An American-Swedish collaboration has finally cracked The Copiale Cipher, a mysterious 18th century document that no one could read – until now
… Dr Knight and his colleagues found that The Copiale Cipher describes the rituals and some of the political ideals of a German secret society from the 1730s.
But why should we care about a dusty old book that no one could read that was written by members of a German secret society?
“This opens up a window for people who study the history of ideas and the history of secret societies”, says Dr Knight. He cites several modern examples of challenging ciphers, such as the communications from the still-unidentified Zodiac Killer to the California police in the 1960s and 1970s, and the Kryptos sculpture, located on grounds of the C.I.A. headquarters in the United States, which has been only partly decoded.
Dr Knight also points out that there are other such ancient enciphered texts, particularly the famous Voynich Manuscript, a 240-page volume that has confounded cryptographers for centuries. This document was recently dated back to the early 1400s.
“There are these books and ancient languages of real historical value that contain historical information that we just can’t get out yet, and that’s of interest to a lot of people.” For example, historians think that secret societies played a role in revolutions, but their importance is not known at this time because so many documents are enciphered.
from: The Guardian