Retrospective justifications

Lawyers may have ‘learned friends’; scholars only colleagues.

I’m going to be away for some weeks, so here’s an extra-extra-long post (originally designed as five separate posts) to serve as holiday reading while I’m gone. ūüôā

NB. To skip the preliminaries, start from the heading: ‘Living Ivy’.

Abstract:¬† The Yale facsimile edition includes an essay predicated on the theory that the plant-pictures in the Voynich manuscript are related to the European ‘herbals’.¬† In that essay a comparison is offered which, if it were it valid ‚Äď might constitute the long-sought (but¬† never found) proof for that theory, and further indicate that a niche exists for the Voynich plants within the stemmata for copies of the Tractatus de herbis type.¬† Credit for a comparison or¬† ‚Äėpairing‚Äô of folio 35v with¬† ‘oak and ivy’ from the ‘Manfredus’ herbal¬† is claimed by Rene Zandbergen, whose influence on the study has been constant since the early 2000s.¬† The following considers that experience, weighing the probability and evidence for and against such an interpretation of the image on f.35v.

 

WHEN later generations¬† consider Rene Zandbergen’s contributions to Voynich studies, rating high on the list will surely be his constant presence.

For at least two decades Zandbergen has been constant in reading and collecting work and ideas related to this study, incorporating his selections from such matter into his website (since 2010), and¬† sharing¬† information more widely in comments to group discussions and in private communications. Voynich studies needs people with long memories;¬† given the high turn-over in¬† researchers and degrading standards for credits and documentation of precedents, for any true history of this study we must depend increasingly on the memories of a few among the old guard and the energetic efforts of even fewer among the new. Attempting to discover whether precedents exist before embarking on a line of investigation can be very hard work indeed, and whether one of the ‘old guard’ will trouble to consult their own memories can be a bit touch-and-go.¬† After all, the study has devolved into a permanent ‘groundhog day’ since the early 2000s to the point where now any genuinely new insights are soon swallowed up in the mist, grabbed and repeated without mention of the source and then endlessly re-used and¬† ‘re-discovered’ by amateurs – many of whom confuse original contribution with ‘unprecedented invention’ and fear to admit their debts lest it cost them glory.Trying to work against that tide, to disentangle genuine from spurious claims of ‘discovery’ would require an entire team of fiercely determined and rigidly ethical members of an¬† ‘old guard’. And what Voynichero would care to spend more time on seeing justice done than on following his own area of interest?¬† But, as and when they choose, ‘old-timers’ such as¬† Pelling and Zandbergen are our best hope.How many hours Zandbergen has devoted to building his¬† website one cannot imagine. It has now become the ‘go to’ site for newcomers, journalists and others who want a quick key, to check details of dates or of¬† biographies.¬† It has also provided Zandbergen himself with a ready reference from which he, no less than journalists or newomers, can draw in writing essays.Despite this time-consuming project, Zandbergen¬† has still found enough time (almost every day)¬† to be present in most often-visited public arenas and there to take account of the discussions and contribute to them from the mass of material at his fingertips.His early achievements include his¬† translation into machine code of Gabriel Landini’s transcription of Voynichese – giving us EVA.¬† Another was his liaison with an Austrian television company which commissioned certain scientific tests.For all this – as Zandbergen reminded members of a forum just today – his qualifications are not in any field relevant to medieval manuscript studies, history or art and he should be regarded as an amateur.Few amateurs having twenty years’ interest in anything could resist the temptation to “puff” rather more.Also of value have been Zandbergen’s computing skills which produced the graphs and diagrams used to illustrate the information collected into his website.

As constant as that work has been, and his presence in most public conversations about the Voynich manuscript, so too he has shown unwavering fidelity to a theory which he and his co-author, Rafel Prinke, espoused early – perhaps as early as 2000.

At the time it was a ‘fringe’ theory, asserting that the manuscript had been made in German-speaking regions and was in some sense an expression of central European culture, and more specifically with content congenial to the interests of Rudolf II and other members of the central European nobility.While the evidence for this variation on d’Imperio’s version of the Wilfrid-Friedman theory is no more than it was two decades ago, the intervening period has seen constant efforts at its retrospective justification: German calendars have been hunted for images of Saggitarius with a crossbow and other German-language or German-made works hunted for costume which could be argued similar to costumes seen on figures in the Vms. An enormous amount of time and talk has been expended on a couple of lines of marginalia which are claimed German.¬† ¬† For lack of other researchers as constant and equally consistent in enthusing others to collaborate,¬† ¬†material accumulated today not only leans heavily to that side of the scales but almost entirely on it.¬† Today the ‘central European’ idea has achieved the status of what Santacoloma might call canonised myth, but which is better described, I think, as the process¬† by which ‘I feel’ becomes ‘it might have been’ and gradually via ‘it could have been’ is taken for ‘it must be’. The process has taken twenty years and the labour of a great many co-operating ‘ants’ as Ellie Velinska once called that group.Without being strident, Zandbergen has also quietly and unwaveringly introduced an idea that not only Rudolf, but Rudolf’s brother Matthias (Corvinus) owned the manuscript.Whether the notion that the manuscript was stolen by Jesuits originated with the Prinke-Zandbergen theory or not is another point difficult to determine but as yet there is no evidence offered by the manuscript or by any document of which I’m aware to justify either the the ‘Corvinus’ idea or that one.¬† ¬†On the face of it, the Jesuits’ acquisition of the work is perfectly transparent: it became a Jesuit possession when gifted to Athanasius Kircher by Marcus Marci – and we have the letter of gift to prove it.Otherwise, the Prinke-Zandbergen narrative appears to maintain the standard ideas in, or extrapolated from, Wilfrid’s tale of 1921 – such as that the manuscript is obscure only because meant for a social and intellectual elite, and that it is at base a manuscript composed of ‘ordinary’ European material including occult and/or scientific matter such as alchemy, magic, astrology and medicine in which Rudolf II (1552-1612) and his aristocratic circle were most interested.Here, however, we must be grateful for the radiocarbon dating which permits us (if we wish) to limit the range of Voynich research to the terminus ad. quem of 1438.I say this because it is easy to imagine where the ‘Corvinus’ idea might lead theorists less self-controlled than Zandbergen.¬† ¬†Matthias was initially given control over Hungary at a time when a large part of it was owned by Rudolf’s close contemporary Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) and within modern Hungary there is a popular movement re-inventing her image to have Bathory a nice aristocratic woman interested in women’s medicine. It takes little imagination to see how such an idea could be imposed on the manuscript’s content.But, as I say, we can halt if we choose at 1438 and maintain a proper level of skepticism not only about the ‘Corvinus’ idea but about the third-hand rumour of Rudolf’s supposed ownership.My own position is best expressed by quoting Patrick Lockerby, one of the very few left standing when the vellum’s radiocarbon date-range was published.¬† Well before the test was run he had said:

My dating of the manuscript is 1350 to 1450. From that perspective, whatever happened .. after 1450 is of no relevance in formulating any theory about the Voynich ms.

~ Patrick Lockerby.

________________

Zandbergen has proven no less constant in maintaining his opinion of the plant-pictures, assuming (as had almost all before him) that these must constitute a variant form of Latin herbal: that is, a catalogue of medicinal plants employed in Latin (western Christian) Europe.

During the nineteen-twenties or -thirties when the manuscript was generally believed personally written by Roger Bacon, the limited horizons* of Wilfrid’s narrative and of any dependent on it permitted few alternatives.

*for those limited horizons and¬† reasons for them see ‘Fear of the Unknown and Raft Elegant‘.

However, one might have supposed that by 2000, with nine decades’ of failed attempts to discover in the Latins’ herbals any matching images – that is, matching in sequence and in style of drawing –¬† and with Tiltman’s negative judgement on that score expressed in the late 1960s, that researchers might have begun casting about more widely: extending the research laterally (to include other regions and peoples) or vertically to consider plant-imagery made to other purposes and/or in other media.

It didn’t happen –¬† not even when Tiltman’s paper was released by¬† NSA in 2002, under the Freedom of Information Act, or when qualified persons differed from the conservatives.¬† Those who were not ignored (as Mazars and Wiart were for years), were met with the usual methods by which the most conservative element avoids discussion of evidence and argument.¬† ¬†On a personal note, I gained most amusement from Pelling’s suggesting that in explaining the botanical imagery and the role of mnemonics¬† that I suffered from pareidolia.¬† The role of mnemonics in imagery had been unexplored by the Voynicheros before then, but the term is now constantly used, even if rarely informed by knowledge of the scholarship or of any work later than Yates – Yates being mentioned by d’Imperio.¬† Carruthers’ revolutionary studies have been often recommended by the present author, but no evidence of them appears in other Voynich writings to date.

Part of Tiltman’s verdict was quoted earlier,¬† but here it is in more detail:

if the plain text of the Voynich manuscript belongs to the illustrations on the same pages, as we have a right to expect in the complete absence of evidence to the contrary, then much the greater part of that text is related to plants. However, I have to admit that to the best of my knowledge no one has been able to find any point of connection with any other mediaeval manuscript or early printed book. This is all the stranger because the range of writing and illustration on the subject of the plant world from the early middle ages right through into the 16th and even 17th centuries is very limited indeed.

