[ISHMap-List] XV Century Beinecke MS 408. A map on f86v?

Marco Ponzi marco.ponzi at gmail.com
Wed Jan 21 20:18:15 CET 2015

Dear All,
I know very little of cartography and I would like to have the opinion of
more knowledgeable people about a diagram from manuscript Beinecke 408 (the
Voynich manuscript). The nature and origin of this work are unknown, but it
has been reliably dated to the first half of the XV Century.

Here is a link to detail that I would like to bring to your attention (the
lower left circle of a large and complex diagram on f86v):

Here I added some color (to clarify what I identify as sea) and compared
the detail with Martellus world map:

A few questions:

* Do you think that this can possibly be a map?

* If it is a map, do you think it could represent the Indian Ocean? Can you
think of other candidate regions?

* Do you know of manuscript images in which a map is included in a much
more complex diagram?

* This diagram is framed in a circle, but I think the region is too small
to qualify as a world map. Do you know of actual examples in which the map
of a specific area is framed into a circle?

* I interpret the shapes in the lower “sea” area as islands. Are islands
ever represented with this kind of shape (which seems to be repeated
similarly for all the “islands” in this illustration)?

* In general, can you think of any manuscript map resembling this

Any other comments and ideas are welcome!

I wrote my speculations as comments on the site of Prof. Stephen Bax, who
is researching the linguistics aspects of the manuscript:

  Best regards
  Marco Ponzi
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