Constant References:

  • Jim Reeds’ Voynich Bibliography (Voynich-related publications from 1914-2001).
  • Wilfrid M. Voynich, ‘A Preliminary Sketch of the History of the Roger Bacon Cipher Manuscript’, Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Vol. 43 (1921).  p.415.
  • Professor Romaine Newbold, ‘The Roger Bacon Manuscript’Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Series 3: Vol.43, (1921)  pp. 431- 474. Section occurs pp.456ff.
  • Katherine Ellison and Susan Kim,(eds),  A Material History of Medieval and Early Modern Ciphers: Cryptography and the History of Literacy, (2018).
  • Jim Reeds’ Mailing List –  for years 2000-2005. For Thread Index  (e.g. else search with year   (e.g. plus month (e.g.
  • The earlier archives (1991- 2001) are available zip files, ordered by year, at
  • [pdf] Mary d’Imperio, The Voynich Manuscript: an elegant Enigma, NSA. (original file)
  • [pdfibid. A cleaned-up copy which was later made available.
  • The Classical Astrologer blog. Also contains sources for information about classical, medieval and comparative astronomy. Note – some translations from the Arabic (e.g. names for Ibn Arabi’s lunar mansions) have alternative names or alternative translations.
  • Robert Singerman, Jewish Translation History: A Bibliography of Bibliographies and Studies (2012)
  • Philip Neal’s site. Transcription, translation and commentary on the seventeenth-century documents plus bibliographies and more.  I suggest you bookmark it – though, for the record, I’m not endorsing Neal’s position on the manuscript’s origins, character or provenance. Addresss is
  • The Code Book: the science of secrecy from ancient Egypt to quantum cryptography – a freshman’s guide by Simon Singh (University of Califonia, Los Angeles). Downloadable pdf.
  • Information on recent codicological and palaeographic research see:
  • Vladimir Dulov’s blog (in Russian). A fresh scholarly voice providing acute observations and solid sources.  Not ‘hypotheticals’ or quasi-historical narratives. Highly recommended.
  • Lisa Fagin Davis, working with the Shoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies. ( Involvement of the Shoenberg Institute, with its experts in comparative codicology has been at the very top of my personal Voynich ‘wish list’ for some years now, ever since I realised that the content – not the manufacture – speaks to regions, ideas and peoples outside Latin Christian Europe.  I’m sure the manuscript’s study will now move forward rapidly along the sort of careful, informed, conservative, non-hypothetical line that has been needed for so very long.  Cheers all round! (All we need now is additional input from Beit Arie).
  • Codícología. A very good site for comparative codicology. In Spanish, but automatic Googletranslate does a fairly good job. You may get a notice in Spanish that you’ll must wait a few seconds for a page to adjust to your browser. 

PAGE  ‘About


SERIES 1: The study’s past in review.

Post 1.Cipher versus language – assertions and bundles’ (November 20, 2018)


Post 2. ‘Provenance: Wilfrid-style and real-world’. ( November 24th., 2018)


Post 3. Wheat from the Chaff – ‘Bacon ciphertext’ (December 15, 2018)

  •  Roger Bacon and ciphers. Addendum to…’
  • John Dooley, History of Cryptography and Cryptanalysis: Codes, Ciphers, and Their Algorithms. (2018)
  • Amanda Power,  Roger Bacon and the Defence of Christendom, ( 2013) pp.221-2.
  • Professor Romaine Newbold, ‘The Roger Bacon Manuscript’Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Series 3: Vol.43, (1921)  pp. 431- 474. Section occurs pp.456ff.
  • Bernhard Bischoff, « Ûbersicht ûber die nichtdiplomatischen Geheimschriften des Mittelalters», Mitteilungen des instituts fur Osterreichische Geschichtsforschung62 (1954) 1-27.
  • Katherine Ellison and Susan Kim, ‘Introduction: Ciphers and the Material History of Literacy’, in Ellison and Kim (eds.), A Material History of Medieval and Early Modern Ciphers: Cryptography and the History of Literacy.  (New York: Routledge, 2018).
  • David A.King, The Cipher of the Monks. (2001) The table of contents is (here).
  • King’s work was introduced to public Voynich discussions online by Nick Pelling in 2010, while discussing a 14thC astrolabe from Picardy. (here).
  • John Block Friedman, “The Cipher Alphabet of John de Foxton’s Liber Cosmographiae,” Scriptorium 36 (1982), 219-35. accessible as a pdf through Persee.
  • de Foxton’s cipher was introduced to  Voynich studies by  Nick Pelling, in a comment to the first (Jim Reeds’) mailing list (in 2002).
  • Paulinus Bellet, ‘Anthologia Palatina 9.538, ‘The Alphabet and the Calligraphic Examination in the Coptic Scriptorium’,  The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, Vol. 19, No. 1/2 (1982), pp.1-7.
  • cf. Liv Ingeborg Lied, Hugo Lundhaug, Snapshots of Evolving Traditions: Jewish and Christian Manuscript Culture, Textual Fluidity, and New Philology (2017) p.157 & note.
  • Letter of Georgius Barschius to Athanasius Kircher (1639). Transcription, translation and notes by Philip Neal.
  • George W. Corner, ‘A Thirteenth-Century Medical Cryptogram’, Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine 4 (1936) 745-750.
  • Wilfrid Voynich, ‘A Preliminary Sketch of the History of the Roger Bacon Cipher Manuscript’, Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Series 3: Vol.43, (1921)  p.416.
  • [pdf] Walsh, James Joseph, The Popes and Science; the History of the Papal Relations to Science During the Middle Ages and Down to Our Own Time, Fordam University Press, New York 1908. quoted passage from p.19.
  • Andrew Dickson White, A history of the warfare of science with theology in Christendom (1896)
  • Feb 4th., Cons, Louis, ‘Un manuscrit mystérieux: Un traité scientifique du treizième siècle, attribué a Roger Bacon’, L’Illustration 159 (Number 4118, 4 Feb 1922) p. 112. [Copy in BL Facs 439. J.R.]
  • May 20th., Garland, Herbert. ‘A Literary Puzzle Solved?’ Illustrated London News160, (20 May1922), pp.740-742.
  •  Dr. R. Loeser. “Roger Bacons Chiffremanuskript.” Die Umschau. 26 (1922), pp.115-117.
  • D.N. O’Donovan, ”An early 15th C copy of a 13th C text: Thomas of Cantimpré’, voynichimagery (blog), May 9th., 2016.
  • E. Westacott, Roger Bacon (1945)
  • ‘Aristotle’s Natural Philosophy’, Standford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.
  • Karen Kenyon, ‘Roger Bacon

Header picture: detail from folio 164r,  Brit.Lib. Royal MS 7 F VIII. (Philosophical works and fragments, chiefly by Roger Bacon)

Illustration: (detail)  Roger Bacon, Wellcome Image V0000284



PAGE: Addendum to Roger Bacon and ciphers. ….

