A guide

“And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.” How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss

This is not a blog. It is more like a book (in hypertext) about a book (in cyphertext). And you might have guessed that it is about the Codex from Rohonc (also known as Rohonczi Kodex), the strange little cypher manuscript that withstood almost two centuries the attempts to make sense of it.  With its clumsy writing and simplistic drawings stretching over 200 pages, it managed to titillate the imagination  of many while holding its mystery intact.

Most of those who got involved with the Codex were drawn by the encoded, encrypted, secret script so I decided to focus on the pictures instead, and determine their content and meaning. Which in return helped me understand at least several elements of the script and build up a general comprehension of the Codex.

And here I am, offering you a close encounter with the mysteries of the booklet and with my struggles to solve them. What I am not offering are final answers.

You can immerse yourself in my book and read chapter after chapter or take advantage of the hyperlinks and skip to what interests you most.

You will find more details about the Codex here.  The 93 drawings are discussed in 10 chapters named The Story in the Pictures. Probably the most interesting are The Nativity (here), The Last Judgment and The Ptolemaic Universe (here), The Trinity (here), Constantine and the Angel (here) and The Archangels (here). If you take the effort to cover them all, you might find others to be of greater interest and, certainly, you will find out that I have no clue for 25 of the drawings. At the end of these chapters there are some conclusions pertaining the drawings.


A peculiar feature of the manuscript is the presence of seven snakes discussed in Hic Sunt Serpentes, and another one is the consistent mirroring for which I tried to find an explanation in !rorriM.

My findings regarding the script are organized in two lengthy chapters: Divine Designators and If This Script Makes Any Sense.

The Codex is a bizarre collection of paradoxes which annoyed each of those who studied it. I identified some of them in What Makes The Puzzler Sore.

I profiled the author in Who Dunnit and determined the chronological and geographical coordinates in On When and Where.

Or you can go straight to the last chapter where  my detective work and my imagination merge to explain the use and reason of the Codex in The Probable Use of a Meaningless Object

Take a look at the Content and you will find some more chapters.

  1. Crisis? What Crisis? – or how I got involved in the Rohonc Codex mystery.
  2. A Book of Mystery and Imagination – a very short presentation of the book and those involved in its history.
  3. On Method and Sources –  a bit about how I worked
  4. The Story in the Pictures (pages 5 through 18) – identification, analogies for the Codex drawings
  5. The Story in the Pictures (pages 21 through 36)
  6. The Story in the Pictures (pages 38 through 45)
  7. The Story in the Pictures (pages 49 through 67)
  8. The Story in the Pictures (pages 69 through 91)
  9. The Story in the Pictures (pages 93 through 113)
  10. The Story in the Pictures (pages 117 through 137)
  11. The Story in the Pictures (pages 142 through 183)
  12. The Story in the Pictures (pages 187 through 206)
  13. The Story in the Pictures (pages 206 through 214), and conclusions
  14. The Son of Man Came Eating and Drinking – a collection of recurrent themes from the drawings.
  15. Divine Designators – a bit too technical chapter about certain signs which work like sacred names, with some statistics.
  16. If This Script Makes Any Sense, Then, … – this and the previous chapter are the account of my deciphering/decoding efforts and their results.
  17. What Makes the Puzzler Sore – musings on ten strange things from the CR. And some more statistics.
  18. !rorriM – Everything is backwards. Why?
  19. Hic Sunt Serpentes – Some thoughts on the symbolism of snakes and their presence in the Codex R.
  20. Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder – different people see different things when looking at the same picture. Is my interpretation final, is any interpretation final? However, sometimes the result is funny. Ha, ha funny.
  21. Who Dunnit – exactly. Profile, name, you get it all.
  22. On When and Where – pretty self-explanatory title.
  23. The Probable Use of a Meaningless Object – If this book was made for a purpose, this should have been it. Take it or leave it, I love it.

13 Responses to A guide

  1. Hi Delia,

    I am also interested in the Codex and I just created a blog with my results at:


    Please let me know what you think about my solution.

