Has the Voynich Manuscript Finally Been Decoded?: Researchers Claim That the Mysterious Text Was Written in Phonetic Old Turkish

There are still sev­er­al ancient lan­guages mod­ern schol­ars can­not deci­pher, like Minoan hiero­glyph­ics (called Lin­ear A) or Khipu, the intri­cate Incan sys­tem of writ­ing in knots. These sym­bols con­tain with­in them the wis­dom of civ­i­liza­tions, and there’s no telling what might be revealed should we learn to trans­late them. Maybe schol­ars will only find account­ing logs and inven­to­ries, or maybe entire­ly new ways of per­ceiv­ing real­i­ty. When it comes, how­ev­er, to a sin­gu­lar­ly inde­ci­pher­able text, the Voyn­ich Man­u­script, the lan­guage it con­tains encodes the wis­dom of a soli­tary intel­li­gence, or an obscure, her­mitic com­mu­ni­ty that seems to have left no oth­er trace behind.

Com­posed around the year 1420, the 240-page man­u­script appears to be in dia­logue with medieval med­ical and alchem­i­cal texts of the time, with its zodi­acs and illus­tra­tions botan­i­cal, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, and anatom­i­cal. But its script only vague­ly resem­bles known Euro­pean lan­guages.

So it has seemed for the 300 years dur­ing which schol­ars have tried to solve its rid­dles, assum­ing it to be the work of mys­tics, magi­cians, witch­es, or hoax­ers. Its lan­guage has been var­i­ous­ly said to come from Latin, Sino-Tibetan, Ara­bic, and ancient Hebrew, or to have been invent­ed out of whole cloth. None of these the­o­ries (the Hebrew one pro­posed by Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence) has proven con­clu­sive.

Maybe that’s because everyone’s got the basic approach all wrong, see­ing the Voynich’s script as a writ­ten lan­guage rather than a pho­net­ic translit­er­a­tion of speech. So says the Ardiç fam­i­ly, a father and sons team of Turk­ish researchers who call them­selves Ata Team Alber­ta (ATA) and claim in the video above to have “deci­phered and trans­lat­ed over 30% of the man­u­script.” Father Ahmet Ardiç, an elec­tri­cal engi­neer by trade and schol­ar of Turk­ish lan­guage by pas­sion­ate call­ing, claims the Voyn­ich script is a kind of Old Tur­kic, “writ­ten in a ‘poet­ic’ style,” notes Nick Pelling at the site Cipher Mys­ter­ies, “that often dis­plays ‘phone­mic orthog­ra­phy,’” mean­ing the author spelled out words the way he, or she, heard them.

Ahmet noticed that the words often began with the same char­ac­ters, then had dif­fer­ent end­ings, a pat­tern that cor­re­sponds with the lin­guis­tic struc­ture of Turk­ish. Fur­ther­more, Ozan Ardiç informs us, the lan­guage of the Voyn­ich has a “rhyth­mic struc­ture,” a for­mal, poet­ic reg­u­lar­i­ty. As for why schol­ars, and com­put­ers, have seen so many oth­er ancient lan­guages in the Voyn­ich, Ahmet explains, “some of the Voyn­ich char­ac­ters are also used in sev­er­al pro­to-Euro­pean and ear­ly Semit­ic lan­guages.” The Ardiç fam­i­ly will have their research vet­ted by pro­fes­sion­als. They’ve sub­mit­ted a for­mal paper to an aca­d­e­m­ic jour­nal at Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty.

Their the­o­ry, as Pelling puts it, may be one more “to throw onto the (already blaz­ing) hearth” of Voyn­ich spec­u­la­tion. Or it may turn out to be the final word on the trans­la­tion. Promi­nent Medieval schol­ar Lisa Fagin Davis, head of the Medieval Acad­e­my of America—who has her­self cast doubt on anoth­er recent trans­la­tion attempt—calls the Ardiçs’ work “one of the few solu­tions I’ve seen that is con­sis­tent, is repeat­able, and results in sen­si­cal text.”

