The Voynich manuscript is the most known example of a book written in an undeciphered script. Despite numerous attempts at deciphering the text, it still remains a deep mistery. A recent study makes light on the mistery.
The Voynich manuscript comprises 104 folios, the text consists of 40 symbols organized in “words” and most pages contains illustrations. It was divided in 5 sections: Herbal, Astrological, Bilogical, Pharmacological and Recipes. Carbon dating suggests that it was written in fifteenth century.
Its author and language are unknown and no one has found another text written in the same script. The coloured plants in the illustrations don’t correspond to any existing plants, and no illustrations could be clearly interpreted in the whole document. The illustrations contain also human figures mainly women.
The Voynich manuscript is a deep and intriguing mistery.
Recently an interesting paper was published on the free Journal PLoS ONE by Marcelo Montemurro and Damian Zanette. The scientists have analyzed the whole text using the methods of information theory. First they’ve identified the most informative words, that is a “word” carrying a lot of information like a keyword, in the whole text. They’ve found the characteristic length of a set of words with higher information. The comparison of the Voynich manuscript to other language, such as Latin, English and Chinese, shows the same pattern of information word distribution. The researchers estabilished a network connection beetween the most informative words and the sections of the texts using semantic affinities, in order to find different thematic parts of the text.
A definitive conclusion about the mysterious nature of Voynich manuscript is still elusive. But the results of this research show that the Voynich Manuscript presents a no random complex structure in the distribution of words that strictly resemble real language patterns. These results give support ti the presence of some kind of information in the Manuscript.
– Public domain electronic images of Voynich manuscript is available at Wikimedia Commons and Yale Library
– The original research article Marcelo A. Montemurro and Damiàn H. Zanette “Keywords and Co-Occurence Patterns in the Voynich Mnuscript: an Information-Theoretical Analysis” PLos ONE (2013)