  • [pdf] John H. Tiltman, ‘The Voynich Manuscript: ‘the most mysterious manuscript in the world’ [released by NSA under the Freedom of Information Act, 23-Apr-2002¬† (Case #19159)

Tiltman was not a man to accept hearsay and I think we may take it that he spoke from personal knowledge of the Friedman groups’ range of research.¬† It is possible that some combined list of works they consulted might one day be found among documents still at the NSA, or in the George C. Marshall Foundation.

 

[Part 2] What was it which prevented Tiltman’s pronouncement’s being taken seriously, and the lesson taken from the failures of the preceding decades?

It is an interesting question and deserves more than the briefest answer, but in the space of this post the short answer will have to do, and it is this:¬† that by the time the first mailing list closed there was a small but growing and determined ‘conservative’ element which adopted d’Imperio’s version of Wilfrid’s narrative with others of the Friedmans’ ideas as constituting a final word on the manuscript’s history and character, and perceived its own task less as work of investigation than of retrospective justification for that matter.

Before the 1960s, none had looked further than Europe because they supposed the manuscript’s composition coeval with its manufacture and they supposed all due to a single author imagined European.

After the early 2000s, any who began to consider any but a Latin European as determining the manuscript’s content was¬† discouraged from doing so by the ‘mass’ online – and often as much by personal ridicule¬† as by reasoned argument.¬† Of this unpleasant tactic – playing the man, not the ball – a precedent was also provided by reports of the Friedmans’ mockery of others, including of Professor Romaine Newbold.¬† ¬†Jorge Stolfi was among the first of the more recent ‘scalps’ taken by such means.

A hardening ‘conservative’ position presented itself as the¬† ‘common sense’ position, and for the new wave of Voynicheros who appeared in public conversations after c.2004 or so, these now-entrenched ideas were accepted as if they had been established from solid evidence: they served as premises rather than as speculations to be tested – and most obviously with the ‘softer’ narratives about theoretical histories for the manuscript or notions about its imagery.

Efforts to describe,¬† explain, decipher or translate Voynichese remained generally subject to more rigor and overall remained focused on the researcher’s work not his character. Critics were expected to explain their criticisms in detail; and (unlike other areas) no¬† vague assertion that the researcher was ‘talking nonsense’ was enough. Witness the technical and well informed criticisms of even so patently nonsensical a paper as Cheshire’s.

But with that difference between standards for discussing ‘Voynichese’ theories versus historical or iconographic matters, there began the dichotomy which exists today.¬† Opinions about the written part of the text usually weigh the statistical and linguistic evidence, but those focused on the pictorial content or historico-social environment regularly witness the personality-centred sort of attack as theory-defence.¬† It is a pity that this dividing fence has been flattened recently – again with criticisms of Cheshire as example.

Any Voynich researcher or writer soon becomes aware that ad.hominem regularly meets dissent from the ‘conservative’position in certain areas and almost invariably follows criticism of any opinions or theories particularly associated with a few of the best known ‘Voynicheros’.

Here, Nick Pelling has a well-earned reputation for directing fluent streams of vitriol against any who are less than approving of his friends’ theories and methods and, to a lesser extent of his own.¬† In general, however, he has an equally well-earned reputation for permitting free expression in comments to his blog, sometimes extraordinary patience with the most ‘out there’ theorists, and his academic standards in keeping clear the difference between his own work and others’ remains impeccable.

In one way, there can be no criticism made of any blogger’s choice of opinion, or of response to comments to their blog, ¬†but given Pelling’s large following, high profile and standing as one of the ‘old guard’, the old problem of influence and responsibility must arise.¬† ¬†Knowing that any who would subject Pelling’s “machine-plants” idea to detailed criticism and dismissal, or dispute Zandbergen’s ‘oak-ivy’ comparisons as I’m about to do may incur public denigration of their intelligence, competence, motives and personal character is certainly a deterrent to putting higher value on the manuscript’s accurate evaluation than on the ‘Voynich community’s bonhomie.¬† The revisionist might hope for both, but I should think not in this generation.

Specifics

Since my own is the only name I feel entitled to mention, I’ll say that during the near-decade in which I offered historical notes and analytical-critical commentary on the Voynich manuscript’s imagery the work received only two types of response from the ‘conservatives’:¬† results gained from that original research were taken and re-presented without acknowledgements, and/or were met by ‘criticisms’ of the ad.hominem sort.

There was just one informed criticism made over the entire period:  a correction to my description of the religious order to which Hugh of St. Victor belonged.

No qualified person in my field had been involved in the study, as far as I could discover, since the 1930s and that might explain the resort to personal criticisms by persons lacking the wherewithall to make comments of any other type.¬† ¬†Recently, the well-qualified¬† ¬†Alexandra Marracini¬† has produced a paper which reminds me of my very first essays on the subject of this manuscript, when I still thought I’d be dealing with nothing more¬† unusual than the home-made book of some amateur western Christian author.

It was from about 2010, once I began sharing online and it became clear that this material could not be made to fit a ‘central European’ or ‘Latin cultural expression’ theory that the nasty response began.¬† ¬†From the first it was of the ‘no-holds-barred’ type and was disseminated as brainless and information-zero ‘memes’, inventing which seems to be the one real skill that a couple of ‘Voynicheros’ may claim.

My persistence in seeking to read, and then to acknowledge precedents – if any – for my views was re-interpreted by ‘meme’ as an effort to claim credit: ‘to make a name’ as that meme had it.¬† Another meme that I recall said that some students of mine were not real people (the reason being, apparently, that we decided their only access to the ‘Voynich-Colosseum’ should be through my own email address).¬† The result of that little ‘meme’ was abuse which the students, their parents and the school found as irrational as it was unmerited, and the ‘Voynich’ option was terminated.¬† ¬†You may be pleased to hear the credits were made transferrable since cyber-bullying should not cost credit-points.¬† ¬†Another slander-meme impugned by qualifications;¬† the least principled did not think it too grubby for them to start memes calling me a liar, or when that one didn’t quite catch on, upgrading it to mental derangement.¬† ¬† Of late, it seems, the one or two core bullies have been toning it down a bit: perhaps someone explained to them in one-syllable words the meaning of ‘fact’ ‘fiction’ ‘slander’ and ‘libel’.

The meme of the month¬† – towards me; but I’m not the only¬† troublemaker – is ‘nonsense’.¬† Not exactly the quality of a Times Higher Education review for the amount of research it tries to cover, is it?

It wasn’t the memes, or even the fools who are unable to find better ways to defend their theory which bothered me most; it’s the number of sheep who, when the water-cooler guy says ‘Bah! duly say¬† ‘Baaah’.

I had supposed that with a manuscript which presents so many non-trivial problems, the sort of person who’d stick around would be one having the type of critical intelligence which likes difficult problems.

But of course, anyone with that sort of intelligence can’t be hypnotised into saying ‘baaa’ just because the chap next to them got it from someone who was told it by someone else.

They say instead – ‘where did you get that idea?’ and ‘Show me your evidence’ and.. in this particular case ‘And exactly what does this tell me that might help me better understand Beinecke MS 408’?

 

And so back to that more interesting matter…

The ‘Oak and Ivy’ comparison in the Yale facsimile essay.

In its premises and its approach the ‘herbal’ essay in the Yale facsimile edition has much in common with the book by Tucker and Janick, in that it aims only to illustrate and thus to convince readers of its premises and its premises are its (foregone) conclusions.¬† It is an engaging history of the medieval herbal manuscript, but one illustrated by ‘pairings’ from the Voynich manuscript – pairings whose validity is treated as self-evident.

Among them is one which – were it valid – would be of enormous importance for this study for it would offer the long-sought proof for that ‘variant herbal’ speculation, and indicate that within the stemmata for copies of the Tractatus de herbis¬† mss exists some niche for the Voynich manuscript’s plant-pictures.

Because it could be of such great importance, it has to be treated seriously and seriously evaluated.¬† ¬†One might wish it were not a ‘pairing’ for which the credit falls to a member of the ‘old guard’ but the credit is claimed by Rene Zandbergen.

He presented his ‘match’ some years ago in a power-point presentation, later passing it to others to re-present (with credit accorded him)¬† as e.g. to Ellie Velinska.¬† Still later, it was used in forum discussions where again the thanks and credit were received by Zandbergen.¬† Finally, with acceptance already general among the ‘online community’ the same pairing was included in the Yale essay.

On occasion Zandbergen has mentioned that Edith Sherwood had ( I am told ‘earlier’) compared¬† folio 35v with one in a medieval manuscript.¬† Zandbergen’s comment takes the following form in one forum exchange:

EllieV – 11-02-2016 The most popular example is the oak/ivy combination found by Rene in other old herbals

ReneZ – 11-02-2016 Edith Sherwood independently noticed the similarity, in her case with the Sloane MS, while I saw it in the Paris BN manuscript.

The British library’s Sloane collection includes more than one herbal, as does the collection in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France but I note that where Sherwood’s habit was always to pair a picture from the Voynich manuscript to some later botanical illustration or to a modern photograph of her preferred ‘i.d.’, some images are now included from medieval manuscripts and now she pairs folio 35v with¬† an image of oak-and-ivy from¬† Brit.Lib. MS SLoane 4016 (folio 38v) –¬† to which I’ll return further below,

About¬† Zandbergen’s alleged ‘match’¬† only one point need be addressed and I’ll treat the vine-like element.¬† To discuss the pairing in full detail (as I’ve done elsewhere) would quadruple the length of this post.

