Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Voynich Manuscript: Rampion

Round-headed Rampion (Phyteuma globulariifolium) may be the flower represented on fol. 50v of the Voynich Manuscript. The German common name of the plant Teufelskralle means Devil's claw. The root may be meant for octopus, which is sometimes associated with the shape of the flower.The leaves on the VMs drawing appear to be paired, but it could also be meant for folded leaves. 


  1. A very long time ago, when I was a child of 10-12 years, I read a novel somewhere that Europeans (maybe Heidi?) ate "ramps" as they would onions. My Botanical encyclopedia (T.H.Everett, New York Botanical Garden) discusses Phyteuma comosum as being a "choice" herb, horned rampion, as being hardy perennial herbs....etc. One sketch and one black & white photo, and discussion of several specie. I'm going with you on this ID.

    I'm also asking you, on this discussion page to find some discussion on Dioscorea-Yam, Cinnamon Vine, Batatas. Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, in his "Turkish Letters" pp 69-70, refers to "scordium" as a cure for plague. I can find only a sketch in my encyclopedia.
    Take a look at Nick's discussion page "The Svelte Voynich" for my latest donations/referrals/ in re the entire manuscript being Busbecq's travel diary and botanical sketches and discussions (including the "recipes" and pharmaceutical uses of some of the plants).

    It took ten days for my book "The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselen de Busbecq"(ordered from Amazon) to arrive. I am amazed at how quickly I have been able to prove, yesterday, that the Voynich manuscript is NOT written in some obscure Code. Take a look at Nick's "The Svelte Voynich" pages of latter part of June through this morning.

    Excited? Yeah!. Crazy? Nay. Just my daily self-evaluation!

    Hang in there, kiddo!

  2. Hi BD, I checked the Svelte post. What do you have so far for the 116v - is Ancara one of the words there?

  3. Oh yes, the word which Nick tried to decodify (several months ago on one of his other "Voynich"pages) as " nichil obstat" on f116v was Busbecq writing in his travelog/memoir/diary/botanical notes (whatever you want to call the entire "Voynich" manuscript). Busbecq was keeping a record of his travels through the Ottoman empire. I have no doubt at all that he wrote the entire manuscript. That last page/folio of the Voynich manuscript is Busbecq's final commentary on the Monumentum Ancyranum Temple/Monument to the early Roman Caesar Augustus at Ankara. Which translates to one of many Augustan temples scattered throughout the old Roman Empire.

    For less than $10 American, you can get a full translation of "The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq (Edward Seymour Forster, translator, and a foreword by Karl A. Roider. Although I very impatiently had to wait almost 10 days for my soft-bound copy of this wonderful book (used, from, it is worth every penny -- go for it!

    I've already translated one botanical described by Busbecq's doctor friend as "scordium":
    (Letters, pages 68-69). Current botanical identification discussion is for "dioscordium" per my elderly encyclopedia set from the New York Botanical Garden (published in MCMLXIV and MCMLXVII) editor T. H. Everett).

    So, you can see that my reference encyclopedia is almost as old as Busbecq's! (Just kidding!)

  4. Busbecq's doctor was Quacquelen, William. I wonder if our current language for a not very good doctor, "a quack", may have origins in Busbecq's writings?