10 Words Deciphered From Mysterious 600-Year-Old Text
Stephen Bax has figured out 14 characters from the Voynich manuscript
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Feb 21, 2014 1:52 PM CST
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(Newser) – What has been called the most mysterious manuscript in the world has at last given up a tiny handful of its secrets. An applied linguistics professor thinks he's deciphered 14 characters from the famous Voynich manuscript, and with them 10 complete words, LiveScience, the BBC, and the Independent report. The 600-year-old illustrated text was re-discovered in 1912, but it's written in an unknown alphabet, and in the century since no one has been able to make heads or tails of it. Some have suggested it's an untranslatable medieval hoax.

"I hit on the idea of identifying proper names in the text," like those of stars and planets, researcher Stephen Bax explains. The same technique was once used to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. After that, he could identify other words; pictures of corriander, hellebore, and juniper turned out to be labeled as such. "My research shows conclusively that the manuscript is not a hoax," Bax says. It "is probably a treatise on nature." Last year, another study suggested the same, demonstrating that the text follows linguistic rules.

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
People_Suck
Feb 23, 2014 6:17 PM CST
"It's the translation of these fifteen command (crash)....er ten commandments".
Tomsylvania
Feb 22, 2014 1:21 PM CST
He will be less exited when he translates the title... "How to serve Man"
OrneryPup
Feb 21, 2014 7:55 PM CST
It's a DOOMSDAY message pinning tomorrow as the end-n-stuff ! Lucky for us that tomorrow never comes.