Rudolfine… signatures and cherry-picking.

A reader [Janine] has quite properly pulled me up with a ‘where-and-when’ question about earlier investigations/assertions concerning Jakub’s signature.

Time doesn’t permit me to search the earlier communications to Jim Reeds’ mailing list, but the old ‘Journal of Voynich Studies’ has an easier database, so for the meantime I’ll quote from that. [Volume 1 No 7], this communication is not twenty years old; only 15 going on 16.

And you’ll notice that the same writer who speaks about Jakub’s signature also speaks of what he evidently takes as a fact established, namely that Marci isn’t the person who wrote that letter containing the Rudolf rumour! Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, either.

On Wed, 28 Feb 2007, in the context of doubts and discussions about Marci’s signature, Jan Hurych wrote, citing finds by Rafal Prinke and Peter Kazil:

The doubts I mentioned are now supported by two finds: the letter [of 1665-6] was not written in Marci’s hand and after the recent discovery of Horczicky’s signature in Prague, by joint efforts of Rafal Prinke and Peter Kazil ( supported by another sample of the signature found in Melnik archive) lead to investigation of the one in teh VM. We are now almost certain that the name of Horczicky, hidden in the VM, was not written in Horcizcky’s hand.

There may be some acceptable explanations for both cases but again, they are only indirectly supported and questionable as well. The name of Tepenec could have been written there by anybody, say the archiver (or even by Kircher). However, we know that Horczicky had a habit to exlibris his books in his own hand (Prague signature is actually his exlibris and Melnik signature is his official signature). The doubts are also supported by the fact hat the signature was found already erased – or to look like it was erased. The research in this problem might follow, thanks to excellent scans of the VM by Beinecke library (the scans are on the Net), but until more facts are found, we seem to be at standstill.

The only opened avenue is of course Marci’s letter and again, it is not written in his hand. The explanation may be that – according to Czech sources – Marci was losing his eyesight and eventually went completely blind. That would explain while the letter was written by somebody else, apparently his scribe. But again, it might have been written by anybody, even after Marci’s death. So only verifiable detail there is Marci’s signature, which Marci always used to confirm by his “sine” next to his name. To make things more complicated, that particular letter has no “sine”.

[This was not the end of discussion about Marci’s signature, or Horczicky’s]

Thanks to Janine for the question. Delay in response due to work-pressures, which allows me only occasional moments to check the comments here.

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