Repeated labels on different pages

I have been looking at the pullout map pages (f86v on Beinecke) and have found a couple of items that not only seem to confirm it is a map, but also links to other “maps” elsewhere in the MS, specifically on f57v.

I posted sometime back my theory that f57v (here) shows the faces of the four secondary compass points (ordinal points) in wind form (south east, south west, north east, north west). You can read that post here.

According to my theory, the four words show (south east, south west, north east, north west). There are four words branching out from the centre equidistant between each figure – this would correspond to North, South, East & West, or similar words such as borealis, septentrionalis, or any of the dozens of ways of indicating the different points of the compass. Let us leave the interpretation of the words for now. Below, I reference the Voynich words by the above ordinal points. The exact ordinal pointing doesn’t matter, only that they indicate directions on a compass.

Now look at f86v, bottom left corner (here)

There is a line of text, a circle surrounded by words, followed by some more text. Very small.

These words are essentially the same on both pages, as we would expect if they were cardinal or ordinal points on a compass!

f57/v - who are these old coots?
f57/v -note the four words leading out from the centre
The Rosette "compass" from bottom right
The Rosette “compass” from bottom right

Before continuing, I suggest you print off the referenced parts of both pages and compare them side by side, it will be much easier to see what I’m going on about.

Let us assume that the circle is a compass – medieval compasses were often triangular magnetic pointers floating in liquid, so the open triangle would just represent the direction the pointer is pointing.

The right hand word (roughly oMcoX9) is repeated verbatim on both pages. This corresponds to south-west.

Image colours manipulated for easier comparision
Image colours manipulated for easier comparision (f57v above)

The word on the left is very similar to f57v (next to the open hand person). f86v reads o[gallows]aPeo[gallows]erdg. F57v reads o[gallows]eaPo[gallows]erp. The two words vary in one “vowel” shifting the side of the middle P (scribal error?) and a final g (or 9) on the end of one of the words. This is north-west.


The top word (running along the circle) is essentially the same as south-east, with an additional character at the beginning and two spaces inserted, probably to make it run flush with the curvature of the circle. This is South-East.

The bottom word is similar to North-East on f57v, missing the gallows and final 9. Could have been a hasty scribble, included only for the sake of completeness, and it didn’t fit – the scripting looks hasty here.

So what we have is a map, with, in the bottom left hand corner, a clear compass referencing pointing in a clear direction, which I assume is north-west, and which I also assume shows the layout of whatever the map depicts..

Two other things I noticed.

– The top left and bottom right show the sun. That would correspond to East and West, the rise and the set of the sun, and again show the orientation of the “city”, if such it is.

– The top right of the pullout (here: shows a clear TO map. A circle divided into three sections in the classic form, with three labels (Asia, Europa, Africa?) I now need to try to find those words repeated elsewhere in the MS!

From this TO map, “Rivers” flow out of Asia and Europe, but not Africa. Dare I suggest we looking at the Bosphorus, the link between Europe and Asia (Turkey)….. Constantinople, the greatest of all cities, as has been suggested elsewhere? Nah, it’s too much of a leap, too soon.

These words are also on f67v in each corner!

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f57/v – Could it be a compass reading?

Right, so we’re talking about f57v, the one with four figures in the centre of four concentric rings of text, two figures looking out, two in. The “magic circle”. See on here.

f57/v - who are these old coots?
f57/v – who are these old coots?

Nick Pelling has an excellent analysis here on his site where he wonders if it could be a nocturnal astrolabe, a nighttime astronomy aid.

I´ve slightly modified his theory.

I think it’s a compass sheet, with the four Greek gods of the secondary winds rather than the traditional “north south, east west” orientation. (more…)

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