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Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo"

Thanks, Phaeded. For anyone who wants to follow the continued discussion of Scipio Caraffa, go to viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1025, where he now has his own thread.


I want to continue my presentation and discussion of Dummett. I was in Chapter 13, where he discusses the tarot of Milan. The other thing that he looks at in the chapter is the Cary Sheet, which he says is from Milan c. 1500, give or take a few years. This is a subject that was debated inconclusively in a long thread in the Exhibition Gallery (viewtopic.php?f=14&t=566), using a methodology that didn't go anywhere, namely, comparing clothing styles in different countries with those in the Cary Sheet.

So far as I could find, Dummett was only mentioned once in the whole thread, by Ross in the first post, who gave a brief summary based on Game of Tarot, essentially saying that Dummett's argument was the following: since the Tarot de Marseille's imagery is related to the Cary Sheet, and the Cary Sheet is from around the time the French occupied Milan for an extended period, they must have taken the tarot from Milan. That of course is not much of an argument, since the French could just as well have brought the Cary Sheet to Milan.

Actually, Dummett has a long argument, some of which is relevant to the question that Ross posed in that thread, at least in methodology.

How do we know it's from Milan? Well, he says, because it is similar to the Tarot de Marseille, which has a type C order. That is simply more of the same. The reports of the C order in Milan are all after the French occupation, so they could have brought it to Milan. Even if the sheet were laid out in C order itself, it still might have been an order brought to Milan. But there is more, occasionally. For some cards, he says it is similar in design to the Milan painted cards. That at last gets to something in Milan before the Cary Sheet.

He goes through the cards, mostly emphasizing the similarities to the Tarot de Marseille. That brings up another problem: the Tarot de Marseille should have features in common particularly with the Cary Sheet, more so than it does other early Italian decks. Otherwise there is nothing special about the Cary Sheet. Furthermore, if the Cary Sheet originates from Milan, there should be something that ties the Cary Sheet especially to Milan, as opposed to other early centers of the tarot. Another issue is that perhaps the Cary Sheet is an ancestor to other French decks besides the Tarot de Marseille. Dummett does not consider other Italian decks besides the Milan ones, or other French decks besides the Tarot de Marseille. These questions require looking at a lot of decks, not just the three or four you think are related (i.e. CY, PMB, Cary Sheet, Tarot de Marseille).

But I very much like his method, which is to identify specific objective features of the Cary Sheet and other packs and compare them. I just don't know why he did it only with the Tarot de Marseille. So I will go through his analysis row by row, expanding on it to include more about other decks, Italian ones before the Cary Sheet and French ones after the Cary Sheet. I will go group by group, posting the image (from the Beineke website) between the quote and my discussion. The result, I think, is in general a defense of Dummett's view. What is not confirmed is when the Milan cards started influencing tarot to its north, and therefore whether a few of the cards are of French/Burgundian or Milanese inspiration.

Dummett starts with the bottom row of the Cary Sheet.
Sulle due carte del seme di Bastoni, i segni di seme hanno esattamente la forma piatta che è tipica del Tarocco di Marsiglia, con le stesse estremità a cuneo: mancano solo i numerali ai lati.

(On the two cards in the suit of Batons, the suit signs have exactly the flat shape that is typical of the Tarot of Marseilles, with the same end of the wedge, lacking only the numerals on the sides.

That these Batons are lacking numbers on the sides makes them exactly similar to the Vieville. The Tarot de Marseille then substitutes numbers for flowers. The Cary Sheet 8 of Batons is also similar to the Sforza Castle 8 of Batons, which therefore is more like the Vieville than it is to either the Tarot de Marseille I or II. Robert once posted the Sforza Castle card with, from left to right, the corresponding Vieville, Noblet, and Conver cards: I get this from

In other decks, the Belgian is like the Vieville (, bottom of page) but with a knob instead of a wedge on the batons. This knob is on the PMB, Bolognese tarot, Minchiate, and in some Swiss Tarot de Marseille IIs, i.e. Claude Burdel 1751 (a version of which I own), whose 8 of Batons has both the flowers on the sides and the Roman numerals! Anonymous Parisian has totally unique Batons, somewhat similar to the Spanish in that the clubs have knobs ( ... ards.gif)/.

