIX posita fuere Godefrido Aloysio Kinner de Loewenthurn, huius Ecclesiae Decano"

which means in English:

"Godefridus (friend of God, in Czech Bohumir, the name used there) Aloysius Kinner, the dean of the Church of All Saints who in r. 1669 got made the new crypt there for St. Procopius".

(St. Prokopius was Czech saint who tried to convert the pagans in Prussia who paid him back by chopping him by ax (y.1053). His remains were later brought to Prague and in the time of Godefridus, the crypt was probably in disarray).

So our Godefridus was apparently also a priest (dean) at All Saints, as well as the mathematician and scientist. He wrote the book 'Elucidatio geometrica problematis austriaci sive quadratur circuli' autore Godefrido Aloysio Kinner ...( Kinner, Godefridus Aloysius, Prag 1653).

From the title we can see he worked on the quadrature of the circle - as well as once did Marci which could bring them even closer. Of course they knew each other anyway. As per Wydra "He also published on Prague presses in 1633 a learned booklet on the second squaring of the circle discovered by Fr. Gregorius a Sancto Vincente. He is praised by the subscribers at the beginning of the book and they are (surprise, surprise!):

"the famous Caramuel Abbot of Monserrat, Joannes Marcus Marci Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Theodorus Moretus S.T.D. Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Rector of the Clatovian College of the Society of Jesus, and Josephus del Medico, doctor of medicine (rather mysterious person)."

Comment on two different dates for the book (1633 and 1653, in two different sources can be explained by two different publishings (or just a misreading of the date?).

Conclusion: the above Kinner was no doubt a friend of Marci and mathematician as well, so I would suspect Marci put him in his confidence and they might have tried to solve the VM together. And yes, he could have been the person who wrote last Marci's letters and so he also knew what was all that correspondence about. Moreover, writing the last Marci's letter, he would have known exactly WHEN the VM letter was written (1665?) and WHEN (1666?) it was sent. So there is another possible explanation for two dates mentioned in his letters, they might not contradict after all.

You also bring another point: if Kinner did the correction, I think the mistake was more likely made by Marci who just wrote the date and signature (even being almost blind). The very lightly written digit underneath 5 was probably not legible, so Kinner corrected it. And yes, it might have been originally 5 as well, just barely readable so Kinner just traced it (it seems to be most likely since there is a missing arch for 6 altogether - of course even the arch for second 6 is barely visible) ).

Berj says:
This seems more and more possible - Kinner must have had a go at the mysterious book, and likely was itching to discuss it in detail with Kircher.

Greg Stachowski says:
Very good Jan! This seems nicely plausible. (also very good Berj, for noticing).

Jan says:
By the way, have you noticed the compassionate description of Marci's health state? Moretus on the other hand does not mention Marci in his letters at all (if I remember correctly, except what I take as some ironical hints maybe).

Greg says:
Indeed. It all points to Kinner being very close to Marci, and probably a nice guy as well.

Berj says:
I think the last letter we have from Moretus is 9 OCT 1642 when Marci was in his prime. Still, it is curious that Moretus is so indifferent to Baresch's Prague ms, unless it is of no mathematical interest. The VMS, at least in my view, is definitely of mathematical interest, and that works for Baresch's ms NOT being the VMS.

Greg says:
Time to study Kinner. And, come to think of it, this Josephus fellow. Surely another character who would have been interested in the VMS?

26 APR 2009

Berj says:
Josephus del Medico - that name sounds like it could be an alias pseudonym.

Greg says:
Surely 'alias pseudonym' is a tautology. :)

Anyway, after a relaxing afternoon of digging around the net, I have identified him. Surprisingly, it is not an alias at all, but a corruption of a real name: that of eminent Jewish doctor and philosopher of the 17th Century, Rav [or Rabbi] Yosef Shlomo Delmedigo of Candia [modern Heraklion, Crete] (1591-1655). He was also an astronomer and mathematician, and a scholar of the Kabbalah.

'Delmedigo' was the name of a prominent Jewish family in Candia. I suspect that the fact that he was a doctor lead to the corruption of 'Delmedigo' to 'Del Medico', which looks like 'The Doctor' (and my first thought on seeing the name). The various other variations of his name include:

Joseph Del Medico Cretensis ["of Crete"]
Yosef Shlomo Delmedigo
Yosef Shlomo Dilmadigo
Yosef Shlomo Rofe ['Rofe' = 'Doctor' in Hebrew]
Yosef Shlomo Rofei
Yashar Mikandia ["The Upright of Candia"]
Yashar of Candia

He died, by the way, in Prague (!)

From this review

of the canonical biography by Barzilay:

"Doctor, scientist, rabbi, philosopher, and rationalist, Yashar of Candia (1591-1655), a Cretan Jew, was compelled to wander for much of his life in Egypt, Poland, and Germany, at odds with both non-Jews and the increasingly mystical Jewish communities he visited. This biography of a universal scholar sets him in the context of early seventeenth-century scientific rationalism and rightly emphasizes the added difficulties of his Jewish predicament. Of his medical training at Padua, little is said, although recent work on Harvey, his contemporary there, would have altered the largely negative picture of university medicine there, but the short section on his practice in Poland, Holland, and Germany is illuminating on the life of a doctor in the Jewish ghettos. At Amsterdam, the large number of Jewish doctors forced him to give up medicine for a time, perhaps not unwillingly, and the harsh contract he signed in 1631 to be the Jewish communal physician at Frankfurt-am-Main does not imply much confidence in his abilities. His medical writings, including a plagiarism of Galen's commentary on the Aphorisms, are of minor importance compared with his philosophical and scientific studies; yet, as this biography shows, it was the money he made from his practice that enabled him to travel, to buy his books, and at times just to exist."


The biography by Barzilay referred to above: gZ16XIL-sjFa0-c&hl=pl&ei=u3_0SZbHENCRjAf_wfW_DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#PPP1,M1

A listing of a sale of one of his books:,-joseph.-various-authors.-likutim-sh-1-c-cs32l4ahto

Berj says:
If I remember correctly, GC was saying he thinks the VMS projects Galenic medicine??? Or did he say Paracelsian. I'd have to go and look all that up, as at the time I was not convinced one way or the other.

Jan says:
Hi Greg, another medicine man, probably interested in the VM: Matthiolli, Hayek, Jan Jessenius, Marci, del Medico, Horczicky, pater Schaffner (maybe), Nigroponte (was he a medical man?) Dobrzansky (who took over after Marci), . . . and L. Strong (very, very late :-) .

Greg says:
Landini, even later :)
Del Medico would, I think have been interested in the VMS on many levels, he seems to have been an all-rounder.

Jan says:
I would guess there were several more . . . Even Baresch hinted about the medical content of the VM. Recently somebody wrote here about the Jesuit who was teaching Marci medicine, I forgot his name. I wonder when Harvey was in Prague if he learned about the VM from Marci ( I hope he did not get his idea aboute blood circulation from the VM plumbing sketches :-).

Dana Scott says:
r. As I recall, Harvey knew Andreas Cesalpino, a medical professor/botanist in Pisa. Cesalpino had studied the circulation system, which I believe helped Harvey gain insight into his own work relating to the circulatory system. From what I understand, Cesalpino had been one of Galileo's instructors.

Greg says:
Interestingly, apparently Harvey was at Padua at the same time as Delmedigo. By the way, the Jewish Encyclopedia lists him as 'Joseph Solomon Delmedigo':

I missed that reference earlier.

Jan says:
Greg, it is interesting you mentioned that - another physician for our list was Girolamo Cardano who was lecturing in Padua (of course much earlier], he now famous discoverer of Cardan grille. And if I my memory serves me right, Dr. Raphael also studied in Padua, of course he was not a doctor of medicine. There is certainly lot of things in the VM that can attract the scientific mind of physicians and I do not mean just those naked girls :-)).

27 APR 2009

Jan says:
According to Czech sources, Marci had a correspondence with Galileo. I wonder if he got acquainted with him via that del Medico fellow (G. was his teacher) who resided in Prague since 1648 and was apparently also a friend of Marci. By the way, Kircher must have known about Del Medico who spoke Arabic, and [had] a rich library and collected old books in Cairo. Are there any letters written by him in Kircher's archive? It is unbelievable that except of letters by Baresch, Marci and Kinner, there is no trace of the VM in other letters (so far, anyway). But then again who else could possibly know Kircher had the VM? I am still wondering why was Kircher ignoring the manuscript. Was he afraid of public ridicule or did he consider the content too explosive?

Berj says:
Good point Jan. I haven't found any letters in APUG by someone conceivably Jospephus Del Medico. Of course it is always possible he is mentioned in someone else's letter - will keep an eye open for this.

28 JAN 2009

Jan says:
Berj, Czech sources claim that Marci was also involved in the discovery of blood circulation, but apparently he was only a follower of Harvey, since "Harvey announced his discovery of the circulatory system in 1616 and in 1628 published his work Exercitatio Anatomica ... (per Wikipedia)... and there is no known contact between them before Harvey's visit of Prague. Apparently Harvey based his discovery on autopsies (first one in Prague was in 1600 by Jessenius). Harvey's visit in Prague had probably very little to do with that subject. William Harvey visited Prague with some other representatives of the Royal Society in 1636, but the purpose of their visit were Marci's knowledge of metal processing technologies (per dissertation work by Margaret Garber).

Strangely enough, I could not find any other reference to that knowledge of his on net, but in his book 'Philosophia..." he mentioned Baresch had (also per Garber). Also there was a rumor in Prague that Marci could do transmutations of metals ( I have read it somewhere years ago and since then I am trying to find out where :-).

Berj says:
Perhaps back then anyone able to do some metallurgical chemistry, like making amalgams, was rumored to be an alchemist in the more sensational sense. I would suspect that Kinner would have been well aware of all these details - Harvey's visit to Prague and so on.

From Greg Stachowski
To Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent 05-02-2009 12:36:37 PM

J.VS: Off-J discussions: Kircher's toponyms; speculations on Kircher's apparent silence regarding the VMS

29 APR 2009

Berj / KI3U says:
Guys, Take a look at the address side of Baresch's letter:

where is: Frudensi Buchoino, Sacerdoti Societ:

Is that entirely a title, or is Frudensi Buchoino the name of a person? In other words another person to investigate for possible links to the Baresch ms ?

Greg Stachowski says:
It's "Fuldensi Buchonio", the re is an 'l' on the crease and the dot of the 'i' is after the 'n'. These are Latinised names of Kircher's birthplace, which he used as part of his name in the fashion of the time (c.f Marci a Cronland, Yosef Shlomo Mikandia). From

"Kircher was born on 2 May in either 1601 or 1602 (he himself did not know) in Geisa, Buchonia, near Fulda, currently Hesse, Germany. From his birthplace he took the epithets Bucho, Buchonius and Fuldensis which he sometimes added to his name. He attended the Jesuit College in Fulda from 1614 to 1618, when he joined the order himself as a seminarian."

Berj says:
r tnx. So Baresch knew all that and carefully addressed his letter.

Greg says:
Indeed. I suspect it was fairly common knowledge, Kircher being famous, or he could have got it from Marci or one of the others. He addresses the letter very respectfully.

So I had a thought just know, brought on by being reminded that Kircher was born in Germany (at Geisa, near Fulda). Now, remember this:

"The famous Renaissance Art (and especially Dürer) expert, Erwin Panofsky, suggested that the MS is from about 1470 and is of the opinion that it originates from Germany." (from )

We have always wondered why, once the VMS was sent to Kircher, it disappeared. Was it lost, or was he not interested, or did he suppress it? So the following is the wild, unsubstantiated thought of the week:

What if the reason Kircher was not interested in the VMS, apparently did nothing with it, 'disappeared' it, was because he had seen it before? Perhaps at Fulda, which has an ancient abbey and a long and distinguished history? And perhaps seeing it there - and not being able to crack it - sparked his interest languages and scripts? Somehow in the intervening 35 years it had been lost in the turmoil of the times and found its way to Rudolf's court, and thence to Baresch and Marci, who, unaware, sent it to Kircher?

Of course this is not a serious suggestion, since there is no evidence, just a discussion topic.

Berj says:
I've always had trouble believing Kircher would be disinterested in the VMS. If he had seen it before, and was interested before, then I'd think he'd be glad to see it again after such a long time, be interested anew in it, and write Marci and Kinner about having seen it before. It would seem he'd write Marci and Kinner anyway he'd seen it before, even if before he wasn't interested in it.

30 APR 2009

Greg says:
Unless he was frustrated by it, and for example didn't want to let on that the Great Kircher had been beaten by the MS before.

Jan Hurych says:
Hi all, if we logically dissect the problem, we arrive to several categories of questions:

1a) Was Kircher disinterested in the VM? And if so, why?
1b) Is it possible he did not receive the VM after all?
1c) Was he interested but did not want to commit himself publicly?

2a) Did he carry on the cracking in secret?
2b) Has he got any results?

I guess the above questions are prompted by the fact that we do not have ANY reaction by him to Marci's gift. The only references are from Prague and namely Kinner's letters indicate that Marci hasn't got any progress report and maybe even no answer whatsoever. And apparently Marci also died without getting his answer. Maybe we should try each of us answer those questions to our best. Here are my answers ( without giving any details):

1a) No, all his other research indicates otherwise. / he was interested in almost anything and he was world famous for "cracking" the hieroglyphs.
1b) Possible, but being prompted by Kinner's letters (and possibly by one more letter by Marci which did not survive) he could only pretend he did not read that and avoid the answer. Apparently like with Baresch, father Provincial confirmed the delivery was OK. However, there is also the question why Kircher - apparently - separated Marci's letter from the rest of his archive. Was he trying to hide it?
1c) Very probable: he was subject of public ridicule before. Also, the content could have been heretical, but I do not think that would stop him from carrying on secretly :-). Apparently he did not want anybody to know he had the book. Why?

2a) Possibly - if nothing else is found, we could possibly identify some of his scribbles in the VM
2b) "Results", maybe, but solution, no. Otherwise he could not possibly keep quiet about it ( see the story about Barachias' manuscript he owned - he milked it to the last drop :-). Besides, as a freelance, he partly depended on his books as moneymakers (not too much via sale, but dedications to rich fellows) and the VM would fill several books (as it does today :-).

I deliberately did not want to cloud the case with the fact the VM might not be the Prague manuscript after all - since so far we do not have any tangible proof. There is also something strange in Kircher's behavior: he got very valuable manuscript as a cordial gift, for free and he treats his "friend" Marci worse than some stranger? Not even a hint he was grateful? Especially when he knew Marci was sick and had so much joy from all Kircher's letters (one of those moments being well decribed in Kinner's letter)? No, there is something very weird there . . .

Berj says:
Concerning: "2a) Did he carry on the cracking in secret?"

Lets put that together with a hint which comes from Greg's "disappeared it" scenario. Suppose Kircher did get the VMS, and decided to hand it to someone to work on, perhaps also collaborate with.

But at this stage it is uncertain he ever got the manuscript of the 19 AUG 1665/6 letter: that letter was never in APUG, and while folded and sealed with wax, it seems to have no addressing on its "envelope". If that letter was meant just to be attached to the book being sent, then why fold and seal it, and NOT write at least Kircher's name on it as an addressee?

Jan says:
Agreed, the whole package could have been marked with Kircher's name however, so if he ever got it, he must have stashed it away from his main archive - probably for reason he did not want anybody around there to know he got it or even worked on it. By the way, that assistant of his, was he still with him at that time? He was actually his P.R. and he apparently adored him (there is a rumor he invented many favourable stories about Kircher but I think some were created by Kircher himself). I forgot his name, but I think it was German name.

