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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