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Re: VMs: Folio and Quire numbers

Hi Rene,

At 06:47 01/04/2004 -0800, Rene Zandbergen wrote:
I know that you know it, but it is worth pointing
out that there is more to it than that.
The usual argument is:
1) cryptographers say it is too complicated to be
   a medieval code
2) linguists say that it is no known langauage
3) there is too much structure for it to be
   meaningless (i.e. a hoax).

Now I tend to agree on (1). This probably puts me
in a minority group on this list :-)

FWIW, I too agree on (1) [if you're happy to have me in your minority!] - but note that this hinges on the precise definition of "medieval". I believe that the milieu from which the VMs emerged was *early modern* (more specifically, Northern Italy circa 1450-1480) - broadly the same context that triggered both Alberti's code wheel and Trithemius's polyalpha.

I'd also agree that it is too (structurally) complicated for it to be a *single* cipher from any era - but note that I posit it as a carefully-constructed compilation of cipher techniques. Its structure would therefore arise from the *combination* of elements within the system, not from the innate algorithmic complexity of any single element.

On (3), there is a really interesting contradiction,
because it is also often pointed out that humans
are not very good at making random sequences.

As any CompSci fule kno, randomness is hard (unless you're a radioactive particle). :-)

To really prove this, one has to show how it has
been done. Pending that, I cannot think of any
compelling argument why this could not be it.

All solutions are still possible, if you can reconstruct the means by which an actual page was created (without starting from an anagrammatic starting point). But (of course) that's easier said than done... :-o

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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