The Rohonc Codex is a set of writings in an unknown writing system. This codex is also referred to as Rohonczi Codex which is the Hungarian name of the codex spelled according to the old Hungarian orthography that was reformed in the first half of the 20th century. This spelling has spread on-line probably due to the book of V. Enăchiuc. Today the name of the codex is written in Hungarian as Rohonci-kódex.
The codex was named after the city of Rohonc, in Western Hungary (now Rechnitz, Austria), where it was kept until 1838, when it was donated to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences by Gusztáv Batthyány, a Hungarian count, together with his entire library.
The origin of the codex is unknown. A possible trace of its past may be an entry in the 1743 catalogue of the Batthyánys' Rohonc library, which says "Magyar imádságok, volumen I. in 12.", (Hungarian prayers in one volume, size duodecimo). The size and the assumable content agree with those of the codex, but this is all of the information given in the catalogue, so it may only be a hint.
The codex was studied by the Hungarian scholar Ferenc Toldy around 1840, and later by Pál Hunfalvy, but with no result. It was also examined by the Austrian paleography expert Dr. Mahl in vain. Josef Jireček and his son, Konstantin Josef Jireček, both university professors in Prague, studied 32 pages of the codex in 1884–1885 without success. In 1885 the codex was also sent to a German researcher, Bernhard Jülg, a professor at Innsbruck University, but he was not able to decipher it either. Mihály Munkácsy, the celebrated Hungarian painter, took the codex with him to Paris in the years 1890–1892 to study it, but this also yielded no result.
The majority of Hungarian scholars take the codex to be a hoax of Sámuel Literáti Nemes (1796–1842), Transylvanian-Hungarian antiquarian, co-founder of the National Széchényi Library in Budapest, infamous for many historical forgeries (mostly made in the 1830s) which even deceived some of the most renowned Hungarian scholars of the time. This opinion goes back as far as 1866, to Károly Szabó (1824–1890), Hungarian historian. Since then, this opinion is maintained by mainstream Hungarian scholarship.
After 2000, research around the codex has become more intense. Benedek Láng summarized the previous attempts and the possible research directions in an article and in a book sized monograph. He argued that the codex is not a hoax (as opposed to mainstream Hungarian academic opinion), instead it is a consciously encoded or enciphered text. It may be (1) a cipher, (2) a shorthand system, or (3) an artificial language. Láng assessed these possibilities systematically in his publications with the help of historical analogies.
It is located in the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Call number: K 114, Old call number: Magyar Codex 12o 1.
Special permission is needed to study the codex. However, a microfilm copy is available: Call number: MF 1173/II.
More information, including the various lines of approach, on the Wikipedia page .