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VMs: Marie Stuart and Shorthand
Still on the track of early shorthand systems, I was recently
reviewing some of the English cipher systems from the 16th
century, and noticed that Marie Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scotts)
used quite an interesting system.
Her cipher letters used characters as a substitution alphabet for
the Latin letters, and also had symbols for double letters. Many
common words had a symbol of their own. This is very much on the
same line as Bright's shorthand, although the symbols don't
correspond. Nevertheless, the idea of something like this was
obviously around for quite awhile.
The only thing that places Marie's letters squarely in the field
of cryptography is the use of several nulls. Without these nulls,
her system would have been nothing more than shorthand.
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