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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/5/2014 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Once regarded as gobbledygook, manuscript may have been brought from Mexico, not Europe

Discovered in an Italian monastery in 1912 by book dealer Wilfred Voynich, the Voynich manuscript has mystified experts for decades. Carbon dating suggests the book - written in an unrecognized language, was created between 1404 and 1438. The 240 pages of the book are made from a type of parchment produced using calf skin, known as vellum. Many have derided the manuscript as nonsense scribbled by a madman - but now a botanist in the U.S. suggests that previous research was barking up the wrong tree.

The manuscript has been often described as being impenetrable, decorated with illustrations, diagrams and a mysterious text written from left to right. No-one has succeeded in deciphering the reams of written passages.

The manuscript has been often described as being impenetrable, decorated with illustrations, diagrams and a mysterious text written from left to right. No-one has succeeded in deciphering the reams of written passages.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/5/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Voynich manuscript, botany, Nahuatl, Aztec


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Botanist Dr. Arthur Tucker has studied illustrations of the plants throughout the 15th century book and has pinpointed a number of them to the Central American region now known as Mexico.

Tucker claims at least 37 of the 303 plants would have grown in the region during the 15th and 16th century and believes that the text is, therefore, written in the Aztec language of Nahuatl.

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A U.S. botanist studied the plants illustrated in the Voynich manuscript, pictured. He claims at lea

A U.S. botanist studied the plants illustrated in the Voynich manuscript, pictured. He claims at least 37 of these 303 plants would have grown in Central America during the 15th and 16th century and believes the text is, therefore, written in the Aztec language of Nahuatl.


Originating in Central Mexico during the 7th century, Nahuatl was the spoken predominantly by the Aztecs. After the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 16th century, the alphabet was replaced with Latin.

Nahuatl became a literary language, used in poetry and passages. Derivatives of Nahuatl are still spoken by approximately 1.5 million Nahua people in Central Mexico.

If the text, pictured far left, is written in the language of Nahuatl, the botanists claim they can

If the text, pictured far left, is written in the language of Nahuatl, the botanists claim they can find the name of the plants in the manuscript. From this, cryptographers may be able to form a basic code from which to crack the rest of the text in the 15th century book.


The manuscript has been often described as being impenetrable, decorated with illustrations, diagrams and a mysterious text written from left to right. No-one has succeeded in deciphering the reams of written passages.

Tucker from Delaware University took a different approach, and instead, studied the plants depicted throughout the book. He discovered similarities between specific plants in the manuscript and illustrations of plants he had spotted in his collection of 16th century Mexican records.

The Voynich manuscript, pictured, was discovered in an Italian monastery in 1912 by book dealer Wilf

The Voynich manuscript, pictured, was discovered in an Italian monastery in 1912 by book dealer Wilfred Voynich. Carbon dating suggests it was created between 1404 and 1438. The 240 pages of the book are made from a type of parchment produced using calf skin, known as vellum.


Tucker, along with fellow researcher Rexford Talbert said one plant in the book bears a resemblance to the picture of a soap plant (xiuhamolli) seen in a Mexican codex from 1552.

Another example includes the illustration of the Ipomoea murucoides, taken from the Mexican Codex Cruz-Badianus, which has an identical style to the Ipomoea arborescens in the manuscript.

Researchers linked 37 of the 303 plants in the manuscript to illustrations in ancient Mexican books covering botany across Texas, California and Nicaragua.

Due to its mysterious nature, the text and diagrams in the manuscript, pictured, have been studied b

Due to its mysterious nature, the text and diagrams in the manuscript, pictured, have been studied by cryptographers around the world, yet no-one has succeeded in deciphering the reams of written passages. This has led to many people claim the book is hoax, or that the writing is nonsense.


If the text is written in the language of Nahuatl, the botanists claim they can find the name of the plants in the manuscript and may be able to use these to form a basic code from which to crack the rest of the text.

A Voynich illustration, for example, of a cactus pad or fruit is shown near the name "nashtli," which Tucker and Talbert claim is a variant of the word "nochtil" - the Nahuatl name for the fruit of the prickly pear.

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