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VMs: Just another wild idea

In Burkhardt I read about the detailed statistical practices of the
Venetians and the Florentines. For example in Florence the written records
of 1338 (!) show that:

5800 - 6000 persons were baptised
300 - 500 was the excess of newborn boys over girls
8000 - 10000 school children learned to write
1000 - 1200 learnt arithmetic in one of 6 schools
600 pupils learnt latin and philosophy

This is just a detail of longer examples of statistics about taxes, war
expenses, money changing, alms giving (!), begging (!), production of fine
wares etc.

I also read about how Venetians abroad were required to spy on the
city/country they were in, and to make reports for the Doges. On the other
hand the Venetians themselves were extremely wary of spies in their midst
and suspected that Lodovico Moro had placed undercover agents in the Council
of the "Pregadi" (the middle echelon of government).

Combining the two gives a nice reason to hide a long repetitive text in an
pseudo-alchemical booklet (steganography). Suppose the VMS is an encoded
detailed statistical record of one of the city states, describing the number
of soldiers, ships etc. This would match up with the (roman) "number"
theories that were discussed recently.

If this theory were true (it isn't) it would predict long stretches of
numbers with regularly changing labels. Probably the overall entropy would
be low.

Petr Kazil - Urban Adventure in Rotterdam

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