The Voynich Manuscript and It’s Place in Cryptographic History

The Voynich Manuscript came into popular cultural in 1912 when  Wilfrid Voynich (a Polish book dealer) purchased it. It is unclear from where he purchased it so it’s even more interesting when you consider that the vellum it was written on dates it somewhere between 1404–1438! That’s a good solid 500 years it was just floating around somewhere with no one really paying attention to it. It’s particularly remarkable because this codex was written in some unknown script and everyone’s best guess is that it was written in Northern Italy during the Renaissance. So, it’s not Italian?

We’ve put our world’s best–British and American codebreakers from both World Wars–on the task of decrypting this text and yet it is still undeciphered. It ranks right up there with Kryptos and Ricky McCormick’s encrypted notes. We just can’t seem to figure them out. However, looking at the diagrams and illustrations, our best guess is that it had to do with medicine. But if that’s the case, why encrypt it?

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