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VMs: Re: Hello again, again (unfortunately off-topic)
Nice to hear from you. I'm only answering your email on-list to answer the question for the several emails I've received on the subject so quickly. (Thanks for the interest, BTW.)
The book in question is entitled "Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies", printed by Isaac Jaggard and Ed Blount, 1623. This is more commonly referred to as "Shakespeare's First Folio", as it was the first of several publications of the folio.
The material in question is contained in the frontis material, namely the "To The Reader" poem that opens the folio, the "Letter Dedicatorie" that follows, the letter entitled "To the Great Variety of Readers", and the "To the Memory of my Beloved" poem by Ben Jonson. These four are all penned by Jonson, and all four contain examples of Trithemian cipher, steganographically concealed. The method of concealment is the same, only the keys change, but these key changes can be discerned from the text with very little effort.
The bigger question for me as been "how deep does the rabbit hole go", to borrow a phrase, and has taken the greatest amount of time once I read the initial cipher, (on my sick bed, without a computer to assist). The rabbit hole directly extends to at least one other printed document, and increases the number of people involved by 30 fold or more. That document is a very inconspicuous pamphlet entitled "Memoriae Honoratissimi Domini Fransisci, Baronis de Verulamio, Vice-Comitis Sancti Albani Sacrum", printed by John Haviland, 1526, better known as the "Manes Verulamiani", or "Shades of Verulam", a collection of eulogies on the death of Francis Bacon.
Indirectly, there are short samples in two other books, one legal book published in 1530, and another a catalogue of animals published in 1522, in Edinburgh of all places. The only connection between the use of cipher in these four books is that each gives some brief form of honor to Francis Bacon in its opening pages. I draw no conclusion from this, since I have no specific proof to back up all the things that may run through my imagination. I only put these forth and make what connections are available.
I may be corrected by those more knowledgeable in the history of cryptography, (and I welcome any information), but I do believe at this moment that these are the first examples of the use of Trithemian cipher in print, or anywhere else for that matter.
The one connection that brings the other two books into view, though doesn't connect exactly with the first two examples, is gained from my understanding of the "instauration" in science, as laid out by Francis Bacon. Each of the two books in question are written in the format of what Bacon called "Histories", that is, using the specific Latin definition, they are intended to be a compilation of all human knowledge on a given subject, the first requirement put forth by Bacon for the advancement of human understanding. I believe at this point I have tapped into a "movement" of sorts, started by Francis Bacon with the 1605 publication of his "Advancement of Learning", and later by his Latin (and international) "Instauratio Magna", that culminated in the establishment of the Royal Society and the gradual advancement of science as a method of extracting information from our surroundings.
Everything has to start somewhere, and I believe the English branch of this investigation started here, which is why I'm now examining hundreds of other disparate documents, a time-consuming and mentally fatiguing effort. How this connects to the Masons and Free-Masons, not in our current understanding of these organizations, but in their purpose during a specific period, is something of another sort. I could not work it all out in a lifetime, and that is not my purpose. The best I can hope for is to plant a seed and let it grow in the understanding of future students.
BTW, and off-topic again, I recently viewed with interest a program where people were diving on the wreck of Captain Kidd's ship, which sank in a pirate's harbor, don't remember where or when. What stuck in my mind from this program is the fact that they brought up artifacts with Masonic symbols, that were apparently the property of Captain Kidd. One of the archaeologists made the comment that "all" the English ship's captains from this period were Masons. I did not know this, I can't verify this from any information that I have available, but it is an interesting comment, eh?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Osmar Jardim" <osjardim@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 7:50 AM
Subject: Re: Hello again, again
> Hello Mr. GC
> I am a lurker at woynich list.
> You said that is in print " this cipher, an early Masonic usage (in print)
> of a Trithemian theme". Could you please teach me the name of the book?
> Thanks a lot.
> Osmar Jardim .´.
> Curitiba PR Brasil
> TEL 55 41 272 5246
> Cell 55 41 9102-5080
> FAX 55 41 372 1526
> SKYPE osmarjardim1944
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "GC" <gc-@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 2:00 AM
> Subject: VMs: Hello again, again
> > Hello Jim, sorry to be out of touch so long.
> > Hello everyone else, and sorry to be out of touch so long.
