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What did the Egyptian book of spells, the scroll from the oasis and other ancient manuscripts that were deciphered very recently tell about?
What did the Egyptian book of spells, the scroll from the oasis and other ancient manuscripts that were deciphered very recently tell about?
What did the ancient manuscripts, which were deciphered recently, told about?

The ancients wrote down their knowledge on scrolls, artifacts, and even on the walls of caves. But after millennia, people have already forgotten how to understand the long-forgotten alphabet. And sometimes knowledge was deliberately encrypted using complex ciphers that were understandable only to a select few (people. Today there are many ancient scriptures, pictograms and ciphers that scientists have not yet been able to decipher. But whenever ancient ciphers are "broken", this almost always reveals interesting new information.In this review, a story told about 10 recently deciphered ancient artifacts that allow you to "look with one eye" into secret societies, lost libraries, learn about world views and ancient rituals.

1. Egyptian spell book

A book that is more than 1300 years old

In 2014, after decades of research, scientists finally deciphered the Egyptian codex, and they were amazed to find it was a caster's handbook. The beautifully illustrated pages contain spells for the Egyptians "for all occasions": for love, business success, cure for black jaundice or exorcism. The 1,300-year-old parchment mentions Jesus, as well as an unknown divine person called "Bactiopha."

Some ritual calls are even associated with the disappeared religious movement, the Sethians (Setians), who in this codex refer to Seth or Seth (the third son of Adam and Eve) as "the living Christ." Of course, it may seem that the Egyptians were discouraged by the presence of different religions during this period, but researchers believe that this document demonstrates the transition of society from other belief systems to Orthodox Christianity. Who owned and used this book remains a mystery. Nobody knows where it came from.

2. Scroll of Ein Gedi

Ein Gedi's scroll

Ein Gedi is a desert oasis located on the western shore of the Dead Sea. It has been inhabited by various communities of people for almost 5000 years. Although it is perhaps best known as David's refuge when he fled from King Saul, Ein Gedi was once home to a Byzantine Jewish village. At some point, the entire village burned down, including a synagogue with a mosaic floor. In 1970, archaeologists discovered a burnt scroll on the site where the Ein Gedi synagogue used to stand. It is so badly preserved that it was not even possible to unfold it, let alone read it.

Nearly 50 years later, modern technology has done the impossible - it has made it possible to read a 1,500-year-old damaged scroll without unrolling it. Everyone was stunned when the text turned out to be the unknown verses of the Book of Leviticus. Now this scroll is recognized not only as the oldest biblical text since the Dead Sea Scrolls, but also as the oldest Torah document found in a synagogue during archaeological excavations.

3. The real Shakespeare

Was there Shakespeare?

A 400-year-old book on botany may contain an extraordinary treasure - a portrait of William Shakespeare. This is the only portrait known to have been created during the life of the famous playwright (when he was about 33 years old).The now rare book, The Herball, caught the attention of historian and botanist Mark Griffith as he studied the life of John Girard. Griffith became convinced that the four faces depicted on the title page were not just decorative images, but rather long-forgotten portraits of real people. Griffith took a long time to decipher the heraldry and symbolism surrounding the portraits before he was able to determine the real identities of these people. They were the author of the book, another famous botanist, Lord Treasurer of Queen Elizabeth and … Shakespeare.

4. Glyph T514

Mayan glyph

Most of the Mayan glyphs have already been deciphered, but some of them still hold their age-old secrets. Glyph T514 was found in a royal tomb in southern Mexico that has been undiscovered for over 1,700 years. A picture of a tooth (more precisely, a picture of a jaguar molar) has defied deciphering for over 60 years.

Researchers only understood its meaning by examining real jaguar skulls and other glyphs. The discovery also finally suggested the name of the chamber where ruler Pacal was buried - "House of Nine Sharp Spears." Glyph became associated with warriors invading neighboring cities and taking people prisoner there. This finding helped researchers determine the frequency with which wars were fought between 700 and 800 BC. There were actually not many wars during this period, despite the Maya being militant.

5. Society of the eyes

One of the strangest texts

A secret brotherhood obsessed with eye care was discovered when researchers examined its only surviving relic, the Copiale Codex, an 18th century book that is both beautiful and strange. Finished in gold and green brocade paper, this 105-page book is entirely handwritten. The book is mainly composed of abstract, never-before-seen symbols, although there are also Greek and Roman letters in it. The only readable phrases were "Philip 1866" and "Copirales 3" (which gave the manuscript its name). An international team of cryptographers tried unsuccessfully to decipher it, trying 80 languages ​​before it was determined that the strange characters were just a ruse designed to trick any potential decoders. They didn't really mean anything.

