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VMs: Re: Mediaeval book written entirely in cipher

    > [Philip Neal:] [Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale Nouvelles Acquisitions Latin 635,
    > Italian, 15th century, "Secretum de thesauro experimentorum
    > jmaginationis hominum". The entire manuscript, excepting the table of
    > contents, title and concluding formula is in cipher; this consists
    > almost entirely of straight lines and circles. Abbreviation marks are
    > placed under the script. See H. Omont, Bibliotheque de l'Ecole des
    > Chartes 58 (1897) 253-258 with illustrations of four pages.]

Thanks!  Anyone knows the total page count?

Here is basically what Google could find:

    gives the author as Fontana, Giovanni (c.1395?-1455)
    ... containing important descriptions of camera obscura principles
    applied to magic lanterns was edited by Battisti and Saccaro
    Battisti (1984). A note by Pompilius Azalus in his Liber de
    omnibus rebus naturalibus (1544, 74v), attributed to Fontana a now
    lost treatise which appears to have dealt with colour and
    disappearance of form perspective.

  Machina spiritalis

    [Report on an exhibition of theatrical stage machinery, in Italian.
    My translation of the relevant paragraph follows.]
    "For sure, I have no intention of being able to trace the history
    of of the relationships between theater, literature and machinery,
    and of a mechanical view of the arts; ut I would like to
    illustrate a chapter of them which, besides, is close to us: a
    chapter from Friuli. It was Eugenio Battisti who pointed out that
    "the oldest blueprint which we have seen so far of a model, at
    least, of a standard theater with backstage [quinte], and with a
    central mobile platform for transformations" is due to Giovanni
    Fontana, a singular figure of medical doctor and scientist (a kind
    of 14th-century Leonardo) who in his /Bellicorum instrumentorum
    liber/ sketched the "templum sane factibile" reproduced here (fig
    1). Now, among Fontana's works there survived also the /Secretum
    de thesauro experimentorum ymaginationis hominum/, where one sees
    several projects of combiantorial machines, concentric disks,
    cylinders, rolls that allow the permutation of isolated elements
    of writing (letters or words): and engineer's realization of the
    Lullian dream. However the connection between the theater in the
    first book and the devices of the second is not one of mere
    juxtaposition: the Secretum is actually a treatise of
    mnemotechnics, or, as Battisti put it, "the blueprint for a 
    compact database of the mind" where in certain verses one can
    foresse the building of the Friulan  Giulio
    Camillo, who, under the guise of a "Theater fo Memory" 
    conceived and to a certain extent realized around 1530 the first 
    encyclopaedic hypertextual (and multimedial, and interactive) 
    repertoire of history: a great combinatorial machine, where 
    converged the dreams of Renaissance pansophy, the Ficinian(?)
    hermetism, the Lullian projects, the Picchian(?) cabbalistic 
    practices (used even for the production of poetic texts!), and
    --- who knows --- a few suggestions from Giovanni Fontana, 
    of whom we know that around 1438 was hired in Udine as 
    diploma-bearing physician [medico condotto] (he didn't enjoy his
    stay due to, among other things, the lack of libraries). ...
For whatever it is worth.  All the best,