Night was falling and the chill of dusk stole through the window. Amelius rose to draw the heavy woven curtain across the opening and to stoke up the fire in the hearth. Perhaps he should pause in his work and take the small meal offered by the priests in this ancient temple. They held dinner for no one and morning was many hours away. Checking his fire once again, he secured his work and left his room for the great dining hall.
The temple was one among the thousands that would be lost to history. It had been home to many gods and those that served them. Meals were simple and made up of fruits, vegetables, bread and wine, all grown on temple grounds. The food was well prepared and, Amelius thought, rather appetizing. No silence was imposed, however conversations tended to be muted and conducted with close neighbors.
“I see you’ve chosen to join us this evening, Friend Amelius. How goes your work?”
“Well, quite well, Aius. I should be able to leave your hospitality by weeks end.”
“Have you found all you expected to among our scrolls?”
“There are some gaps, but your librarian has been quite helpful. It has given me much of what I needed to verify the integrity of my work. Your help has been critical to my mission.”
“Then you will be returning to your homeland quite soon? Or do you have further stops on this journey of yours?”
“No, Aius, I believe I have completed my search.” Amelius began to gather his plate and utensils, “I believe I am now prepared to record what I must for future generations. We no longer have those among us that can memorize the old knowledge. We are forced to make a written record.”
Aius sighed. “True, it seems the case in many things. I wish you luck Amelius, and whatever blessing you may take from this place.”
A week later Amelius returned to his homeland of Bohemia where a settlement of Celts remained. Upon completion of his manuscript, with all of its meticulously drawn illustrations, he consigned the work to the care of those who had commissioned him.
Many centuries came and went. As the manuscript aged, others carefully copied its fading contents. The manuscript was held in great regard even though knowledge of its contents had become almost as faded as the words. Known to be ancient and perhaps even holy, those with means to preserve it did so while trying to decipher its meanings.
What ancient secrets of astronomy, medicine, law, and spirit, might grace the page of a Druid Book of Knowledge? Its author accomplished his task well, for nothing has caused quite so much bafflement nor intrigue as the beautiful, ancient Voynich Manuscript.
NOTE: My rendition is, of course, a fiction. However the manuscript is quite real. Professor Stephen Bax of the University of Bedford recently announced that he is making progress in translating the document. The theory I present is not without some grounds. The Celts did not have a written language that we are aware of, and yet they had a stable and evidently wealthy empire that spanned from modern day Ireland to the shores of the Black Sea. Evidence of their influence is found in Northern African and far into Northern Europe. The Celtic Druids were the professional class of their peoples. They were the doctors, lawyers, astronomers; engineers and priests. Perhaps the manuscript is a Druid’s last hope of preserving centuries of knowledge for future use. Perhaps one day I’ll write the whole story.