 

__________

Zandbergen’s Resources:

Zandbergen’s discussion of the plant-pictures, from 2000 until the Yale essay was published has relied in one sense on generations of the ‘Voynich herbal’ idea but more particularly on¬† Minta Collins’ book to which Zandbergen has constantly referred, and just as constantly referred others.

Published in that year (2000), Collins’ Medieval Herbals: the Illustrative Tradition became available two years before the NSA released Tiltman’s paper of 1967/8.¬† ¬†It would be two years later still before we had Touwaide’s critical review of Collins’ book in 2004, but that appears to have escaped general notice for the following decade and more, until the present author brought it to the attention of Voynich ninja members.

  • Minta Collins, Medieval Herbals: the Illustrative Tradition.(2000)
  • the above, reviewed by Alain Touwaide¬†– Isis, ¬†Vol. 95, No.4 (2004) pp. 695-697.

Meanwhile, constant mention and recommendations of Collins’ book within the ‘Voynich community’ had seen it elevated to a status almost equal to that accorded d’Imperio’s Elegant Enigma – whose quotation some suppose a final word.¬† ¬† This same period saw escalate a trick of equating conservative ideas with the ‘good and sensible’ to the point where those engaging in original lines of research were discouraged –¬† and if not easily by ‘blanking’ or by citations from the two ‘bibles’ or items extracted from German medieval works, then next by comments suggesting that¬† only a ‘bad or irrational’ person would oppose the ‘central European cultural expression’¬† theory.

By about 2013-14,¬† assertions of ‘likeness’ met positive comment only if the comparison came from a Latin herbal or from central European manuscripts and books made between the thirteenth-mid sixteenth centuries – unless it were to ‘prove’ the work a Latin product.¬† Velinska’s ‘Duc de Berry’ theory was exempt.¬† ¬†The temporal range narrowed somewhat after 2013, as challenges to the radiocarbon dating of 2011 fell silent.¬† The conservatives’ geographic bounderies are widening a little further today but speculations about alchemical content, inherently anachronistic, remain current and so widely believed that to so much as doubt them has recently evoked an ‘eye-rolling’ from Pelling.¬† It would seem that another myth has achieved canonisation.

Zandbergen has displayed the same constancy in maintaining¬† the Voynich plant pictures a ‘herbal’ as he has shown in all else,¬† discouraged neither by Tiltman’s negative judgement nor by a century’s failure to find any place for them in that tradition. It is not an idea of Zandbergen’s invention, merely maintaining the speculations and assumptions of Wilfrid Voynich in 1912 and by the Friedman groups from 1944 onwards.

 

[Part 3] The ‘Manfredus herbal’

Against this pairing by Zandbergen of an image from the Voynich manuscript with one from the ‘Manfredus’* herbal we have the general objection that the ‘herbal’ idea remains a speculation and that were it well-founded there is a low probability that the same alleged ‘match’ would have passed all earlier notice. Believing the labels might offer a key to Voynichese, the Voynich plant-pictures and accompanying text have always been a focus of¬† study.

*properly:¬† Tractatus de Herbis, de Avibus et Piscibus, of Manfredus di Monte Imperiali, Paris, BNF ms. lat. 6823, but very often seen as ‘Manfredus de Monte Imperiali’

The Manfredus ‘herbal’ has been among the best- and most widely known of all medieval Latin copies of¬† the¬† ‘tracts on herbs’ and was so before Wilfrid had ever seen his ‘ugly duckling’ manuscript.¬† By then the ‘Manfredus’ was already in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and detailed knowledge of it had spread across the Atlantic, in proof of which I’ll cite the book-length monograph by Edward Sanford Burgess, published in 1902.

Burgess was then a resident of New York and was still so¬† when Wilfrid migrated to that city from London, bringing his widely-advertised ‘Roger Bacon manuscript’ – most of it filled with plant-pictures.

Burgess’ book-length monograph had been published by the Torrey Botanical Club journal (which is still in publication).¬† As handy guide to the text, Burgess included a ‘Tabular view of Plant-writers before 1600’ and as you see from the clip below (from p.98) the ‘Manfredus’ manuscript is included, dated it to c.1400.

 

  • Edward Sandford Burgess, ‘Studies in the History and Variations of Asters: Part 1: History of PreClusian Botany in its relation to Aster, Memoirs of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol.10¬† (22 November 1902), pp. iii, v, vii-xii, 1-5, 7, 9-93, 95-447.r

Within his monograph, in speaking of Dianthus, Burgess says, “… I have seen the plant pictured in a book which is written by Manfrńďdus de Monte Imperiali.” (” Librum de simplicibus , qui in bibl. Parisina latet,”said Sprengel of Manfred’s work, in 1797 ; Fabricius knew of a copy in Paris about 1750..” (p.380)

Today, the date offered for Manfredus manuscript – that is, the digitised copy – at Gallica is again circa 1400, but the¬† Biblioth√®que nationale de France has¬† 1330-1340, leaving place of manufacture unspecified.¬† A website called ‘Manuscript Miniatures’ ascribes it to Pisa without explanation. And to Lillian Armstrong it was ‘Lombard’.

  • Lillian Armstrong, ‘The Illustration of Pliny’s Historia naturalis: Manuscripts before 1430′, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes¬† Vol. 46 (1983), pp. 19-39.

Some of those earlier attributions to place may owe less to consideration of the drawings or palette than to interpretations of the description ‘… Monte Imperiali’ –¬† on which subject the present writer’s opinion as offered¬† after looking into the question in 2016.¬† ¬†Taking it that the¬† ‘di’ here signifies “sent out from” rather than “born in” I concluded the post by saying:-

I see no reason why the ‚ÄúManfredi di maestro Berardo da Montepeloso medicus‚ÄĚ listed by Calvanico [on whom see Collins n.119] should not be the same person as that associated with BNF Lat 6823…Nor is it difficult to suggest why a clerk sent ‚Äėabroad‚Äô on behalf of Maestro Berardo might choose to describe himself in that way rather than as from Montepeloso.¬† A mere clerk, coming to an urban centre from the remote south of Italy – and from a place called ‚ÄúMount Hairy‚ÄĚ – would surely be sensitive to the sort of ridicule which urban lads would delight in heaping on a lowly¬† ‘rustic’.¬† Nor would that description¬† be a lie, for¬† Montepeloso (mod. Irsina) and its castle were imperial possessions until Frederick II gave them to the then newly-sanctioned Francsican order of preaching friars.¬† Perhaps the local community itself had been used to speaking of the mount and its castle as ‘imperial’, but to determine the last point either way would require research of a depth it scarcely warrants.

D.N. O’Donovan, ‘A note on Manfredus di Monte‚Ķ’ voynichimagery, (July 10th., 2016)

At the time none of the items in that paragraph, save Collins’ reference to Calvanico, was to be found in any of the usual Voynich writers, though (as so often) the situation may have changed without notice.

Montepeloso (mod. Irsina) today. Image published earlier in post to voynichimagery ((July 10, 2016)

A more recent scholarly source is the following volume, with Givens’ valuable essay on the Tractatus de herbis:

  • ¬†Jean A. Givens, ‘Reading and Writing the Illustrated Tractatus de herbis, 1280-1526′ in Givens, Reeds and Touwaide (eds.), Visualizing Medieval Medicine and Natural History, 1200-1550¬† (2006). pp.115-156.

 

In c.2010, the idea was prevalent in Voynich forums that¬† ‘Manfredus di Monte Imperiali’ was son to Frederick II.¬† This is not so, though he may have been a namesake and the same idea is found in other and older writings. It is not inexplicable if we suppose it due to a misinterpretation of the dedication which the noble Manfredus included in a thirteenth-century copy of Pseudo-Aristotle’s ‘De pomo’.¬† That dedication is quoted in

  • Lynn Thorndike, ‘The Latin Pseudo-Aristotle and Medieval Occult Science’, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Apr., 1922), pp. 229-258.¬† (n.39¬† ¬†p.237).

[Part 4] So, to return to Burgess.¬† A botanist with a particular interest in the history of plant-pictures and -texts made within the Greco-Latin world and to the 17th century lives in a city to which there comes a much-advertised ‘Roger Bacon manuscript’ filled with what are thought to be herbal pictures.¬† ¬†His particular focus is on antique and later mentions of the ‘aster’ family.¬† Does it seem likely that he could resist trying to discover what members of that family were recorded by Roger Bacon, an idol of the time?

And if he were to go to Wilfrid’s bookshop to express interest in the manuscript, would Wilfrid deny a potential buyer?¬† And seeing those images, is it likely that Burgess (among the many others, including Fr. Petersen or members of the Friedman groups) would consistently fail to notice that folio 35v was ‘identical’ or even a ‘close match’ for an image in the well-known¬† ‘Manfredus’ manuscript?

I do not know if Burgess ever saw the Voynich manuscript, though I suspect Tiltman saw Burgess’¬† ‘Tabular view’ and that it is among the reasons he can speak with such certainty of the “very limited range” of¬† “writing and illustration on the subject of the plant world from the early middle ages right through into the 16th and even 17th centuries”.

But Burgess’ example illustrates my point that the Manfredus ‘herbal’ was well and widely known to specialists on both sides of the Atlantic even before Wilfrid bought the ‘ugly ducking’.¬† Seeking precedents those as interested and well informed as Petersen was and as dedicated as the Friedman groups were could hardly have failed to hunt it for something ‘like’, whether or not they heeded the vital point already made by RIchard Salomon in 1936, that locating precedents or antecedents means matching style of drawing and comparable sequences.¬† I’ve already quoted that letter to Anne Nill in full, but here’s the critical sentence:

“‚Ķ I am convinced that the only possibility of deciphering would be given by finding an older series of plant pictures corresponding in its sequence to the arrangement of pictures in the Voynich manuscript.”

