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Re: VMs: Random Text Generation
> 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
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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