In fact the only early Italian cards I can find with the polo-stick wedges straight out are the early Sforza Castle cards. I had not expected this, since polo sticks were a Malmuk suit. The "Moorish" deck has them, but in the Malmuk style (, more like real polo sticks. That's all I know about.

It is of relevance to compare the Batons to earlier Italian decks. Intersecting smooth sticks is a general characteristic of the early Italian pack. But the leaf and flower pattern around them is not; that is a characteristic we see in the PMB only, i.e. Milan, at least if the Budapest cards (posted by Marco at download/file.php?id=402 and download/file.php?id=400, the Sicilian, and Minchiate are representative ( However I have not seen other hand-painted batons; perhaps they all had leaf and flower patterns. Another thing that is different is an emphasis, through different coloration, of the areas of intersection of the batons, a tendency prominent in the Tarot de Marseille, the Milan decks, and sometimes in Minchiate.

While we don't have Cary Sheet examples of the other suits, we can scompare the Tarot de Marseille with early Italian decks. The flower pattern is in all the Tarot de Marseille suits (although not all members of every suit), and the same is true of the PMB but not other early Italian tarots (except the Ace, in Minchiate). But again, I haven't seen the suit cards in other hand-painted decks. Otherwise Tarot de Marseille Cups and Coins fit an Italian standard but not Milan in particular. One difference is that the Tarot de Marseille Swords are curved, unlike the PMB and CY. But they are curved in the Brera-Brambilla ( So Milan fits even this exception. The Vieville is like the Tarot de Marseille but again with flowers throughout and without numbers ( The Anonymous Parisian has unique curved swords, no flowers ( The Belgian tarot does have the flower pattern, from what little I have seen, no doubt taken from the Tarot de Marseille.

The Aces are of special interest. The Tarot de Marseille Ace of Swords has the Visconti heraldic of a crown and palm frond, which Decker in his book calls a Visconti signature. But some other Aces of Swords are the same (e.g. Bolognese, Minchiate). I don't know if the ruling families of other cities had that heraldic or not; if not, perhaps it originated in Milan. The other Aces have features in common with the PMB, but again also with every other early Italian Ace. A special feature of the Tarot de Marseille Batons and Swords is the arm reaching out, along with wavy lines. This feature is not in the Milan extant cards but is in Budapest group 5: download/file.php?id=402. There is much in the Budapest/Metropolitan cards reminiscent of Milan cards; especially noteworthy are the Star, Moon, and Sun;not many early cards are like the PMB's. So even though type B, the Metropolitan/Budapest are likely in the developmental line from PMB to Tarot de Marseille. Other decks have the arm (Minchiate, Bologna) but not the lines.

I continue, still on the botom row of the Cary Sheet:
La Temperanza siede su una sedia a schienale alto e versa da un recipiente all’altro. Il Diavolo è una figura con le coma, un volto sul torso e un cesto sulla schiena con figurine di dannati, uno dei quali egli getta alFInferao con una forca. La Torre, di cui abbiamo soltanto il quarto superiore destro, presenta una netta somiglianza con quella del Tarocco di Marsiglia. Si può scorgere la stessa alta torre rotonda, anche se la cima non sta precipitando; se un fulmine è sul punto di colpirla, esso doveva trovarsi nel lato superiore sinistro della carta. L’aria è piena delle stesse palline che compaiono nel Tarocco di Marsiglia. Non si scorgono figure umane; sembra che da dietro alla torre sporga una vacca.