We don’t learn many specifics of that text in the video above, but if this effort suc­ceeds, and it seems promis­ing, we could see an author­i­ta­tive trans­la­tion of the Voyn­ich, though there will still remain many unan­swered ques­tions, such as who wrote this strange, some­times fan­tas­ti­cal man­u­script, and to what end?

Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to “the World’s Most Mys­te­ri­ous Book,” the 15th-Cen­tu­ry Voyn­ich Man­u­script

Behold the Mys­te­ri­ous Voyn­ich Man­u­script: The 15th-Cen­tu­ry Text That Lin­guists & Code-Break­ers Can’t Under­stand

Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence May Have Cracked the Code of the Voyn­ich Man­u­script: Has Mod­ern Tech­nol­o­gy Final­ly Solved a Medieval Mys­tery?

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (35)
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  • Karl Reitmann says:

    It’s com­plete­ly uncon­vinc­ing. This man­u­script was writ­ten flu­id­ly, like I’m writ­ing this post, the author didn’t stop at ever sec­ond char­ac­ter to think how to “code” his writ­ing.

  • Christopher Ellis says:

    The draw­ings look like those found in Ottoman works, and the Old Tur­kic hypoth­e­sis seems to have legs. Code is a mis­nomer. I had a look into the mat­ter some time ago, and this is the front run­ner, in my opin­ion

  • Domingo Delgado says:

    I have stud­ied the man­u­script for two years and have much infor­ma­tion that direct­ly links Leon Bat­tista alber­ti as the author.I believe it’s writ­ten in Latin. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I don’t know who to con­tact to bring this infor­ma­tion to light. Bel­low are a few points of the per­ti­nent infor­ma­tion I have:
    1)Leon Bat­tista Alber­ti lived in the exact time peri­od the book was writ­ten. (this is a fact that has been proven through car­bon dat­ing)
    2)If you ana­lyze Alberti’s hand writ­ing from famous let­ters that still exist, you would see that there are many sim­i­lar­i­ties.
    3)If you ana­lyze archi­tec­tur­al graph­ics from the man­u­script you would see that they cor­re­late to the loca­tion and exact time peri­od he lived.
    4)Architectural ele­ments of his own designs are found with­in the man­u­script.

  • Lars Andraschko says:

    Once you use a cypher for a few months it becomes sec­ond nature and you no longer have to stop and think about it.

  • A. Dabra says:

    I agree with Lisa Fagin Davis: it does look rel­a­tive­ly con­vinc­ing. And the trans­la­tion does look to make sense.
    Let’s hope they man­age to trans­late this whole text so we learn what’s in it!

  • Troy says:

    Every­one who solve the puz­zle
    Would become famous,
    300years on and the mys­tery has been unsolved
    It will be anoth­er 300years of mys­tery
    It is like the mys­tery of Pyra­mide

  • Matthew Murphy says:

    I’ve read over it prob­a­bly less thor­ough­ly than any­one who has had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to sit down and ‘study’ it or what­ev­er y’all do, and no, I don’t believe it is cor­rect­ly deci­pher­able in any one-set lin­guis­tic under­stand­ing of mod­ern text — nor even past script. I believe that the ‘code/meaning’ behind the true inten­tion (what­ev­er it may be) of the writ­ings with­in the Voyn­ich Manuscript(s) is total­ly and com­plete­ly based off of a more/less philo­soph­i­cal set of wordings/standpoints of true HUMANITARIAN under­stand­ing.

  • Matthew Murphy says:

    He had no good or bad inten­tions when writ­ing this. I agree with you 100%. This was writ­ten in, and by, his own belief sys­tem and set of ideals. It is high­ly detailed and I’m sure that it has more infor­ma­tion than maybe even today’s soci­ety as a WORLD would find hard to fit their head around.

  • Matthew Murphy says:

    My last reply was meant in response to the com­ment post­ed by Karl Reit­mann.