Discarding useless signs, the cryptographers tried the German language, since the book was found in Berlin and the name "Philip" is written in German style. This helped to crack the code. The deciphered book described a German secret society called the Oculist Order. The manuscript contains records of their policies and rituals (including the eyebrow plucking ceremony), as well as discussions about Freemasonry. Researchers believe that the members of the group were not necessarily doctors, despite their obsession, as the eye is a symbol of power in many secret societies.

6. Winged monster

Cave painting in Utah documented how ancient people saw pterodactyls. Discovered in 1928, the bright red pictograms were created by American Indian hands about 2,000 years ago. Some time after this discovery, the man circled one of the images with chalk and declared that it looked like a "strange bird." Although it is illegal today, it was common practice back then to outline the cave painting with chalk to make the image clearer. However, this changes the chemistry of rocks and damages art. As for this picture, experts later recognized the image of a pterodactyl.

What do you see in this picture?

In the 1970s, rock climber Polly Schaafsma described a "sharp-toothed beak," and geologist Francis Barnes said the drawing looked like a flying reptile whose fossils are indeed found in the region. The mystery was solved when modern technology proved that the "winged monster" was not one image, but five overlapping images.

When scientists photographed the drawing using DStretch, a tool that can separate images by differentiating them for different pigments, they found that there was no mysterious ancient pterodactyl. Instead, the pictograms depict a tall person with large eyes, a shorter person, a dog, a sheep, and a snake-like creature.

7. Scrolls of Herculaneum

Scrolls of Herculaneum

When Mount Vesuvius famously destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD, it also destroyed the neighboring city of Herculaneum. During excavations of this city in 1752, a library was discovered. Most of the 1,800 scrolls were so burned by the eruption that they were nothing more than unreadable carbonated boulders. More than two centuries later, archaeologists used X-rays to read parchments too fragile to unfold.

Although the Herculaneum papyri have no secret symbols or hidden messages, they are remarkable as they remain the only complete library that has ever been recovered since ancient times. For example, they contained a real treasure trove of lost prose and poetry by the famous Greek philosopher Epicurus. There are even texts that were completely unknown to scientific philosophers. This not only allowed researchers to gain a deeper understanding of ancient Greek and Latin writings, but it also changed what scientists know about the history of ink.

When fragments of the scrolls were analyzed, the ink was found to contain large amounts of lead. "Metallic" ink was previously thought to have appeared around 420 AD. in Greek and Roman manuscripts, but the Herculaneum scrolls predate this date by a couple of centuries.

8. The Fate of the Ark of the Covenant

The fate of the Ark of the Covenant is a great mystery

Although Hebrew is not at all a mysterious language, a recently translated text showed what happened to the famous Ark of the Covenant after the sack of King Solomon's temple. The document, called the Treatise on the Courts, states that shortly before the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed the temple, the Ark was taken to safety. With the help of the prophets, the sacred relic and other treasures were saved by the Levites.

As for the treasures of the temple, the Treatise says that they were hidden throughout Israel and in Babylonia. Even less is said about the exact location of the Ark. It is claimed that this place will not be revealed "until the day of the coming of the Messiah, the son of David." Some believe that the Treatise is not really a document, but rather just a "collection" of legends. This is understandable given the claims that some of the treasures were made of gold (taken from the walls of the Garden of Eden) and ended up in the hands of angels. It is possible that at least one historical aspect is true - the Ark was hidden before Nebuchadnezzar could get hold of it.

9. Phaistos disc

Phaistos disc

Researchers have tried to decipher the 4,000-year-old Phaistos disc since its discovery in 1908. Found on the island of Crete in a palace called Festus, a disc about 15 centimeters in diameter is made of baked clay. Its both sides are adorned with 45 symbols that appear in different combinations in 241 segments.

After six years of research at the University of Oxford, about 90 percent of the data was deciphered. It soon became clear that the disc was engraved with a prayer in honor of the mother goddess of the Minoan era. According to researchers, one side of the famous artifact is dedicated to a pregnant woman, and the other to a woman giving birth.

10. Breakthrough in the study of the Voynich manuscript

Fragment of the Voynich manuscript

The deciphering of the famous Voynich manuscript has finally gotten off the ground, albeit not by much. Linguistics professor Stephen Bucks decided to find recognizable plants and signs of the zodiac in an illustrated medieval book, and then look for their names next to the images. For example, he defined the word "Taurus" after finding an image of this constellation.Plant names began to appear when Bucks compared the manuscript to medieval herbal books. Thus, the words "juniper", "coriander" and "hellebore" were found alongside their illustrations, as he suspected.

In total, he decoded 14 characters, which allowed him to read six more words. While Bucks' breakthrough is still far from deciphering the entire book, it proves that the unknown alphabet is not a sophisticated 15th century hoax, as some have argued. It is indeed an extremely complex cipher or language.

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