The Penitentia Manuscript

This is another coded manuscript. It's "copyleft": you can reproduce the files here, provided that the reproduction states that it's copyleft Gordon Rugg, and that the reproduction is not for commercial purposes (so no mugs or T shirts...) Clicking on a thumbnail will bring up a full-sized image.

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Why?

My work on expert reasoning and on the Voynich manuscript brought home to me how modern cryptography tends to work from a set of technologically convenient starting points, such as alphanumeric symbols. I wondered what would happen if you worked from a different starting point. The Penitentia manuscript is an example of this. It also follows up another couple of points raised by Voynichese script: how minimalist can a script be, and does minimalism bring any aesthetic consequences? The Penitentia manuscript contains reversibly coded material, but I'm mainly interested in it as an exercise in calligraphy.

Answers to likely FAQs

Yes, the thumbnails are all oriented in the same direction as each other - I haven't scrambled them. Yes, there's a sequence in the ordering of the thumbnails. No, there aren't any hints about which way up the images go, or which direction the script is read in (except that it's consistent across each file). No, this doesn't contain a super-code - I expect professional cryptographers could work out what the coding system is pretty swiftly if they felt so inclined. No, it doesn't contain the location of buried treasure. No, I don't plan to get into correspondence about this, give any hints, or discuss proposed solutions - I already get large quantities of email about my other work. If you want to discuss this with other like-minded souls, I'd suggest getting in touch with them via a posting on an appropriate Usenet group, and then setting up a mailing list or Usenet group. This is intended to be a source of harmless fun, not a serious challenge.

Graphics by Rob Moore

Cryptography

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