Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Voynich Manuscript: Da Vinci's Appendix

I already discussed the possibility that two of the drawings on fol. 77v of the Voynich Manuscript represent the anatomy of the intestines and the appendix (click here). Curiously Leonardo da Vinci also chose to zoom-in the appendix and draw it separately  on the same page as the intestines.

This particular drawing of Leonardo is dated 1492, so the picture would have been available in 1494 when da Vinci accompanied Ludovico Sforza to Pavia to meet the French King Charles VIII during his Italian War. Leonardo also met on the same trip the anatomist della Torre (click here ) and thus inspired the royal physician/astrologer/prophet/poet Jean Michel to make similar composition in his book that was captured later at the battle of Fornovo and smeared publicly because of all the naked women in it. OK, the part about Jean Michel is all speculation, of course.


  1. Nice find Ellie !
    No surgeon here, but I've heard EVERYONE starts with an appendix.
    No god here, but someone KNEW something ~back-then~
    May GOD bless Grandpa & _Grandma_ of the past.

    steve (just guts under review) ekwall :-)

  2. I guess our great great great grandmas and pas had an appendix too :)

  3. Did y'all ever wonder "what was the use of the appendix"? Apparently even today's surgeons "snip it out" when performing any abdominal surgery. What is very interesting to me is the lengths anatomists and artists had to go to for "specimens" upon which to perform their specialties.

    Battlefield surgeons, back then, probably said a prayer of thanks to the botanist who discovered the benefits of burning mandrake roots for the anesthesiology while doing amputations. As far as obtaining models for anatomists and or artists, usually gravediggers were bribed.

    SteveE, I guess y'gotta say "it takes guts to take guts" when drawing and quartering various historical heros/traitors.......

  4. Ellie,
    One more "punny" from me: "Al Gore -- All gore when it comes to debates?


  5. Hi BD, in 15th century the surgeons at some universities were allowed to make legal dissections - much like today's medical students do. I agree, the wars and some medieval punishment and 'interrogation techniques' also gave plenty of opportunities :)

  6. Good morning!
    I thought I'd let you know that I'm planning to write up my findings (and translations) of the various discussions which accompany every "botanical" item in the Vms. I'm also getting a copy of the recently published book, Busbecq's "Letters". (Specifically his correspondence with Carolus Clusius). I won't be able to determine if the entire manuscript was written by Busbecq until I can find references to his travels through Suleiman's territories, and specifically his "sign-off" on Vms folio 116v: He refers to Ancyra (Nick translated that word as being "nihil obstat") and Busbecq also mentions a monument to Augustus (early Roman emperor).

    Also recently, Diane, ThomS, and I, have been debating what the animal is, which appears in the left margin of that same folio. I say Angora (Ancyra?) goat. Diane sez long-tail sheep. ThomS sez "goat"........ I finished the discussion by referring to the source material (leather) of "Persian Lamb" hats, coats, and handmuffs.

    Fun! :)