(Temperance sits on a high-backed chair pouring from one container to another. The Devil is a figure with the coma, a face on his torso and a basket on his back with little figures of the damned, one of whom he throws inside with a fork. The Tower, of which we have only the upper right quarter, shows a clear resemblance to that of the Tarot of Marseilles. You can see the same high round tower, even if the top is not falling; if lightning is about to strike, it has to be in the upper left side of the card. The air is full of the same balls that appear in the Tarot of Marseilles. No human figures can be seen; it seems that the tower protrudes from behind a cow.
Temperance in the Tarot de Marseille does not sit, and the high-backed chair of the Cary Sheet is not there: the Tarot de Marseille figure stands and has wings. Unlike the Empress's chair, however, the chair's sides could not be mistaken for wings. The "Charles VI" has a high-backed chair, rather similar to the Cary Sheet's ( In fact most of the early A and B Temperances sit. The Geoffroy also sits. The Anonymous stands. The Vieville etc. have the lady standing with a staff and the banner "Sola Fama". The TdMs are like the PMB in in having their lady stand.

The Devil, always portrayed with horns and wings, is here a thin figure with a stick. Dummett says there is a face on its "torso". All I see are breasts and folds in the stomach, but it is possible the what I take for breasts are eyes, and what I take for folds in his belly is his mouth. Or vice versa. Usually the face was on the abdomen, and he had breasts (as well as male genitalia). There are also little souls he binds to him. This combination of all four features is unique to the Cary Sheet and Tarot de Marseille, assuming the little devils on the Tarot de Marseille are captured souls; but the Cary Sheet's depiction certainly doesn't look like the Tarot de Marseille's. Vieville's is quite different (, possibly related to that of the Anonymous Parisian ( ... ris/15.jpg) . A "coma" is a tuft of something, according to the online dictionary; all I see are horns.

The Tower is indeed like the Tarot de Marseille, with little globes falling down. But the pastoral setting (the cow) and lack of a tilted top make it more like the type B Metropolitan card ( Vieville has sheep and a tree (, also pastoral. The Tarot de Marseille has two human figures outside the tower. fallen or in the act of falling. The only early card with that feature is the Bolognese, which also (like other A cards) has the crumbling top. I know of no Italian model for the globes. They are not like the "droplets" on the Sun card in that they are round. The only thing I have seen similar is an Anglo-Norman illumination of the Apocalypse, depicting hail (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=172&start=40#p14659). Red globes could signify fire. I do not know of an Italian origin for these globes.

I will move on to the second row from the bottom, i.e. the third row from the top:
Nella terza fila, della carta che probabilmente è il Matto, possiamo scorgere una figura in movimento verso destra con il bastone in spalla. Il Bagatto presenta un giovane con un cappellino conico, in piedi accanto a un tavolo su cui sono disposti vari oggetti, e con una verga nella mano sinistra: è ritratto di tre quarti. Questa carta assomiglia alla sua corrispondente del Tarocco di Marsiglia molto di più quando la si descrive a parole che nella realtà.

(In the third row, the card is probably the Fool, we can see a figure moving to the right with the stick on his shoulder. The Bagatto shows a young man with a conical hat, standing next to a table on which are placed various objects, and with a rod in his left hand: he is portrayed in three-quarters. This card appears much more like its correspondent in the Tarot of Marseilles when we describe in words than in reality.)

In that The Cary Sheet Fool walks and has a big stick (apparently for defense), he is like the Tarot de Marseille. The stick connects him with the PMB, too; and in both the PMB and the Cary Sheet his leggings are around his ankles. In all these ways he is differentiated from other early Fools. The Vieville and Belgian tarots follow the Tarot de Marseille. The Anonymous Parisian is quite different; he has a bauble and a fool's cap, like a professional Fool, in that way like the Metropolitan, Minchiate, and Bolognese Fools.

