To learn the order of my fingering,
I must begin with rudiments of art.
As he was in many other things of a scientific nature, Francis Bacon was interested in cryptology. In the 1640 English
translation of The Advancement of Learning , (Gilbert Wats) Book VI, he says:
Wherefore let us come to CYPHARS. Their kinds are many as, Cyphars simple; Cyphars intermixt wifh Nulloes , or
non-significant Characters; Cyphers of double Letters under one Character; Wheele-Cyphars; Kay-Cyphars; Cyphars
of words; Others ; But the virtues of them whereby they are to be preferr'd are Three; That they be ready, and not
laborious to write; That they be sure, and lie not open to Deciphering; And lastly, if it be possible, that they may be
managed without suspition . For if Letters Missive fall into their hands, that have some command and authority over
those that write; or over those to whom they were written; though the Cypher it selfe bee sure and impossible to be
decypher'd , yet the matter is liable to examination and question; unless the Cypher be such, as may be voide of all
suspition, or may elude all examination. As for the shifting off examination, there is ready prepared a new and
profitable invention to this purpose; which, seeing it is easily procured, to what end should we report it, as Deficient
. The invention is this: That you have two sorts of Alphabets , one of true letters , the other of Non-significants ; and
that you likewise fould up two Letters ; one which may carrie the secret, another such as is probable the Writer
might send yet without perill. Now if the Messenger be strictly examined concerning the Cypher , let him present
the Alphabet of Non-significants for true Letters , but the Alphabet of true Letters for Non-significants : by this
Art the examiner falling upon the exterior Letter , and finding it probable, shall suspect nothing of the interior Letter
. But that jealousies may be taken away, we will annexe an other invention, which, in truth, we devised in our youth,
when we were at Paris : and is a thing that yet seemeth to us not worthy to be lost. It containeth the highest degree
of Cypher , which is to signifie omnia per omnia , yet so as the writing infolding , may beare a quintuple proportion
to the writing infolded ; no other condition or restriction whatsoever is required. It shall be performed thus: First let
all the Letters of the Alphabet , by transposition, be resolved into two Letters onely; for the transposition of two
Letters by five placeings will be sufficient for 32. Differences, much more for 24. which is the number of the
Alphabet . The example of such an Alphabet is on this wise.
An Example of a Bi-literarie Alphabet.
[A (Aaaaa) ... Z (babbb)]
The excerpt above is exactly copied [scanned], including the periods and their placement. It may be worth noticing
that three of the periods are missing, while one is misplaced. The following is a table of the Binary Scale, upon which
the calculating ability of modern computers is based:
0 1 2 3 4 5
00000 00001 00010 00011 00100 00101
6 7 8 9 10 11
00110 00111 01000 01001 01010 01011
12 13 14 15 16 17
01100 01101 01110 01111 10000 10001
18 19 20 21 22 23
10010 10011 10100 10101 10110 10111
Charles S. Ingram (who wrote under the name of Jacobite) seems to have been the first to notice the similarity
between the Binary Scale and Bacon's Bi-literarie alphabet;he called attention to it in the English periodical Baconiana
(No. 160, March 1960, p. 12). The invention of the Binary Scale traditionally has been credited to Leibniz who devised
a calculating machine in 1671 and found the binary useful for his purposes, though there is evidence that it was
known in an earlier century. The binary scale has been extended and continues as the ASCII "code" which is now
used in most computers and telecommunication systems.
Therefore, Bacon in an earlier Latin edition of the Advancement of Learning (De Augmentis Scientarium published
in 1623) and Leibniz in 1671 produced the same tables; in Bacon's cipher version "0" = "a" and "1" = "b", and this is
imitated in Leibniz' arithmetical notation. And John Napier, who invented logarithms, had previously illustrated the
use of the binary scale in his Rabdologiae published in 1617.
