Darmbstadii: Ex officina typographica Balthasaris Aulaeandri, 1621. Quarto, , 158, [2 blank], 64, 7 pages; VG; bound in full contemporary vellum, plain paneled spine, single piece of tape to tail of spine, chipping to tail of spine; minor worming to lower gutter from the ffep through I1 (page 66), pinprick worming from H3-T3; one letter in ink to front pastedown; blind-stamp to title page, N2; extremely scarce; shelved case 3.
Shelved Dupont Bookstore
Price: $5,000 save 20% $4,000
"Clavis steganographiae ..." and "Clauis generalis triplex in libros steganographicos ..." have each special title pages and separate pagination.;
Begun in 1499, the Steganographia was only published in 1606. Books one and two, while disguised, were fairly straightforward systems for encoding messages and one of the first books written on cryptography. The third book, however, was full of occult references of angels, spirits and astrological signs and was believed to be a grimoire.
"Book One describes the spirits of the air, which are difficult and dangerous because of their arrogance and rebelliousness. Book Two covers the spirits of each hour of the day and night, while Book Three deals with operations with the angels and spirits of the seven planets." [Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke]
"At first glance, the text seems to be about astrology and obscure ‘magical’ ideas. It was claimed that, amongst other things, it contained a method of sending secret messages over great distances. It includes long essays about various spirits and angels, with rituals and tables of ‘magical’ formulae. However, it turns out that there is nothing ‘magical’ about them. The lists of numbers and letters are in fact the key to a clever form of encryption that was only discovered in the 1990s. It appears that Johannes Trithemius had invented a primitive form of the same system of encryption that was used later to create the famous Enigma code during WWII. " [The National Library of Wales]