Leonardo da Vinci (c.15 April 1452-2 May 1519) was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. He is often described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man. He is among the more prominent Keepers of the Journal, having been one of the few to decipher its contents.
Deciphering the Journal
In 1500, da Vinci was about to return to Florence, Italy when he met up with an old friend in Amerigo Vespucci, whom he had known since the 1460's and 1470's. Vespucci would give him a book that he had received during his most recent voyage to the continent known as South America, having been unable to understand the foreign language within. da Vinci took up his friend's offer to translate the book known as the Shepherd's Journal.
Over the course of two years, da Vinci would successfully translate the book, having meticulously copied every page, and learn that it was a factual account of the lost continent of Atlantis. The illustrations and details of the architecture the Atlanteans possessed would inspire him in his later works.
However, da Vinci also understood that his notes and discoveries would not be taken seriously by the generally public, likely knowing of how the validity of Plato's account was still debated over. In addition to not publishing his findings, da Vinci, a left-handed writer, would write his notes with both hands as well as writing them backwards so that the only proper way to read them would be to look at them through the mirror.
In 1502, Cesare Borgia would confiscate the book from da Vinci in the name of the Spanish government. As with his friend Vespucci, da Vinci expressed outrage at what was otherwise a glorified theft. It is not known what became of da Vinci's notes, whether or not Borgia had taken them as well.