  • Patrick Gautier Dalché, La Cosmographia d’Aethicus Ister À propos d’une édition récente*[pdf] omits publication details.  Reviews M. W. Herren, The Cosmography of Aethicus Ister. Edition, translation, and commentary, Turnhout, 2011 (review is possibly from The Journal of mediaeval Latin, 8).  An English abstract to Dalché’s review says it “scrutinizes the editor’s hypothesis concerning the dating of the work and its nature, reviews the details of editor’s and translator’s choices and offers the identification of further sources”.
  • Danuta Shanzer, ‘The Cosmographia Attributed to Aethicus Ister as Philosophen- or Reiseroman’ (through
  • Extract from [Roger Bacon] “Letter concerning the marvelous power of art and of nature and concerning the nullity of magic”. transcription of the section on ciphers,  with comments by John Dooley [and D.}  Text taken from:
  • Friar BACON His Discovery of the Miracles [of] Art, [of] Nature. and [of] Magick. Faithfully translated out of Dr DEE’s own Copy, by T.M. and never before in English” (1659).
  • John Dooley, History of Cryptography and Cryptanalysis: Codes, Ciphers, and Their Algorithms. (2018)
  • Tenney L. Davis (trans.), Roger Bacon’s letter concerning the marvelous power of art and of nature and concerning the nullity of magic …. together with notes and an account of Bacon’s life and work. (1923). Entry at Stanford University,   (here).
  • Garland, Herbert.(biog.)
  • Lynn Thorndike, ‘The True Roger Bacon’ published in two parts in  The American Historical Review. Part 1 in Vol. 21, No. 2 (Jan., 1916), pp. 237-257; Part 2 in Vol. 21, No. 3 (Apr., 1916), pp. 468-480.
  • Lynn Thorndike, ‘Bacon and Gunpowder’, Science, New Series, Vol. 42, No. 1092 (Dec. 3, 1915), pp. 799-800. (p.799)
  • Jeremiah Hackett, (ed.)d’Roger Bacon and the Sciences: Commemorative Essays 1996 (Brill)
  • [pdf] Walsh, James Joseph, The Popes and Science; the History of the Papal Relations to Science During the Middle Ages and Down to Our Own Time, Fordam University Press, New York 1908.
  • Andrew Dickson White, A history of the warfare of science with theology in Christendom (1896).
  • Bernhard Bischoff, « Ûbersicht ûber die nichtdiplomatischen Geheimschriften des Mittelalters», Mitteilungen des instituts fur Osterreichische Geschichtsforschung 62 (1954) 1-27.
  • Katherine Ellison and Susan Kim, ‘Introduction: Ciphers and the Material History of Literacy’, in A Material History of Medieval and Early Modern Ciphers: Cryptography and the History of Literacy, ed. by Katherine Ellison and Susan Kim (New York: Routledge, 2018).
  • David A.King, The Cipher of the Monks. (2001)
  • John Block Friedman, “The Cipher Alphabet of John de Foxton’s Liber Cosmographiae,Scriptorium 36 (1982), 219-35. accessible through Persee.

Amanda Power,  Roger Bacon and the Defence of Christendom, ( 2013) pp.221-2.

  • Edmond Nolan, S. A. Hirsch, The Greek Grammar of Roger Bacon, and a Fragment of His Hebrew grammar.(1902)
  • [pdf] Baruch Sterman, ‘Jewish Cryptography’, paper (undated).
  • Hirsch, Early English Hebraists, in Book of Essays.

Illustration: Alphabet of Aethicus-Ethicus.  (Shows Table 1 of 5 from Leo Weiner, Contributions toward a history of Arabico-Gothic culture (1917). Note that Weiner’s own text should be treated with reserve.

Illustration: (detail) Aethicus-Ethicus Ister’s alphabet at end of his Cosmographiae (f.90r) in  Brit.Lib. Cotton MS Appendix LVI, ff 61–90

Illustration: 10thC cipher from Brit.Lib. Add.MS 21917 (f. 71v).

Post 4.  .. – Books of Secrets and the ‘Secretum secretorum’ (December 19th., 2018)

  • William Eamon, ‘Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Science’, Sudhoffs Archiv, Bd. 69, H. 1 (1985), pp. 26-49.
  • Nick Pelling, ‘Research Breakthrough ciphermysteries (blog), 8th. May, 2008.
  • Steven J. Williams, ‘Roger Bacon and His Edition of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Secretum secretorum’, Speculum, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Jan., 1994), pp. 57-73.  passage  quoted from pp. 64-65.
  •  ‘Greek Sources in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy‘, in  Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (entry revised 2017)  contrast with
  • Roger Bacon, Robert Steele, Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Baconi V: Secretum Secretorum (1909) Latin text; Steele’s notes in Eng.
  • Roger Bacon, Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Baconi, 5: Secretum secretorum cum glossis et notulis, ed. Robert Steele (Oxford, 1920)
  • Robert Steele, Three prose versions of the Secreta secretorum (Early English Texts Soc.) 1898
  • M.A. Manzalaoui (ed.). Secretum secretorum : nine English versions (Early English Texts Soc.) 1977.
  • E.A. Wallis Budge,Syrian anatomy, pathology, and therapeutics; or, “The Book of Medicines”Vol.1 Introduction and text;  Vol.2 English translation.
  • Steven J. Williams, The Secret of Secrets: The Scholarly Career of a Pseudo-Aristotelian Text in the Latin Middle Ages. (2003).
  • Yela Schauwecker, Die Diätetik nach dem ‘ Secretum secretorum * in der Version von Jofroi de Waterford Teiledition und lexikalische Untersuchung, Würzburger medizinhistorische Forschungen 92   (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2007).  and …
  • review (of Schauwecker) by Alex Stuart in  Medium Aevum, Vol. 79, No. 1 (2010) EDITIONS OF TEXTS, pp. 160-169.
  • L. Saif,  ‘Textual and Intellectual Reception of Arabic Astral Theories in the Twelfth Century’, in  The Arabic Influences on Early Modern Occult Philosophy. (2015)
  • Lynn Thorndike, ‘The Latin Pseudo-Aristotle and Medieval Occult Science‘,  The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Volume 21 No.4 (April 1922) pp.229-258.
  • M. Gaster, ‘The Hebrew Version of the “Secretum Secretorum,” a Mediæval Treatise Ascribed to Aristotle’.  Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Oct., 1908), pp. 1065-1084 .
  • [pdf] Antònia Carré and Lluís Cifuentes, ‘Girolamo Manfredi’s Il Perché: II. The Secretum secretorum and the book’s publishing success’Medicina & Storia, X, 2010, 19-20, n.s., pp. 39-58.
  • Linda T. Darling, ‘Mirrors for Princes in Europe and the Middle East: A Case of Historiographical Incommensurability’ (no publication details given; paper available through

Header picture:     (detail)  Brit.Lib. MS Harley 3719  f.31v  (1275-1540), excerpt from the Secretum Secretorum.

Illustrations: two details from folio 51r, Brit.Lib. Yates Thompson MS 28

Post 5. ……….. Hime’s ‘gunpowder cipher’ (December 23rd., 2018)

  • H. W. L. Hime (Col.), “Roger Bacon and Gunpowder,” in Roger Bacon: Commemoration Essays, ed. by A. G. Little (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1914) pp.321-335.
  • Nick Pelling ‘ Roger Bacon “gunpowder cipher”…?
  • Robert Steele, “Luru Vopo Vir Can Utriet.” Nature 121 (11 Feb. 1928), pp.208-9. The article’s abstract (which is all I’ve seen) mentions another item (NATURE, Sept. 4, 1926, p. 352).
  • John F. Dooley, History of Cryptography and Cryptanalysis: Codes, Ciphers, and Their Algorithms. (2018).
  • Lynn Thorndike, ‘Bacon and Gunpowder‘, Science, New Series, Vol. 42, No. 1092 (Dec. 3, 1915), pp. 799-800. (p.799).
  • Jeremiah Hackett, (ed.)  Roger Bacon and the Sciences: Commemorative Essays 1996 (Brill)
  • Sarton, George (1948), Introduction to the History of Science, Vol. II: From Rabbi Ben Ezra to Roger Bacon, (1931)  discusses the merits of Asian, Arab, and Latin invention (p.1037).
  • Edward Lutz, ‘Roger Bacon’s Contribution to Knowledge’, Franciscan Studies, No. 17, June, 1936), pp. ii-v, vii-xi, 1-82.
  • Herbert Hochberg, ‘The Empirical Philosophy of Roger and Francis Bacon’. Philosophy of Science, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Oct., 1953), pp. 313-326.
  • Joseph Needham (ed.), Science and Civilization in China, Vol. 5 Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 7, ‘Military Technology: the Gunpowder Epic’ (1986).
  • Hansjacob, Der Schwarze Berthold, Der Erfinder des Schiespulvers u. der Feuerwaffen (Freiburg, 1891). The legend of Black Berthold. contrast with Needham, (op.cit., p.51.)
  • Lynn Thorndike, ‘The True Roger Bacon’ published in two parts in  The American Historical Review. Part 1 in Vol. 21, No. 2 (Jan., 1916), pp. 237-257; Part 2 in Vol. 21, No. 3 (Apr., 1916), pp. 468-480.
  • the current version of the wiki biography for Roger Bacon is good.(Dec. 2018) from Needham, op.cit., (p.51),

Header picture: Mongols using grenades/bombs in 13thC Japan. (no source given)

Illustrations: Portrait of Lynn Thorndike (source unknown); Friar Bacon and hypothetical telescope. From Lutz (1936); detail from the ‘Mara Buddha’ – foreign ‘demons’ attack Dunhuang’s Buddhist enclaves. (10thC AD); Portrait of Joseph Needham (Needham Research Institute); clip from from Needham, cited above (p.51);

