A Secret Message.

Studiolum at Poemas del río Wang posts about a very interesting phenomenon:

The album amicorum, friends’ album, or memoriae causa, collection for the purpose of good memory, was an inevitable item in the meagre luggage of the students wandering from university to university in Europe between the 15th and 19th centuries. Upon setting out, their family members and friends, and in the various cities, their professors, fellow students or distinguished patrons, wrote in them some warm words of erudite aphorisms. The several thousand albums which have survived give a good opportunity for reconstructing the network of the early modern intelligentsia and the usual routes of their university studies.

He mentions a publicly searchable database of such books from Hungary or with Hungarian content maintained by the research group Inscriptiones Alborum Amicorum at the University of Szeged, and reproduces images from the album of Paul Schirmer from Kronstadt/Brassó/Brașov, compiled between 1681 and 1685, drawing particular attention to “two short texts on the sides of the emblem, which cannot be read in any known language”:

We suspect it may be some kind of secret script. So again we turn to our seasoned readers. Are you able to tell what script and language were used to write these short lines, and what do they mean?

There are no responses yet there, so I thought I’d add what publicity LH provides and get more eyes on it in the hope that someone can provide an answer.


  1. A number of the letters look an awful lot like 17th/18th century cursive Bosančica, also known as Bosnian or Croatian Cyrillic (depending on whom you ask); see http://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/et04.html for a range of examples, but compare, in particular, http://www.croatianhistory.net/gif/silob.jpg and http://www.croatianhistory.net/gif/matic.jpg

  2. David Marjanović says:

    I had no idea there was such a well-established cursive version!

  3. Send it to Simon Ager @ http://www.omniglot.com I‘m sure his blog readers will find out for you. or is it a part of Voloch‘s Manuscript?

  4. It looks a little like Voynich script, but it’s not.

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