Richard Salomon to Anne Nill (July 9th., 1936 ),

Altogether the circumstances offer an a priori¬† argument against Zandbergen’s ‘match’ being valid –¬† at least within the historical and social context he presumes – but here it will be enough to address just one of the many points at which the ‘match’ fails –¬† the vine-like plant which Zandbergen claims equates to the Manfredus’ image for ivy.

Living Ivy.

Unless employed for purely decorative effect (e.g. ivy-rinceaux), or as crown for Dionysos or something of that kind,  the depiction of ivy in medieval Latin graphic art identifies a living plant by two elements, only one of which is invariable.

The leaf was drawn (European ivy is evergreen) and if any form of support was shown, the image emphasises the ivy’s clinging character.¬† That second is the invariable element .¬† ¬†It is clear, too, that to the medieval draughtsman, ivy’s clinging was tp be depicted as ‘twining’ – akin to that of the bean or of the Convolvulus.

Sherwood’s current comparison for f.35v, as I mentioned before, is Brit.Lib. MS SLoane 4016 folio 38v.¬† This certainly does show ivy (accuracy in a manuscript’s labels are not to be presumed), and it is equally clear that this draughtsman expresses himself through the usual conventions of Latins’ art; his ivy is denoted by its twining habit.¬† He has also included the umbels of black berries.¬† His leaves are given five lobes.¬† Neither of the last two features is invariable.¬† The ‘clinging’ character is.

Climbing ivy has leaves of varying form, with those of a non-flowering stem having 3‚Äď5 triangular-shaped lobes and those of flowering shoots being oval to eliptical. There is also a ‘ground ivy’ depicted in some herbals, but the point is that when shown with any supporting object or plant, the medieval image tells the reader it is an ivy plant by means of that character of ‘clinging’ which is depicted as a twining about the support.¬† ¬† Not what we see in folio 35v of Beinecke MS 408, where the vine-like plant is not only shown to be unable to cling, but lacks any leaf.¬† If the latter was intended to signify the plant a deciduous one, then it cannot be European ivy.¬† Again, though perhaps less significant, is the fact that the berries are not depicted using the convention of that ‘fan-shaped’ umbel.¬† Whether the supporting plant is meant for an oak is a separate question, but the fact remains that if the vine was not intended to be read as ivy, Zandbergen’s comparison and claimed ‘match’ is invalid and once more we have no reasonable evidence, documentary or otherwise, retrospective or otherwise, in support of the constant assertion that the Voynich plant-pictures should belong in the Latins’ ‘herbals’ tradition.

Another ‘Sloane manuscript’¬† Sherwood had noted,¬† inspiring¬† Zandbergen to find more, was Sloane MS 56 (f.81r).¬† Once again, the ‘twining’ habit and a leaf.

The next example (below, right) comes from another of the best-known Latin (western Christian) herbals, Brit.Lib. MS Egerton 747, and yet again we see that to define ivy it was not the flower or any set form for the leaf which was employed, but that close-clinging habit envisaged as twining.  The suckers which we now suppose essential to the ivy are not depicted.

But here’s the interesting thing; that other Sloane manuscript (MS 56) noted by Sherwood is not a herbal. It’s an early fifteenth-century copy of John of¬† Arderne’s Liber Medicinalis.

[Part 5] John of Arderne’s glossary and its images

In a passing comment to Pelling’s blog, in 2009, Zandbergen mentioned a different copy of it, though also from the Sloane collection (Brit.Lib. Sloane 335), saying under Pelling’s post, ‘Pre-1450 German possibility’- Dec.21st., 2009) :

‚Äú To add to the confusion…¬† I just found a very nice illustration from a pre-1450 manuscript which is more Voynich Herbal-like than anything I can remember, yet is neither from Italy nor from Germany:. ‚ÄĚ

He omitted there to mention that it was English or to give any details or date, but in the British Library catalogue Sloane MS 335 is dated to the ” last quarter of the 14th¬† or 1st quarter of the 15th century”.

I find no evidence that Zandbergen explored the perceived similarities – nor did he specify any – but I agree that there are valid points of comparison to be found in some drawings from that manuscript and some few of the Voynich plant-pictures.

Still other copies remain of Arderne’s Liber Medicinalis and I think readers will be most interested in the catalogue record provided with another copy (made c.1475-1500) and now in Glasgow University’s Special Collections as¬† MS Hunter 251 (U.4.9). Part of that record reads:

Arderne’s style of Latin is rather colloquial; indeed, his texts may almost be described as polyglot as his use of Latin is somewhat inconsistent. As well as providing glosses in English and Anglo-Norman, the text occasionally lapses in to sections written in English for no apparent reason. Although it is impossible to say whether this was how Arderne himself originally composed his work, or whether such anomalies crept in as his texts were copied from manuscript to manuscript, it nevertheless demonstrates the multilingual nature of literate medieval English society.

From the university’s website – Glasgow University¬† (Special Collections¬† .

More, the pictures of interest in Sloane 335 follow after Arderne’s brief ‘glossary’ of the ‘French’ plant-names used in Paris in his day.¬† This raises the interesting question of whether the pictures in the earlier copy (Sloane MS 335) may derive from a source which Arderne had copied in Paris during the first half of the fourteenth century.¬† (He is mentioned as serving at the Battle of Crecy). Here, some of the pictures

image above from the British Library Illuminated Manuscripts site. (Not¬† yet on its¬† ‘Digitised Manuscripts’ site).

.. and below Arderne’s brief ‘glossary’ courtesy of the University of Glasgow and the internet archive, reproduced from a paper which¬† D’arcy Power delivered in 1913 to the 17th. International Congress of Medicine in London.¬† (Note: Power used the letter i in isolation to signify (that is…) which we normally render as ‘i.e.’.

Stylistic tricks in common.

The drawings do share certain stylistic tricks in common with some in the Voynich manuscript, but the comparison offers no easy key to the Voynich drawings; it is important to distinguish between the graphic techniques employed by draughtsmen and the objects of their attention.

Buds or fruit are shown emerging from the calyx in similar ways, in two cases in Sloane 335 and as comparison the image from folio 1r.

(left) detail from Brit.Lib. MS Sloane 335 folio 82r.   (right) detail from Beinecke MS 408 fol. 1r.

More interesting is the placement of just one black dot on each of a plant’s leaves.

The Sloane drawing appears to me (correct me if you know better) to use the dots to mean ‘burres’ or burrs.¬† It may – but need not – carry the same sense in the Voynich image, though we note the leaves there are are also given spines, or bristles, along the leaf-margins

I would agree then with Rene’s observation, quoted above, that the drawings made in England about the same time as the Vms – but possibly from a French exemplar – display points in common with some in the Voynich manuscript, and that they look¬† “more¬† ‘Voynich like'”¬† than anything I’ve seen so far cited by a Voynich writer – certainly more ‘Voynichlike’ than any image cited from a Latin herbal including the Tractatus de Herbis, de Avibus et Piscibus, of Manfredus di Monte Imperiali, (Paris, BNF ms. lat. 6823).

Notes:

  • When commenting earlier on these drawings from Sloane 335 (in a postscript to ‘The Matter of “alchemical herbals”‘, voynichimagery, (April 8th., 2013), I added mention of a Peter of Arderne, referring to:¬† ¬†Stewart C. Easton, Roger Bacon And His Search For A Universal Science (1952) pp.120-121.

Among other pointers to an Anglo-French environment for manufacture of the Voynich manuscript and its early use are that the month-names are closely similar to the Anglo-French forms; that (as I first pointed out), the linguistic link between a crossbowman and Sagittarius is offered by entries into the English military rolls where ‘Sagittario’ (and variants) are found used for crossbowmen hired for service in Calais, and again¬† (this being now much re-used without mention of the present author), similarity in form between the type of¬† ‘cloudband’ seen in some manuscripts of John Gower’s¬† Vox Clamantis and (in those same), use of the ‘orb’ in three divisions to represent the world –¬† replacing the older ‘T-O’ form.¬† That ‘orb’ form is seen used for the same purpose in works by Roger Bacon and has been attributed to him.¬† I won’t elaborate now, having already published several posts on these matters at voynichimagery.

Noting that in¬† 2014 Ellie Velinska had described an incidence of this form as an ‘inverted T-O’, the present author provided in August-October 2017 its history in brief, explaining its evolution within Christian imagery, and this ‘orb’s replacing the the earlier ‘book of the world’ emblem, first in English works. detail from Brit.Lib. Arundel 83 f.130 (c.1310-1320). See also Pelling’s comments on Ellie’s post (ciphermysteries. Oct.18th., 2017).
detail from Bodleian MS Laud Misc. 719 f.21r (1425-1450). Introduced in ‘The Orb, the Book and Equivalence Part 2’¬† voynichimagery (Mon. November 20th, 2017) and a detail (below) illustrating its style of ‘cloudband’ – this item from the author’s research having been shared with¬† members of the voynich.ninja forum at that time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In closing, readers please note that by c.2010, Dana Scott was alone convinced of an English provenance for the Voynich manuscript and he continued actively engaged in investigating English sources when I last saw his comments to the second mailing list.¬† Any researcher finding him/herself moving towards a similar position should not neglect to consult the work Dana has done over so many years, nor to credit him by name when taking any of it… up.¬† The second mailing list is still running, thanks to the generosity of Rich Santacoloma and I believe Dana remains a member.

