Della Porta’s Drunken Cipher

Among ciphertexts of the early modern period, this one stands alone for sheer visual weirdness.  It may be found in the 1602 edition—and only that one specific edition—of a book about ciphers written in Latin by the illustrious “professor of secrets,” Giambattista della Porta.  And it looks so utterly wacky that the typical reaction of…