Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Wednesday, March 13, 2002 Permanent link to this day
Election update

Mugabe is claiming victory.


When Words Fail: discovered in 1665 and rediscovered in 1912, the Voynich Manuscript still defies translation. Lev Grossman describes the attempts and the claimed successes.

Some of the illustrations are in color: royal blues, watery greens, and red browns that look like dried blood. Faces with oddly wistful expressions are everywhere, peering out from moons and planets and even doodled into leaves and roots. Some pages unfold unexpectedly, centerfold-style, into four- or six-page posters crammed with detail. One poster has been crumpled and wadded up and won't lie flat. Someone, not the original scribe, has added page numbers, and there are gaps in the numbering where pages have been lost.

But as curious as the pictures are, the most unsettling thing about the Voynich manuscript is the text itself. It's written in a mysterious alphabet that exists nowhere else in the world, and after centuries of study, not even the most accomplished medieval historians and military code breakers have been able to figure out what it says, or who wrote it, or when, or where, or why.

[via The Daily Grail]

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