500 year old mystery. Scientists have deciphered the secret letter of the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V
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The emperor's secret message dealt with an impending attempt on his life by his enemies, the French.
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French scientists from the LORIA Research Institute were able to decipher a 500-year-old secret code that revealed details of rumors of a French plot to kill the Holy Roman Emperor and King Charles V of Spain, writes Phys.
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Charles V (1500-1558) was one of the most powerful rulers of the 16th century. He ruled for more than 40 years a huge empire that occupied most of the territory of Western Europe and America. It can be said that Charles V was the first ruler of a transatlantic state.
Scientists from the LORIA Research Institute, France, spent half a year deciphering a letter that in 1547 the emperor wrote to his ambassador in France. During this historical period, in the first half of the 16th century, between Spain and France, which at that time was ruled by King Francis I, there was constant tension, which was accompanied by a series of wars.
A letter that Emperor Charles V wrote to his ambassador in France, Jean de Saint-Maurice has been forgotten all these centuries in one of the libraries of the city of Nancy, France. Cryptographer Cecile Piero of the LORIA Research Institute only first became aware of the existence of this letter in 2019. And only a few years of searching led her to this document.
According to Piero, what the emperor wrote in the letter was both cryptic and completely incomprehensible, since Charles V used secret symbols. Six months of painstaking work made it possible to isolate as many as 120 mysterious characters that are found in the letter.
“In the letter, whole words were encrypted, the emperor replaced some letters with mysterious signs, most likely inspired by the Arabic language. There were also symbols that meant absolutely nothing and everything together suggests that in this way the emperor wanted to hide the real meaning of the correspondence from any enemy , which would try to decipher the message,” says Piero.
The breakthrough in deciphering the letter came after scientists were able to decipher one phrase in its entirety and thus they were able to crack the emperor's secret code. The scientists were also helped in deciphering another letter, which the ambassador in France sent back to the emperor. In this message, scientists have discovered the key to cracking the code.
“This is truly a unique case, because we managed to read a letter that no one could read for 500 years The letter says that relations between Francis I and Charles V deteriorated in 1547, despite the peace treaty they signed in 1544. But relations between them were still tense enough that the letter says that there are rumors of a French plot to assassinate Charles V,” says Pierrot.
There are no exact details about this plot in the letter, but the emperor expressed strong concerns about this. Now scientists hope to decipher other correspondence between the emperor and his ambassador in order to get a more accurate idea of the policy of Charles V in Europe.
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