Post 6. Military cryptanalysts – Prelude (December 28th., 2018)

  •  [pdf] The U.S.Bureau Of Investigation File on Wilfrid Voynich.  posted, and his Introduction, by Colin MacKinnon,
  • [pdf] Mary d’Imperio, The Voynich Manuscript: an elegant Enigma, NSA.
  • [pdf] The original file, in a cleaned-up copy, later made available.
  • [pdf] Mary d’Imperio, ‘An Application of PTAH to the Voynich Manuscript (U)‘. Originally classified ‘Top Secret’ the paper was also released as a pdf in 2009 – minus a number of excised passages.
  • [pdf] ‘Friedman Legacy’, Sources in Cryptologic History, Number 3. National Security Agency.  3rd. printing, 2006.  (The pdf may be slow to load).
  • David Kahn, The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet (1996).  Manly-Friedman correspondance for 1931 – entries numbered 361 and 362 in Khan’s ‘Notes to Text’ .
  • John Matthews Manly, ‘Roger Bacon and the Voynich MS’, Speculum Vol. 6, No. 3 (Jul., 1931), pp. 345-391.
  • John Dooley and Elizabeth Anne King, ‘John Matthews Manly: The Collier’s Articles’, Cryptologia, Vol. 38 No.1 (January 2014) pp. 77-88. doi: 10.1080/01611194.2013.797049
  • Landon R. Y. Storrs, ‘McCarthyism and the Second Red Scare’, American History [Journal],  (Jul 2015).  DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.013.6
  • Sidney Hook,  ‘McCarthy and American Universities’, Minerva, Vol. 25, No. 3 (September 1987), pp. 331-348.
  • critique of above – [pdf] Mark deWolfe Howe, (review) ‘Heresy, yes – Conspiracy, no by Sidney Hook.. (1953)’, Yale Law Journal, Volume 63 (1953), Issue 1 pp.132-137.
  • Melvin Rader, False Witness (re-publication with afterword by Leonard Shroeter), 1997.
  • David R. Holmes, McCarthyism and Academic Freedom : Stalking the Academic Communist: Intellectual Freedom and the Firing of Alex Novikoff, (University Press of New England: 1989 and 1990)
  • Holmes’ book received a long review by Russell Jacob in the New York Times, (April 09, 1989).

Header picture: Senator Joseph McCarthy maps subversives in 1950 America. (courtesy Colorado State University Archives).

Illustrations: Advertisement for Wilfrid Voynich’s shop (American Art News, May 12th., 1927); William Friedman in 1917, courtesy
George C. Marshall Foundation; Portrait of John Matthews Manly (courtesy Chicago Library); portrait of Julius Rosenberg (courtesy Library of Congress); Section from Bibliography –  John F. Dooley, Codes, Ciphers and Spies… (2016) showing entries ‘Manly…’ ;

Post 7. …….: Interrogatories of 1954 (Jan. 3rd., 2019)


Post 8. …….. The ‘Art Group Four‘ (Jan.8th., 2019)

[pdf] Jim Reeds, ‘William F. Friedman’s Transcription of the Voynich Manuscript’ (7th. September 1994).

Jim Reeds’  Voynich mailing list (also described as the ‘first mailing list’)

  1. The earlier archives (1991- 2001) are available zip files, ordered by year, at
  2. Archives for 2000-2005  are still up as webpages, ordered by year, month and thread (or date). Index at
  • Panofsky, Erwin. “Answers to Questions for Prof. E. Panofsky.” Letter to William F. Friedman, March 19, 1954. Correspondence between Friedman, Panofsky, and J. v. Neumann. Letters from Richard Salomon to Erwin Panofsky and Gertrud Bing. WFF 1614.  (i.e.: George Marshall Foundation (library?) William F. Friedman Collection,  file no. 1614.)
  • [pdf] Mary Rose Sheldon, ‘The Friedman Collection: An Analytical Guide’ (2014)
  • Istvan Hargittai, The Martians of Science: Five Physicists who changed the Twentieth Century (2006)
  • Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze, Mathematicians Fleeing from Nazi Germany: Individual Fates and Global Impact (2009).
  • On Birkhoff see  also Steve Nadis and Shing-Tung Ya,  A History in Sum: 150 Years of Mathematics at Harvard (1825-1975) (2013).
  • reviewed in  ‘Math and Anti-semitism went hand in hand at Harvard for decades‘ – Forward magazine article 190547. (January 11, 2014)
  • Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze, Mathematicians Fleeing from Nazi Germany: Individual Fates and Global Impact. (2009)
  • [pdf] Brigadier John Tiltman: a Giant among Cryptanalysts (NSA publication, 2007);
  • [pdf] Colin MacKinnon, ‘William Friedman’s Bletchley Park Diary: A New Source for the History of Anglo-American Intelligence Cooperation’, Intelligence and National Security, (December 2005) note 9, pp.4-5.
  • Erwin Panofsky, Jaś Elsner and Katharina Lorenz,  ‘On the Problem of Describing and Interpreting Works of the Visual Arts’ in  Critical Inquiry , Vol. 38, No. 3 (Spring 2012), pp. 467-482. [A translation into English, by Elsner and Lorenz, of a 1931 paper by Panofsky].
  •  lecture by Panofsky: “The Value of Error in the History of Art” (youtube)
  • Amos Morris-Reich, Race and Photography: Racial Photography as Scientific Evidence, 1876-1980.  On page p.239 (note 165) offers an interesting comment on how Carl Neumann and Panofsky each regarded  Dürer’s view of the Jews – while both men were in Germany and  Hitler was coming to power.
  • [pdf] Daniel Keenan, Kultur and acculturation: Erwin Panofsky in the United States of America, (PhD thesis), Glasgow University, 2014.
  • NSA/CSS, ‘William F.Friedman Collection of Official Papers
  • [pdf] ‘History of the Friedman Collection at the George C. Marshall Research Library’ Memorandum from Eugene F. Yeates to the Deputy Director [NSA] October 4th., 1982.
  • podcast interview and transcription:  Voices of the Manhattan Project – Peter Lax.
  • a podcast survey of Neumann’s life and works. (if you can cope with the ‘Valley Girl’ accent and intermittent ads. Comes with a fair bibliography).
  • Michael S. Goodman, ‘The grandfather of the hydrogen bomb?: Anglo-American intelligence and Klaus Fuchs’, Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences , Vol. 34, No. 1 (2003), pp. 1-22.

Panofsky’s correspondence is in various archives and personal collections, including Archives of American Art which hold letters written between 1920 and 1968.  see also archives from the Beinecke Library and the George C. Marshall Foundation.

Header illustration:  public domain image of Princeton, IAS, Huld hall.

Portraits of Friedman, Tiltman, Panofsky and von Neumann. All except Panofsky from files at the George C. Marshall Foundation; image of Panofsky from the Princeton Review.

Los Alamos identification badges for John von Neumann and Karl Fuchs courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory. via Alex Wellerstein’s blog.