This is hardly a trivial coincidence. It should be recognized that Francis Bacon had more than a passing interest in
basic mathematics, in addition to his known and often published "call for papers" in experimental, observational and
empirical scientific research. And, as will be seen, Bacon and John Napier were in communication.
To continue with Francis Bacon's exposition of the Biliteral (or Bi-literarie Alphabet, as he called it) cipher:
"Neither is it a small matter these Cypher-Characters have, and may performe: For by this Art a way is opened,
whereby a man may expresse and signifie the intentions of his minde, at any distance of place, by objects which may
be presented to the eye, and accommodated to the eare: provided those objects be capable of a twofold difference
onely; as by Bells, by Trumpets, by Lights and Torches, by the report of Muskets, and any instruments of like
nature. But to pursue our enterprise, when you addresse your selfe to write, resolve your inward-infolded Letter
into this Bi-literarie Alphabet . Say the interiour Letter be. . ."
Here Bacon gives an example of his method, using two dissimilar styles of letters in order to convey a message. The
compositor of the book used italic characters having fairly obvious differences, but not by typesetting them; he
engraved the letters in 5 letter groups. It should also be noted that, although Bacon illustrated his scheme by thus
varying the form of the letters in his books, he spoke always of "writing" and never of printing.
The system suffered from the fact that the ciphertext had to be five times longer than the plaintext message, but the
method had the advantage of almost perfect safety. If no one noticed the varying style of the hand-written
characters, the cipher was quite secure. Bacon's description of his Bi-literarie cipher was a single example of a
general stratagem that has become known as steganography; the term includes the many ways by which the very
existence of a cipher is concealed (as in the following passage). Francis Bacon continues:
The knowledge of Cyphering , hath drawne on with it a knowledge relative unto it, which is the knowledge of
Discyphering , or of Discreting Cyphers , and the Capitulations of secrecy past between the Parties. Certainly it is an
Art which requires great paines and a good witt and is (as the other was) consecrate to the Counsels of Princes: yet
notwith standing by diligent prevision it may be made unprofitable, though, as things are, it be of great use. For if
good and faithfull Cyphers were invented & practised, many of them would delude and forestall all the Cunning of
the Decypherer , which yet are very apt and easie to be read or written: but the rawnesse and unskilfulnesse of
Secretaries, and Clarks in the Courts of Princes, is such that many times the greatest matters are Committed to futile
and weake Cyphers. But it may be. . ."
And here, without pausing for breath or a new paragraph, he breaks off into a discussion of "Arts." He never returns
to the subject of "Cyphars," or "Cyphers," or even of "Cyphras" as he spells it in the original Latin version of De
Augmentis Scientarium , 1623. To quote a few lines:
"Ad Ciphras igitur veniendum. Earum Genera haud pauca sunt. Ciphrae simplices; Ciphrae Non significantibus
Characteribus intermix tae, Ciphra duplices Literas uno Charactere complexae; Ciphrae Rotae, Ciphrae Clauis,
Ciphrae verborum , aliae. . .Quod si quis Ciphra severe interrogetur. . ."
The ciphers discussed in this book are mainly elementary, but a glossary of cipher terms may be helpful:
Any cipher system which generally depends upon the occasional and regular appearance of ciphertext letters within
an apparently unsuspicious plaintext. An example of the cryptographer's use of this method is the selection of the
initial letters of each line of a poem so as to spell a word or name. The letters may first be superenciphered to make
the solution more difficult.
An intelligible word or phrase produced by rearranging the letters of the original according to no particular pattern.
This is not useful for communication, and thus is not an ordinarily acceptable cipher method.
A simple substitution cipher which is accomplished by replacing each ciphertext letter with some other, preceding or
following, letter of the alphabet in a regular manner. Thus to encipher the word DOG, using the next letter of the
alphabet, we may write "eph". Using the next letter after that, the result is "fqi", and so on.
