Zealous with Language and Ciphers

Shorthand, ciphers and universal language around the 17th century

The practical use of language, in particular the inventions of shorthand, numbers and universal characters, is explored. Extensive examples take the reader through history in search of the ultimate language. Examples of the techniques and photos of the real pages from medieval and 17th century books show what the universal language is and its relationship with shorthand, numbers and language in general.

Available as PAPERBACK or as E-book on Amazon.

Published march 2020. Language: ENGLISH. +/- 250 pages. Full-Color.

ASIN : B08YHYS1CS ISBN-13 : 979-8719537368
published (9 Mar. 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 248 pages
Dimensions : 21.59 x 1.5 x 27.94 cm

Text preview:

Chapter II.

Jane Seager and The Ten Sibills
Bright’s system received quite some attention because in the immediate period following publication, references were found to Bright’s Characterie in several texts including plays, sermons, and a reference by William Shakespeare. One year after publication of the Characterie, a lady of the Court, Jane Seager, presented to the English Queen a hand-crafted gift book under the title “The Divine Prophecies of the Ten Sibills”. It contains ten prophecies of the birth of Christ, each assigned to a different sibyl and one final poem, and in the last poem Seager whished the queen happiness and prosper.
In that period it was believed it was possible to achieve a higher status by gaining goodwill and patronage of the Queen by the donation of a gift. With this gift in 1589, Jane Seager offers herself to Queen Elizabeth as code-maker and code-breaker by these ciphered poems. Each poem is titled with the name of one of the ten sibills, is written in longhand, and has on the opposing page the shorthand version of the text. This shorthand text is using the Characterie of Bright and is written in columns, to be read from top to bottom, left to right. That these vertical columns resemble the Chinese script is no coincidence and add to the mystical idea of the book. In those days emblem books were often called books with hieroglyphs , and emblems were often meant to provide a mystical and secret meaning. It is a remnant from the magic amulets and spells which were quite common in daily life during the earlier medieval period. The Queen was much intrigued by such matters, as her close interest in the famous John Dee and his Monas Hieroglyphica clearly shows.

Image: Jane Seager’s concluding poem in shorthand in her The Divine Prophecies of the Ten Sibills, 1589.

The inscriptions on the cover of the gift manuscript [1], written in the same shorthand, read “Dieu et mon droit” and “Honi soit qui mal y pense”: the royal motto, and that of the Order of the Garter, the highest order of knighthood. Malay writes that Seager may have been attempting to ask attention for Protestantism by this motto. It seems possible but we have to keep in mind that the motto also appears on a large number of other books in the royal collection, many of which seem to have no connection with a militant or religious matter.

Seager uses the “Anno Mundi” dating system that starts in the Biblical Year of Creation. The year the world was created. Translated to our BC system, Before Christ, the creation was in the year 5199 BC according to Eusebius, and according to Beda 3952 BC, and according to Etos Kosmou 5509 BC, etc.
By using this Anno Mundi dating Seager emphasized the mystical character of the text, supported by the use of shorthand.  Although Seager used the A.M. in the year 1589, it was still used in later times; Thomas Urquhart used it in his book Pantochronochanon in 1652.

The Ten Sibills

Looking at the tradition of sibills, the most influential printed book on sibills in the time was from Filippo Barbieri called Duodecim Sibyllarum Vaticinia, in the year 1481. [1]  At the time Seager was writing the sibyl prophecies the imagery of sibills was quite popular as wall decoration in England and Scotland. [2] 

There exist more prophetic sibill names than the ten that Seager uses, for example she leaves out the names of sibills Hellespontica and Phrygia, for no apparent reason.[3]  The sibills [4] are made up of a variable list consisting of 2 till 30 different names, transmitted through the Christian Church. Sibills were, according to legend, present in ancient Greece and most famous are the Delphi sibills, where an enormous city was formed around these oracles. These prophetic priestesses were often named after the location where they lived or where they came from. Some of the most common names are:

1. Egyptian (Agrippa) 2. Samian (Greece),  3. Libian, Delphic (Greece), 4. Cimmerian (Cumae, Italian or European), 5. Persian (Chaldean), 6. Erythraean, 7. Hellespontine, 8. Phrygian, 9. Tiburtine,  10. Cumana (Asia  Minor, not to be confused with Cummaen) and there are more Hebrew, Babylonian, Persian, Apollonian sibills.