 

typo corrected (thanks, Michael).25th May 2019; abstract added May 27th., 2019 and clarifications for the sense in which ‘Tractatus de herbis’ is used in this paper.

June 1st – Gower images added at Dr.O’Donovan’s instruction. June 3rd, detail from Brit.Lib. Arundel MS 83 f.130. L.S.

Military Cryptanalysts: Panofsky’s responses of 1954

Header illustration: Green card –¬† for the Exposition des oeuvres d’art refuseŐĀes aŐÄ l’exposition officielle de 1873 (Champs-EŐĀlyseŐĀes)
Two previous:

My thanks to Professor Bill Sherman, Director of the Warburg Institute and Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, for permission to re-print his transcription of Panofsky’s answers.

In 2014, at the Folger Library,¬† Professor Sherman curated an exhibition in which Beinecke MS 408 was included. Some of Professor Sherman’s publications are cited in:

  • G. Stuart Smith, A Life in Code: Pioneer Cryptanalyst Elizebeth Smith Friedman (2017). see e.g. p.220.

Everyone’s thanks is due to Jim Reeds for first finding and transcribing the 1950s material and to Rich Santacoloma for¬† doing the same for Anne Nill’s letter.¬† (I should say now that I’m hunting another document whose content – if found – might make this whole post redundant.¬† Fingers crossed!)

In what follows, my own commentary and its documentation is behind the black arrows. The post altogether is very long: more than 6,000 words if you expand it fully.  But you can bypass the comments which make more than half of it, or come back some other time when you think they might be useful.  The posts are published as notes and framework for the Bibliography.

What I have not fully described in this post is the early, keen interest felt by both Erwin Panofsky and Richard Salomon, Panofsky having been offered (in 1933) a complete photostat copy of the ms, taking it to Germany where he consulted¬†gave it to Saloman. The latter showed keen interest in the puzzle and later came with Panofsky to talk with¬†met Anne Nill at the Library of Congress (where Nill worked).¬† I think it telling that Panofsky declines to speak of his own opinion in answering Friedman’s quiz.

 

Q РW. Friedman;    A РE.Panofsky

.

Q 1: Have you examined the VMS itself.

A:¬† ¬† ¬† I saw the Voynich manuscript in 1931. Panofsky doesn’t say that he was presented with a full photostat copy in 1933, lent it to colleagues (including Salomon) but had it returned to him at some time before 1953. I’ll come back to that in another post.

Note – Panofsky arrived in New York in September 1931, but Nill’s correspondence suggests he did not see the manuscript itself until early the next year.¬† Twenty years later, Panofsky seems to have mis-remembered. The correspondence is detailed in a coming post, ‘Cryptanalysts – Panofsky’s comments on provenance 1932.’

 

 

Q 2:  What is it written on; with what writing tool?

A:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† If you apply the words “parchment” and “vellum” in the strict sense (that “vellum” has to be made of the skin of calves* rather than other animals) I am not sure . However, the medium was certainly vellum in the more general sense and characterised by a fairly coarse-grained texture which in places caused individual strokes to appear like a series of dots when looked at with a magnifying glass. This, incidentally, may have caused the late Professor Newbold to believe that each of these dots stood for a letter and each letter for a whole word. The instrument used was doubtless a quill pen, the writing and the contours of the drawings being done in ink, the coloring, so far as I remember, in the kind of pigment usually described as “wash.”

Note: *the term ‘calfskin’ is sometimes seen used instead of vellum,¬† but this can cause confusion given that ‘calfskin’ is often used,¬† by itself,¬† to mean calfskin leather.¬† If using ‘vellum’ there is no need to add ‘calf-skin’ in front of it; vellum is made of calves’ skins by default. Uterine vellum is different again.

 

 

Q 3:¬† What’s the date?

A:           Were it not for the sunflower which, if correctly identified, would date the manuscript after 1492, I should have thought that it was executed a little earlier, say, about 1470. However, since the style of the drawings is fairly provincial, a somewhat later date, even the first years of the sixteenth century, would not seem[sic!]  to be excluded. I should not go lower than ca. 1510-1520 because no influence of the Italian Renaissance style is evident.

(At my second reading through these responses,¬† I laughed out loud here… -D)

Comment.

It is a delightful moment of Panofsky wit – but since none of the¬† cryptanalysts¬†‘got’ it and d’Imperio takes this answer at face value, as did Tiltman in 1968 and as current Voynich writers still do, I’ll spell¬† out Panofsky’s ‘dig’¬† briefly here, having already discussed the “sunflower in the Vms” issue in a separate Page.

You should know first that no-one took O’Neill’s ideas seriously at the time.¬† So, for example,¬† Nill, had said in writing to Salomon in the previous year (April 28th., 1953) telling him of it and saying, “We do not think it is a sunflower, and neither does Fr. Petersen.”

Here, in answer to question 3, Panofsky says he could go as far as ‘even the first years of the sixteenth century’. Normally that would mean not after 1510. (otherwise, you’d say ‘early decades…’

Now – see how his response to Question 8 says that the ‘sunflower’ is the only plant Panofsky ‘recognises’?¬† How can that be,¬† because what he has to recognise first is the style of drawing, and it’s not that of the European drawings of the sunflower, the first of which appears in Dodoens’ book of 1568 – as Panofsky surely knew.¬† The illustration had even been reproduced as recently as 1951 in an American journal. (see below)

Is Panofsky confused?… I don’t think so…¬† because here’s the thing. … Dodoens described the plant as¬† ‘Peruvian Chrysanthemum’.¬†And guess when Europeans first invaded Peru.?..¬† yep.¬† 1510.¬†¬†… Talk about ‘fairly provincial….’ ūüôā

Here Perunianum means ‘Peruvian, not ‘of Perignano’, See e.g. M.A. d’Aronco, ‘From Heliotrope to Helianthus: an overview’, Biotechnology and Wild Species,ISA#1109

So as I read it, Panofsky’s underlying message is:¬† “If that’s a sunflower, I’m a Dutchman”.. or a Peruvian.¬† [yes, I know Dodoens was actually a Fleming… and we shouldn’t take ‘Peruvian’ too literally. But that’s how it was described by Dodoens and for some time afterwards]

So Panofsky’s pulling Friedman’s leg, knowing perfectly well that Friedman won’t realise it.¬† There’s no other¬† way to reconcile the answers given to questions 3 and 8 save a¬† tongue-in-cheek logic which implies that for a manuscript to be ‘no later than the first years of the sixteenth century’ AND to show the ‘Peruvian chrysanthemum’ the draughtsman would have to be in Peru.

… Dodoens wasn’t born until 1517.

Luckily, Panofsky was not to see Tucker and Janick later insisting (Springer, 2018) that O’Neill was right¬† to imagine a sunflower in the Voynich manuscript, and further that Voynichese was – if not Peruvian –¬† some lost dialect of Nahuatl. On the other hand, I think Magnus Pharao Hansen’s¬†swift, cool and learned rebuttal¬†of their ‘Nahuatl-dialect’ argument might have pleased the Professor well. ( And really – the Voynich-books coming out of Springer of late make one wonder what that press is coming to!)

  • Hugh O‚ÄôNeill, ‚ÄėBotanical Observations on the Voynich MS.‚Äô, Speculum, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Jan., 1944).
  • Charles B. Heiser, Jr., ‘The Sunflower among the North American Indians’, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 95, No. 4 (Aug. 17, 1951), pp. 432-448.
  • Charles B. Heiser, Jnr.,¬† ‘Origin and Development of the Cultivated Sunflower’,¬†The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 17, No. 5 (May, 1955), pp. 161-167.
But (now on the alert) back to the responses…

 

Q 4:  Why do you think so?

A:        The above date is based on the character of the script, the style of drawing and on such costumes as are in evidence on certain pages, for example folio 72 recto.

Comment

Panofsky indicates the criteria for dating content in a manuscript, but says nothing specific. Without further explanations given – or asked – the answer is one that would apply equally to whatever dates a person offered for any manuscript….We need to know how the ‘character of the script’ is perceived to accord with posited dates and, as importantly, with those of the place to which the item is being ascribed.¬† The ‘style of drawing’, similarly… And just which dates (1470 or 1520 here, or fourteenth century as offered in 1931 1932) does he really think confirmed by the costume? He says the manuscript displays nothing of¬† Italian Renaissance character.

The majority of more recent writers, however, who have shared with us their perception of the figures’ costumes¬† argue that they¬†are¬†High [and thus Italian] Renaissance. To be clear, it is a position which the present writer does not share.¬† However, most recent writers have also focused to a surprising degree, almost obsessive, on the calendar’s¬† ‘Archer’ emblem where Panofsky draws attention instead to¬† ¬†f.72r,¬† ¬† Once again, it seems to me,¬† Panofsky is making an oblique joke at Friedman’s expense though – I sense – also offering a genuine bit of information even if only for the specialist in philology and comparative palaeography.

(detail) f.72r Yale, Beinecke MS 408.
(detail) f.72r Yale, Beinecke MS 408.

 

 

Q 5:¬† What’s it about?

