On xkcd and the Voynich Manuscript

Today’s xkcd webcomic is about the Voynich Manuscript.

No one’s really sure what it is, except that it’s a guidebook of sorts to Europe of the High Middle Ages. It’s written in no known language, using no known alphabet, and it’s illustrated at length. Judging by the illustrations it covers a wealth of scientific knoweledge, from botany to astronomy to biology. Only, it’s indecipherable; it’s possible that the accompanying text has absolutely naught to do with the illustrations.

Explaining the history of the Voynich Manuscript would take too long; suffice it to say, the Wikipedia article covers the bases fairly well.

Today’s comic offers a suggestion that’s as a good as any for what the manuscript is. πŸ™‚

Which works, in some ways. Personally, I could envision it as the work of a medieval Tolkien; the pages of the Voynich Manuscript aren’t at all dissimilar to some of Tolkien’s Elvish writings with accompanying illustrations.

Of course, if I were writing a story about the Voynich Manuscript…

It would obviously be the work of the Meddling Monk. πŸ™‚

See, now that I’ve typed that, what had been just a notion I’ve carried for a while starts to take on attributes of a story. I see the mechanism, I see the reason, I see the conflict with the Doctor. That’s how ideas work sometimes. Ideas find their purchase on the fertile imagination, where they take root and grow. πŸ™‚

In any event…

I enjoyed the cartoon. It made me laugh. πŸ™‚

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