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VMs: Shorthand vs cipher...
At 23:18 17/11/2003 -0600, Dennis wrote:
It has occurred to me, and probably you, that this
also describes nomenclators. A nomenclator also
enciphers words, perhaps syllables, and letters. The
difference between a shorthand system and a nomenclator
is, of course, that a shorthand system is designed to
be easy to memorize. However, nomemclators were the
standard cipher system of the time. Correct me if I'm
Here's a nomenclator.
iin r ly
da very s excellent
olta stink old fish
qoko thistle a strong
qokor daiin daiin qokoly oltaly oltaiin dar
According to http://www.etymonline.com/n2etym.htm ...
nomenclature - 1610, from Fr. nomenclature, from L.
nomenclatura, from nomenclator "namer," from nomen
"name" + calare "call out." Nomenclator in Rome was
the title of a steward whose job was to announce
visitors, and also of a prompter who helped a stumping
politician recall names and pet causes of his constituents.
AIUI, nomenclators (in a cipher context) means simply "(sequential) lists
of names", and - for the overwhelming majority of Quattrocento ciphers (and
later) - that is precisely what they were. I don't recall any 2d grid-like
(as you describe) nomenclators from that period, and would suspect the kind
of Cartesian/geometric/diagrammatic/dimensional thinking implicit in such
grids to be more typical of the late Renaissance or later... but perhaps
you know different. :-)
All the same, remember that shorthand had an *extraordinarily* bad press
circa 1350-1500. Secret writing (of all kinds) was thought to be diabolic -
that is, the Thought Police of the day believed that if you were hiding
some thoughts in text, they was probably blasphemous... so, on the balance
of probability, better to burn you at the stake... just to be sure. :-o
Back then, Quattrocento "secret writing" encompassed cryptography,
steganography, shorthand, tachygraphy, qabbala, etc... and all of which
tended to be mastered and used simultaneously by the same (understandably
edgy and publicity-shy) individuals. So, I'd say that there wasn't actually
a *great* deal of (cultural) difference between shorthand and cryptography
back then (shorthands appear to have been largely personal abbreviatory
systems)... and that's the grey area I suspect the VMs inhabits (ie, an
enciphered personal shorthand).
IMHO, the cipher is almost certainly simpler than we think (as Steve Ekwall
never tires of saying) - but until we have a reasonable idea of what the
plaintext shorthand would look like, we'll stay unable to figure out the
details of the cipher precisely. I think we'll get there, though. :-)
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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