Letter from Holy Roman Emperor written in secret code finally cracked after 5 centuries to reveal he was worried about being assassinated
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The decrypted letter of the Holy Roman Emperor Karl VStanislas library
French scientists have deciphered a 1547 letter from Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
The three-page letter uncovers mysteries of the 16th century, including fears of murder.
It took the French team of scientists months to decode the secret language of the letter.
French scientists have deciphered a letter signed by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1547, according to the Stanislas Library in Nancy, France.
The secretly encoded letter has revealed the major concerns of the most powerful man in Renaissance Europe in an era of religious and strategic conflict. It showed that Charles V feared an assassination attempt by an Italian mercenary and prioritized his relationship with King François I of France.
The three-page letter - sometimes written in plain text and sometimes in a mysterious code - uncovers royal mysteries of the 16th century, including a rumor that Pierre Strozzi, warlord under François I, was plotting his death.
After almost five centuries, the letter lay forgotten in the Stanislaus library. French cryptographer Cecile Pierrot heard a rumor about the mysterious historical document at a dinner party, according to the BBC, and searched for it in the library's basement.
Charles V ruled over a vast European territory, including Spain, southern Italy, the Netherlands, parts of central Europe and much of the newly discovered America.
The Emperor's letter to his ambassador to the French royal court was written against the feverish backdrop of continental wars and religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, making it important to be able to communicate in secret and not reveal valuable information to prying eyes.
The team that deciphered the mysterious Stanislas Library letter
The content of the letter has so far remained a mystery, as it consisted of about 120 scrambled symbols and some French passages.
Pierrot gave all the symbols a name and loaded the makeshift alphabet into Python, a programming language, but it couldn't decode the mysterious language.
Pierrot and her team — which included French cryptographers Pierrick Gaudry and Paul Zimmermann, and historian Camille Desenclos — spent months wading through the strange script that Emperor Charles invented to identify lock letters and slow and getting steady eureka moments.
The team has yet to issue a full translation, but the themes identified have revealed invaluable insight into the thinking of a giant figure at a turning point in European history.
Read the original article on Business Insider
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Emperor and King of the Holy Roman Empire (1500–1558)
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