THE MARCI LETTER
The Marci letter is a document supposedly found by Wilfried Voynich in the manuscript. Its content is key to deciphering the Voynich. This is questioned by Robyn in Vaults of Power:
“Voynich waited until 1921 to mention the Marci letter,” Parker dropped.
Robyn couldn’t believe it. “You mean it was not displayed at the Chicago Exhibition in 1915?”
“Not even mentioned?”
“Oh boy.” It was standard procedure to display or publish any document that came with a manuscript at the time of its discovery or acquisition. Especially in the case of a letter from one scholar to another and relating to provenance and possible authors of the manuscript. A basic rule broken again.
Below is a translation of the letter, and Echer's annotations.
A translation of the Marci Letter
Reverend and distinguished Sir, Father in Christ,
This book bequeathed to me by an intimate friend, I destined for you, my very dear Athanasius, as soon as it came into my possession, for I was convinced it could be read by no one except yourself. The former owner of this book once asked your opinion by letter, copying and sending you a portion of the book from which he believed you would be able to read the remainder, but he at that time refused to send the book itself. To his deciphering he devoted unflagging toil, as is apparent from attempts of his which I send you herewith, and he relinquished hope only with his life. But his toil was in vain, for such Sphinxes as these obey no one but their master, Kircher. Accept now this token, such as it is and long overdue though it may be, of my affection for you, and burst through its bars, if there are any, with your wonted success. Dr Raphael, tutor in the Bohemian language to Ferdinand III, the King of Bohemia, told me the said book had belonged to Emperor Rudolf and that he presented the bearer who brought him the book 600 ducats. He believed the author was Roger Bacon, the Englishman. On this point I suspend judgment; it is your place to define for us what view we should take thereon, to whose favor and kindness I unreservedly commit myself and remain,
At the command of your Reverence
Joannes Marcus Marci of Cronland
Prague, 19 August 1666
Echer's annotations (spoiler alert)
Athanasius is the Jesuit Kircher, as is confirmed later. Kircher studied and wrote extensively about China, and about Christian presence and penetration in China.
The passage that ends with “he relinquished hope only with his life” is filler, to lure the unknowing reader into believing the apparent purpose of the letter. Although “he relinquished hope only with his life” could also signal Simon’s fate.
"burst through its bars” seems an inocuous metaphor for cracking a code. But here, we are talking iron bars protecting gold.
The king of Bohemia: Bohemian Grove’s patron, saint John of Nepomuk, died tortured by a Bohemian monarch rather than divulge the confessional secrets of the queen. (empress)
Roger Bacon the Englishman. As if they didn’t know who Roger Bacon was. “Langlois” means the Englishman in archaic French.