Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Da Vinci Code - Leonardo's cryptography

Cryptography has been seen as a much needed technology in this hackers' world. Hackers are drudging heavily in breaking codes and hence digital world is facing the terror of being corrupted and exploited. There are even some covert groups who constantly probe on the secrecy of papers. These forces transgress from undergrounds and are paid in lump sum. Military documents are their primary vision. Therefore in digital communication, protecting the information from malicious interruption is also greatly needed.

Nowadays there are many public key and private key algorithms which comforts the safe exchange of information. But I was wondering how it was handled in earlier centuries. While digging into the facts, I came across the da vinci code (not the recent book), the technique used by Leonarda Da Vinci for hiding information. I was simply astonished how he handled that effectively to the ultimate perfection. Here is a simple introduction to what he was using.

About 75% of the writers are right handed and about 90% languages support composings from left to right. Leonardo ciphered his text in a special kind of method which he invented himself. People witnessing his text works were flummoxed with the style and the shapes of the letters. What he was doing was "mirror writing". Whenever he intended to be personal, his works came out in mirror ciphering.

He usually paints and writes with his left hand. He also made sketches showing his own work process with left hand. Being a lefty was considered highly offensive during leonardo's time. Children who start using the left hand naturally were forced to skip back to right hand. Leonardo still managed to master this art.

The reasons behind his unique technique was not clearly delivered but there are many assumptions
* He wanted people to try hard to read his notes to prevent stealing
* He wanted to hide the scientific ideas from roman catholic church which were considered violative.
* To prevent blurring, he started from right and moved towards left.

  • His name as he usually write

  • Reversed by a mirror

  • Whatever may be the reason, he wielded the art in his own way.

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