The Cary Sheet Bagatto sits at table with his legs out, various things on his table, holding up a stick. He is like the Tarot de Marseille and Vieville in these characteristics, although he stands in those. But the PMB is the only early tarot that is like the Tarot de Marseille in having a wide-brimmed hat (a feature shared with the pages on the Tarot de Marseille, PMB, and Sfoza Castle). On some TdMs the various items are spread out in a way that he might be a cobbler, or the innkeeper as Alciati and Piscina called him. Vieville and the Belgians follow the Tarot de Marseille. But Anonymous Parisian ( ... ris/01.jpg) is like that of type A Bologna ( ... _001_l.jpg) and type B Metropolitan (, and the Geoffroy ( ... froy_1.jpg) with a table plus other people on the card. The Anonymous is similar, but no stick is visible. The old term "Basteleur" seems to imply a stick (baston). However I seem to see another influence from the B cards of the Metropolitan/Budapest cards, from a King of Batons--the suit identified with fertility in the PMB (by the green sleeves)--to the Noblet ( ... Staves.jpg), via the finger.

I continue:
C’è una forte somiglianza fra la Stella e la versione della carta del Tarocco di Marsiglia: come in questa, una fanciulla nuda è in ginocchio presso un corso d’acqua e vi versa acqua da due recipienti; sopra di lei, ci sono una [end of 330] stella grande e quattro molto più piccole. L’unico dettaglio mancante è l’uccello sull’albero. Anche la Luna assomiglia molto alla carta del Tarocco di Marsiglia. Sotto la luna, che ha viso pieno e raggi, ci sono edifici in campo medio e una pozza con un gambero in primo piano; mancano i due cani e le ‘goccioline’ nell’aria. Queste ‘goccioline’ si possono scorgere, tuttavia, sul Sole, di cui abbiamo solo la metà destra. Il Sole ha viso e raggi e, sotto di esso, è ritto un bambino nudo (molto probabimente parte di una coppia); non c’è traccia di un muro.

(There is a strong similarity between the Star and the version of the card of the Tarot of Marseilles; as in this one, a nude girl is on her knees in a river and pours water from two flasks; above her, there are one [end of 330] large star and four much smaller. The only detail missing is the bird on the tree. The Moon is very similar to the card of the Tarot of Marseilles. Under the moon, which has s full face and rays, there are buildings in the middle field and a pool with a crayfish in the foreground; missing are the two dogs and the 'droplets' in the air These 'droplets' can be seen, however, on the Sun, which we have only the right half. The Sun has a face and rays and, below it, a child is standing naked (very probably part of a pair); there is no trace of a wall.)
The Star and the Moon on the Cary Sheet are indeed uniquely like the Tarot de Marseille, and unlike the Vieville and other non-TdM French cards. However they are also quite different from any preceding or contemporary cards in Italy. They do not suggests a Milanese or even Italian origin for the Cary Sheet.

The Sun has a naked child with a banner. In that there is a naked child, it is like the PMB. Naked children are on the Tarot de Marseille, except Noblet, and also on the Sforza Castle card. Dummett seems to assume that there are two children on the Cary Sheet card; but there is probably only room for one. Andy's Playing cards has a believable reconstruction ( The child holds a banner, and in that way is similar to Vieville's version, which has a naked child and a banner, with the addition of a horse.

We move now to the second row from the top (still p. 331):
Si può vedere ben poco della carta all’estremità destra della seconda fila che è, presumìbilmente, la Papessa: solo una figura ammantata su una sedia a schienale alto. Come nella carta del Tarocco di Marsiglia, l’impera trice è seduta, regge lo scudo con l’aquila imperiale in una mano e uno scettro appoggiato alla spalla nell’altra. Il suo trono ha un’alta spalliera arrotondata, con le stesse strane ali sporgenti che compaiono sul Tarocco di Marsiglia. Come sul Tarocco di Marsiglia, l’Imperatore è ritratto di profilo da sinistra; ne differisce in quanto regge lo scettro sulla spalla e lo scudo davanti a sé e non ha le gambe accavallate. Il Papa non assomiglia per niente alla versione della carta del Tarocco di Marsiglia. Con un pastorale in mano e una mitra in capo, egli è ritto presso un altare, di fronte al quale è inginocchiato un monaco o frate. La Fortezza è a capo scoperto ed è in piedi con la mano sulla testa di un leone.

