Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bacon's Signature Ciphers in Shakespeare -33- coded names


If we can understand that from Francis’ earliest years in France, at least, he was very familiar with ciphers of various sorts and used numerical ciphers not just for messages but also to encode names, then we should keep in mind that encoding various numerical signature codes, if he were Shakespeare, would not be much more than a trifle for him. Previously we saw other numerical name codes in the correspondence of Sir Unton. Numerically coded names were also in use much before Bacon’s adulthood. In the book Her Majesty’s Spymaster, 2005, author Stephen Budiansky writes that in the early 1570s in ciphered letters related to the schemes of Mary, Queen of Scots, her accomplice the Duke of Norfolk had the code of ‘40’ while another of their agents had the code of ‘30’. This was one of those cases when someone’s too easily decoded ciphers cost many their lives, as not only Mary but many of her supporters were executed. Perhaps her agents should have used greater ambiguity! Then later, around the time of the attack of the Spanish Armada, Sir Francis Drake had a code symbol of ‘22’. (from The Queen’s Agent, 2012, by John Cooper.)

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