A secret message

The album amicorum, friends’ album, or memoriae causa, collection for the purpose of good memory, was an inevitable item in the meagre luggage of the students wandering from university to university in Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries. Upon setting out, their family members and friends, and in the various cities, their professors, fellow students or distinguished patrons, wrote in them some warm words of erudite aphorisms. The several thousand albums which have survived give a good opportunity for reconstructing the network of the early modern intelligentsia and the usual routes of their university studies.

The sites of the inscriptions in Ferenc Pápai Páriz’s album amicorum, published by us (1711-1726).

The alba amicorum from Hungary or with Hungarian content have been digitized and put in a publicly searchable database by the research group Inscriptiones Alborum Amicorum at the university of Szeged, directed by Miklós Latzkovits. We also work for the research group, especially when an iscription written in an unusual language or in a difficult-to-read hand comes to light. This is the case now, too.

The album of Paul Schirmer from Kronstadt/Brassó/Brașov, compiled between 1681 and 1685, is preserved in the university library of Kolozsvár/Cluj. The two-page inscription below was written by Jeremias Jeckell, likewise from Kronstadt, on 7 March 1683 in Leipzig. The first page displays a beautiful emblem. The hearts of the two friends, joined by a chain, are encircled by a crown similar to the coat of arms of their home town Kronstadt. Next to it, a sunflower looks forever at the sun. According to the convention of the period, this is the symbol of the true believer always looking at God, as the accompanying German poems and Latin biblical verses confirm:

Wahre Freundschaft, Treu und Glauben
Soll nichts denn der Todt uns rauben.

Ich hab auch noch was bey mir, gleich wie Ihr, zu seinen Ruhme,
Ich für mich verehr ihm hier eine schöne Sonnenblume,
Gleich wie diese Blume sich im/m/er nach der Sonnen neigt,
Neigt er sich stets nach dem, der die Blum und Menschen zeigt.

Meine Seele wündscht dabey,
Dass er stets Gottsfürchtig sey!
Auss reinem teutschen Sinn,
Als ich der deine bin,
Schrieb ich dir dieses hin.

Timor Domini est initium sapientiae (The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Psalm 111,10.)

Coat of arms of Kronstadt/Brassó/Brașov

However, there is something more in the inscription, which we are not able to decypher, consisting of two short texts on the sides of the emblem, which cannot be read in any known language. We suspect it may be some kind of secret script. So again we turn to our seasoned readers. Are you able to tell what script and language were used to write these short lines, and what do they mean?

1 comentario:

Languagehat dijo...

I posted this at LH and a commenter suggests it may be Bosančica.