Cryptologic History Calendar
1462: Birthday of Johannes Trithemius
Learn about the NCMF's acquisition of a rare publication by Trithemius from Dr. David Kahn via the link at the bottom of the page.
The major works of Trithemius include "Steganographia," (which means in Greek, "hidden writing") written circa 1499, "Polygraphiae," a cryptographic work and "De Septum Secundeis," a history of the World based on astrology, both of which were published in 1508.
Trithemius was also a magician. In his trilogy -"Steganographia," books one and two were clearly systems for encoding and were the first books written on cryptography. The third book in the trilogy was more buried in the guise of occult astrology. Many took the writing literally and thought the numbers contained secrets to conjuring spirits. Scholars, however, went further and discovered the writing contained a code and began working to decipher it. The messages encrypted in Trithemius's tables turned out to be somewhat ordinary sentences.