    All the best, Adrian

    • deliahugel says:

      Sorry for the late answer. I was determined to read your blog first, but I didn’t. I will, but it is very demanding, you need to really focus, so I have to find some free time and some free space in my mind, if you know what I mean. I only skimmed it a bit and here are three questions. 1. Do you have a particular reason to believe it is in Hungarian? 2. Why do you think it is related to an old script? I don’t challenge your statements, I am just curious. But I challenge the third thing I noticed 3.Don’t you think it would be strange that a drawing with the sacrifice of Isaac would have the explanation “Herodes”?
      Until I read your blog, maybe you let me know what you think about mine. It is obvious we have different opinions on the letters, so, there is plenty of material for debate.

      • I only found your blog on the day I contacted you, so I did not have the opportunity to read everything and “process” it. What I did read is very informed and based on a wealth of cultural background. I will keep reading… My main interest was epigraphy, so this is what I found in the Codex. I think the language is Hungarian based on the spelling of the names, different grammatical particles, etc. I agree that Herodes is out of context, but it was a better match for the characters I found. Abraham also uses the letters H and R but not E and D or whatever is at the end of the word. On the other hand I don’t claim that everything I wrote is correct and I believe the common the effort of those interested in the Codex will one day solve the entire puzzle. All the best, Adrian

  2. attila hilt says:

    Dear Delia and Adrian,
    I spent hours “watching” the characters (cannot say “reading” ?) but I could not find any real or straightforward proof as it would be in Hungarian language. Neither I could recognize Romanian or Latin (nor Roumanian written with cyrillic characters as in older times). Recent book published in Hungarian (written by Benedek Lang) also gave me the feeling that the language itself is not yet recognized. First I was thinking about some “less known” languages or alphabets. Probably used by families or ethnic groups who arrived to Hungary (to Transylvania ?) in mediveal centuries, when they escaped probably from Turkish (army). I checked Armenian and Gerogian – but could not find any “similarity” (” ” means I cannot read Armenian as native speaker, just I watched the characters). Also I checked Ethiopian syllabs. I supposed that Ottoman Empire ruled Ethipia and great part of Hungary in same period, so maybe some Ethipian arrived (forced to come) to Hungary (or Austria or Italy ?) that time. But no real similarity in syllabs or characters. What I myself recognized immediately was XC – or CX when mirrored. It is clearly Greek (or cyrillic orthodox ?) as painted on icons. I fully agree with Delia that this shall mean Christ(os). I do not find it a problem that on some pictures CX is not above Christ, but maybe above Pilatus or Herodes. I simply believe that text was not pinpointing the person on the drawings, just simply text had to “fit into” the drawing box and was written from right to left. So it shall not be exactly above Jesus. (Maybe the book is a copy, writing is “mirrored” but drawings are not compared to the “original”. Finally referred book opens the possibility that codex has “artificial” language, understood only by a few who had the code to read.I would be very happy to say codex is written in Hungarian (as a native speaker) but it shall be proven correctly first.

    • deliahugel says:

      Dear Attila, thank you for the interest. My investigation is completely separate from the one conducted by Adrian and actually, our only common conclusion is that it is a religious book. I do not think it is in Hungarian either. I don’t venture in making suppositions about the language, since I did not find any clue to hint to a specific one. The words I decoded are only names (Jesus Christ, Abraham, Jerusalem, Moisi, YHWH), provided that my conjectures are correct. As for the mirroring, I considered the picture of Last Judgment, the one that has a clear left/right significance (the righteous ones on the right hand of Christ, those condemned to hell on his left). Of course, this is also subject to debate, since the drawing is not the straightforward representation of the Last Judgment theme.
      You might be right about the drawing with the trial of Jesus. Maybe the Xc above the other character stands for Christos. But, when you have so little to go on, you consider every possibility, trying to expand the number of decoded signs. This hardly counts as an argument, but then, again, since I already identified other signs to stand for IC XC, it is worth considering these other possibilities.
      When I browsed through manuscripts, looking for matches with the Codex, I hoped that, maybe, I will stumble upon the “original”, a book where most of the illuminations would match the Codex. This did not happen. I did not give up, though.
      The possibility of and artificial language do exist. I just do not fancy this. I would love a neat solving of the problem, a consistent transliteration in recognizable words of a recognizable language. I hoped to provide “ammunition” with this blog to somebody who is a more apt cryptographer then I am (which is not very difficult).

