Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Voynich Manuscript: Le Mystère de la Passion

As you know by now, Jehan Michel Pierrevive, royal physician of Charles VIII,  is my favorite suspect for author of the Voynich Manuscript (at least until I find more entertaining idea) in my theory that the VMs and the book with naked women, found in the tent of the King of France during the Battle of Fornovo 1495, are one and the same.

I was able to find the 1493-1494 edition of the mystery play that Jean Michel reportedly authored. Apparently he was the Mel Gibson of his time. It is in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (visit here). Le Mystère de la Passion is a printed book which is embellished really beautifully.

First thing I noticed was that the end of the lines were filled with painted decoration for aesthetic purposes which reminded me of the presentation of Prescott Currier on the Voynich Manuscript (read here ). He explained curious detail about the line in the VMS as functional entity:

"...The ends of the lines contain what seem to be, in many cases, meaningless symbols: little groups of letters which don’t occur anywhere else, and just look as if they were added to fill out the line to the margin..."
Could the explanation be that the text is poetry?

The flowers that are painted in the Passion play book are very humble ones. One particular thistle caught my eye because it was shaped to fit inside Fleur-de-lis  symbol, which reminded me of the VMs fol. 13r.


  1. Ellie,
    Those may be carnations depicted in the fleur de lys. Carnations (pinks) are often seen in manuscript floral borders and even in the elaborate initial letter which begins a discussion in re Mary, Mother of Christ. Could Pierrevive be possibly doing some medieval word-play/punning on what was a very Passionate religious observation?

    So, have you been able to read any of Pierrevive's "Passion" discussion? The discussion may be quite relevant to Charles VIII's lifestyle?

    Maybe I'm wandering far afield in a meadow (battlefield) of very sensitive issues of those times?

  2. Hi BD, sorry, I don't speak French and the book and the commentary I found is all in French. I can guess the topic of a page or two, but I have no knowledge to understand or interpret the text.The book is big too - 400 pages monster of a play - the performance took 4 days.

  3. Then again, those may be thistles inside the fleur d' lys. What comes to mind (not necessarily relevant to the time period we're focusing on) is the Canadian song (anthem?):

    ...the lily, thistle, shamrock, rose; the maple leaf forever

  4. Interesting. Lily is for the Holy mother,thistle for Christ,shamrock for the Trinity,the maple leaf for Canada... what about the rose?

  5. The rose is probably for the English monarchy?