Voynich manuscript: how scientists make sensations out of nothing

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Almost everyone who is interested in history heard about an unusual artifact that, according to expert estimates, could have appeared in the 15th century. The document got its name in honor of the Polish antiquarian Wilfred Voynich, who acquired it in 1912 from the male spiritual order of the Roman Catholic Church of the Order of St. Ignatius.

In short, this is an illustrated code written by an unknown author in an unknown language using an unknown alphabet. Like all the mysterious and mysterious, the Voynich manuscript invariably attracts attention, which, of course, gives a huge space for maneuver to various scammers and adventurers. And also, of course, to scientists who simply want to declare themselves.

Apparently, linguist Gerard Cheshire from British University of Bristol, who recently stirred up the entire scientific world with news about the “decryption” of the manuscript, is one of them. In his opinion, the manuscript was made by Dominican nuns as a source of reference information for Maria of Castile (Queen of Aragon) and other women of the court. The document, according to Cheshire, was written in the Protoromanian language, which can be considered the forerunner of languages ​​such as Portuguese, French or Spanish.

Allegedly, the text is devoted to women’s health, herbal medicines, therapeutic bathing, observation of space objects, and other issues that were extremely important at that time (and today).

Gerard Cheshire himself tried to call the results obtained a kind of “insight”, albeit supported by scientific information. This is not enough for a true discovery.

Almost immediately, the work was criticized. Thus, Yuri Orlov , the head of the department of the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who was actively involved in the study of the Voynich manuscript , said that the conclusions received by Cheshire have an overly free interpretation, and the document itself may never be able to be decrypted. “At this stage, it is the message, and not the work in question, is one of many messages of the same kind, in which it was alleged that the manuscript was decrypted. In fact, there is no talk about semantic interpretation yet, the author has put forward a hypothesis about the language of individual fragments of the text,” Orlov said.

In general, scientists believe that Gerard Cheshire draws his conclusions without relying on a specific (albeit forgotten) language, simply artificially finds similar short words through different Romance languages, without providing any evidence.

Of course, this could not but have consequences for Cheshire itself. Later, the University of Bristol removed from its website an advertisement for decoding the Voynich manuscript. “The study was the author’s personal work, not affiliated with the University of Bristol,” the institution said in a statement. This is probably the end of the story. However, this is not the end of attempts to decipher the famous manuscript. Who knows, maybe even dubious new information will help future scientists in their hard work.

 

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