(You can see very little of the card at the right end of the second row which is, presumably, the Popess: only a cloaked figure on a high-backed chair. As in the card of the Tarot of Marseilles, the Empress is sitting, holding the shield with the imperial eagle in one hand and a scepter in the other resting on her shoulder. Her throne has a high rounded back, with the same strange protruding wings appearing on the Tarot of Marseilles. As in the Tarot of Marseilles, the Emperor is portrayed in profile to the left; it differs in that he holds the scepter over his shoulder and the shield in front of him and does not have his legs crossed. The Pope does not look anything like the card version of the Tarot of Marseilles. With a crozier in his hand and a miter on his head, he is standing at an altar, in front of which is a kneeling monk or brother. Fortitude is bareheaded and is standing with her hand on the head of a lion.)

For the Popess, either there is not enough visible, or it is what Dummett calls the Pope. The Tarot de Marseille is like the PMB in having a book and no key. So is the type A Rosenwald. The Metropolitan B type is like the PMB in having a staff, now specifically a crozier; she may have a book (; the crozier makes her much like what Dummett calls the Cary Sheet Pope. Geoffroy turns the staff into a key ( ... froy_2.jpg), but this is not followed elsewhere, except for the Pope. I think the Anonymous Parisian also has a key, but it might be a banner ( ... froy_1.jpg). De Hautot and the Belgian of course have the Captain.

The Empress's high backed chair does give the effect of wings. Dummett says it is similar in the Tarot de Marseille; it is, but the Tarot de Marseille's sides are closer together, more realistic. Most important is the shield with the eagle, which all the other French cards have, too. That comes uniquely from CY and PMB, among painted cards, but the Metropolitan also has the Eagle, as well as a high-backed chair that is not at all like wings ( The Dukes of Ferrara, elevated by the Pope, were also vassals of the emperor in Modena. The card may derive from the PMB.

The Cary Sheet Emperor looks to me very similar to the Tarot de Marseille, in comparison to other early Emperors. Again, there is the eagle shield, in all the same decks. with him sitting in profile, no back visible on the chair. I cannot tell whether his legs are crossed or not. If not, the crossed legs might be an innovation derived from the PMB Kings of Coins and Batons, repeated in group 5 of the Budapest (download/file.php?id=401).

For the Cary Sheet Pope. Dummett sees no relation to the Tarot de Marseille. But in fact the crozier staff is much like the Noblet and Vieville Pope's ( ... e-pape.jpg). Some, like Kaplan and Andy's Playing Cards, have in fact identified this Cary Sheet card as the Popess. The Metropolitan sheet gives both Pope and Popess croziers; the Pope's is slanted, the Popess's vertical( The PMB is no help here, as both Pope and Popess have staffs (with a single horizontal bar) but neither is like a crozier. The Geoffroy, Anonymous Parisian and Vieville have keys, which I see also on the Charles VI ( ... les_05.jpg), d'Este and Metropolitan ( Pope cards. There is one "monk" on the Cary Sheet (or is it Pope Joan's lover?). The presence of two is perhaps owing to the "Charles VI", which got to Paris and then was forgotten about until 1704.

The lion on the Cary Sheet certainly ties the card both to Milan and the Tarot de Marseille. She looks rather like the Tarot de Marseille lady, too, even without her hat. The type A cards have a column instead of a lion. The only type B card I can find is the Metropolitan, which has a lady and a lion (

Finally (p. 331):
Delle carte della fila più alta, abbiamo solo le metà inferiori. Da quanto si può vedere, l’Amore ricorda la carta corrispondente del mazzo Visconti di Modrone, tranne per l’assenza del cagnolino. Del Carro, scorgiamo solo i due cavalli, che sembrano ritratti di fronte: tutto fa pensare che il disegno coincida con quello della carta corrispondente del Tarocco di Marsiglia. Lo stesso vale per la Ruota della Fortuna: vediamo solo la piattaforma su cui poggia la ruota, la sua parte più bassa e il manico che la fa girare, una caratteristica, quest’ultima, alquanto inconsueta della rappresentazione di questo soggetto nel Tarocco di Marsiglia.