After first turning the spotlight on that figure with a wand, Panofsky now says:

A:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† So far as can be made out before the manuscript has been decoded, its content would comprise: first, a general cosmological philosophy explaining the medical properties of terrestrial objects, particularly plants, by celestial influences transmitted by astral radiation and those “spirits” which were frequently believed to transmit the occult powers of the stars to the earth; second, a kind of herbal describing the individual plants used for medical and, conceivably, magical purposes; third, a description of such compounds as may be produced by combining individual plants in various ways¬†.

Comment.

‘Before the manuscript has been decoded’ is a slightly mocking comment; Panofsky’s life was spent ‘decoding’ pictures, for many of which no accompanying text was present. The error of supposing imagery’s understanding depends on accompanying text is another of those nonsensical ideas endemic in Voynich studies, and will be asserted by persons who, not knowing a word of Latin, still hunt manuscripts for images which they expect to find legible… and, of course, do find legible in a way they never find imagery from the Vms legible.

The lesson which should be taken from this is that (a) when imagery derives from a familiar culture, it is legible and (b) when it is not legible it’s not because some accompanying text can’t be read.

The fact is that Friedman did presume all about the manuscript was dependent on the text’s translation, and in 2008, when the present writer first came to the study and began explaining the imagery in terms of cultural and stylistic expression, she was informed that all comments on the imagery were “personal and subjective” or “theoretical” and that nothing certain could be said until the written part of the text had been read.

As to Panofsky’s speaking of “general cosmological philosophy…” etc. –¬† he has made a fairly obvious collation, heaping together bits from Newbold’s paper of 1921, and¬† standard medieval ideas, but then ‘occulting’ them by means of what I’d describe as a¬†¬†purple-prose code.¬† With delicious wit, he plays on ideas and terms proper to cryptography, while referencing medieval ideas and Newbold’s neo-Platonic speculations in a way you might well describe as contrapuntal.

Panofsky is verbose; he uses substitutions (e.g. “astral radiation” for al_Kindi’s radii stellarum; “spirits” for angels)… and so on.¬† This is typical of his multi-faceted commentaries on art and his well-known humour.

So now, bearing in mind that the figure from f.72r is likely to be ‘read’ by any European as bearing a magic wand, and that the Americans called ‘Magic’ the system of coded messages generated by the Japanese ‘purple’ machine – and Friedman’s involvement in breaking that cipher, so¬† Panofsky writes, verbose, with substitutions,¬† Magic-Purple (prose).. about the rotas of heaven and earth… combining individual ‘elements’ in various ways.. In short, envisaging a¬† cosmic, yet elegant, ‘enigma’.¬† ¬†Quite beautiful!

It wasn’t entirely nice of Panofsky, I suppose, to make sport of Friedman in that way, but it is a just parallel for the ‘sport’ which Friedman and his wife had made of Newbold.

Nor had Friedman quite broken ‘Purple’ before It had broken him.¬† ¬†His mind had given way in the first year of the war (1939) and while he was institutionalised, others in his team continued the work, with Lt.Francis A. Raven completing it.

about Raven: various sources refer to an NSA publication (issued online as pdf), some sources even including the link, but these do not seem to be current.  In case you may fare better, here are the details:

  • Mowry, D. P., ‚ÄúCryptologic Almanac 50th Anniversary Series ‚Äď Francis A. Raven.‚ÄĚ NSA/Center for Cryptologic History, released Jun 12, 2009, FOIA Case# 52567.

Friedman again broke down while trying to ‘break’ the Voynich text, and again had to leave the effort to others including Tiltman and Currier.¬† In the end, the Voynich text defeated all who tried to ‘break it’, but those who – like Currier, Tiltman and others – were content to make¬† careful observations of script and text-distributions etc. did make a lasting contribution.

To see how Panofsky’s response to Q.5 reprised Newbold’s ideas is easy enough; the resources are online.

Some may not be able to recognise the ‘purple prose’ encoding of ordinary medieval ideas, though, so here are a couple of passages showing how the virtu in things of earth, each conferred in its turn during the year,¬† was believed transmitted from the Divine to earth by the intermediary stars, identified by some Christians – and not by others – with the angels.¬†¬†The first passage is chosen only because it’s the neatest, and despite¬† Tester’s having neglected to name the fifteenth-century German cleric who preached this:

As God gave their power to stones and to herbs and to words, so also he gave power to the stars, that they have power over all things, except over one thing. They have power over trees and over vines, over leaves and grasses, over vegetables and herbs, over grains and all such things; over the birds in the air, over the animals in the forests, and over the fishes in the waters and over the worms in the earth: over all such things that are under heaven, over them our Lord gave power to the stars, except over one thing. … man’s free will: over that no man has any authority save thyself.

  • Berthold of Regensberg. Cited from Tester, A History of Western Astrology (1987) p.178.¬† edit Feb, 26th., 2019 – apologies to Tester; it was I who had omitted the speaker’s name from my own notes.

and see e.g. Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part 1,  Q.73, Article 1, reply to Objection 3;

“…Species, also, that are new, if any such appear, existed beforehand in various active powers; so that animals, and perhaps even new species of animals, are produced by putrefaction by the power which the stars and elements received at the beginning…”

or even the 2nd C eastern Christian, Theophilus of Antioch, contemplating the year’s interlocked rotas:

Consider, O man, His works ‚ÄĒ the timely rotation of the seasons, and the changes of temperature; the regular march of the stars; the well-ordered course of days and nights, and months, and years; the various beauty of seeds, and plants, and fruits; and the various species of quadrupeds, and birds, and reptiles, and fishes, both of the rivers and of the sea; or consider the instinct implanted in these animals to beget and rear offspring, not for their own profit, but for the use of man; and the providence with which God provides…

and especially see:

  • Edward Grant, chapter ‘Celestial Motion and its Causes’ in Grant, E., Planets, Stars, and Orbs: The Medieval Cosmos, 1200-1687. (1996)

and

  • NB Alan B. Scott, Origen and the Life of the Stars (OUP 1991)

 

 

Q 6:  Are there any plain text books sort of [sic.] like the VMS?

A:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Manuscripts in plain language remotely comparable to the Voynich manuscript are, unfortunately, of at least four kinds: first, herbals; second, cosmological and astrological treatises; third, medical treatises in the narrower sense of the term; fourth, possibly treatises on alchemy. As for the first kind, you seem to have more knowledge than I can claim. As for the second, I should advise to consult Sir Charles Singer, From Magic to Science, London 1928, and various publications by the same author; furthermore, it may be useful to consult Richard Salomon, Opicinus de Canistris, London, 1936; and F. Boll and G. von Bezold, Sternglaube und Sterndeutung, Second Edition (F. Gundel, Ed.), Berlin and Leipzig, 1926. As for the third kind, ample material is found in two serial publications, both edited by the late Carl Sudoff: Archiv f√ľr Geschichte der Medizin and Studien zur Geschichte der Medizin; of alchemy I know very little and can only refer you to the Entstehung und Ausbreitung der Alchemie by E.O. von Lippmann, Berlin, 1919 ff., as well as a fairly recent book by the famous psychologist C.O. Jung.

Comment

Don’t overlook the first conditional: ‘remotely comparable’.¬† Again, Panofsky merely behaves as a Professor might towards a first-year student whose ‘theories’ outrun his basic knowledge.¬† Panofsky here declines to discuss a single image from the Vms, or a single manuscript as ‘comparison’ for it,¬† nor for a single detail in any drawing. As before, the basic message is, ‘Go away and read’.

So in this answer¬† – as I interpret it, anyway – Panofsky has no intention of doing more than pointing Friedman¬† towards basic texts and to certain individuals whose positions were secure.¬† Panofsky’s conferring a knighthood on Singer is either a mistake or, as I think, an oblique comment on Friedman’s social pretensions, acting (for that reason) as antidote to any assumption of Singer’s inferiority by reason of Jewish inheritance.¬† This bias is¬† clearly reflected, though probably unconsciously, in d’Imperio’s account of the cryptanalysts’¬† “plan of Attack” in her Table of Contents, which I’ll treat later.¬† Interestingly, Panofsky does not refer to Dorothea Singer, who was a fine medieval scholar, and who was referenced by Lynn Thorndike in 1921.¬† Charles Singer’s book of 1928, however, makes no mention of Thorndike even though the first and second volumes of Thorndike’s A History of Science and Experimental Magic¬†had been published five years earlier, in 1923.

Charles Singer¬†wrote studies in the history of medicine for the first part of his career and then turned to writing history – notably editing the encyclopaedic History of Technology. What Panofsky doesn’t say, and perhaps didn’t know, is that Singer also knew Hebrew, Greek and Latin.¬† He had been born in London. His father Simeon Singer was a rabbi and scholar. Singer was another scholar who had left his home to come with his wife in the 1930s to take up a post in America (UCLA), remaining until 1942. In that year, despite the great risk it entailed, he and his wife re-crossed the Atlantic to return to England. (British naval losses; American naval losses).

Singer’s ideas about the Voynich manuscript were apparently developed and communicated only by post and after 1954. What d’Imperio never says is whether such opinions were merely answers given a quiz such as that presented to Panofsky.¬† It is quite likely they were; by 1957 Singer was in England and Friedman shows no interest in reading or learning about medieval art and manuscripts; he likes to have others do that sort of work, and then extract from them answers to set questions of his own devising, in way suited to ‘number-crunching’ and puzzle solving. Friedman relied heavily on feeding quantifiable data-bites into a computer as a means to ‘break the text’. So I think it probable that, rather than buy and read the recommended books, Friedman simply contacted the¬† authors expecting short, easy answers to his own short, ‘baby-steps’ questions.