Post 9. ……..  Friedman and his questions (


from (details – Examples…

  • IN MEMORIAM, The Phi Beta Kappa Key, Vol. 6, No. 8 (May 1927), pp. 526-537. Entry for Newbold is p.535.

from Details (from Reeds’ Voynich Bibliography)

  • 1953   E. Westacott, Roger Bacon in Life and Legend. New York: [Publisher?],1953. [A balanced writer whose errors are flaws in his sources rather than his apprehension of them. The text is online through the internet archive. – D.]
  • ? W.F. and E.S. Friedman, ‘Acrostics, Anagrams, and Chaucer’, Philological Quarterly 38 (1959), pp.1-20.
  • 1959   Jose Ruysschaert, Codices Vaticani Latini 11414 – 11709. Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, (1959). [Describes the MSs acquired by the Vatican from the Collegium Romanum, and mentions that W. Voynich bought a number of them which have been transferred to various American libraries, including the VMS.].
  • and see (re Zandbrgen’s recent references to the above). Richard Santacoloma, ‘Birth of a New Mythology‘ (Jan. 3rd., 2019).
  • 1963 Jan. Alfred Werner, ‘The Most Mysterious Manuscript”, Horizon, 5 (January,1963), pp.4-9.

from Details – ‘Lost opportunity: Richard Salomon on the script…’

  • Richard Georg Salomon, 
  • Jim Reeds’ discovery of ‘gallows-like’ glyphs in Capelli’s Dictionary [Plate IV] and transcription of the caption –  “1172, Giugno 13 — Savino abbate del monastero di S. Savino in Piacenza investe il mugnaio Gerardo Albarola per se e suoi eredi maschi in perpetuo, di un mulio di ragione del detto moasstero — Scritura carolina. — Pergamena origen., conservata nell’Archivio di Stato di Parma, monastero di S. Savino.”  (Reeds’ mailing list, Mon Jun 9th 1997),Jorge Stolfi’s translation of that caption.  “The date is on the “letter” itself, 13 june 1172. It is actually a notarial document recording the concession by the abbey of S. Savino in Piacenza of a mill of theirs to miller Gerardo Albarola and his heirs in perpetuity etc. etc. As I remember, it is signed by the abbot, several monks as witnesses, the miller (not sure), and the public  scribe / notary who prepared it .”(Reeds’ mailing list, (Fri, 6 Oct 2000),
  • Voynich ‘ground-hog day’ phenomenon  – phrase coined by N. Pelling, ‘David Kahn at the Athanaeum‘, 4th. June, 2013.
  • D.N. O’Donovan, ‘Who wrote the ‘gallows’, voynichimagery, Oct. 7th., 2015. (presently not public access).
  • Capelli, Lexicon abbreviaturarum: Dizionario di abbreviature latine ed italiane, 6th ed. (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1979).
  • [pdf] Heimann and Kay (trans.),  Capelli’s ‘Dictionary… ‘ (1982). This pdf has no plates.
  • [read online or pdf] the internet archive has an edition in German to the front, and Heimann and Kay’s translation to the back.  Includes between them Capelli’s Plates.

clip.. d’Imperio, Section 4.2 para.4

main text resumed..

  • Friedman’s “Questions for Professor Panofsky” – taken from Jim Reeds’ original paraphrase  (Reeds’mailing list, Friday April 15th., 1994).

from Details: ‘What’s Wrong With That?”

  • Erwin Panofsky, [Introduction] Studies in Iconology: Humanistic themes in the art of the Renaissance.
  • [pdf] John Tiltman, ‘The Voynich manuscript: “the most mysterious manuscript in the world”‘(1968). Paper released by the NSA under the Freedom of Information Act,  23rd April 2002.

Header Illustration: detail of plate on p.11 of the Supplemental Volume of De Re Diplomatica. Issued in 1707. following Mabillon’s De re diplomatica libri VI, published Paris, Louis Billaine, (1681). Note – the example is chosen at random; no argument should be inferred.

Cartoon, ‘Shoelace Conference’ – courtesy, the artist.

in (details… ‘Examples’) portrait photo of Ethel Voynich (1864-1960) courtesy Kotbeber.

in (details.. ‘Lost opportunity’) portrait photo of Michael Tangl courtesy of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.

ibid. portrait photo of Richard Georg Salomon (1884-1966). Source unspecified.

Post 10. ………….  Panofsky’s responses of 1954. (Jan. 19th., 2019)

  • G. Stuart Smith, A Life in Code: Pioneer Cryptanalyst Elizebeth Smith Friedman (2017). see e.g. p.220.
  • Hugh O’Neill, ‘Botanical Observations on the Voynich MS.’, 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.
  • Mowry, D. P., “Cryptologic Almanac 50th Anniversary Series – Francis A. Raven.” NSA/Center for Cryptologic History, released Jun 12, 2009, FOIA Case# 52567.
  • Alberto Perez (Vanderbilt University), ‘Secrets Abroad: A History of the Japanese Purple Machine.’
  • The Story of Magic: Memoirs of an American Cryptologic Pioneer, by Frank B. Rowlett (1998)
  • a Friedman Bibliography from Muskingum University website: ‘The Literature of Intelligence: A Bibliography of Materials,with Essays, Reviews, and Comments by J. Ransom Clark.
  • Jim Tester, History of Western Astrology, p.178

Panofsky recommended that Friedman read…

  • [“Sir”]Charles Singer, From Magic to Science, London 1928, and various publications by the same author;
  • Richard Salomon, Opicinus de Canistris, London, 1936;
  • F. Boll and G. von Bezold, Sternglaube und Sterndeutung, Second Edition (F. Gundel, Ed.), Berlin and Leipzig, 1926.
  • Carl Sudoff (ed.),  Archiv für Geschichte der Medizin and Studien zur Geschichte der Medizin;
  • E.O. von Lippmann, Entstehung und Ausbreitung der Alchemie , Berlin, 1919 ff.,
  • “…as well as a fairly recent book by the famous psychologist C.O. Jung” (of whom, it would seem, Friedman had not heard, either.
  • Panofsky wrote: “Further endorsement of Mr. Manly’s adverse criticism [of Newbold’s decipherment] 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.

re Palaeography he recommended,

  • Adriano Cappelli, Dizionario delle Abbreviature Latine ed Italiane; commenting “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 “The History of Diplomatics” 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.”

Other sources:

  • Edward Grant, chapter ‘Celestial Motion and its Causes’ in Grant, E., Planets, Stars, and Orbs: The Medieval Cosmos, 1200-1687. (1996)
  • Alan B. Scott, Origen and the Life of the Stars (OUP 1991)
  • 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 Salomon, Studien zur normannisch-italischen Diplomatik. (thesis Hamburg, 1907).

‘Hieroglyphs’ in the sense used in Europe to as late as the seventeenth century, and the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo

  • See  ‘Hieroglyphs‘ in The Library of Renaissance Symbolism (website).
  • Hieroglyphica Horapollinis (1595). text in facing pages, Latin and Greek. (other copies and editions at the intenet archive).
  • George Boas (English trans. and introduction), The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo (1950). Re-issued  in 1993 with a new forward by Anthony T. Grafton. Panofsky’s deep interest in Dürer would have seen him read Boas’ work before 1954. Boas details evidence in Dürer’s work of the latter’s  interest in the Hieroglyphica.
  • English trans. also at ‘Sacred Texts’ (website).

re Panofsky’s identification of the month-names as ‘regional French’..

  • 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 (later and independently stated by Artur Sixto  (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 – 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’s comment was made (February 17, 2011) at, 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:

To me the months [names] seem to correspond slightly better to Catalan than Occitan. June for instance, spelled with “ou” corresponds to Catalan pronunciation, in French writing. “ny” would be Catalan relative to Occitan “nh” or French/Italian “gn”. So the person might have ties with the North of Catalonia (and could have a French influence) …. Interestingly, many Jews in Catalonia spoke Catalanic, a Catalan dialect close to Shuadit, i.e. Judaeo-Provençal (i.e. Judaeo-Occitan).

  • 2015 Commenting at Stephen Bax’s blog (May 18, 2015 – 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.
  • Erwin Panofsky, Artist, Scientist, Genius: Notes on the “Renaissance-Dämmerung”, 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 (, 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
  • Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting: its origins and character (1953) Vol. 1 pp. 333 and note 6 to p.416.

Panofsky quotes Salomon’s interpretation of marginalia … “de Mussteil”

  • Heidelberg University Library, UBH Cod.Pal.germ. 164 Heidelberger Sachsenspiegel (dated to 1305)
  • Salomon had consulted several secondary sources  (as cited in a letter of 1936 to Panofsky or to Mrs.Voynich per Anne Nill), quoting in full an entry from e.g.: Der Sachsenspiegel (Landrecht) nach der ältesten Leipziger Handschrift herausgegeben von Prof. Dr. Julius Weiske. Neubearbeitet von weil. Professor Dr. Hildebrand. 8th.ed. Leipzig, O.R. Reisland, 1905 (Glossary p.28.)  The letter is lacking its first page and is in ‘Salomon-Panofsky correspondence’ file in the archives of Yale, Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.

See also

  • Erwin Panofsky, Korrespondenz 1910 bis 1968. Eine kommentierte Auswahl in fünf Bänden, hrsg. von Dieter Wuttke (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag):  Bd. I,Korrespondenz 1910 bis 1936 (2001); Bd. II,Korrespondenz 1936–1949 (2003).  English reviews e.g. International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Vol.11 (2004) Dec (Issue 2), pp. 280-292.

