Journal Article

The professionalization of cryptology in sixteenth century Venice


This article examines the evolution of cryptology as a business trait and a distinct, state-regulated and controlled profession in sixteenth century Venice. It begins by briefly discussing the systematic development of cryptology in the Renaissance. Following an examination of the amateur use of codes and ciphers by members of the Venetian merchant and ruling class, and subsequently by members of all layers of Venetian society, the article moves on to discuss the professionalization of cryptology in sixteenth century Venice. This was premised on specialist skills formation, a shared professional identity, and an emerging professional ethos. The article explores a potential link between the amateur use of cryptology, especially as it had been instigated by merchants in the form of merchant-style codes, and its professional use by the Venetian authorities, and it adds the profession of the cifrista – the professional cipher secretary – to the list of more “conventional” early modern professions.

Attached files


Iordanou, Ioanna

Oxford Brookes departments

Oxford Brookes Business School\Oxford Brookes Business School


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-03-02

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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