Greg says:

Jan says:
Right, it was Schott, sound German, too. Well, technically speaking, Kinner seemed to be familiar with the VM case and his letter shows certain curiosity of his own. Also, calling Marci "the old boy" shows high degree of familiarity between two of them. It surely is worth investigating.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Sun 5/03/09 11:00 AM EDT

J.VS: Roman Catacombs and Voynich f86r5

Dear Colleagues

Here is some interesting news on "Shedding light on the Catacombs of Rome" : a 3 MAY 2009 BBC News online article by Duncan Kennedy, with pictures and a short video:

from which:

" Rome's underground Christian, Jewish and pagan burial sites, the Catacombs, date back to the 2nd Century AD.

There are more than 40 of them stretching over 170km (105 miles).

But, until now, they have never been fully documented, their vast scale only recorded with handmade maps.

That is now changing, following a three-year project to create the first fully comprehensive three-dimensional image using laser scanners.

A team of 10 Austrian and Italian archaeologists, architects and computer scientists have started with the largest catacomb, Saint Domitilla, just outside the Italian capital.

....... Dr Zimmerman says much of the work will be made available to the public. "

This work may prove useful with VMS questions like: was the Voynich Manuscript illustrator influenced by knowledge of the Roman Catacombs, say in the design of the VMS f86r5 rosette? We recall that Prof. Romaine Newbold worked on deciphering inscriptions on the walls of the Roman Catacombs.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Wed 5/06/09 11:11 PM EDT

J.VS: Wenceslaus Ardensbach von Ardensdorff writes Athanasius Kircher, October 1668.

Dear Colleagues

As you know, our colleague Jan Hurych has been encouraging us to dig more deeply into students of Athanasius Kircher and Joannes Marcus Marci (see for example J.VS comm. #248). As you recall from off-J a few days ago, I found in a book, which we had noted before in J.VS comm. #222, that one W.M. Ardensbach von Ardensdorff was "a pupil of Marci and assiduous reader of Kircher". [1]

Wenceslaus Ardensbach von Ardensdorff, apparently also known as Wenceslai Ardensbach de Bodensdorff Medici, de Ardensdorff, and so on, was a medical doctor. I have found in the Kircher Carteggio the following five letters from him to Kircher, all dated after Marci's death:

564 APUG 95-96 : 16? OCT 1668, from Brunnae / Brno / Brunn.

558 APUG 14-15 : 22 MAR 1669, from Brunnae / Brno / Brunn.

559 APUG 97-98 : 25 AUG 1669, from Brunnae / Brno / Brunn.

559 APUG 53 : 4 APR 1670, from Brunnae / Brno / Brunn.

565 APUG 98-99 : 20 JUL 1672, from Olmutz.

Jan Marek Marci died 10 APR 1667, so therefore von Ardensdorff's October 1668 letter was written a year and a half later. This letter is four pages altogether, written in a good legible hand, though the print appears small in the APUG online images:

It should not be difficult to transcribe this letter, and actually it is possible to preliminarily read most of it as is, provided the special symbols (alchemical, astrological, pharmacological) are understood. I've had only a quick look at it since finding it a few moments ago; von Ardensdorff's discussion seems to involve books, transcriptions, metals, tinctures, alchemical procedures, and includes these items:

Kinner, Dobrzensky, P. Behn ?, Praga, Doctor Marcus, Domino Miseron, Ferdinand III, something valued at 40,000 florins, Dr. Froelser ?, pharmacopeia, Dominus Richthausen, Barone de Chocos ?, transmutation.

These items certainly seem of interest to us in our efforts to deduce more about the Sphynx manuscript that Marci destined for Kircher in August 1665. The following statement by von Ardensdorff in a sentence on 95r (10th line up from bottom) caught my eye:

" quam etiam Doctor Marcus Scriptum habuit "

Possibly it hints that a thorough study of this particular von Ardensdorff letter can give us some clues to how Marci came into possession of the Voynich / Prague Sphynx manuscript materials.

Berj / KI3U

[1] The making of the Habsburg monarchy, 1550-1700: an interpretation; By Robert John Weston Evans, Edition: reprint, illustrated, Published by Oxford University Press, 1984, ISBN 0198730853, 9780198730859, 531 pages. see pg. 336, footnote 63. This page is available online from google books.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Wed 5/13/09 12:46 AM

J.VS: Do we have another Marci letter: 557 APUG 67 ?

Dear Colleagues

In rummaging through my Voynichiana attic last night I came across a barely distinguishable letter from APUG, which may be a Marci letter that has not received much, if any attention - I am not sure yet. Before rummaging on again I thought it better to list it so that we at least know its identifications:

557 APUG 67 : 1642 letter from Marci to Kircher. I can't make out where Marci mailed it from. Has two technical diagrams drawn on the left margin, one is basically a wedge, the other appears to be a column in a bowl suggesting a hydraulics experiment, or hygrometry, and I think I can make out the word "vaccum" in the text. The letter is very faded and the image of it is difficult to process for any improvement. This letter seems to have slipped under the LunaInsight radar also. If the old Kircher Carteggio catalog entry is still accurate in this case, then this may be the 8 FEB 1642 letter written from Prague. It took some doing for me to convince myself that it does indeed appear to be signed by Marci:

Berj / KI3U

From: Greg Stachowski
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 07-03-2009 8:19:44 AM

J.VS: Cracking the two-centuries old Presidential cipher

More ciphers news (on the cracking of the Patterson cipher by Lawren Smithline following Patterson's descriptions of the scheme in his letter to Thomas Jefferson):

Have a look at the 'interactive graphics' tab on the page with the article, it has a nice animation explaining the mechanism.


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: Tue 7/07/09 2:37 PM

J.VS: Galileo's ink and the discovery of planet Neptune

Dear Colleagues

Here's some news of interest in connection with analysis of ancient inks, which in the Voynich ms concerns us in several ways, including the problem of the time-difference between the inkings of, for example, the so-called month-names in the centers of the "zodiac" panels, and the regular VMS script inking on the same panels.

The web blog "Refreshing News" :

reports via "pooja", 7 JUL 2009, on what it says comes from findings which have been published in Australian Physics, and presented at Melbourne University:

" Galileo may have discovered planet Neptune

Galileo's notebooks contain hidden clues that is likely to clinch his discovery of Neptune in 1613, 234 years before the date of discovery accepted now, according to a new theory.

David Jamieson, who heads the Melbourne University (MU) School of Physics, is investigating the notebooks of Galileo from 400 years ago. He believes that buried in the notations is the evidence that he discovered a new planet that we now know as Neptune. "

" There is also a mysterious unlabelled black dot in his earlier observations of Jan 6, 1613, which is in the right position to be Neptune. "

" If the mysterious black dot on Jan 6 was actually recorded on Jan 28, Jamieson proposes this would prove that Galileo believed he may have discovered a new planet.

By using the expertise of trace element analysts from the University of Florence, which have previously analysed inks in Galileo's manuscripts, dating the unlabelled dot in his notebook may be possible. This analysis may be conducted in October this year. "

Quite interesting. It also reminds me of that other VMS studies puzzle: Jan's discovery of the Marci-letter arm-star diagram (J.VS comms. #4, 85, 121, 181).

Berj / KI3U

From: Greg Stachowski
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 07-07-2009 3:34:58 PM

J.VS: Re: Galileo's ink and the discovery of planet Neptune

I would have to check that we're missing a lot of Galileo's original observing notes. That said, it seems far more likely to me that Galileo put in the dot originally thinking it was a star (putting in background stars as position references is normal in such visual observing of moving objects such as planets), and noted the movement on the 28th precisely by comparing the new observations with the old.

It also seems that if he went back and revised his earlier observations, he would have labelled the 'star' in some way, not left it as a dot.

I would be very surprised if the dot is in a different ink.

By the way, the possible discovery of Neptune by Galileo was noted before:

" Galileo's observations of the moons of Jupiter were so meticulous that American astronomer Charles Kowal and Galileo scholar Stillman Drake, inspired by an article by Steven Albers in the March 1979 issue of Sky and Telescope predicting that Jupiter must have passed over (occulted) Neptune on January 4, 1613, examined Galileo's manuscripts and found evidence that Galileo had indeed recorded the location of Neptune in his notebooks, although not on the day of the occultation. Another possible sighting was later located by E. M. Standish and A. M. Nobili. "


See also the 1997 paper by Standish and Nobili:

This includes a discussion of the mysterious ink spot. Jamieson is not onto anything new, although the ink analysis might be. I really would like to have heard or read a transcript of Jamieson's complete lecture:,-stars-and-a-new-planet

which seems to be where he presented the ideas. It is possible that the press release/announcement mangled what he was saying and that he fully credited Standish & Nobili, and just added the ink analysis thing. Reading the full press release:

it's open to some interpretation as to what exactly Jamieson is claiming for himself.

I still disagree, though, with his underlying premise - that Galileo would have gone back and changed his notes.


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 07-12-2009 8:19:00 PM

J.VS: Move of the J.VS communications archives to new host servers

Dear Colleagues

The move of the J.VS communications archives to the new host servers, those being the same which have hosted the J.VS Library, is now accomplished, and effective immediately. Thank-yous to Dennis and Greg for smoothing the process. The new url's are:

J.VS Archive front-page:

J.VS formal rules page:

J.VS Archive index of subject-lines of all J.VS communications:

Archive Volume I, 2007, comms. #1 - 133 :

Archive Volume II, 2008, comms. #134 - 236 :

Archive Volume III, 2009, comms. #237 and up :

The J.VS Library urls remain the same as before:

It remains to do some redirect work on the old geocities-host archive pages.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 07-14-09 11:01:06 AM

J.VS: The p-problem of the alleged Tepenecz autograph on Voynich f1r

Dear Colleagues

As we know, the standard popular theoretical history of the Voynich Manuscript, as originally seeded
by Wilfrid Voynich himself, has as one of its major pillars that, thanks to an accident ultimately
involving chemical treatment, the bottom portion of the parchment of the VMS's folio f1r allegedly,
according to Wilfrid Voynich, shows the faint, barely discernable hand-printed writing: Jacobus de Tepenecz

And, this Tepenecz is none other than Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenecz (d. 1622), the director of Holy
Roman Emporer Rudolph II's (d. 1612) botanical gardens and alchemical laboratory, who gained his
patent of nobility "de Tepenecz" from Rudolph sometime after 1608. [1]

Tepenecz is remembered also for his "Aqua Sinapis", a prototype of eau de cologne [2]. More
importantly in Voynich manuscript matters, Wilfrid Voynich's suggestion that Tepenecz's name 
appears on his manuscript's f1r, fit remarkably conveniently with Voynich's claim that his
manuscript was accompanied by an explanatory letter dated 1665 or 1666, written to the polymath
Jesuit Athanasius Kircher, by (or in the name of) Kircher's old friend the Bohemian physicist,
philosopher, and medical doctor Joannes Marcus Marci (d. 1667), with Marci's comments in this letter
both placing a certain mysterious manuscript sometime in Rudolph's court, plus mentioning a rumor of
the manuscript's attribution to the extraordinary 13th century Franciscan friar-scholar Roger Bacon.

The alleged, and otherwise without-evidence, connection of the Voynich Manuscript (Beinecke MS 408)
with Rudolph's court remains a major component in the popular hypothetical history of the
manuscript. It serves also as a launching platform for further theories as to the manuscript's
provenance, notably theories involving its one time possession by the English mathematician and
paranormalist John Dee (1527-1609). Even Professor John Manly [3], while on his way to later
devastating criticisms of early VMS student Professor Romaine Newbold, nevertheless himself
accepted, apparently uncritically, the Tepenecz and Rudolf etc. story, even adding to it his own
conjecture that it is probable that Tepenecz parted with the manuscript when he was forced to flee
the disturbances of 1618 (i.e. the beginning of the Thirty Year's War). [4]

The big problem in all this is actually seeing one or another version of Tepenecz's name on f1r, and
seeing it there written as such and to be read. Who, asked to look at the lower part of Voynich f1r,
and free to do whatever investigating they might like, microscopy, infra-red and ultraviolet,
digital image processing and so on, BUT without ever first having been told that some version of
Tepenecz's name is to be read there, has ever claimed to read it there? No-one I've ever heard of.

Right at the start of this big problem is: just which version of Tepenecz's name are we supposed to
discern at the bottom of f1r? In his April 20, 1921 presentation lecture on his manuscript before
the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Wilfrid Voynich introduced the assertion of the Tepenecz
autograph on f1r with "Jacobus de Tepenecz". But, in the photograph Wilfrid provided of the bottom
of f1r, it is much easier to entertain "Jacobj" rather than "Jacobus" [5]. Indeed, Manly in his
July, 1921 Harper's article [4], gives the f1r autograph as "Jacobj de Tepenecz", which, Manly
writes, "appeared clearly". Decades later, D'Imperio gives the version "Jacobj a Tepenece" [1].

These few examples dramatize the norm, since the beginning, of the efforts to read an autograph,
associated with the historical Horcicky, somewhere on the bottom portion of VMS f1r: there is no
consensus on which version of the full Tepenecz name. Moreover, the alleged autograph on f1r has
also been described as a "signature", further clouding the interests of precision in the matter.

Now, without even bringing in all the other problems with Voynich's constructed history of his
manuscript, we have here a situation where, if the Tepenecz autograph in the VMS is an illusion,
then much of the standard popular VMS history is severely compromised. Remarkably, there is today
nowhere you can turn in order to see an unequivocal demonstration, that in high probability one or
another version of the Tepenecz autograph actually appears on f1r of the Voynich Manuscript!

Altogether then this must be considered a major Voynich manuscript problem.

There certainly are in Voynich literature since Wilfrid's original efforts attempted demonstrations
of a Tepenecz autograph on f1r, involving various levels of image processing and reconstruction. But
if you study them closely, you see that none of them come close to high probability: they rely on
starting with the goal of reconstructing a version of the Tepenecz autograph under the assumption
that it actually is there, selectively picking some marks or portions of them on f1r, ignoring many
other marks, and above all, in the original tradition of Wilfrid Voynich, relying on the power of
suggestion. We can also find in Voynich literature verbal reports of someone having examined the
actual manuscript f1r, or infra-red or ultraviolet illuminations / photos of it, and seeing the
Tepenecz autograph, but without even so much as a sketch produced of what was seen, and no
unambiguous identification, sufficient to locate them, of the infra-red or ultraviolet photos.

The best attempted demonstrations of the Tepenecz autograph on f1r that I know of were produced by
our colleague Dana Scott a couple of years ago:

As we can see, in addition to his blue demonstration images, Dana also provides an image of
Wilfrid's original 1921 Plate 2 picture supposedly demonstrating the Tepenecz autograph on f1r [5].

Wilfrid's Plate 2 picture is seriously problematic though: it differs radically in some places from
the modern (2004) high-resolution SID image provided by the Yale Beinecke Library, and the
differences are not easily explained as merely resulting from the ravages of time, but unfortunately
compel at least the consideration that the bottom area of f1r was actively altered AFTER the Plate 2
was made [6]. Since it was certainly altered before by Wilfrid, i.e. with chemical treatment, the
overall status of what the bottom area of VMS f1r had on it originally, is quite in doubt.

Even if a Tepenecz autograph appears in the bottom area of VMS f1r in some form consistent with that
suggested by Wilfrid Voynich and the attempted demonstrations after his, our colleague Jan Hurych
has shown that the alleged autograph is not similar to any known variant of Tepenecz's signature:

" 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. " [7]

Lets take a closer look at Dana's blue images which attempt, with cropping and image processing of
the high-resolution color image of VMS f1r provided by the Beinecke [8], to demonstrate the
existence on f1r of the autograph version: Jacobi Tepenec

To do this properly let us have the unprocessed f1r SID image handy for comparison. Needless to say,
our observations are based on the Beinecke SID image of f1r, and not the actual f1r parchment.

The first thing we notice is that the alleged "p" in the Tepenec has its descender suddenly sharply
bending to the left after starting downward in expected fashion. That's odd. Following the
traditional norm in this particular Voynich subject, Dana's image crop suppressed the rest of it,
but the f1r SID shows that this descending device, after proceeding downward for a ways, suddenly
sharply curves back to the right - overall, the "p" rather more resembles the outline of a big nose
than it does a "p". Fairly easy to see on the SID below the "en" following the p, is what looks like
a Voynich text symbol: GC-w (AGC-119).