Series 2: Specialist Opinions re-examined.

(Posts 11-15)  Specialist Opinions  -Erwin Panofsky

Sources for Posts 11-15
  • Richard Santacoloma,  ‘Anne Nill speaks‘, proto57, (January 16, 2013)
  • Joseph Dan, The Early Kabbalah, Classics in Western Spirituality series (1986). pp.133-150.
  •  ‘Butibalausi‘, Poemas del Rio Wang, Dec. 31st., 2008
  •  ‘Old Occitan‘ – brief wiki article recommended for its bibliography.
  • Frede Jensen, The syntax of medieval Occitan. (2015)
  • Notes on ‘Occitan’ included in  ‘Military cryptanalysts: Panofsky’s responses of 1954‘ (January 19th., 2019) in Comments to Q 7.
  • Pierre Bec, ‘Occitan’ in Rebecca Posner and John N. Green, Language and Philology in Romance (1982).  pp.115-130. Technical, philological. Good maps.
  • a resource for comparing medieval French orthographies: Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (1330-1500)
  • for Anglo-Norman (which gives  e.g. septembre; setembre, setumbre).
  • The Spanish of Andalusia‘ – detailed philological study online from PSU.
  • Christopher Columbus’ Catalan-inflected Language‘, The Chronicle of Higher Education blog, (October 8, 2017).
  • Carrie E. Beneš (ed.),  A Companion to Medieval Genoa, (Vol. 15 in the series: Brill’s Companions to European History).
  • Schiaffini, A. (1929). Il mercante genovese nel medio evo e il suo linguaggio. Genoa, Italy: SIAG
  •  Franz Rainer, ‘The Language of the Economy and Business in the Romance Languages‘, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics.
  • Variant forms within Catalan. See e.g. ‘Mallorcan, Menorcan, Ibizan and Formenteran‘, Rio Wang (Oct. 7th., 2010)
  • Other mentions of Catalan and Occitan, of course, consult Jim Reeds’ mailing list.
  • Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture (second, revised and updated second edition 2008) pp. 329-338.
  •  John Matthews Manly: The Collier’s Articles; and Essays on John Matthews Manly and Edith Rickert.
  • Ramon Lull’s ‘Le libre del ordre de cavayleria’ together with Adam Loutfut’s Scottish Transcript (Brit.Lib. MS Harley 6149), ed. by Alfred T. P. Byles (London: Early English Text Society, 1926), pp. xxvi-xxx [concerns the texSt at ff. 83-109 in Harley 6149.
  • Idan Pérez, “Las definiciones de Ramón Llull en un manuscrito judeocatalán de finales del siglo XV (Vat.Ebr.375)”. Iberia Judaica Núm. X. (2018), pp. 155-170.[The Definitions of Ramon Llull in a JudeoCatalan Manuscript from the end of the XV century (Vat.Ebr.375) etc.
  • David King, Cipher of the Monks: a forgotten notation system. (2001).
  • Raphael Levy, ‘The Background and the Significance of Judeo-French’, Modern Philology, Vol. 45, No. 1 (Aug., 1947), pp. 1-7.
  • medieval Picard orthography and pronunciation see catalogue commentary to Brit.Lib. MSs Additional 10292, 10293 and 10294.
  • Paul Wexler, Three Heirs to a Judeo-Latin Legacy: Judeo-Ibero-Romance, Yiddish and Rotwelsch (1988). 
  • Yedida K. Stillman, George K. Zucker (eds.), New Horizons in Sephardic Studies (SUNY Press, 2012).
  • William S. Heckscher, ‘Erwin Panofsky: A Curriculum Vitae’, Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, Vol. 28, No. 1, Erwin Panofsky: In Memoriam (1969), pp. 4-21. (p.13).
  • [Biography] Dr. Walter S. Cook, in whose honour annual lectures are presented at the NYU Institute of Fine Arts.
  • Ingrid Rowland, ‘A Banker, a Scholar, and the Invention of Art History: The story of the Warburg brothers’, The New Republic Magazine (July 6th., 2014).
  • (review) Irving Lavin (ed.), Meaning in the Visual Arts: Views from the Outside. A Centennial Commemoration of Erwin Panofsky (1892-1968) (1995) reviewed by Robert W.Gaston in  International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Vol. 4, No. 4 (Spring, 1998), pp. 613-623.
  • .Lynn White, Jr., ‘Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages’, Speculum, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Apr., 1940), pp. 141-159
  • ________________, ‘Tibet, India, and Malaya as Sources of Western Medieval Technology’, The American Historical Review, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Apr., 1960), pp. 515-526.
  • ________________, ‘Indic Elements in the Iconography of Petrarch’s Trionfo della Morte’, Speculum, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Apr., 1974), pp. 201-221.
  • Karl A. F. Fischer, Paul Kunitzsch, Tzvi Langermann, ‘The Hebrew Astronomical Codex MS Sassoon 823’, The Jewish Quarterly Review, LXXVIII, Nos. 3-4 (January-April, 1988) 253-292.
  • [pdf] Jim Reeds, ‘Solved: The Ciphers in Book iii of Trithemius’s Steganographia’, (DRAFT: 26 March 1998).
  •  Sefaria site.  Parallel Hebrew/English text of Sefer Yetzirah.
  • British Library MS Or.11791 Parchment codex.  Commentaries on the Sefer Yetzirah written from the 14th-15thC.
    The Library recommends reading the following article by Jonnie Schnytzer, and so do I.


  • George Robinson, ‘Kabbalah in Spain‘, (undated online article). Sub-title reads, “From the 13th through the 15th century, the Iberian Peninsula was the home of most major kabbalists.”
  • Rabbi Yom Tov Glaser –  Kabbalah for modern believers –  youtube video.
  • Ephraim Rubin,  introduction to the Zohar.  published as a blogpost at Kinkatso & Co.
  • Joseph Dan, ‘Gershom Scholem’s Reconstruction of Early Kabbalah’, Modern Judaism, Vol. 5, No. 1, Gershom Scholem Memorial Issue (Feb., 1985), pp.39-66.
  • Hartley Lachter, ‘Spreading Secrets: Kabbalah and Esotericism in Isaac ibn Sahula’s Meshal ha-kadmoni’, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 100, No. 1 (Winter 2010), pp. 111-138.
  • Moshe Idel, ‘Ramon Lull and Ecstatic Kabbalah: A Preliminary Observation’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 51 (1988), pp. 170-174.
  • Moshe Idel, ‘Maimonides’ “Guide of the Perplexed” and the Kabbalah’,  Jewish History, Vol. 18, No. 2/3, Commemorating the Eight Hundredth Anniversary of Maimonides’ Death (2004), pp. 197-226
  • Shaul Magid, ‘From Theosophy to Midrash: Lurianic Exegesis and the Garden of Eden’, AJS Review, Vol. 22, No. 1 (1997), pp. 37-75.
  •  Daniel Jütte, ‘Trading in Secrets: Jews and the Early Modern Quest for Clandestine Knowledge’,  Isis , Vol. 103, No. 4 (December 2012), pp. 668-686. (This is the paper which introduced me to the figure of Abramo Colorno, an Italian-Jewish alchemist,engineer, and entrepreneur who lived at Rudolf’s court and wrote on cryptography (1544–1599). On which now see N.Pelling, ‘Abraham Colorni’s Cryptography…’ ciphermysteries, (Feb.9th., 2019).
  • The Zohar – first edition published in Mantua 1558-60 is in the Library of Congress, Hebraic Section.  (Sefer ha-Zohar, 3 volumes, Mantua, 1558-60 )

#Ellie Velinska, ‘The Voynich manuscript anatomy’ (September 11th., 2013).

Post 16. ……………..  Specialist Opinions – Richard Salomon (Feb. 18th., 2019).


Post 17. …..  Expert opinion: ‘Not one of mine’ (February 25, 2019). summary, citing Panofsky, Fr.Petersen, Salomon, Barrett, McLean, Sprague, Singer, Thorndike.