The modern, normal alphabet may be scrambled to produce a very large number of variations, 26 factorial or about
4000 billion billion billion ways. Doing so complicates, for example, the cryptanalysis of a Caesar substitution cipher;
sometimes the alphabet is disarranged by using an easily remembered keyword. Further complication may be added
by changing to a new alphabet each time a letter is enciphered. For a monoalphabetic cipher, if the text is long
enough, a solution may sometimes be found by tabulating the frequency of the use of each letter and comparing that
to the ordinary frequency of letters in English words.
In the uses of cryptography (not mathematics), the cipher is defined as a method of transforming a text to conceal its
meaning (1) by systematically replacing the letters of the plaintext by substitutes in the same sequence, either singly
or in pairs or in other polygraphs (as by writing 1 for A, 2 for B, etc., or F for A, S for B, etc., or QL for AB, etc.) or (2)
by systematically rearranging the plaintext letters into another sequence (as by writing them normally in a rectangle
and then copying them off from the columns taken in an arbitrary succession)--called respectively (1) substitution
cipher and (2) transposition cipher (from Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged). [This
definition is most elementary, and there are a multitude of other cipher systems.]
A series of unintelligible letters which results from passing a plaintext (a message) through a cipher system.
A message sent without encipherment, referred to as "in clear," "en clair," "in plain language," or sometimes "open
To be distinguished from cipher, though sometimes loosely used as a synonym, as in "decode." A simple code might
be expressed in numbers, as 55-7-5. To the decipherer, this would mean to look in a chosen book on page 55, line 7,
for the 5th word. Naturally the sender of the message and the recipient must, by agreement, have a copy of the same
book; this might be a dictionary, a novel, or whatever. Special books of commercial codes in which the meaning of
groups of numbers are printed (as, 34567 = January) are common, and are cross indexed.
From Webster: "a small theft; a plagiarism; hence a translation to aid a student in reciting." In cryptanalysis, if a
word or phrase is known, or suspected, to be contained in an undeciphered message (a "probable word"), then that
word can be used as a crib to greatly assist in cryptanalysis.
This is the usually difficult process of reading a cryptogram without having the secret key. The word contrasts with
"deciphering"; the decipherer is assumed already to have the key, so as to read a message without any obstacle.
Again, both words are used loosely in general discussion.
After the plaintext message is enciphered and transformed into ciphertext, the result is a cryptogram. It may be
deciphered by one having the key or it may be solved by a cryptanalyst who does not have the key.
The science of concealing a message, although the outward form (e.g., five letter "code" groups) may patently show
that a cipher system has been used. This is to be compared to steganography, a process of encrypting a secret
message within an ordinary looking "open text."
This refers to the science of cryptography and cryptanalysis, but the term as it is used now also includes systems of
either making message signals secure or of extracting information from them. Such extensions refer to electronics,
RADAR, radio communication jamming and so on. It is a general term, loosely used in ordinary discussion.
To read an enciphered message while knowing the key.
Another term meaning to cryptanalyze. Encrypt describes the reverse process.
The determination of letter frequency in aid of cryptanalysis can sometimes be defeated by doubling ciphertext
letters, such as "YY" or "AA".
The opposite of decipher: to convert a plaintext readable message into a ciphertext while using a cipher system for
transmission to an ally who knows the cipher key and can decipher it.
(Opposite of Decrypt)
A rule by which the cryptographer may specify the arrangement or number of letters in a cipher alphabet for
purposes of substituting one letter for another; or of transposing the letters of an alphabet; or of making mechanical
settings on a cipher machine; or of using an algorithm or mathematical formula to program a computer. More than
one key may be used in composing a cryptogram.
An easily remembered word used to disarrange an ordinary alphabet. If the keyword is "DOG", then the cipher
alphabet may read "D O G A B C E F H I K L M N P Q R S T U V W X Y Z". The letters of the keyword are used up
first and the remaining letters are written in normal order afterward. There are, of course, methods to complicate the
The text of the information intended to be communicated. If it is enciphered it is called plaintext; if not it is called
cleartext or sometimes opentext.
