Ave Maria Cipher

The Ave Maria Cipher is an interesting cipher created by the German Abbot, Johannes Trithemius in 1518. He was the first author to publish a book on cryptography. The cipher, Ave Maria was written down in his book, Polygraphia. The cipher consists of a long list of Latin words and phrases made to fool the average reader into thinking it was a poem or a prayer. Only the intended reader could decipher it. Now, it can be deciphered by us!

Encoding and Decoding

To encode you use the graph below to substitute each plaintext letter with one of the two words.

A deus, clemens
B creator, clementissimus
C conditor, pius
D opifex, piissimus
E dominus, magnus
F dominator, excelsus
G consolator, maximus
H arbiter, optimus
I iudex, sapientissimus
K illuminator, inuisibilis
L illustrator, immortalis
M rector, aeternus
N rex, sempiternus
O imperator, gloriosus
P gubernator, fortissimus
Q factor, sanctissimus
R fabricator, incompraehensibilis
S conseruator, omnipotens
T redemptor, pacificus
U auctor, misericors
X princeps, misericordissimus
Y pastor, conctipotens
Z moderator, magnificus

As you can see, there is no J, V, or W. That is because the Latin alphabet does not contain these letters. The Latin letter ß (Eszett) does not exist in the English Alphabet, so we will omit it.

J is replaced with I.

V and W are replaced with U.

For example, the word “Hello” is encoded as

Optimus dominus immortalis immortalis imperator

This roughly translates to “The best lord immortal immortal Emperor”

As you can see, It is a bit gibberish, but it can come across as a badly written Latin prayer!

Beatus decoding! (Happy Decoding!)