Illustrations of prophetesses shown as ancient oracles were reinvented in the 15th century. The revival of the traditional “science of the stars” provided a basis for popular astrology, mixed together with fashionable allegories.[5]  During the renaissance that followed there was a huge revival of similar imagery, often connected to prophesies presented in a symbolic form, such as allegories.  These images contain elements that have a strong historical meaning, and unfortunately many references we do not understand because of their contemporary context. It can be compared to the modern cartoons we find in today’s newspapers that reflect events of that particular day or week: after a couple of weeks or months the understanding of their context fades away.

Allegories and emblemata based on the same principles can be found for example in 1470 with Pope Paul II and the Emperor Frederick III. [6]  Popular works with a more alchemical character are for example the German Blockbucher such as “The Buch der Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit”; from the same period, and these show a mix of prophesies, Christianity, occult magic, and astrology through allegorical images [7].

[1] Malay

[2] Malay -> Bath 2003. John Napier also published in 1593: A plaine discovery of the whole Revelation of Saint John etc, with

an appendix: …annexed certaine oracles of Sibylla..etc”. See also  ‘Translation, Authorship, and Gender: The Case of Jane Seager’s Divine Prophecies of the Ten Sibills’, Deirdre Serjeantson.

[3] According to Malay

[4] More commonly written as “sibyls” but I prefer to use the original medieval way sibills

[5] Read for example: the star of the sibyl: analysis and history of a late medieval illustrated prophecy, Giangiacomo Gandolfi. 2017. Springer.

[6] On the right from the British Museum, here, on the left one from the National gallery of Art Washington.

[7] Often in many colours

[1] Now in the British Library MS Add 10037

Most important references
This reference list shows publications that are considered important in relation to the content. The name in front of the paragraph here act as a reference word which is used. All other publications are directly mentioned in the text and in the footnotes.