(Of the cards of the top row, we have only the lower halves. From what we can see, Love recalls the corresponding card in the Visconti di Modrone deck, except for the absence of the dog. Of the Chariot, we see only the two horses, which appear depicted frontally: everything suggests that the design matches that of the corresponding card of the Tarot of Marseilles. The same applies to the Wheel of Fortune: we only see the platform upon which the wheel, its lower part and the handle that turns, a feature, the latter a somewhat unusual representation of this subject in the Tarot of Marseilles.)

The Cary Sheet Love, like the Cary-Yale, as Dummett observes, (and PMB, I'd add) has one couple, both standing. This also differentiates the Cary Sheet from other early Love cards The Metropolitan has an arrow piercing the lady (, which I don't think fits the Cary Sheet, as they are too close together. Here the Geoffroy and Vieville cards are similar in having the couple, but there is also a male figure, probably a priest, on the card. The Tarot de Marseille makes the figure next to the couple more ambiguous, not a priest and possibly female.

The Chariot is like Tarot de Marseille not only in that the horses are presented frontally, but also in that one is turned toward the other (look at the eyes of the one on our left; see ). In that regard I think it is in fact like the PMB and Cary-Yale, but it is a relationship of meaning, not visual similarity: that one horse turns to the other means that it is following the other's lead, as Plato's horse of appetite follows his horse of spirit in the Phaedrus. The CY and PMB horses are similarly that of spirit and appetite. The Geoffroy follows the Issy Chariot card (which Dummett attributes to Milan, though by a Ferrarese artist) in having different colored horses, which is repeated in the Noblet. I would say red is for appetite or passion, white for spirit or nobility. The Vieville humanizes the horses; that might even be true in the Cary Sheet, if you look at the eyes and then below the eyes. The French cards follow the type A convention of having a male figure on top. We can't see the Cary Sheet's top, but I expect that it was like the Tarot de Marseille's.

The Wheel, like the Tarot de Marseille's, has a crank, an unusual feature, as Dummett notes. It is like PMB and other early cards in having 4 figures (even if we don't see the other 3; when there are three, it is the bottom one that is omitted). The type B Metropolitan card gives an ass's head to the one going up, a human head to the one going down, a full ass at the top, a full human at the bottom ( ... talian.jpg, with Noblet); it seems a message to eschew worldly power. Anonymous has all four human ( The Vieville makes the one going down human and drops the bottom figure. The Tarot de Marseille puts a king at the top and turning the one going up (challenging the king?) into an ass. The Tarot de Marseille II will make both the one going up and the one going down into rodent-like animals.

Dummett does not try to identify the two cards in the upper left and right corners of the Cary Sheet. In fact it is fairly clear that the card on the upper left is the Hanged Man. This identification was made by Kaplan and demonstrated further in "Andy's Playing Cards" (; like the Noblet figure, the Cary Sheet's man's feather-like fingers hang down. Vieville is the same. In this feature, the Cary Sheet's is like no other early Hanged Man. The Tarot de Marseille II's, however, is much like the PMB's.

Dummett supposes that the Hanged Man had been at the bottom right of the sheet, but somehow it and the one next to it, which he supposes to have been Death, got torn off and were replaced by pip cards. If you look, you can see that the top border of the Baton card is a little crooked compared with the borders of the triumphs, and it is a bit smaller. That might just be a feature of the suit card, however. Clearly the Hanged Man at least is in the top row.

Kaplan identifies the card at the upper right as Justice. That is a good guess. I cannot imagine that it is Death, Judgment or the World. It might be a Queen. What we see is unlike any Justice card I know of. The Tarot de Marseille version, with its high backed chair, is not distinctively like any of the early Justices rather than another; but if the platform bottom that we see is part of a raised chair, that would at least support the identification as Justice.

