Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access

(1,936 words)

Etymologically from κρυπτός (“hidden”) and γράφω (“to write”), cryptography is the art of writing, utilizing a technique to hide the true meaning from a third person while revealing it safely to the intended recipient (see Selenus, 1624). Notwithstanding this definition, some scholars employ instead the term “cyptology.” Certain authors in the past used the word steganographia (from στεγανός – “concealed”) to describe a secret message rather than the act of writing in code. The word polygraphiae used by Trithemius has to be un…

Cite this page
Gaytán, Antonio, “Cryptography”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 29 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2018

▲   Back to top   ▲