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VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - Printable Version

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VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - R. Sale - 24-01-2016

Traditional heraldry uses a number of standard patterns that can be found in any reference. Among them are certain patterns of alternating stripes, known as the paly, bendy and barry, examples where the stripes are vertical, diagonal and horizontal respectively.

In the VMs Zodiac, on first page, which is Pisces, at the top of the outer ring, there are two figures, one apparently male and the other female, occupying separate tubs on which there are patterns of alternating, vertical stripes. And moving clockwise, other tub patterns can be seen with similar stripes oriented diagonally and horizontally. Then there is another pattern with alternating stripes that can be seen as strongly equivalent with the heraldic pattern of chevrons.  In addition to these, the Pisces tub patterns have examples that are evocative of the heraldic designs known as a semy of roundels and a papelonny.

Six traditional heraldic patterns, well represented in VMs Pisces: three vertical, two horizontal and one each of the others. To me this is a sufficient display to indicate that something very strongly evocative of historical heraldry has been included in the Pisces illustration. And furthermore, it suggests to me that heraldry might well be a plausible basis for further investigation into these illustrations.

The heraldic patterns are continued on the second page of the VMs Zodiac, with repeated examples of the semy of roundels and the papelonny, etc. Heraldry clearly is a theme that is carried on in the Zodiac illustrations. For all of three pages!

Let's examine the four striped patterns more closely. One is missing. The diagonal pattern in Pisces is representative of the bendy sinister. (Sinister = from the left) The pattern that is missing is the opposite diagonal which is a bendy from the dexter or right-handed side.

An example of the standard bendy is on the second page of the VMs Zodiac, Dark Aries. Directionally, the pattern is oriented from the bearer's right hand. And as it is, in a sense, a bendy the right way, could it not have been selected by the author as an affirmation of positive direction? It is, in fact, a direct indicator of the fact that the things on which the investigation of heraldry depends are those which the VMs illustrations provide.

And this particular pattern, the standard bendy, becomes even more important as the investigation moves to the third page, White Aries. Here there is a paired representation and a disguised evocation of historical facts and events. Here there is also an opening to glimpse the author's intentions. They are drawn into the VMs illustrations through intentional positioning. There is a level of complexity and historical correspondence that completely eliminates any accidental possibility. Heraldry is a key to the author's intentional construction, and the trail of the author's intent is a key to the VMs.

RE: VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - VViews - 25-01-2016

Hello R. Sale!
Could you perhaps post some images to illustrate your theory, so that it's clear for everyone?
It would be nice, for example, to see something like a side-by-side comparison of the heraldic designs you are referring to and their Voynich manuscript counterparts as you see them in these astrology pages.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words!

RE: VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - R. Sale - 25-01-2016


Thanks for your interest. It really is pretty simple. Heraldry on Wikipedia covers everything, pretty much. I wasn't able to get to the jasondavies images when I last tried. But here are the links to the patterns on 

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Bendy Sinister
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Bezanty (A color variation of the semy of roundels pattern)
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Six of these seven are traditional heraldic patterns in the same sense as the heraldic ordinaries and sub-ordinaries. The odd one, papelonny, is a fur. Heraldic tincture is a metal, a color or a fur. Papalonny, along with plumetty, have been relegated to obscurity by many heraldic references which only cover the variations of ermine and vair. I discovered this match while reading Fox-Davies book on heraldry, which is now online.

Perhaps it is because of this apparent obscurity that the papelonny patterns seems to play such a surprising part in the White Aries investigation - even though the patterns do not appear on White Aries page.


RE: VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - VViews - 25-01-2016

R. Sale,
Thanks! I looked at what you described and followed the links. My humble opinion:
I sort of see that some of the designs in the Voynich astrology section sort of look like the heraldic motifs you refer to, but there are lots of additional lines and dots within these VMS designs that are not in the heraldic pictures you linked.
I fail to see papellony though, on any of the pages.
The design to the upper left side of Pisces does not look to me like the papellony image you linked, but if it is a heraldic charge, it looks rather like another motif you can see here called "escalloped": You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view.
Fish and scallops... You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. is starting to look like a pretty appetizing seafood platter!
Big Grin

RE: VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - R. Sale - 25-01-2016


You 'sort of see them.' Hey, that's great. What you have is a sort of forest and the trees problem. You are looking at the methods by which the patterns are made, not at the patterns themselves. Heraldica uses solid coloration, black and white, to indicate alternate stripes. The VMs uses an artistic technique, that appears to be hatching lines, and that also produces a pattern of alternate lines. Heraldry has used hatching lines for centuries. The patterns are the same. The techniques are different.

