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The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

I’m fascinated about the types of things that people are able to create in their notebooks. Most recently the most impressive stuff that I see are the sketch notes that you get from a lot of the conferences these days, but this is something else.

A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which is undeciphered to this day.

The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex that is thought to have been written in the 15th Century (carbon dated between 1404—1438) and gets it’s name from a Polish book dealer who bought the Voynich Manuscript in 1912.

The Voynich manuscript has an unknown origin and no one knows exactly what the content actually says.

Sounds weird right?

A detail from the "biological" section of the manuscript 

A page from the biological section showing "nymphs"


Some of the worlds foremost Cryptographers have tried to identify what the manuscript actually says but as of yet no one has been able to crack the code (I often wonder if it’s gibberish with no real meaning, but I’m pretty sure that codebreakers from the 1st and 2nd World War would know code from gibberish).

The first page includes two large red symbols, which have been compared to a Chinese-style book title.

 A floral illustration on page 32. The colors are still vibrant.


The illustrations in the manuscript are divided into six distinct categories.

  • Herbal
  • Astronomical
  • Biological
  • Cosmological
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Recipes

What codex would you create?

First of all, what’s a codex? Well a codex was a name given to differentiate between a scroll and what we’ve come to call a book today…. so essentially it’s a book. These days we differentiate a codex from a book by saying a codex is handwritten.

A three-page foldout from the manuscript including a chart that appears to be astronomical in nature

So, if you were going to use your notebook to write a codex what would you choose to write about? What could you cover in the 48 pages, or maybe combine them in a set of three. If you really wanted to put something lengthy together you could write from the Sun to the end of the Solar System

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