Feeds

Mysterious crypto-book dated to 15th century

Real life Da Vinci codex features nude ladies, too

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A mysterious book written in a language or code that no cryptographer has ever managed to crack has been verified as being written in the early 15th century, which has upset some of the theories on its origin.

Text from the 'Voynich manuscript'

People were making up garble-languages well before J R R Tolkien came along

The "Voynich manuscript" was found in 1912 at the Villa Mondragone, a one-time papal palace complex near Rome which was at the time being used as a scientific college by the Jesuit order of the Catholic church – formerly famous for their deviousness and secrecy. Book dealer Wilfrid Voynich found the tome among a chestful of volumes offered for sale by the Jesuits.

The book is full of bizarre illustrations and contains writing in an unknown and so far undecipherable script. The pictures appear to depict such things as unidentifiable plants, astronomical and astrological objects (suns, moons, stars, signs of the zodiac), curious cosmological diagrams and so forth. There is a section which mainly shows naked women in pools or bathtubs interlinked by elaborate networks of pipework, some parts of which resemble human organs.

Voynich, who died in 1930, theorised that the book had been written by the famous 13th-century friar and polymath Roger Bacon, a sort of early Leonardo da Vinci figure often credited with the introduction of gunpowder to much of Europe and conceptual invention of flying machines, steam engines etc.

This theory at least has now been conclusively disproven, as boffins at the University of Arizona have used radiocarbon dating to discover that the book was produced at some point between 1404 and 1438 – well after Bacon's time. The dating was done last year, but Arizona uni has announced the new information publicly this week to coincide with a National Geographic Channel doco.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.