A mysterious 600-year-old manuscript written in an unknown language is finally on the path to being translated, according to a University of Bedfordshire researcher.
Professor Stephen Bax, an applied linguistics professor at the university, says that he has decoded 10 words from the manuscript using references to other languages. The 15th century manuscript has baffled researchers for a long time, but Bax says he was able to unlock some key words, including the term for Taurus as well as the world KANTAIRON.
“I hit on the idea of identifying proper names in the text, following historic approaches which successfully deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs and other mystery scripts, and I then used those names to work out part of the script,” said Bax. “The manuscript has a lot of illustrations of stars and plants. I was able to identify some of these, with their names, by looking at mediaeval herbal manuscripts in Arabic and other languages, and I then made a start on a decoding, with some exciting results.”
Bax says that while there is still a long way to go in completely translating the manuscript in its entirety, he decided to go public with his accomplishment in order to encourage others in his field to jump on board with him.
“My aim in reporting on my findings at this stage is to encourage other linguists to work with me to decode the whole script using the same approach, though it still won’t be easy,” said Bax. “That way we can finally understand what the mysterious authors were trying to tell us. But already my research shows conclusively that the manuscript is not a hoax, as some have claimed, and is probably a treatise on nature, perhaps in a Near Eastern or Asian language.”
Professor Bax’s breakthrough has sparked interest in continued deciphering among people all over the world.