Tap to Read ➤

Voynich Manuscript Mystery: Finally Decoded?

Bindu swetha May 29, 2019
The world's most mysterious script, the Voynich Manuscript, was reportedly decoded by a U.K. based researcher Dr. Gerard Cheshire. A Research Associate at the University of Bristol, he recently made headlines by claiming to have decoded this 15th-century manuscript.

Dr. Cheshire's Findings

Dr. Cheshire states that the manuscript contains data related to therapeutic bathing, astrological reading and herbal remedies concerning female mind, of reproduction, of body, of parenting and of the heart. All this data is in accordance with the Catholic and Roman Pagan religious beliefs of Mediterranean Europeans during the late Medieval period.
'The manuscript uses a language that arose from a blend of spoken Latin, or Vulgar Latin, and other languages across the Mediterranean during the early Medieval period following the collapse of the Roman Empire and subsequently evolved into the many Romance languages, including Italian,' he mentions in his findings.

The Disputes

As soon as the news of the code being cracked came to light, there were other experts who thought that the code hasn't been cracked yet! The Executive Director of Medieval Academy of America, Lisa Fagin Davis tweeted, 'Sorry, folks, ‘proto-Romance language’ is not a thing. This is just more aspirational, circular, self-fulfilling nonsense'.
In a statement published on May 16, 2019, University of Bristol said, 'Yesterday the University of Bristol published a story about research on the Voynich manuscript by an honorary research associate. This research was entirely the author's own work and is not affiliated with the University of Bristol, the Faculty of Arts or the Centre for Medieval Studies.'
They also added 'Following media coverage, concerns have been raised about the validity of this research. We take such concerns very seriously and have therefore removed the story regarding this research from our website to seek further validation and allow further discussions both internally and with the journal concerned.'

Other Similar Claims

In 2017, a history researcher, Nicholas Gibbs, claimed to have cracked the code. In his study, Gibbs pointed out that the manuscript is a women's health manual that contains certain medicinal recipes. However, experts dismissed his claims stating that his research didn't contain any fresh information and was a mix of stuff which he couldn't eventually prove.
Last year too, in 2018, a father who is a Turkish language student and electrical engineer, along with his sons claimed to have cracked the script. They claimed that the text was a phonetic form of the old Turkish language.

This claim received support from Lisa Fagin Davis who called the study to be consistent and that the claims made some sense.
Lisa Fagin Davis' next tweet put down criteria for such claims, '(1) sound first principles; (2) reproducible by others; (3) conformance to linguistic and codicological facts; (4) text that makes sense; (5) logical correspondence of text and illustration. No one has checked all of those boxes yet.'

For now, the 600-year-old manuscript remains to be decoded!