Castiglione-Schomberg Cipher: Vowel Indicator System (1527) Earlier Than Those Hitherto Known

I uploaded a new article "A Cipher with Vowel Indicators Used by Papal Nuncio Castiglione (1527)"
The cipher, which I call the Castiglione-Schomberg Cipher, is used in letters deciphered by Marcello Simonetta and Norbert Biermann.
The cipher employs a scheme I call a vowel indicator system, whereby syllables are represented by a base symbol indicative of a consonat combined with an additional stroke or a superscript figure indicative of a vowel.
Castiglione was an apostolic nunctio (ambassador) sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles V in Spain, and Schomberg worked for the Pope in negotiation with the Imperialists. It is desired to establish whether this cipher was provided by the Vatican, because some of the other early vowel indicator systems appear to belong to the Imperialists. If the Castiglione-Schomberg Cipher was Vatican's, a new question arises how come the same scheme began to be used by both the Vatican and the Imperialists about the same time. I included some preliminary discussion on the matter.
I also mentioned this in "Tracing the Origin of Vowel Indicators in Spanish Ciphers".


More Ciphers related to Elizabethan England and Mary, Queen of Scots

After the publication of a coauthored paper on Mary, Queen of Scots, in February, I've been working on contemporary materials from my list of leads waiting to be processed. Now, I made more than ten additions related to Elizabeth or Mary.

In "Ciphers during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I", I added Dudley-Throckmorton Cipher (1560), Cecil-Sadler-Croft Ciphers 1, 2, Randolph-Sadler-Croft Cipher, references to four ciphers from Dubois-Nayt and Nachef (2020), Moray-Wood Cipher (undeciphered), Walsingham-Wotton Cipher (1585) (which turned out to be the same as what I reconstructed before).
Of these, Cecil-Sadler-Croft-Cipher 2 is interesting because of its similarity to another cipher related to Cecil. I believe this shows the kind of ciphers preferred by Cecil, but more materials are needed to be certain.

In "Ciphers of Mary, Queen of Scots", I added Mary-Hamilton Cipher (1569), Throckmorton-Moray Cipher (1569), Chisholm-Grange Cipher (1571), and Mary-Grange Cipher (1571).
The last one is described in the catalogue as one of "Four letters, partly in cipher, from John Chisholme to the Laird of Grange, 6 and 24 February 1571 and no date, London." That is, it has not been recognized to be Mary's. I found the key in the archives, which allowed me to decipher the letter. But in view of the fact that the key is in the collection of an English codebreaker, the plaintext may be found somewhere in the archives.


Trevanion's Cipher from Architectural Viewpoint

Sir John Trevanion, a Royalist during the English Civil War, is said to have escaped from Colchester Castle, where he was held prisoner, thanks to a letter which hided a message "PANEL AT EAST END OF CHAPEL SLIDES". But nobody seems to know a primary source of this famous episode, as I pointed out in 2012 in Qest for "Trevanion's Cipher".
Now I learned from Paul Hodgett that the same question was raised by his father Michale Hodgett decades ago. In his notes, Michael, an expert on priest holes, observes that the chapel was on the second floor and the wall was thick enough for hiding a mural passage.
Now I updated the page with this architectural observation.


Walsingham's Ciphers

I added some ciphers related to Sir Francis Walsingham and William Cecil, Lord Burghley, in the Section "Burghley and Walsingham" in "Ciphers during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I". There are some undeciphered ciphertexts, of which I added a reference in "Unsolved Historical Ciphers".
The unsolved ciphers in letters to Walsingham look simpler than some of the ciphers of Mary, Queen of Scots. Of course, Walsingham had less fear of interception of his correspondence.


Russian Diplomatic Ciphers in the 1860s

In 2016, I posted a specimen of a Russian diplomatic telegram in cipher at the time of the Alaska Purchase (1867), and called for information on the kind of cipher employed. Now, I was taught by Mikhail that Russian diplomatic ciphers in the 1860s are described in a book in Russian, which he kindly explained to me. It is a polyalphabetic cipher based on mixed alphabets, with a daily key consisting of 8 strips with 20 letters on each (i.e., the key is 160 letters long). This must have been among the best in the 1860s.
I updated the article: "Russian Diplomatic Cipher at the time of the Alaska Purchase (1867)". Now that the system is known, there remains a task of aligning the ciphertext and the plaintext and reconstructing the key. Any further information will be most welcome.


A Polyalphabetic Cipher of Mary, Queen of Scots

I added a polyalphabetic cipher used by Mary, Queen of Scots, in "Ciphers of Mary, Queen of Scots". (I learned of this cipher from Oliver Storz.) It was used in September 1568, a few months after Mary fled to England. This is the only polyalphabetic cipher used by Mary known to me.
Another interesting thing in this cipher is that the letter remained unsolved until the twentieth century, when it was solved in the French foreign ministry.


Cipher Letter of Francis II, Husband of Mary, Queen of Scots

I've been completing and uploading updates to some articles that accumulated while coauthoring the paper about Mary, Queen of Scots I reported the other day.
They include a cipher letter of Francis II, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, addressed to the Bishop of Rennes (now included in "French ciphers during the Reigns of Charles IX and Henry III"). This is the first time I came across a cipher during the short reign of Francis II. (I'm sure there are more in the archives.)
Although it is not deciphered, it uses the same cipher that I reconstructed before from correspondence between the Bishop of Rennes and Catherine de Medicis.