  • Tony M says:

    Nice fam­i­ly and sol­id the­o­ry but I agree w top com­ment, Voyn­ich looks flu­id. Most like­ly a vari­ety of Ancient Mace­don­ian script, birth­place of Her­met­i­ca. Not “Greek” or “Cop­tic” BS they always tell us. Orig­i­nal works all stolen by Medici and the like, almost cer­tain­ly still in the Vat­i­can library. Too much hid­den his­to­ry but truth always pre­vails.

  • Monica says:

    the Voyn­ich Man­u­script was, my the­o­ry, writ­ten by Tur­kic Jews (Khaz­ars) who were exiled in Greece before the fall of Con­stan­tino­ple, and i believe this is their lost lan­guage. It is not in code, but an agglu­ti­na­tive lan­guage. You can uti­lize Hebrew root words to gain an under­stand of what was writ­ten. It is not the Hebrew of today. Check for your­selves. The only codes are hid­den let­ters in plants, angel­ic alpha­bet, alchem­i­cal, and some cir­cu­lar charts.



  • Joshua says:

    The only prob­lem with radioac­tive car­bon dat­ing dat­ing is that it’s com­plete­ly depen­dant on the atmos­pher­ic pres­ence of the car­bon atom C‑14, and it’s degra­da­tion. If the man­u­script was found in a wood­en chest in South­ern Europe, as Wil­frid Voyn­ich claims, how could it be accu­rate­ly dat­ed see­ing how it would have been closed off from nor­mal atmos­pher­ic car­bon?

  • D.N.O'Donovan says:

    It’s a pity the Ardics haven’t giv­en more details of that jour­nal. John Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty pub­lish­es sev­er­al — some in print, some online.

  • D.N.O'Donovan says:

    I hope you are not the ‘Josh’ who com­ment­ed about radio­car­bon dat­ing. The atmos­pher­ic car­bon which is test­ed isn’t con­tem­po­rary ‘fall out’ but the lev­els with­in the mate­r­i­al being test­ed — this reflect­ing the atmos­pher­ic lev­els at the time the ani­mal or plant was alive.

    It is often said, I know, that
    “… the man­u­script appears to be in dia­logue with medieval med­ical and alchem­i­cal texts of the time, with its zodi­acs and illus­tra­tions botan­i­cal, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, and anatom­i­cal.”

    but it’s all guess­work and spec­u­la­tion, much of it repeat­ed just because it has so often been repeat­ed. No expert in medieval works in any of those sub­jects has found any cor­re­spon­dence to med­ical, alchem­i­cal, botan­i­cal, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal or anatom­i­cal works, and in most cas­es the experts have flat­ly denied that the Vms is of that sort. These myths don’t bear scruti­ny; many (like the ‘anatom­i­cal’ idea) are out-and-out anachro­nism and truth be told, there’s not any cer­tain­ty that the con­tent orig­i­nat­ed in west­ern Europe.

    The rea­son this man­u­script remains a mys­tery, I’d say, is that we have had too many peo­ple who began by think­ing they already knew the answers to ques­tions they had­n’t even begun to inves­ti­gate… just like those before them.

    Yes, I know the same tired old ideas are found every­where, but ask for the research which first result­ed in that con­clu­sion and… there isn’t any. ‘A bloke told me’ is about the lev­el of pre­lim­i­nary evi­dence. After that, believ­ers have tried to jus­ti­fy their own pet the­o­ry.

    Sor­ry to sound cyn­i­cal, but there you are.

  • Dr Amelkin says:

    The Voyn­ich Man­u­script was prob­a­bly writ­ten in Augs­burg or Munich by famous Doc­tor Kas­par Bernauer (1385–1450), who prac­ticed col­lec­tive bal­ne­o­log­i­cal pro­ce­dures for the hygien­ic and med­ical pur­pos­es with the use of herbs and balms.

  • July says:

    Hi I am des­pert­ly look­ing who I could get in touch with about the what the man­u­script holds. I thought I was dream­ing about being kid­napped and under­stand­ing what the man­u­script realy is but I was­nt… I had writ­ten down on papers com­plex sci­ence behind it. I did not even know if what i had writ­ten down made sense since I know very litle sci­ence. Please some­one tell me who i should con­tact…
    Thanks in advanced
    Julie (a 34 year old moth­er from Cana­da)

  • Zainab says:

    I can trans­late your man­u­script doc­u­ments in Ottoman Turk­ish. If you need you can con­tact me.