Post 18. …. (editorial)  Fear of the unknown – and raft ‘Elegant’ (March 16, 2019)

Abstract: “This post considers the effect on the manuscript’s study of excessive confidence when combined with social bias…”

Post 19.  …. Fear of the Unknown and raft ‘Elegant’. Pt 2 – the white wall. (April 1st., 2019)

    • Jules Janick, Arthur O. Tucker, Unravelling the Voynich Codex p.346 (excerpt quoted)
    • Iris Origo, ‘The Domestic Enemy: The Eastern Slaves in Tuscany in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries’,  Speculum, Vol.30 (1955) pp. 321-66
    • Robert Davidsohn, Origini della Storia di Firenze (8 vols  1956-1968) pp.1203.
    • M.N. Adler, The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela Critical Text, Translation And Commentary (OUP, 1907) p.3
    • For the later history of Montpellier’s Jews see ‘Montpellier‘ in the Jewish Encyclopaedia online.
    • Hidemichi Tanaka, ‘The Mongolian script in Giotto’s paintings at the Scrovegni Chapel at Padova’,  Akten des XXV. Internationalen Kongresses fur KunstgeschichtePt.6 (1986) pp.167-74. or:
      • ___________________, “Giotto and the Influences of the Mongols and the Chinese on His Art: A New Analysis of the Legend of St. Francis and the Fresco Paintings in the Scrovegni Chapel”, in: Bijutsu  shigaku [Art History] (Sendai), VI (1984),
    • D.N. O’Donovan, ‘Chronological strata ~ Avignon 1300s’, voynichimagery, (February 6th, 2015).
      • __________________, ‘On the doorstep.. and things Manichaean’, (October 31st, 2016).
    • Roxanne Pranzniac, ‘Siena on the Silk Roads: Ambrogio Lorenzetti and the Mongol Global Century, 1250-1350’, Journal of World History, Vol. 21, No. 2 (June 2010), pp. 177-217.
    • Hidemichi Tanaka, Oriental scripts in the paintings of Giotto’s period” – Extrait de la Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Mai-Juin 1989 pp. 214-224 .
    • Vera-Simone Schulz, ‘From Letter to Line: Artistic Experiments with Pseudo-Script in Late Medieval Italian Painting, Preliminary Remarks’ in Marzia Faietti and Gerhard Wolf (eds.), The Power of Line (2015) pp.144-161.
    • Mongol elements in Western medieval art   (wiki article)



Post 20.   Expert Opinion vs. Materials science   Pt. 1 Voynich myths  (April 16th., 2019)


the example of ‘Bacon’s telescope’

  • Wilfrid M. Voynich, ‘A Preliminary Sketch of the History of the Roger Bacon Cipher Manuscript’, Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Vol. 43 (1921).  p.415.
  • John Sherren Brewer, Rogeri Bacon Opera quædamhactenus inedita. London : Longman, Green, and Roberts, 1859.  Vol. I. containing I.–Opus tertium. II.–Opus minus. III.–Compendium philosophiæ. (Bacon’s biography is included in the Preface  pp. xi-lxxxiv).
  • John Henry Bridges, The ‘Opus majus’ of Roger Bacon, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1873. Vol.1, Introduction § 1. ‘Bacon’s Life’ pp. xxi-xxxvi.
  • John Henry Bridges, Obituary, from The Times (-of London), Tuesday, Jun 26, 1906; pg. 14; Issue 38056. Explains that Bridges’ work was not well received.
  • William Romaine Newbold, ‘The Roger Bacon Manuscript’Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Series 3: Vol.43, (1921)  pp. 431- 474. Section occurs pp.456ff.
  • James Stokley, ‘Did Roger Bacon Have a Telescope?’, The Science News-Letter, Vol. 14, No. 386 (Sep. 1, 1928), pp. 125-126+133-134.
  • Edward Lutz, ‘Roger Bacon’s Contribution to Knowledge’, Franciscan Studies, No. 17 (June, 1936), pp. ii-v, vii-xi, 1-82.
  • Norman Sperling,  ‘Voynich: ‘Spiraling into Folly’ everythingintheuniverse(December 26, 2012).
  • Richard Santacoloma, ‘Birth of a New Mythology’proto57, (Jan. 3rd., 2019).

Post 21: _____________ Pt.2 The Beinecke Library – its Voynich website – (April 16th., 2019)

  • Yale, Beinecke Library – Introduction to the Voynich Manuscript.
  • R. S. Brumbaugh, The Most Mysterious Manuscript: The Voynich “Roger Bacon” Cipher Manuscript (Carbondale, Illinois, 1978).
  • ______________, “Botany and the Voynich ‘Roger Bacon’ Manuscript Once More,” Speculum 49 (1974) pp. 546-48;
  • ______________,”The Solution of the Voynich ‘Roger Bacon’ Cipher,” [Yale Library] Gazette 49 (1975) pp. 347-55;
  • ______________,”The Voynich ‘Roger Bacon’ Cipher Manuscript: Deciphered Maps of Stars,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 39 (1976) pp. 139-50.

Reviews of Brumbaugh’s publications about the Voynich manuscript:

Post 22: _____________ Pt.3 The Beinecke Library – description of the manuscript’s quires – (April 26th., 2019)

            • Not in the post, but extremely helpful…  ‘

          A short history of the quire

            –  a table devised by Julian Brown; typed and formatted by Peter Kidd. It can be downloaded through Peter Kidd’s site at
    • A. Bezur, D. D.Driscoll, M-F Lemay, E. Mysak, J. Stenger and P. Zyats, ‘Physical Materials’  in Raymond Clemens (ed.), The Voynich Manuscript,  Yale University Press (2016) pp. 23-37.
    • Maria Luisa Agati, The Manuscript Book. A Compendium of Codicology, (English translation by Colin W, Swift), Studia Archaeologica 214 (revised and updated edition, 2017).
  • [pdf]  J.P. Gumbert, ‘[Words for…] Sheets and Leaves’ from Chapter 31: ‘quires’  in Words for Codices..(2010).
  • Malachi Beit-Arié, ‘Why comparative codicology?’ Gazette du livre médiéval, n°23. Automne 1993. pp. 1-5
  • [pdf]  “Manuscripts East and West – Towards Comparative and General Codicology”, Abstracts of papers delivered at the University of Hamburg’s Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (17 – 19 October 2017).
  • Erik Kwakkel, Rodney Thomson, The European Book in the Twelfth Century, (2018)
  • Albert Derolez, The Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books: From the Twelfth to the Early Sixteenth Century, Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology No. 9. (2013).
  • Caspar Rene Gregory, ‘The Quires in Greek Manuscripts’, The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 7, No. 1 (1886), pp. 27-32.
  • Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann, ‘Greek Manuscripts at Dumbarton Oaks: Codicological and Paleographic Description and Analysis’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers
    Vol. 50 (1996), pp. 289-312,
  • Nick Pelling, ‘Radiocarbon Dating and the Voynich Manuscript‘, ciphermysteries, May 14th., 2015.
  • Adam Gacek, Arabic Manuscripts: A Vademecum for Readers (2009) p.212.
  • François Déroche, Islamic Codicology: An Introduction to the Study of Manuscripts in Arabic Script (2006) – the standard reference.
  • Élise Franssen, ‘What was there in a Mamlūk amīr’s library? Evidence from a 15th-century manuscript ’,  Ch.15 in  Yuval Ben-Bassat (ed.), Developing Perspectives in Mamluk History. Essays in Honor of Amalia Levanoni, Leiden, Brill, p. 311-332.
  • T M Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland (2000).
  • Robert K. Ritner, Egyptians in Ireland: a question of Coptic Peregrinations’. (pamphlet) Rice University Studies, 62, no. 2 (1976).[pdf]
  • Gregory Telepneff, The Egyptian Desert in the Irish Bogs: The Byzantine Character of Early Celtic Monasticism (2003)
  • C.M., ‘Coptic influence in the Early British Church’, StGeorge Orthodox Ministry, (20th. January 2018)
  • Brit.Lib. Harley MS 80.
  • Ralph W. Mathisen, ‘Palaeography and Codicology’, Part II, Ch.7 of  Susan Ashbrook Harvey and David G. Hunter (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies (2008)  (pp. 140-168).
  • ibid. – review by : Kenneth B. Steinhauser for Church History and Religious Culture, Vol. 90 Nos 2-13 (2010) pp.345-493
  • [pdf] Grigory Kessel and Natalia Smelova, ‘Sinai Syriac manuscripts in exile’
  • M. Beit-Arié, Hebrew Codicology: Historical and Comparative Typology of Hebrew Medieval Codices based on the Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts Using a Quantitative Approach (Preprint internet English version 0.1)  [link includes pdf for the English summary and Hebrew text. Another pdf link here]
  • Javier del Barco, The Late Medieval Hebrew Book in the Western Mediterranean: Hebrew Manuscripts and Incunabula in Context (Brill. 2015). Explores “the production, circulation, transmission, and consumption of Hebrew texts in the western Mediterranean (mainly Iberia, Provence, and Italy) between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries”
  • Dikran Kouymjian“Notes on Armenian Codicology. Part 1: Statistics Based on Surveys of Armenian Manuscripts,Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies Newsletter no. 4 (July 2012), pp. 18-23.
  • ___________________, “The Archaeology of the Armenian Manuscript: Codicology, Paleography and Beyond,” in Valentine Calzolari, (ed.,) with the collaboration of Michael Stone, Armenian Philology in the Modern Era: From Manuscript to Digital Text, Leiden: Brill, (2014), pp. 5-22.
  • Brit.Lib. Egerton MS 747,
  • [pdf] M. Beit-Arié, ‘Colophoned Hebrew Manuscripts Produced in Spain and the Distribution of the Localised Codices’, Signo 6 (1999) pp.161-178,
  • The Missal of Cardinal Angelo Acciaiuoli (1402-1405) Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum MS 30.
  • [pdf] Ira Rabin, O. Hahn, M. Geissbühler, ‘Combining Codicology and X-Ray Spectrometry to Unveil the History of Production of Codex germanicus 6’
  • Zsuzsanna Gulácsi, Manichaean Book Art: A Codicological Study of Iranian and Turkic Illuminated Book Fragments (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies) (2005).
  • Paul Hepworth and Karin Sheper, ‘Terminolology for the Conservation and Description of Islamic Manuscripts‘. (website).
  • e.g.  illustration in ‘A Chinese-Tibetan bilingual Buddhist manuscript‘, International Dunhuang Project (blogpost Nov. 20th., 2015).
  • Peter Francis Kornicki, The Book in Japan: A Cultural History from the Beginnings to the Nineteenth Century (Brill: 1998).
  • Harvard Medieval Scrolls Archive. – includes recommended readings and comprehensive bibliography.