This p-problem in the alleged Tepenecz autograph on Voynich f1r, namely: if it really was originally
meant to be a "p" then why is it rendered as oddly as it is?, makes it clear that when we attempt to
resolve the markings on the bottom of f1r in the chemically altered area of the parchment, we must
work with the entire bottom of f1r, and not just a crop of the area suggested by Wilfrid's Plate 2
indications. Otherwise we are editing with bias at the outset.

Even just some random elementary image processing experiments on the bottom of the f1r SID indicate
that there are several possibilities for what was originally marked there: Latin script letters as
per the alleged Tepenecz autograph, but also Voynich text letters, and: drawings. Wilfrid himself in
his 1921 College of Physicians of Philadelphia lecture hints at this, when he states: "Chemicals
were applied to the margins and the autograph, Jacobus de Tepenecz, became visible, with some
illegible figures below it."

For example, it is possible to see the Tepenecz "p" as forming the right shoulder of a male figure
which is facing to the right, with the "en" following the "p" forming parts of the top of his head,
hair, and eyes.

There are many markings on the bottom of f1r, and the alleged Tepenecz markings are just some of
them, which take on a misleading appearance of being an integrated print-script "autograph", when
they are cropped for emphasis, and thereby are removed from the context markings. Now, to give
Wilfrid's suggestion a fair benefit of a doubt, it is not inconceivable that originally f1r did have
something resembling an autograph, but it was then at some point crossed-out or over-written or
over-drawn, and what may have been originally a completely different name, is pliable, via
suggestions, to be seen as some version of Tepenecz. It is to be remembered that from the outset
having decided that Roger Bacon was the originator of his manuscript, Wilfrid had great motive to
bring Rudolph's court into the manuscript's provenance, where Roger Bacon manuscripts would have
been of great interest, and so the Rudolph court botanist Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenecz would be an
ideal name to discover somewhere in the manuscript, and even better on its first page.

The f1r raw SID shows that the "T" of the Tepenecz is not at all a straightforward "T". Rather, it
appears to be part of a pair of almost-parallel slightly upward-angled arcs, which are bisected by a
pair of short, nearly vertical parallel lines, with the inbetween space filled in dark. Random
elementary image processing alternately reinforces this, or reinforces a part of this structure to
resemble a "J" or "T". Dana's processing, while reinforcing the impression of a "T", nevertheless
also reinforces the connection of the left part of the T's crossbar to some other comparably sized
marks. Also, the alleged "e" following the alleged "T" can be seen to be part of the lower of the
aforementioned almost-parallel arcs.

The particular size (magnification) of Dana's crop reinforces the impression of an alleged, run-
together "ce" at the end of the "autograph", however, at full magnification the SID image, raw and
randomly processed, severely changes that impression, and it is not even certain if those marks are
alphabet letters. Wilfrid's Plate 2 seems to more suggest a run-together "cz" than "ce".

Regarding the "Jacobi" Dana notes that it is "somewhat more difficult to ascertain than Tepenec".
Suffice it to say that in order to get "Jacobi" in that area of f1r, all sorts of markings have to
be ignored, and only specifically chosen marks must be lifted. All the discernible marks in that
area could easily be from an original drawing / illustration, possibly even one which had labeling.
We can entertain that the "Tepenec" markings have some plausibility on their own, but without
relying on the assumption that a Tepenecz autograph exists on f1r, the "Jacobi" is simply not

Assuming that the "Tepenec" markings were indeed originally some Latin script letters, it seems from
Dana's image they could just as well, if not even more convincingly, be "Tireneo". If so, that might
indicate something connected to ancient Greek history, or the Tyrrhenian Sea, or the legendary
Etruscan hero Tyrrhenus, or Tirana in Albania.

Berj / KI3U

[1] The Voynich Manuscript - An Elegant Enigma, by M.E. D'Imperio, Aegean Park Press, c. 1976-80,
ISBN 0-89412-038-7; pg.1. An edition is available online for downloading here:

[2] The Cipher of Roger Bacon, by William Romaine Newbold, ed. by Rolan Grubb Kent, Philadelphia,
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1928; pg. 34.

[3] John Matthews Manly, 1865-1940 : The University of Chicago Library, Archives and Manuscripts,
Guide to the John Matthews Manly Papers 1892-1940:

[4] Manly, John M., The Most Mysterious Manuscript in the World: Did Roger Bacon Write It and Has
the Key Been Found?; Harper's Monthly Magazine, Vol. 143, July, 1921.

[5] Plate 2 from Wilfrid M. Voynich's 1921 "A Preliminary Sketch of the History of the Roger Bacon
Cipher Manuscript"; Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 43, 1921.

[6] vms-list thread: Re: VMs: Tepenecz: three scenarios...?
See especially the post of Tuesday, January 30, 2007 3:04 PM by Berj / KI3U. These posts are preserved in:
J.VS Library deposit # 1-1-2007-05-05, file 4vmsKI3Ulab.htm

[7] THE NEW SIGNATURE OF HORCZICKY (and the comparison of them all), J.B.Hurych (23rd January 2007).
Library of the Journal of Voynich Studies, J.VS Lib. deposit # 2-4-2007-06-06 :
Library of the Journal of Voynich Studies, J.VS Lib. deposit # 7-4-2007-10-28 :

[8] 1006076.sid high-resolution image of Voynich ms f1r (requires LizardTech's SID image-format handling) :
(19 APR 2009 note: Beinecke as added some new VMS-associated images to its online offerings, including
a color photo of Marci's last letter.)

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 07-15-09 12:53:01 PM

J.VS: Athanasius Kircher: the Voynich Manuscript in Rome

Dear Colleagues

Our Librarian Greg has installed " ATHANASIUS KIRCHER - THE VM IN ROME, by Jan B. Hurych " :

I really enjoyed reading this paper. Jan tracks Kircher's career-spanning exploitation of his
mysterious Barachias manuscript as a reference frame for trying to understand Kircher's silence on
the Prague / Voynich ms.

Believe me - this paper is FUN to read - thanks Jan.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 07-21-09 10:45:22 AM

J.VS: Commentary on Wilfrid Voynich's 1921 presentation of his manuscript

Dear Colleagues

An excellent new paper by our colleague Jan Hurych is now available in the J.VS Library:

Commentary to the Article of W.M. Voynich
in "The Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia", Vol.33, 1921.
Jan. B. Hurych

From the opening:

" Recently, I had an opportunity to review the above article and compare what was written there and what we know today.
For almost one hundred years we now still base the VM provenance on the statements made by Mr. Voynich (WMV for short).
True, some of them hold today, the others were time by time corrected or modified. The comments here should not be taken as
a criticism of Mr. Voynich - he surely did the great job - they are just listed to direct the readers to other possible options.
The comments are ordered and the pages of the article are listed as well. "

Thanks Jan.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 07-23-09 08:44:13 AM

J.VS: Database of medieval English soldiers

Dear Colleagues

A new database online resulting from a British research project may possibly be useful in some Voynich ms research:

The Soldier in later Medieval England: An exciting new AHRC research project

Headed by Dr. Adrian Bell of the ICMA Centre and Professor Anne Curry of the University of Southampton,
the project challenges assumptions about the emergence of professional soldiery between 1369 and 1453:

A quick search of the database for English ancestors of "Baresch" or "Barsch" yielded no hits.

In a 20 JUL 2009 report the BBC news website has some commentary on this project and database:

Medieval battle records go online

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 08-11-09 11:09:01 AM

J.VS: Pitcher Plants and Voynich plant illustration f40v

Dear Colleagues

Giant Pitcher Plants have been discovered by Christian missionaries in the highlands of the central Phillipines; the available pictures
of them seem to prompt a comparison of the Voynich f40v plant illustration with the carnivorous pitcher plants in general.

Here's an 11 AUG 2009 dated BBC online news article reporting on the giant Phillipine Pitchers, which have been classified into
the Nepenthaceae family:

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 08-17-09 11:57:21 AM

J.VS: Source material on fringe VMS-author-suspect Julius Caesar of Austria

The J.VS Library now has ready a short article by our colleague Jan Hurych, titled:

" JULIUS CAESAR OF AUSTRIA (born approx. 1586 - died 1609). "

It's Library url is:

This Julius, a well educated insane murderer, was Rudolf II's son, and he has been considered in the Voynich literature as a possible author of the Voynich manuscript.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 08-19-09 7:02:05 PM

J.VS: Writing and drawing with 150-million-years old ink

Dear Colleagues

Toward knowledge of "inks" in general, here is an interesting illustrated news item dated 19 AUG 2009 from the BBC news website:

" Ink found in Jurassic-era squid

Palaeontologists have drawn with ink extracted from a preserved fossilised squid uncovered during a dig in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. "

" The fossil, thought to be 150 million years old, was found when a rock was cracked open, revealing the one-inch-long black ink sac.
A picture of the creature and its Latin name was drawn using its ink. "

Dr Phil Wilby of the British Geological Survey is quoted:

" The structure is similar to ink from a modern squid so we can write with it. "

The article concludes saying that part of the ink sac has been sent to Yale University in America for more in-depth chemical analysis.

We recall from the VMS-list thread launched earlier this year by Jeff Haley [1] that Yale, the Voynich Manuscript's custodian via its
Beinecke Library, has recently made arrangements for some sort of analysis of the VMS's ink pigments, and the carbon dating of a piece
of its parchment.

Berj / KI3U

[1] vms-list thread: "VMs: Carbon dating?? WHEN??", launched by Jeff Haley Fri 5/08/09 1:01 AM.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 08-22-09 6:33:08 PM

J.VS: Revised edition of Robert Teague's Dating of VMS Zodiac Section

Dear Colleagues

The revised / current edition of our colleague Robert Teague's work, " Dating of the VMs Zodiac Section " has just been
installed by our J.VS Librarian Greg Stachowski in the J.VS Library:

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 08-23-09 1:49:31 AM

J.VS: The ponderable "678 anno" inscription in the Voynich nine-rosettes illustration

Dear Colleagues

In J.VS communication #239 we considered the possibility that the Hippodrome
of Constantinople may have figured into the Voynich manuscript illustrator's
thoughts when composing the VMS's nine-rosettes foldout illustration. [1]

Constantinople comes immediately, if not prominently, into the Voynich manuscript picture with
the biographical examination of the manuscript's originally suggested author, Roger Bacon [2];
and also automatically as soon as the manuscript's dramatic and climactic nine-rosettes
foldout (f85 & f86) is interpreted as a "Mappa Mundi", which is often done [3]. For example,
in a 2005 vms-list post well-known Voynich researcher Glenn Claston (GC) commented:

" I saw the spires for instance, in the center of the map, and first thought of Constantinople,
while others would not think of this. " [4]

So then, whatever is being projected in the VMS nine-rosettes foldout, be it just an unusual
world map, or multiply a map along with other themes, the VMS researcher's set of possibilities
for this complex illustration may well include the profoundly walled city of Constantinople,
explicitly or implicitly. And, like for a handful of other important ancient cities, we tend to
remember some historically important dates for them, even if only approximately. For Constantinople
history, one rather significant date is the 7th century year 678 - that was the year, during the
Byzantine-Arab wars, when the Arab siege against the city collapsed, due in part to the Byzantines'
use of the weapon of "Greek Fire".

I have been puzzling over the possibility that the inscription "678 anno" is discernable in the
Voynich nine-rosettes foldout. If true, if indeed the year 678 was explicity inscribed in the nine-
rosettes foldout by its original illustrator, then it would be a welcome piece of data consistent
with the above Hippodrome etc. considerations, and serve as a step forward in the attempts to pin
down some idea of just precisely what is being projected by the nine-rosettes, and the VMS in

This tentatively identified inscription "678 anno" is found in the foldout's upper-right f86r6
panel, the one bearing the northeast rosette and its two castles. At top right of this panel
is a T-O map symbol, internally primitive with just three labels in ordinary VMS text.
The upper and lower perimeter portions of the T-O have some cilia-like embellishments.
Embedded in the upper of these are the markings which may be the "678 anno" inscription.
This inscription is quite tiny, but within the bounds of precision-capability determined
for the VMS illustrator by the work of J.VS comm. #185 [5].

Have a look at the high-resolution SID image of f86r6. Possibly the inscription, if that is
what it is, was intentionally formed by over-writing some of the cilia, modifying them into
some characters. It will take a look at the actual manuscript f86r6 panel with a magnifying
glass to be really sure. Perhaps under magnification more of interest will be found in this
area of the parchment.

I have sent to our J.VS Librarian Greg Stachowski two images for new deposit # 25-1-2009-08-23.
These images are a crop of the f86r6 T-O from the Beinecke SID, taking the TIF option, and a copy
of the crop with the "678 anno" emphasized with paint-ins. These two tif images are suitable for blinking,
and are otherwise raw.

So perhaps items like Greek Fire, and the Theodosian Walls may become more of interest in the
efforts to interpret the VMS nine rosettes illustration.

Berj / KI3U

[1] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #239 (Vol. III, 3 JAN 2009):
J.VS: The Hippodrome of Constantinople and the f85v2-86r4 portion of the Voynich Nine Rosettes illustration; Berj / KI3U.

[2] see for example:
[2a] Crusaders of Chemistry, by Jonathan Norton Leonard, Country Life Press, 1930.
Has some commentary on the Voynich Manuscript in the chapter on Roger Bacon; text available online.
[2b] ROGER BACON in Life and Legend, by E. Westacott, New York, Philosophical Library, 1953.
Also comments on the VMS and its discovery, and Newbold; text available online.

[3] see for example:
Notes on the Voynich Manuscript - Part 20 [1993 September 17], by Robert Firth.

[4] vms-list post: Re: VMs: Impressions; Wed, 7 Sep 2005 20:46:42 -0600, by GC.

[5] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #185 (Vol. II, 29 APR 2008):
J.VS: Voynich steganography reference: f80v CATWOMAN's cat-face versus f1r Tepenece; Berj / KI3U.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 08-24-09 12:57:04 PM

J.VS: Moretus: The Messenger to Rome

Dear Colleagues

A new article by our colleague Jan Hurych is now available in the J.VS Library:


This adds to our growing stock of VMS-related biographical matter. Jan's article includes discussion of some
unpleasant possibilities in the Baresch-Marci-Moretus-Kircher circle.

Thanks Jan.

Berj / KI3U

From: Greg Stachowski
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 09-13-2009 4:19:28 PM

J.VS: Cracks in the Ice: Toward a Translation Method for the Voynich Manuscript     

Robert Teague has updated his paper,

"Cracks in the Ice: Toward a Translation Method for the Voynich Manuscript"

in the library. The URL is:


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 09-24-09 8:23:19 PM

J.VS: Some curious markings on Francisco Ximenez's APR 1655 letter to Kircher

Dear Colleagues

The APUG archive has several letters to Athanasius Kircher from the New World by one Franciscus Ximenez,
over the period 1655-1672. One of these letters, 555 APUG 154-155rv, written in APR 1655 in Angelopoly,
apparently the earliest of the series, has some odd markings on the envelope, one of which seems to resemble an
essentially perfect Voynich-text GC-k / EVA-t glyph.

I'm not sure who this particular Ximenez is - he seems to have been attached in some capacity or other to the Jesuit
Order in the New World. We must not confuse him with other Francisco Ximenez's, for example Francisco Ximenez de Cisneros,
1436-1517 [1]. And of course Fr. Francisco Ximenez of Popol Vuh fame, who was born eleven years after our Ximenez wrote
his letter [2].

A curiosity arises with another Ximenez letter to Kircher, 565 APUG 50rv, which seems to have been written by Ximenez on
26 OCT 1666 and includes his copy of an earlier letter written 6 FEB 1664 by Giovanni Paolo Oliva to Alejandro Fabian.
The Athanasius Kircher project data on Ximenez, accessed via Luna Insight, gives:

Ximenez, Francisco (alias Francois Giliot) Jesuit (S.J.)

