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01101001
2005-Jan-12, 09:55 AM
Any readers of the Codex Seraphinianus (or Seraphinianvs) by Luigi Seraphini (http://www.almaleh.com/serafini-e.htm) here?

It's one of my most cherished books. I found it in the remainder bin at a bookstore and fell in love with it on the spot. It turned into a good investment. I have seen them for sale on the Net at 20 times the price I paid for my copy. If only I had bought a dozen!

How can I describe it... It's an art book, filled with colorful illustrations (http://www.almaleh.com/codex-e.htm#) on high-quality paper. The fun part is that it is pretty much unreadable. Yes.

It is as if it is a 400-page one-volume encyclopedia of knowledge for some alien culture, covering the sciences, arts, and people. It is somewhat whimsical, though, as many of the illustrations are pretty clearly things that could not be -- but maybe....

As I said, it is unreadable. As I heard it, the author invented a complete language and script for the work, but some say it doesn't appear to be so. The book is not typeset, but all hand-drawn. About all I could figure out was the numbering system -- by analyzing the symbols on successive pages -- and it was a warped one (http://www.math.bas.bg/~iad/serafin.html), a real challenge.

As you gaze at all the beautiful but opaque script, puzzling over the pictures, you yearn to be able to read the captions and explanations, you yearn perhaps for just a Rosetta Stone to help you begin to comprehend it.

And then, a good deal into the book, there is an illustration of a Rosetta Stone-equivalent for this weird place! You recognize the script on it. And the other language, it is... it is... equally incomprehensible. Argh!

Last I heard it was out of print, but if you ever get a chance, and you're into the weird and/or the beautiful, if you're near a good library maybe, check it out. Oh, I notice this website (http://www.io.com/~iareth/codindx.html) says it is back in print, in (it really doesn't matter) French and Spanish editions. Expensive, though.

Colt
2005-Jan-12, 10:26 AM
I heard mention of this somewhere before, long ago... I always wanted to get my hands on a copy but had no idea where to look. - Colt

Amadeus
2005-Jan-12, 11:13 AM
Hmm I want one now. It's this or a new lcd monitor for me computer......

Curse you! :x

Swift
2005-Jan-12, 01:19 PM
It does sound interesting. According to amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0896594289/qid=1105535881/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/103-2262958-1613464?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) it is out of print and the cheapest used copy was $385. :(

01101001
2005-Jan-12, 03:44 PM
According to amazon.com it is out of print and the cheapest used copy was $385. :(

I paid under $10. Heh. That makes my day.

You'd have to be careful who you told about purchasing it now. Your friends might have you committed to a mental institution. "You... paid... how... much... for a book you can't even read?"

Someone says they laid hands on a copy through an inter-library loan. You might check if your local library can do that.

Harvestar
2005-Jan-13, 08:02 AM
We've got it displayed in the living room right now. :D

My boyfriend and his friends are all very much into that book.

(and you even linked to one of his friend's websites ;) - not hard to do since it's one of the only ones out there)

And my boyfriend dressed up as the "road warrior" from it for Halloween 2 years ago. No one got it, but it was fun anyway. ;)

Here's a picture (http://thorn.as.arizona.edu/~kak/Pictures/misc/DSCN1601.JPG)

And the picture from the Codex: http://www.io.com/~iareth/donblas.jpg

beskeptical
2005-Jan-13, 08:08 AM
It looks very intriguing. I'll have to add it to my garage sale/thrift store search efforts though it seems finding a $10 copy will be unlikely. I wonder if the library has one.

01101001
2005-Jan-13, 08:10 AM
Here's a picture (http://thorn.as.arizona.edu/~kak/Pictures/misc/DSCN1601.JPG)
Excellent!

beskeptical
2005-Jan-13, 08:10 AM
We've got it displayed in the living room right now. :D

My boyfriend and his friends are all very much into that book.

(and you even linked to one of his friend's websites ;) - not hard to do since it's one of the only ones out there)

And my boyfriend dressed up as the "road warrior" from it for Halloween 2 years ago. No one got it, but it was fun anyway. ;)

Here's a picture (http://thorn.as.arizona.edu/~kak/Pictures/misc/DSCN1601.JPG)

And the picture from the Codex: http://www.io.com/~iareth/donblas.jpgOh that is hilarious. :lol: :lol:

But also look at that really cool telescope in the background. Wow! [envy envy envy] :D

Harvestar
2005-Jan-13, 08:21 AM
Oh that is hilarious. :lol: :lol:

But also look at that really cool telescope in the background. Wow! [envy envy envy] :D


Thank you, we had lots of fun making the costume (and it was quite easy!).

And the poor 16" that we've only had out once in the 2 years I've lived there. :( Though may be now that we have the back deck...

(but really, we do most of our eyepiece observing at Astronomy Camp ;) Can't beat 61" telescopes!)

01101001
2005-Jan-13, 10:55 AM
Wikipedia has a decent, short and sweet, article on Codex Seraphinianus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Seraphinianus).

There, I learned of the stange Voynich manuscript (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voynich_Manuscript), a similar sort of mystery-language compendium of knowledge, possibly dating from 1450-1520.


Over its recorded existence, the Voynich manuscript has been the object of intense study by many professional and amateur cryptographers including some top American and British codebreakers of World War II fame who all failed to decipher a single word. This string of egregious failures has turned the Voynich manuscript into the Holy Grail of historical cryptology; but it has also given weight to the theory that the book is nothing but an elaborate hoax a meaningless sequence of random symbols.
Here I was thinking Seraphin was a little ahead of his time, and now I find someone else was maybe 500 years ahead of him! Wow.

Amadeus
2005-Jan-13, 11:13 AM
Yeh I had a look at the whole Voynich manuscript thing a while back.

It's a very interesting book, I even had a voynich typeface for some graphic work I did.

mid
2005-Jan-13, 03:25 PM
The Voynich is just messed up in the head. Everything about it, from the contents itself, to its somewhat colourful history, seems to be purposefully designed to drive people insane in search of the meaning.

Very cool.