Post 23: _____________ Pt 4:  working – or not working – within one’s capacities (April 16th., 2019)

  • Julian Bunn’s blog, Computational Attacks on the Voynich Manuscript.
  • E.M. Smith, Agnostic Voynich
  • Koen Gheuens, ‘Type Token Ratio’, (4th. May 2019)
  • Nick Pelling, ‘The Perplexing Mystery of the Voynich Languages‘ (5th. May 2019)
  • Robert S. Brumbaugh, ‘Botany and the Voynich “Roger Bacon” Manuscript Once More’, Speculum, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Jul., 1974), pp. 546-548
  • _______________, ‘The Solution of the Voynich “Roger Bacon” Cipher’, The Yale University Library Gazette, Vol. 49, No. 4 (April 1975), pp. 347-355.
  • Feynman quote: “It doesn’t make a difference how beautiful the guess is. It doesn’t make a difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”

Post 24:____________Pt 5a  Beinecke facsimile technical essay.  Codicological science versus the ‘editorialising hand’  (May 11th., 2019)

  •  ‘Travelling scriptorium‘ project.
  • Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts: Bookbinding terms, materials, methods and models, (issued by) Special Collections Conservation Preservation Department, Yale University Library (February 2015).[pdf]
  • J.A. Szirmai, The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding. 

Other sources:

  • Georgios Boudalis (, eds.), Historical Book Binding Techniques in Conservation (2016).
  • A general guide by The British Library [pdf]. David Pearson, English Bookbinding Styles 1450-1800, chapter 2,
  • PJM Marks, The British Library Guide to Bookbinding: History and Techniques. A comprehensive glossary by Don Etherington and Matt T Roberts
  • [pdf] David Pearson, John Mumford, Alison Walker, Bookbindings (British Library Preservation Guide)
  •  British Library, Database of Bookbindings.


To which I may now add with pleasure a full translation into English (by Illana Goldberg) of Professor Malachi Beit-Arié’s landmark study of Hebrew codicology. Part 1 is already (Nov.2019) available as a preprint through academia edu.

  • Hebrew Codicology: Historical and Comparative Typology of Hebrew Medieval Codices Based on Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts Using Quantitative Approach*. Updated preprint, Internet version 0.2+ (November 2018). [English Version] pdf.  The English version is by Ilana Goldberg, with Nurit Pasternack’s final scientific check and edit unfinished at the time of writing.

Post 25: ‘Weed seeds’ in Voynich writings. How  ‘canonised myth’ emerges. (May 24th., 2019)

  •  A. Ulyanenkov,’Voynich Manuscript (The “Book of Dunstan”) coding and decoding methods’ (16th. May 2019)

Post 26: ‘Retrospective justifications’.  on the gap between a theoretical and a technical approach (May 25th., 2019)

  • Minta Collins, Medieval Herbals: the Illustrative Tradition.(2000)
    AND the above, as reviewed by Alain Touwaide, see Isis, Vol. 95, No.4 (2004) pp. 695-697.
  • Paris, BNF ms. lat. 6823 ‘Tractatus de Herbis, de Avibus et Piscibus, of Manfredus di Monte Imperiali’
  • 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
  • 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. (for description of the ‘Manfredus’ herbal as “Lombard”). cf. site  ‘Manuscript Miniatures’ which attributes it to Pisa.) The present writer agrees with neither theory, and said so in a post to voynichimagery,
  • D.N. O’Donovan, ‘A note on Manfredus di Monte…’ voynichimagery, (July 10th., 2016). Now closed to the public.
  •  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.
  • 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).
  • John of Arderne’s Liber Medicinalis. –
    • London, British Library Sloane MS 335;
    • Glasgow University, Special Collections MS Hunter 251 (U.4.9).
  • d’Arcy Power, ‘The lesser writings of John of Arderne’ an independent paper delivered at the International Congress of Medicine held in London in 1913. (electronic source available through the University of Glasgow site).
  • Stewart C. Easton, Roger Bacon And His Search For A Universal Science (1952) pp.120-121.
  • Anglo-French character in some Vms images – citing Bodleian MS Laud Misc. 719 f.21r (1425-1450) and Brit.Lib. Arundel 83 f.130 (c.1310-1320).
  • Note: By c.2010, Dana Scott was alone convinced of an English provenance for the Voynich manuscript and he continued actively  investigating English sources when I last saw his comments to the second (Rich Santacoloma’s) 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.

Series 4: The skies above.  The Month-folios, with ‘March’ (f. 70v-1) as paradigm.

Post 27:  Skies above  [Pt.1] – background and methodological legacy. (August 17th., 2019)

Note – posts for the rest of Series 4 include material from the present writer’s research-notes, made chiefly 2008-2017, but with some more recent results included.  About half the research conclusions were shared through Voynich imagery to 2017. To include here all the academic sources I’ve consulted would be impractical so as usual, only a few are listed as a first and basic  guide for readers.

Post 28: ______________ Pt.2. ‘asteriskos’  Codicological details and the ‘asteriskos’ motif. (August 18th., 2019)


see earlier-listed sources for codicology and Voynich history and also

  • Alan Scott, Origen and the Life of the Stars: A History of an Idea (Oxford Early Christian Studies)
  • Alan Cameron, Callimachus and His Critics (2017)
  • Floris Overduin, Nicander of Colophon’s Theriaca (Brill) DOI:

Post 29 ____________ Part 3: ‘To tail or not to tail’ (August 27th., 2019)


Post 30:  ____________ Pt 4 Past studies (September 6, 2019).


Post 31: _____________ Pt.5 bodies in baskets (September 12, 2019).


Post 32______________ Pt 5b  Star and basket (September 21, 2019).


Post 33 _____________  Pt 5c Proportion and desire in folio 70v (September 27, 2019).


Post 34 _______________ Pt 6a  Adding and removing layers (October 4, 2019).


Post 35 ________________ Pt 6b Due (pro-) portion. (October 12, 2019).


