Scientists have cracked the secret cipher of Charles V

(ORDO NEWS) — Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, was one of the most powerful men of the 16th century.

It took scientists half a year to decipher his letter, sent to the ambassador in France in 1547 and revealing tense relations between the two states.

Charles V , Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, reigned for more than 40 years and was the largest political figure of his time – his possessions covered vast territories in Western Europe and America.

Naturally, such a person had many enemies. In particular, the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire had rather tense relations with France and its King Francis I.

In 1547, Charles V sent his ambassador to France, Jean de Saint-Mauris , a cryptic letter that no one could read for five centuries.

For centuries, the letter languished forgotten in the library archives in Nancy (France), until the researcher Cécile Pierrot ( Cécile Pierrot ) accidentally heard about its existence and began to decipher it.

In the process of painstaking computer processing of the document, Pierrot was gradually able to crack the cipher, which consisted of more than a hundred characters.

Some meant whole words, others meant specific vowels, and still others were meaningless – the emperor added them to mislead a potential enemy when trying to decipher the letter.

The breakthrough came in June of this year, when a whole phrase was read, after which it became a matter of time to decipher the rest of the letter.

It turned out that despite the peace treaty signed three years earlier, relations between Charles V and Francis I left much to be desired, and in a letter the emperor expressed concern about rumors about a conspiracy being prepared against him.

Scientists have cracked the secret cipher of Charles V 2
Cryptographer Cecile Pierrot ( left ) and historian Camille Desenclos ( right ) for the first time managed to read the message of Charles V, which remained undeciphered for half a millennium

Now scientists are going to decipher other letters of Charles V, which will allow to evaluate his political contribution to the development of Europe.

In addition to historical value, such studies can be regarded as an exciting adventure, revealing the undercurrents in European politics of the 16th century and the train of thought of one of the greatest rulers of his time.


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