Voynich manuscript finally deciphered?

I think Cecil hit this one once. Twould appear a lot of folks spent a lot of time looking the wrong way and the wrong place and the wrong century. See:

At least at first read, it seems rather conclusive.

Cool! I’ve always wondered what Feats an Aztec priest starts off with.

Conclusive. Right; that settles that. On to Harappan and Rongorongo, then.

If images were allowed in this forum, I’d be picking from one of these. The Yoynich manuscript is a crank magnet, having been solved more times than the Amelia Earhart disappearance. (Here is a good thread on it–post #81 is the first on an earlier 2018 decryption.)

They may or may not have hit on the key here. That there were people before them who were wrong or lying isn’t important. The writings of the Ancient Egyptians were untranslated until they were.

Speaking of the ancient Egyptians, from another article about this:
“Tucker has been able to decipher some of the Mesoamerican plant names labeled in the Voynich Codex using the Rosetta Stone…”

That piss-poorly-worded sentence means they identified some plants and used the corresponding labels to decipher the text, except obviously they were not able to translate anything as that very press release admits. To be properly derisive I would have to get my hands on and read their book first, though, and I’m not sure I can bring myself to do that.

Here are some of the illustrations from the book.

My first reaction is that it’s complete bullshit, like all of the other “conclusive” analyses that have been done over the years.

Some of this is not new. The idea that some of these were Mesoamerican plants goes back some time.

I have a facsimile copy of the Voynich Manuscript. The thing is, the plant illustrations are so badly done and so inconsistent, they can be matched to almost anything you please. They’re the Rorschach Test of botanical illustration.

Here’s a link to the supposed illustration of an armadillo. It’s not clear that it’s an animal at all - it could be a pine cone - but if it is one, it looks a lot more like an Old World pangolin than it does like an armadillo. Pangolins have large plates like the one in the illustration, armadillos have small ones. The “identification” can be made only by ignoring details like these. The “alligator gar” likewise requires ignoring some details, and the spotted cat (on the right) looks much more like a leopard to me than an ocelot (although it’s probably supposed to be a lion, and in fact the protruding tongue is seen in other illustrations of lions as shown on the left).

If they are supposed to illustrate real plants (which I doubt), the botanical illustrations are atrocious. If they were at all accurate, the actual species would have been identified long ago. And if they are not accurate, it’s pure guesswork trying to figure out which species they might represent.

Then you’ve also got to explain the illustrations of hundreds of nude women bathing. If this represents “Aztec knowledge,” and the illustrations are by an indigenous artist, why do all of the images apparently represent European women, with curly or blonde hair?

Jiminy Cricket!
“At first read, it seems conclusive.” Just my way of saying it doesn’t involve space aliens or the efforts of a truly omniscient forger who anticipated the analytical power of computers centuries before their development- but that the reasoning and constructs can be construed as a solid stab at this long-standing mystery. Tucker has been pursuing this hypothesis for quite some time. I find the willingness of reputable academics (Purdue’s not exactly a hotbed of strangeness, except for the occasional issue with “bubble fusion”:smiley: ) to engage in what was described in the previous thread cited in post #4 as “academic suicide” -evidence people who’ve spent a whole lot more time considering this than I ever shall think there’s something here. Th idea of a poorly executed herbal mixing 4 or more languages, a illustrator with limited skill and a more limited palette in an attempt to convey information of what was at the time the dark side of the moon- the new world- is a boring, prosaic, even pedestrian explanation. That’s why I like it. This perspective moves the Voynich manuscript from impenetrable mystery to yet another example of human acluemia. And I cannot think of a more appropriate post for MPSIMS, so I threw it here. Hope someone found it of minor interest. MDH

The book claims that it was illustrated by this guy and written by the governor of Cuba, and both their names are hidden in one of the illustrations.

My preferred explanation is that it is a work of “outsider art” by someone who was learned but mentally ill.

This would explain why the plants correspond to no known species, the elaborate astrological illustrations, and the obsessive illustration of hundreds of naked women. The text is in some private invented language and alphabet, which would give it the appearance of a real language but make it completely undecipherable. The hidden meaning existed only in the creator’s mind.

I have a small collection of articles and books (some are no more than pamphlets) that purport to have solved the Voynich “mystery”. Some are too bizarre to warrant serious consideration. Others may have some merit, but nothing, including this latest “discovery” are so overwhelming that I am convinced. In short, I’ll believe it when it has been ground up, chewed upon, and spit out. Before that, nothing suggests anything but a hoax perpetrated by a clever medieval joker with time on his hands.

Meanwhile, in other news, Noah’s Ark has been found. It’s somewhere near Atlantis, right where Edgar Cayce said it would be.

So in the book (which I’ve glanced at) they take the label of one plant and assume that it is the name for prickly pear cactus in Nahuatl. They take the label of another plant and assume that it is the name for agave in Spanish Taino. From those plants supposedly IDed and supposedly named in two different languages they built the core of their phonetic alphabet. When applying their alphabet of the manuscript, they get gibberish, and assume that it is written in some lost Mesoamerican language or dialect, in a mix of several of them, or in an entirely made-up language. Which they have deciphered the alphabet for. And hopefully with some help they will get the translation Real Soon Now.

There. I’ve saved the cost of buying a copy.

The cite begins thus:
“Purdue and Delaware State professors unravel century-old mystery
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The enigmatic Voynich manuscript, undecipherable to scholars for more than a century, is a 16th century Mexican manuscript…”

Nailing everything down correctly is off to a bad start.

That’s neither curly nor blonde: it’s braided, most of them into crowns, with no attempt made to reflect hair color.

A totally pointless and irrelevant objection. Not one of the women in the MS look as if they are Mexican/indigenous, which is my main point. Can you point to one single illustration that appears to be of Mexican indigenous origin? If not, my point stands.

I still say that manuscript is one big act of trolling that went on way too long.

How difficult would it be for modern scientists to decipher a book written in a dead language?

I would assume you put it all in a computer and it determines which words appear how often, what the alphabet is, etc.

But is this a difficult thing to do? If not, what makes this manuscript so much harder than other dead languages?

Also if it was written by a Spaniard why is it in some strange language nobody has heard of?

You pretty much can’t do it unless you’ve got a Rosetta Stone, Behistun inscription, etc., or if you know it’s related to a known language (like with Mayan.)