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VMs: Re: What if Alberti wasn't so smart...?

1) I'm reading a book on Dutch cryptography in the 17th century and the
author states that there was a big gap between crypto-theory and
crypto-practice. Books about polyalphabetic ciphers were widely known. But
in practice the states (France, England, Holland) preferred code books.
Polyalphabetic ciphers were too cumbersome. And nothing was written about
the official code books since they were secret.

> Alternatively, it might be an interesting idea to re-read Alberti's 1470
> "Trattati In Cifra", AKA "Dello scrivere in cifra Roma", 27, 29, 41-42,
> BTW: does anyone know of a facsimile copy or transcription of this?

I think is is in one of my future post of Aloys Meister's book.

3) Looking at all the ancient codes that we have dug up recently I get the
feeling that we're not looking in the right spot. It may be that one (or
two) characters from the cipherbooks match the VMS, but that does not mean
they are related. The Indus Script and Rongorongo share about 30 characters
(!) but still that does not mean they are related.

4) We know a lot about crypto in Italy, England and France in the period
1400 -1600. But what is known abou the state of crypto in Bohemia, Poland,
Russia, Hungary etc? I have found no sources yet.

5) Although a lot of new crypto material has been scanned lately, there is
nothing in there that explains the provenance of the VMS character set. And
if I remember correctly, there is still no *demonstable* theory about the
provenance of this character set.

6) I've written to three faculties of the Prague university and several
manuscript guys in Prague with an enquiry about Czech crypto in 1400 - 1600.
I don't expect any answer though. None of the e-mails that I've ever written
to academic people (computer linguists) has ever been answered :-)

7) There is an exhibition about the "mad artists" Prinzhorn Collection in
Ghent. http://www.museumdrguislain.be/nl/agenda/agendadetail.asp?AgendaID=39
I've seen a few reproductions in the newspapers and they had a VMS "look and
feel". I'll try to get the catalogue.

Greetings, Petr

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