Voynich Wiki

This is an attempt to bring together information on the background/context and the possible influences on the creation of the Voynich Manuscript.

Relevant additions welcome.

The vellum of the VM has been dated to the first part of the 15th century, with the text being dated by some authorities to about the same time. The text does look at least superficially like other documents of the Italian layout and writing hands of the time.

The Wikipedia chronology of the 15th century is [1], and that on the literary activities of the time at [2].

Most of the proposed authors - from Roger Bacon to Wilfrid Voynich himself are thus excluded from being the author of the VM on the grounds of being active in the wrong period. (The possibility of the author(s) of the VM making use of/copying earlier documents is, however, not excluded.)

This was the period when movable type printing was being developed in Europe (see Wikipedia page [3]), and several state libraries were being established.

There were a range of manuscript hands in use at the time - and a number of scripts (Latin, Greek, Cyrillic etc).

Prester John was believed to be in Africa in this period. There were documents purportedly from him in Europe.

  • A manuscript with a complete version of the Alphabetum Kaldeorum among other alphabets, has been dated to 1428.

Various 'heretical' movements were developing in this period - notably John Wycliffe and (John Huss) Jan Hus.

  • Early 15th century: beginning of Portuguese exploration and expansion - capture of Ceuta in 1415 [4].
  • 1440 Lorenzo Valla [5] published a dissertation against the Donation of Constantine [6].
  • In the mid-15th century Johannes Gutenberg [7] was involved in the development of the movable type printing press [8].
  • 1453 The fall of Constantinople [9]

See also Dating the Manuscript and Voynich Manuscript timeline