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The Voynich Manuscript Decoded?

give examples to show that the code used in the Voynich

Manuscript is probably a series of Italian word anagrams written in a


fancy embellished script. This code, that has been confusing scholars
for nearly a century, is therefore not as complicated as it first appears.

ll attempts over the past century to decode this mysterious

manuscript have met with failure. This is probably due to the initial
error made by Voynich and his followers attributing the authorship of
the manuscript to Roger Bacon, the 13th century British scientist,
monk and scholar. As I showed in a previous paper on my
Website, The Voynich Manuscript, was the author left handed?, Roger
Bacon could not have written this manuscript and I suggested that a
young (around 8 to 10 years old) Leonardo da Vinci was a likely
author. Using this premise I proceeded to consider what would be
required to decode this manuscript and reached the following
conclusions:
1. Determine the language used in writing the manuscript
2. Correlate the Voynich alphabet with the modern English
alphabet
3. Decipher the code

f Leonardo da Vinci was the author of the VM, he would have used

the language of Dante, i.e. medieval Italian, so I have assumed the VM


language to be Italian. I initially used Rene Zandbergens basic EVA
characters(i) as a starting point to correlate the VM letters with the
English alphabet, while taking into account that the Italian alphabet
only uses 21 letters. Later in my studies I had to modify some of the
EVA correlations. As the best code breakers, using powerful
computers, were unable to decipher the code, it did not appear likely
that I could break the code. I am however addicted of solving Jumbles
and playing Text Twist and this made me consider a different
approach. When I examined the VM script, I noticed that there were

very few corrections, and the writing, though slow, had the
appearance of easy fluidity. A complicated code would require making
a preliminary copy using for example a slate for a scratch pad. Paper
was expensive in the 15th century. To produce a 200 page manuscript
under these conditions would be a very tedious task. The encoding
must have been simple, easy and direct. Gordon Rugg (ii) has
suggested that the VM is nothing but a meaningless jumble of letters!
I wondered whether he was not correct, with one modification, only
the individual words were jumbled, i.e. anagrams. I was further
encouraged when looking at the last page, Folio 116v of the VM to find
that the top line on this page is:

The Italian alphabet does not use the letter X. Leonardo used this
letter as shorthand for ver.(iii) This line may be interpreted as follows:
Povere leter rimon mist(e) ispero
Which translates into English as follows:
Plain letter reassemble mixed inspire
This brief sentence indicated that the use of anagrams should be
investigated. This was further supported by reading Wikipedias report
that anagrams were popular throughout Europe during the Middle Ages
and that some 17th century astronomers, while engaged in verification
of their discoveries, used anagrams to hide their ideas. Thus Galileo
announced his discovery that Venus had phases like the Moon in the
form of an anagram. Similarly Robert Hooke in 1660 first published
Hookes Law in the form of an anagram.

ord anagrams do not always offer a unique solution and an

exact correlation between the EVA characters and the English alphabet
has not been established, therefore, to test this anagram hypothesis

as precisely as possible, I used the single words found on many of the


herbal pages. Most of these drawings are so poor that the author of
the manuscript obviously considered it necessary to identify the
roots/plants with names. I therefore used these single words to help
modify the EVA alphabet (shown below) based on the plant/root name
obtained from the subsequent translated Italian anagram. This
resulted for the most part in a usable correspondence between the VM
and English alphabets which when once established was used for
deciphering all subsequent anagrams. I quibble a little here for at this
time I have not been able to identify all the 21 letters of the VM Italian
alphabet (j,k,w,x, and y excluded). The letters H, Q, Z and a single T
have not been identified and there may also be some letter
combinations like that used for tl that need to be identified. The ll
combination may represent either one or two ls. Letters like o and a,
when they occur at the end of a word, have a tail and can easily be
confused with a g, which has a curved tail. Other letters like m,n,r and
u, when they occur at the end of a word have a curlicue. It is difficult
to interpret words that have a number of cs and es. These anagrams
are best solved by trial and error. The letters I used from the VM and
their English equivalent are shown in the table below:

Using this basic alphabet I have identified a number of plants, herbs


and vegetables from the herbal pages. I was not able to decipher all
the words, due no doubt to the fact that many of the plants around
500-plus years ago probably had common names that have since
fallen into disuse. In addition modification in the spelling of some
words may have occurred making it difficult for someone like myself,
who does not read or speak Italian, to decipher these words.

used an Internet site, Italian Anagram Dictionary, to help me

unscramble the words and translate the anagrams into English. The
book The Botanical Gardens of Padua 15451995(iv) helped identify some of the common names used for plants in
Italy in the 16th century. You can judge from the examples given

below, whether this Anagram Code has been successful deciphering


this limited selection from the Voynich Manuscript. I hope some of you
who read medieval Italian will help decipher more of the manuscript so
we can finally learn the mysteries, if any, that this manuscript is
hiding.

hen I gave this manuscript a final reading, I suddenly

remembered that Dan Brown in his book The Da Vinci Code made use
of anagrams. It will be ironic if Leonardo da Vinci is established as the
author of the Voynich Manuscript and it is accepted that he used
anagrams for his code. I doubt however that the Voynich Manuscript
will have much to say about Mary Magdelene or the Priory of Sion, but
that remains to be seen.

he pages that follow contain sections of the Voynich Manuscript

with words that have been decoded using the anagram method. The
first line of typed text above the Voynich handwritten text is the
modern English interpretation of the letters. The second line is an
Italian anagram of these letters. The third line is the anagram
translated into English.

I.
II.
III.
IV.

backKennedy, G. and Churchill, R., 2006, The Voynich


Manuscript, Inner Traditions, Rochester Vermont, p.243.
backibid p.245.
backRichter, J.P., 1970, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci,
vol I, Dover Publications, New York, p.1-4.
backEd. Minelli, A., Marsilio, 1995, p. 207-241.

Folio 99r Top Section

Folio 99r Second Section

Folio 99r Third Section

Folio 99r Bottom Section

From Folio 88r Top Section

From Folio 88v Top Left Section

From Folio 88v Top Left Section

From Folio 88v Second Left Section

From Folio 88v Bottom Right Section

From Folio 88v Bottom Left and Top Middle Sections

From Folio 102r

From Folio 102r

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