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Séjour long


Histoire - Hongrie



Thèmes de recherche



A large number of early modern enciphered sources survived from the Central European area, which are as yet unsolved, even though mathematical and statistical methods are available to decipher them. These are usually most relevant sources for the political and social history of the period. A second problem is that the secondary literature of cryptography focus exclusively on the enciphering methods, which are hardly contextualized as far as the wider social and intellectual environment is concerned. A third problem is that the use of early modern cryptography is rarely researched outside the political sphere of diplomacy, even though noblemen, medical doctors, scientists, university students, engineers, and “everyday” members of the society often used enciphering methods for their own purposes. The aim of the present research is: 

  1. to give a systematical catalogue of Central European enciphered sources
  2. to decipher those sources which are not yet deciphered, and by doing so, to provide other historians with new sources
  3. and finally to integrate this kind of sources into in the larger intellectual milieu of secrecy (private, medical, scientific, religious, alchemical, magical, and political secrets).

I am going to offer a socially sensitive contextualizing monograph on the history of cryptography on the basis of this rich source material.

Activités / CV


Benedek Lang is Associate Professor at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, where he teaches history of philosophy. He did his undergraduate work at ELTE and at the Central European University, where he studied History, and obtained a PhD in Medieval Studies from the Central European University, in 2003. He has held academic positions at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, ELTE and Corvinus University of Budapest. From 2003 until 2004, he was a consultant fot the Office of the Hungarian Scholarship Board. Benedek Lang is also member of different organizations of Philosophy, Medieval History and Magic Studies.


  • Unlocked Books, Manuscripts of Learned Magic in the Medieval Libraries of Central Europe, Penn State University Press, 2008, 334 p.
  • A Rohonci kód (The Rohonc Code), Budapest: Jaffa, 2011, 220 p.
  • Puissances ou démons? Les images décaniques dans le Picatrix de Cracovie, forthcoming in Nicolas Weill-Parot and Jean-Patrice Boudet, eds. Autour du Picatrix.
  • Saint Christopher, the Patron of Treasure Hunters in Ottó Gecser, József Laszlovszky, Balázs Nagy, Marcell Sebők, Katalin Szende, eds. Promoting the Saints. Cults and Their Contexts from Late Antiquity until the Early Modern Period. (Budapest: CEU Press, 2011.), 305-310.
  • Experience in the anti-astrological arguments of Jean Gerson, in Thomas Bénatouil and Isabelle Draelants, eds., Expertus sum. L’expérience par les sens dans la philosophie naturelle médiévale. Actes du colloque international de Pont-à-Mousson, 5-7 février 2009. Firenze: Edizioni del Galluzzo-SISMEL, (Micrologus’ Library), 2010, 299-311.
  • Why don’t we decipher an outdated cipher system? The Codex of Rohonc, Cryptologia 34 (2010): 115 – 144.
  • The Art of memory and magic (the ars memorativa and the ars notoria), in Culture of Memory in East Central Europe in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, ed. Rafal Wójcik, 87-93. Poznan: Bibioteka Uniwersytecka, 2008.
  • The Criminalization of Possessing Necromantic Books in Fifteenth Century Krakow, in Thomas Wünsch, ed., Religion und Magie in Ostmitteleuropa (Spielräume theologischer Normierungsprozesse in Spätmittelalter und Frühe Neuzeit), 257-271, Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2006.
  • The Alchemical Mass of Nicolaus Melchior Cibinensis: Text, Identity and Speculations, (Written together with Gábor Farkas Kiss and Cosmin Popa-Gorjanu), Ambix 53 (2006): 143-159.
  • Angels around the Crystal: the Prayer Book of King Wladislas and the Treasure Hunts of Henry the Bohemian, Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism 5 (2005): 1-32.
  • The Kraków Readers of Hermes, in Paolo Lucentini, Ilaria Parri, Vittoria Perrone Compagni, eds. Hermetism from Late Antiquity to Humanism – La tradizione ermetica dal mondo tardo-antico all’umanesimo: Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi, Napoli, 20-24 novembre 2001. 577-600. Turnhout: Brepols, 2004.

Informations complémentaires

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