Unraveling the Voynich Codex

  • Jules Janick
  • Arthur O. Tucker

Part of the Fascinating Life Sciences book series (FLS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. An Introduction to the Voynich Codex

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Arthur O. Tucker, Jules Janick
      Pages 3-39
    3. Jules Janick, Arthur O. Tucker
      Pages 41-57
  3. Evidence for Mesoamerican Origins

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 83-83
    2. Arthur O. Tucker, Jules Janick
      Pages 85-138
    3. Elizabeth E. Flaherty, Arthur O. Tucker, Jules Janick
      Pages 159-176
    4. Jules Janick, Arthur O. Tucker
      Pages 177-185
    5. Jules Janick
      Pages 187-206
    6. Jules Janick
      Pages 207-220
    7. Jules Janick, Arthur O. Tucker
      Pages 221-241
  4. Decipherment

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 243-243
    2. Jules Janick, Arthur O. Tucker
      Pages 245-262
    3. Fernando A. Moreira
      Pages 263-276
    4. Jules Janick, Arthur O. Tucker
      Pages 277-304
  5. The Author and the Artist

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 305-305
    2. Jules Janick
      Pages 307-316
    3. Arthur O. Tucker, Jules Janick
      Pages 317-344
    4. Jules Janick, Arthur O. Tucker
      Pages 345-376
  6. Jules Janick, Arthur O. Tucker
    Pages C1-C3
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 377-412

About this book


Unraveling the Voynich Codex reviews the historical, botanical, zoological, and iconographic evidence related to the Voynich Codex, one of the most enigmatic historic texts of all time.

The bizarre Voynich Codex has often been referred to as the most mysterious book in the world.  Discovered in an Italian Catholic college in 1912 by a Polish book dealer Wilfrid Voynich, it was eventually bequeathed to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University.  It contains symbolic language that has defied translation by eminent cryptologists.  The codex is encyclopedic in scope and contains sections known as herbal, pharmaceutical, balenological (nude nymphs bathing in pools), astrological, cosmological and a final section of text that may be prescriptions but could be poetry or incantations. Because the vellum has been carbon dated to the early 15th century and the manuscript was known to be in the collection of Emperor Rudolf II of the Holy Roman Empire sometime between 1607 and 1622, current dogma had assumed it a European manuscript of the 15th century.  However, based on identification of New World plants, animals, a mineral, as well as cities and volcanos of Central Mexico, the authors of this book reveal that the codex is clearly a document of colonial New Spain.  Furthermore, the illustrator and author are identified as native to Mesoamerica based on a name and ligated initials in the first botanical illustration.  This breakthrough in Voynich studies indicates that the failure to decipher the manuscript has been the result of a basic misinterpretation of its origin in time and place.  Tentative assignment of the Voynichese symbols also provides a key to decipherment based on Mesoamerican languages.  A document from this time, free from filter or censor from either Spanish or Inquisitorial authorities has major importance in our understanding of life in 16th century Mexico. 


Mesoamerica Cryptography Ancient manuscript Lost language Herbal Botany

Authors and affiliations

  • Jules Janick
    • 1
  • Arthur O. Tucker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Horticulture & Landscape ArchitecturePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agriculture & Natural ResourcesDelaware State UniversityDoverUSA

Bibliographic information