In my opinion the importance of this page has been much exaggerated.
It is of interest that Roman and Voynich characters are found
associated together. However, the Latin and German words
on this page have every appearance of being the kind of trivial
as pen trials, very commonly found on the last, and sometimes
the first, page of a manuscript.
For what it's worth, I think the first word is "anthicon", 'flowering'.
Unlike "michi ton",
as the first word of a hexameter and might refer to the Herbal section.
Six marix morix...
This might conceivably be "Si maritur, moritur", 'if s/he marries s/he dies',
and this phrase might just be related to the "Mussteil".
Der mvs del
The sequence der mvs del written at the foot of f 66r is thought to be
"der Mussteil", German for 'the widow's portion'. If so, a minor observation
about German dialect is possible. Mediaeval German dialect is divided into
three broad zones: Upper German (spoken in Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria),
Lower German (what became Dutch and the Plattdeutsch of the northern plain),
and Central German (spoken in a belt between the two others). The form "mvs"
- i.e. "muss"
with final "ss" - is characteristic of Central and Upper German, but "del"
- i.e. "Deel" -
"Teil" cannot be Upper German: it is characteristic of the West Central German
area (the lower Main and the middle Rhine). A speaker from Prague (East
Central German) or Vienna or Munich (Upper German) would
have written "mustel", "musteil" or "mustail".
Mussteil or Musteil was a legal term having to do with a widow's rights
of inheritance: see the online
As part of her marriage settlement a woman expected to
receive a substantial dowry, Morgengabe in German (it was supposedly
given on the morrow of the wedding): the dowry belonged to her outright
and was her security in the event of divorce or bereavement. If, however,
there was no dowry, a widow still had the legal right to a small part
of her husband's goods, the Mussteil, consisting of half the
contents of the kitchen, seen as the tools of a housewife's trade.
The term has the connotations of a pittance. Some have questioned why
the illustration shows an ailing woman when a Mussteil was
paid on the death of a man; but the point is that a woman with a
Mussteil was at risk of ending up homeless and penniless.
A manuscript illustration related to the Mussteil
The Heidelberg manuscript of the Sachsenspiegel, the earliest code
of German law, sets out rules of inheritance including the
illustration of the Morgengabe (the Mussteil is
also discussed on this page) shows that
a human figure drawn diagonally reclining like the figure in the
Voynich manuscript is supposed, by artistic convention, to be dead
or on the point of death. Other pictures in this manuscript are of
some relevance to the Voynich manuscript and may as well be listed here.
For further information on the Sachsenspiegel with remarks
on the Mussteil, the legal status of women and illustrations
from other manuscripts, see
this exhibition site from Tufts University.
66r, 75v and 76r
The key-like sequences.
I speculate that the vertical sequences of letters on ff 66r, 75v
and 76r are words to be read downwards. This is for two reasons.
The letters do not align exactly with the lines of text, as might
be expected if they were paragraph labels.
Some of the letters (f and ain are never elsewhere
initial in a word or a line, which makes it unlikely that they are
the first letters of paragraphs, displaced for emphasis.
I further speculate that these sequences might be an encipherment by simple
transposition of words in a well-known language. Why? The words, read vertically,
do not conform to the structure of Voynich words, but a sequence like
dsyffyod, with repeated letters and double letters, looks very plausible as a word
of German or Latin. It strikes me that a plaintext in Roman script was first
converted into a ciphertext which was still in Roman script, that plaintext marginalia were
added to the exemplar, and the exemplar superenciphered into Voynich characters.