3. It dates to c. 1430 CE in Europe, but no one has been able to decipher the language or the illustrations in it.
The manuscript was named after Wilfrid Voynich, the rare book dealer who stumbled upon it in 1912. It once belonged to Emperor Rudolph II of Germany (1576-1612), who purchased it for 600 gold ducats, believing it was the work of the philosopher Roger Bacon. The book, a small 23 cm x 16 cm codex comprising 240 pages, has since been carbon dated to the mid-15th century and may have originated in northern Italy.
13. We know that the 170,000 glyphs are written from left to right.
The text is more repetitive than typical European languages, as the same words seem to be repeated over and over, up to three times in a row.
15. Another theory is that the language is “micrographic,” i.e., each apparent “letter” is in fact constructed of a series of tiny markings for ancient Greek shorthand only discernible under magnification.
This theory has been widely disregarded.
16. Perhaps the most plausible theory is that the book is simply written in a lost language. A “hitherto unknown North Germanic dialect,” as one scholar suggests.
17. Or, it COULD be a hoax.
Some people posit that the language is “meaningless gibberish” and that the entire thing is a prank pulled either by an author in medieval Europe or by Voynich himself.
“There have been numerous encrypted texts since the Middle Ages and 99.9% have been cracked,” cryptographer Klaus Schmeh told the BBC. “If you have a whole book, as here, it should be ‘quite easy’ as there is so much material for analysts to work with. That it has never been decrypted is a strong argument for the hoax theory.”
20. So far, no one’s been able to decipher the language, nor the true meaning of the illustrations.
…But some scholars think we’re close.