The Voynich Temple

Greco-Roman Myth in the Voynich Manuscript

Identified Nymphs

Last update: 20/05/2016

This page provides an overview of proposed identifications for individual Voynich nymphs. They generally represent mythological figures at the mnemonic level, and astro-meteo-related phenomena at the base level of meaning (constellations, winds…). In other words, they use the frame of well-known mythological stories to teach about more complex matters related to navigation in a broad sense.

f76v and f80r:  PhilomelaPhilomela (2): the full story

76v.jpg

  1. Itys, son of king Tereus and Procne, about to be chopped into pieces and cooked.
  2. Philomela, daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, about to be transformed into a swallow, flying to the eaves of the palace. On the base meaning level, the swallow relates to meteorological phenomena. Less likely, this might be Procne about to be transformed into a nightingale.
  3. Philomela springing forward with Itys’ head.
  4. Tereus, king of Thrace, realizing he is eating his own son, about to be transformed into a bird, “the hoopoe, upupa epops, with its distinctive feathered crest and elongated beak. Its rapid, far-carrying, ëhoo-hoo-hooí call is interpreted as ëpou-pou-pouí meaning “where? where? where?” (source).
  5. Procne, daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, about to be changed into a nightingale while running from the furious Tereus. Alternatively, this one might represent Philomela (see nymph 2).

80r

  1. Philomela
  2. Tereus
  3. Philomela  – likely to represent something at base meaning level
  4. Tereus
  5. Tereus  – likely to represent something at base meaning level
  6. Philomela
  7. Procne  – very likely to represent something at base meaning level
  8. Philomela  – very likely to represent something at base meaning level
  9. Procne
  10. Philomela
  11. Philomela
  12. Procne
  13. Could be Procne rushing to free her sister, or one of her companions.
  14. Procne   – very likely to represent something at base meaning level
  15. messenger
  16. Messenger running to the palace. Alternatively Philomela.

 

f80v: The Deceitful Transsexual

80v

  1. Callisto – constellation Ursa Major
  2. Juno/Hera  – very likely to represent something at base meaning level
  3. constellation Draco (inter arctos)
  4. Arcas, Callisto’s son – constellation Ursa Minor 
  5. Callisto
  6. Callisto about to become a bear.
  7. Jupiter in the shape of Diana raping Callisto.
  8. Callisto.
  9. Callisto, pregnant.
  10. Diana, angry
  11. Probably a random follower of Diana’s bathing, as in the story.
  12. Probably a random follower of Diana’s noticing that something is wrong with Callisto, as in the story.
  13. Diana and her nymphs entering the scene, happily.

 

f79r: Halcyon Days in the Heavy Halls of Sleep

79r

  1. Personification of the storm, wrecking a ship (the mast, specifically).
  2. A terrified sailor. Might be Ceyx himself.
  3. Alchione
  4. Ceyx, king of Thrace, or Morpheus, who took on the king’s form.
  5. Iris, messenger of the gods (specifically Juno)
  6. Sleep
  7. Ceyx

 

f79v: On the Cross (2): Between Scylla and Charybdis

79v

  1. Charybdis, a dangerous whirlpool
  2. A ship’s protective deity, often Nike, holding a stylis. Argo Navis constellation.
  3. Scylla, lying down to represent her final form as a dangerous rock formation.
  4. Circe, the witch.
  5. Glaucus, a sea god.
  6. “Transformed beasts”, beings that dwell in Circe’s halls.

 

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