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Caesars Codex

Caesars Codex

Today, we will travel back in time to circa 49BC to the days of Julius Caesar, the Roman stateman and General who lead the Roman armies in the Gallic wars and became a dictator of the Roman Republic after defeating Pompey in a civil war.  He is well known in history for these feats, but what you may not know he was known to use a shifting encryption which today is known as Caesar Cipher or Caesars Code.

By today’s standards the shifting cipher is simple to solve and would not provide much protection, but the elements of this code went on to inspire greater and more complex codes.  So how does it work?  He used a 3 step shift with the Alphabet letters, so that to write encrypt the letter A you would use the letter D, and when decrypting the letter D you would use A and so on. 

His nephew Augustus developed his own version which shifted 1 space right so for A he wrote B, however he did not wrap the alphabet like Caesar, so his when using Z he wrote AA. 

The other two most famous examples of this type of cipher code are the Vigenère cipher a more complex cipher with repeating keyword that is used to define the value of the shift.  The other is the ROT13 algorithm, commonly used to obscure puzzle answers, movie spoilers and alike but not complex enough to be used as a serious cipher. 

There is an urban legend that states that in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” if you use a shift 1 right cipher on the computer named HAL, you get a major computer company.  Whether it’s coincidence or planned, that remains a mystery. 

Today there are many examples of this code used in puzzles, many decoder rings used this cipher as does the True Genius Caesars Codex Puzzle.  Available instore.

Here’s one to try yourself

duwh hw pduwh sxccohv