o Aloys Meister, Die Anfänge der modernen diplomatischen Geheimschrift, 1902
o Anderson. History Of Shorthand With A Review Of Its Present Condition And Prospects In Europe And America, by Anderson, Thomas. Publication date 1882
o Carlton. Timothe Bright, doctor of phisicke : a memoir of the father of modern shorthand, by Carlton, William J. (William John), 1911. Internet archive.
o Coi_US. Circular of Information, United States. Bureau of Education, Contributions to American educational history. United States. Office of Education, Vol4. 1884. University of Wisconsin – Madison
o Dalgarno. The works of George Dalgarno of Aberdeen, by Dalgarno, George, 1626-1687, Publication date 1834, Internet Archive.
o Davys. An essay on the art of decyphering. : In which is inserted a discourse of Dr. Wallis. Now first publish’d from his original manuscript in the publick library at Oxford. By John Davys, 1678-1724. Wallis, John, 1616-1703. London 1737.
o Edmonds. A universal alphabet, grammar, and language : comprising a scientific classification of the radical elements of discourse and illustrative translations from the Holy scriptures and the principal British Classics, to which is added a dictionary of the language, 1856, by George Edmonds, (1788-1868). Internet Archive
o Fancutt. Stenography remodelled, by J. Fancutt. 1840
o Haines. Did John of Tilbury write an Ars notaria. Scriptorium 2008. John Haines. From Persee.fr.
o Henderson. Francis Lodwick: On Language, Theology, and Utopia. by Felicity Henderson and William Poole. Oxford University Press. 2011.ISBN: 9780199225910.
o Histoire. Histoire de la langue universelle. Couturat and Leau . 1903. On BNF or on Internet archive. This reference was provided by Knowlson (1975): “the fullest amount of historic language schemes”
o Jack & Lyall. Sir Thomas Urquhart, Ronald D. S. Jack, R. J. Lyall. Scottish Academic Press, 1983. ISBN0707303273. Based on the 1652 edition, acc to p.47.
o Kahn. The Codebreakers. The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet. David Kahn. 1996
o King. The Ciphers of the Monks: A Forgotten Number-notation of the Middle Ages, by David A. King
o Knowlson. Universal Language Schemes in England and France 1600-1800, Dr. James Knowlson, Toronto press. 1975.
o Lang. Real Life Cryptology, Ciphers and Secrets in Early Modern Hungary, Benedek Láng, Atlantic Press, Amsterdam University Press, ISBN 9789462985544.
o Leibniz. Dissertatio de arte combinatoria, in qua ex arithmeticae fundamentis complicationum ac transpositionum doctrina nouis praeceptis exstruitur … noua etiam Artis meditandis, seu Logicae inuentionis semina sparguntur. Praefixa est synopsis totius tractatus, & additamenti loco demonstratio existentiae Dei, ad mathematicam certitudinem exacta autore Gottfredo Guilielmo Leibnüzio , by Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, 1666. Internet Archive.
o Maat. Philosophical Languages in the Seventeenth Century: Dalgarno, Wilkins, Leibniz. By Jaap Maat. Springer. 2004.
o MaatCram Paper: Dalgarno in Paris, sept 1998. Jaap Maat & David Cram. Histoire Epistémologie Language.
o Malay. Jane Seager’s Sibylline poems: Maidenly negotiations through Elizabethan gift exchange Malay, J. L., 2006, In : English Literary Renaissance. 36, 2, p. 173-188.
o Matthews. Journal of English, vol 34. no 4. Oct. 1935, article on Jstor, Peter Bales, Timothy Bright and William Shakespeare, by W. Matthews
o Mazzola. Learning and Literacy in Female Hands, 1520-1698, by Elizabeth Mazzola.
o Meister. Die Geheimschrift im Dienste der Päpstlichen Kurie von Ihren Anfängen bis zum Ende des XVI jahrhunderts, by Aloys Meister, 1866. German.
o Menninger. Number Words and Number Symbols: A Cultural History of Numbers, Translated by Paul Broneer from the revised German edition “Zahlwort und Ziffer”, Dover books explaining science, by Karl Menninger, 1969.
o Pitman. A History of Shorthand. 4. Ed, by Isaac Pitman, 1847. 1891
o Pasini. Written Ciphers Used By The Republic Of Venice, Luigi Pasini, 1872, translated 2021 by D.P.J.A. Scheers. Amazon.com
o Salmon. The works of Francis Lodwick, by Vivian Salmon. 1972
o Scheers. The Art of Decryption in the 17th century. L’art de deschiffrer. Traité de déchiffrement du XVIIe siècle de la Secrétairerie d’Etat et de Guerre Espagnole, anonyme,1668, Université de Louvain. Recueil de travaux d’histoire et de philologie. 4e série, édité 1967 par J.P. Devos, H. Seligman, translated by DPJA Scheers, 2019. Smashwords.com
o Shelton. Tachygraphy, The most exact and compendious method of short and swift writing, that hath ever been published by any, by Thomas Shelton, 1645, Internet Archive.
o Shumaker. Renaissance Curiosa. New York: Center for Medieval & Early Renaissance Studies. By Wayne Shumaker. 1982.
o Slaughter. Universal Languages and Scientific Taxonomy in the Seventeenth Century, M.M. Slaughter, first published in 1982.
o Urquhart. The works of Sir Thomas Urquhart … Reprinted from the original editions, by Maitland Club Glasgow, Maitland, Thomas, 1834, Internet Archive. Reprint of the Jewel and combined in Edinburgh in 1774.
o Wilkins. Mercury; or, The secret and Swift messenger. Shewing, how a man may with privacy and speed communicate his thoughts to a friend at any distance, by John Wilkins, 1641. Used: Mcmanus-Young Collection, and George Fabyan Collection. London, Printed for Richard Baldwin, 1694. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/11019070/.
o Wilkins. The mathematical and philosophical works of the Right Reverend John Wilkins … To which is prefix’d the author’s life, and an account of his works, by Wilkins, John, Publication 1708. Internet Archive. https://archive.org/details/b30506086. 596 pag’s containing:
i. The Discovery of a New World; The Discovery of a new World in the Moone. 1638
ii. That ‘tis probable our Earth is One of the Planets. 1640
iii. Mercury, or the Secret and Swift Messenger. (Cryptography). 1641
iv. Ecclesiastes. (Preaching). 1646
v. Mathematical Magick. (Geometry) 1648.
vi. An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language. (UL). 1668
o Willcock. Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromartie, knight. by John Willcock. Publication date 1899. Internet Archive
o Williamson. Stenography, by William Williamson, 1782. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
o WPoole. Seventeenth-century ‘double writing’ schemes, and a 1676, letter in the phonetic script and real character of John Wilkins, William Poole, 24 jan 2018.