A cipher based upon only one series of letters of the alphabet; however that alphabet may be scrambled or truncated.
A letter of the plaintext or of the ciphertext which is not meaningful. Often these, or multiples of them, are included
in cryptograms to confuse the cryptanalyst.
A series of words or sentences having ordinary meaning. Historically, innocent appearing "opentexts" have been
found to be steganographic ciphertexts and to contain enciphered letters intended for use in an acrostic cryptogram.
A message in its original, readable form before it is converted by a cipher system into ciphertext. Successful
decipherment or cryptanalysis of the cipher system returns the ciphertext to plaintext.
A word which the cryptanalyst has cause to believe might be found in a ciphertext. See Crib .
A successful conversion of ciphertext to plaintext, either by decipherment or cryptanalysis.
Any method of concealing the actual existence of a cipher, such as Bacon's Bi-literarie system. Individual acrostic
letters in an ordinarily-worded text may be enciphered. Microdots, invisible inks and grille ciphers are other
examples of ways of hiding a message so that no suspicion is aroused. A steganographic solution may be doubly or
triply enciphered so as to require further cryptanalysis.
The process of replacing the letters of a message with cipher letters in a regular pattern so as to produce a plaintext
when they are deciphered. See Cipher .
This often refers to the conversion of code words by a cipher system into ciphertext. It may also mean the re-
encipherment of letters of the alphabet which have already been converted by a cipher system into a ciphertext.
The process of rearranging the original letters of a plaintext message into a different, unintelligible sequence
according to a fixed rule. See Cipher .
The following is a random collection of Elizabethan spellings. Spelling had not yet been standardized and spellers
often followed canons of their own. The words can, with imagination, usually be recognized and understood
The Anatomy of Wyt, wel, wittie, historie, hony, sugred [@]. sundrie, plaied, citie [@]. merie, foorth [@]. THE
PVRITAINE Or THE WIDDOVV of Watling-streete, 1607. (title page), peece, yeres, sodainly, yncle, Iuuenall, all eyes
saw his eies, betraied, murtherer, onely, iests, iewell, roabes, euerie, shew, perswade, varry, liedge, mallicholie,
voyce, iustice, stomacks, emured, snayles, auoyd, waigh [@]. chymist, iland, pownd, chuse, beleefe, bannquerout,
croysade, cypher, decad, powre, hayre, floud, demayne, demoniack, battell, marre, nale, spue, bee, daies, embryon,
bloud, heckticke, suertiship, plyent [@]. frend, encloased, digg [@]. orecharg'd, domb, dumbe, toyle, shaddoe,
shadow, greeue, ile, bace, wayling, cauled, farre [@].
Before judging the validity of an Elizabethan cipher we must consider these unstandardized Elizabethan spellings of
words and names. Even capitalization and punctuation were irregular and followed no rule.
The following are some definitions and spellings of words and names that are critical to our cipher and were
commonly understood at the turn of the 16th Century; these are from The Oxford Dictionary [@]:
Beacon : (as a noun) a sign, a portent; an ensign, standard; a signal fire, a burning cresset raised on a pole or fixed at
the top of a building; a watch tower; a hill on which beacons were lighted; a lighthouse upon the seacoast.
Beacon : (as a verb) to raise or kindle, as a beacon; to light up as a beacon fire; to give light and guidance to, to lead;
to shine like a bea con. (beckon is a direct descendant.)
Beacon : (spellings) "beacen, becen, becun, baecen, bikene, bekne, bekene, beeken, beken, bekin, beakon."
