The Voynich Manuscript has fascinated historians and conspiracy theorists for decades thanks to its mysterious aura and the unknown language it was written in. The manuscript is a 240-page hand-illustrated tome, traced to Northern Italy around the turn of the 15th century and the Italian Renaissance. Over the years, professional cryptographers and codebreakers from around the world have unsuccessfully attempted to unravel the book’s mysteries. But now, an academic from the University of Bristol has claimed to have finally solved the Voynich code – and it only took him two weeks.
Dr Gerard Cheshire, a research associate at Bristol, is certain the Voynich Manuscript represents a form of promo-romance language.
The modern Romance languages, such as Spanish and French, all have their root in the so-called Vulgar Latin.
According to Dr Cheshire, the Voynich code’s secret language is an “ancestor” to modern Portuguese, Italian and Romanian languages.
He said in a statement: “I experienced a series of ‘eureka’ moments whilst deciphering the code, followed by a sense of disbelief and excitement when I realised the magnitude of the achievement, both in terms of its linguistic importance and the revelations about the origin and content of the manuscript.
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“What it reveals is even more amazing than the myths and fantasies it has generated.
“For example, the manuscript was compiled by Dominican nuns as a source of reference for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon, who happens to have been great aunt to Catherine of Aragon.
“It is also no exaggeration to say this work represents one of the most important developments to date in Romance linguistics.
“The manuscript is written in proto-Romance—ancestral to today’s Romance languages including Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, Catalan and Galician.”
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According to the academic, the Voynich language was common during the Medieval era throughout the Mediterranean.
However, the language was rarely used in writing or in important documents, which were all written in Latin.
As a result, the proto-Romance language was virtually lost to the ebb and flow of time – until now.
Dr Cheshire said: “It uses an extinct language. Its alphabet is a combination of unfamiliar and more familiar symbols.
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“It includes no dedicated punctuation marks, although some letters have symbol variants to indicate punctuation or phonetic accents.
“All of the letters are in lower case and there are no double consonants.
“It includes diphthong, triphthongs, quadriphthongs and even quintiphthongs for the abbreviation of phonetic components.
“It also includes some words and abbreviations in Latin.”
The next step for the Voynich Manuscript is to translate all of the texts it contains, which should be much easier because the Manuscript has “been laid open for scholars to explore and reveal”.