List of images and their page numbers:

LEUIA HIC VERBULA EXPOLIT Source: Jacob de Zetter 1620. Wolfenbüttel Herzog August Bibliothek. 1
Book title and cover 2
Preface 3
Introduction 3
Contents 9
I – Abbreviations and Numerals 13
image: scribe at work. source f1r. Aarau, Aargauer Kantonsbibliothek, MsWettF 1,Biblia sacra 13
image: Greek tachygraphy alphabet. Source: Anderson. Kopp. 14
image: Roman stenographic system. source Anderson. 15
image: Roman stenographic system. from left to right: alienus, avium, attoritus, andron. source Anderson. 15
image: Roman stenographic system. source Anderson. From left to right: arbiter, amicus, ager, animus. 15
image: Tironian notes. From left to right: Ter, Inter, Praeter, Propter. source. Kopp. Palaeographia Critica. V.II. 15
image: Tironian notes. source: Anderson. Notice the dot on the flat stroke, for ‘est’. 16
image: Kopp. book 1. p.477. comparative syllables from Tachygraphy and Tironian Notes. 17
image: the 9 square on the left, on the right the tetraktys 10 18
image: codex Casselanus, 8th cent. Tironian notae 18
image: Acrophonic numbers 20
image: Greek numerals. Ancient ionic numerals 20
image: Basingstoke numerals published by Luard 21
image: Agrippa occult numeral system 21
image: detail of Sloane 313, BL.uk. 22
image: detail from The Sworne Booke of Honorius 22
Image: part of the Getty fly-leaf, The J.Paul Getty Museum. 23
image: Pal.Germ. f65v 24
image: page 183 King, after Bischoff and Sesiano 24
image: From M. Hostus, different numeral notations 25
image: Wer Gott vertraut hat wol gebaut, Schwenter, german shorthand. 26
image: f30r, Amadi 27
image: decomposed parts of the symbol for “qual”, showed here on the left 27
image: recreated table of Amadi with the Alfabetto Velado 28
image: the four Prosthaphaeresis formulas 30
image: On the left four sides of a stick bone, with 9 places for numbers on each side. Then, the first stick, prima virgulae, is shown for 0. Then displayed the stick for number 4, and the last two columns of it on 5 and 8, reversed for readability. 32
image: number 25 on a square on the bone 32
image: bones 2 and 3 33
Image: Detail of calculation with bones. Reading from right to left: 5…1+0…1, we read the result 115. 33
image: the calculation machine in a box, the Promptuary of Napier 34
image: the Promptuary of Napier, with the masks shown on the right with the blackened holes 34
Image: example of “vowelless” Hebrew from the dead sea scrolls, 3rd – 1st cent. BCE. Most of the scrolls were written in Hebrew, some in Aramaic or Greek. 35
Image: example of the Aleppo Codex, containing Masoretic vocalization, written around the 10th century 35
Image: some niqqud, showing the different diacritics, their names and the vowel representation. 36
image: the route of development of the researched Italian ciphers, the pink arrow starts at Mantua 1395, based on the published cipher investigations by Meister 38
image: part of Thomas Newton’s recommendation 39
image: SP70.62.171r, the Smith ciphered letter 20 Aug 1563. I’ve compared the original with a printed copy (bottom part) of the letter, and showed in red circles the differences (mistakes) between original (above) and the copy of it with errors (below). 40
Image: Parts of the nomenclator sheet used by the English court for the Smith cipher. On the bottom particles such as -ing. -id. It. 40
image: Giambattista Della Porta, part of table from the 1563 print of De occultis literarum notis, 41
Image: Porta’s cipher alphabet for housewives and children 41
image: Bright’s alphabet. Best resemblant seems the letter h and i. 42
Image: Porta’s pigpen cipher proposal, also in the 1602 edition on page 134 42
image: Agrippa’s chambers and combined chambers 43
image: Agrippa’s emblem for Michael. 44
image: Meister’s mention of a vowel cipher by placing dots 44
image: Meister. Argenti. example of a more extended version of pigpen. 45
image: Meister. Argenti. example of nomenclators, using dots 45
image: piece from 1581 Philip II’s letter , cipher table, from Alcocer 1921, p.629. 46
image: small fragment of 5th leave of the letter of Leyva, 1527, last part of the cipher says: va.do.de.f.ra.n.c.a 47
image: Leyva symbols and syllables 47
Image: Part of the French-Nijmegen cipher from a letter of 1676. Louis XIV. Source: Scheers. On the left the plain text; diacritics combined with numerals by placing it on top or on bottom of the numeral 48
II – Shorthand 49
