Ibn 'Adlan

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ʻAlī ibn ʻAdlān (Arabic: علي بن عدلان‎; 1187–1268 CE), born in Mosul, was an Arab[1] cryptologist, linguist and poet who is best known for his early contributions to cryptanalysis, to which he dedicated more than one book. He was also involved in literature and poetry.[2]

Ibn 'Adlan was educated in Baghdad and lived in Damascus and Cairo.[3]


His two major works on cryptanalysis were Al-mu'lam and Al-mu'allaf lil-malik al-'Asraf. One of his most important contributions was on sample size for use of frequency analysis. He believed that a cryptogram "should be at least 90 letters long and that each of the 28 letters of Arabic should be represented at least three times".[3]


  1. ^ Deavours, Cipher A. (1997). Selections from Cryptologia: History, People, and Technology. Artech House. p. 116. ISBN 9780890068625.
  2. ^ Series on Arabic Origins of Cryptology (Series Eds. M. Mrayati, Y. Meer Alam and M. H. at_Tayyan), published by King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) & King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Riyadh. Vol. 2, ibn `Adlān's Treatise al-mu'allaf lil-malik al-'Ašraf, ISBN 9960-890-18-X, 2004, 113 pp., 17 × 24 cm, softcover.
  3. ^ a b Broemeling, Lyle D. (1 November 2011). "An Account of Early Statistical Inference in Arab Cryptology". The American Statistician. 65 (4): 255–257. doi:10.1198/tas.2011.10191.