[Joseph H. Peterson on Trithemius' ‘most notorious work’, ‘STEGANOGRAHIA’, pictured above]. ‘On the surface it is a system of angel magic, but within is a highly sophisticated system of cryptography. It claims to contain a synthesis of the science of knowledge, the art of memory, magic, an accelerated language learning system, and a method of sending messages without symbols or messenger. In private circulation, the Steganographia brought such a reaction of fear that he decided it should never be published. He reportedly destroyed the more extreme portions (presumably instructions for prophecy/divination) but it continued to circulate in mss form and was eventually published posthumously in 1606.’


Writing can itself be art, as well as, some believe, a portal into our own personality.  This handwriting analysis is the study of ‘Graphology’, however perhaps an even more interesting study is that of STEGANOGRAPHY; the ancient art of embedding writing in something else.  Today the study is more commonly associated with computer programmes which can hide information in files that appear to hold something else, however in ancient times this was obviously not the case.  Such a practice can even be applied to art; messages hidden in a painting for example. 

© Katie Eilidh MacDonald Paul, all rights reserved