A university professor claims to have deciphered some of the ‘Voynich manuscript’ code which has only ever been broken – by Indiana Jones.
Stephen Bax, professor of applied linguistics at the University of Bedfordshire, has just become the first professional linguist to crack some of the famously-difficult 600-year-old coding.
The world-renowned manuscript is full of illustrations of exotic plants, stars, and mysterious human figures, as well as many pages written in an unknown text.
It is deemed as ‘the most mysterious’ document in the world, and even featured in the computer game Assassin’s Creed following its reputation.
In the Indiana Jones novels, Indiana decoded the Voynich and used it to find the ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, which contributed towards the code’s infamous stature.
But in reality the 15th century cryptic work has baffled scholars, cryptographers and codebreakers who have failed to read a single letter of the script or any word of the text.
Genius Prof Bax has begun to unlock the mystery meanings by using his knowledge of medieval manuscripts and Semitic languages such as Arabic.
Using careful linguistic analysis he has been working on the script letter by letter and has now deciphered 17 symbols of the impossible code – revealing 10 words.
Other words Mr Bax claims to have deciphered include juniper, coriander, hellebore, Nigella Sativa and cotton, which are all plants.
He has also deciphered the words Chiron, a centaur from Greek mythology, and saffron.
Mr Bax said: “I don’t think the book is from aliens or magic or anything like that.
“I think it is essentially a book of nature which describes the natural world. That’s why there are images of plants, stars and planets.”
Prof Bax added: “The first word I found was Taurus, which was next to a picture of seven stars. These stars are the Pleiades, a group of stars within the constellation Taurus.
“People have guessed the word Taurus before, and using my knowledge of scripting I could confirm it and then went on to get 17 finds which make up 10 words.
“I used medieval herbal manuscripts in Arabic and other languages to decode the symbols, many of which are plants, with some exciting results.
“I think the script is from Asia, if it was European we would be able to tell.
“The language underneath the script still hasn’t been identified, it’s one of a kind. It looks Elvish, like it is from Middle Earth.
“This all came from an interest in language and linguistics, I saw it as the ultimate challenge.
“My aim in reporting on my findings at this stage is to encourage other linguists to work with me to decode the whole script using the same approach, though it still won’t be easy.
“That way we can finally understand what the mysterious authors were trying to tell us.
“But already my research shows conclusively that the manuscript is not a hoax, as some have claimed.”
As well as the word Taurus, Bax has found the word “kantairon”, which is another version of the plant Centaury, a known medieval herb, as well as a number of other plants.
Although Professor Bax’s decoding is only partial, it has generated a lot of excitement in the world of codebreaking and linguistics as it could prove crucial to a full breakthrough.
The Voynich manuscript was discovered in an Italian monastery in 1912 by book dealer Wilfred Voynich.
Previous Voynich researchers have assumed the manuscript therefore has a European origin, but just this month a professor from Delaware State University said otherwise.
Dr. Arthur Tucker claims at least 37 of the 303 plants in the code would have grown in the Central American region now known as Mexico.
The botanist said that as it was written during the 15th and 16th century the text is therefore written in the Aztec language of Nahuatl.
Due to the the difficulty in deciphering the code, many people claim the book is hoax, or that the writing is nonsense.