Spatial Visualization of Time in the Voynich Manuscript

In the first chapter of my book Creative Historical Thinking (Routledge, 2018),I describe some of the different ways that we visualize time in spatial form. A common way of viewing the year is as a circle, divided into seasons or months (perhaps accompanied by the constellations of the zodiac).

In my own synesthetic view of the year, the summer is at the top, fall at the right, winter at the bottom, and spring at the left. It is divided into months of roughly equal size and the year progresses in a clockwise manner.

The author(s?) of the famous cryptological puzzle, the Voynich Manuscript, created what may be a similar cyclical view of the year. I’m not certain what any of the symbols or writing mean. It seems that there is a soldier on the right side, a priest at the top, and and a peasant harvesting or planting food on the left. I assume the text reads left to right, as it goes around the circle (assuming that we are reading the text in the correction direction) and the year in this image is progressing clockwise. This is an assumption that we should hesitate to make, however. Perhaps the priest is blessing the crops in the spring, the soldier goes to war in the summer, and the farmer harvest food in the winter?



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