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 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.