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Ancient Cryptography » General » Other Mysteries » Van Langren cipher

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Van Langren cipher
« on: August 16, 2009, 02:32:24 PM »
ImIeV9 ap3Apa Ihrr5e tlSmeIf9 5lesEortEr 5e eadnu9c Rtl9e9T omgupea Nſnnd cAlve-
Ma dfneagL p9rIir5 rEant tdTeo9Im nc5T9t noqCtuN veroQn nnmEef alarRl 9kIe raI-
man Me4tn eqtIu u4xV eu ulriqDa ſuVne etſelId ſe5tſ couAu 9ſ9Vldu lir5te Tce4o vEe7oſ-
nE i5uameg Ebſe lodRa 9ebtſl Sa95u rVcmai AenprIt a9dL3do9 9nRt e3enqQe cun5ef
Etſot dEr 5emus Oeacdſae 5ucſoMe e9lrrI9 acnuoEd umr92 L5d9a5 eI9cnai dnneNt t4pA-
Ieai gPrmrO e5e VnſzbmF oaenſeS5 uſiOnt teoDe p9noIl l9lo Enen trEge59 cut To 9u-
ned V9neq ItduLau Deum NamDe nEerEmſ9 9LmdVl eR99mEe e5nOu rdTd9 oOedu
I9oVa5 nqnp ntEaE eerlVrt lLrT9 5etoſ Y9ntl Sfrnae eG9a6 rſaiIau uulAnoTtp 9qVe ruIc-
ſeT t9pOu erE9 leLſln Ecedo EſrNn eMeſu 3Nove Ar9ſ VmdtS qcVeueEd oVn9nufu R9-
fenPe utrTl 5eAten Aftca qTe9u prSa a5trOl rle5ef hRſ95 eDluſ Iert5 eoVa ſ9qc lS u ela-
let eſ9Oſd qtuuef eſ9pero tmuaaru mumeuen yſtdm aeeuNr 9tlne eſnmſt pTdaſ 9n3t taMe
qnſutu euDalnſa depesE rſeedtm9 l9tVe5e ſrſaeu H9uia aſnſet tReſrc ſe eomſ9p ſtAle v9du
Qdc95 3dLloe eu5ale uea4Rrfe ſ9l5na4 dAme 5nnr neoeſR nrtcaro oe7uſOn uuoer9r pſtc
tEn9e rnresEa aoplna afrſa lSe9 Eecrſoae nTfſ4l teoolLt 9atlq elnr eeuſlCn elune e3frLo 97m-
neb 9tE9r teaena aduNue ſ4tſ9Ve ytm ccpaNe ſnled9 lCln ladXedr ſS9eſ tſe5u uepuIſ p9to-
dNo re9tnl etlpLc eaeſ rqeEurua aeE9alau qCnmu te5Snſ lom9t Ce5em gRoeenr dPl9ea
dNq9 9nTſeos nyMed 4ru9al ec9uoeE Iuuold ue uurdeD
Came across the above here –

It’s in Spanish 1620’s allegedly describing a new method of finding your longitude.

A possible comparison has been suggested with –

or with –
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 02:34:22 PM by tonybaloney »


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Re: Van Langren cipher
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2009, 08:18:03 PM »
The entire message appears to be backwards. I'm not sure why I get that impression considering the jumble, but I do.


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Re: Van Langren cipher
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2009, 05:39:30 PM »
Aaron - I'll put that down to a very lucky guess!

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Re: Van Langren cipher
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2009, 11:29:34 PM »
The breaks do not appear to be whole words.  If it were, I suspect there would be more two- & three-letter words...


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Re: Van Langren cipher
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2009, 05:27:32 AM »
Checking the frequencies from Langrens normal writing showed it could not be a transposition alone – something else was going on -

Apart from the letters some numbers also appear in the cipher –

No.   qty
1 - 0
2 - 1
3 - 7
4 - 8
5 - 34
6 - 1
7 - 3
8 - 0
9 - 106

This would look a dead ringer for ‘A’ to ‘I’ if only the number 1 had some quantity –  the capital letter I must therefore be number 1 – so we now get -

(I intended to insert a pretty multi-coloured graph in here from Excel- but don't know how - Aaron?)

Nearly all the consonants are within bounds but the vowels are way off what they should be

Arming myself with a list of the most frequently used modern Spanish words,  overlaying Langrens words on top of it, sorting in frequency, alphabetical and word length order, I now turned to the cipher

Looking at the following section -

eeuſlCn elune e3frLo 97mneb 9tE9r

substituting A to I for 1 to 9 gives –

eeuſlCn elune ecfrLo igmneb itEir

I thought the 3rd word here might say ‘Florence’  – (drats, surely not some form of ‘backslang’ again, no ones ever going to believe it?!) –
his full name is ‘Miguel Florencio Van Langren’ – what does the next word say? - one of the most common errors by a typesetter is to pick up the letter ‘U’ or ‘N’ and invert it in his block and a handwritten ‘ l’ can be misread for a ‘b’ (a quick look at Van Langren’s handwriting confirmed this) –

Turning the whole thing round –

itEir  igmneb  ecfrLo    elune       eeuſlCn
autor  Miguel Florencio Van La(ngren) counsel/consuel?

