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VMs: RE: VMS numbering systems hypotheses...

Hi GC,

Thanks for all the pointers - I'll be sure to write up what I find beyond them...

I remember you saying that you were trying to decide
which side of the coin the images fell on, magic or astrology, but
if we're really looking at something created somewhere slightly
before or after 1500, the line may be virtually non-existent in
the mind of the author.

I was looking more for a pointer to whether it was "natural" magic/astrology or "demonic" magic, as described by Kieckhefer (and many others), ie I was looking more for a dominant *tradition* to compare it with... but it seems to be obviously neither. :-(

One upshot is that I (personally) can't decide whether the astrological nymphs are women, angels, or demons. Also very frustrating. :-(

Anyway, we see the rise of cabalistic research in some minor
papers around 1470, but hints of it in Alberti around 1450 (though
apparently his work was not actually published until 1468).  Next
is Trithemius, circa 1500 (though clearly fully developed before
that time), followed by Reuchlin in 1517 and the circulation of
Agrippa's manuscripts on the subject around this time.  By 1535,
Agrippa's work was widely circulated in manuscript and adopted in
group study and discussion in Padua, where Agrippa held a chair
until his death.  (An interesting side note is that John Dee must
have been exposed to, and influenced by, this heat of interest in
Agrippa during his stay at Padua.)  Heated interest in Reuchlin is
also evident elsewhere.

I asked an academic recently whether he thought Pico della Mirandola learnt of the cabala from Reuchlin or vice versa - unsurprisingly, he didn't know either. I suspect Reuchlin was (for once) the student, but from what I've read it'd be hard to prove this conclusively. :-)

You tell me, you're English and these are English
groups that appear to be perpetuating this phenomenon.

We've also proved to be highly skilled at destroying documents in times of social change (almost as good as Arthur Anderson), which also doesn't help later historians much. :-(

 The 1623
example of the Knight's Tour cipher is mine alone, otherwise there
would be only two - hardly a history - and to think this has
hidden under the noses of millions of readers for 4
centuries........ That's a really good cipher!


  Is there any
wonder you have little to read on Steganography?  Only the weak
ones seem to be written about, the rest are yet to be discovered.

I had a book on steganography, but put it down somewhere here and can't quite find it... :-)

The key phrase "as understood then and now" I fully object to.  We
naturally assume that the purpose of cipher is to create greater
entropy, when in fact it can be used to produce extremely low

I follow your argument, but honestly do disagree. Polyalpha would need extraordinarily destructive rules and redundant tables to reduce final entropy - Strong worked hard at this particular endeavour, but I just don't believe his results.

I'm sure you personally make a very fine pizza, but the goal here
appears to be that one not Make the pizza, rather consume it.  Are
you too offering a pizza to the winner?  I do have quite an
appetite! :-)

I'd rather bake a huge one and share it between everyone that has contributed. :-)

Fortunately for me I accept Bacon as an early visionary and scientist.

Warmly seconded! :-)

Your lament about available information on steganography I can
appreciate.  In manuscript I doubt I could ever detect it without
first knowing of its existence...

If the VMS is (as I believe) a combination of stego and crypto, what a rare flower it is! :-)

As to why
examples of truly secret communication have never been exposed,
well... they are secrets, so you have to figure them out!


Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....