Ximenez doesn't sign himself as a Jesuit priest in his letters, but the style of his letters suggests he is a Jesuit. So perhaps he was
operating somewhat secretly for a while, reminiscent of Padre Jodukus Kedd, alias Theodorus Berck [3].

Have a look at the APUG image of the envelope of Ximenez's April, 1655, letter:

It is shown with the addressing upside down, and the Jesuit seal over at the left. No image processing is necessary to see that
on and around the seal are some markings in various conditions. One can get the impression of a column of symbols along the
left edge of the seal, and at the top we see what looks like a GC-k glyph, apparently sitting atop a lower marking. This GC-k,
if that is what it is rather than an accident or artifact, has the classic VMS GC-k shaping: the triangular left loop, and the round right loop.

Was there more like it on the torn away parts of the seal? Was it penciled there by someone long after Ximenez sent the letter?
Have a look also at the edge of the paper-fold just under the "+" cross - there might be some very tiny writing there in the fold.
Unfortunately, until better information about this letter becomes available, the limited resolution of the available jpeg image leaves us
little beyond a tantalizing possibility. Perhaps the effort to read Ximenez's chocolate-mentioning letters may advance this curiosity.
In the meantime we can add this datum to our collection of VMS-like glyphs in old Jesuit documents [4].

Berj / KI3U

[1] Catholic Encyclopedia:

[2] From Laura Martin at Cleveland State University:

[3] see for example J.VS communication #251 (11 FEB 2009, Vol. III):
J.VS: P. Santino, Prester John, and other APUG odds and ends

[4] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #221 (13 OCT 2008, Vol. II):
J.VS: Image artifacts, or obliterated Voynich-similar script?

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 09-28-09 7:03:00 PM

J.VS: Notes on Andreas Baresch (b. 1697), Gaspar Barthius, and Alejandro Fabian

Dear Colleagues

Following below is the redacted transcript of the off-J discussions from the past couple of days
concerning Gaspar Barthius, and the Alejandro Fabian mentioned in J.VS comm. #291, and the tracing
of descendents of Georgius Baresch / Barschius.

As we know, Baresch wrote to Athanasius Kircher in 1637 (this letter is still lost), and again from
Prague in 1639 (557 APUG 353rv, found by Rene Zandbergen) trying to interest Kircher in reading a
mysterious manuscript he possessed. Some VMS theories contend that Baresch's ms is the VMS, thus
making Baresch's the earliest known mention of the "VMS". An alchemist, Baresch was a friend of
Kircher's friend Joannes Marcus Marci, but little is known about him. Recently Jeff Haley discovered
that Georgius Baresch was a schoolmate of a future martyr saint: Sarkander / Sarcander (
vms-list thread "VMs: Barschius graduation 1602", May 2009). Zandbergen has estimated from known
information that Baresch was born around 1585 in Zinkovy in Bohemia, and had died before 1662
( ). If Andreas Baresch is related to our George Baresch,
then less than half a century time separates them: it would be interesting if Andreas turned out to
be a great-great descendent of George.

Berj / KI3U

Berj / KI3U says:

By the way, I came across:

Gaspar Barthius, Kaspar von Barth, German scholar and translator (1587-1658).
Barth, Caspar von

and his name and dates of course prompted a look to see if any Baresch connection. But Barthius
seems to have been a well known German scholar unrelated to our Baresch.

Another similar name I checked in that google books link:
Baracellus, Giulio Cesare Baricelli, Italian physician born 1574, wrote Hortulus genialis (Cologne
1620). This Baracellus is mentioned in one of the APUG letters somewhere.

By the way, Oliva [J.VS comm. #291] was the Jesuit General; don't yet know who Alejandro Fabian was.

Greg Stachowski says:

Alejandro Fabian seems to have been a (presumably Jesuit) priest in Puebla, Mexico, who was
interested in physics and mathematics and corresponded with Kircher on those subjects, particularly
magnetism (there are letters from him to Kircher in APUG). I have read that Kircher's Magneticum
naturae regnum  was dedicated to him, but haven't verified this. The definitive source on him is
apparently the work of one Elías Trabulse - references to his articles crop up often when searching
for Alejandro. Unfortunately the texts themselves are not easily accessible.

The best short description I found is this:

En esa época [17th C.] florece en Puebla el criollo Alejandro Fabián, matemático y físico de
relieve, corresponsal de varios científicos europeos, entre los que se
encuentra el sabio jesuita Athanasius Kircher, con quien intercambió ideas acerca
del magnetismo, expuestas en su Magneticum naturae regnum, obra que Kircher
se sintió obligado a dedicar a su corresponsal mexicano.

from Breve Historia de la Ciencia en Mexico, by Luis Eugenio Todd, Carla González Canseco and Carlos
González Morantes. It describes him as 'criollo', that is born and raised in Mexico rather than come
in from Spain, though of (presumably) Spanish parents.

Jan Hurych says:

Here is the search for Gaspar Barthius:

Berj says:

r Jan. Looks like another name for him is: Caspar Barthen

Greg says:


I wonder if 'our' Georg Baresch had any descendants or relatives who had descendants - perhaps
someone, somewhere has put together a family tree which includes him?

Berj says:

Using links from Jan's list we get to:

where we get a distribution map of Baresch's currently living in Germany:

It says there are 49 telephone listings, and 130 persons in Germany named Baresch, living in 27
places, most of them in Unna.

The most common first name is Frank, so Frank Baresch.

Again from Jan's links, this shows one Andreas Baresch, born 1697, so we are getting closer:

Andreas Baresch got married in 1722. Interesting that Andreas was in Austria - shades of the VMS
found in an Austrian castle.

Greg says:

The town (St. Polten) is interesting - very old, not too far from Bohemia, with a known Jewish
history and a 16th c. pharmacy. The sort of place the original Baresch could well have been
associated with. Of course it's a very long shot.

Berj says:

I wonder if this "The Baresch Name in History" paperback is a computer generated "book" :

Greg says:

Probably, given there are by their own admission 300,000 "titles" in the series. I doubt it's worth
the 30 USD.

Jan says:

Apparently that is a compilation made on request. I wonder what Voynichero asked for it.

Greg says:

It might just be someone with the name "Baresch", I expect given that map Berj linked to that there
are enough of them.

[ end J.VS comm. #292 ]

From Greg Stachowski
To Journal of Voynich Studies
Date 09-30-2009 5:34:56 AM

J.VS: John of London's Star Table

Robert's list of star names from John of London's table of 1246 is in the library. The address is:

The table is described in Paul Kunitzsch's "Typen von Sternverzeichnissen in astronomischen
Handschriften des zehnten bis vierzehnten Jahrhunderts" (1966; "Typ VI" pp. 39-46);
scans of the appropriate pages were kindly provided by Joel Stevens.

I expect the deposit will be updated as more analysis is done of the comprehensive notes by


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-03-2009 9:10:09 PM

J.VS: Wilfrid Michael Voynich and Ethel Lillian Voynich in Who's Who, 1903

Dear Colleagues

The Google books service has online the 1903 Who's Who, showing entries for Wilfrid and Ethel Voynich:

The entries have the Voynich's living at: 20 Great Russell Mansions, Bloomsbury, W.C.

Wilfrid's entry gives as his name in Polish: Habdank-Woynicz

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-03-2009 10:13:07 PM

J.VS: Mrs. Voynich goes to Austria, 1897 / 1898

Dear Colleagues

The Google books service has online Volume 46 of "The Critic" [1], where in the 15 January 1898 edition,
under the heading "The Lounger", next to a photo of Edward Everett Hale, is a brief commentary on Wilfrid Voynich's wife Ethel:

" IT IS NOT surprising that even the English papers speak of E.L. Voynich, the author of "The Gadfly", as a man. A more masculine
book has not been written for years, nor a more powerful. I take pleasure in assuring her admirers that the author is Mrs. Voynich.
She is now engaged upon a novel, the scene of which is laid in Austria, and she has gone to that country to get the local color.
Mrs. Voynich writes slowly and with great pains, so that the new story may not be expected for at least a year. " [2]

Well, it seems it would be at least another dozen years before Wilfrid would finally match his wife's accomplishments with a topper.
I thought it of interest to bring this little datum to your attention on account of the persisting problem of just where Wilfrid really found
his famous manuscript: in an Austrian Castle, or in the Italian villa Mondragone.

From the date and quote above it would seem that Ethel Voynich was on her way to Austria by the end of 1897. What if it was really Ethel
who found the Voynich Manuscript? And, just to ponder some darker thoughts, pocketed it from a castle she was visiting, say from castle
proprietors who didn't even realize they had the book among their dusty belongings? And therefore years later, had good reason to change
the story of where the book was obtained. Nah .... or, hmmm ... I wonder if that book Ethel was working on in Austria involved a castle.

Berj / KI3U

[1] ed. by Jeannette Leonard Gilder, Joseph Benson Gilder.


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-09-2009 12:37:17 PM

J.VS: Hildegard of Bingen's first cosmology

Dear Colleagues

As we know, early on in Voynich Manuscript studies, St. Hildegard (1098-1179) entered considerations
of possible association with the VMS, with the observations and work of Father Theodore C. Petersen [1].
Hildegard developed her own version of Pythagorean macro-micro-cosmos connection:
tubes channeling the macro's spirit into the micro-human-body.

I thought it would be useful to have in the J.VS Library some handy reference material on Hildegard
which quickly shows why Hildegard is an attractive study in VMS considerations. As a first step
toward depositing some Hildegard material, our Librarian Greg Stachowski has installed a picture of
a drawing of Hildegard's first cosmology, said drawing constructed by the Hildegard scholar Charles
Singer, who flourished a hundred years ago:

The meta-data for this deposit gives the provenance details for the picture. If we can locate an
even better resolution one we'll install it.

Our colleague Robert Teague notes that this drawing reminds him in some way of the VMS "galaxy"
folio, f68v3. My own reaction is the resemblance to some of the rosettes in the VMS's nine-rosettes

More on Hildegard is online here:

and of course in that excellent book:

Hypatia's Heritage
A History of Women in Science from Antiquity through the Nineteenth Century,
by Margaret Alic,
Boston, Beacon Press, 1986, ISBN 0-8070-6731-8

Berj / KI3U

[1] The Voynich Manuscript - An Elegant Enigma, by M.E. D'Imperio, Aegean Park Press, c. 1976-80,
ISBN 0-89412-038-7

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-13-2009 12:38:28 PM

J.VS: Fingerprints on ancient artifacts

Dear Colleagues

We've a few times before considered the possibility of investigating fingerprints in the VMS and
VMS-related documents. [1]

Along this vein here is some interesting news about Leonardo da Vinci artwork:

From this 13 OCT 2009 BBC news article:

" Finger points to new da Vinci art "

" A new Leonardo da Vinci portrait may have been discovered after a fingerprint found on it seemed
similar to another discovered on his work. A Paris laboratory found the fingerprint is "highly
comparable" to one on a da Vinci work in the Vatican. "

" A forensic art expert found the fingerprint near the top left of the work, corresponding to the
tip of the index or middle-finger. It was "highly comparable" to a print on da Vinci's St Jerome in
the Vatican, which was painted early in the artist's career when he was thought not to use
assistants. "

So, it does not seem at all technically impossible, for example, to try to develop positive evidence
toward the question: did Athanasius Kircher actually ever handle the Voynich Manuscript?

Berj / KI3U

[1] see J.VS communication #102 (10 OCT 2007, Vol. I) specifically commenting on VMS f11r, and comm.
#251 (11 FEB 2009, Vol. III) specifically commenting on the Count Bernardus Martinitz to Kircher letter of SEP 1640.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-17-2009 10:42:29 AM

J.VS: Dying and dead languages

Dear Colleagues

From the BBC online news service here is a 17 OCT 2009 article by Tom Colls :

" The death of language? "

" An estimated 7,000 languages are being spoken around the world. But that number is expected to
shrink rapidly in the coming decades. What is lost when a language dies?

In 1992 a prominent US linguist stunned the academic world by predicting that by the year 2100, 90%
of the world's languages would have ceased to exist. "

French linguist Claude Hagege is quoted:

" If we are not cautious about the way English is progressing it may eventually kill most other languages. "

The article provides some further data, including:

" 6% of the worlds languages are spoken by 94% of the world's population "

" 133 languages are spoken by fewer than 10 people "

Ethnologue editor Paul Lewis is quoted:

" We would spend an awful lot of money to preserve a very old building, because it is part of our
heritage. These languages and cultures are equally part of our heritage and merit preservation. "

So all this recalls the question of whether or not the Voynich text is recording an unenciphered
language. And if so, plus that it is a dead language, then the difficulties of making sense of the
VMS text as such are tremendously compounded.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-19-2009 11:40:56 AM

J.VS: Earliest painting of a watch timepiece, and the "clock" of Voynich f85v1

Dear Colleagues

As we know, the little circular object tethered with text to the southwest rosette in the f85v1
panel of the nine-rosettes foldout of the Voynich manuscript has long been termed a "clock", this
idea going back at least to Robert S. Brumbaugh.

To have another comparison for it, here is from the BBC online news service a 19 OCT 2009 article
with photos:

" Painting features 'oldest watch' "

" Art experts think they may have found the world's oldest painting to feature an image of a watch.
The Science Museum is investigating the 450-year-old portrait, thought to be of Cosimo I de Medici,
Duke of Florence, holding a golden timepiece. "

" The first watches appeared shortly after 1500 in Germany and horologists believe the picture,
painted by renaissance master Maso da San Friano around 1560, "may well be the oldest to show a true
watch". "

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-22-2009 11:48:09 PM

J.VS: Carrots in the Voynich Manuscript

Dear Colleagues

It has long been noted that some of the Voynich botanical illustrations suggest carrots. The
comments on individal VMS folios in the VMS interlinear file [1] note several "carrots". For
example, there is the carrot candidate on VMS folio f102v2, the third botanical object in the
uppermost row, just to the left of the little blue cubic crystal with the embedded eyes.

Now, why should carrots in the VMs merit an entire communication to J.VS ? Well, it occurred to me
that if there are among the multitude of mysterious botanicals illustrated in the VMS a couple or
more of the same object, and that object is reasonably ponderable as identified, then maybe it is
worth looking into a bit. And so I looked for a history of the carrot, and soon found online a
website with quite a lot of carrot history: "History of the Carrot" [2].

This detailed and illustrated history by John Stolarczyk begins with the third sentence saying:

" The Carrot has a somewhat obscure history, surrounded by doubt and enigma and it is difficult to
pin down when domestication took place. "

Further on is written:

" It is said (with no documentary evidence) that the cultivated and edible carrot dates back about
5,000 years ago when the purple root was found to be growing in the area now known as Afghanistan. "

" The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides: Illustrated by a Byzantine in A.D. 512. gives an illustration of
an orange carrot, probably the first depiction and certainly well before other illustrations in the
16th century. "

" Some scholars think that orange carrots did not to appear until the 16th century, although there
is a Byzantine manuscript of 512 ad, and an 11th century illuminated script, both of which depict an
orange rooted carrot, and suggesting it was around long before. "

" The modern orange carrot was developed and stabilised by Dutch growers in the 16-17th century,
evidenced from variety names and contemporary art works. "

" It is said, (without much historical reference) that the orange carrot was developed in Holland as
a tribute to William I of Orange during the Dutch fight for independence from Spain in the 16th
century. "

" Carrots were allowed to escape cultivation and subsequently turned into the omnipresent and
delicate wild flower  "Queen Anne's Lace" which in some US counties is still considered a pest
today. "

As Stolarczyk continues with his history of the carrot, wild and domestic, he presents many images
of carrots illustrated in old manuscripts, including the familiar MS Ashmole 1431 [3]. Recently on
vms-list I commented again on MS Ashmole 1431 :

" Anyway, this particular Ashmole 1431 ms is the only one I've seen that gives me the feeling that
the VMS botanicals illustrator may have seen it too, and borrowed directly from it. Here's some of
my comments on it from 2006: ....... " [4]

Across the ancient illustrations of carrots presented by Stolarczyk we find a truly remarkable
variety of renderings. Coupled with the appearance of MS 1431 in Stolarczyk's presentation, I got to
wondering if the VMS's notoriously difficult-to-identify botanicals have some particular emphasis
related to carrots. The thought even occurred to me: could traces of carrot seeds be embedded in the

The sunflower and the capsicum pepper are famously frontrunner candidates for tentatively identified
VMS botanicals. Is it possible that the carrot can join them, and moreover be a favorite of the VMS
author, he / she having had this plant in mind in some special way, and projecting that in several
VMS folios? Stolarczyk writes:

" The carrot is one of the most important vegetables in the western world. "

" The Carrot is the second most popular vegetable in the world after the potato. When you read the
nutrition pages you will see and agree why it should be number one. "

Perhaps the author of the Voynich Manuscript, aside everything else, was an early carrot advocate.

