Monday, September 30, 2013

The Voynich Manuscript: Rolandus Scriptoris

Diane O'Donovan discovered another 15th century image where rows of naked bodies are used to illustrate astrology ( to read her article click here ). It comes from Lisbon, MS 52-XIII-18 ( visit the National Library of Portugal copy here ). It is a work by Rolandus Scriptoris (Roland of Lisbon), who received his Master of Medicine in Paris and worked for John, Duke of Bedford, participated in the trial of Johanna D'Arc. The manuscript is dated between 1401-1450.



Couple of weeks ago I posted similar image from La Cité de Dieu, The Hague, MMW, 10 A 11 (visit here); French manuscript, illuminated in Paris between  1475-1480. Fol. 435v of the Hague, MMW 10 A 11 shows discussion over astrology between Porphyry and Plotinus with two 'zodiac' curves on the background full with nude souls.




Here I would like to note that some of the VMS 'nymphs' may be male. It is hard to tell, since both females and males (the archer for example) in the Voynich manuscript have their cheeks and lips painted red, giving them appearance of make-up and their outfits are girly by today's standards. I picked up few figures from the VMs 'zodiac' for which I see some possibility that they may represent males (click to enlarge).












23 comments:

  1. Ellie - how kind of you to link to my blog-post.

    Kudos on finding the Library of Portugal copy, too!

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    1. I don't see it as an astrology in the strict sense - but why quibble?

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  2. Hi Diane, I still can't find the manuscript from which the image in your article is taken. Do you know in which library it is located?

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  3. *blush*
    wasn't 'sposed to share.
    -zip -

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  4. On second thoughts, that's not quite fair. Is there some reason you need information about it? I might be able to give (or get) an answer for anything specific. 'might' that is, if I haven't done my dash by printing it. I've had it so long I ust forgot it was an nfp.
    D.

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  5. Hi Ellie! Probably completely out of context with the folio full of naked men, all waving "Stars", but here goes: I translate to the repetitious phrases the use of olive oil, by men (sometimes athletes/gladiators) as being generously rubbed onto their bodies, and then scraped away entirely (with the dirt and sweat) usually with a wooden blade (laving?). Totally facetiously maybe, those star shapes were Ninja warrior weapons? Actually, I wonder what the laving blades did look like. Got any pictures for me?

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  7. I also took another look at the cipher for the men's "starry" commentary: My latin dictionary translates "ecce" or "ecce homo":
    roughly to "here I am", or (even "more to the point"): "There's the point!"

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  8. Again my apologies for the double posts. So, maybe we are all finally "getting the point" of all those men and women waving those stars? And maybe getting some ideas about your earlier post/discussion (the various "X" shapes) as far as that folio may be all about a teacher/priest lecturing to his students? Note that he points his right hand to his left hand, but since his students are facing him, they seem to be reversing the direction of the pointing finger and their own palms.

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  9. Just took a look again at another word on the men's page: "collegio" (?)

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  10. I tried to magnify the Augustinian discussions on de Comines manuscript but was limited by the mss source page offerings. What was interesting were the various demonic, ogre-ish features on the borders (often found in illustrations in various Book of Hours). This manuscript did not otherwise appear to be in that category. I was able to read some of the script which appeared to be French or Flemish.

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  11. I've had more time today to take a better look at the nude "dancers": What I am seeing now is posturing and arranging arms and legs to make alphabetical symbols. I've also been gleaning a general translation of the B-408 figures you have been comparing: much of the conversation is referring to "at ease", "leisure". This is also much the same conversation that appears with the ladies bathing folios (which I have translated, and also identified those strange globes, 83v or 83r --some folio ID# confusion here) as the fruit of the mandrake plant.

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  12. Ellie, somewhere else on the WWW I've visited an interesting site, "Pleiades", which has much discussion of the many Greek and Roman deities depicted in various constellations.
    One has to wonder at the seeming lack of "modesty", except the story of Adam and Eve and the "apple" couldn't be "properly" depicted otherwise. (?)

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  13. Not necessarily relevant, but maybe humorous: A children's song, which was accompanied by arm movements and concluded with bow:

    I'm a little teapot,
    short and stout,
    here is my handle,
    and here is my spout.
    When I get all steamed up,
    then I shout,
    just tip me over, and
    pour me out!
    Diane may even remember this song, eh?
    :-)

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  15. Dang! I shall quit using preview mode!

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  17. Stars and horoscopes, astrology, astronomy. Naked people posturing in what may be sign/body language. I've just returned from visiting several websites which discuss "Pleiades". Hope this gives you some leads to the world's mythology .

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  19. Good morning! I've just visited a website which shows a pretty good picture of the astronomical clock on the side wall of the Old Town Hall (built some time around 1410, Prague). You might like to take a look (and maybe be able to bring up a much enlarged photo of it. Incredible -- both in its structure and the timeline for being included in Boenicke 408. Circles. roundels, and "sinners" proliferate. I'm now going back to "Follies of Science in the Court of Rudolph II" to compare its discussion in re Tycho Brahe being a visitor. (The clock predates Rudolph's reign as Holy Roman Emperor.

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  20. Good morning! I've just visited a website which shows a pretty good picture of the astronomical clock on the side wall of the Old Town Hall (built some time around 1410, Prague). You might like to take a look (and maybe be able to bring up a much enlarged photo of it. Incredible -- both in its structure and the timeline for being included in Boenicke 408. Circles. roundels, and "sinners" proliferate. I'm now going back to "Follies of Science in the Court of Rudolph II" to compare its discussion in re Tycho Brahe being a visitor. (The clock predates Rudolph's reign as Holy Roman Emperor.

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  21. Ellie (& Diane): You might want to compare those "Macarena Dancing" figures (all ghostly pale white) which appear in the Rolandus Scriptorum you display here on your blog with Dante's illustrated Inferno (especially the circles of hell/purgatory). Whether any of those figures compare with the orating gentlemen in the Vms is probably still up to more discussion (debate?) This time around, I'm just going to tap your blue 'publish' button as anonymous -- to see if I can get rid of the duplicate posts. Wish me luck!

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  22. Ellie,
    This may amuse you. I was looking for my own blogpost, the one where I 'discovered' the Rolandus in relation to Voynich studies (wanted to put it in a footnote). Google couldn't find it, either, but directed me here - so I got there by using your link! :)

    Diane

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