Lot 113 of 221:
Rare 17th Century work on Cryptography  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$7,200
$7,000 - $10,000

Cryptomenytices et Cryptographiae, Libri IX. In Quibus & Planissima Steganographiae...

Selenus, Gustavus [pseud. of August, Duke of Braunschweig-Luneburg]


[Exscriptum typis & impensis Johannis & Henrici fratrum]



[36], 493, [1] pp. 4 of the leaves fold out (3 containing tables, the other music). Copper-engraved pictorial title-page; 1 full-page copper engraving; numerous tables and illustrations of ciphers, codes and cryptograms. Woodcut head and tailpieces and initials. (Folio) 29x18 cm (11½x7¼"), early full brown calf, paneled in blind, modern. First Edition.

First edition of this rare text on codes and secret writing; a marvelous assemblage of cryptograms and cryptographic techniques. Augustus the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1759-1666), wrote, under the pseudonym Gustavus Selenus, books on chess in 1616, and the present volume on cryptography in 1624. It is based largely on earlier work by Trithemius. Printed the year after the First Folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, the engraved title is of particular interest. It purports to attribute the authorship of Shakespeare's plays to Sir Francis Bacon. One panel supposedly depicts Bacon handing a text to Shakespeare (a man holding a spear), while another supposedly depicts Augustus holding the Cap of Maintenance over the head of Bacon, who is writing on a folio-sized piece of paper. “OUVRAGE FORT RARE, DE LA PLUS GRANDE IMPORTANCE (Bibliotheca Esoterica). The Cryptomenytices extends Johannes Trithemius' Steganographia and is considered indispensible in the study of encrypted correspondence from the Renaissance to the 19th century. Not only does it cover many aspects of codes and cryptography, but its engraved title page, according to Sir Edwin Dunning-Lawrence, provided the first clue of Bacon's authorship of Shakespeare's plays in the form of pictorial puns, a theory expanded in his pamphlet Bacon is Shakespeare (London: 1914). Bibliotheca Esoterica 163; Brunet V, 270; Caillet 10114.

Lot Amendments

Binding lightly worn; holes in upper margin of half-title repaired, N3 upper corner repaired with loss of page number, stain to lower margin of 2R3 to end, just within text / image on 2S6, short tear within stain to 2S4-6, occasional spotting, lightly browned; very good.

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