Berj / KI3U

[1] Version TEXT16E5 Interlinear archive of Voynich manuscript transcriptions. Derived from
INTERLN.EVT file version 1.6 Created by Gabriel Landini, 27 September 1996. Split into separate
files (one per textual unit) by J. Stolfi, 10 october 1997. Version 16E6 is available here:


[3] MS. Ashmole 1431, Oxford Bodleian Library Ps. Apuleius, Herbal England, St. Augustine's abbey,
Canterbury; 11th century, c. 1070-1100

[4] vms-list post:
RE: VMs: De Ziphras: 1600 cipher manuscript, Mon 5/04/09 4:09 AM, by Berj / KI3U.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-23-2009 11:04:01 AM

J.VS: Wilfred M. de Voynich again

Dear Colleagues

Here's a by-the-way which may or may not have been noted before, but in any case we'll note it now:

" - In the possession of Mr. Wilfred M. de Voynich. "

That's from:

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE History of Medicine

The "de Voynich" reference may have appeared in earlier editions as far back as 1913 - needs some
careful checking. We see the "Wilfred" versus "wilfrid" variation here, and back in comm. #86 our
colleague Greg Stachowski brought the "de-Voynich" variation to our attention [1].

If I'm reading it correctly, it appears that Voynich was in possession of:

J. F. Payne: English medicine in the Anglo-Saxon times, Oxford, 1904.

Berj / KI3U

[1] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #86 (18 SEP 2007, Vol. I):
J.VS: Herbert Hoover's correspondence: " Villalobar, Maquis de-Voynich, W.M., 1916-1920 "

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-24-2009 10:45:03 AM

J.VS: Re: Wilfred M. de Voynich again

Greg Stachowski says:

Some comments and corrections:

Some while ago I started to collect references to Voynich's publications, etc., and so the name of
Garrison is familiar, although I don't immediately know if Berj's reference in comm. #301 is on the
list - I don't have it to hand. There is, however, a paper:

"Figurations of skeletal and visceral anatomy in the books of hours"
from Annals of Medical History, 1917, i, 225-230, which is apparently by Voynich and Garrison. This
one I have bookmarked - see:

The list didn't have much of immediate relevance to our studies, so it has been sitting largely idle
while I do other things. Anyway it seems Garrison and Voynich knew each other and since Garrison was
from Philadelphia it explains the Philadelphia College of Physicians connection.

In Berj's reference I agree that it seems Voynich had a copy of Payne's "English medicine ..." which
he lent to Garrison.

Now to the "de Voynich". The Garrison connection is the only place that the "de Voynich" variant
appears, at least that I know of; there seems to be a misunderstanding of comm. #86. In the Hoover
correspondence list, the "de" is not attached to "Voynich", it is attached to "Maquis": the Maquis
de Villalobar. The hyphen indicated the range of names encompassed by the alphabetically-sorted
correspondence file: from Villalobar to Voynich.

Dana Scott says:

Here is a reference I made to a Garrison letter back in 2004 :

Greg says:

I've only seen "de Voynich" in these circumstances. Garrison and Voynich co-authored a paper, not a
book. The paper is 1917 but Dana's letter is 1920, so at least 3 years (probably more) of them
knowing each other. Garrison opens the letter "My Dear Mr de Voynich" which is familiar and friendly
for the time, although not very close friends. I expect the "de" arose from a mistake by Garrison -
WMV doesn't seem to have ever used it himself - and my guess is that it faintly amused Voynich
enough to let it stand.

[ end J.VS comm. #302 ]

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-28-2009 11:27:22 AM

J.VS: The 1507 Waldseemuller Map of the World

Dear Colleagues

As useful reference material for the old problem of: is the Voynich Manuscript's time-origin pre- or
post- New World discovery?, here's an illustrated 28 OCT 2009 online BBC News Magazine article [1],
titled "The map that changed the world" :

Some excerpts from the article:

" Almost exactly 500 years ago, in 1507, Martin Waldseemuller and Matthias Ringmann, two obscure
Germanic scholars based in the mountains of eastern France, made one of the boldest leaps in the
history of geographical thought - and indeed in the larger history of ideas. "

" The map represented a remarkable number of historical firsts. In addition to giving America its
name, it was also the first map to portray the New World as a separate continent - even though
Columbus, Vespucci, and other early explorers would all insist until their dying day that they had
reached the far-eastern limits of Asia. The map was the first to suggest the existence of what
explorer Ferdinand Magellan would later call the Pacific Ocean, a mysterious decision, in that
Europeans, according to the standard history of New World discovery, aren't supposed to have learned
about the Pacific until several years later. "

" Perhaps most significant, it was also one of the first maps to lay out a vision of the world using
a full 360 degrees of longitude. In short, it was the the mother of all modern maps: the first
document to depict the world roughly as we know it today. "

" Waldseemuller himself would later record that 1,000 copies of the map had been printed, a very
substantial number for the day. But the rapid pace of geographical discovery meant that copies of
the map were soon discarded in favour of newer, more up-to-date pictures of the world, and by 1570
it had all but vanished from memory. "

" Fortunately, one copy did survive. Sometime between 1515 and 1517, the Nuremburg mathematician
Johannes Schoner acquired a reprint of the map, bound it into an oversized folio, and made it part
of his reference library. "

" The last remaining copy of the Waldseemuller map, beautifully preserved in Schoner's folio, had
begun a long slumber - and wouldn't be roused again for some 350 years.

" As is so often the case with historical treasures, the map was rediscovered by accident. In the
summer of 1901, while doing research in the library of Wolfegg Castle, in southern Germany, a Jesuit
geography teacher named Joseph Fischer stumbled across the Schoner folio and quickly realized what
he had found. "

" ..... and what is coming into focus is a document that is far richer, far stranger, and much more
historically valuable than had previously been imagined. "

" The name America, for example, very probably represents not just a tip of the hat to Amerigo
Vespucci but also a multilingual pun that can mean both "born new" and "no-place-land" - a playful
coinage that seems to have inspired Sir Thomas More to invent his new world across the ocean, one
meaning of which was also "no-place": Utopia. "

" Copernicus' view of space seems to have been influenced by the map "

There are lots of VMS-study-relevant tidbits here and there in this illustrated article, including
even Prester John. It would be interesting to find out if Joseph Fischer, S.J., and Wilfrid Voynich
ever crossed paths.

Berj / KI3U

[1] The article seems to be authored by, or based on work by Toby Lester, stated as the author of
The Fourth Part of the World, being the story of the Waldseemuller map, published by Profile Books.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-28-2009 8:57:39 PM

J.VS: Dr. Wilfrid Voynich writes an opinion to Newbold's eventual Eulogizer; ELV's estate

Dear Colleagues

Online here:

we have:

" The University of Pennsylvania
Volume I
The University of Pennsylvania Library
Philadelphia, Pa.
Issued Four Times a Year
By and For the Friends of the Library
Of the University of Pennsylvania
Vol. 1 No. 1 March, 1933 "

Therein Dr. Josiah H. Penniman [1] relates, under the title: A UNIQUE "PROGNOSTICON", how in 1921 he
was able, from the oak-board covers of a copy of a folio volume in black-letter De Civitate Dei of
Augustine, dated 1490, to carefully extract pasted-in papers bearing black-letter print, in the
German language.

The papers Penniman recovered turned out to be an 8-page pamphlet / tract, containing the
Prognostication for 1490 of a Dr. Mellerstaed. Researching this, Penniman found that Dr. Martin
Polich Mellerstadt had apparently written a great many medico-astrological works during the latter
part of the fifteenth century, but Penniman could find no record of Mellerstadt's 1490
Prognostication. Penniman then says:

"Dr. Wilfrid Voynich wrote me in 1922"

and quotes Voynich:

"It is quite possible that this little pamphlet is entirely unknown to bibliographers"

Now, 1921, the year before Voynich wrote Dr. Penniman, was the year Wilfrid Voynich, along with Dr.
Newbold, formally introduced the VMS with his lecture at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia,
a stone's throw from U. Penn. By the time Wilfrid died in March, 1930, three years before Penniman's
communication to the Friends of the U. Penn Library, Voynich's manuscript, and he himself, had
achieved some notoriety among educated bibliophiles, worldwide. Several questions are motivated by
Penniman's communication of course, but the first would seem to be:

When Wilfrid wrote to Dr. Penniman, did he sign himself as "Dr." Wilfrid Voynich ?

Or, was Penniman, for one reason or another, assigning "Dr." to Voynich's name?

It seems that Voynich's documentable handles keep on multiplying.

Penniman, the Provost of U. Penn at the time of Newbold's death in 1926, must have known Newbold
quite well, as we can surmise from an online biography of Newbold provided by U. Penn, with a
picture of Newbold as a young man:

Where we read, while once again having to pardon someone for confusing Roger and Francis:

" Newbold's biggest "discovery" was his decipherment of a coded text, now commonly referred to as
the Voynich Manuscript, he believed had been written by Roger Bacon, a thirteenth century English
monk, scientist, astrologer, and inventor. According to Newbold's complex system for deciphering the
code, Bacon had made numerous scientific discoveries which no one else would "rediscover" for
centuries. When he died in 1926, Newbold's version of the meaning of the code in the Voynich
Manuscript was seen as the truth. Several years later, however, other archeologists began to look at
Newbold's method with a critical eye. They correctly noted that Newbold's system was faulty,
unreliable, and based on a number of unproved assumptions. Newbold's interpretation of the Voynich
Manuscript was eventually completely disregarded by archeologists and now many archeologists do not
even believe that Francis Bacon was the author of the manuscript in question.

None of these questions regarding the validity of his decipherment surfaced during his lifetime when
Newbold was a member in good standing of numerous academic societies including the Classical Club of
Philadelphia, the American Philosophical Society, the Society of Biblical Literature and the
American Oriental Society.

Newbold died on September 6, 1926 shortly before he was to begin teaching at the start of the 1926-
1927 school year. His memorial service was held in College Hall and was very well attended. Speakers
included the University Provost, Josiah H. Penniman, and Newbold's classmate in the Class of 1887,
James A. Montgomery. "

Undoubtedly many "acheologists" do not believe that Francis Bacon was the author of the VMS. And, as
we know, for example by consulting D'Imperio, rumblings against Newbold's VMS decipherment had
already begun well before Newbold died.

Returning to Penniman (1868-1940), from his online bio provided by U. Penn:

we find:

" Upon the retirement of Provost Edgar Fahs Smith in 1920, Penniman was appointed Acting Provost. He
was elected Provost of the University in January 1923 and for more than three years from July 1923
to late 1926 served as both President and Provost of the University. He held the position of Provost
until 1939 when he retired. "

Like Newbold, Penniman had military connections in his background. I should think there was a good
reason for Penniman recording Voynich as "Dr. Wilfrid Voynich". Looking a bit further into Penn and
Penniman among the online offerings, we come across:

No. 1
Friends of the Library
1960 "

where the familiar De Ricci is seen; for example Norman P. Zacour writes:

" A QUARTER of a century ago, when it first appeared, the
Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United
States and Canada, edited by Seymour de Ricci (New York, 1935-
1 940) Usted nine manuscripts in the possession of the University
of Pennsylvania Library. ..... And in the second place, the supplement
to the de Ricci Census, when it appears, will still contain only manuscripts
prior to 1600 ..... "

And we come across Ethel Lilian Voynich too:

" WILLIAM OF AUXERRE. Summa aurea in quattuor libros senten-
tiarum [of Petrus Lombardus]. France{?), 14th cent.

Vellum. 351 ff., double columns. 24 x 16 cm. Red and blue initials with
ornamentation. H/morocco. Estate of E. Voynich (cf. De Ricci II, 1930). "

Ethel Voynich died 27 JUL 1960, so it didn't take long for this particular manuscript of Lilian to
find its new home in the U. Penn Library.

Berj / KI3U

[1] In 2004 our colleague Dana Scott posted Penniman - Newbold material to vms-list in a list-thread
started by Nick Pelling: vms-list post: "Re: VMs: Re: Who got Newbold's papers...?",
Sat, 3 Jul 2004 09:50:23 -0700, by Dana Scott.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 10-28-2009 9:48:44 PM

J.VS: Re: Dr. Wilfrid Voynich writes an opinion to Newbold's eventual Eulogizer; ELV's estate

Dear Colleagues

Here's a January 25, 1930 New Yorker Magazine article, obtainable by subscription, mentioning
"Dr. Wilfrid Voynich" :

From the Abstract:

" Dr. Wilfrid Voynich is a collector of many interesting and valuable illuminated manuscripts; has
manuscript in code by Roger Bacon, found in a castle in 1912. Manuscript is one hundred and sixteen
pages(six missing) all in code, and has all sorts of discoveries in advance of his period. Student
all over the world have copies trying to decipher it. "

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-05-2009 4:57:03 PM

J.VS: Jane Austen's Letters

Dear Colleagues

Of tangential interest, a 5 NOV 2009 -dated online BBC news article by Claire Prentice [1] has some
interesting data on English novelist Jane Austen's (1775-1817) papers:

" Rare Austen letters cause excitement "

" A major Jane Austen exhibition, which has opened in New York, is creating a huge stir among fans
and cultural commentators. "

" Only a small number of the author's personal letters survive "

" More than 100 items, including rare manuscripts and letters written by the British author to her
family, have gone on display at the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan.  "

" In one, written to her niece for her eighth birthday, Austen wrote each word backwards, creating a
puzzle for the young recipient. "

" Some of the letters on display have pieces cut out of them, most likely to be passages relating to
health and other personal matters. "

" Written at a time when paper and postage were expensive, the letters are also remarkable for their
economy, with Austen cramming as many words as she could into each page. In some letters, she used
cross-hatching, whereby people at the time wrote both horizontally and vertically on the same side
of one page to save money on paper and postage. "

It would be interesting to see the backward written letter. We've seen the "cross-hatching"
technique in some of the Kircher APUG letters written two centuries earlier, for example in
Theodorus Moretus's 25 DEC 1638 letter to Kircher, 567 APUG 7r.

Berj / KI3U


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-07-2009 10:58:10 AM

J.VS: Ramon Lull, Doctor Illuminatus

Dear Colleagues

A paper on the Franciscan philosopher, poet and theologian Ramon Lull (d. 1315) by our colleague
Jan Hurych is now available in the J.VS Library:


As we know, Lull and his work has been studied for possible VMS connections at least as far back as
Father Theodore C. Petersen (1883-1966) of Catholic University in the 1930's.

