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The Voynich Manuscript: The Ancient Text that Baffled Historians and Linguists Alike

Ann Nuñez

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Ever since its discovery in an Italian Jesuit college in 1912, no one has been able to decipher and translate the contents of the Voynich manuscript.

The 246-page book contains hundreds of illustrations and approximately 170,000 characters of an unknown language. It is unknown whether the characters stand for a secret code, or it is an ancient language lost to time. One thing is for sure, though – the manuscript contains some highly interesting illustrations. Although it has no clearly specified chapters or subchapters, the book can be subdivided into six categories based on the illustrations: the botanical chapter containing drawings of plants, the astronomical chapter with celestial bodies and zodiac signs, balneological chapter containing nude illustrations of female figures, cosmological, pharmaceutical, and food chapters.

Some pages contained illustrations of unknown and unidentified plants, such as these

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Others contained astronomical illustrations, some of which spread out over several folded pages.

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This page contained cosmological drawings composed of circles and swirls

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While another contained drawings of naked women on a tub.

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Although its origins were unknown, carbon dating analysis showed that the book may have been from between 1404 and 1438. This was also corroborated by the styles of the people on the illustrations, which were a boom during the same period.

A lot of theories concerning the origin of the manuscript circulate in the academic and internet world, but to date, the mystery surrounding the text is yet to be cracked.

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Source: The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

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