  • Nikolai says:

    Your site has infor­ma­tion about the Voyn­ich man­u­script.
    I am deci­pher­ing the Voyn­ich man­u­script and received a pos­i­tive result.
    There is a key to cipher the Voyn­ich man­u­script.
    The key to the cipher man­u­script placed in the man­u­script. It is placed through­out the text. Part of the key hints is placed on the sheet 14. With her help was able to trans­late a few dozen words that are com­plete­ly rel­e­vant to the theme sec­tions.
    The Voyn­ich man­u­script is not writ­ten with let­ters. It is writ­ten in signs. Char­ac­ters replace the let­ters of the alpha­bet one of the ancient lan­guage. More­over, in the text there are 2 lev­els of encryp­tion. I fig­ured out the key by which the first sec­tion could read the fol­low­ing words: hemp, wear­ing hemp; food, food (sheet 20 at the num­ber­ing on the Inter­net); to clean (gut), knowl­edge, per­haps the desire, to drink, sweet bev­er­age (nec­tar), mat­u­ra­tion (matu­ri­ty), to con­sid­er, to believe (sheet 107); to drink; six; flour­ish­ing; increas­ing; intense; peas; sweet drink, nec­tar, etc. Is just the short words, 2–3 sign. To trans­late words with more than 2–3 char­ac­ters requires knowl­edge of this ancient lan­guage. The fact that some sym­bols rep­re­sent two let­ters. In the end, the word con­sist­ing of three char­ac­ters can fit up to six let­ters. Three let­ters are super­flu­ous. In the end, you need six char­ac­ters to define the seman­tic word of three let­ters. Of course, with­out knowl­edge of this lan­guage make it very dif­fi­cult even with a dic­tio­nary.
    And most impor­tant. In the man­u­script there is infor­ma­tion about “the Holy Grail”.
    I’m will­ing to share infor­ma­tion.

  • John says:

    Hi Niko­lai,

    I am would like to know more about what you think the voyn­ich man­u­script says about the holy grail. Is there any­way I can get into con­tact with you? Per­haps through email?

  • Lucas Maximus says:

    Hel­lo, could you say about your progress? And, could you say a lit­tle more about what it says about the Holy Grail

  • JS says:

    This is what I think the book is about: Turk­ish Bath


    (1) The first part of the book is about Herbs/plants and their function(s)

    (2) The sec­ond part of the book is about many women bathing and celes­tial time of year for month­ly bathing … either by them­selves or in a Turk­ish Bath or even a riv­er or pond .…. what­ev­er. But note The book is writ­ten in Turk­ish (Old Turk­ish lan­guage).

    (3) The third part of the books relates to the dif­fer­ent drinks (herbal drinks) and (Herbs put into bath water) And per­haps sev­er­al dif­fer­ent plants and herbs used to enhance the baths for med­i­c­i­nal usage.

    (4) Since this book relates to “Women” per the many draw­ings show­ing bathing women, either in a Bath House or Pri­vate Bath Tubs .… for social­iz­ing, med­i­c­i­nal, and health relat­ed itin­er­ary… Also the many Celes­tial times of the year indi­cat­ed by the months of the year and Zodi­ac ref­er­ences in many of the draw­ings.

