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Re: VMs: Shorthand vs cipher...

Nick Pelling wrote:
> 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. :-)

	Jakob Silvestre's Code, described in D'Imperio, is
such a 2d grid.  But he's 1526, a bit later than you
want.  I don't know any more, alas.  Jim Reeds would,
but he doesn't seem to be around.  Jim Gillogly, maybe?

> 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

	Very interesting.  Can you give us any links or ref's
on this?  Do Inquisition records speak of this?

> 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).

	Makes sense.  My point was that conceptually an
enciphered shorthand might be little different from a
pure cipher system of the time -- except for the
shorthand system's mnemonic value, which would be very
considerable, and greatly adds to the credibility of
your hypothesis.


> 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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