D'Imperio in her classic work on the Voynich Manuscript writes this on Lull:

" It is interesting to note that Lull's combinatorial method of systematically listing and
considering all possible combinations of a few basic elements is a very powerful and valuable mental
tool. Shorn of its medieval and religious purposes it survives into modern logic and science, and is
useful to computer programmers, for example, in analyzing events in data or elements of a problem
(I made use of it for the scheme of cryptanalytic hypotheses in Section 4.4.2). It also undoubtedly
inspired a number of cryptographic devices involving rotating discs. " [1]

Berj / KI3U

[1] The Voynich Manuscript - An Elegant Enigma, by M.E. D'Imperio, Aegean Park Press, c. 1976-80,
ISBN 0-89412-038-7, Section 8.1.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-08-2009 00:08:22 AM

J.VS: An Ethel Lilian Voynich datum

Dear Colleagues

The Ukrainian Weekly of March 9, 1946, has on page 2:

" Selections from the "Kobzar"
by Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861)
Translated in 1911 by Ethel Lilian Voynich, English novelist, (1864-1945) "

An image of the newspaper is online here:

Ethel died in 1960 as we know, not 1945. This then would appear to be an example of what we've heard -
that for a long time in Iron Curtain countries, where Ethel's work was very popular, she was
presumed to be deceased by the end of World War II, and late in her life was happily discovered by
her fans over there to still be living in New York.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-08-2009 4:17:19 PM

J.VS: Mr. V - the KING and 'Sherlock Holmes' of the old book trade; Howard Hampton papers

Dear Colleagues

Online are available images of some of the papers of Howard Hampton (1898-1967) [1]. A sub-archive
of these papers principally date from the 1920's, although there are some letters from the 1860s too
seemingly of interest to Lincoln and Civil War scholars, and a handwritten affidavit and associated
matter apparently considerably older of interest in American Revolution studies:

Much of the material in this sub-archive concerns the acquisition of rare old medical books by
physicians [2] (we recognize some of the old titles from routine VMS research, but also there is
data on other valuable books), and in one personal letter from 1928 between doctors we see the
interesting comment that the Mayo Foundation is "waking up" to the importance of medical history.

Both typed and handwritten letters are in the archive, some originating from Europe. One gets the
impression from the letters that in the 1920's occurred a major surge of interest in collecting old
medical books.

And Wilfrid Voynich was in the thick of it - we find him in this material a number of times - we see
that Wilfrid was still very active in his antiquarian business within a year of his death in March, 1930,
and on respected terms with physicians around the country associated with the College of
Physicians of Philadelphia, where Wilfrid had formally introduced the VMS with Newbold back in 1921.

We can see that Wilfrid's customers are routinely providing him with general antiquarian
intelligence, even up to the minute, on the goings on in the rare book trade.

There is a sheet bearing Voynich's printed name which appears to be a short list of books he is
offering for sale. One item, Garrison's "In Defense of Vesalius", includes in the brief description this:

" (see Bulletin of the Soc. of Med. Hist. of Chicago, Jan. 1915, p. 62) "

The 1915 and Chicago caught my attention here because, as we know, Voynich first exposed the VMS
that year, in Chicago.

There are reproductions of letters to and from (six) Wilfrid, and letters between his customers
mentioning him. The six letters of Wilfrid, including some of his sending envelopes, show his
corresponding include some news within his circle in addition to business matters. These letters are
on Voynich's stationery, showing his coat of arms, his signature, and one exhibiting Wilfrid's
interesting English grammar: December 15, 1928; July 6, 1928; July 12, 1928; July 23, 1928;
June 25, 1929; April 16, 1929.

Perhaps his peculiar English grammar, seen in his short April 16, 1929 letter to Dr. Miller, is a
clue to sorting letters he wrote entirely himself, from some which, possibly, he first dictated to
Miss Nill or a secretary. Wilfrid closes this three-sentences letter:

" I am sorry to have missing seeing you in New York last October and hope that you are con-
templating a visit here this spring perhaps. "

Facinating to read is the 1928 correspondence of Dr. Joseph L. Miller of Thomas, West Virginia, and
Wilfrid Voynich, concerning a mystery with a copy of a book authored by Lower (a predecessor and
follower of Harvey in the blood circulation work) owned by Miller and compared with Voynich's copy
of Lower. The "Dissertatio de Origine Catarrhi" figures in the mystery that Voynich and Miller are
working to unravel. Voynich's meticulous research eye for details is clearly evident here -
yet another reminder that there is something odd about his claim that when he first got the VMS, he
ignored the Marci letter he claimed was attached to the manuscript.

In this correspondence with Miller, Wilfrid closes thus on July 6, 1928:

" I also wish that I could come to see you as I should enjoy seeing you with your books, but for the
present at least this is impossible. Perhaps sometime when I am in Washington you will let me stop
off at Thomas, West Virginia, to see you. Dr. Hellman sailed for Europe for a short holiday. "

Here are some of the comments on Wilfrid, sometimes referred to as "Mr. V", from the various letters
(along with some asides to give an idea of context):

** August 23, 1928, Dr. Miller to Myrtle Crummer (Mrs. Leroy Crummer, wife of Dr. Leroy Crummer of
Omaha, Nebraska, and herself a bibliophile; she routinely refers to her husband simply as "Dr." or "Doctor".):

" Mr. Voynich is assuredly the 'Sherlock Holmes' of the old book trade, and fortunately for his
customers, when he gets a bargain they also get one, as his rule is only a certain percent of profit
on his investment, and not priced to the limit of the cutomer's desire for it, or what the rarety of
the item would indicate. "

" Mr. V. wrote me he would be sailing this week for Europe, and no doubt he will have some very
interesting things to offer us when he returns. "

** December 5, 1927, Mrs. Crummer to Dr. Miller:

" American book-sellers are always saying that more books are to be found here than in England but
that is not my experience. "

** January 10, 19??, Mrs. Crummer to Dr. Miller:

" No one's best's better than Mr. Voynichs [page break] In our experience he is the most honest man
in the game, and also strange as it may seem, for the really rare books he is the CHEAPEST.
For instance he will charge $100 less for a rare Vesalius item that any foreign bookseller will ask for
the same one. And yet with better than three months to search, I finally had to take a 13th cent. MSS.
Constantinius Africanus, a nice thing, but a frill for a library from our standpoint but Mr. V simply was not
able to turn up a really rare and fine old medical book that we did not have, and it seems to me that is
another indication of how medical books are going. "

" For myself I was about the luckiest female in the U.S.A. Dr. gave me the first Shelley Promethus
Unbound, and Dickens Tale of Two Cities in parts, so while our bank balance is in a deplorable
condition, we are both very happy since Xmas. "

** January 20, 1928, Dr. Crummer writing to his colleague Dr. Miller:

" Speaking of the medical book sellers, after Mr. Voynich who is the KING and rightly so of them
all, we are doing best with Tueber & Weil, ..... "

Well, I knew it was just a matter of time before we would find "KING" in the still growing spectrum
of handles of WMV: King Wilfrid Voynich :-). Shall we look for "Emporer Voynich" next? :-)

** January 27, 1928, Dr. Miller ? to Mrs. Crummer:

" Indeed one wonders at the millions of persons of considerable intelligence boring themselves to
death in order to  be conventional instead of coming out in the open and displaying their 'crazy
streak' as we collectors do. "

Clearly, here at least, Voynich is catering to the unconventional. In this sub-archive I could find no
mention of Ethel Lilian Voynich, Miss Nill, or Wilfrid's famous Roger Bacon Cipher Manuscript, as
the VMS would have been known at the time, at least in correspondence with Wilfrid. What we do get
is considerable material seeing Wilfrid in action just some several years after the formal
introduction of the VMS, leaving us in no doubt, if ever there was any, that Wilfrid was so
meticulous a bibliophilic researcher, that surely he left no stone unturned in his investigation of the VMS.

And so once again: As Wilfrid positively knew of Georgius Baresch (Robert S. Brumbaugh having
informed us in the 1970's), why did he never mention Baresch? If the answer argues that he had not
yet found any more on Baresch, in particular the Baresch letter in the Kircher APUG, then to that:
why to the end of their lives did Ethel Lilian Voynich and Miss Nill also fail to at least mention
Baresch in connection with VMS-provenance research?

Berj / KI3U

[1] From the Inventory of John Howard Hampton's 1659-1957 Papers at Texas Tech University,
" Joseph Lyon Miller was a medical doctor from Thomas, West Virginia, who collected and wrote on his
family's genealogy, particularly that of the Fielding and Davis families. A rancher, John Howard Hampton
was the nephew of Dr. Miller and was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 17, 1898. He began ranching
near Clarksville, Texas, later working on the 6666 Ranch and directing ranch operations near Slaton, Texas
and Tucumcari, New Mexico. From 1956-1958, he served as president of West Texas Museum Association.
Hampton donated extensive Indian and western collections to area museums before his death in Tucumcari in 1967. "

[2] The "Dr. Rosenbach" mentioned several times among the papers in this archive looks to be the
same Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach of which Hans P. Kraus, the donater of the Voynich Manuscript to the Yale
Beinecke Library, has much to tell in his autobiographical "A Rare Book Saga".

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-10-2009 11:47:04 PM

J.VS: Prince Petru Baresch, his Castle, and his 1532 Monastery Church of Watramoldawitza

Dear Colleagues

As a direct consequence of our currently ongoing off-J revisiting of the Georgius Baresch notes problem [1],
I just chanced upon a new item which may prove interesting.

Available online via googlebooks:

imaged book (~ 15.1 MB pdf):

text-only of book:

is the German-language:

Zeitschrift fuer oesterreichische Volkskunde, IV. Jahrgang 1898.
(Journal for Austrian Folklore, IV. Year, 1898.)

Beginning on page 255 is an article with nine illustrations by Aug. Kochanowska of Vienna:

Die Klosterkirche in Watramoldawitza
(The Monastery/Convent Church in Watramoldawitza)

Kochanowska describes the church, its setting, and its typical activities, in detail down to the
various odors, and wonderful echoes. Based on my so-far only quick reading, two items would seem to
definitely interest us for further investigation: the Fig. 10 illustration of a drawing of the Monastery Church
of Watramoldawitza in its surroundings, and this statement by Kochanowska on page 257-258:

" Das Kloster wurde im Jahre 1532 von dem rumaenischen Fuersten Petru Baresch erbaut. Er selber
soll in dem Schloss, dessen Ruine (Abbildung 11) sich rechts an die Mauer lehnt, gewohnt haben. "

(The Monastery was built in the year 1532 by the Romanian Prince Petru Baresch. He himself is to
have lived in the Castle, the ruins of which (Illustration 11) lean themselves at right against the wall.)

My immediate impression of the picture of the Monastery Church in Fig. 10 is that it has quite some 
remarkable resemblance in many ways to the basic design of the main castle of the Voynich
Manuscript's nine-rosettes illustration - on the northeast rosette panel, f86r6. Kochanowska
describes the wall surrounding the Church's courtyard as high and mighty and built with embrasures
(i.e. a merlon). He describes the architecture as Roman and Gothic with numerous Byzantine elements.

Among the Monastery's possessions he reports illuminated parchment manuscripts, and a monk's bones.
He emphasizes as characteristic, the Church's fresco paintings, being of Byzantine style, and often difficult to demystify.

Now, could it be that Prince Petru Baresch, apparently in his prime early in the 16th century, is an
ancestor of our Georg Baresch (born late in the 16th century)? Speculating wildly, what if it turns
out that our Georg Baresch is a son, perhaps an illegitimate one, of a Romanian noble family?

Speculating further, in light of the problem of just where the VMS was found by Wilfrid Voynich,
i.e. in an Austrian Castle versus the Italian Villa Mondragone, suppose that both stories are true?
That is, the VMS originated in Baresch's family at the Watramoldawitza Castle, but eventually found
its way, per standard VMS-history theorizing (Risorgimento and so on), to the Villa Modragone.
And Wilfrid Voynich knew about the Baresch - Watramoldawitza provenance.

We know for sure that Wilfrid knew about Georgius Baresch, but we've been puzzling over why Wilfrid 
(and Ethel Voynich and Miss Nill) never mentioned Baresch at all. This problem too might be
resolved: Voynich was afraid that if he revealed the Baresch connection, that some Baresch
descendant might come forth and claim ownership of the VMS - much better to just have bought it from
the Jesuits of Mondragone, and then skip over Baresch in the provenance on the way to his goal:
Roger Bacon. Prince Baresch of Watramoldawitza probably would throw a real big wrench into Wilfrid's
works for a Roger Bacon of Oxford-and-Paris provenance.

Another little problem might be resolved: Baresch's refusal to part with his manuscript, sending
only his notes to Kircher, until finally bequeathing it to his friend Marci: it was a family
heirloom. And another problem, Baresch's circumspectness in his letter to Kircher about the
manuscript's origin: suppose Baresch, somehow at odds with his family, perhaps due to illegitimacy,
prefered a quiet exposure of the family heirloom. Pure speculation of course. But we seek to solve
problems and must generate hypotheses to explore with.

I've not had a chance yet to really investigate the Watramoldawitza monastery and Prince Baresch -
there is a lot of new material here suddenly, and name variations seem to be, as usual, a factor in
obtaining more information, in particular some good modern pictures of the monastery. But have a
look at Kochanowska's paper, and see what you think. It's pretty interesting I think, and lives up
to those once-in-a-while excitements which attend Voynich Manuscript research.

Berj / KI3U

[1] Our colleague Jan Hurych, speaking in J.VS communication #143 (vol. II, 17 JAN 2008), formulates
a crucial question concerning alchemist Georg Baresch's notes on his Prague Manuscript [1a]:

" Greg, this may be little off the subject but after careful reading of the [standard] translation
of Marci's letter, he wrote he sent Kircher the book as well as Baresch's attempts to solve it.
Those notes were not mentioned anywhere else. OK, Baresch sent the copies of folios with the first
letter that were never found either, but the first letter was not found, while the book delivered OK
and notes apparently with it too.

Why would Kircher put Marci's letter in the book without those Baresch's notes? Could it be that
they were there but Voynich did not bother to publicize them? And if they were not there, did
Voynich ask for them? After all, they may be somewhere else with lost folios. "

[1a] Baresch's Prague ms is, in the standard-popular VMS-history, conjectured to be the Voynich
Manuscript / Beinecke MS 408.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-12-2009 1:48:21 PM

J.VS: The scientific smell of old books

Dear Colleagues

Here is an interesting 12 NOV 2009 BBC News online-article by Victoria Gill:

" Sniff test to preserve old books "

" The key to preserving the old, degrading paper of treasured, ageing books is contained in the
smell of their pages, say scientists. Researchers report in the journal Analytical Chemistry that a
new "sniff test" can measure degradation of old books and historical documents. The test picks up
and identifies the chemicals that the pages release as they degrade. "

" The international research team, led by Matija Strlic from University College London's Centre for
Sustainable Heritage, describes that smell as "a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids
and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness". "

" Their new method is called "material degradomics". The scientists are able to use it to find what
chemicals books release, without damaging the paper. "

" The method, the researchers say, is not exclusively applicable to books, and could be used on
other historical artefacts. "

Presumably they distinguish papers from inks. I wonder how long it will be before we see material
degradomics for electronic printed matter :-).

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-13-2009 2:28:39 AM

J.VS: Prince Petru Baresch / Bares versus Petru Rares

Dear Colleagues

As you know, since J.VS communication # 310 a few days ago [1], we've had some discussions on
vms-list [2] about the nature of the apparent equivalence of the name variations "Petru Baresch",
as given by Kochanowska in [1], and "Petru Raresch" or "Petru Rares" [3], the latter being by far the
more commonly seen version of the name of Petru IV, a voievod of Moldavia, (d. 1546), builder of the
Watramoldawitza monastery [4], and other monasteries, castles, and fortresses in Romania, and who
was an illegitimate son of the Moldavian ruler Stefan cel Mare, the Great and Holy.

An underlying motive in our discussions is to ascertain whether or not the name of Petru "Baresch"
is a proper variation of Rares, and therefore an investigation prospect for the obscure alchemist
Georgius Baresch / Barschius, born late in the 16th c., and he being a hypothetical owner of the
Voynich Manuscript in the 17th century. In other words, can more be found out about Georg Baresch
and his Prague Manuscript by researching Romanian history and trying variations of the name
"Baresch" which begin with "R".

