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The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

Lecture by Lisa Fagin Davis and Claire Bowern

Held online by Beinecke Library at Yale on July 12, 2021

Excerpt: It was almost certainly written around the early part of the 15th century, and we know this because of carbon dating that was done by Yale University 10 or 15 years ago. That what dated the parchment on which the manuscript was written with a 90-something percent probability between 1404 and 1438. Now it’s slightly possible that the parchment could be earlier than that date than 1404. It’s possible it could be later than 1438 but it’s most likely to have been the animal that produced the parchment was slaughtered between 1404 and 1438, the early part of the 15th century and that’s consistent with the style of the illustrations. We don’t know where the manuscript was for the first 150 years of its existence. It is thought that it was purchased by Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II in Prague in the late 16th or early 17th century.

Lisa Fagin Davis is executive director of the Medieval Academy of America. Claire Bowern is professor of linguistics at Yale.

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See also this earlier presentation by Lisa Fagin Davis:

Click here to learn more about the Voynich Manuscript from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

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