The topics of this blog are Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duke of Richelieu, and the IDEAL CITY built on his command next to his magnificent CHÂTEAU on the borders of Touraine, Anjou and Poitou, in France.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

A wily RED bird - The Cardinal

"a wily old rascal"; shrewd, clever, sharp, sharp-witted, astute, canny, smart; crafty, cunning, artful, sly, scheming, calculating, devious; informal clueful, tricky, foxy; archaic subtle. (antonym naive).

wily |ˌwʌɪli|
adjective ( wilier , wiliest )
skilled at gaining an advantage, esp. deceitfully : his wily opponents.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Joyeux Fêtes - Merry Christmas

Antoine Rossignol and his son Bonaventure were the chief code-masters for the two Louis' XIII and XIV. They first de-crypted Hugenot ciphers at the seige of Réalmont in 1626.  They worked at the two King's sides for many years. Together they were responsible for 'Le Grand Chiffre de Louis XIV', or the Grand Cipher of Louis XIV, a cipher so difficult to de-crypt that it remained unbroken until finally solved in 1890 by Etienne Bazeries of the French Army's cryptographic department.

But concerning our Christmas and New Year 2008 Greeting -

This year we are sending our secret 2007 greeting enciphered, using a virtual 'Enigma' cipher machine.

1. Open this web site:
this will supply an Enigma machine for you to decode the secret message or 'ciphertext'.
2. Have a look at the image of the machine where you will see a virtual Enigma machine like the one above (this new one actually works!).
3. Then click on the 'settings' button.
4. Make the following 'Day' settings:
Wheel (or rotor) order - 123
Ring settings - 111
Stecker (or plug) pairs - AB CD
Indicator settings - AAA
(don't forget to 'set' your settings!)
5. Click on the 'machine' button.
6. Enter the first six 'ciphertext' letters of the message below by clicking sequentially on the keyboard.
7. Our three-letter 'Message' code should appear as two identical sequences of three letters on the lampboard and the digital readout.
8. Now click on the letters on the three rotor windows, one after the other (from left to right), until they together display the three-letter 'Message' code.
9. Enter the rest of the 'ciphertext' letters below, starting from letter 7. Read off our Xmas Message in 'plaintext'.

The 'ciphertext' message is:


(disregard the spaces; the messages are always grouped in fives!)


If you use Macs rather than PCs, here is an even better 'Enigma' emulator program to play with:
.............HAVE FUN

Monday, 3 December 2007

La Ville de Richelieu is 'Hippodamian'........uh??!!

Hippodamus of Miletus

Hippodamus of Miletus (sometimes also called Hippodamos, Greek: Ἱππόδαμος), was a Greek town planner of the 5th century BC. He created plans of Hellenic colony cities that featured order and regularity, in contrast to the more common intricacy and confusion common to cities such as Athens, and he is seen as the originator of the idea that a town plan might formally embody and clarify a rational social order. According to Aristotle (in Politics), he originated the art of Town Planning, and devised an ideal city to be inhabited by 10,000 citizens, divided into three classess (soldiers, artisans and 'husbandmen'), with the land also divided into three (sacred, public and private). He also evidently had a reputation as a lover of attention. According to Aristotle's description in Politics, "Some people thought he carried things too far, indeed, with his long hair, expensive ornaments, and the same cheap warm clothing worn winter and summer."
For Pericles he planned the arrangement of the harbour-town Piraeus at Athens in the middle of the fifth century BC. When the Athenians founded Thurii in Italy in 443 BC he accompanied the colony as architect - although he was not actually an architect in the sense of a building designer. He is credited with, in 408 BC, the building of the new city of Rhodes, however as he was involved in 479 BC with helping the reconstruction of Miletus he would have been very old when this project took place.
His grid plans consisted of series of broad, straight streets, cutting one another at forty-five and one hundred thirty-five degree angles. 
(See the post below about the quincunx-planned 'Hippodamian' Henrichemont in Berry. And the cadastral plan of La Ville de Richelieu.)

Pierre Corneille on Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duke of Richelieu

When one from Amboise* and youself, by an admirable success
Severally make our peoples rejoice,
Allow me to compare to your unprecedented deeds
Those of this great prelate**, without you incomparable.

He wore like youself the venerable purple 
Of which the holy radiance our eyes bedazzle,
He, like you, kept watch with a care indefatigable,
He thus became like you the heart of a King LOUIS.

He like you travelled the mountains in arméd might.
He knew as well as you how to transform to smoke 
The pride of enemies and to return their blows.

A single aspect of you two formed a difference.
It is that he was formerly to France the Pope’s legate,
While France had wished to make an envoy of Rome of you.***

 - written after 1662 -

* Maréchal Antoine d'Amboise 1605-1650.
** Cardinal Jules Mazarin 1602-1662, Richelieu's successor.
*** Pope Urban VII had refused to make R Papal Legate to France
Celebration at the Peace of the Pyrenees 1659
when the 'hexagon' of modern France was established.

Monseigneur le Cardinal de

Puis qu'un d'Amboise & vous d'un succès admirable
Rendez également nos peuples réjouis, 
Souffrez que je compare à vos faites inouis,
Ceux de ce grand Prélat, sans vous incomparable.

Il porta comme vous la pourpre vénérable, 
De qui le saint éclat rend nous yeux éblouis;
Il veilla comme vous d'un soin indefatigable;
Il fut ainsi que vous le coeur d'un Roi Louis.

Il passa comme vous les monts à main armée,
Il sçut ainsi que vous convertir en fumée
L'orgeuil des ennemis & rabattre leur coups:

Un seul point de vous deux forme la différence.
C'est qu'il fut autrefois Légat du Pape en France
Et la France en voudroit un envoyé de vous.

Qu'on parle mal ou bien du fameux Cardinal,
Ma prose ni mes verses n'en diront jamais rien;
Il m'a fait trop de bien pour en dire du mal,
Il ma fait trop de mal pour en dire du bien.

As to whether one speaks well or badly of the famous Cardinal,
Neither my prose nor my verse ever speak anything of him;
He has done me too much good to speak of him badly,
He has done me too much harm to speak of him well.

Pierre Corneille (b. Rouen, 6 June 1606 - d. Paris, 1 October 1684) is a 17th century French dramatic author. His most famous plays are Le Cid, Cinna, Polyeucte and Horace. The wealth and diversity of his works reflect the the values and cultural questions of his day.