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Voynich manuscript transcription glossary

Last edited on 1998-12-26 11:04:13 by stolfi

An accidental crease in the vellum (cf. fold).
An intentional fold in the vellum, namely between panels of a fold-out.
The fold where a bifolio is sewed to the book.
A stack of bifolios that was folded and bound as a unit. The quires of the book are identified with letters `A' to to `T', front to back, which may be written `qA' thru `qT' for clarity. Rene Zandbergen has a detailed description of all quires and bifolios.
A connected piece of vellum, usually consisting of two folios joined across the gutter. The notation bQK will be used to denote the Kth bifolio of quire Q, counting from 1 (the outermost one).
A piece of vellum defined on one side by the gutter and three free edges. In the big fold-out, the two folios (85 and 86) are separated by the gutter and the vertical fold that is collinear with it.
The standard folio number, usually written fNN where NN is the original number written in the manuscript, usually at the top of the recto side.
One of the two surfaces of a folio or bifolio. The sides of folio fNN are denoted fNNr and fNNv, for recto and verso, respectively.
The side of a folio that you see when the gutter is on the left, the book is in its normal orientation, and the folio is completely unfolded.
The side of a folio opposite to the recto side, i.e. the one that you see when the gutter is at right.
free edge
A straight section of the physical boundary of a bifolio.
Either a free edge or a fold.
A rectangular partition of one side of a folio, delimited by four edges. Thus a simple folio has two panels, recto and verso, denoted by fNNr and fNNv where fNN is the folio number. In fold-outs, panels are numbered fNNrK or fNNvK, starting from the innermost panel (adjacent to to the gutter, K=1) and increasing outwards (towards the vertical free edge of the folio). Jim Reeds has a very detailed description of how the complex folios are folded, including panel numbers.
One or more adjacent panels that are to be read as a unit, e.g. because the contents is laid out without regards for the separating edges. A page is identified by the number of its innermost panel (the one that is closest to the gutter).
Of a page, the text and drawings in it.
Each of the four imaginary straight lines (top, bottom, left, right; or North, South, West, East) that seem to bound the normal text in a page. They usually lie a couple of centimeters inwards relative to the panel's edges. Note that drawings and labels may extend beyond the margins.
A sequence of characters (Voynichese by default) not broken by word spaces or graphical material.
word space
A space between two character that is noticebly wider than the average spacing.
text line
A linear arrangement of characters, mostly straight or circular, with their `up' directions perpendicular to the overall line direction, and that (presumably) must be read consecutively. Note that a text line may be interrupted by graphical elements, folds, vellum defects, etc.
text ring
A circular text line that covers almost one full circle.
text block
A set of two or more consecutive lines of text, stacked perpendicularly to the reading direction not more than a couple of character heights apart, and which presumably are to be read in sequence. Note that a text block may consist of concentric circular lines, and may comprise one or more paragraphs.
text edge
The two imaginary lines, not necessarily straight, that connect the left end right endpoints of successive lines in a text block.
A text block where the spacing between text lines is uniform and close to the minimum, and which presumably is a single sequence of words arbitrarily broken into lines to fit the available space. Typically, at least one of the text edges is straight or follows the outline of an adjacent figure. The number of lines of a paragraph is usually given as M.N, where M is the number of whole lines, and N/10 is the width of the last line, relative to the total width available for it (not counting any space taken up by figures, folds, creases).
left justified
(Of a text block) whose left text edge is straight and vertical.
right justified
(Of a text block) whose right text edge is straight and vertical, except possibly for the last lines of paragraphs.
A short text line, containing only a couple of words, that is placed next to a figure or in a cell of a diagram.
A text line that is placed next to a figure or in a cell of a diagram, and is longer than a couple of words; or is placed above or below a paragraph, but cannot be assumed to be part of it.
A star-shaped figure with straight sharp-pointed rays, possibly with interior detail.
(Of a star) a single curved line attached to the star's outline.
notched square
A design often found in circular bands around diagrams. It consists of a squarish sector of the band, containg four small "u"s, each connected to one side by both arms. The radial sides of the square are often doubled or tripled. Sometimes there are also dots in the center and/or near the four corners. This design seems to be used as a decoration in some diagrams (e.g. on f67v1, the "happy sun" page) and as a start-of-text marker in others (e.g f71r, the "Aries light" page.)
A human figure of female or indeterminate sex, with full or partial body which may have merely a decorative or exemplary purpose. E.g. the figures in the biological section, or around the zodiac diagrams; but not the figures in the zodiac signs themselves, or the sun/moon faces.
Visible female breasts, bare or clothed.
mechanically drawn
The opposite of freehand. Said of straight lines that seem to have been traced with ruler. Also said of circles that seem to have been drawn with compass, or by tracing some round object. (Jim Reeds, reporting on his Beinecke visit [13 Jul 94], says that "there were no pricks or pounce marks, no rulings except on the circular diagrams.")
A common decoration motif consisting of close-packed scales with rounded edge. When the fore edge of the scale-packed region is visible, each scale is usually seen to have a tongue-like shape, with parallel sides narrowing slightly towards the basal edge, which is attached to the substrate. This motif could represent closely-packed leaves, feathers, roof tiles, flaps of fabric, etc. On one diagrams, some nymphs are buried waist-deep in a field of scales, so it could be clouds, grass, bushes, or a planted field. Another compelling interpretation in some contexts is a layer of closely-packed seeds or florets, as in corn, pomegranate, sunflower, etc.