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Friday, October 28, 2011

Code of ancient secret society cracked

For three centuries a manuscript called the Copiale Cipher has kept its secrets 

Now a computer program has helped to reveal its hidden mysteries     

US and Swedish researchers have cracked the code of the 300-year-old Copiale Cipher with the help of a new computer program that may help to decipher other legendary secretive manuscripts.

"This opens up a window for people who study the history of ideas and the history of secret societies," computer scientist Kevin Knight of the University of Southern California (which provided the image, above) said in a statement Wednesday.

"Historians believe that secret societies have had a role in revolutions, but all that is yet to be worked out, and a big part of the reason is because so many documents are enciphered."

The 75,000-character Copiale Cipher describes the rituals and political leanings of an 18th-century German secret society, which bound the manuscript in gold and green brocade paper, the USC statement said.

The rituals, encoded in a series of abstract symbols interspersed with Greek and Roman characters, indicate that the secretive group had a fascination with eye surgery but that members were not actually eye doctors.

From the Lebanon Daily Star.

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