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Voynich MS News
Posted: 24 February 2014 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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What very large sums of money could have been involved during the time of its creation?

We are told that he Emperor Rudolph paid 600 ducats for it.  In the 15th century, that was a very large sum of money indeed.  And con-men and fakers were as common, hundreds of years ago, as they are today.

I don’t think it has to be a fake. I just think that’s by far the most probable story.

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Posted: 24 February 2014 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Dave: this site suggests that the cost of vellum may not have been as prohibitive as you suppose—pretty insignificant, in fact, when weighed against 600 ducats

http://proto57.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/but-who-would-use-vellum-anyway/

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Posted: 24 February 2014 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I’m not sure I’d trust that site. Quoting a 1911 source for codicology resources isn’t the best scholarly practice. It also uses terms very loosely, and I’m not sure the writer knows what he is talking about (e.g., “vellum skin,” as far as I know, there is no such animal as a “vellum.")

A 240-page manuscript, like Voynich, would optimally consist of thirty 8-page quires, with each quire made from one sheet of vellum, and each cow producing some 3+ sheets. (I don’t know exactly how the Voynich is composed; it probably has more quires of various sizes.) It would take, roughly, ten cows to produce the thirty vellum sheets. (If it’s actually parchment, that’s many more sheep.) That’s a fair number of animals. It’s not absurdly prohibitive, but it’s not insignificant, and it’s more than most hoaxers would lay out on spec.

(Technically, vellum is cow skin and parchment is sheep skin, but it takes a DNA test to tell one from another. Despite the technical difference, “vellum” and “parchment” are interchangeable for practical purposes, both as terms and as physical objects. So when a manuscript is described as being “vellum,” there isn’t much confidence that it actually comes from a cow and not a sheep.)

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Posted: 24 February 2014 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Dave Wilton - 24 February 2014 08:47 AM

I think “generally accepted” is a more apt description than “no doubt at all.” I don’t know of anyone who seriously advances the proposition that the manuscript is a modern creation, but the possibility that it is a very clever modern forgery can’t be utterly dismissed.

The second formulation, “no doubt at all,” can be applied to only a few principles, such as the second law of thermodynamics.

Fair enough. My apologies for overstating.

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Posted: 24 February 2014 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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lionello - 24 February 2014 08:59 AM



What very large sums of money could have been involved during the time of its creation?

We are told that he Emperor Rudolph paid 600 ducats for it.  In the 15th century, that was a very large sum of money indeed. 

Great, but Rudolph ruled in the late 16th century, early 17th century. That sale took place at least 150 years after the piece is widely thought to have been created.

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Posted: 24 February 2014 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I’m not sure the writer knows what he is talking about (e.g., “vellum skin,” as far as I know, there is no such animal as a “vellum.")

I suspect you may be doing the poor fellow an injustice.  When he speaks of a “vellum skin” I don’t think he means “the hide of a vellum”, but is simply referring to a whole animal hide, made into vellum but not yet cut into sheets. Vellum, by the way is, or was, supposed to be made from the skin of a calf, not of a cow. The finest quality vellum was made from the skin of fetal calves, from their mother’s womb untimely ripp’t: Vellum Macduff. It had the additional valuable quality of being edible (preferably after boiling, and with a splash of Worcestershire Sauce); this came in handy during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, when the monks fell on hard times.

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Posted: 24 February 2014 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I suspect you may be doing the poor fellow an injustice.  When he speaks of a “vellum skin” I don’t think he means “the hide of a vellum”, but is simply referring to a whole animal hide, made into vellum but not yet cut into sheets.

I don’t really think that he thought the animal was the vellum, but the sloppiness of the language is an indicator that he’s not on familiar turf, that’s the point. But I don’t know what he means when he says “vellum skin,” whether it is the entire hide, or individual sheets.

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Posted: 25 February 2014 04:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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he means what Messrs. Hewit mean: a whole animal skin.

https://www.hewitonline.com/category_s/25.htm

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Posted: 26 February 2014 07:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Skibberoo - 24 February 2014 01:50 AM

From: http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/02/23/why-scholars-can-resist-uncrackable-voynich-manuscript/FWGMJjrqolrQ50L86SpkQP/story.html

Here is what is known about the Voynich manuscript, a mysterious document that has bedeviled scholars and top cryptographers for more than a century: It consists of 246 pages of handwritten script and illustrations. It was discovered in an Italian monastery by a Lithuanian bookseller named Wilfrid Voynich in 1912..............................................

Last week came another claim: Stephen Bax, a British applied linguist, announced he had translated 10 of its words.

Both of the new theories have been greeted with skepticism by longtime Voynich observers. “The temptation is always to fragment it, to look at a piece in isolation and say, ‘Ta da!’” Pelling said. “They get heavily invested in one tiny detail, and their enthusiasm for that detail wants them to shut their eyes to everything else.”

The fact that a botanist, an information technologist, and a linguist have published new theories on the manuscript within just a few weeks attests to the Voynich’s remarkable intellectual pull—and offers a fascinating illustration of what happens when you try to solve a puzzle with very different sets of tools.............

That’s an excellent article, skibs, thanks for linking it I think Gordon Rugg, the guy quoted in the article, is persuasive. I’m inclined to go with hoax.

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