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posted by LaminatorX on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the somebody-call-in-Enoch-Root dept.

Thexalon writes:

"University of Bedfordshire professor and applied linguist Stephen Bax has decoded 10 words of the baffling Voynich Manuscript. He focused on proper names that would match the accompanying drawings, which allowed him to find similar drawings in other books of the period."

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by martyb on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:31AM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:31AM (#3080) Journal

    I suggest he might want to talk to the folks who published this: A Preliminary Analysis of the Botany, Zoology, and Mineralogy of the Voynich Manuscript [] by Arthur O. Tucker, PhD; Rexford H. Talbert. If you prefer, they have a pdf which contains all the pictures and analysis available at: 0-voynich-online.pdf []. They used, for example, botanical knowledge to identify certain plants from the illustrations, and with that worked out the translations and possible origins of many words.

    For those who would like to examine the entire manuscript, Yale has a copy you can access and download here [].

    As usual, there's a very readable description of the manuscript and the challenges of translation on Wikipedia. []

    Wit is intellect, dancing.
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  • (Score: 2) by combatserver on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:27AM

    by combatserver (38) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:27AM (#3125)

    "They used, for example, botanical knowledge to identify certain plants from the illustrations..."

    The article mentioned possible Mexican origin of some of the flora described in the manuscript--not too far away from South America. Which brings me to a conversation my wife and I just had on the subject.

    I explained to her my theory that the manuscript is a guide to Muslim "Paradise" and she immediately voiced her disapproval of the male-centric views of "paradise"--there is little, or no, room for female martyrs in "paradise" she says. This led me to the realization that there no images of men anywhere in the manuscript--none whatsoever. If one were describing "paradise" to a male, the preclusion of males in that paradise would make the idea all the more acceptable--no references to males is the same thing as saying "And no competitors ever again!".

    Her perspective gave me another idea, though. Imagine a European (or perhaps, Middle-Eastern) explorer, in the early days of South American exploration (the timing would be about right, based on the estimated age of the manuscript) discovers a society buried in the jungles of the Amazonian Basin that consists solely of women. Perhaps this explorer not only documented the day-to-day life of this society, but adapted their spoken language to his own European/Arabic standards of written text to be used in the very descriptions. Perhaps this is a document that describes what we have all come to know as the myth of "Amazons", their local flora, their religious beliefs, how they go about maintaining a society that is both reliant on males for reproduction (or not!) and exclusive of them, their understanding of the Cosmos, etc.

    Or, perhaps it is a hoax to support one of those two theories that simply never "took root" (I'm not the first to posit either the idea of paradise or Amazons)?

    I hope I can change this later...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:48AM (#3365)

      The "Amazons" were figures in Greek mythology that were supposed to have lived somewhere in Asia Minor.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by combatserver on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:06PM

        by combatserver (38) on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:06PM (#3369)

        "The "Amazons" were figures in Greek mythology..."

        I used the term "Amazons" simply for lack of a better analogy. My choosing the Amazon basin for my little theory was based on the name alone--the manuscript could be describing the very areas you suggest.

        From the wikipedia article:

        "The name 'Amazon' is said to arise from a war Francisco de Orellana fought with a tribe of Tapuyas and other tribes from South America. The women of the tribe fought alongside the men, as was the custom among the entire tribe.[2] Orellana derived the name Amazonas from the mythical Amazons of Asia and Africa described by Herodotus and Diodorus in Greek legends.[2]"

        I hope I can change this later...