Ars Technica: No, someone hasn’t cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript. “There are so many competing theories about what the Voynich manuscript is—most likely a compendium of herbal remedies and astrological readings, based on the bits reliably decoded thus far—and so many claims to have deciphered the text, that it’s practically its own subfield of medieval studies. Both professional and amateur cryptographers (including codebreakers in both World Wars) have pored over the text, hoping to crack the puzzle.”
Reuters: Ancient Christian manuscripts digitised at monastery beneath Mount Sinai. “At St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Egypt’s Mount Sinai, the silence in the library is broken only by low electrical humming, as an early manuscript is bathed in green light. A team from Greece are photographing thousands of fragile manuscripts, including some of the earliest copies of the Christian gospels, using a complex process that includes taking images in red, green and blue light and merging them with computer software to create a single high-quality colour picture.”
British Library: Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta digitisation project completed. “Over 30,000 digital images of Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta are now fully accessible online through the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts website. The project, generously supported by Mr S P Lohia, has digitised 75 Javanese manuscripts held in the British Library from the collections of John Crawfurd and Colin Mackenzie, who both served in Java under Thomas Stamford Raffles, Lieutenant-Governor from 1811 to 1816. The manuscripts had been identified by historians Peter Carey and Merle Ricklefs as having been taken from the Kraton (palace) of Yogyakarta following a British attack in June 1812, when Crawfurd was Resident of Yogyakarta and Mackenzie was Chief Engineer of the British army in Java.” They are beautiful.
Library of Congress: 1,000 Years of Literary Tradition in Rare Persian-Language Manuscripts Now Online at Library of Congress. “In celebration of the Persian New Year, also known as Nowruz, the Library of Congress has digitized and made available online for the first time the Rare Persian-Language Manuscript Collection, which sheds light on scientific, religious, philosophical and literary topics that are highly valued in the Persian speaking lands.”
BBC: Cambridge University and Vatican manuscripts made public online. “Hundreds of medieval Greek manuscripts held by Cambridge and Heidelberg universities and the Vatican are to be made available to the public online. The £1.6m project will digitise more than 800 volumes featuring the works of Plato and Aristotle, among others.”
British Library: Why we love the Harley Irish Gospels. “How better to celebrate St Patrick’s Day than to announce the digitisation of two important Irish manuscripts from the British Library’s collections? Harley MS 1023 and Harley MS 1802 were both made in the 12th century in Armagh, St Patrick’s foundation and medieval cult centre.”
RTE: Rare medieval manuscripts answer prayers of researchers into history of Irish saints . “Research into ‘forgotten’ medieval chants and prayers is shedding new light on the history of the cult of Irish saints, including St Patrick. Trinity College Dublin’s Amra project is aiming to digitise and make freely available over 300 manuscripts containing liturgical material associated with some 40 Irish saints.”