Francis Bacon, author of the Voynich manuscript ? Š 2009 by Franz Gnaedinger,


Foreword May 2014. The vellum of the Voynich manuscript was recently dated to around 1430, while the inks could not be dated. In principle it is possible that Bacon got a stack of old virgin vellum from an Italian monastery on which he wrote the MS.


H.R. SantaColoma, on his great page Drebbel/Voynich theory, links the Voynich manuscript to Francis Bacon’s Nova Atlantis, an utopian island west of Peru, and interprets the circular drawings via cilia as they may have been observed through a microscope fabricated by the Danish alchemist and inventor Cornelius Drebbel at the begin of the 17th century. And in an online forum one Dr. HotSalt wrote that the five vertical vents at the top of 77r could represent the four classical elements plus aether (the quinta essentia introduced by Aristotle). Using this hint I transcribed four words that may name the four elements water earth fire air in heightened, energized and organic form:


Water akuvā – combining Latin aqua ‘water’ with Italian uva ‘grape’, the latter evoking vine and wine, Mass wine being transformed into the blood of Christ in the Catholic church. We have then a triple liquid, water wine blood, explaining the triple beam spouting out of the first vertical vent on the left side


Earth akasl – combining Latin ager ‘field’ and German Acker ‘field’, an old form being achar, while akka was the Indo-European earth goddess (Julius Pokorny) with s for sun and the solar metal gold and l for luna ‘moon’ and the lunar metal silver, both concealed inside the earth


Fire akan – combining Latin accendo ‘I kindle, set on fire, light’ and German Vulkan ‘volcano’, a highly energized form of fire, suiting the red cloud emerging from the second vertical vent from the right side


Air vivā – combining Old English wawan ‘to blow’ and English wind with Latin viva ‘may he or she live’, thus denoting the air in the lungs, organic air, breath and breathing


The six words under the long tube at the top of 77r from left to right: anlis akuvā akasl vivā sasen, and the names of the three women and of the man, in clockwise direction: Akaneroā Akivā Vasives Vakuvā.


I believe that the Voynich manuscript was written and drawn by Francis Bacon in 1622, as a private sequel to the highly successful Nova Atlantis, written in a pseudo-Polynesian idiom allowing page-filling automatic writing, and drawn in a deliberate retro-style honoring Francis Bacon’s ancestor Roger Bacon. The text is gibberish but makes allusions. Here is the first paragraph of 77r:


Panveseroan dalan iuā dapiuvā dapiuvā vāniuu anluvā nanā

kanivas inuā dalero dakuvā dalan ivā dalero iukuā sen

dakuuvā dalero ihuvā ian ihuvā ihuvā ihikiuā daluuvā akuuvā ian

sankuuvā daluuvā daluuvā ihuvero iuvā ihuvero ihuanan iuv

daluuvā danihuavā ihan kuvā iuvā nihuuvā daluvā dalen iuvā

daluvā ihuvā dakan ihuvā dalero ihuuā daluuvā niuvā nan

sihuvā dalero iuvā dalero ihuvā daniuuvā daluuvā nan

dakuvā dakuuvā daluvā ihuuvduā sero ihuukā daluuvā nan

vero iuuvā nihuā danasiuus ihiliuvā dan iuuvā dakero

daluuvā niuā nihuuā daluuvā daluuvā dales daluuā nero iua

dakero ihuan daluuvā daluuā dalero ihuuā daluvā daniuvā

iuvero ihuvā daluuvā daluvā daluuā iuvā aluvā dalā

ihualā dalero iuvā anihuā daluvā iuvā dalan

vero vanihas ipiuā npiuan ihues daliā


In line ten occurs the word danusiuus, perhaps a pseudo-Polynesian-Latin reference to the Danish alchemist and inventor Cornelius Drebbel. Among the gibberish are a few words that make sense, iuvā reminding of Latin iventus ‘youth’ and Italian giovane ‘young’, niuā reminding of new, and daluvā evoking Italian dall’uva. Francis Bacon may have dreamt of a magic herbal wine that may rejuvenate him, make him young again, give him new life, going along with the rejuvenating baths in Nova Atlantis and in the medieval imagination. The second paragraph of the text on 77r begins with akuvā meaning water wine blood (as explained above), then we have a line reading sero iuuan daluuvā daluuvā dalan which may be a melodic form of: I will be young again thanks to the magic wine from then on … But we also have vanin evoking vain, in vain, and in the first paragraph vanihas, vero vanihas, evoking Latin vanitas, vanity, true vanity …


In his main work Novum Organum Francis Bacon explains that spirits “less than air” are present in all tangible objects and cause alteration, quick or slow decay, but also, we may assume, healing and evolution, favorable changes. Herbs can be combined to healing infusions, why not also to a rejuvenating herbal wine? We just have to find out what plants and which parts thereof must be combined in such a way that their inherent spirits less than air do us the favor of making us young and lively again … The dwellers of New Atlantis combine various plants, and the many plants in the Voynich manuscript are combinations of existing plants. Francis Bacon may really have hoped to concoct a magic herbal wine of rejuvenation, but he also knew that his hope was in vain.


87r shows one of the many flowers in the Voynich manuscript, and the text reads:


Paenihihen ihuaipas āpiapiuasero akuaven sero

viuuilias iukā ikiaven ākuavero ipiuipiā sākā

kias akuuvā āluuvā ikiuavā luas ihiuuliuā servā

sasero dailias iuavas iliualuā ikiavā sasero

kas ihu luavero piuas ihua sa ihluavā sasero

ākuuaven ia luuavā ihālansens iulan

sanihuas āsero ias iuasā dakā

sas ihaikiuā akuavā vian sasero

iha ikias iuaven ikiuavā dakā


Pihuavihā ven ihuu senven ihan envā

āihuuus iukiā kuaves akiuan kailia

luas iliuā ihavā kauuuukā s iavā vero

vero ihan ikuā aluan iuas aluua vero

ihas iuan iuas iliuā sero dailiuan vero

āquuas ihuan viuuan


The last line may simply mean: water of youth and life.


What makes the Voynich manuscript exiting for me is the drawing on 77r, an amateurish but highly philosophical illustration of an early idea of evolution from microbes, a stack of paramecia on the left margin, to plants; the woman Akaneroā below, standing next to a tree trunk on a river bank, the trunk hollowed, filled with the deep blue water of life; and animals: the woman Akivā in the middle, next to her a strange animal composed of tubes and vents, evoking an armadillo (see also the real armadillo in the Voynich), its legs again symbolizing the four classical elements, its head aether, the irregular shape indicating change over time, the primeval animal evolving into all the various animals we know today, and the woman at the top representing the human world rooted in the animal kingdom. The woman named Vasives has her main root in the animal kingdom, plus four lateral roots in the spiritual world, while the man named Vakuvā has two strong roots in the spiritual world, probably symbolizing experimental and theoretical reasoning. The elements earth and water are on the female side, and the elements fire and air on the male side, according to the alchemistic understanding. We have a lot of old superstition, on the other hand we see biological science emerge from alchemy, a first idea of evolution that may even be reflected in the ever mutating pseudo-Polynesian idiom ... The page-filling automatic writing could well be an experiment in paleo-linguistics: how do words change and evolve when repeated over and over and over again?