    • Dear Attila and Delia,

      I admire Delia’s work and its cultural depth. Personally I did use religious hints from the RC images but I did not even think to compare them to RC contemporary iconography, which is one of the logical way to go. The author of the Codex, similarly to any of us, must have been influenced by the social and religious context of his time.

      Regarding the XC, my interpretation is that it represents P+T+vowel i.e. pointing to the name of Pilatus. This is quite reasonable, since on page 41 it appears above the character which is most probable Pilatus.

      Regarding the language, I interacted with various people that expected a decryption result showing a complete, grammatically correct text. Originally I was looking for the same but in time, given the length of the word sequences, I had to accept otherwise.

      I don’t claim that what I put on my blog is 100% correct, but I do believe that it makes sense. I was in touch with various Hungarian gentlemen having a background in the RC, including Mr. Lang. I have proposed working together on advancing the decryption of the Codex, but it didn’t work out. Right now I am not working anymore on the RC, dealing instead with the Voynich Manuscript. We are lucky there are so many mysteries out there!

      Best regards,


  3. attila hilt says:

    Dear Delia and Adrian,
    Delia, in your work there is a very nice and logical explanation why and how XC (CX) is written
    and how the two characters could develop into one symbol. Also if you look the attached writing of CX, it is very similar to a cross (+) and a fish – both are basic symbols of christianity.
    (As long as the code is not yet decoded and the language of the codex is not discovered, we shall accept all other ideas. E.g. Adrian’s theory to read XC to be Pilatus. But somehow the simplest explanation sounds me more realistic.)

    You may know that Hungarian researchers (one of them is mathematician) types the entire codex into computer (they created the characters in the computer). They discovered some numbers, they could decode already some parts of the codex. Still it is not stated that the language is Hungairan (or old Hungarian). It is reported that the codex is soon translated.

    Dr.Lang’s book published recently is a very interesting reading, unfortunately available in Hungarian only. But the author published a long article in English what you can download from wikipedia (EN) page:
    LÁNG, Benedek (2010), “Why don’t we decipher an outdated cipher system? The Codex of Rohonc”, Cryptologia (in English) 34: 115–144, doi:10.1080/01611191003605587 (with freely downloadable pre-print version).
    (If you cannot downlad, I can send to your e-mail addresses.)

    • Dear Attila,

      If you refer to Mr. Tokai and Mr. Király, I was in touch with them and I was told that they are close to publishing their research and that for the time being it is too late too cooperate with anyone else.

      About Pilatus; Section 8.3 of my blog also discusses the words Ponczius Pilátus – maybe that is more convincing…

      As I have mentioned before, unless I find a speaker of Hungarian to work with, I will limit my activity on the Rohonc Codex since the results I may get will not be proportional to the level of effort required. If you are interested to work with me please leave a comment on my blog.

      Best regards and greetings from Brazil!


  4. tudy1311 says:

    Hello! I would like, in about a year’s time, to make a usable .otf font for this. But I really need someones help to know how to make it optimal. Here, i have made a font imitating the Dacian Donarium writing:

    And I would therefore also like making a font out of these glyphs!

    Can you maybe help me (or get me in touch with someone like Viorica Enachiuc?

    • deliahugel says:

      Hi, it would be great to have a font like this. It will be a really huge work, since there are about 800 glyphs. I would love to help you if I knew how. I don’t know Viorica Enachiuc. You could use the chart made by Nemethi Kalman. You can find it in my chapter called If This Script Makes Any Sense, at 3. Charting the signs.

      • tudy1311 says:

        HOLY MOLY THAT’S ONE BIG PROJECT! I will have to come back and see, after i am done with studying, because i haven’t got much time or money, so starting such a long and unpayed project would be suicidal at this time.

      • deliahugel says:

        maybe by then it will be decoded. It would be nice to actually write something with this script. Succes with your studies.

      • tudy1311 says:

        But i will get back to you, after i finish university and see what we can do! would be pretty cool to have this as a font!😀

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