Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Rohonc Codex (a Diary of a Decipherer) 2



06 June 2015, London

I found another pictographic sign:. According to its form, its meaning could be “monumentum” or “sepulchre”. Also, it is used mostly on the pages around the drawing of the Resurrection. Although, I am looking for pictographic signs, I search information on shorthand systems created before 17 century when, most likely, was created RC. The oldest well known system is Tironian notes. I easily find online two large “Tironian collections”*. Tironian notes is a shorthand system created by Cicero's scribe Marcus Tullius Tiro in first century BC. It consisted of some 4000 signs. The system continued to be used in medieval times, when extended to about 13000 signs. It declined around 16 century. Tiro’s signs, or notations as they are also called, are made of a main larger grapheme, usually the first letter of the word, and smaller supporting signs: another characteristic letter of the word or an important suffix:

Excerpt from "Commentarii notarum tironianarum", by Wilhelm Schmitz, 1893, Tab. 9.


It looks like, the author of Rohonc Script was influenced by some of the Tironian letter-forms. For example two of the words that I already know contain letter "p":- Pilates and- primus (first). The element that repeats in the two words is a simple "hook" which is rotated in different angle in both cases. This future is evident for Tironian notes too: 



As it can be seen from the chart below, this future is not restricted with the form of letter "p", which by the way doesn't differ much from the Rohonc "p":

 So, I start searching for possible groups of letter-forms. "S" is one of the signs that can be recognized easy:,,,,,. Also, as A someone at Cipher Mysteries suggested, Z’s written usually in groups on pages of the RC look like Tironian N’s:,,,,. Learning more about Tironian notes and other shorthand systems created before 17 century when most likely RC has been created, I began to lose believe on some of my “pictographic” discoveries. Solar sign now looked more like unusual form of upper case “S”, witch by the way perfectly fits its meaning: holy as in Latin is “sacer”. The horse sign,,most likely is a letter. Another sign under question is the wagon:which I see now as a ligature of three letters: I or H, r and o. What could be the meaning of the word this ligature makes, I wouldn’t guess at this point. 

* "Commentarii notarum tironianarum", by Wilhelm Schmitz, 1893 and Tachygraphia veterum by Kopp, Ulrich Friedrich, 1817.


09 June 2015, Birmingham
I have to do some work in Birmingham. Simple hotel room, slow Internet, full English breakfast. I read Latin Bible again and again. Then I search for easy to catch words in the RC. I find a combination that is repeated many times:. I already have a hypothesis what the first part of this group of letters might mean= et (and). Next letter we know from the name of Abram:=m. I assume that next letter is reversed “e”-. Now, the last letter is under question but somehow I see in it a reversed upper case letter “A” cut short on the legs:it sounds silly. Also "mea" is feminine of "meus" (my). The combination “et mea” (and my) doesn’t make sense....It is getting late.


10 June, Birmingham
I continue learning about Tironian notes. It is an ocean of signs. Then switch to the page of the Codex where “Binding of Isaac” is depicted:






Above the picture it is written:. We know the Abraham part:. I suspect that those two letters that are left behind are lower case a’s:. There is two a’s in the name of Isaac, but it would be more plausible if it was the name of Aaron. I try to find some use of this little discovery, but the combination is used only twice, far away from the name of Abraham. 


15 June, Birmingham

Another week in Birmingham. Same hotel; same breakfast and same schedule: after work I return back to the RC. In 1588 Timothy Bright published his shorthand system. It is principally influenced by Tironian notes. After that John Willis came up with Art of Stenography in 1602, followed by Edmond Willis with “An abbreviation of writing by character” in 1618. Eight years later, was published Thomas Shelton's system which become very popular. It was published also in Germany between 1679 and 1743 and in France in 1681.


New systems after Timothy Bright are different. They become more phonetic and more cursive, but, most importantly, I don’t see in them any similarities with Rohonc Script. 

16 June 2015, Birmingham

I search again throughout the different shorthand systems flourished in Europe in 17 and 18 century. In 1633, was published the system of Theophilus Metcalfe, “Stenography or Short Writing”. He was followed by Jeremiah Rich in 1654 and William Mason, whose system emerged in 1682. New wave of geometric looking systems began in 1720 with John Byrom's “New Universal Shorthand”:

Similar shorthand system was published by Samuel Taylor in 1786. His system spread in Europe and was adopted for French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Swedish:


Théodore-Pierre Bertin adopted his shorthand for French in 1792. I downloaded the Bertin’s book and interesting enough I found examples with “symmetric abbreviation” that are characteristic for Rohonc Script. For example:= Galilee where letters are arranged to make symmetry, no matter what is their order in actual word. Those examples are plenty on the pages of RC:,,.Also I found two examples of possible shorthand that the author left probably as notes:
and. Does that mean that the author knew one of contemporary shorthands?



17 June 2015, Birmingham

As searching the RC, I find another word. Around the picture with Jesus carrying the Cross I saw this word: which, I think, means Simon who helped Jesus carrying the Cross. It is made out of C,
and vertically running “m”. Here C is used instead of S. I suspect another word nearby:with possible meaning “saint”. Then the phrase will be:= Saint Simon.



18 June 2015, Birmingham

Today I decided to search for numbers. I have already found the numbering of the tablets with Moses. This is perfect start:



As tablet are numbered as follow:- primus (first),- secundus (second),- tertius (third). After a while I realise: numbers run everywhere:,,,and so on. It is not very difficult to guess their value as they are just normal roman numbers:




Numbers usually are followed by countable nouns. In the New Testament, we find days, people, angels, skies, and scriptures to accompany numbers. I look for clues:=  three saints, probably, as is written over three man with halos,= five crowns maybe,= five nights,
= thirty three stars maybe, and this one is interesting:
,,. It is repeated again and again with different numbers. Very soon I realize that the letter after the numbers is reversed delta, which probably is staying for “d” as for dia (day). It has to be right, because I find (three days) around the drawing of the Resurrection of Jesus. This allows me to identify another letter with certainty.