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Re: Translation question

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Thursday, December 7, 2000, 2:58
On Wed, 6 Dec 2000, DOUGLAS KOLLER wrote:

> According to him (undoubtedly via the book he was using), > Caesar Augustus came up with this really keen cipher system where you just > shift the alphabet over one letter: > > ABCDEFG... becomes > BCDEFGH... (no one would be able to crack that one)
Hey, if it works, it works. Julius Caesar' version mapped ABCD... to DEFG..., which apparently Augustus though was too complicated.
> (the code word [i.e. of the next cipher] is 'neutron' [the next cipher may > well be in English])."
And is probably a Vigenere cipher.
> Don't know if "dictum arcanum" is an adequate translation of "code word"
In technical language, "key", not "code word".
> (wouldn't "shibboleth" or a variation thereon have been available at that > time?),
By no means. Augustus probably had heard of the Hebrew Scriptures, but certainly words from it were not circulating at that time. Come to think of it, does "shibboleth" = "word whose pronunciation can be used to divide people into two groups" (as opposed to its literal meaning "river") have currency in any language but English? -- John Cowan One art/there is/no less/no more/All things/to do/with sparks/galore --Douglas Hofstadter