I’ve seen only about 10 pages of his writing & in those 10 pages he gets his own name in no less than 24 times!

So his system appears to be to write it backwards swapping vowels around and abbreviating some words also using 1 to 9 as alternative substitutes for A to I

uurdeD    ue  Iuuold ec9uoeE 4ru9al  nyMed  9nTſeos   dNq9  dPl9ea gRoeenr Ce5em lom9t te5Snſ qCnmu
Verdadera  ?  longitud?          diurnal de muy infinitos quando de polo
aeE9alau rqeEurua eaeſ etlpLc re9tnl p9todNo uepuIſ tſe5u ſS9eſ   ladXedr lCln ſnled9 ccpaNe ytm
                  que varria?       ecliptic            pintendo                             assis  Alexander                                   muy
ſ4tſ9Ve aduNue teaena 9tE9r 97mneb   e3frLo    elune    eeuſlCn   elnr 9atlq teoolLt nTfſ4l Eecrſoae lSe9
                 ..ando  tiene   autor miguel Florencio Van Langren Valencis? Lunar                                                  isla
afrſa aoplna rnresEa tEn9e pſtc uuoer9r oe7uſOn nrtcaro neoeſR 5nnr dAme ſ9l5na4 uea4Rrfe eu5ale
         planeto veranse tiene                             seguno                                            de me
3dLloe     Qdc95  v9du ſtAle eomſ9p ſe tReſrc aſnſet H9uia ſrſaeu l9tVe5e rſeedtm9 depesE  euDalnſa
de la el que dice                        mapas  se                              hauia                                       puedes/despues
qnſutu taMe 9n3t pTdaſ eſnmſt 9tlne aeeuNr yſtdm mumeuen tmuaaru eſ9pero qtuuef eſ9Oſd elalet   u
quantos                                                                            muy ??                                      si              questo desea  etoille a/o/y
lS ſ9qc eoVa Iert5  eDluſ hRſ95 rle5ef a5trOl prSa   qTe9u     Aftca 5eAten utrTl R9fenPe oVn9nufu
               jove  terra  de sol             solare astral         quieto/ataque
qcVeueEd VmdtS Ar9ſ 3Nove eMeſu EſrNn Ecedo leLſln erE9 t9pOu ruIcſeT 9qVe uulAnoTtp rſaiIau
                                               nueve                                                                                               aque planetas
eG9a6 Sfrnae Y9ntl 5etoſ lLrT9 eerlVrt ntEaE nqnp   I9oVa5      oOedu    rdTd9 e5nOu eR99mEe 9LmdVl
                                         estos                              tiene         a/o/y jove  a/o/y deue            nueve                     illumed?
nEerEmſ9 NamDe Deum ItduLau V9neq 9uned To cut trEge59 Enen l9lo      p9noIl     teoDe    uſiOnt oaenſeS5
                                     de me latitud    quien   una de                                           el al alpine/napoli todo a/y/o
VnſzbmF e5e gPrmrO t4pAIeai dnneNt eI9cnai L5d9a5 umr92 acnuoEd e9lrrI9 5ucſoMe Oeacdſae 5emus
                             primero                                                                                                                                                          veemos
dEr Etſot cun5ef e3enqQe 9nRt a9dL3do9  AenprIt   rVcmai Sa95u 9ebtſl lodRa Ebſe i5uameg  vEe7oſnE
de  estot                que                                            apparentes                                                        sabe  image??  seguno
Tce4o lir5te 9ſ9Vldu couAu   ſe5tſ etſelId ſuVne ulriqDa eu u4xV  eqtIu Me4tn raiman 9kIe alarRl
a todo                               coyu a  Estos               nuevas              en            equator
nnmEef veroQn noqCtuN nc5T9t tdTeo9Im rEant p9rIir5 dfneagL cAlveMa Nſnnd omgupea Rtl9e9T

eadnu9c 5e 5lesEortEr tlSmeIf9  Ihrr5e ap3Apa ImIeV9
                   de estrellas                         ha error               me jove

That's as far as I got before giving up - (undoubtedly some of it will be wrong) - but for me to unravel anagrammed words (with a mixture of incorrect vowels) in a language I don’t know …. God knows – people will be accusing me of making up solutions …..

Muchas gracias - No hay de que
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 03:41:08 PM by tonybaloney »


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Re: Van Langren cipher
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2009, 07:24:35 AM »
Well, it's certainly a healthy start. :) And if you want to include an Excel graph, you could try taking a screenshot and then attaching it as an image.


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Re: Van Langren cipher
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2010, 04:01:46 PM »
Aaron, from what you've gotten, you did pretty well, especially considering you don't speak the language! As someone who does, I can see some basis for intelligible sentences from what you deciphered. I can try to work on some corrections, which may help you finish (if you haven't already).



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Re: Van Langren cipher
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2010, 04:10:57 PM »
Tony's the one working on it, I can't claim any credit.


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Re: Van Langren cipher
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2010, 04:23:41 AM »
Hi Christine
By all means give it a go - some intelligible sentences would be lovely - I got no further with it