> > These last months I have been engrossed in a very exciting piece of 17th
> > century cipher that holds great promise for many more discoveries. Most of
> > what I've been doing lately is processing text and programming to look for
> > instances of this cipher, an early Masonic usage (in print) of a
> > Trithemian theme. Excitement is a very tiring response to something, and
> > as I've discovered with the Voynich many times, I required a break from
> > current my studies, and wound up here once more.
> > I have not even looked at a Voynich photograph since I left the list, and
> > I have not done 10 minutes' work on the subject in these several months.
> > I haven't monitored the list, nor viewed the recent archives, so I'm here
> > afresh, without any idea of "where" exactly "here" is, at least in terms
> > of contemporary conversation.
> > Through private communication, many of you are already aware that my
> > current focus has been a set of letters that preface the First Folio of
> > William Shakespeare. Shakespearean scholars have agreed enmasse that the
> > two Heminge/Condell letters were authored by Ben Jonson, and the last
> > letter in question, that of Hugh Holland, was written by Holland, a friend
> > and confidante of Ben Jonson, considered to be one of "Ben's Tribe". So
> > what is Jonson doing in the lead, when Heminge and Condell were the ones
> > supposedly compiling and publishing these documents? Who actually cares
> > that Condell for one, endured a lingering illness and died before the
> > publication, so could not have participated in this project in any
> > meaningful way? Is Bush's press staff writing this history, or do we want
> > the facts?
> > Jim Reeds might be aware that the use of Trithemian steganographic cipher
> > requires that the text should point the way to the key, and in this these
> > letters and poems point the same direction, namely the word "two".
> > Comparing similar texts to these letters, the number of double letters is
> > up on the charts in these Jonson letters, and there is the answer to the
> > problem.
> > I leave it to each of you to follow the trail before my book comes out,
> > but here I offer you a clue to the problem - Ben Jonson's first poem,
> > placed next to the image of Shakespeare, yields the results "ciphr on two"
> > when placed against a Vig slide. Four other letters, three from Ben
> > Jonson, one from Hugh Holland, fall into the same system class, each with
> > its own key.
> > Interestingly enough, there is a letter by "Heminge and Condell" entitled
> > the "Letter Dedicatorie", which uses two abbreviations. For "Your
> > Lordships" the letter uses the abbreviation "L.L.", and for "Your Honors"
> > the letter uses the abbreviation "H.H.". This "third person" abbreviation
> > set was used only in law documents, and appeared (to the best of my
> > knowledge) in only one book before the first folio, the book being
> > published first in 1617, and had no rightful usage the address in
> > question.
> > The theme of the letter is "two" and "paire", go figure. And the amount
> > of double letters here travels off the chart compared to contemporary
> > text. It becomes obvious that the HH and LL are the keys to the "double"
> > cipher, and that the answer is obtained by simple Trithemian methodology.
> > It should be noted that Ben Jonson once wrote a piece decrying the use of
> > cipher and anagrams in the works of others, and Jonson said he never used
> > such trivial means, yet he used those same trivialities in his dismissal
> > of such means in the same piece, probably to make a point.
> > Much after Jonson's argument against cipherists, about 1617 or sooner,
> > Jonson was listed as one of Sir Francis Bacon's "good pens", who were
> > employed in many literary efforts, to include the latinisation of Bacon's
> > works and the enciphering and deciphering of State dispatches. We can
> > only assume his opinion of cipher changed for the better, because we find
> > Jonson utilizing cipher in more and more documents after this period.
> > Not wanting to offend the orthodoxy, I must admit that Jonson's
> > attributions in cipher to the authorship of the compiled plays must have
> > been a sign that he suffered mentally in some way, since he didn't seem to
> > think that the actor William Shakespeare was the author of these greatest
> > of works. If anyone should know, it should have been "Old Ben".
> > Obviously, though the ciphers are relatively simple, the results have some
> > very serious implications. The worn-out topic of valid Baconian cipher is
> > even an issue here. Fortunately, I circumvent that nightmare by putting
> > forward the idea of "Jonsonian" cipher instead.
> > But this is exactly the subject I've burnt out on for the present, and
> > seek some relief in another pass-time, namely the Voynich. So where are
> > we in our understanding? The answer is 42, so what is the question?
> > GC
> > ______________________________________________________________________
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