Let's start with the chart of what I call 'Ellie's Voynich alphabet' which is somewhat based on the EVA (European Voynich Alphabet)
My theory of the VMS cypher is that the illustrations are in fact keys to the route in the text that holds the message. To demonstrate I picked the popular 'sunflower' page f.33v
As you can see the plant has 3 roots, 3 flowers and 3 leaves on each side of the stem, so I ran simple fence cypher - I extracted every third letter of the text. That approach produced interesting story in the last few lines.
On the image I burned every third letter so it is easier for you to follow the route.
arq dvoreca d'qrna
racovrlca i v nl
crcla oo dvq
The result shows some word similar to today's Russian and what is even better - similar to Russian grammar. Plus the apostrophe ' in the Voynich manuscript comes in somewhat right place in the name of the palace.
arq - arc - арка
dvoreca - palace - дворец, дворца
racovrlsa - to break, burst - Разорвался, разоврался
crcla - to cut, срезла
i - and, и
v - in, в
oo dvq - in two, о две
rvom - moat, рвом, ров
My proposed translation:
The arc of the Karnak palace
crashed and into the Nile
was cut in two
Of course, all this can't be proven since exploring fence cipher in unknown language of 15th century leads to infinite possibilities for interpretation.
However, it is a nice story, especially since the first known owner of the what is called today The Voynich manuscript - Georg Baresch wrote in 1639:
"In fact, it is quite probable that some good man, interested in the true medical science (having realized that the common method of healing in Europe was not very effective) went to the oriental regions, where he acquired some Egyptian treasures of medicine, partly from books, partly also from discussions with the experts in this art, and that he took this information back with him, buried in this book with its characters."
Visit the website of Philip Neal for all VMS related letters and their translation hereSo, how does Peter of Candia (pope Alexander V) fit into this Slavic language - Egyptian story?
Let's point to the fact that between 1350s when he went to Oxford (notably at Greyfriars as Roger Bacon did) and 1380s when he was lecturing at the University of Paris, Peter of Candia did missionary work in Russia and Lithuania (where he tutored the future King of Poland Jogaila). It is safe to assume he had a decade or two of exposure to Slavic languages before he went to Paris. Add to this year or two in Prague around 1393 when he was working on Geangaleazo Visconti's Duke of Milan title - this is a lot of time spent in Slavic speaking environment.
As for his interest in Egypt and particularly Alexandria, I will make another post. For now, I will just draw attention to 15th century Ptolemy Maps manuscript held in the Royal library in Madrid. The whole book is dedicated to Peter of Candia then Pope Alexander V with wonderful miniature on the first page depicting the Pope in a pyramid-like setting.