    *** I found this writ­ing below in my research ****

    Dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages, a cult of bathing was formed in Per­sia, Turkey, and the Cau­ca­sus. Con­tem­po­rary sources attribute great heal­ing prop­er­ties to bathing. An 11th cen­tu­ry Iran­ian writer, Keykavus Ziyari, wrote, “Since archi­tects began to raise build­ings, they cre­at­ed noth­ing bet­ter than a bath­house. In order to main­tain health, it was rec­om­mend­ed that a per­son vis­it a bath­house at least two or three times each week. Bath­hous­es served as both beau­ty par­lors and health clin­ics. (see web page below)


  • Jack says:

    Because it was­n’t, the book was writ­ten in pho­net­i­cal lan­guage, he wrote in ancient Turk­ish + in a way where the words are writ­ten as he hears them

  • Nikolai says:

    Yes, you can write me a mail kr_go@mail.ru

  • Devender Singh says:

    This man­u­script can be decod­ed but it will take time.this book has many section.asteonomy and cos­mol­o­gy sec­tion can be decod­ed by picture.every sec­tion is micro study of the releat­ed subject.who so ever has writ­ten this book he or she had the deep­est knowedge of each subject.plesse let me know that it has been decod­ed or not?
    If not we are research­ing on like this subject.how can i get the whole pages of the book.

  • Devender Singh says:

    Book not belong to any reli­gion or any con­tries peo­ple it’s belong to sci­ence only.

  • Sarvani says:

    Why isn’t this lan­guage includ­ed in Google trans­late ? Please do let me know by send­ing mail.

    ‑Thank you.

  • Nikolai says:

    The Voyn­ich man­u­script indi­cates the loca­tion of the Holy Grail. In addi­tion to the sign for the Grail, there are signs sim­i­lar to the font and cra­dle of Jesus. Next to the signs that rep­re­sent them, there are 4 words that were trans­lat­ed. These are: “Pro­tect”, “Spir­it of the deep, God of trea­sures”, “Destroy”, “Hack”.

  • gaozhiyuan says:

    In Chi­na have been cracked the voyn­ich man­u­script more you can search in baidu post bar voyn­ich man­u­script.

  • Nikolai Anichkin says:

    The Voyn­ich man­u­script indi­cates the loca­tion of the Holy Grail. In addi­tion to the sign for the Grail, there are signs sim­i­lar to the font and cra­dle of Jesus. Next to the signs that rep­re­sent them, there are 4 words that were trans­lat­ed. These are: “Pro­tect”, “Spir­it of the deep, God of trea­sures”, “Destroy”, “Hack”.

  • Geoffrey Sea says:

    Hav­ing done radio­car­bon dat­ing — the tech­nique does not rely on expo­sure to atmos­pher­ic car­bon. In fact the less atmos­pher­ic expo­sure the bet­ter. You want to mea­sure only the car­bon atoms that were incor­po­rat­ed into the mate­r­i­al at time of pro­duc­tion. The 15th cen­tu­ry date is like­ly accu­rate.

  • Geoffrey Sea says:

    I agree the lan­guage is Khaz­ar and I can sup­port that with a detail of its prove­nance. Please con­tact me.

  • Mgen battia says:

    This niko­lai dude is a whack­job. Com­plete­ly nut­ter. Not even remote­ly fac­tu­al.

  • Nikolai Matveevich Anichkin says:

    Good after­noon! Unfor­tu­nate­ly I haven’t seen your ques­tion before. I can. Write to kr_go (a) mail. ru

  • marie montague says:

    My first ever response.
    Ive only read a few pages.
    Obvi­ous­ly writ­ten by a woman, in a reli­gious order allowed access to ancient
    Her own study guide. nev­er meant for pub­li­ca­tion
    a teacher of the arts
    her read­ing & writ­ing dates the Pre­cod­ing of both lan­guage and alpha­bet

    Mixed, mul­ti­ple source edu­ca­tion , cul­ture, trade inter­ac­tion etc

    very young woman from rich fam­i­ly

    I was a tax­onomer at field muse­um. inver­te­brates

    this is such a mixed bag of edu­ca­tion: ear­ly med­i­cine, astrol­o­gy, very young fem­i­nine stuff

    looks like expo­sure to ear­ly micro­scop­ic images of seeds, water plants, one celled ani­mals. what’s all the fuss? I came to this in 15 min­utes. guys — a girl invent­ed the first com­put­er, stream of con­scious­ness, con­cept of dna. a girl could have done this — let“s face it. it“s a mess!

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