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Culture

CNI DECIPHERS LETTERS BETWEEN FERDINAND THE CATHOLIC AND THE GREAT CAPTAIN

Toledo (Spain) / The National Intelligence Centre (CNI) has achieved to decipher the content of the encrypted letters which were sent by King Ferdinand the Catholic and Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba, the Great Captain, in 1502 and 1503, in which they used a secret code composed of more than 200 symbols.

The four letters that have been decrypted belong to the family file of the Dukes of Maqueda, who made a loan to the Museum of the Army in Toledo to be part of the exhibition that this institution organized in 2015 dedicated to this military man, as reported in press conference the technical general secretary of the Army Museum, Jesús Ansón Soro.

The letters, which were written during the campaign in Naples, “surprised by meticulous and detailed instructions” given by King Ferdinand the Catholic toGreat Captain on issues as disparate as the sending of troops, how to administer justice and collection and tax management.

Or, even, in which he defended that the marriage between the widows of the place and the Spanish military had to be impelled so that there was greater social integration.

In the writing of these encrypted letters, it was used more than 200 symbols, which do not correspond to current letters, but are figurative characters such as triangles, stripes and numbers.

Occasionally, one of these symbols corresponded to a letter, in others to another letter or to a whole word or did not mean anything. In addition, the signs were written without separating by words or phrases, to complicate the deciphering.

Ansón Soro pointed out that the deciphering of these letters has been facilitated because in one of the letters a part of the decrypted text was written and provided the keys to be able to translate the encrypted language.

“In the historical situation at that time, in the Naples war, which affected mainly France and Spain, but also the Germanic Empire, the Papal States, the Ottoman Empire and the Italian State Cities, it was fundamental to keep the secret,”Ansón Soro explained.

The epistolary relationship between King Ferdinand the Catholic and the Great Captain was continuous, since at that time it could take fifteen days to cover the distance between Spain and Naples, so that following the deciphering of these four letters will be able to know the content of many more documents that are in various files.

Between these four letters are letters by the king to the soldier and his answers, as well as “an amazing handwritten letter” from Ferdinand the Catholic to Great Captain, a “unique document with a tremendous documentary value”, since, as he explained Ansón Soro, monarchs did not usually send letters written in their own handwriting.

The letters, which have taken six months to be deciphered CNI, include “clear messages” about the historical context to which they belong, and it also follows that, although the relationship between the two historical figures “was convulsive”, the Great Captain “always showed loyalty and obedience.” (February 2, 2018, EFE/Practica Español)

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Comprehension

Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read and answer the questions

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Question 1
La noticia trata…
A
de la imposibilidad de descifrar el contenido de unas cartas escritas por un rey español.
B
del hallazgo de unas cartas escritas por un rey de España.
C
del desciframiento de unas misivas que intercambiaron un rey de España y un militar.
Question 2
En el texto se dice que…
A
esas cartas fueron escritas a principios del siglo quince.
B
esas cartas fueron escritas a principios del siglo dieciséis.
C
esas cartas fueron escritas a finales del siglo quince.
Question 3
Se utilizaron símbolos de difícil comprensión…
A
para que otras personas no pudieran conocer el contenido de esas cartas.
B
que formaban parte del alfabeto del castellano antiguo.
C
aunque eso no dificultó que otras personas pudieran conocer el contenido de esa carta con facilidad.
Question 4
En la noticia se dice que…
A
Fernando el Católico solo escribió sobre asuntos bélicos a el Gran Capitán.
B
Fernando el Católico escribió sobre diferentes temas a el Gran Capitán.
C
Fernando el Católico evitó abordar temas militares con el Gran Capitán en sus cartas.
Question 5
Según el texto, el Gran Capitán se llevaba muy bien con Fernando el Católico.
A
Para nada.
B
Así es.
C
¡Imposible saberlo!
Question 6
Ninguna de esas misivas está escrita por el propio Fernando el Católico.
A
En absoluto.
B
Es verdad.
C
No se sabe.
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