In Singer’s own Evolution of Anatomy, he says he will¬† omit …

“Paracelsus, and Helmont, and their followers, since the movement they represent did not become important until the second part of the seventeenth century”…

yet he opines to Friedman by letter (responding to a quiz?) that his vague ‘feeling’ is that the Voynich manuscript might be of a Paracelsan and occult-alchemical character, and composed by an ‘author’ living in sixteenth-century Prague.¬† As always, there seems to have been no effort made by the theorist to check whether their ideas were compatible with reality: that is, in this case, to see whether the manuscript’s materials, style of construction or ‘hand’¬† suited such an idea. (A: they don’t).

None of those “feelings”¬† which Singer says more than once are¬† vague impressions¬† finds support from the manuscript itself, but they have found¬†¬†determined support among a group of Voynicheros whose members¬† are quite determined upon.

I find Singer’s testimony most interesting as one more of the many instances where a scholar of eminence and wide knowledge of European medieval works can suggest no manuscript at all as¬† close comparison for Beinecke MS 408.¬† This is a point so widely un-noticed, and still less rarely considered for its implications, that it deserves a post of its own. I’ll call it ‘Angels and Fools’.

Two volumes of essays, dedicated to Singer, had been published in the year before Friedman was introduced to Panofsky.

  • E. Ashworth Underwood (ed.), Science, Medicine, and History: Essays on. the Evolution of Scientific Thought and Medical Practice. Written in honour of Charles Singer. ¬†Volumes I and Il. (1953).
  • Geoffrey Keynes’ review for the British Medical Journal neatly describes Singer’s character and publications.¬†¬†The British Medical Journal, Vol. 1, No. 4873 (May 29, 1954), p. 1247.
  • Charles Singer,¬† The Evolution of Anatomy: A Short History of Anatomical and Physiological Discovery to Harvey: Being the Substance of the Fitzpatrick Lectures Delivered at The Royal College of Physicians of London in the years 1923 and 1924.
  • _______________, Studies in the history and method of science (1917)

Richard Georg [sometimes seen as George] Salomon (1894-1966) – converted to Christianity in 1902; escaped Nazi Germany in 1937.¬† At the¬†University of Berlin, Salomon had studied eastern European history under Theodor Schiemann (1847-1921), Byzantine history under Karl Krumbacher (1856-1909), the history of medieval law under Karl Zeurmer (1849-1914), and Latin paleography under Michael Tangl (1861-1921), under whom he completed his doctoral dissertation in February 1907: Studien zur normannisch-italischen Diplomatik. His name was among the six (with Panofsky’s) listed for expulsion from Hamburg University in 1934.

Panofsky’s pointing Friedman in the¬† direction of these men, and texts, was not only wise, but kind. If all Friedman wanted was quiz-answers and easy ‘sound-bites’ the men might provide them; if he he was seriously interested in the manuscript as a late medieval product, studying the texts would begin his education.

d’Imperio is dismissive of Charles Singer, though including in her Bibliography¬† five of Singer’s works¬†(p.130) and two articles by Salomon. (p.129). I add a further note on Charles Singer’s theory further below.

 

 

Q 7:  What plain text have you found in the VMS?

 

A:¬† ¬†So far as I know, plain language writing is found: first on the pages showing the signs of the zodiac (folio 70 ff.) which seems to be provincial French; second, on folio 66; and third, on the last page, folio 116 verso. The entry on folio 66 reads, as discovered by Professor Salomon of Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, “der mus del,” which seems to be ancient German for “der Mussteil,” which is a legal term referring to household implements and stock of victuals which, after the death of a husband, cannot be withheld from his widow. The little figure and receptacles accompanying this entry may or may not refer to this idea. The entry on the last page reads: “So nim geismi[l]ch o.” This is again old German, the first word generally introducing a sentence following a conditional clause; the translation would be: “[If such and such a condition prevails], then take goat‚Äôs milk.” The last letter “o” is most probably to be completed into “oder,” which means “or.” The inference is that the sentence is unfinished and that some alternative substance was proposed in case goat‚Äôs milk should not be available. I may add that recipes of this kind are quite customary in mediaeval and Renaissance medicine.

Comment

 

Granted that Panofsky may, or may not, have agreed with Salomon’s reading of that marginalia – extraneous by definition to provenancing the manuscript’s original content as Panofsky realised (“The little figure …. may or may not refer to this idea”) – there has been a recurring discussion/dispute of Salomon’s reading, with Koen Gheuens’ summary of the ‘pro-‘ position neatly put and illustrated (together with his own thoughts) in his post of July 11th., 2017: Note also that Panofsky is as rigorous as ever in his principles¬† – attributing Salomon’s insights to their author; his very meticulousness in such matters permits us now to credit Panofsky with first attributing to a ‘regional French’ dialect (Occitan?) the inscriptions over the central emblems in the Voynich calendar.

Occitan became a topic on the first mailing list during discussion of a book whose narrative attributed this manuscript to the Cathars of Langedoc. The question of Occitan then became one in its own right.

  • 1997 Dennis Stallings published a list of bibliographic and other items relating to Occitan in the first mailing list (10 Feb 1997) including the important note (which was later independently stated by Artur Sixto¬† in a comment to ciphermysteries, (February 17, 2011)¬† that Occitan and Catalan – or Judeo-Catalan – are closely similar.
  • 2004 Shaun Palmer looked at the orthography in detail in 2004.
  • 2009, Pelling credited Stolfi.¬† ¬†In other posts, Pelling thought it most like the dialect of Toulouse ‚Äď though he may have changed his views since then.¬† Pelling first, and¬†others including Don Hoffman later, noted a closely similar orthography on astrolabe inscriptions dating to c.1400.¬† I’ll return to this matter when we come to the astronomical themes.
  • 2011 Artur Sixto‚Äôs comment was made (February 17, 2011) at ciphermysteries.com, saying he thought the forms closer to Judeo-Catalan, and commenting on use of that dialect among emigrees into north-western France. Because so many comments were made to the same post by Pelling I quote here the whole of Sixto’s comment:

Sixto wrote, “To me the months [names] seem to correspond slightly better to Catalan than Occitan. June for instance, spelled with ‚Äúou‚ÄĚ corresponds to Catalan pronunciation, in French writing. ‚Äúny‚ÄĚ would be Catalan relative to Occitan ‚Äúnh‚ÄĚ or French/Italian ‚Äúgn‚ÄĚ. So the person might have ties with the North of Catalonia (and could have a French influence) ‚Ķ. Interestingly, many Jews in Catalonia spoke Catalanic, a Catalan dialect close to Shuadit, i.e. Judaeo-Proven√ßal (i.e. Judaeo-Occitan).”

  • 2015 Commenting at Stephen Bax‚Äôs blog (May 18, 2015 ‚Äď 11:14 pm) ‘Don of Tallahassee’ [Don Hoffman] noted similar forms for month-names used in Picardy, his examples taken from calendars in fifteenth-century Books of Hours.

Various others have reached similar opinions, often independently as a result of the ‘Voynich ground-hog day’ phenomenon.

On Salomon’s reading “der Mussteil,” see the¬† lucid commentary by Koen Gheuens:

and

  • Heidelberg University Library, UBH Cod.Pal.germ. 164 Heidelberger Sachsenspiegel¬†(dated to 1305)
  • Salomon had consulted several secondary sources¬† (which he cited in a letter of March 14th., 1936 to Panofsky or to Mrs.Voynich per Anne Nill), quoting in full an entry from:Der Sachsenspiegel (Landrecht) nach der √§ltesten Leipziger Handschrift herausgegeben von Prof. Dr. Julius Weiske. Neubearbeitet von weil. Professor Dr. Hildebrand. 8th.ed. Leipzig, O.R. Reisland, 1905 (Glossary p.28.)

 

Q 8:  What plants, astronomical, etc, things have been recognised so far?

A: To the best of my knowledge, only the sunflower has been identified thus far.

Comment.

To this I should have protested at first – had I been there – that Professor Panofsky must be joking, but then asked more of what he thought that might imply, if he really meant it.

Infuriatingly, if this is another reprise of things he had said at the meeting, it is another case of Friedman’s “blind spot” at work.¬† An iconographic analyst of Panofsky’s calibre is (so to speak) the theoretical physicist of the art world; he has to know pretty much everything about everything expressed in visual form through the periods in which he specialises, and that includes the way plants and creatures are depicted in a given place at a given time AND what the depiction indicates about the signfiicance embedded in forms and details: that is, what non-superficial messages the image conveyed for persons of that time and environment.¬† He would have to know the traditions of the bestiaries as well as the place of a creature in the schemes of Christian theology and moralia, as well as classical Greek and Roman lore. And so too for plants: is a rose intended as allusion to the Virgin Mary; to ‘Roman de la Rose’; to the physical rosa mundi; to an intended parallel between the pure soul of Mary as antidote to spiritual ills and the Rose as supposed protection against Plague … and so forth. This issue of intended significance is the one most noticeable by its absence in writings by persons who claim to ‘analyse’ imagery but who know nothing about it.

As regards plants, Panofsky’s well-known statement that¬† ¬†‚Äúthe rise of those particular branches of natural science which may be called observational or descriptive‚ÄĒzoology, botany, paleontology, several aspects of physics and, first and foremost, anatomy ‚ÄĒ was . . . directly predicated upon the rise of the representational techniques.‚ÄĚ could not have been enunciated without a prior and thorough grounding in the way those fields of learning were illustrated before and during the period of the Renaissance.

