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VMs: Roger Bacon "gunpowder cipher"...?

Hi everyone,

One other quick thing: while looking into Robert Steele (who donated the positive rotograph of the VMS to the British Museum/Library in 1931), I found this in Jim Reeds' bibliography:

	Steele, Robert. ``Luru Vopo Vir Can Utriet.'' Nature 121
	(11 Feb. 1928), pp.208-9.
	[About [Roger] Bacon ``gunpowder cipher,'' not VMS.]

For those that don't know about this, it is believed that Roger Bacon hid the recipe for gunpowder using an anagrammatic cipher: the anagram supposedly transforms...

luru vopo vir can utriet



...which is allegedly short for...

recipe VII partes, V novellae coruli, V et

...the central part of his recipe for gunpowder. This is certainly plausible from the words in the immediate context, though how any decoder would be certain to get the numbers (V and VII) in the right order escapes me (as well as VI and VI). Perhaps Bacon expected them to try all three and see which gave the biggest bang? :-/

Can anyone please tell me if there are more recent articles on this (or other similar anagrammatic ciphers) than Steele's 1928 article in Nature? I do know about Galileo & Huygens' use of these same kind of thing, but am hoping for rather earlier (medieval or very early modern) occurrences. :-)

Thanks, .....Nick Pelling.....