However, there was a tradition amongst the wise men of the country that the Dragon might be overcome by one who possessed King Solomon's signet-ring, upon which a secret writing
"In the present case - indeed in all cases of secret writing
- the first question regards the language of the cipher; for the principles of solution, so far, especially, as the more simple ciphers are concerned, depend upon, and are varied by, the genius of the particular idiom.
I am fairly familiar with all forms of secret writings, and am myself the author of a trifling monograph upon the subject, in which I analyze one hundred and sixty separate ciphers, but I confess that this is entirely new to me.
"Having once recognized, however, that the symbols stood for letters, and having applied the rules which guide us in all forms of secret writings, the solution was easy enough.
It was an ideographic alphabet that was written on pots, calabashes, stools, walls, leaves, etc., which British colonialists initially derided as 'a kind of primitive secret writing
,' but which actually produced an elite corps of literate people who used it to write court judgments and to chronicle history.
Another account comes from KGB Lt Gen Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin, who recalls living in a "dilapidated" dormitory through the week, learning "Photography in all its special variations; the preparation of microdots; secret writing
; methods of communication; ways to covertly remove information; the fundamentals of acquiring sources and work with them; methods of conducting surveillance and techniques for detecting it -- all of that was new and extremely fascinating".
All this would not be possible without cryptography -- the science and study of secret writing
Although his chief goal is to convince a recalcitrant audience that esotericism really existed, he also devotes considerable energy to explaining the scholarly tendency to react indignantly at the mere mention of "secret writing
." Beyond the testimonia he has collected, Melzer's account is based on Leo Strauss's metanarrative of European thought, which highlights the opposition of theory to practice and philosophy to politics, mapping these dichotomies onto the larger "quarrel between the ancients and the moderns." The volume culminates in an interpretation of Strauss's "philosophical apologetics," that is, Strauss's effort, as he saw it, to recover the possibility of philosophical rationalism after Heidegger's Destruktion of the tradition.
The book devotes most of its pages to the stars of secret writing
such as the lone chemist who went to the grave with his ink recipe; the cape-wearing, Inquisition-defying founder of the Academy of the Secrets of Nature; and the Enlightenment-era scientists who traded secret formulas like gold for goods.
He's the one looking over our shoulder saying: 'That's not very good.' Secret writing
is a way to banish him, not to even give him a look in.
Then it trained them in physical fitness, explosives, and secret writing
; furnished them cover stories; brushed up their English; and generally prepped them during five weeks at a camp on Quenz Lake near Brandenburg, Prussia.
Information security experts Raggo and Hosmer (cybersecurity, Utica College) trace the 3,000-year-old history of using secret writing
or hidden codes to communicate covertly in warfare.