The "Petru Baresch" with the "B" is crystal-clear in the original reference given in [1], hence if
it is a mistake and should be "Raresch", then back in 1898 either the author Kochanowska made
the error, or the confusion of B and R occurred somewhere in the typesetting / printing process.

Our next discovery was another crystal clear example, the listing:

Petru Baresch, di E. Candella, a Bukarest.

in the 1901: Rivista musicale italiana, Volume 8. Our colleague Greg Stachowski developed the
information that this listing refers to an opera written by Eduard Caudella about our Petru IV.
So again, either somebody back in 1901 made an error switching "B" for "R", or the case strenghtens
for Baresch being a legitimate variation of Raresch / Rares.

Moreover, our colleague Dana Scott pointed out that "Rares" was not Petru IV's actual name, but a
nickname of his mother's husband - therefore so far only "Petru" remains solid as the name of this
historical person; one way to take that I suppose is to fathom a fluidity of sorts, permitting
Baresch and Raresch equivalence. We have indeed considered the Greek example where "beta" has
come to be pronounced "veeta". So, quite simply: are "Baresch" and "Rares" dialect variants of one

Now to some new data. It turns out that there is a "Petru Bares" Street in Bistrita, Romania :

And here is yet another reference to our Petru IV with a "B"; the French-Moldavian cultural bulletin
"Bastina", Dec. 1999 - Feb. 2000, uses "Petru Bares" for Petru IV Rares:

So then, it looks more and more like there is indeed some sort of equivalence between "Baresch" and
"Raresch / Rares" in certain contexts. And therefore at this stage it looks good for trying to
develop some new Georgius Baresch information by considering for his family-name the variations
"Raresch" and "Rares", and also shifting the focus from his reported birthplace in Zinkovy in
Bohemia [5], some 900 or so kilometers to the southeast into Romania.

Parachronically we are developing, thanks to Greg, an appreciation for the Polish artist Augusta
Kochanowska (1863-1927), for it appears it was she (Aug. Kochanowska) who authored the main
reference given in [1] and created for it the truly beautiful illustration of the Monastery Church
of Watramoldawitza. Her subdued and serene depiction of the monastery back in her day fits nicely
into comparative studies of the castles in the Voynich Manuscript's nine-rosettes foldout. And there
are plenty more related monasteries, castles, and fortresses to look over in Romania. It would be
good to open a castles-and-such deposit in the J.VS Library, and place Kochanowska's
"Die Klosterkirche von Watramoldawitza" in there as the first item.

Berj / KI3U

[1] J.VS: Prince Petru Baresch, his Castle, and his 1532 Monastery Church of Watramoldawitza,
J.VS Vol. III, 2009, 10 NOV 2009.

[2] vms-list thread:
VMs: Watramoldawitza monastery location, Thu 11/12/09 2:01 AM, launched by Berj / KI3U.

[3] The "s" in Rares is an s-comma.

[4] Moldawitza Watra, Moldovita Monastery :

[5] Per Rene Zandbergen, citing reords of the Clementinum.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-13-2009 10:42:03 AM

J.VS: Re: Prince Petru Baresch / Bares versus Petru Rares

I should add that I wondered if "Petru Bares" means "Petru IV", but using online Romanian
dictionaries I could find no translation for "bares".

Even if "bares" = "fourth", it would seem there remains an equivalence of usage, in some contexts,
of "Bares" and "Rares". That is to say in the case of our Georgius Baresch we might be looking for
"George Fourth".

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-13-2009 4:19:44 PM

J.VS: Christophorus Baresius; Prince Peter Raresius

Dear Colleagues

Toward investigations of Georgius Baresch, here:


is listed:

BARESIUS, Christophorus, Anglus, 4 Oct. 1650. 407.

The author, Edward Peacock, in the Preface, remarks:

" The following pages contain an Index of all the persons occurring in this catalogue who could be identified as English-
speaking people. That it is perfect I do not believe, for at some periods it was the habit to enter Students without
indicating their nationality, and there is also good reason for believing that some refugees are put down as inhabit-
ants of the Netherlands who should have been given under England, Scotland, or Ireland. It is hoped, however, that
almost every name of importance has been found. The strange forms into which our names have been transmuted
by the Leyden registrars has been a source of much con- fusion. Some are corrupted beyond hope of recovery, others
are arranged under wrong initial letters. The cross-refer- ences given will be of some use in this matter, but many
of the forms are so uncertain that it was not always safe to offer aids of this kind. Mere guesses, in this as in most
other matters, would mislead much more frequently than they would help. "

Elsewhere, Google Books has online the imaged German-language bibliographic weekly "Das Archiv", III. year, No. 1,
4 January 1890, published in Berlin:

Some familiar institutions are mentioned in there, e.g. the Carolinum and Clementinum. Beginning on page 22 is an article on
the Romanian chronicles and later historical sources, by M.M. Harsu. On the following page 23 Harsu briefly states that the
books and experiences mentioned by the chronicler Urechie in the  Foreword of his Chronicle, likely contain a description of
the fates of Peter Raresius, Prince of Moldau (1527-1546).

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 11-30-2009 12:36:58 PM

J.VS: Royal Society puts historic papers online

Dear Colleagues

From a 30 NOV 2009 BBC online news report:

" The Royal Society puts historic papers online "

" One of the world's oldest scientific institutions is marking the start of its 350th year by
putting 60 of its most memorable research papers online. "

" One of the articles describes early experiments in blood transfusion "

" The papers published on the Trailblazing website were first printed in the society's journal,
Philosophical Transactions. They were chosen from 60,000 printed since the journal's foundation in
1665 - a date which makes it the oldest continuously published scientific periodical in the world. "

The BBC writer employs the words "ill-advised" and "attempt" in describing Franklin's kite

" Also included is Mr Franklin's account of his ill-advised attempt in 1752 to show that lightning
was a form of electricity by flying a kite in a storm, and a 1970 paper on black holes co-written by
Professor Stephen Hawking. "

" There is also an entertaining paper about a study of the nine-year-old Mozart in London in 1770 to
determine whether he really was a child prodigy. Suggestions he was in fact a midget adult were
dismissed by writer Daines Barrington on the grounds that young Wolfgang was more enthusiastic about
playing with his cat than practising his harpsichord. "

Here is the url for the Royal Society:

It will be interesting combing the papers, whether or not we find any VMS-relevant material in them.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-03-2009 4:22:19 PM

J.VS: Jan Hurych discusses the VM Search and Research

Dear Colleagues


is now installed in the J.VS Library:

and coincidentally times well with today's news, which we've been noting on vms-list, that per the
analysis arrangements of Austrian film makers, the VMS dates between 1404 and 1438, they say:

And from Jan's paper:

" We were also too quick to assume as quite normal the fact that such old manuscript was never
mentioned before, that is before Baresch. The manuscript that raises so much interest today would
hardly have been ignored by scholars of the sixteenth and even earlier centuries. And the rumor at
court mentioned by Mnishowsky? Nobody mentioned it elsewhere, not in the books neither the courtiers
in their memoirs. These discrepancies are too serious to be put aside just because they make the
existing provenance less credible. And what is more important - they put the assumed date of the VM
origin in serious doubt. Hopefully, the carbon dating of the folios that is now in the process may
narrow the span of the time the VM could have been written. True, it will be only the time the
parchments were manufactured but at least we would know it could not have been written earlier. As
with the Turin shroud, there will be always some doubts left and we would have to rely also on some
historical facts. Nevertheless, that is what is the research all about: the re-search. "

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-06-2009 10:59:31 PM

J.VS: Revisiting Newbold's approach: little people under the Voynich microscope

Dear Colleagues

Recently on vms-list I commented once again in defense of Newbold:

" But Newbold did begin with characters definitely written on the medium. He spent
many hours examining them under a microscope. And his associate Dr. Kent apparently agreed to some
of the qualitative Newbold perceptions, though quantitatively to a much lower degree. As far as I
can tell, Manly, when he debunked Newbold's micro-Greek-shorthand-embedded-as-strokes-segmentations
-in-VMS-glyphs assertion/hypothesis, just pulled his "cracks in the ink of letters" debunk-argument
out of the air - he never provided any scientific evidence whatsoever. "

" I sometimes suspect that here and there in a few places in the VMS text, Newbold's idea may be
worthwhile considering. The VMS, across it, often gives me the impression of being crypto-
steganographically encyclopedic - that the VMS author experimented with every manner of concealment
-transformations he could dream up. If so, then of course the assumption of a single concealment
scheme, essentially uniform across the manuscript, would frustrate grand solutions, pretty much like
the frustrations every serious VMS student is long used to.

So Newbold started with unequivocal script-glyphs and basically hypothesized they are a carrier wave
composed of a rich spectrum of sub-carriers. "  [1]

The above reminded me to finally bring to your attention some pictures of individual Voynich glyphs
I've collected over the years in the course of following up, in spirit, on Newbold's idea of very
closely examining individual Voynich text glyphs to see if it is plausible that they incorporate
intentional micro-details, at the best available resolution - in our case the Beinecke-provided SID
images. I present the following in the spirit of: should we have the Voynich manuscript at hand
together with a good microscope, then lets have a close look at some of these examples and see what
we think about them - are the micro-details just image artifacts, or fortuitous combinations of
wear-and-tear on the parchment, cracking-ink effects, or are at least in some cases evidence with 
high probability that the VMS scribe intentionally rendered them?

The number of possible examples of this kind across the VMS text is tremendous, so here following
are just a few dozen representative ones, including a few check images for estimating effects of ink
cracking and so on. I have sent to our J.VS Librarian Greg Stachowski the Library deposit
# 26-1-2009-12-06  [2]. It contains a selection of tif image-crops obtained from the Beinecke VMS SID
images, done with the standalone MrSIDViewer, Version . Here is the list of the image crops,
along with subjective descriptors:

Table 317-1

1.) c3VMSf8r.tif ; GC-2 or GC-3 as a spots-check: note that the well-situated spots making up the
"eyes" of the face are somewhat similar to heavier spots on the second c of the pedestal glyph -
accidental or intentional?
2.) c3VMSf9r.tif ; stair-climbing intruding gallows
3.) c2VMSf10r.tif ; note the GC-8
4.) c3VMSf18r.tif ; pony gallows
5.) c3VMSf19r.tif ; flap ears
6.) c4VMSf24r.tif ; long-necked devil
7.) c5VMSf24v.tif ; note multi-stoke construction of this awkward tall gallows GC-h letter
8.) c4VMSf27r.tif ; note apparently complex construction of upper portion of the GC-y, possibly with
embedded micro-letter(s)
9.) c3VMSf27r.tif ; note apparently complex construction of upper portion of the GC-y, possibly with
embedded micro-letter(s)
10.) c4VMSf30v.tif ; long-nosed two-faced plume
11.) c2VMSf31r.tif ; cracked-ink, or scribe-lines?
12.) c4VMSf31r.tif ; penguin "1"
13.) c1VMSf31v.tif ; little big-nosed doggie
14.) c2VMSf31v.tif ; worried intruder
15.) c2VMSf32r.tif ; designer handbag; possible embedded letters in the hair-topped GC-9, including
GC-k, and a GC-y up against a tiny tall cross
16.) 2proc_c2VMSf32r.tif ; processed detail of c2VMSf32r.tif : cracked ink, or embedded micro GC-k,
GC-y, and cross ?
17.) c4VMSf33v.tif ; padlock becomes curve-tailed doggie-face
18.) c6VMSf33v.tif ; bug-eyed GC-h gallows and bearded warrior GC-e
19.) c4VMSf35v.tif ; trimmed poodle
20.) c1VMSf36r.tif ; Erector Set gallows
21.) c5VMSf37r.tif ; page 37 numbers; magnified, the image can give the impression of many
intentional micro-details in the "3" and "7", including well-crafted heads and text letters.
22.) 2proc_detail_c5VMSf37r.tif ; processed detail of c5VMSf37r.tif : cracked ink, or embedded micro GC-2 ?
23.) c2VMSf38r.tif ; note construction of the top portion of the GC-y
24.) c1VMSf39r.tif ; dog howling 8aii
25.) c2VMSf40v.tif ; note the tiny inked distorted hooked cross at top-left of the GC-1, for
comparing with similar image elements uncertain as to cracked-ink etc. or embedded intentional
design, for example in c4VMSf35v.tif trimmed poodle, and c5VMSf37r.tif.
26.) c2VMSf41v.tif ; Sergeant GC-h keeping the troops in line
27.) c1VMSf44r.tif ; GC-o head with a GC-7 hair-ribbon; note groove-line in the parchment
28.) c1VMSf44v.tif ; note the exquisite rendering of the tiny equilateral triangle emanating from the GC-a
29.) c5VMSf46v.tif ; GC-h sled-dog
30.) c5VMSf47r.tif ; Boxer-nose GC-h
31.) c5VMSf47v.tif ; GC-7 talks with aiiN
32.) c11VMSf48v.tif ; barely-keeping-it-together GC-k
33.) c4VMSf49v.tif ; Mr. GC-k mulls over the purchase of a little bench
34.) c9VMSf58r.tif ; GC-h child under control
35.) c5VMSf75r.tif ; angry! GC-h
36.) c4VMSf76r.tif ; pointy-nosed GC-j gallows man; for more on the peculiar f76r text see J.VS
comm. # 138 (Vol. II) and references given there to handscript text-art.
37.) c4VMSf76v.tif ; camel gallows
38.) c5VMSf90v2.tif ; GC-h with head
39.) c1VMSf93v.tif ; intruding GC-k gallows with head
40.) c4VMSf95r1.tif ; pointy-nosed GC-f man
41.) c6VMSf95v2.tif ; fetch the ball
42.) c5VMSf96v.tif ; Snoopy intruding gallows
43.) c7VMSf99r.tif ; life can be hard
44.) c4VMSf101v2.tif ; so nice to c you
45.) c7VMSf101v2.tif ; sniff sniff
46.) c3VMSf102v2.tif ; Professor
47.) c8VMSf116v.tif ; Mr. Cross-in-his-mouth
48.) c2VMSf116v.tif ; Shroud of Voynich; check-patch for comparing effects of parchment staining

In some of the above examples the micro-details are rather obvious from the raw tif's. With other
tif's we can use the image-display program to magnify the tif, resulting of course in blurring and
more and more uncertainty, but nevertheless watching for those possible microdetails which remain
intact under all magnifications.

Some observations: if the micro-details arise from cracked ink, then the ink seems to crack
perculiarly often in just the right way to produce effects suggesting something non-random.

The tentative apparent micro-details, range from very tiny text-letters and other symbols embedded
within the strokes forming the normal VMS text letters, to a kind of Gestalt modulation, often an
anthropomorphic Gestalt modulation of the Voynich text letters, especially the tall looped gallows
letters - making them appear as if they were little people, sometimes animals, in a great variety of
poses and moods. [3]

These micro devices within the text-letters seem to be either absent, or far, far fewer in the VMS
zoodiac month-names - if so, that would impact the debate on their hand, that is whether or not the
month names were done by the original VMS scribe, or the VMS scribe in old shaky-hand age. However,
with the notorious "michiton oladabas" folio, the f116v last page of the Voynich Manuscript, the
situation is different: here we apparently have a strong example of an anthropomorphic letter,
albeit not a Voynich-alphabet one - see 47.) in Table 317-1. Hence one could speculate that if the
f116v writing came from a later hand than the original VMS scribe, that this later scribe was
cognizant of the micro-detailing of the VMS text, and mimicked it.

