Archive for the ‘Repeating Sequences’ Category

Sequences (a Work In Progress)

April 18, 2012 7 comments

I’ve been collecting together all the occurrences of what look like sequences in the VMs, to see if there are any obvious patterns. Here is what I have so far:

Places in the VMs where sequences occur, colour coded for some common glyphs, and (mostly) split at glyph "o"


Repeating Words

April 4, 2011 4 comments

Here are the repeating “words” where the word repeats more than twice on a line:

Folio 8v 1oe 1oe 1oe
Folio 40r oham oham oham
Folio 47r 1oe 1oe 1oe
Folio 75r 4ohc89 4ohc89 4ohc89
Folio 79v 4ohc89 4ohc89 4ohc89
Folio 81r oe oe oe
Folio 86v3 9kam 9kam 9kam
Folio 99v oe oe oe

Treating paragraphs (rather than just lines, so the repeats can stretch over a line break), then there is also:

Folio 75r 4ohc89 4ohc89 4ohc89 4ohc89
Folio 104v 2coe 2coe 2coe

How about a “Verbose Homophonic cipher”?

September 24, 2010 7 comments

I’ve had a bit of hiatus from the VMs, but it’s always popping up in my mind and niggling me, even when I haven’t got time to spend on it. The latest niggle was the idea that the VMs scribe used a set of simple tables that showed how to convert plaintext letters into codes. So, in an example table, letter “A” is written “4oh”, letter “B” is written “8am” and so on. Also, spaces in the plaintext have their own code. Veteran VMs researcher Philip Neal informed me that this is called a “verbose homophonic cipher”.

Elaborating on the idea:  the scribe uses one of the set of tables for each folio s/he is writing. To encipher the plaintext onto the folio, it’s simply a matter of writing down the VMs “word”  for each letter in the plaintext word. If there is more space on the line for the next plaintext word, the scribe writes down the code for space, and then the codes for the letters in the next word. Long spaces are written by writing the code for space more than once … The next line is used for the next word, and so on.

On the next folio, a different table may be used.

It’s hard to imagine the justification for such a scheme, but it does appear (at least initially) to fit some of the features of the VMs script (especially the repeating VMs words often seen).

I made a quick test that looks at VMs word frequencies on a single folio (in the Recipes section, which has the densest text). These showed a word frequency distribution that looks similar to the letter frequency distribution in Latin, apart from the most frequently occurring word (which is much more frequent) and which it is suggested would code for a space in the cipher.

However, on a typical folio, there are usually many more VMs words than there are plaintext letters. So the scheme has to be extended to allow the scribe a choice between several different VMs words to encode a single letter. Each table must have a set of words appearing in each plaintext letter column. Something like this:

Plaintext (space) a b
VMs words 8am ay okoe 4ohoe 2ay 1coe faiis 4ay oka

If this is indeed the scheme, one would expect to see patterns in the VMs word sequences that match patterns seen in the letter sequences of e.g. Latin words. Also, as Philip Neal pointed out, patterns like “word1 word2 word2 word1” would indicate a plaintext letter sequence of either “vowel consonant consonant vowel” or vice versa.

Looking through the whole of the VMs for sequence patterns (on the same line of text), I found the following:

  • There are no 4 word sequences that repeat at all
  • There are only four 3 word sequences that repeat, and each only twice
  • There are no sequences at all of the form “xyyx”

(all of which I find rather surprising, and thought provoking).

So it looks like this hypothesis is dead in the water, and can be ticked off that long list of “things it might have been but in fact don’t fit”!

(It turns out that Elmar Vogt has been working on a related, but more sophisticated, idea which he describes on his blog and is called a “Stroke Theory”.)

Repeating Word Sequences

March 6, 2010 8 comments

There are a few multi word sequences that appear on more than one folio in the manuscript. Looking at those that occur on a single line of text and at least three times on different folios, the distribution is as follows:

(The repeating sequences on f57v do not appear, since they all occur on the same folio. There are 1006 two word sequences that appear on at least three folios.)

There no four or five or greater length sequences – why?

Why do the sequences often end with “am”?

Perhaps these three “word” sequences are dates?

Why are most of the sequences later on in the VMs? The earliest folio found is f16r, then f33r, f39v, f55v, f58r, f71r …

Now, loosening or simplifying the Voyn_101 transcription using the following table (top is the original character, bottom is the replacement):

Again, we infer that phrases of more than 3 words never repeat more than twice in the VMs:

Knox ran some comparison tests, using the EVA transcription, and found quite different results. These are available in detail here.

I am surprised at the difference in the transcriptions.

For the running text only, in EVA without respect for line wrapping.
I doubt any are wrapped but I'll check tomorrow and find the line descriptors.
Trying to match V-101 (in parenthesis). Might have missed one or more.
Only one trigram has "s" here. 

chedy qokeey qokeey   3 ()
chey qol chedy        4 (#12,3)
ol chedy qokain       3 ()
ol s aiin             4 (#3,4)
ol shedy qokedy       5 ()
ol shedy qokeey       3 ()
or aiin cheol         3 ()
or aiin okaiin        3 (#9,3)
or aiin ol            4 (#7,4)
or or aiin            3 (#11,3)
qokedy qokedy qokedy  3 ()
qol chedy qokain      3 ()
shedy qokedy qokeedy  3 ()*
shedy qokedy shedy    3 ()
sheedy qokedy chedy   3 ()

*Two of these:
ol shedy qokedy qokeedy