Pennsic Cryptogram Solved

The first of a set of cryptograms from Pennsic has been solved. Lord Orlando dei Medici (East) successfully deciphered one of the puzzles to reveal a quote from Cynthia's Revels by the Elizabethan playwright Ben Jonson.

A set of three encoded messages were included as part of the "Cryptology in the Middle Ages" class taught at Pennsic XLIV by Ustat Suleiman ibn Da'ud ibn Sahl al-Qalqashandi (Outlands). These puzzles, or cryptograms, were all based upon various methods of encryption used during period.

The first one was a set of number pairs emblematic of book ciphers used by monks in the Middle Ages. Deciphering it involved using a key derived from the names of the sitting royals of the known world. Lord Orlando noted that it was fun because it had "authentic variant spellings, transcription glitches, and the like...as a bonus, I got to learn about 'the playing of prizes."

Still unsolved are a cryptogram based upon a cipher developed by Leon Battista Alberti and a cryptogram similar to the cipher used by Mary, Queen of Scots. Clues to each of the puzzles were provided in the class and in the Pennsic Independent.