The so-called Voynich Manuscript, a small unassuming book usually stored in a Yale University vault, is one of the most mysterious books in the world. Picture: AFP
The so-called Voynich Manuscript, a small unassuming book usually stored in a Yale University vault, is one of the most mysterious books in the world. Picture: AFP

Ancient manuscript decoded by AI

IT'S a mystery as compelling as the Da Vinci Code - a fabled manuscript nobody can read, in an "alien" language which doesn't appear to exist.

But now a computer scientist says the mysterious document is actually written in ancient Hebrew and he knows how to decipher the riddle, reports The Sun.

A page from the Voynich manuscript an indecipherable text from the 15th century.
A page from the Voynich manuscript an indecipherable text from the 15th century.

For years many thought the text contained a prophecy or the key to eternal life or that the language belonged to aliens.

But using artificial intelligence, Professor Greg Kondrak from the University of Alberta was able to find out the language and then work out a little of what was being said.

And according to his team's research, the first complete sentence reads: "She made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people."

The code involves shuffling the order of letters in each word and dropping the vowels.

Yet despite the breakthrough, the book remains untranslated, and a small band of ancient Hebrew experts will have to help translate the whole text before its true meaning is unlocked.

The Voynich Manuscript is slightly bigger than a paperback.

It has 240 pages and is written in brown ink, punctuated by rich, wild illustrations.

Carbon dating has found it was created between 1404 and 1438.

Some think the manuscript, named after the second-hand book and antiques dealer thought to have discovered it in Italy in 1917, holds the secrets to eternal life.

But others just reckon it's an elaborate medieval joke.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished here with permission.



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