Friday, February 11, 2011

“Alien” Manuscript Confounds Historians

Nearly 100 years after it was discovered in a villa near Rome, the Voynich manuscript, now owned by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, is once again being examined… and is giving up a surprising number of secrets.

A team at the University of Arizona’s department of physics recently dated the manuscript back to the early part of the 15th century, “making the book a century older than scholars had previously thought. ” From the University of Arizona News:
This tome makes the “DaVinci Code” look downright lackluster: Rows of text scrawled on visibly aged parchment, flowing around intricately drawn illustrations depicting plants, astronomical charts and human figures bathing in -- perhaps -- the fountain of youth. At first glance, the “Voynich manuscript” appears to be not unlike any other antique work of writing and drawing.
Even more confounding, the manuscript appears to be written in an alien language:
But a second, closer look reveals that nothing here is what it seems. Alien characters, some resembling Latin letters, others unlike anything used in any known language, are arranged into what appear to be words and sentences, except they don't resemble anything written -- or read -- by human beings.
The Huffington Post looks at the Voynich manuscript here. The University of Arizona News item is here. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library talks about the book here.



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