For estimating the general fineness of the micro-techniques in the VMS, and quite necesssary for any
evaluation of the examples in Table 317-1, we have the detailed optics analysis of the "CATWOMAN"
illustration of f80v. From that analysis [4] we recall:

" I think from the foregoing it is reasonable to consider a medium to good quality lens (by today's
standards) of about 4x to 5x. ..... We would want to know when and where in Europe a 4x or 5x lens
of the-then-very-best quality was available. Well, apparently serious interest in the possibilities
of lenses took off dramatically in the 16th century, Italian lens makers produced the best examples
to the end of the century, and in the opening years of the 17th century lenses of the above
specification should have been available from lens makers in the Netherlands. ..... Therefore,
setting aside the possibility that someone very early, say Roger Bacon (c. 1214-1292), possessed and
kept very secret some high quality magnifying lenses, then we can choose about 1600 when pretty much
anyone with the necessary money could have bought a lens good enough to use in rendering CATWOMAN.
..... In J.VS comm. #181 I stated that I believe that the presently available high-resolution SID / TIF images
of the manuscript provided by Beinecke are not good enough to reveal the full scope of
steganography in the VMS. ..... Although I have satisfied myself that the major SID-visible details
of CATWOMAN's head can be done with a 10x lens, and even with a 2x lens by someone with exceptional
and long experienced miniature-art skills, I suspect that the VMS illustrator may have used several
magnification instruments, including some significantly greater than 10x. Perhaps even a microscope
of some kind was used, not necessarily compound, although possibly compound - the quality of
magnification is equally an important factor, as Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) demonstrated in
the 17th century. A major consideration here is the effective focal length because it limits how
much room there is between the objective lens and the work area to permit manipulation of the
scribing instruments. "

From the just quoted we see that VMS dating comes naturally into the picture when micro-details are
considered. Lacking unequivocal and definitive provenance documentation, the attempted dating of the
Voynich manuscript must be based upon a set of independent clues which mutually consistently
converge upon some date range. Trouble with the VMS is that independently derived clues often point
in different time directions. The CATWOMAN analysis for instance goes well with other post-Columbus
clues like the well known examples of the VMS sunflower and capsicum pepper, and our colleague
Richard SantaColoma's studies of possible microscope depictions in the VMS, while other clues
conflictingly provide for placing the VMS squarely somewhere within the 15th century.

So then, was Newbold onto something substantial? He certainly spent a lot of time examining VMS text
letters under the microscope. And whereas his thesis was that the micro-details were a kind of Greek
shorthand, his essential point was that micro-details do exist embedded within the Voynich text
letters. It is too bad that Manly's cracked-ink dismissal of Newbold's idea killed further thorough
and ongoing microscopic analysis of the VMS - otherwise we would now have a hundred years of VMS
microscopy data to evaluate.

Berj / KI3U

[1] vms-list post:
RE: VMs: OT: Newbold Goes to Torino; Sun 11/22/09 10:04 PM, by Berj / KI3U.


[3] Curiously and remarkably coincidental, our colleague Robert Teague recently revealed that he had
for some time been developing a comic strip, "Gallows Humour", around the idea of the VMS gallows
letters depicted as little persons in humrous situations within Voynich manuscript context. And as
we know, Robert's charming work is now available in the J.VS Library within the Voynich Manuscript
"Underground Art" section, as we eagerly await more of it :

[4] Journal of Voynich Studies communication # 185 (Vol. II, 29 APR 2008) :
J.VS: Voynich steganography reference: f80v CATWOMAN's cat-face versus f1r Tepenece

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-07-2009 11:03:21 PM

J.VS: Re: Revisiting Newbold's approach: little people under the Voynich microscope

Dear Colleagues

Our Librarian Greg Stachowski alerted me to my having given in comm. #317 the wrong Library deposit  #
for the images associated with J.VS comm. #317. The correct deposit # for it, said deposit
containing the images of selected VMS text characters for the purpose of Newboldian analysis, is:


Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-09-2009 12:45:20 PM

J.VS: The Antiquarian, Classicist, Military, and Modern Eras of Voynich Manuscript Research

Redacted from off-J dialog 7 - 9 DEC 2009 :

Berj / KI3U says:

The modern era, as I understand it, begins with Currier and D'Imperio in the late 70's. Back then
Gillogly and Jacques Guy were in it.

Greg Stachowski says:

I understand it differently. I define the modern era of VMS research (not the modern era generally,
of course - that can go back to 1492 depending on definition!) to be the start of the Internet-based
research era, which is the start of the vms list in 1991.

Currier and D'Imperio is the last of the previous era, in my view. D'Imperio's book largely
summarised existing research up to that time. Not much happened in the next decade, or at least not
much was published (apart from Stojko), until the two Jims (Gillogly and Reeds) started the list in
1991 and then came the new transcription efforts (Guy, Landini, Zandbergen), the interlinear files,
the Zipf analyses and so on. The foundations of the modern research effort, in other words.
Gillogly, Reeds and Guy may have been interested earlier but they didn't publish much, if anything,
until the 1990s. Guy's first article that I know of on the VMS is 1991.

Berj says:

Well this could become a good debate. Including the angle of people who more or less grew up in the
digital age (you) vs those who grew up in the analog age (me). One major reason I date the modern
VMS era from Currier and D'Imperio is that Currier made the first real breakthroughs in finding
something out about the VMS text.

Greg says:

This is true. However, I would still place him and MD'I as the last of the previous era - the era of
the military cryptographers, from Manly through Friedman to Currier and MD'I. On the other hand,
what I call the modern era is characterised by:

1. (largely) amateurs in cryptopgraphy,

2. a wide range of people from different fields and backgrounds working together through the
Internet, often never seeing each other or even the VMS itself,

3. the application of computing resources far exceeding those applied before, for statistics,
simulation, transcription and lately image analysis.

There is also the nearly decade-long gap between "An Elegant Enigma" and the vms-list and the modern

Berj says:

Well in the early days you had in addition to military guys (and gals) academic guys too, like
Newbold, Petersen, O'Neill, and Strong, and lets not forget the antiquarians like the Voynich's
themselves and Miss Nill.

Greg says:

They were for the most part what I would refer to as an even earlier era, perhaps the "Classicist"
era or the "Antiquarian" era. Of course the two overlap in this case - Manly before Petersen. But
there seem to me to be two clearly separated blocks in terms of approach: one, starting with Voynich
& Newbold and continuing to Petersen at least, where the approach was from an antiquarian/classicist
background, informed by the external information such as the Bacon or Dee rumours, and another, from
a professional cryptography background, starting with Manly and going on to D'Imperio, based on the
internal nature of the manuscript. The modern (in my sense) approach combines both.

Berj says:

As I understand it, you are using computing power and its sudden wide availability and the social
consequences thereof as a major criterion for defining "modern VMS research era".

Greg says:

Not computing power per se, but the Internet and its abiliy to facilitate cooperation and distribute
information, in a way impossible in the time of MD'I, not to mention earlier. Consider this very
discussion - it would have been largely impossible back then, or at least not in this form.
The Internet has fundamentally changed the VMS research landscape, changed the way VMS research
is carried out, and that change started with the vms-list in 1991, when the nascent Internet met the
VMS. The increase in available computing power is a side issue which goes along with that, though it
is, of course, important.

Berj says:

In my view the Internet has also considerably reduced the signal-to-noise ratio in the VMS field -
even a simple search can bog you down going through seemingly endless "Voynich" material put out
there by, even if well-meaning, folks who are tourists, or worse, in Voynichland.

Greg says:

Oh, definitely. It has good and bad influences. Good like the easy availability of the SIDs.
Bad like all the junk.

Berj says:

I'm not so sure that the Internet etc. is the best notion for characterizing the history of VMS
research. I prefer breakthroughs as benchmarks, regardless of tools (like computers) helping the
process. But to mesh with your idea of computers, Currier made his breakthroughs with the aid of
computers I believe.

Greg says:

I characterise it by approaches; breakthroughs are nice but less important. What is a breakthrough?
We can't tell - there have been very few unambiguous ones in vms research.

Berj says:

Well wait a minute, if there were a sudden definitive solution to the VMS text-problem then that
would be a breakthrough. And in my view that event would logically be a VMS-historical benchmark,
whether or not computers and Internet and so on had any significant role in the matter.

Greg says:

Of course it would be a historical benchmark. We have very few such clear breakthroughs, though.
For example, Robert's work may or may not turn out to be one - at the moment we don't know.
Now, did Currier make such a clear breakthrough that he should be metaphorically detached from his
time and place, from his professional crypto environment, and transplanted 10+ years into the utterly alien
(to him) Internet age, solely on that basis? I don't think so. You would not call Eratosthenes a
modern physicist, although he knew the Earth was spherical and measured its radius with considerable
accuracy. He still belongs in the era of Ancient Greek natural philosophy, not in post 19th-Century physics.

Berj says:

Well then, would you say that the modern era of Voynich Manuscript research dates to around 1991,
when the nascent Internet met the VMS, and during the first several years of the modern era the
Internet contribution maintained a relatively good S/N, but eventually the S/N began to degrade, and
still appears to be degrading?

Greg says:

Yes, definitely. Very much so.

Berj says:

The Antiquarian, Classicist, Military, and Modern era designations might be good to place into the
J.VS Interactive Timeline.

Greg says:

An interesting thought.

[ end J.VS comm. # 319 ]

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-10-2009 11:15:43 AM

J.VS: Rare words as an Author's fingerprint

Dear Colleagues

Here's a 10 DEC 2009 online BBC news article:

" Rare words 'author's fingerprint' "

" A simple analysis of the words in a book is an indication of who wrote it "

" Analyses of classic authors' works provide a way to "linguistically fingerprint" them, researchers
say. The relationship between the number of words an author uses only once and the length of a work
forms an identifier for them, they argue. "

" The work is published in the New Journal of Physics. Researchers also suggest each author pulls
their works from a hypothetical "meta book". "

" In 1935, the Harvard University linguist George Kingsley Zipf demonstrated a mathematical
relationship between the frequency of a word in a text and its rank in the list of an author's most
used words. "

" Building on that idea, researchers at Umea University in Sweden have found that language use isn't
as universal as Zipf's law might suggest. "

" They found that the authors had distinctly different "unique word" curves. "

" The meta book concept proposed by the authors is not simply the list of all the words they know,
but also the "distribution" of those words produced by an author, whether in drafting an e-mail or
writing War and Peace. "

Berj / KI3U

From: Greg Stachowski
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-14-2009 6:29:50 PM

J.VS: radiocarbon dating of ancient Japanese documents of known age 

Those interested in the recently-announced radiocarbon dating of the Voynich manuscript may find the
following paper interesting. The documents tested cover all the hypothesised date ranges of the
Voynich Manuscript, and thus the paper may serve to illustrate some of the techniques, issues, and

    "AMS radiocarbon dating of ancient Japanese documents of known age"
    by H. Oda, T. Masuda, E. Niu, T. Nakamura

    " Radiocarbon ages of 17 ancient Japanese documents of known age and 3 unknown samples were
measured by AMS. Radiocarbon dating on the known documents concluded that the Japanese paper is a
suitable sample for radiocarbon dating because of small discrepancy between the calibrated
radiocarbon age and the historical age due to the characteristics of Japanese paper. From the dating
of the paper samples of unknown age, the wood-block prints, it was clarified that they had been
produced between the 11th century and the first half of the 12th century as the historical
information suggested. "

    Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
    Volume 255, Number 2 / February, 2003

On the subject of radiocarbon dating, the following two papers may also be of interest:

Details of the IntCal98 (International C14 Calibration curve, 1998 version), used in the Oda paper:

Minze Stuiver et al, Radiocarbon, Vol. 40, no. 3, 1998

A detailed overview of C14 dating:

The Remarkable Metrological History of Radiocarbon Dating
L A Currie, J. Res. Natl. Inst. Stand. Technol. 109, 185-217, 2004


From: Greg Stachowski
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-15-2009 2:43:00 PM

J.VS: Jean Perréal's (1455-1530) "l'Alchimie" of 1516

Jean Perréal, also known as Peréal, Johannes Parisienus or Jean De Paris, was an early-16th Century
painter and architect, who worked mostly for the Kings of France of the period [1]

Of particular interest to researchers of the Voynich Manuscript is Perreal's 1516 illustration, now
in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris: “L'Alchimie” [2][3], also known as “The Alchemist talking
with Nature”, “Dialogue between the Alchemist and Nature”, “la complainte de nature à l'alchimiste
errant”, and similar variations. The illustration is part of a treatise, entitled “La Complainte de
Nature”, written by Perreal.

The image shows an alchemist of the period, outside his workshop, talking with a nude female figure,
representing Nature, who is seated at the base of a strange, intertwining vine-like plant, taller
than the figures.

The illustration and its allegorical meaning are extensively discussed in Barbara Obrist's chapter
in “Chymists and chymistry: studies in the history of alchemy and early modern chemistry” [4] some
of which is available through Google Books [5]. Perreal's illustration is also used for the cover of
the volume.

As noted off-J. by Dana Scott, this plant bears a strong resemblance to the plant on f22r of the
Voynich manuscript [6]. According to Obrist, Perreal may have been inspired by a giant lily set up
in front of the gate of Lyons on the occasion of Francis I's entry into the city in 1515. Without
suggesting that Perreal had anything to do with the Voynich manuscript, and noting that the period
of the illustration is later than the recent radiocarbon dating [7] of the Voynich manuscript
parchment, the similarity may point to a common source in alchemical symbolic tradition.

The vine itself is labelled with text, including several times the word “aqua”, the tube-like stems
thus perhaps bring to mind the various tubes with flowing liquids illustrated in the Voynich
manuscript. Berj Ensanian has also suggested off-J. that the image be searched for Voynich-glyph-
like symbols; the images available on the net are of relatively low resolution, and no such symbols
have as yet been definitely identified.

Greg Stachowski




[4] Obrist, Barbara, “Nude Nature and the Art of Alchemy in Jean Perreal's Early Sixteenth-Century
Miniature” , chapter 10 (p.113) in Principe, Lawrence M., ed, “ Chymists and chymistry: studies in
the history of alchemy and early modern chemistry”, papers presented at an International Conference
on the History of Alchemy and Chymistry, 19-23 July 2006, published by Science History Publications
USA, 2007, ISBN 978-0-88135-396-9



[7] 1404-1438; ORF 2 – Universum documentary, Das Voynich-Raetsel, aired 11 December 2009.

From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-15-2009 12:38:27 PM EST

J.VS: Re: Jean Perréal's (1455-1530) "l'Alchimie" of 1516

Dear Colleagues

As we know, there are some similarities and even apparent overlaps between some Voynich-alphabet
glyphs and some more or less common alchemical symbols - tables in D'Imperio's book provide
immediately handy examples.

As regards searching Perreal's "l'Alchimie" illustration for possible Voynich-glyph-like symbols
(aside from the obvious alchemical symbols and Latin inscriptions such as on the vine), I suggest
examining these areas in the l'Alchimie painting :

1.) near the lower left corner of the illustration, at about the level of lady Nature's right knee,
my impression is of some brown marks in the grass which are suggestive of a Voynich gallows glyph.

2.) in the background on the mountain is possibly a GC-s / EVA-s, although of course a GC-s can
easily arise from random noise and all by itself would mean almost nothing.

3.) Lady Nature's wings.

4.) the blue sky at the top seems to have some embedded darker marking-like patterns, and suggests
that for all areas of the illustration to be examined, that the picture might be rotated to
different angles.

Berj / KI3U

From: Greg Stachowski
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-23-2009 7:29:12 AM

J.VS: Re: Jean Perréal's (1455-1530) "l'Alchimie" of 1516

Ernest Lillie has very kindly mailed me to say that the image was also used for the cover of
Alexander Roob's "The Hermetic Museum - Alchemy and Mysticism", published by Taschen in 1997
(ISBN 82288653X), and that the image is very clear there.


From: Berj N. Ensanian KI3U
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 12-30-2009 9:49:14 AM EST


Dear Colleagues

Our colleague Jan Hurych's new paper "MNISHOWSKY ONCE MORE" is now available in the J.VS Library:

Berj / KI3U


J.VS Archive continued in Vol. IV, 2010