Typology and Semantics of Cryptograms and Acrolexa in the Orthodox East in the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Period

Moutafov- EmmanuelBy: Emmanuel Moutafov, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow 

For some scholars, the letter abbreviations with encoded meaning on cryptograms and acrolexa are the creation of a monachus ludnes (a monk having fun), who has been instructed to hide his identity or his personal message in an acrostic or in visual poetry, writes his signature through cryptographs, laughs at monastery moralizing anecdotes and does not want his identity to be revealed in the vanity of mundane life. This monk is perhaps of the greatest schema, due to which the so-called cryptograms will be written on his hood, in order to protect him from evil demons, impious thoughts, misfortunes, and encroachments. Continue reading