The Voynich Manuscript: One of the Authors Revealed

The summer vacation took us all the way to the politics of the middle ages. Such a trip is worth the time. The collection of countries represented in the Voynich Manuscript covers what is today the European Union – minus Greece and Spain + plus Russia and China. There is eerie resemblance with the economic and political news in the last couple of years.

Among most popular illustrations in the Voynich book is fol.86v . Let me introduce you to the circle of tents that may be represented in the VMS nine rosette medallion.

This illumination is held in Bibliothèque nationale de France. It is made by the same master that worked on Christine de Pizan’s City of the Ladies manuscript. It depicts the “Princes of the East” during the visit of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II to Paris where he stayed at the Louvre from 1400 to 1402. The guest from Constantinople took a short visit to England, but stayed mostly in France where he dealt with the Dukes of Berry and Burgundy while the King of France was mentally unstable.

This circle of tents may have inspired the Voynich ‘medallion’. Imagine looking at those structures from above. Notice how the rectangular ones kind of ‘bridge’ with the round tents to form a canopy fortress inside which the participating Kings would discuss the matters of the world.

It was the fact that the Byzantine Emperor stayed at the Louvre that helped me decode one of the rosettes of the medallion.   The Tuileries gardens were place where French monarchs met with ambassadors. As you know from my previous post the illustration gives the instruction about how to count the letters and I use the EVA to identify separate symbols. This rosette was easy pattern: every other letter.

EVA, however does not represent the non-Latin sounds correctly. To adjust it, the researcher has to observe the performance of the symbols in a meaningful phrase. There may be more than one language in the Voynich manuscript, but I was able to read only the Slavic so far.

Extracting every other letter from this rosette (as shown on the picture) gives me the following string of Slavic (Slavonic)

Opreta sad v lvr prpd oot pdoa cilveo ? prsvdo ekvezeece тie odpe tocd revlot / voi sledoatl PDREVL

In English: Outside garden in Louvre reverent from Padua Silveo Holy Inquisition who ?!?drank tost revlot?!?) / Your Follower PDREVL

It is clear that the author signed his name in the smaller segment between the markers. What PDREVL (padreVL?!? patriarhVL petervl) means can become clearer if experts on old Slavonic can adjust the above translation and the EVA transcription.

Better EVA would help with the other languages that may be encrypted in the Voynich manuscript.

At least we already know that one of the authors left his autograph 600 years ago for us to discover.

27 Responses to “The Voynich Manuscript: One of the Authors Revealed”

  • I should have said his or her name…

    Anyway, there is a possibility that at the party coconuts were cracked open

  • bdid1dr:

    Hi, again, Ellie!

    I/we seem to have been lost in the shuffle of Nick’s recent efforts to clean up his “desk”. I did, however, get a short note from Nick. He responded to my suggested re-naming of the Voynich Manuscript to the “Vat-Man” (in order to maybe keep the WEB-crawlers from jumping onto every reference to voynich).

    Nick’s note to me basically was correcting my “assumption” that Kircher and the Jesuits received monetarial funding from the Pope/Vatican. I responded by referring him to the connections of the Roman College (Collegio Romano) in Frascati/Villa Mondragone, to the later-built expansion of that College into Gregorian University. There is a very good wiki re the Gregorian University; check it out — fun!

    I may now be persona non grata on Nick’s voynich pages. We’ll see!

    Thank goodness you are circling back to, maybe, the geographical origins of the Vat-Ms (Kircher’s father?) Kircher’s father had connections with several educational facilities in their part of the world. I hope you’re able to pick up a copy of soft-bound compilation of Kircher’s family background, Kircher’s own experience of the “Thirty Years” battle grounds, and the engravings Kircher designed and had published by P. Gase and Caspar Schott. I’m referring to Joscelyn Godwin’s softbound (8xll) book: “Athanasius Kircher – A Renaissance Man and the Quest for Lost Knowledge”

    I’ll keep in touch, if you want.

    bdid1dr (beady-eyed wonder) %^ <—beady-eyed wonder with a questioning smirk

  • I am still sticking to my 1400-1410 time frame and I think I found my PDREVL – Peter Philargus or whatever the spelling of the name of pope Alexander V. Picked up as a beggar orphaned kid in Crete by Franciscan frier, Peter was educated in Padua, Oxford and Paris – went on missions (lectures and diplomacy) to Poland, Lithuania, Bohemia and so on. Peter can be discovered all over the map at the late 14th and the beginning of the 15th century. He met with Manuel II during emperor’s European trip. Peter’s ‘greekness’ was the last hope for Constantinople for another Crusade.