image: abbreviation by contraction or suspension of br[ev]e, alior[um], sacr[amentu]m 49
Image: R-manuscript strokes, also called Tilbury cipher or Tilbury strokes 51
image: the 1586 alphabet backwards constructed by Carlton, based on Bright’ examples prior to his book 52
image: root words for message and metal 53
image: the full Bright 1588 alphabet, 18 letters 53
image: different strokes added, to create new presentations 53
image: part of the 1588 Bright table with predefined root words 54
image: St.Paul Epistle from the Genevan version from 1599, piece of the first columns by Bright’s hand in his first version from 1586. It starts “The Epistle of Saint Paul to Titus. The first chapter…” and show the text in eighteen columns. 54
image: some examples of root words from the 1588 system of Bright 55
Image: Jane Seager’s concluding poem in shorthand in her The Divine Prophecies of the Ten Sibills, 1589. 56
image: Bales, text from the frontispiece of the 1600 version 59
image: promotion by Bales: ‘to write as fast as a man speaketh treatably, writing but one letter per word’ 60
image: the positions of the accents in the system of Bales 61
image: H words from Bales 61
image: Pen and whetstone. source: 1565. Conrad Gessner. f.104v. Folger, Hamnet Catalog. QE362 G4 1565 Cage. 62
image: the alphabet from John Willis, 1602 and 1625 and later 64
image: vowel positions J. Willis. The numbers 1 to 5 are added to show the amount of positions only. 65
image: some examples of J. Willis words 1602 65
image: Willis in 1602 showing that there are at least 12 ways to write the same word 65
image: J. Willis 1602, Apothecarie, the second symbol. 66
image: Willis. 1644 examples. 66
image: Willis 1644, different so called sorts. 66
Image: examples of the Shelton shorthand. 69
image: three different parts of Lodwick’s alphabets: Kortschrift, vowels and cyphers 71
Image: original piece of the Lodwick manuscript showing the table for vowels 72
image: Kortschrift alphabet, Lodwick 73
image: predefined abbreviated words, Lodwick 73
image: Fancutt stenotypes 75
image: Fancutt steno example 76
III – The Development of Universal Language 79
Image: part of the building of the Académie Française 80
Image: the four rivers in Paradise. Fragment from Mapa de Ona-Milan, year 1185. 83
Image: expulsion from paradise, f72v, The Hague, KB, 74 G 9, dated 1535. Book of Hours. Notice that there were also happy rabbits in Paradise. 84
Image: the 72 languages used during the construction of the tower of Babel, displayed as 72 squares. From the “Mettener Armenbibel (Biblia pauperum) 85
BSB Clm 8201”, dated around 1414 or 1415. 85
Image: fragment of Tower of Babel, f4r, The Hague, KB, 74 J 5. 1475-1500. Fasciculus temporum 86
Image: f34v, Speculum Humanae Salvationis, The building of the Tower of Babel, The Hague, MMW, 10 B 34. Year 1450. The Latin red text below says: “linguarum confusio in turri babilonica”. Confusion of tongues on the Tower of Babel. 87
Image: fragment from Robert Fludd, Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris metaphysica, physica atqve technica historia : in duo volumina secundum cosmi differentiam diuisa. by Fludd, Robert, 1574-1637; Bry, Johann Theodor de, 1561-1623; Merian, Matthaeus, 1593-1650. Source: Internet Archive. Publication date 1617 89
Image : Figure S. Ars compendiosa inveniendi veritatem XV Century. Palma, BP, 1031. Digital version Biblioteca Virtual del Patrimonio Bibliográfico. Spain. Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. 90
Image: f17 from BNF Grec 2179, DIOSCORIDES. De Materia Medica. Fontebl.-Reg. 2130. probably from year 801-900 AD. Link. Notice the person below the plant, holding a hand to his ear. The Greek text starts with the red text: Myosota 92
Image: photo of the original Myosotis flowers, 93
also known as Vergissmeinnicht (German), vergeet-me-nietje (Dutch) ~ forget-me-not. 93
Image: nenuphar, water lilie, with different synonyms. Source: Macer de viribus herbarum. Herbarius depictus per fratrem Vitum Auslasser … 1479 – BSB Clm 5905, Vitus Auslasser, Ebersberg, Benediktiner. 15th cent. BSB Call Nr.: Clm 5905. 95
Image: Tournefort, from the “Eléments de botanique, ou Méthode pour reconnaître les Plantes. illustration from Claude Aubriet, later employed by the king. link to manuscript. Source BNF, Bibliothèque nationale de France. 97
Two images: Carl Linnaeus, from Systema naturae, 1758 version, mention of nomenclators (Vol.2) and piece of classification for plant Jasmin. 98