The VMs is not a heraldic text. It is not "Heraldry Made Easy". It is a text that uses heraldry to perform the author's bidding. The images of the particular patterns don't need to be perfect. Not all patterns on the tubs need to be valid heraldic examples. All that is necessary is to get across the idea of a connection with heraldry. If the illustrations can do this adequately, then it is up to the reader to pursue the investigation further. However there is an additional level of difficulty in that what the illustrations present is something that is intentionally less than glaringly obvious. There are intentional ambiguities, but there is only one interpretive pathway that leads to historical grounding.

Here are heraldic lines of division. See the Gallery in second half of article.
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Engrailed lines are found in a number of Zodiac tub patterns - another indicator of heraldic connections in these VMs illustrations.

There are some variations in the way papelonny is represented, but it's still the same pattern.
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RE: VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - VViews - 26-01-2016

R. Sale,
Thanks for the more varied examples of papellony, those do look a lot more like that Voynich pattern than the first one.
So, what does it tell us? You say: "All that is necessary is to get across the idea of a connection with heraldry. If the illustrations can do this adequately, then it is up to the reader to pursue the investigation further."
The idea of a connection with heraldry sounds pretty cool but it also sounds vague (specifically, what does it mean? What is connected to heraldry? The ladies in the tubs, the author, the content of the text?) Are you saying that the patterns represent the coats of arms of the families of these ladies? Where do these patterns lead us? 
It seems to me that it would be hard to pursue the investigation further without being able to read the text.
I feel like you must know more than you are letting on, since you seem so sure & categorical in your affirmations.
Please do share!

RE: VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - R. Sale - 26-01-2016

There is a good deal more to be said. Do you want the long version, the short version, or to try being an investigator yourself, perhaps, before I spill the beans? There are several topics to consider, but the primary thing is to investigate the VMs illustrations according to the medieval science of heraldry. Heraldry had at least two centuries before the VMs parchment dates. Heraldry was probably less subject to change in the time of VMs construction than alchemy and astrology.

Looking at VMs Pisces, the patterns are the same, but the techniques are different. What is the nature of the VMs technique and what does that suggest? If the VMs examples really are hatching lines - as they appear to be, a large chronological hiccup starts to develop. And if the standard use of hatching lines, as a tincture designation system, is applied to the VMs certain problems start to occur.

It is a natural question to ask whether there are patterns in the VMs that might have a historical correspondence. How would you go about making that determination? Armorial insignia are a combination of pattern and tincture. What are the best examples that the VMs provides?

RE: VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - VViews - 26-01-2016

Sorry R. Sale,
you just lost me there.
If you make definitive assertions, you should be prepared to back them up and explain.
It is not for others to have to investigate your trail of breadcrumbs and answer your sarcastic questions.
We all have our preferred area of research, we all have our favorite Voynich aspect that we spend time on.
The point of a forum is to have a discussion space: you present your views, others give you theirs. I'm not here to "vet" what you're saying, even less to investigate it.
If you want critical peer review, please present all your stuff in a paper and post it in the appropriate section here. But maybe you don't want that.
I have been nothing but nice and only asked you to be more specific. You have been nothing but condescending.

RE: VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - Anton - 26-01-2016

Dear colleagues,

Please calm down a bit Wink . This forum is the discussion space indeed, so anyone is free to share her/his ideas (if that does not turn to spamming, of course). What this forum is not, it is not a place to call each other fools and all that, I'd like to make that clear once & for all. Argumented critique of one's ideas is most welcome (as it helps all us, the originator of ideas included, to assess those ideas' validity), but please don't present yourselves at a disadvantage - the Voynich research gains nothing from that, and neither do you.

If you have something to say, please say it, don't keep your readers in the mist. For presenting one's ideas I can but recommend the following "rule of thumb":

Objectives -> Methods - > Limitations -> Results -> Conclusions

Without knowing what are your clearly defined objectives, to begin with, it's difficult to interpret your ideas. Without knowing what are your conclusions, it's difficult to say whether your research is a success or not.

RE: VMs Zodiac shows heraldry - R. Sale - 26-01-2016

Forum members,

My apologies for the apparent dust-up. It was not intentional on my part. Though I admit I was curious to discover the other person's unbiased opinion - before I went and biased it. In recent conversations, elsewhere, the contradictory position to the proposed heraldic interpretation of the designs on the tubs in initial pages of the VMs Zodiac was that the VMs designs were generic and had no relation to anything. So I was pleased to see that some similarities were found in this discussion.

Here I thought we had identified a common starting point and the discussion of heraldry could continue from there. On the contrary. What was wanted was the whole enchilada yesterday. Yesterday, was only the beginning of the discussion.

The VMs Zodiac shows heraldic influences. That is the initial point I wanted to make. There is no point discussing the interpretations of heraldic influence with someone who steadfastly denies their existence. Been there, done that.

