A 1459 gallow candidate

There are several possibilies concerning gallows, depending on what the VM really is: they could be abbreviations, mere decorations above letters, actual symbols of a cypher…   And in the case of a plain text rather than a cypher, there could still be coexistence of some abbreviation-gallows and some decoration-gallows.

Here I would just like to record a visual analogy. Something very similar to the following typical VM gallow :

also shows up in other texts of the same era, something I’ve had a fairly hard time to find.

Namely, in Cod. Sang. 839, which is a 1459 Swiss copy on paper of Nicolas Oreme’s Comments on Aristotle, one can see the following on the very first folio f1r: three similar-looking symbols (click to enlarge)

The first one is very similar, the two others hint that the first loop is not necessarily meant to be closed for it to still make sense, in this latin text.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find an online copy of this text in ascii to make sure what it is, it possibly is a short hand for ‘Item’. It keeps appearing throughout that manuscript.

I’m not claiming this solves anything regarding the VM, but at least, it is a possibility from the same era.

Interestingly, Switzerland, which is close to both Northern Italy and Germany, and where, as said previously on this blog, castles with swallow-tail merlons also exist, is known to have a french-speaking area where “octembre” and “augst” were certainly used in the between the 1300s and the 1500s: here is a 1560 use of “augst” in Genève, and here is a 1364 use of “octembre” in Neuchâtel.

Notice also that in the same Cod. Sang. 839 there appears other VM-looking gallows, for instance the top line of f3r contains:

and if I’m not mistaken the part ‘9methero-gallow’ reads “cum metherorum” (which makes sense: there is indeed metherorum in the title of the text).

As for quire numbering: it is different from the VM, see the top f5r where the first quire mark appears,  but note that the mark at the top of f176r is very similar to the first one of the VM. (There are also ink accidents reminiscent of the VM, but these were probably common at the time).

All in all, Cod. Sang. 839 is certainly interesting.


One Response to A 1459 gallow candidate

  1. Pingback: Some comments on quire numbers « Some Voynich ideas

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