A possible explanation for the Rosettes page as an imaginative map of the Baths of Pozzuoli.
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Folio 86v is known as the Rosettes page. It is a large folding out sheet which has depicted on it an interconnected group of nine circular forms. Many different interpretations have been proposed for this most complex of folios in the Voynich. 'Kabbalistic' diagrams is among the more popular, though as the established kabbalah has ten sephiroth and here we have only nine circles, that seems to miss the mark somewhat. Another idea was that these were drawings of plant cells, or even human ova, from a time long before such microscopy was possible. Most of the proposed explanations of these drawings try to see these within some context external to the Voynich manuscript, i.e. kabbalah, or modern microscopy. Instead we must try and find some way of looking at these drawings within the context of the Voynich.

It seems on a simple inspection that we have a central circular form with eight arranged about that in a square formation. These eight circular forms are connected by linear forms, which we can call 'pathways'.

It seems likely that this is some sort of imaginative map.

But what could it be a map of ?

I have established a link between the Baths of Pozzuoli, an ancient Roman bath complex situated near Naples on a volcanically active area, and the so called balnealogical images in the Voynich manuscript. This complex of underground caves and overground structures survived into the medieval period and was then famous as medicinal baths, being written about by Peter of Eboli around 1220. Eboli's work was copied in a number of manuscripts with illustrations of the baths and twenty such manuscripts have survived dating from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The Voynich balnealogical images seem to be imperfect copies and elaborations on the Peter of Eboli manuscript images.

It seems to me that as there are common pictorial elements between the Voynich balnealogical images and the Rosettes figures, that it would be a straightforward idea to see the Rosettes as a map of the Baths of Pozzuoli. Here are some of these common elements.

Voynich Balnealogical
Voynich Rosettes
Thus there surely is a prima facie connection between the Balnealogical and the Rosettes section.

As we have seen the Rosettes page has the nine circular forms and the eight pathways connecting them. Let us just look at some of these paths.


Simple path on top of a ridge with no structures.

Path with a wall on each side and two small circular bastions. Within a sort of diamond shape court there is a central diamond shaped form, which could be seen as a plinth with some statuary.

Path on top of a ridge with a gateway with three towers.
We can analyse these 'pathways' in more detail later. But our initial look at these surely strengthens the Rosettes page as a map. This map shows various round structures which we find are connected by these linear pathways, ambulatories or processionals.

Let us look at some of the features of the round structures. First we see the central round form is not connected to the others by pathways. Instead it seems to ray or pour out substances onto four of the satellite circular forms to the top, bottom, left and right.



Let us look at this in detail.


Here we seem to see an image similar to that in the Voynich Balnealogical section, where some liquid or steam descends from a triangular structure.




It might not be too fanciful to see this as an example of dripstone curtains or stalactite forms, such as one finds in caves with constantly dripping water.
Thus our central form could be seen as the underground source of the warm sulphur waters, vapours or steam, which then descends down to the individual bath structures. See a modern map of the baths. There were a number of round buildings on the site in ancient times, the 'Thermae of Venus', the 'Thermae of Mercury', the 'Thermae of Diana', a complex of walkways called the 'Ambulatio', a rectangular building called the 'Thermae of Sosandra' and a building called the 'Natatorum'. Our Rosettes page could well be an imaginative map of these structures.

Let us just look at some of the satellite structures and see if they could be candidates for such 'Thermae of the various planetary gods'.

Let us first consider the bottom centre image.

Here we see in the periphery, vaulted spaces supported by little columns. These seem to support a dome with blue triangles interspersed with triangles bearing stars. Is this not merely the representation of roof dome in plan, or as if we were looking upwards at it? There appears to be a central boss.

The central circular form we looked at earlier has a little flat roof or canopy supported by six onion domed columns arranged in a hexagon. Here the image is shown in elevation rather than plan. This mixing of representational devices is not ususual for early drawings. So we appear to have here a stretched canopy (perhaps even of cloth embroidered with stars) supported on columns, set in some underground space.


There were a number of round buildings on the site of baths of Pozzuoli in ancient times, the 'Thermae of Venus', the 'Thermae of Mercury', the 'Thermae of Diana', but only one major rectangular baths, the 'Thermae of Sosandra'. In our Voynich Rosettes page we find mostly round structures, except in the bottom right figure.

  

Here we seem to have the representation of a rectangular building supported on columns, which we can compare with the modern archaelogical drawing of the ruined remains.



I feel this is a valid perspective on the Rosettes page and we should try and see it as a map of the baths. There is much more to discover in this elaborate diagram. I have made a start. Perhaps others can follow up and explore this in more detail.