Friday, August 2, 2013

The Voynich Manuscript: the Castle next to the Volcano

Voynich manuscript expert Richard SantaColoma started interesting discussion at the VMs list about the castles pictures on the 9-rosette. He shows examples of castles that are completely made-up with no connection to real structures (all of them in forged manuscripts). I agree with him that the Voynich manuscript being a forgery is a possibility (especially having in mind the period during which it was discovered in modern times). However, it is irresistible fun to browse through pictures of European medieval castles looking for clues (much like looking at wild flowers - it just makes me happy).

So here comes the castle of day.

Many drawing in the VMs have details that could be just mnemonic reminders for the author. So I thought - what if the 'volcano' on the 9-rosette is a clue for volcano - but not necessary fuming one.
The castle on the picture is actually the facade of Maria Laach Abbey (established in 12th century), which is situated on the banks of Laacher See in Germany. The See is in fact a volcanic crater lake. So there you have it - castle next to volcano.

The comparison is just for fun. The  ghibelline merlons in the 9-rossette scream more 'Italy' than 'Germany' (which is ironic since they are supposed to demonstrate allegiance to the Emperor),  the sketches of the castles may not be based on real buildings, and inch distance between drawings on the 9-rosette may be hundreds of miles on the map.


  1. Hello Ellie,
    Centuries ago Father Kircher published his "translation" of the Voynich castle. Remember when you, Diane, and I were were going "Round and Round on the forum pages we developed while Nick was having his reunion in Frascati"

    Father Kircher was close, insofar as labeling that "castle" as being Vellitrae. Vellitrae overlooks the volcanic lakes named "Alban" and "Nemi". I still think that the "Voynich" Manuscript's writer was Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. I still believe that de Busbecq''s diary was written while he was Ambassador to Suleiman's court. I still believe that he carried his manuscript/diary with him to the court of Ferdinand I. I still believe that he brought that same diary with him when Ferdinand I sent him to the court of Rudolph II. I still believe that the animals which ended up in Rudolph's court were accompanied by de Busbecq. Shortly before the outbreak of the "Thirty-Year's War" de Busbecq attempted to go home, leaving his diary (and the animals) in Rudolph's/Mattias' court. De Busbecq was killed by French soldiers while on the road to Flanders and the Louvain.

  2. Ellie! Thank you for the feedback, and also the interesting comparison. That is a very similar castle that you have pictured... certainly. It fits nicely next to the sponge... ummmmm... I mean volcano! All the best, Rich.

  3. Hi BD, thanks for reminding me about the Velletri possibility. I can't find similar building there, but it is possible it did not survive. I'll keep searching.

    Hi Rich, the sponge :)

  4. The reason I am somewhat adamant about various features of the Vms is because Voynich bought the manuscript from what was left of Rudolph II's estate after the Thirty Years war. Most of the manuscripts MAY have ended up in the Jesuit headquarters in Frascati/Rome. Fr. Kircher tells his own story of years of education, sponsored by a "hometown" nobleman, and his harrowing journey across the battlefields and Swiss army patrols. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if evidence is found to back up his story. Much of Fr. Kircher's museum artifacts bore the seal or emblem of Ferdinand III. In recent years a Kircher wing was established in the Museum not too far from Kircher's headquarters.

  5. Ellie, have you already compared the "V" castle with Hradczany and Hradkarlsteyn? I went online this morning to Istanbul & Hagia Sophia -- and also took an online tour of Hurrem Sultan's (Suleyman's wife) bath-house-palace: Fabulous circular motive on its floors.

  6. Hi Ellie, I had missed this post previously. I just saw your comparison on the ninjas forum:

    I think it's brilliant, thank you for sharing it!