Post 36 _________________ Pt 6c Methods, ideas and attitudes – and the ‘foreign’ in Voynich studies.
(November 10, 2019).

Post 37 ________________  Elevated souls Pt.1 (moral character)
(November 24, 2019).


Post 38  ________________  Elevated souls Pt 2a. ‘Astro —-‘ (December 1, 2019)


Past studies Criticism, scholarship and reviews – an incidental post (November 5, 2019)

oil lamp archae three-dotPost 39 ________________  Elevated souls Pt 2b. ‘Astro —-‘Base bodies’ (January 11th., 2020)

oil lamp archae three-dotPost40 ________________  Horoscopic charts or ‘clock o’ clay’ —-‘ (January 31st., 2020)

oil lamp archae three-dot Post 41 ________________  Chronological strata Pt.1 (February 6th., 2020)

oil lamp archae three-dot Post 42________________ Skies above – not astrological (

oil lamp archae three-dot sml Post 43 ________________  Skies above: Certain measures Pt.1 (

oil lamp archae three-dot sml Post 44 ________________ Skies above: certain measures Pt 2: presence and absence (

oil lamp archae three-dot sml Post 45 ________________ Skies above: Certain measures Pt.3a Absences and avoidances. (


–   COVID-19  –

oil lamp archae three-dot sml Post 46 ________________  Certain measures Pt 3b – Preface (

oil lamp archae three-dot sml Post 47 ________________  Certain measures 3b Preface – addendum. (

oil lamp archae three-dot sml Post 48 ________________  New Voynich research  Lisa Fagin Davis (

oil lamp archae three-dot sml Post 49 ________________   Ending the “skies above/certain measures” series. (

Posts included in Section 4  incorporate original research by the present author, whose information and conclusions were, unless otherwise specified, derived from non-Voynich related academic sources and evidence.  Any reader wanting more information or references is welcome to write to the author

voynichimagery AT gmail dot com.

Series 5: What magic?.  Where magic? –  origin of an idea.

What magic? Where magic? imposition of the occult. Pt.1- Wilfrid. (

  1. Wilfrid M. Voynich, ‘A Preliminary Sketch of the History of the Roger Bacon Cipher Manuscript’, Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Vol. 43 (1921). p.415.
  2. Mary Carruthers, The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric. and the Making of Images. 400–1200. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (1998).
    _________________, The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1990. (Second Ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2008.) First edition was published in 1980.
  3. ‘Natural philosophy, medieval’, Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. (entry by Edith Dudley Sylla). see also the special edition of Vivarium, Vol.35, No.2 (1977) ‘Roger Bacon and Aristotelianism’ especially.
  4. Jeremiah Hackett, ‘Bacon, Aristotle, and the Parisian Condemnations of 1270, 1277’ (pp.283-314).
  5. A.G. Molland, ‘Roger Bacon as Magician’, Traditio, Vol. 30 (1974), pp. 445-460

What magic? Where magic? Imposition of the occult Pt.2 – Newbold. (

  1. Sébastien Moureau, ‘Physics in the twelfth century: the ‘Porta Elementorum’ of PseudoAvicenna’s alchemical “de anima” and Marius’ “de elementis”, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Age, Vol. 80 (2013), pp. 147-222.
  2. Jean-Claude Schmitt, The Holy Greyhound Guinefort, healer of children since the thirteenth century. (Cambridge Studies in Oral and Literate Culture 6) CUP (1983).
  3. A.G. Molland, ‘Roger Bacon as Magician’, Traditio, Vol. 30 (1974), pp. 445-460. (pp.445-446).
  4. David J Collins, ‘Albertus, Magnus or Magus? Magic, Natural Philosophy, and Religious Reform in the Late Middle Ages’, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 1 (Spring 2010), pp. 1-44.
  5. Peter Grund, “Textual Alchemy: The Transformation of Pseudo-Albertus Magnus’s Semita Recta into the Mirror of Lights.” Ambix: The Journal for the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry 56(3): 202–225.
  6. Okasha el Daly, Egyptology: The Missing Millennium. El Daly’s book was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008.
  7. Edmond Nolan, S. A. Hirsch, The Greek Grammar of Roger Bacon, and a Fragment of His Hebrew grammar, CUP (1906). The link is to a copy at
  8. Reviewed by L. D. Barnett in The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Jan., 1903), pp. 334-336.
  9. Horst Weinstock, ‘Roger Bacon’s Polyglot Alphabets’, Florilegium Vol. 11 (1992) pp. 160-178.
  10. Andrew Dickson White, A history of the warfare of science with theology in Christendom (1896)
  11. [pdf] Walsh, James Joseph, The Popes and Science; the History of the Papal Relations to Science During the Middle Ages and Down to Our Own Time, Fordam University Press, New York 1908.

What magic? Where magic? 3a: The Friedmans. (

  1. Lynn Thorndike, The History of Magic and Experimental Science Vol.1. pp 766-767.
  2. Edward Lutz, ‘Roger Bacon’s Contribution to Knowledge’, Franciscan Studies, No. 17 (June, 1936), pp. ii-v, vii-xi, 1-82. 
  3. [pdf] Jim Reeds, ‘William F. Friedman’s Transcription of the Voynich Manuscript’ (1994).
  4. Lynn Thorndike, A History of Magic…  Vol.4 [Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries] p.169 n.99. (1934).
  5. [pdf] Ars Notoria: the notary art of Solomon translated into English by Robert Turner, 1657 (transcribed and converted to Acrobat by Benjamin Rowe, 1999).

What magic – where magic? 3b: historical consciousness. (

  1. Robert S. Brumbaugh, ‘The Voynich Cipher Manuscript: a current report’, The Yale University Library Gazette, Vol. 61, No.3/4 (April 1987) pp. 92-95. (p.94).
  2. Jackie Speel, ‘Eastern Europe – Wilfrid Voynich’History FilesUK (the blog) 30th. January 2010. Updated 9 October 2014.
  3. Holmes Van Mater Dennis, 3rd, ‘The Garrett Manuscript of Marcanova’, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, Vol. 6 (1927), pp. 113-126
  4. Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago (1907-1951),Vol. 10, No. 2 (Feb., 1916), pp. 143-144.
  5. Philip Neal, ‘Alchemical herbals‘.

What magic? Where magic? 3c: time shifts. (

  1. Friedman, William F. and Elizebeth S., ‘Acrostics Anagrams and Chaucer’, Philological Quarterly, Vol 38 (1959), pp.1-21.
  2. Lionell C. Strong, (1945), ‘Anthony Askham, the Author of the Voynich Manuscript’, Science, New Series, Vol. 101, No. 2633 (Jun. 15, 1945), pp. 608-609.
  3. Walter I. Trattner, God and Expansion in Elizabethan England: John Dee, 1527-1583, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Jan. – Mar.,1964), pp. 17-34Robert S. Brumbaugh, ‘The Solution of the Voynich “Roger Bacon” Cipher’, The Yale University Library Gazette, Vol. 49, No. 4 (April 1975), pp. 347-355.
  4. Robert S. Brumbaugh, ‘The Voynich Cipher Manuscript: a current report’, The Yale University LIbrary Gazette, Vol. 61, No.3/4 (April 1987) pp. 92-95.

What magic? Where magic? 3d: Germanic opinion and German scholars. (

  1. R.J. Roberts and Andrew G. Watson, eds., John Dee’s Library Catalogue. London: The Bibliographical Society, (1990).
  2. Henry E. Sigerist, ‘The Latin Medical Literature of the Early Middle Ages’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Vol. 13, No. 2 (April, 1958), pp. 127-146.
  3. Sigerist, H. E., ‘The medical literature of the early Middle Ages. A program— and a report of a summer of research in Italy. Bull. Inst. Hist. Med., 1934, No. 2, pp.26-50. ‘A summer of research in European libraries’. Ibid., 559-610.
  4. Henry E. Sigerist, ‘Editorial: Classics of Medicine’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine , Vol.16, No. 1 (June, 1944), pp. 1-12.
  5. Fritz Saxl, Verzeichnis astrologischer und mythologischer illustrierter Handschriften des lateinischen Mittelalters. Linked copy is at
  6. NSA, ‘New Research on the Voynich Manuscript: Proceedings of a Seminar’, 30 November 1976 [pdf]