Posts Tagged ‘armadillo’

Dating an Armadillo

May 27, 2009

I have no problem with the possibility that the majority opinion of Voynich dating (that it is a 1400 to 1460 herbal), could be correct. And if the upcoming carbon-14 results show this, then those who hold such a dating have a stronger case. But one thing I have learned is that the dating of the Voynich this early is an opinion, not fact. Even the experts seem to have doubts about it, which I call the Nagging Sense of Newness. So while I think it could be from 1460, for various reasons I believe it is from much later. I really like my optics for one thing, and they imply a later dating. And I think there is a sunflower in the Voynich. But also, I think this (from f80v) is an armadillo:

When I showed this image around, I got some interesting and insightful feedback. From those who feel the Voynich is definitely pre-1460, most reaction fell in one of these categories:

1) It is not an armadillo: It is a pangolin, a wolf, or a dragon.
2) An armadillo may have floated up to Europe before 1460.
3) It looks too much like an armadillo to be one, because the Voynich is never accurate in depictions.

Contrasting with this is feedback from those who did not care a bit about the date of the Voynich… including a group of people who knew nothing of the Voynich, and were presented the image by an interested party… the feedback was overwhelmingly “it’s an armadillo”. The remainder were a couple of pangolin and one wolf identifications. What does this mean? Of course, a million people can think it is an armadillo, and that will not make it one. So it is not the numbers alone which intrigued me. What did strike me was that the majority of those who thought this could not be an armadillo were the same people who believe the Voynich was pre-Columbian. This strongly implies that the “expert opinion” of Voynich dating is colored by it’s own prejudices and projections, and should be taken with some reservation.

The armadillo fascinated Europeans. It was an iconic representation of the mysteries of the New World and it’s inhabitants, much as the sunflower was. And the sunflower is one of the most recognized Voynich flowers… of course, it is not an exactly perfect representation of a sunflower. But like the armadillo, the sunflower would date the Voynich to post-1492. Ironically, the sunflower has been critisized for looking too little like one, to be one.

So in these illustrations, if they are what I believe they are, an armadillo and sunflowers, it implies that the Voynich was created post 1492, and more likely, mid- to latter sixteenth century (as their images were not prevalent before then) at the earliest, and with New World influences and associations. This would fit my theory, as I believe it was created 1610 to 1620, and might be expected to have New World influence, as the (fictional) inhabitants of (fictional) Bensalem were transplanted Native Americans.

I have a page, linked here, of armadillo types, and armadillo references, descriptions, and earliest representations.