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The Copiale Cipher*. Kevin Knight. Beáta Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer. USC Information Sciences Institute. Department of Linguistics and. PDF | The Copiale cipher is a page enciphered book dated We describe the features of the book and the method by which we deciphered it. The Copiale Cipher*. Kevin Knight. Beáta Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer. USC Information Sciences Institute. Department of Linguistics and Philology.

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The Copiale cipher is an encrypted manuscript consisting of 75, handwritten characters filling pages in a bound volume. The manuscript is a homophonic cipher that uses a complex substitution codeincluding symbols and letters, for its text and spaces.

Copiale cipher – Wikipedia

Previously examined by scientists at the German Academy of Sciences at Berlin in the s, the cipher was thought to date from between and The Copiale cipher includes abstract symbols, as well as letters from Greek and most of the Roman alphabet. The only plain text in the book is “Copiales 3” at the end and “Philipp ” on the flyleaf. Philipp is thought to have been an owner of the manuscript.


The researchers found that the initial 16 pages describe an Oculist initiation ceremony. The manuscript portrays, among other things, an initiation ritual in which the candidate is asked to read a blank piece of paper and, on confessing inability to do so, is given eyeglasses and asked to try again, and cipner again after washing the eyes with a cloth, followed by an “operation” in which a single eyebrow hair is plucked.

The Copiale cipher is a substitution cipher. It is not a 1-for-1 substitution but rather a homophonic cipher: For example, all the unaccented Roman characters encode a space. Seven ciphertext characters encode the single letter “e”.

Copiale Cipher – Crystalinks

In addition, some ciphertext characters stand for several characters or even a word. A machine translation expert, Knight approached language translation as if all languages were ciphers, effectively treating foreign words as symbols for English words.

His approach, which tasked an expectation-maximization algorithm with generating every possible match of foreign and English words, enabled the algorithm to figure out a few words with each pass.

A comparison with ciphwr languages confirmed that the original language was likely German, copile the researchers had guessed based on the word “Philipp,” a German spelling.


Knight then used a combination of intuition and computing techniques to ciphef most of the code in a few weeks. Megyesi later realized that a particular symbol meant “eye”, and Schaefer connected that discovery to the Oculists. The Philipp Copiales 3 document, however, appears copilae suggest that the Oculists, or at least Count Veltheim, were a group of Freemasons who created the Oculist society in order to pass along the Masonic rites [7] [12] which had recently been banned by Pope Clement XII.

The Copiale cipher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Retrieved 2 November Archived from the original on November 2, Retrieved October 25, Retrieved 1 July Retrieved from ” https: History of cryptography Classical ciphers. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons.

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