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世上最神秘的书

The world’s most mysterious book - Stephen Bax

在耶鲁大学贝内克珍本书与手稿图书馆深处
Deep inside Yale University’s BeineckeRare Book and Manuscript Library
存放着一部240页的孤本
lies the only copy of a 240-page tome.
最近 碳年代测定其成书于1420年左右
Recently carbon dated to around 1420,
其上等牛皮纸以卷曲的笔迹
its vellum pages featureslooping handwriting
和抽花刺绣图案为特色 看上去如同得自梦境
and hand-drawn images seeminglystolen from a dream.
真实而又虚幻的植物 漂浮的城堡 洗浴的妇女
Real and imaginary plants, floating castles, bathing women,
占星术图解 十二宫图
astrology diagrams, zodiac rings,
书本中穿插着 有人脸的太阳和月亮
and suns and moons with faces accompany the text.
这本24*16开的书被称为《伏尼契手稿》
This 24×16 centimeter bookis called the Voynich manuscript,
它是史上最大的未解之谜之一
and it’s one of history’s biggestunsolved mysteries.
原因何在呢
The reason why?
没人能想出它所表达的意思
No one can figure out what it says.
其名字来自威尔弗雷德•伏尼契
The name comes from Wilfrid Voynich,
一个波兰书商 他于1912年偶然间
a Polish bookseller who came across the document
在意大利耶稣会大学发现了这份文稿
at a Jesuit college in Italy in 1912.
他困惑了 这书是谁写的呢
He was puzzled. Who wrote it?
是在哪儿写的呢
Where was it made?
这些奇怪的词和扭曲的画代表什么意思呢
What do these bizarre wordsand vibrant drawings represent?
纸张中蕴含什么秘密呢
What secrets do its pages contain?
他从学院中囊中羞涩的神父那儿买下了手稿
He purchased the manuscript fromthe cash-strapped priest at the college,
并最终把它带到美国
and eventually brought it to the U.S.,
在那儿 专家们又苦思冥想了一个多世纪
where experts have continued to puzzle over it for more than a century.
密码学家认为(手稿)具备所有真实语言的特征
Cryptologists say the writing has all the characteristics of a real language,
(只不过是)一种人们以前从没见过的语言
just one that no one’s ever seen before.
让它看上去可信的(因素)在于 真实的语言中
What makes it seem real is thatin actual languages,
字母及词组以固定的频率出现
letters and groups of letters appearwith consistent frequencies,
而且《伏尼契手稿》中的语言
and the language in the Voynich manuscript
具备你无法从随机编造的文字中发现的样式
has patterns you wouldn’t findfrom a random letter generator.
更何况 我们知道的比看到的要多一点
Other than that, we know little more than what we can see.
这些字母在形式和长短上是多样的
The letters are variedin style and height.
一些是从其他手稿中借鉴的 但很多是独创的
Some are borrowed from other scripts,but many are unique.
长一点的字母被称为绞刑架
The taller letters have been namedgallows characters.
手稿装帧精美 遍及似卷轴般的装饰
The manuscript is highly decorated throughout with scroll-like embellishments.
它似乎出自两人或多人之手
It appears to be written by twoor more hands,
画作是由另外的人画的
with the painting doneby yet another party.
经年之后 关于手稿内容的三种主流理论出现了
Over the years, three main theories about the manuscript’s text have emerged.
第一种认为 它是以密码(形式)书写的
The first is that it’s written in cypher,
即一种故意设计出来隐藏秘密含义的密码
a secret code deliberately designedto hide secret meaning.
第二种认为 这份文稿就是个
The second is that the document is a hoax
胡编滥造来骗财的骗局
written in gibberish to make moneyoff a gullible buyer.
有人推测 作者是个中世纪的骗子
Some speculate the authorwas a medieval con man.
另一些人认为 伏尼契本人就是作者
Others that it was Voynich himself.
第三种猜测认为 手稿是用真实的语言写就的
The third theory is that the manuscript is written in an actual language,
但却是用人们不知道的字母
but in an unknown script.
也许中世纪的学者曾尝试为人们会说但不会写的语言
Perhaps medieval scholars were attemptingto create an alphabet
创造一份字母表吧
for a language that was spokenbut not yet written.
那样的话
In that case,
《伏尼契手稿》可能就像复活节岛上发现的“朗戈朗戈”刻板一样
the Voynich manuscript might be like the rongorongo script invented on Easter Island,
在导致其崩塌的文明之后再没办法弄懂了
now unreadable after the culture that made it collapsed.
尽管没人能阅读《伏尼契手稿》
Though no one can readthe Voynich manuscript,
这并没有阻止人们猜测它可能的意思
that hasn’t stopped people from guessingwhat it might say.
那些相信手稿是一种 开创书面语言新形式
Those who believe the manuscriptwas an attempt to create
的尝试的人们
a new form of written language
推测(手稿)可能是本百科全书
speculately that it might be an encyclopedia
包含孕育其文化的知识
containing the knowledgeof the culture that produced it.
其他人相信 它是十三世纪哲学家罗吉尔•培根所作
Others believe it was written by the 13th century philosopher, Roger Bacon,
此人曾试过要弄懂语法的普遍规律
who attempted to understandthe universal laws of grammar,
或是十六世纪伊丽莎白女王时代神秘的约翰•迪伊
or in the 16th century by theElizabethan mystic John Dee,
一个练过点金术及占卜术人(所著)
who practiced alchemy and divination.
更多边缘理论猜测 这本书是意大利女巫所作
More fringe theories that the book was written by a coven of Italian witches,
甚至是火星人写的
or even by Martians.
经过上百年的挫折
After 100 years of frustration,
科学家最近在这个谜团上获取了一点光亮
scientists have recently shed a little light on the mystery.
第一道突破是碳定年代
The first breakthroughwas the carbon dating.
而且 同时代的历史学家已探得手稿的出处
Also,contemporary historians havetraced the provenance of the manuscript
从罗马和布拉格直追溯到1612
back through Rome and Pragueto as early as 1612,
当是时 可能由神圣罗马皇帝鲁道夫二世
when it was perhaps passedfrom Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II
转给他的医师 雅克布斯•史奈普斯
to his physician, Jacobus Sinapius.
除了这些历史性突破
In addition to thesehistorical breakthroughs,
语言学家最近提议临时标识
linguistic researchers recently proposedthe provisional identification
手稿的部分单词
of a few of the manuscript’s words.
这些七颗星边上的字母可以拼作“Tauran”
Could the letters beside these sevenstars spell Tauran,
一个给金牛座起的名字
a name for Taurus,
即 一个包含七颗恒星 被称作昂秀星团的星座吗
a constellation that includes the seven stars called the Pleiades?
这个词可以是图上矢车菊属植物的Centaurun吗
Could this word be Centaurun for the Centaurea plant in the picture?
也许吧 但进展缓慢
Perhaps,but progress is slow.
如果能破解其密码 我们会发现什么呢
If we can crack its code,what might we find?
十五世纪插图画家的梦境之旅吗
The dream journal ofa 15th-century illustrator?
一堆毫无意义的废话吗
A bunch of nonsense?
还是被遗忘的文明所遗失的知识?
Or the lost knowledgeof a forgotten culture?
你觉得它是什么?
What do you think it is?

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你听说过《伏尼契手稿》吗?有人说它是骗人的把戏,也有人认为它是失传的文字,了解一下,自己评判吧。

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