the solution to understanding the mysterious Voynich manuscript

_68289505_voynich_manuscrito151Nicholas Gibbs at the TLS:

For medievalists or anyone with more than a passing interest, the most unusual element of the Voynich manuscript – Beinecke Ms. 408, known to many as “the most mysterious manuscript in the world” – is its handwritten text. Although several of its symbols (especially the ligatures) are recognizable, adopted for the sake of economy by the medieval scribes, the words formed by its neatly grouped characters do not appear to correspond to any known language. It was long believed that the text was a form of code – one which repeated attempts by crypt­o­graphers and linguists failed to penetrate. As someone with long experience of interpreting the Latin inscriptions on classical monuments and the tombs and brasses in English parish churches, I recognized in the Voynich script tell-tale signs of an abbreviated Latin format. But interpretation of such abbreviations depends largely on the context in which they are used. I needed to understand the copious illustrations that accompany the text.

I first came across the Voynich manuscript some fifteen years ago when, as a professional history researcher, I was looking into some of the more bizarre claims by commentators about some of my ancestors – John Florio (1553–1625) and Jane Fromond (1555–1604/5), the wife of Dr John Dee and grand-daughter of Thomas Fromond, the great English herbalist. I am also a muralist and war artist with an understanding of the workings of picture narration, an advantage I was able to capitalize on for my research. A chance remark just over three years ago brought me a com­mission from a television production company to analyse the illustrations of the Voynich manuscript and examine the commentators’ theories.

more here.