Blaise de Vigenère
Vigenère was born in the village of Saint-Pourçain. At age 17 he entered the diplomatic service, and remained there for 30 years, retiring in 1570. Five years into his career he was sent to the Diet of Worms as a junior secretary. At age 24, he entered the service of the Duke of Nevers. In 1549 he visited Rome on a two-year diplomatic mission, and again in 1566. On both trips, he read books about cryptography and came in contact with cryptologists. When Vigenère retired aged 47, he donated his 1,000 livres a year income to the poor in Paris. He married a Marie Varé. He died of throat cancer in 1596 and is buried in the Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church.
- Bellaso used a "reciprocal table" of five alphabets; Vigenère used 10;
- Bellaso's cipher was based on the first letter of the word; Vigenère used a letter agreed upon before communication.
Both ciphers are autokey ciphers.
After his retirement, Vigenère wrote over twenty books including:
- Traicté de Cometes
- Le psaultier de David torne en prose mesuree, ou vers libres. Par Blaise de Vigenère, Bourbonnois, Paris: Abel L'Angelier, 1588. (A translation of the Psalms.)
- La Somptueuse et Magnifique Entrée du roi Henri III en la cité de Mantoue. Paris: Nicolas Chesneau, 1576. (Includes a description of Mantua at that time.)
- Traicté des Chiffres ou Secrètes Manières d'Escrire (1586) (available on Gallica)
- Traicté du Feu et du Sel (1608) (available on Gallica) (A book on alchemy)
- Ernst Bouchard. Notice biographique sur Blaise de Vigenère […], 1868, 212 p.
- Marc Fumaroli (editor). Blaise de Vigenère poète & mythographe au temps de Henri III, Cahiers V.L. Saulnier, no. 11, Paris: Éditions Rue d'Ulm, 1994
- Métral, Denyse. Blaise de Vigenère archéologue et critique d'art, Paris: E. Droz, 1939
- Maurice Sarazin. Blaise de Vigenère, Bourbonnais 1523-1596. Introduction à la vie et à l'œuvre d'un écrivain de la Renaissance, preface by Marc Fumaroli, Éditions des Cahiers bourbonnais, 1997