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“I hit on the idea of identifying proper names in the text, following historic approaches which successfully deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs and other mystery scripts, and I then used those names to work out part of the script,” explained Professor Bax
seven stars which seem to be the Pleiades
and also the word KANTAIRON alongside a picture of the plant Centaury
Although Professor Bax’s decoding is still only partial
ho was this mysterious individual? Well, his name is written under the sign of the Ram and looks like ob…l, but wait look at that name in the mirror or better still Xerox the picture and look at its reverse in the light and as Figure 2 (the mirror image of figure 1) indicates, the name may be Lionardo. The “r” is added above the name. This tends to support my observation that the writing is similar to that of Leonardo da Vinci who spelt his name Lionardo not Leonardo. Figure 3 - chart signature figure 3 - Leonardo's signature Figure 3 Full Image Figure 3 shows a comparison of this signature, direct and mirror image, with an authentic signature of Leonardo da Vinci, also direct and mirror image.(2) The similarity is apparent but a writing expert would be required to confirm this. In addition there could have been the passage of a number of years between the two signatures, accounting for variations in the letters. The chart signature was written in mirror image writing while the other was not. I also show a drawing of a deer taken from one of Leonardo’s picture puzzles. There is a similarity between this drawing and the ram in the Aries chart.
botanists, who examined the VM’s botanical drawings, have dismissed them as a mishmash of flowers and leaves belonging to unrelated plants. The fanciful nature of some drawings makes identification with 21st century plants difficult. For example, one plant has a root system resembling a headless cat, another has leaves that look like a series of spears. The large number and variety of species in the plant kingdom further complicates the problem. The 18th century Linnean Herbarium contains over 14,000 plants classified into genera. The Ranunculus genus had 78 species; today, this number has increased to 600. Other members of the Ranunculaceae family include buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots, winter aconite, monk’s hood and the lesser celandine. Their flowers may have a few, many or no petals at all and a variety of different types of leaves. The diversity of flowers and leaves within a genus and the magnitude of the plant kingdom, makes the identification of the VM’s botanical plants rather like looking for a needle in a haystack. The botanical section of the VM may represent, in part, a private herbal. Consulting herbals used in the Middle Ages should help with the identification of these drawings. Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40 – c. 90 AD) produced the first herbal. His simple, natural drawings, used to illustrate De Materia Medica, were the gold standard for herbal illustrations until about 1550 AD. The illustrations in many subsequent herbals are degraded, stylized reproductions of Dioscorides’ work. Fortunately, by the 15th century, herbal illustrations had improved. These illustrations were simple basic drawings of plants, often representing not much more than a twig with a few leaves and perhaps a few flowers. By the middle of the 16th century, botanists like Dodoens Pemptades, Fuch and Mattioli reintroduced naturalism and more complexity into their herbal drawings. Digitized copies of 15th century herbal books and manuscripts, contemporary with the VM, are now available on the Internet. The simple woodcut illustrations in the herbal incunabula (books printed before 1500 AD) in conjunction with their Latin names, have allowed me to identify many of the VM’s botanical drawings. I also used illustrations from the following two books: Herbs, for the Mediaeval Household, Margaret B. Freeman, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1943. Herbals, their Origin and Evolution, Agnes Arber, Cambridge University Press, 1938. The incunabula were: Herbarius, Peter Schoeffer, 1484, in Latin., MGB Digital Library. Hortus Sanitatis, Peter Schoeffer, 1485, The only illustrations I could find from this herbal are from Margaret Freeman’s book, Herbs, for the Mediaeval Household. Gart der Gesundheit, Peter Schoeffer, 1485, Botanicus.internet site. Ortus Sanitatis, Jacob Meydenbach, Mainz, Germany, 1491. There are two copies of this herbal, one in black and white with easy to read Latin titles is available on the Smithsonian internet site, and a colored version on the Harvard University Library site. Herbarius Patauie Impressus, 1485, Harvard University Library site. Some of the VM’s botanical drawings show a surprising similarity to woodcut illustrations in herbals, printed after 1484, using the Gutenberg Press in Mainz, Germany. One of the printers, Peter Schoeffer, was apprenticed to Gutenberg and after Gutenberg’s death, he continued printing his own books, publishing his first herbal in 1484. His herbals were printed in either German or Latin. It should be pointed out that Peter Schoeffer was just the publisher of these herbals; he probably did not write the texts. Printers of other herbals used many of his woodcuts. The author or authors of these herbals are unknown, likewise the origin of the woodcuts and who carved them. Examining these woodcuts caused me to postulate that many of the VM’s drawings were not drawn from nature, but were copied from a contemporary herbal or herbals with similar odd characteristics. VM folio 14r has leaves like spears and is very similar to the illustration of sorrel, in Peter Schoeffer’s Herbarium, Plate 1. The illustration of diptamus in Jacob Meydenbach’s Ortus Sanitatis has roots resembling a headless animal, similar to the plant, folio 90v1, that has roots like a headless cat, Plate 2. Other examples are given later. Nobody in the 15th century would have considered the VM’s drawings strange or unacceptable; they are no different from other 15th century herbal drawings. Plate 1 Plate 1 Plate 2 Plate 2 What initially puzzled me was why some of the VM’s drawings appear almost identical to illustrations from herbals printed in Germany, from 1484 onwards. The VM is assumed to have originated in Italy sometime around the middle of the 15th century. Further investigation showed that some VM drawings closely resembled illustrations from the following Italian herbals: Herbal, N. Italy (Lombardy), c.1440, Sloane MS 4016, British Library internet site. Tractatus de herbis (Herbal); De Simplici Medicina, Bartholomaei Mini de Senis; Platearius; Nicolaus, between c.1280 and c.1310. S.Italy (Solerno). Egerton MS 747, British Library internet site. This manuscript provides English names with the plant illustrations. Herbarien des Pseudo Apulelus und Antonus Musa, & Essen 305, Fulda. C~1470. The small size of the illustrations made the print too small to read. Pseudo Antonus Musa. De Herba Vettonica Liber. Hartley MS 1585. Produced in the last quarter of the 12th century. British Library internet site. Antonius Musa was a botanist and physician to the Roman Emperor Augustus. His brother was physician to King Juba II of Mauretania (Libya). Further investigation of the drawings of VM’s plants indicated that they could be divided into two basic groups, plants that were drawn directly from nature and those drawings that were very similar to or could be identified from illustrations in German or Italian herbals. Latin names were used to identify plants in the early herbals. If this name later became the botanical name of the plant, identification is simple. However if the two names are different, then correlating an illustration with a living plant is not always possible. Plate 3 Plate 3 Many of the drawings of plants, I have dubbed drawn directly from nature, are alpine. I had the good fortune last year, while on a cruise down the Danube, of buying the following book: Alpen Pflanzen, text R.Slavik, illustrations j. Kaplicka, Artia, Prag, 1977. I realized, while thumbing through its pages, that I was looking at a number of the VM drawings, drawings I was unable to find counterparts for in the various herbals I had consulted. This observation probably indicates that the author of the VM lived in a hilly or mountainous region of Northern Italyedit on 21-2-2014 by CallmeRaskolnikov because: (no reason given)