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Re: VMs: Random Text Generation

Hi Rene,

> Sacco, Luigi, 1947
> "Un Primato Italiano : La crittografia nei Secoli
> XV e XVI"
> "Bollettino dell'Istituto storico e di
> cultura dell'arma del Genio"
> Published: Roma.

I think I lost the thread. Is this publication
worth looking for? Or does someone already have
a copy...

This (frankly, obscure) publication is referred to by D'Imperio, in connection with a 1440 cipher (in her figure 39) taken from a collection of 72 from Urbino.

My inference is that this is a cipher ledger from an Urbino archive (that I wasn't otherwise aware of), similar to the two Milanese cipher ledgers already referred to.

My particular interest is, yet again, in the "4o" character, which appears in this 1440 cipher, as well as in Tristano Sforza's Milanese cipher of 1450 etc. To my eyes, this similarity looks suspiciously as though the two ciphers may well have been concocted by the same person, which would tend to back up my suggestion that the VMS cipher was a member of the same family of cipherbets - so any additional information from Urbino is therefore worth examining further.

I should also say that my working hypothesis (for the ciphers) is that they were done by Cicco Simonetta: he was the man driving the Sforza chancery in 1450, was completely trusted by the Sforzas, and was quite possibly the top crypto theorist of the day (for example, ciphers sent to ambassadors/agents in Milan were always made stronger because of him: and his famous 1474 note on breaking ciphers)... hence my hypothesis.

However, little or nothing appears to be known about Simonetta before 1450 (he was born in the South, in the "shoe" of Italy in 1410): he was trained in law & languages (some suggest in Naples, though there's no proof of this), but by age 30 (ie, by 1440), he could have been in any of the Italian states with an interest in crypto, presumably working as a code-maker / code-breaker.

Historically, cryptographers tended to keep a very low profile (unsurprisingly, as it was all very cloak-and-dagger stuff), so looking for clues in the Urbino cipher ledger may not give us any answers. :-( But you never know... :-)

On the bright side, I believe that numerous examples of Simonetta's autograph writing still exist: and it may simply be that, if he was working in the cipher room at Urbino in 1440, we can glimpse his presence there somehow through that route.

Even knowing the name of the cipher ledger manuscript from Urbino would be a start. :-)

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

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