Source: Biodiversity Heritage Library BHL online 98
Image: Le livre du Ciel et du Monde, Nicole Oresme, The Book of Heaven and the World. Year: 1377, Paris, BnF, Manuscripts, Fr. 565, f69. link 100
image: example from Janua linguarum reserata. 101
Image: Comenius, Orbis sensualium pictus trilinguis. Three languages: Latin, German and Hungarian, 1708. Displaying “The soul of humans”. 103
The French connection 104
Image: traditional Chinese characters 104
Image: Mersenne, Livre premier de la voix, Book 1, on the sounds/voices. 106
Image: year 1629. Descartes letter piece. See previous notes for details. 107
Image: notes by Clerselier after the letter, referring to other works. 107
image: transcript of the philosophical conferences organized by Renaudot 108
Image: fragment of oil painting of Richelieu by Champaigne, 1642. From the Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg. 109
IV – Universal languages 110
Image: the universal alphabet F. Lodwick. Slightly changed to improve readability. 113
Image: two versions of Lowick’s “The Lords Prayer”, first from the Essay and from the Royal Society 113
Image: Logopandecteision: introduction to the universal language by Urquhart, 1653 115
Image: piece of text from the Logopandecteision, one of the last pages 118
image: Trissotetras, p. 12 118
image: example from Trissotetras, Urquhart 119
Image: detail of Beck’s book, tenses of verbs, p.17 120
Image: prosody of Beck. Image from Andy Drummond see note. 120
Image: some of Beck’s examples 121
image: numeral and verbal design, by Labbe 122
Image: fragment of the first page of Dalgarno’s Ars signorum. 123
Image: piece of an original broadsheet of Dalgarno 1657. Source Maat and MaatCram 125
Image: The symbols from the radical verses (slightly improved) 126
from Dalgarno’s broadsheet, 1 to 9 from top to bottom: the left column used for the verbs and adjectives, the right column for the contraries. 126
Image: Dalgarno. The symbol on the left is from the “ego section” the abcdef letters are exemplary for the sequence of the notions; 127
a is the first notion, “sit downe” 127
Image: The particle symbols, extracted from the mnemonic lines in broadsheet from Dalgarno 127
Image: Dalgarno’s genera. P.9, or the 17 radix, classes and some of his special species. 129
Image: Dalgarno’s numerals. P.9 130
Image: piece of Dalgarno’s Lexicon Grammatico-Philosophicum, pronouns lal, lηl lel lol etc. on the left 131
Image: Dalgarno, another part of Lexicon Grammatico-Philosophicum, “rerum descriptiones ipsarum naturae consentaneas” p11-25. 132
Image: Lord’s Prayer, one of Dalgarno’s examples. Dalgarno p.23. Ars signorum. 134
Image: Schickard’s rota on paper; the holes are not visible here 135
Image: the beginning of the Lexicon, Becher starts the A at 1, and ends at Z, 10283. 136
Image: example of higher numbers such as 1003 and 7327 in the Becher numeral system 137
image: Exemplum Becher Universal Language 138
Image: The frontispiece of this book provides insight in the type of inventions of that time. The frontpiece is from John White. 1668. A Rich Cabinet, with Variety of Inventions: Unlock’d and Open’d, for the Recreation of Ingenious Spirits at their Vacant Hours. Being Receits and Conceits of Severall Natures, and Fit for Those Who Are Lovers of Natural and Artificial Conclusions. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015. Source Princeton. 141
image: p. 15 from Kircher’s, Polygraphica. 143
Image: p.40, in the section verbs, we find ‘noster’ as XXX.21. In the list A. 144
Image: p.52, from Kircher’s, Polygraphica. 144
Image: p.9 from Kircher’s, Polygraphica 145
Image: p. 12 from Kircher’s, Polygraphica. Example of multiple languages showing the same sentence. 145
Image: Kircher’s puzzle or aenigma, from Polygraphia nova et universalis ex combinatoria arte detecta 146
Image: p.130 from Kircher’s, Polygraphica 147
Image: engraving by the pupil of Kircher, Kaspar Schott: ORGANUM MATHEMATICUM ASTRONOMY – 1668 147
image: Front of Leipzig’s dissertation, 1666 149
Johannis Wilkins as printed in his book Mercury, Lib. Congres. 150
Image: p.14 of Mercury, version Mercury etc. from the George Fabyan Collection at the Library of Congress. Dated 1694. 151
Image: p.24 in Mercury. Stisho estad veca biti -> hostis adest cave tibi 151
Image: from p.50. Mercury. In this particular example the text is directional ciphered. Start right top column and read down, then read bottom to top, then top to bottom etc. The retrieved plaintext will then be: The pestilence doth…etc. 151
