Can’t be right

Research 9 July, text 10 and

Refuting my own idea

If what I wrote in my previous article, about “otolal”, otolal, is true, I should be able to decode also other words of the underlying text of the VMS, using ‘words’ from the manu­script as codes. So let’s try that, and see if it gets us anywhere.

A nice candidate is “okolar”, okolar, which has a structure similar to “otolal”, otolal, only with some different Voynich characters (if that’s what they are; based on Landini & Zandbergen’s ‘Eva’ transliteration). It occurs four times in the manuscript, also close to the Pisces zodiac page, and on the Aries page. (Or so I first thought, but it isn’t true. More on that in a minute.)

Like the first time

My conjectures were: the first o- indicates ‘Old Testament’, ‘t’ is Genesis, the book of Numbers is not used, so the other gallows letters that can occur here, according to Stolfi’s word grammar, p, k and f, encode Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, in an as yet unknown order. The suffix -ol- has to mean 9 again, here too. And there is no indication of a letter to divide the chapter into nine parts, so the default value holds, and the hit has to be at the beginning of any ninth chapter.

So assuming Zodiac signs again, the interesting question becomes, ‘Can any be found close to the start of a chapter 9?’. And there’s that bingo moment again, yes, they can, as Leviticus 9 in the Vulgate Bible starts:

  1. facto autem octavo die vocavit Moses Aaron et filios eius ac maiores natu Israhel dixit­que ad Aaron
  2. tolle de armento vitulum pro peccato et arietem in holocaustum utrumque inmaculatos et offer illos coram Domino
  3. et ad filios Israhel loqueris tollite hircum pro peccato et vitulum atque agnum anni­culos et sine macula in holocaustum
  4. bovem et arietem pro pacificis et immolate eos coram Domino in sacrificio singulorum similam oleo conspersam offerentes hodie enim Dominus apparebit vobis

Arietem, twice! That’s the accusative case of the Latin word Aries! Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac, the twelve-sign astrological belt of constellations, but for unknown reasons the second one in the Voynich Manuscript (VMS). Very nice.

But does the count add up? If al in otolal means three times twelve and three, ar in okolar must means 36 plus something between one and six (of zero and five?), that is not three. But alas, neither of the occurrences of “Arietem” in Leviticus 9 has such a word count. The words that have, are, in verse 3: ad, filios, loqueris, hircum, pro. No idea if any of those makes sense, but what’s worse, with a language like Latin, with its relatively free word order, many sequences of random words might seem to make some sense, even if they don’t.

Wrong count

So this effectively falsifies my theory. The idea that VMS ‘words’ encode Latin Vulgate words might still hold, but then at least the proposed method for encoding the word count is wrong.

Now of course, this ‘word’ okolar could also mean something else than Aries. From the other two Bible books, it might be one of: “agros tuos et super equos et asinos” from Exodus 9, or “adverso resistere scies ergo hodie quod Dominus” from Deuteronomy 9.

Wrong zodiac sign

Moreover, that ‘word’ okolar okolar isn’t even on the Aries page, but on Taurus’s. Pisces and Aries (month: Mars) are on f70v (image 128), Aries is again on page f71r (image 129) (press F5 to make the picture actually load from the URL), and Taurus is on f71v (image 130), twice. The ‘word’ okolar is on f71v, and also on 72v with Gemini.

Perhaps Latin “bovis” of "boven", from bōs can qualify to encode a bull, because it is a common word for the species, regardless of gender? Does not seem likely, because “taurus” is also in many Bible Books, though not at the start of a chapter.