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VMs: More code/cipher thoughts...

Hi everyone,

For several months I've seen much of the VMS as pairs of glyphs apparently functioning as a single letter. For example (in EVA), here are the pairs I used to think might code for the 12 astrological signs, but which I now suspect are simply letters:-

o+gallows:	of	ok	ot	op
o+other:	od	ol	or	os
others:	ar	as	dy	qo

I also now see many of GC's more complex glyphs (whether ligatured or not) as concealed Roman numerals, specifically with EVA <c>'s near gallows as Roman "C"'s:-

EVA <ccckh> --> <c.c.cfh> --> CCLX = 260

One objection to the whole "ornate Roman numerals" theory is that the stroke groups that appear in the VMS often don't appear to make complete sense when read strictly according to the rules of Roman numeral formation. This is true!

However, Luis Velez very kindly copied this text from D'Imperio, which should help to explain my thinking:-

	D'imperio: "A.W. Exell, in his letter to Tiltman, August 1957,
	refers to a theory (not further specified) that early Arabic
	numerals were built on from one, two, three, four or more
	strokes in a similar Oriental manner; he suggests a sketchy
	and incomplete correspondence between Voynich symbols
	and conventional numerals along these lines.No one has, to
	my knowledge, worked out a "stroke" theory of this kind in
	sufficient detail to test it out as a hypothesis" (p.24)

	Quoting Tiltman (1975) when speaking of Brumbaugh: "He
	claims that all the symbols in the script are really digits in
	variant forms and that the key is a box providing single digit
	substitution for letters... i.e., each digit represents two or
	three letters...All this is so ambiguous that it can only be
	justified by the production of a great deal of evidence, but
	he supplies hardly any evidence at all and I remain
	unconvinced... Brumbaugh is not alone in assuming the
	symbols to be numbers in various forms.This has been
	suggested several times." (p. 38)

	"They [Arabic numerals] are often found intermingled in
	bizarre ways with Roman numerals: e.g. "1V0jj" for
	"1502"; "MoCCCCo50" for "1450"; and "M.CCCC.8ii" for
	"1482". In the early and transitional phases of their
	adoption, the numerals or "ciphers" were regarded as
	incomprehensible, mysterious, strange and well suited
	for use as cryptic symbols in secret writing systems." (p.64)

Put simply: Arabic numbers were introduced many times into Europe, but were taken up most enthusiastically by merchants in Italy during the 14th Century, before gradually percolating into other fields of activities during the 15th Century.

If you accept my placing/dating of Milan/1450-1460, both Roman numerals and Arabic numerals were in common use, though I doubt that Arabic numbers would have been considered "incomprehensible" then. For example, in the Milanese cipher ledger, dates of incoming ciphers were written down in Roman numerals up to the late 1470s (IIRC), but in Arabic numerals after that.

As I also think that the gallows characters are a combination of steganography and Cistercian number ciphers, to my eyes this all points (as it did to Brumbaugh) to a kind of "bizarre" and "intermingled" number system... ideal for hiding a Florentine number code in plain sight. :-)

Finally: I still suspect that EVA "y" may have a similar function to the similar-looking Tironian nota - ie, both "cum-/con-" and "-um" - it certainly appears to be used both at the end and beginning of words, and not *so* much in the middle. And why not? :-)

BTW: GC pointed out that the VMS has two forms of this glyph (open and closed loop) - according to "Storia delle scritture veloci", the open form is Tironian, the closed form derives from Seneca.

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....