Brain Pumper

Julius Caesar will help you decode my secret message

BRX DUH RQH VPDUW FRRNLH

Can you decipher this? If you can, well you …. well.. you’ll know what I mean.

I’ll give you a hint but first, how about some history. Cryptology (or cryptography) is the study and practice of encoding and decoding secret messages. Or more sophisticatedly said as the encryption or decryption of messages, respectively. There are many different algorithms, or cyphers, used to create a secret message, which the receiver must be aware of in order to understand it. An early user of a particular one is the famous Roman general Julius Caesar, whose cypher was later known as the Caesar Cipher. He would send confidential messages sent to correspondents like the Roman philosopher/lawyer Cicero. I used his encoding method to write my secret message above.

Now here’s the hint: Suetonius, a historian wrote:

If he had anything confidential to say, he wrote it in cipher, that is, by so changing the order of the letters of the alphabet, that not a word could be made out. If anyone wishes to decipher these, and get at their meaning, he must substitute the fourth letter of the alphabet, namely D, for A, and so with the others.
– Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar 56

In other words, if you were to write out the ‘real alphabet’ (cleartext) at the top and the ‘encrypted alphabet’ (ciphertext) at the bottom, you would get this:

cleartext:    a       b       c       d       e       f       g       h       i       j   … and so on
ciphertext: D      E       F        G      H       I       J       K      L     M   … and so forth (re-starting with a,b,c,d at the missing end)

Caesar shifted the ciphertext alphabet by 3 letters.
Now that you know this, can you decipher my secret message ?

About the author

Sandra-Uyen

An artist at heart and a perpetual student, I believe we all have the power to overcome our deepest fear and achieve our highest potential. Learning and sharing is a lifelong journey, so why not make it fun! Welcome fellow Dragonfly!

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