Mrs. Henry Pott, writing in Francis Bacon and his Secret Society (1891), says:
"It is worthy of notice that the Bacon family in early times spelt their name Becon or Beacon . Some of them seem to
have written under this name, and there is a work by Thomas Becon, 1563-4, in which, on the title page of the second
volume, his name changes from Becon to Beacon. And John Florio (in Second Frutes , 1591) once alluded to a
'gammon of bakon.' "
As reported by Nathanial Holmes (The Authorship of Shakespeare , 1887) Sir John Davies published a book of poems
in 1621. In it is the following anagram to Bacon:
"To the Right Honorable Sir Francis Bacon, Knight, Lord High Chancellor of England.
Thy vertuous Name and Office joyne with Fate,
To make thee the bright Beacon of the State."
Beacon : (pronunciation) Jean Overton Fuller, in a biography of Bacon [@], has this to say:
"Laymen seldom realise how complex is the history of sound- changes. The sound heard in 'beacon' would then have
been more open, but so would that in 'bacon.' In phonetician's language, the sound heard in 'beacon' today is a close
front vowel (English vowel no. 1); in those days it would have been a half-close front vowel, nearer to Cardinal vowel
No. 2. The sound in 'bacon' today is a diphthong, but would then have been a half-open front vowel, near Cardinal
vowel 3. The sounds would, then as now, have been in different phonemes, with about the same interval between
Fuller seems to be saying that the first two vowels in "beacon" were then pronounced more like "wear" or "bear" or
"weapon," and far closer to "beckon" than the word is now. Some Britishers still say "tay" for "tea." To use, in print,
"beacon" for "Bacon" would then have been to make a pun because the words were formerly pronounced nearly as
the same. Here are a few definitions:
Cipher : (as a noun) the arithmetical symbol zero; a person of no importance, a nonentity; any arabic number; a
symbolic character, as a hieroglyph; a monogram; a secret or disguised manner of writing, whether by characters
arbitrarily invented. . .or by an arbitrary use of letters or characters in other than their ordinary sense, intelligible only
to those possessing the key; a cryptograph; anything written in cipher, and the key to such a system.
Cipher : (as a verb) to use arabic numbers in arithmetic; to express characters of any kind, especially to write in cipher
or cryptogram; to decipher; to express by a cipher or monogram; to make a cipher of, make nought of.
Cipher : (spellings) sipher, cyfer, cifer, ciphre, sypher, ziphre, scypher, cyphar, cyphre, ciphar, zifer, cypher, cipher
(or ciphras, as Bacon spelled it in Latin).
The following is an innocent appearing (though nauseous) title-page which might be found in a drug-store paperback
LOVE ALWAYS, CAROLINE DARLING!
It Happened in Bimini
A Schoolgirl's Adventure
ACCENT ACADEMY BOOKS
St. Augustine, FL
Despite its unsuspicious appearance, this composition contains a cipher. It has been composed as a steganogram
based upon an acrostic method; inside is hidden a ciphered message. There are two keys for this one.
The ciphertext is formed of the third letter of each word (words having fewer than three letters are ignored). The
ciphertext letters therefore are: "V W R R S B P M H V C A O G".
After extraction, these still-meaningless letters must again be deciphered. The next system is a simple Caesar cipher.
For example, instead of writing "A" one may substitute the 12th letter after "A", which is in this case, using the
modern alphabet, the plaintext letter "m". Decryption is assisted by writing the two alphabets one above the other:
Ciphertext: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Plaintext: m n o p q r s t u v w x y z a b c d e f g h i j k l
Now the cipher letters are taken one at a time and converted to plaintext, being the letter just below each cipher
letter. For an easy example "V W R" converts to "h i d", and so on.
The concealed message may then be read:
"h i d d e n b y t h o m a s"
(Thomas being my first name.)
This illustration uses the current twenty-six letter alphabet arranged in normal order. Cryptanalysis can be made far
more difficult by scrambling or shortening the keyed alphabet beforehand.
In this simple, test-model title-page the encipherer's intention, the plan and the cleartext artifact are mathematically
demonstrable. This title-page was not written by Shakespeare or by "Leslie Webb"; I wrote it as a superenciphered
acrostic and I can prove it!