  • Erwin Panofsky, Artist, Scientist, Genius: Notes on the “Renaissance-D√§mmerung”, Lecture Given May 10, 1952 at the Fogg Museum Before the New England Conference on Renaissance-Studies. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1953). also included in Wallace K. Ferguson (et.al.), Six Essays on the Renaissance (1962).
  • [pdf] Claudia Swan, ‘Illustrated Natural History’ in¬†Susan Dackerman (ed.), Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge , exhibition catalogue, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011), pp.186-191.

On flowers, their perception, depiction and attitudes to cultivation from ancient to modern times, with emphasis on Europe’s medieval and Renaissance periods, see also

  • Jack Goody, The Culture of Flowers (CUP Archive, 1993).
  • reviewed by Chandra Mukerji in Theory and Society, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Aug., 1996), pp. 590-594

And quite apart from his professional studies, in which he discussed the symbolism intended by depiction of scarlet lilies, iris and honeysuckle, Panofsky’s correspondence shows a keen interest in the very practical aspect of botany: gardening.

Did he honestly mean that he could recognise not a single plant in the Vms?  Not even in 9v, with its widely-accepted representation of one or more members of the  viola-group?

  • Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting: its origins and character (1953) Vol. 1 pp. 333 and note 6 to p.416.

‘Nothing but the sunflower’?? Hmmmm.

 

Q 9:  Is it all in the same hand?

A: In my opinion the whole manuscript is by the same hand with the possible exception of the last page; but I am by no means sure of that.

(Another answer that says nothing.. -D)

 

Q 10:¬† Why was it written’?

A: My idea always was that the manuscript was written by a doctor or quack trying to impart what he considered secret knowledge to a son or heir.

Comment.

I have no idea whether Panofsky really believed this. It echoes a view first put forward (whether Panofsky knew it or not) by Georg Baresch who said in his letter to Kircher,¬†¬†‚Äú‚Ķ it is not inconceivable that some good man‚Ķ‚ÄĚ.etc.¬† ¬†Panofsky does seem, overall, to have shared the usual assumption of contemporary and later Voynich writers in imagining the work to be all the¬† product of a single ‘author-artist’.¬† The solution to this problem may lie in that as-yet unseen report which Reeds mentioned in the 90s, and¬† described as written by Panofsky to Voynich.

 

Q 11:  Where & when?

A:    My guess is that the manuscript was produced in Germany, which is supported by the fact that the goat’s milk sentence is continuous with the text of at least the last page of the manuscript.

(I prefer to comment on this in the context of the first (1931 1932) evaluation. -D)

 

Q 12:  What do you think of the Roger Bacon theory?

A:      Quatsch. The Roger Bacon theory is in my opinion at variance with all the available facts and has been convincingly disproved by Mr. Manly. Further endorsement of Mr. Manly’s adverse criticism is found in a brief review of his article by the above-mentioned Professor Salomon which appeared in: Bibliothek Warburg, Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliographie zum Nachleben der Antike, I, Leipzig and Berlin, 1934, page 96, No. 386.

I can reproduce Salomon’s review here, thanks to the patience of the Beinecke staff who found it among Anne Nill’s files (July 9th. 1936) as a clipping to which Salomon added that there was “no one else save you, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Petersen who could possibly be interested in it”.¬†HIs view was that finding an exactly similar sequence of plants was the only practicable key, and perhaps this inspired Petersen’s concerted efforts to identify the plants.¬† D)

 

Q 13:¬† Full title of the Dictionary of Abbreviations.¬† Title of Hans Titze’s book on forgeries, & of Mibillon’s history of diplomatics.

 

A:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† The dictionary of abbreviations is by Adriano Cappelli, Dizionario delle Abbreviature Latine ed Italiane; my edition is the second, published 1912, but there may be more recent ones. The book on forgery in art is by Hans Tietze and entitled Genuine and False; Copies, Imitations, Forgeries, New York, 1948. As far as the book by Mabillon is concerned, I am afraid that I did not express myself with sufficient clarity. He did not write a book on ‚ÄúThe History of Diplomatics‚ÄĚ but his famous De re Diplomatica of 1681 laid the foundations of palaeography starting out with the investigation of documents which were supposed to be genuine and which he proved to be forgeries by studying the development of script. I should like to reiterate my opinion that the Voynich manuscript, whichever its place of origin, date and purpose, is certainly a perfectly authentic document.

Comment

I do not think anyone could mistake here the asperity with which Panofsky’s answers this question. His “I am afraid that I did not express myself with sufficient clarity’ is a very formal and very cold English- and European form of insult: there is everywhere a point at which extreme politeness becomes an insult.¬† ¬†In modern American the equivalent might be: ‘Are you a total¬†fool?’¬† Panofsky’s then explaining, in words of one syllable, the importance of Mabillon’s book (of which no¬† genuine ‘student’ of medieval manuscripts could have passed three decades in ignorance), tells us yet again that Panofsky has been driven to the point of outrage: this is a venting of professorial wrath.¬† ¬†And, need I say, Friedman remained quite unable to weigh the relative merits of amateurs against specialists;¬† Panofsky had said, categorically, that the manuscript was genuine, and yet d’Imperio – who hasn’t any relevant training or experience to judge the matter – decides (as we see later) to keep the option open. The reason has nothing to do with the manuscript itself, but with two fixed yet unproven assertions: that the text is in cipher and that it is entirely the product of Latin (western) Christian culture.

 

Q14:  What other scholars are interested in the VMS?

 

A:      The only scholar who still takes some interest in the Voynich manuscript is, so far as I know, Professor Salomon, already mentioned twice.

Comment

“already mentioned twice.” (and doubtless also in the ‘conference’ shortly before).¬† ¬†Panofsky has now quite lost patience with Friedman and his¬† ‘quiz’.¬† That Panofsky omits mention of Charles (or of Dorothea) Singer here, again suggests that they had not yet, to his knowledge, been involved with the study.¬† ¬†Charles Singer’s opinions, as quoted by d’Imperio, come from letters dating to 1957 or so.

Q15:  What do you think of the artificial language theory?

 

A:¬† ¬† I do not feel qualified to pronounce about the probability of your [sic!] ‚Äúartificial language‚ÄĚ theory. I must confess that, for the time being, I am a little skeptical in view of the fact that, so far as I know, no attempts to construct such an artificial language can be shown to have been made until the beginning of the seventeenth century, whereas cipher scripts were developed and employed at a very much earlier date. As I mentioned in conversation, the Italian humanist, Leone Battista Alberti, welcomed the newly discovered ‚Äúhieroglyphs‚ÄĚ as a kind of writing that was independent of language differences and was therefore understandable to all initiated; but this would seem a rather different proposition because the hieroglyphs were not an artificial language developed, on systematic grounds, by a contemporary author but were reputed to be a sign language actually used by the Egyptians and therefore particularly attractive to the humanists who credited the Egyptians with a wisdom even more profound than that of the Greeks and Romans.

Comment.

Panofsky’s comment about the dates being wrong for a deliberately-constructed artificial language (as such; not including newly-created scripts or alphabets to render a language) is absolutely right, and Friedman’s ignorance of even that – his own field – is once more evident.¬† It is another item in proof that Panofsky was already better acquainted with the history than was Friedman.¬† Panofsky also knows of O’Neill’s paper, published in 1944, though his knowledge of Alberti had long been part of his own scholarly repertoire. As, I expect, was his knowledge of medieval and Renaissance palaeography, essential to provenancing manuscripts and evinced by his familiarity with the books of which Friedman was still ignorant, though already had referred to them during their talk. His allusion to hieroglyphics is most likely to refer to the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo which has made such an impression on D√ľrer (among others). The edition by Boas includes some of¬†D√ľrer’s drawings and an essay on the subject.

  • George Boas (ed. and trans.),¬†The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo. (Boas’ translation was first published in 1950 but my copy is the 1993 edition which I think to be preferred. It includes a new foreword by Anthony T. Grafton)

SUMMATION:¬† In my view, the assumptions made by Friedman, and the ‘theory’ on which his mind was already set – combined with his arrogance and ignorance of the basics needed to form a valid preliminary assessment of any medieval manuscript, but especially one whose content was obscure and imagery anomalous, effectively deterred Panofsky from bothering to provide Friedman with any informed comment on the manuscript’s imagery. It also – in my opinion- led him to avoid giving his personal assessment of the manuscript’s cultural origin, script or iconography. I read his responses chiefly as intended to ensure Friedman had no further excuse for contact.

See also:

  • Erwin Panofsky,¬†Korrespondenz 1910 bis 1968. Eine kommentierte Auswahl in f√ľnf B√§nden, hrsg. von Dieter Wuttke (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag):¬† Bd. I,Korrespondenz 1910 bis 1936 (2001); Bd. II,Korrespondenz 1936‚Äď1949 (2003).¬† English reviews e.g.¬†International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Vol.11 (2004) Dec (Issue 2), pp. 280-292.

 

Bibliothek Warburg, Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliographie zum Nachleben der Antike, I, Leipzig and Berlin, 1934, page 96, No. 386.

NOTE: This document is reproduced by the present author by permission and should not be taken and re-used without (1) reference to the present author (as ‘finder’); (2) to this blog-post and (3) seeking permission for re-use from Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts library. A fee may be required.

Next post: Cryptanalysts – Panofsky’s comments on provenance¬† 1931 1932.