    I will write about it in few months, probably.

    For now, here is another De Berry link:

  • bdid1dr:


    I’m probably trailing far behind you (and the pack), but here’s a very interesting link (I found just this morning)re Council of Constance and a brief mention of Philarges/AntiPope V: OF THE GREAT WESTERN SCHISM/16-CC

    If link doesn’t work, I’m sure you know how to MAKE it work! Fascinating material. I’d still be cruising, but my sweet husband is home after several weeks of contract work with his former employer. So, we’re enjoying the views from our various mountains that surround our lake.

    A tout a l’heure! (See ya later!)


  • bdid1dr:

    Husband came home and went back two weeks later for another week’s assignment. In the meantime n-ck’s pages went ka-blooey. A few days ago I wrote a letter to n-ick’s email. He is probably so p’o’d I’m never going to get an answer.

    What I am so nervous about is that the real-world lunatic mass murderers in the US are on the rampage: three mass murders in less than two months!

    To top all of the afore-mentioned crimes, arsonists are on the rampage in this neck of the woods. Apparently the crews have been able to keep the flames from crossing the road onto our small ranch property on the other side of our lake.

    I’m taking time here on these pages, to write a comment to your recent article on the tarot card-backs. I read some discussion re tarot symbol’s meanings. What I found was lots of speculation about the number 13. Well, one of the most familiar “bad luck” numbers is 13 — and more specifically Friday the 13th. Read up on Philip, “The Fair” and his torture and murder of the last chiefs of the Templar Knights.

    Gotta eat. Gotta open all my windows to let in the cool evening air (in the mountains on “this side” of the lake.

    a tout a l’heure!

  • Glad your ranch is safe. I know nothing about Tarot. I tried to learn more about the Sun symbol, but can’t figure what is a ‘credible source’ on Tarot :) It is a lot of fun in the colorful world of cards.

  • bdid1dr:

    As far as the sun figures that appear in upper left and bottom right corners of the NINE-Rosettes folio: I believe they may simply indicate east and west compass corners by which persons navigating the “map”, can rotate/reposition the manuscript for more accurate “reading” of the map’s geological features and any man-made structures. BUT, because it is not clear to me which of the suns is rising and the other setting. The only thing that might indicate the difference is the small figure of a boat that is just barely visible at the base of the bluff/cliff of the rosette that has the structure perched above.

    Which Pope was it that used the Sun figure in much of his “public works”?


  • bdid1dr:

    You refer to Manuel II’s visiting France, with the Dukes of Berry and Burgundy while the King was mentally unstable. Would that royal person be Charles V? Some very interesting photo discussion re a costume ball that went up in flames, and his being saved by having a duchess throw her train over him.

  • bdid1dr:

    Oh my, Ellie!

    I finally got a “round tuit” and visited Christine di Pizan’s City of the Ladies.

    What has totally “blown me away” is one of Christine’s “workshop” for the ladies:

    They are sieving (flax or hemp) mash for the making of PAPER. They also ironed every freshly made sheet of paper smooth and flat. Do you have any way of finding out the material upon which Christine wrote her books?


  • What I’ve seen from de Pizan is parchment, but she probably used paper too. She also used at least one woman scribe. With the Black Death on the loose more women had a chance in education. About the crowned people on the picture – they are wearing eastern attire. Below is a fine article on that.

