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Re: A Note on Numbers (was: Re: VMs: Random Text Generation)
They don't work as line numbers, unless the lines were written
in the wrong order, and they indicate relative importance. But
note in the lowest set-- 1+2=3, 3+4=7, 2+3=5, leaving the
odd 2. I think it's just coincidence, but still...
Because the set you point to has (what looks to me) more like a period of 7
and repeats a few times, might I suggest that it's more likely to be the
initials of the days of the week? This is a construct I've seen a number of
times in medieval calendars, in various languages.
Others (of a more astrological and/or numerological orientation) might
point to this perhaps being linked with the 7 traditional planets: but the
loop makes it seem more likely to be calendrical (to me).
But as with everything else with the VMS, this is just an idea - make of it
what you will. :-o
The interesting bit is that I got confirmation about the "8"
symbol having a value of 7. Looking through the folios I
have, I noticed that the lable for the Pleiades starts with
"8", and another name for that cluster is the Seven Sisters.
I strongly suspect that there is some kind of per-page obscuring going on -
partly because there are inconsistencies between pages, and partly because
the first few characters (this varies, but seems to go up to 8) of many
pages don't appear to fit the pattern of the rest of the characters. No
proof, but... :-)
This would make this a succession of codes/ciphers, rather than just a
Also: the VMS has (so far) resisted 90 years of decipheriment, so it is a
fairly safe bet by now that it's not written in the kind of simple cipher
you might expect a document of this era with a 23/24 character cipherbet to be.
I suppose I'm a little biased, in that I decided pretty much right from the
start that looking for one-to-one correspondences probably wouldn't help:
FWIW, I then moved on to looking at as a cryptographic psychology puzzle,
then as a document of social history (cf Peter Burke etc), then as an art
history puzzle (which may well prove to be the most fruitful avenue so
far), and now I'm finally back to cryptography again. :-)
Cheers, ....Nick Pelling....
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