Cryptography - secret history of ciphers and codes (29 Jan 2004)
In October 1586, in the forbidding hall of Fotheringhay Castle, Mary Queen of Scots was on trial for her life. Accused of treason and denied legal representation, she sat alone in the shadow of a vast and empty throne belonging to her absent cousin and arch rival Elizabeth I of England. Walsingham, Elizabeth’s Principal Secretary, had already arrested and executed Mary’s fellow conspirators, her only hope lay in the code she had used in all her letters concerning the plot. If her cipher remained unbroken she might yet be saved. Not for the first time the life of an individual and the course of history depended on the arcane art of Cryptography. What are the origins of this secretive science? And what links the 'Caesar Cipher' with the complex algorithms which underpin so much of our modern age?
Article URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20040129.shtml
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