Codex Valera

The earliest mention of the Codex Valera comes from the writings of philosopher Sonticus, where he remarks that “..that book, which comes from the south, does scrabble at words like a dog with a spider.” The name Valera is actually the name lent to it by its discoverer, a roman scholar stationed somewhere in Asia minor during 5th century B.C. The common records imply that the book is much older than that, referring to it arriving from an “abyss of time.”

The Codex Valera, much like the Holy Writ of Bombay, is an irrational text, lacking end or beginning. However unlike Holy Writ, the codex was discovered to be in decipherable language, a form of middle-kingdom Sumerian, but so poorly parsed that the sentence structure is incoherent. A single passage might read

To (the) airy light-on-dark was sent the hollowness up to right center (with) much cadence

with the following sentence more or less completely unrelated.  What little has been translated appears as obtuse blocks of text describing a world rich in adverbs but lacking almost entirely in nouns. In 1959, an Oxford scholar who had the text run under radiograph found that the viewable text may not even be the original, as what appears to be a key of symbols appears near the end, bleached out by some unknown technique. The book paper(not human leather, as some less credible accounts might insist) is 70% cotton rag, 19% cellulose, and 11% unknown materials. The book itself is remarkably well-preserved, whether due to treatment methods or subject matter unknown at this time.

Due to the disjointed nature of the book, little headway has been made towards transliteration of the text. What has come out of the few attempts made has been discouraging to the scholarly world, as the book coheres to no known genre. Theories have been put forth that the book was written as an ancient commentary on the unwieldy nature of prophetic works, that its incoherency is therefore its reason for existing, but these have been dismissed as “depressing.”

The strongest and also strangest hypothesis to come out of the scholarly debate was that of Frederick Werther, who argued that the book, in its original language and syntax, was a prophecy and that translating it to its original language was key to the continued survival of the human race. This was dismissed as patently ridiculous by the academic world once it was discovered that Werther attempted to smuggle the text out in his trousers.

A translation-by-rote was attempted in the late 1970’s, but promptly abandoned once the translators discovered the book’s penchant for shifting around entries at will. Oddly enough, an uncited footnote to the compiled study remarks that as the attempt to translate went on, the book seemed to be sending the team affectionate, if garbled, messages.

Since the codex has no immediate practical use, it has been stored in the same library as other functionally useless “special interest” incannabula, such as Simon Magus’s Sneeze Book and Gṏrte’s Prophecy of Shoes.


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