Aeneas Tacticus : methods of steganography - 1
Greek Aeneas Tacticus or Aeneas Stymphalian, quoted in the text " Steganography or
cryptography ... (2 of n) " is really an interesting source about steganography.
In his book " The Poliorcetique - How to survive under siege ** ", he
describes a series of methods that can be used to send " secret " messages. Its " Chapter XXXI - Secret letters "
put together 23 paragraphs.
Among the first 12 paragraphs, we
can pick up some ways listed by the strategist general as " the safest to
imitate " for " the letters to be send in secret ".
Chosen extracts :
(2) Among a shipment of different things, you include a book in which " made points
on the letters " that the recepient will find to compose the message.
You can also, in a simple letter about anything, mark the letters to
gather. Only for short messages of course.
(4) You send a man wearing shoes in which
you have hidden the message
... during his sleep. Two rules to observe : write the message " on white lead that was
beaten very thin " and take the most of the messenger's sleep to " unpick
his shoe (...)
substitute the reply (and ...) mend the shoe ( ...), taking care that the seams
are done so that nothing appears. "
(5) To send a letter to Ephesus (one
of the oldest Greek cities of Asia Minor, Efes in modern Turkey), one tied
it to an ulcer that the messenger had on his leg.
(--) Other means
are to write messages on lead plates that are inserted into the earrings
hanging from the ears of women or hide the letter in the horse's bridle.
(10) Aeneas Tacticus also wrote : " Dry a bladder the size needed. After having swollen
it and well bind it to its neck, write on it with ink to which you have added some gum. When the
letters are dry, deflate the bladder and insert it in a bottle; after that, fill the
bladder with oil, it will perfectly fit inside the bottle; then cut what overflows the
bottle, do it so closely at the neck that nothing can be noticed so that it will
only appear as if it contains only oil ".
(12) In short, this means is the use of
invisible ink, a method that will know important developments over the centuries. The naturalist
Pliny the Elder described a first formula with lemon and vinegar in his
" Naturalis Historia " in the year 73. In 2011, the C.I.A. reveals the formulas
developed by the Germans during the Great War of 1914-1918 to obtain invisible
ink ... really invisible.
Extracts of the following paragraphs of "The
Poliorcetique" in " Steganography cryptography or ... (4 of n) "
Tacticus, Poliorcetique - How to survive under siege, year 73; French
translation of Count Beausobre in : Albert de Rochas, Mémoires de la Société
d'émulation du Doubs, France - Besançon - Doubs, 4ème série, 6ème volume,
Traités didactiques, 2ème partie, 1870-1871, pp 301-325; English adaptation of
Pierre P. Dubois