The cipher of Emperor Rudolf II’s “Alchemical Hand Bell”
Keywords:work in progress, Rudolf II, alchemy, handbell, statistical analysis, digraphic cipher, polyphonic cipher, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Voynich
AbstractWe examine a cipher found inscribed in the so-called “Alchemical Hand Bell” from the Kunstkammer of Emperor Rudolf II. We provide insight into the bell’s history, a correction for an existing published transcription, perform statistical analysis of the ciphertext, and look at possible encryption methods and plaintext languages. Given the analysis, we examine the possibilities of digraphic and polyphonic ciphers and give a brief overview of how these were used in the historical context.
Copyright (c) 2023 Richard Bean, Corinna Gannon, Sarah Lang
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