image: the Greek word υγιεα, Wilkins p 98. 154
image: Wilkins, in Essay, p373, concerning natural grammar 156
Image: Wilkins’s phonetic script: John Wilkins, An Essay towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language (London, 1668), p. 376. (From Royal Society, R65129.) 157
image: Wilkins’Essay, Real character design 158
image: Wilkins’Essay, Real character design 159
image: Wilkins’Essay, Real character design 159
Image: example piece of text in the real character proposed by Wilkins. Transcript partly mine. Original source: WPoole 160
image: part of the classification by Ray on botany 162
Image: Schott’s technical drawings are of excellent quality and the complex machines are drawn (etched) with great eye for detail. P. 762: Machinamentum tertium Motus perpetui Physico – Mechanici, per Aerem simul etiam,si placet, per Aquam. Machine driven by water or air. 164
Image: part of the contents of Liber 7, with the “chapter II. clavis universalis omnium totius mundi idiomatum”; a universal key for all languages of the entire world. 165
image: abacus on a Greek column 165
Image: source “abacus”, 9th edition Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 1 (1875) 165
Image: Peasant numerals. source: Menninger fig 80. 166
Image: Farmer’s calendar part with peasant numerals carved on tally sticks. The letters stand for the days of the week and below it the Golden Number, then the bottom row shows: 2 10 18 5 … 16 5 13. See Menninger fig. 85. 166
Image: on the right we see Pythagoras at a line board which shows 1241 and 82 and on the left Boëthius shows Indian numerals. Source Menninger fig. 182. The line board clearly shows the cross on top which is the line for thousands, then below it the line for hundreds etc. 167
Image: man at the rear working on paper and man on the front with chalk calculations. Source Menninger fig 253. 168
Image: one of Schott’s example images named Signatio Characteris, p.517 on the left. On the right my calculation. 168
Image: Schott’s presentation of Equus comedit gramen 169
Image: a selection of symbols from Schott on Shelton’s Tachygraphica: more in the appendix 170
Image: The Isle of Pines, or, A late discovery of a fourth island near Terra Australis Incognita by Henry Cornelius van Sloetten. Bibliographic name/number: Wing / N506. Neville, Henry, 1620-1694. London: Printed for Allen Banks and Charles Harper, 1668. 171
Image: Francis Baconian alphabet example 172
V – Characteristics and decipherments 173
Image: piece from page 88, example of Dutch Short writing, Kortschrift. image from J. Luyckx 173
Image: Some pieces of modern short writing: Gabelsberger, Greg, Pitman, Graham, Munson. 173
image: Beginning of a partial ciphered letter by John Wallis, mathematician, from John Davys book, page 127 174
image: piece of the key for the letter by John Wallis, from the John Davys book 175
VI – Other Language Developments 177
Image: detail of the frontispiece of the Bonet 1620 book. Source: bdh-rd.bne.es Showing a padlock through the tongue and in the keyhole a pen is inserted. Symbolic for the disclosure of communicating with the mute. 177
Image: Reduction de las letras, y arte para enseñar a ablar los mudos. Por Iuan Pablo Bonet, Barletserbant de su Mag.d entretenido cerca la persona del Capitan Gen.l dela artilleria de España … 1620. Internet Archive. P.170. by Juan Pablo Bonet. Hand gestures 178
Image: Dalgarno’s hand signalling basic scheme on his page 151: joints and parts on the hand indicate letters by pointing to different joints of the fingers and palm of the left hand. 179
Touch with the right hand with any finger the letter on the left, for the consonants point with the right thumb. 179
image: meme of goose, or ‘duck’ depending on usage 180
Appendix: The Urquhart ciphers Distich and Octastick 182
Image: frontispiece of the digitised version from the BL 1652. 183
image: the second page of the Errata in Ekskybalouron with the octastich on the next page From Glasgow University Library Glasgow, Scotland. Shelfmk: Bi2-l.17. 185
image: Pantochronochanon, Tracts 1774, where the death of Thomas is mentioned: it must have been written by somebody else then Urqhart himself. 186
image: deduction Pantochronochanon. 187
image: full distick on the page, with the camoena in the Logopandecteision, Trustees of the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, shelfmark H.32.a.39. 188

