The knowledge has availed itself.

The Copiale Cipher is a 105-page handwritten document that was composed sometime in the late Eighteenth Century. It has 75,000 characters, both symbols and Roman letters. Until recently, it was indecipherable. But now linguists using translation programs have decoded the first sixteen pages. Here’s how they did it…

Eventually they concluded that the Roman letters were so-called nulls, meant to mislead the code breaker, and that the letters represented spaces between words made up of elaborate symbols. Another crucial discovery was that a colon indicated the doubling of the previous consonant.

The researchers used language-translation techniques like expected word frequency to guess what a symbol might equal in German.

“It turned out that we can apply a lot those techniques to code breaking,” Dr. Knight said.

The translated text reveals details for a ritual by a secret society.


-via Nerdcore

Photo: New York Times