Mycenaean Greek: A Lesson in Cryptanalysis


Cryptanalysis, as you all know, is the solving of secret writing without previous possession of the key. Basically it is a study of coincidences, an analysis of them, to eliminate those which are due to chance and to find the reason for those which are not due to chance. The most important part of the cryptanalyst's method, his standard operating procedure, is the tedious drudgery of counting frequencies and noting repetitions and coincidences. The most important weapon in his arsenal is ingenuity. His ammunition, which he uses without stint, is assumptions, which might perhaps be defined as educated guesses, were it not for the fact that for a cryptanalyst to use the word «guess» instead of «assumption» is to be drummed out of the fraternity. Of the latter the most important usually is the assumption of probable words.
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