The Rohonc Codex, one of the world’s most famous crypto mysteries, appears to have been solved. And yes, I believe this solution is correct.
The Rohonc Codex is a handwritten and hand-illustrated book with about 450 pages. It’s a unique piece. The special thing about it: The Rohonc Codex is written in a mysterious script. All attempts to decipher the text in the codex or to make any other sense of it have failed for at least 150 years. The Rohonc Codex is therefore considered the second most important unsolved book cryptogram after the Voynich Manuscript.
The Rohonc Codex is, of course, contained in my (now outdated) top 25 list of unsolved cryptograms. In addition, it is number 00002 on my Encrypted Book List. The Rohonc Codex could undoubtedly be a world-famous, much-discussed crypto mystery – if the world-famous, much discussed Voynich Manuscript did not exist.
Earlier this week, I received a mail that informed me about a new article in Cryptologia (published on May 28, 2018).
According to this article, the Rohonc Codex has now been solved. And this solution doesn’t look like nonsense.
Today, I am going to present an FAQ about the Rohonc Codex and the recently published solution. In a later post, I will address the solution in detail.
Who wrote the Rohonc Codex?
The author of the Rohonc Codex is unknown. In contrast to the Voynich manuscript, there is not even much speculation on this subject.
Where was the Rohonc Codex created?
The Rohonc Codex most likely originates from Central or Eastern Europe. The place of origin cannot be narrowed down much more precisely.
What do the pictures of the Rohonc Codex show?
While the illustrations of the Voynich manuscript leave much room for interpretation, to say the least, the motives of most of the images in the Rohonc Codex can be identified. Almost all of them show scenes from the Bible – for example, Jesus on the cross or Moses on Mount Sinai.
What was the purpose of the Rohonc Codex?
It is completely unclear what the intended purpose of the Rohonc Codex was. The Christian images suggest a religious use. Perhaps a religious dissenter wanted to hide his heretical doctrine from the church by encryption. On the other hand, the pictures could just be a cover to distract from the actual content of the book. It is also conceivable that the author chose a religious text to demonstrate a writing system he had invented (like Johannes Gutenberg, who demonstrated the printing technology he had invented using a religious text, namely the Bible). After all, it is also possible that someone created the Rohonc Codex just to sell it to a collector for a lot of money.
What are the most important theories about the text in the Rohonc Codex?
The text of Rohonc Codex could be …
- … ordinary text written in a script that is no longer known today
- … encrypted text
- … a hoax
The same is true for the Voynich Manuscript.
Are the pages of the Rohonc Codex available as scans on the Internet?
Yes, here they are: https://www.dacia.org/codex/original/original.html
Where can I find more information about the Rohonc Codex?
While there are stacks of literature on the Voynich manuscript, much less has been published about the Rohonc Codex. To get started, I recommend an article I wrote for the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (German/English). There is also a chapter about the Rohonc Codex in my book Nicht zu Knacken. The most detailed source is the article Why don’t we decipher an outdated cipher system? The Codex of Rohonc, which was published in 2010 in Cryptologia. The author of this excellent work is Benedek Láng from Hungary.
Is there a good TV documentary about Rohonc Codex?
I wouldn’t know. All I found was a Romanian TV documentary. The fact that Viorica Enăchiuc appears in this program does not exactly speak for its quality. Viorica Enăchiuc claims to have solved the Rohonc Codex. All serious experts consider her “solution” as crap.
How old is the Rohonc Codex?
The paper used for the Rohonc Codex was probably made in northern Italy in the 16th century. This can be deduced from a watermark. It has not yet been possible to determine when the text was written.
How long has the existence of Rohonc Codex been documented?
The Rohonc Codex originally belonged to the Hungarian book collectot Gusztáv Batthyány (1803-1883), who kept it in the then West Hungarian town of Rohonc (now Rechnitz in Austria). The book is named for this place. Batthyány bequeathed the codex 1838 to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Nothing is known about the history of Rohonc Codex before 1838 except that it belonged to Batthyány for a while.
Where is the Rohonc Codex located today?
The Rohonc Codex has been owned by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest since 1838. This institution kindly provided me with the scans on this page. In contrast to the Voynich Manuscript, for which permission is rarely granted, the Rohonc Codex can easily be viewed after prior registration. It is, however, not allowed to take pictures of it. Therefore I created a facsimile, which can be seen on the following picture.
Has the Rohonc Codex been solved?
For years, there have been rumours about the Rohonc Codex having been solved by the two Hungarian scientists Levente Zoltán Király and Gábor Tokai. I mentioned this alleged solution for the first time in an article published in 2011. Now, seven years later, the two scientists finally present their solution in a Cryptologia paper. This paper was published a few days ago, on May 28, 2018. It’s only available behind a paywall, the price is 42,00 Euros.
Does the solution make sense?
Frequent readers of this blog certainly know that virtually every famous crypto mystery has been “solved” many times. Of course, most of these “solutions” are crap. This is also the case for the Rohonc Codex, for which several solutions have been published. However, I hope and trust that the solution published by Király and Tokai makes sense. It has been proof-read by the leading Rohonc Codex expert Benedek Láng, codebreaking expert Craig Bauer, and others.