The Friedmans say, in a discussion of acrostics: "Sir John Salusbury, who was as devoted to acrostics as he was to a
lady called Dorothy Halsall, enfolded her name in poem after poem." They quote the poem and show that in a
complicated acrostic he did indeed enfold the lady's name (though with many irregularities!) and added his own
initials within the last line. They continue:
"But in another and longer poem, he uses a series of acrostics to spell out five names; here the ubiquitous Dorothy
appears as DOROTHI HALSALL, Salusbury as IOHN SALESBVRYE, and the rest of the dramatis personae as
FRANSIS WILOWBI, ELIZABETH WOLFRESTONE and ROBERT PARRYE. In all, Salusbury uses six different
versions of his own name in various acrostic signatures; spells the name Francis as Fransis wherever it suits him;
regards I and IE as interchangeable with Y; and replaces J's with I's or I's with J's according to whim. This disregard
for absolute consistency provides an argument for anti-Stratfordians, in that they are often able to cite genuine
examples of the various spellings, abbreviations and forms of title to which they resort."
For which fitting example and final remark, my gratitude to the Friedmans.
A a few years ago, Wayne Shumaker, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California at Berkeley,
published a book entitled Renaissance Curiosa [@]. The Professor shows himself to be a master of Medieval Latin
In one of his fascinating chapters he discusses the copious writings of Johannes Trithemius (1462-1526) who was a
German monk. Trithemius' books, written in Latin, were mostly concerned with history and theology but the author
has been called "the first theoretician of cryptography." His Steganographia was circulated while the manuscript was
still in composition and John Dee, later to become a friend of Francis Bacon, copied at least half of it in 1563.
Trithemius' complete work was published at Frankfurt in 1606. It was misunderstood by many to be a book about
magic or the invocation of spirits (Angels), but it was soon proven to be a text of cryptology. A Clavis or key was
included in some of the printings to facilitate decryption of the ingeniously hidden messages.
Trithemius gave explicit examples of ways to deeply encipher a concealed plaintext. He is important to our study of
the ciphers contained in the works attributed to Shakespeare because at least one of his designs very nearly replicates
the poet's own general system.
Steganography was the basis for most of Trithemius' schemes and a key, a hint, was customarily included in the
ciphertext. Professor Shumaker explains one method:
PAMERSIEL ANOYR MADRISEL EBRASOTH EAN ABRULGES
ITRASBIEL NADRES ORMENUITULES RABLON HAMORPHIEL.
If we ignore the first and last words, which are nulls--that is, insig nificant for the meaning--and read only the
alternate letters of the rest, we arrive at a key for the decoding of the following cryptogram: "Nym die ersten
Bugstaben de omni uerbo," or "Take the first letters of every word." Only the initials of the words in the cryptogram
I omit the second conjuration, intended to be spoken by the recipient but really only another key--the first is
supposed to guide the encoder, the second the decoder--and proceed to show the relevance of the instruction to the
Latin text which conceals the sententia , or meaning. I shall print only enough to show how the system works.
"Lucidum jubar aeternae Beatitudinis, Excellentissime Rex,
Gubernator & Tutor robustissime, universorum virtuose
viventium, exulum refugium. . .
"The initials, in order, spell 'Ljaeber G&truvver.' (I have normalized the first v of Vniversorum.) Unsatisfactory as this
result may seem, in reality it presents no problem. J is alternative for i ; ae are equivalent to e ; & is regularly
construed as et ; and vv is the same as w . Making these changes, we obtain 'Lieber getruwer' (an archaic form of
getreuer ), or 'Dear Faithful One. . .' Proceeding in this way to the end of the cryptogram, we obtain the following:
'Lieber getruwer / du wollest uf nest Mantag gerust sin so du aller bast vermagst / und umb die funf / unser an der
Lantporten warten / da willen wir / mit unserm gezug erschinen.' This is old-fashioned German for 'Dear Faithful
One: You will be armed as best you can next Monday and about five will wait for us at the gate; we will appear there
with our followers.' The meaning is in sharp contrast with the apparent one: 'Bright radiance of the eternal
Blessedness, most excellent King, most strong governor and defender of all who live virtuously, refuge of exiles. . .'
