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by Mark Newbrook

The Rohonc Codex, sometimes compared with the much-better-known Voynich Manuscript, represents yet another controversy linked with Hungary and its somewhat mysterious national language. The RC was apparently discovered in Hungary in early C19; it is of unknown date.

Like the VM, the RC is a text (448 pages) in an unknown writing system, with 87 accompanying varied illustrations, some of them religious in character. The system appears to be syllabic or even logographic; the number of character-types is much too high for an alphabet. The ductus appears to be right-to-left, which is in fact also typical of the Old Hungarian alphabetic script (readers may recall that the Yarmouth Rune Stone in Nova Scotia has been 'read' right-to-left as Hungarian!).

Predictably it has been suggested that the text is a hoax (as has also been claimed for the VM!). Among those who take it seriously, there have been various attempts at translation. Despite the apparently non-alphabetic character of the script, some of the characters have been likened to Old Hungarian script, and Hungarian readings have naturally been proposed. Others have identified it as representing an unidentified form of early Romance (echoes of Gerard Cheshire on the VM!); still others as Hindi; etc., etc. Most of the work on the RC is transparently non-mainstream in character.

There is in fact an extensive literature on the RC, but it is mostly in Hungarian. Recently the non-mainstream-history website Ancient Origins featured the RC, and their text (note 1) includes various observations on the document. The matter might eventually attract the interest of professional linguists well versed in the relevant languages, which would be very welcome.



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