    The one in white with a pointy hat is the Byzantine emperor. English chronicles of the time say he was wearing mostly white – which makes the City-of-the-Ladies-Master picture more historically accurate than the Limbourg brothers depiction of Manuel II in the Tres Heuers of Duc de Berry, where the emperor is wearing the same pointy hat, but is in blue rope.
    If the City-of-the-Ladies-Master paid so much attention to the detail of the emperor and the other Princes of the East clothing – he/she probably was accurate with the tents too.

    The gardens of the Louvre was the place where the French met other royalties and ambassadors. I wonder if they had the tent-circle in their inventory and used the same luxury tent set up for different occasions. The 9-rossete page in the VMS may be about the same garden and tent setting, but different event – let’s say negotiation over the papal issues of the time.
    In 1409 there were three popes – Alexander V (Petrvs Philagros)(freshly chosen – Sun symbol on coat of arms), another one with the Moon as his symbol (his name before becoming pope was de Luna – Spanish). I find it curious…

  • bdid1dr:

    What is bothering me is that no one has identified, BY NAME, the master painter/illustrator of the “City-of-the-Ladies” manuscript. Is this reference to Christine di Pizan’s Cite?

    rond ‘n rond we go again? (Lower case mispelling on purpose, for security reasons).

    I am making progress on my translation of folio 86r (four-sided commentary about mushrooms: agaricales and coprinaceae).

    I’ll keep in touch, if you do.

    Re Petrus Philargo/Alexander V: Kinda sad that he died not long after attaining his office … rumors of poisoning?

    A tout a l’heure!


  • bdid1dr:

    Oh, I meant to expand on the hazards of eating particular mushrooms which can cause serious illness/death if the meal is accompanied by wine/alcoholic beverages.


  • bdid1dr:


    I went there and read the full article. It is very difficult for me to post to your newest blogspot post re Petros/Alexander V because the only option that works for me is as “anonymous” — which requires my going cross-eyed to prove I am not a robot.

    Congratulations on an excellent recap of some very turbulent history! If it is alright with you, I am planning on copying the script comparisons and will continue to translate folio 86r.

    I hope this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of you! We’ve still got how many folios to translate?

    bdid1dr :)

  • Thank for letting me know. I removed the word verification – I had no clue it was there – all robots are welcome now :). I think these are the only options that Google gives on Blogspot for comments. I try to keep BigB accessible. Good luck with the translations! It is fun.

  • bdid1dr:


    I’ve recently caught up with y’all on Nick’s new pages. So, I’ve re-mentioned my vegetable/mushroom/lilypad discoveries with Nick and Mr. Spande. Be very careful around the “other” Th-m-s — I’m pretty sure you recognize an unstable mind?

    Perhaps it won’t be long before we all have a reunion on the Nine-Rosettes Folio? Particularly the Castle perched on a mountainside overlooking the river’s outlet to the sea (hamlet of Vellitrae): uppermost, right-most corner of the folio.

    Wherefore goeth ye next?

  • bdid1dr:

    It’s a good thing you’re not terribly interested in things botanical. Other than my “suspicion” that Alexander V may have been deliberately poisoned by a mushroom in his last meal, perhaps the cooks weren’t aware that the “Alcohol Inky” mushroom could kill a person if alcohol had been served with the meal.

    Back to school any day now for your boys? I have noticed a trend in developing literacy earlier and earlier in grammar schools (private or public). My son (a former elementary school teacher) was one of the first teachers to introduce his fifth-graders to the WWW — by having them build their own computers and participate in the first US cross-country elementary-school linkup.

  • bdid1dr:

    Subliminal recollections: I’ve done some serious dreaming the last few days. Here is an interesting item that will probably back up a lot of your research of various items in the Vms (pages 8-13 in particular):

    Some of the calendar adjustments may have occured during your parents lifetimes, no? Heck, some of the adjustments have occured during my lifetime, as well as my sons!


  • bdid1dr:

    Hi Ellie!

    You’re missing some very interesting discussion on Nick’s recently “re-instated” Voynich page. A gentleman named Thomas Spande has been “expanding” on what I call the ladies bathing folios. The Vms now appears to me, anyway, as a documentation of the preparations for a very important marriage between European noble families.