"The example just given is typical: the portions of the Steganographia which appear to rely on daemonic help consist
of obscure explanations and enciphered messages, the plaintext of which the reader must puzzle out with the help of
directions that are themselves enciphered. The heavy obfuscation, together with the increasing complexities of the
system, creates difficulties; but with Selenus' help the first two books are consistently comprehensible."
The "Selenus" to whom Professor Shumaker refers was Duke August of Braunschweig and Luneberg; his pen name
was Gustavus Selenus (or "Gustavi Seleni," as it appeared on his title-page]. He was a scholarly Prince whose library
still exists at Wolfenbuttel. It includes manuscripts of the Steganographia from 1516 and 1521 and Trithemius' book
of 1606. Selenus published the decipherments again in 1624 as Cryptomenytices et Cryptographiae which he had
taken from a collection of Trithemius' works. Shumaker says, "Although I cannot discuss them all, I have checked
every one of Selenus' explications and have found that they work on Trithemius's cryptograms."
Some of the same steganographic systems were described in 1586 by Blaise de Vigenere in his Traite des Chiffres .
Thus in 1606 this interesting cryptographic method had again been explained and newly published. The scheme
included the insertion of keys in the cryptogram itself and the use of the initial letters of the ciphertext words to
convey the message.
And Trithemius went further with his design. According to Shumaker,
"The work contains other complexities of different kinds. Use is made of transposition alphabets. . .in which B, C, or
D, and so on, stands for A; C, D, or E for B; D, E, or F for C; and thus clear through the alphabet to X for A, A for B,
etc. (The alphabet ends with X; Y is alternative for I, and Z is omitted.) The 'Caesar's alphabets,' as these are called
because of Caesar's supposed invention of the technique, are also given angels' names. . .The transposed alphabets,
moreover, are used in conjunction with the ciphers already explained, so that the first alteration of the cryptogram
remains meaningless. In 'Anael' [code name for one of the angels], for instance, we first read the initial letters of
alternate words in 'Tuis respondere literis gauderem, ita Xhristus me gaudere faciat; transmitteremque. . .' This yields
r g x g t ; but each of these stands for the second letter preceding it in the alphabet, as explained above, so that we
obtain 'Peter.' Such double systems are of course especially secure.
Shumaker uses the term "transposition" loosely; the Caesar cipher he describes is technically a substitution device.
The substitution is made by the use of the following table (U and W were then considered to be the same letter, V):
Ciphertext: A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T V X
Plaintext: v x a b c d e f g h i k l m n o p q r s t
Thus the ciphertext "r" in "respondere" equals a plaintext "p", the "g" in "gauderem" equals an "e", and so on. The
result is the deciphered name "Peter".
Also, in the system he describes, the plaintext letters are not doubly but triply enciphered.
Therefore, three years before the publication of SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS in 1609, a Trithemius cipher method
was publicized in which:
(1) the keys for decipherment were contained in the ciphertext;
(2) the superenciphered letters were the first letters of the words to which the keys pointed;
(3) a truncated, normally ordered alphabet was used containing twenty-one letters.
(4) the superenciphered letters could be read only by submitting them to a Caesar process of decryption in which the
abridged alphabets were displaced two letters.
Before beginning the cipher work next to be described, I wish I had first read Professor Shumaker's book. As will be
seen, Francis Bacon had, most diligently, studied Trithemius.
It should be understood that hereafter, in general discussion, I will use the name "Shakespeare" as a generic term to
signify the clandestine works of Francis Bacon.