The second point, to test the validity of heraldry, heraldic interpretation should be used as an investigative tool in the VMs illustrations. Will my assertions simply be accepted? Hasn't happened yet.
There is the Petra Sancta situation.
The search for historical correspondence of armorial insignia with any of the VMs illustrations has very few options. They are problematic and for simplicity's sake they are all dead ends.

However, there is a trick. The patterns on White Aries, with the blue and white stripes, are given their descriptions based on a radial orientation within the illustration. The eye just naturally goes to the radial orientation. But the orientation of the blue and white patterns is changed if all radial influences are removed. Both striped patterns now have the orientation of a heraldic bendy. Color and pattern are significant, but it's the pairing that is important. The purpose and extent of pairing in the VMs Zodiac is a significant and relevant topic.

'Bendy, argent et azur' (silver, aka white, and blue) is the blazon for the armorial insignia of the Fieschi family. The family provided two popes to the historical sequence during the 13th century: Innocent IV and Adrian V. History indicates that they were uncle and nephew. History tells us that in 1251 CE, Pope Innocent IV made his nephew a cardinal. History also tells that prior to this, it was Innocent IV who started a tradition in ecclesiastical heraldry when he designated the red galero as a sign of the office of cardinal.

Now look at the White Aries illustration and the two figures involved. The one in the inner ring of figures has head gear that can prospectively be designated as a representation of a red galero. Right away it is clear that the two figures are properly oriented in the celestial spheres in their correct hierarchical positions. It's not accidental. It's an example of intentional, objective, positional confirmation. Out of the set of all possibilities, the placement choice represented in the illustration is the only option that shows a proper, traditional relationship.

Having a specific identification of two historical individuals in the VMs text is also a matter of some significance. The White Aries illustration contains additional confirmations based on the objective description of their positions. Both figures are located in the most favored heraldic quadrant. The central medallion for the investigastion of papal heraldry is White Aries. A white animal is the traditional choice for celestial sacrifice. And popes are traditionally considered to have celestial connections. No other VMs Zodiac illustration offers that same relationship.

There are obvious reasons why White Aries is white. First because the other animals are brown. A second because virtually everything else in the White Aries illustration has been painted. And it is White Aries alone among the Zodiac pages that has been so carefully painted. It is all part of a complex construction contained in the VMs Zodiac illustrations. The complexity of the White Aries illustration can only result from intentional construction.

The fact that historical correspondence in the VMs is found behind a radial illusion in a clear indication that deception has been used. Deception through the ambiguity of interpretation. The positive option still needs to be present. As in the secondary option for the orientation of the blue stripes. Certain trickery has been used to obfuscate illustrations that might otherwise too obviously lead to the historical grounding, as seen from the author's perspective. The illustration is better suited to interpretation by those who would recognize the Fieschi coat of arms, than by those who are clueless to this particular historical tidbit. Medieval and subsequent members of the clergy come to mind. Conveniently, this also overlaps with literacy during the most relevant time.

There is now, for those who have investigated heraldry far enough to discover the definition of papelonny and the presence of the two similar illustrations in VMs Pisces and Dark Aries, a surprising example of positional confirmation. The papelonny patterns have a corresponding placement, in quadrant and in sphere, with the blue striped patterns of White Aries. Heraldry has used the striped patterns as a means of identification for the Fieschi popes. The French word for pope is 'pape'. And the objectively placed, backing patterns are shown to be examples of papelonny. Is that intentionally punny or what?

The author had the knowledge and the ability to create the identities and the placements that are found in the illustrations. Does the reader have the ability to find and understand the author's intentions? The author is a master, and the reader who is unfamiliar with heraldry can not qualify as a beginner in a heraldic investigation.

The contiguous connection of the outer blue striped pattern and the inner example of a patterned marker in the middle band of text on White Aries never did look completely accidental. Now you know why. It isn't. The connection is unique. A pair of these patterned text markers are found on White Aries. [Plus one on Cancer.] The markers designate text. Heraldry validates the markers. Historical grounding verifies the intentional (prospective) use of this construction as a text delivery system. One that is intentionally disguised, but can be recovered through the application of traditional and historical information as this outline demonstrates. The connection with the ecclesiastical tradition of cardinals holds the possibility of recovery open at least as long as the church tradition continues. 

That is the purpose of heraldry in the VMs. It opens an investigative pathway for the reader to follow. That pathway leads to specific text segments. Those text segments are in need of further examination. The investigation now passes from images to linguistics. I have some observations, but no theories that hold water. So, in that situation, I would be in need of collaboration, hopefully by someone who understood the workings of the prior investigation.

There is no guarantee the VMs will ever be solved. But, where to look? If the author has built up a complex construction in the manuscript, is it worth discussing?