    Don’t get stuck on the first “opening page” of the new Voynich page. What should appear at the top right corner is a blue link labeled “older posts”, which actually is the link for the accumulation of some 80 latest posts, so far.

    I’ll be keeping an eye out for your contributions to the discussion. I’m beginning a journal of my translations of the “squash”, “waterlily”, and “mushroom” pages. When I am finished, I will post them, by “snailmail” to Nick’s postal address; if he wants them at all.

    I have recently returned to my “historic biography” of my husband’s German/Dutch emigrants to Canajoharie/Stone Arabia New York in the 1600′s bce.
    PutMan and Van Alstine. Fascinating! Probably ho-hum to many, but considering how skimpy my family’s history is (Scots-Irish potato famine refugees, and a New England family’s dying out of the male lineage), I still have a good story in mind.

    I’ll keep in touch now and then.


  • bdid1dr:

    Good Morning!
    I just caught up with your latest post to “Coconuts n Kings” (which Diane has reactivated)on Nick’s ‘post-hacking’ Vms pages. Note that ‘my’ topic “round n’round” has disappeared.

    One of the last puzzles I had been investigating was the bath house that was built by one of the earliest Popes (on the grounds of what is now referred to as Castel Gandolpho). Several centuries after the structure’s use as a bath-house (a circular structure) it was turned into a church (St. Sebastian? St. Seraphim?). Two days after I posted that info on Nick’s website, he was hacked.

    This past week or so, Nick has been posting reviews of Voynich-related material. His latest review and link to a cyber-world is “fantast-ical”. Check it out – funneeee!

  • bdid1dr:


    Oh, we are making great strides on Nick’s pages (which I referred earlier here on your pages). My latest contribution compares the bath-house on Lesvos “Skala Thermi” (still in use) with the arches which appear on one of the group bathing folios. My other discovery is that the entire V-manuscript is about Venetian/Genoese slave-trading posts at Tana and on the Bosporus Straits. Most interesting is how the bathing pages/folios tie into the “Mushroom” folio 55v; which is all about the legend of “Alcyone and Cyex” (kingfishers who nested on the sea”. The legend is tied into the lecturer’s notes about the mushroom species known as “inkies” (Shaggy mane being one, but relatively harmless,compared to the “Alcohol Inky”(hallucinatively poisonous) which I suspect killed your “Candian Pope”.

    Just bringing you up to date on latest discussion and VERY interesting websites
    which are disclosing some very interesting “history” that has been buried for centuries. I’ll keep in touch if you do! I hope to see you, maybe, on Nick’s pages “That Which……”


  • bdid1dr:

    Hi again, Ellie! This morning I referred Thomas Spande to your pages here. I’m hoping he’ll catch up with us and our discussions (my monologues?) on these pages. He is very interesting to read. However, the last couple of days he seems to be sinking into the same “whirlpool” so many others have gone when trying to “interpret/translate” the “Nine-Rosettes” folio. I’m hoping you will find his dialogues interesting.

    In the meantime,I’ve been translating the “mushroom/halcyon/Alcone/Ceyx” legend on folio 86r3. Several other folios which I’ve just lately discovered have to do with the legend of Artemis and her sanctuaries/hot springs for girls and young women. One object that has been puzzling everyone is the pair of “gourd-rattles” on folio 83v: What is being portrayed is the fruit of the mandrake plant. It is extremely toxic if eaten. However, the diluted juice was such a powerful anesthetic it was used on the ancient battlefields when amputations had to be done. Artemis included the mandrake in her apothecary for young women of childbearing age.

    A modern view (21st century) of one of Artemis’ shrines can be seen at “Brauron”. Oops! Time to take a break while the sun shines. I’ll check back on you tomorrow (give or take a day or so). In the meanwhile I hope Tom Spande gets in touch with you.

    Still squinting, ;)

    I’m due for cataract surgery, maybe, some time in March/April.

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