  1. Logopandecteision, or An introduction to the vniversal language. Printed, and are to be sold by Giles Calvert at the Black-spread-Eagle at the west-end of Pauls; and by Richard Tomlins at the Sun and Bible near Pye-corner, 1653 188
    image: last page Logopandecteision, Bibliographic name/number: Wing / U137, 1653. 189
    Image: The first two numbered paragraphs from Proquirirations. The distick cipher follows this text immediately after in the Maitland version 190
    Appendix: the octastick cipher 191
    image: from p.35 Epigrams, Urquhart 194
    Image: piece of text from Ekskybalouron. 195
    Image: page 182 , the epistle liminary 196
    Image: The positions of the octastick cipher with the results after lookup of the cipher in the poem. On the left the frequency count is displayed of the letters after lookup. 197
    image: Latin, letter frequency of the entire book of Urquhart, and general English frequency 197
    Appendix: the distich cipher 198
    Image: the distich of Urquhart, page 417, edition Maitland club 1834 199
    Image: also from the American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster, 1828 edition. 202
    Appendix: Example of a columnar transposition cipher using Urquhart’s octastich cipher 203
    Appendix: Porta polyalphabetic cipher with repeated key 208
    Image: the alphabet table 208
    Image: Porta’s 4-XVII polyalphabetic cipher with repeated key 209
    Appendix: Porta transposition cipher with key phrase and positional shift 210
    Appendix: Porta’s hidden textual information in a picture 213
    Appendix: Lodwick’s “The Lords Prayer” 215
    Appendix: Jane Seager’s text from The Divine Prophecies of the Ten Sibills 219
    Image: Jane Seager, The Divine Prophecies of the Ten Sibills, 1589. Concluding text. 221
    Appendix: Simple method by which a language can be recognized 222
    Image: my handwritten transcript from first lines of a letter. Object 1. Letter from Louis Loewe’s mother, Gittel Ha-Levi from around 1830. It says: mein.hertsigs.glibtr.zohn.lizr.lebn.la.i.t.deine.2.briv.habe etc. 225
    Appendix: the secret numbers of Thoth 229
    Image: part of the Papyrus of Hunefer (c. 1275 BCE), showing Thoth with ibis head 229
    Appendix: Unsolved cipher 1681 Dr. Wallis 232
    Appendix: Dalgarno’s Lord’s Prayer 233
    Appendix: Dalgarno’s Shod Caroloi 234
    Appendix: John Wilkins’ Real Character in the Lords Prayer and the Creed 236
    Appendix: the Pantograph: scaling and copying 239
    image: part of the frontispiece of Pantographice 239
    image: one form of pantograph, from Pantographice, p19. 240
    image: p.29, Scheiner 241
    image: Scheiner 242
    Appendix: Shelton by Schott 243
    Image: Schott’s image of the shorthand of Shelton. (Erroneously? printed on page 434) there is diagram 38. 244
    Image: Schott’s image of the shorthand of Shelton. Diagram 37. Mentioned in the chapter on shorthand Shelton 245
    Appendix: Tavola I, Pasini 246
    References 247