Dummett's comments on the Hermit are in relation to two cards found in the Bibliotheque Nationale by Giselle Lambert. The other is the Queen of Cups, which he relates to the Tarot de Marseille card of that name (p. 331). I have not found a picture of these cards:
Nel 1985 la signora Gisèle Lambert della Bibliothèque Nationale di Parigi vi scoprì una coppia di tarocchi, stampati da matrici di legno, della fine del Quattrocento 6. Le due carte, ovviamente dello stesso mazzo, sono l’Eremita e la Regina di Coppe, fatto che esclude un confronto diretto con il foglio Cary. L’Eremita è rappresentato come un vecchio barbuto a capo scoperto, la testa inclinata a destra, che porta un mantello sopra un abito lungo, una borsa sospesa alla cintura; egli avanza da sinistra a destra, con un bastone nella mano destra e una lanterna nella mano sinistra. Questa carta non ha alcuna somiglianza con le carte corrispondenti del Tarocco bolognese, delle Minchiate o del foglio Ro-senwald. Rassomiglia alquanto a quella del foglio antico ferrarese, ma ne differisce per la mancanza del numero. La si può ritenere antenata della carta del Tarocco di Marsiglia.

Lo stesso vale per la Regina di Coppe. Una dama incoronata è seduta su una sedia a schienale alto simile a quella della Temperanza del foglio Cary. Girata a destra, ella tiene un grande calice sul ginocchio destro. La carta rassomiglia anche a quella del Tarocco di Marsiglia. In quel modello, la Regina regge nella mano sinistra una corta spada, che manca nella carta della Bibliothèque Nationale, laddove la Regina tiene la coppa con entrambe le mani. Ma riguardo alla posizione della coppa e alla sua forma, la carta quattrocentesca e quella del Tarocco di Marsiglia coincidono esattamente: su entrambe le carte, la grande coppa sferica scanalata è coperta e ha una base esagonale. Non c’è motivo per dubitare che queste due carte provengano da un mazzo milanese degli ultimi due decenni del XV secolo.

(In 1985, Mme. Gisèle Lambert of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris discovered a couple of tarot cards, printed by woodblock at the end of the Quattrocento 6. The two cards, from the same deck, are the Hermit and the Queen of Cups, which of course exclude a direct comparison with the Cary sheet. The Hermit is depicted as a bearded, bareheaded old man, his head tilted to the right, wearing a coat over a long robe, a bag suspended from the belt; he progresses from left to right, with a stick in his right hand and a lantern in his left hand. This card has no similarity with the matching cards of the Tarot of Bologna, the Minchiate or Rosenwald sheet. It somewhat resembles that of the old sheet of Ferrara, but differs because of the lack of numbers. This can be considered the ancestor of the card of the Tarot of Marseilles.

The same goes for the Queen of Cups. A crowned lady is sitting on a high back chair similar to that of Temperance of the Cary sheet. Turned to the right, she holds a large cup on her right knee. The card also resembles that of the Tarot of Marseilles. In that model, the Queen holds a short sword in her left hand, which is missing in the card of the Bibliothèque Nationale, where the Queen holds the cup with both hands. But disregarding the position of the cup and its form, the fifteenth-century card and that of the Tarot of Marseilles coincide exactly, on both cards, the large spherical fluted cup is covered and has a hexagonal base. There is no reason to doubt that these two cards come from a Milanese deck of the last two decades of the fifteenth century.
One reason for doubt might be where the cards were found, in Paris. It is true that many books from Pavia and Milan were taken to Paris during the French occuptation. But were these cards found in one of those? That needs to be explored. Also, the fact that the Cary Sheet card lacks numbers is not relevant, in the comparison with the Metropolitan Hermit (; Dummett says elsewhere that Ferrara was probably the first to put numbers on its cards, and Milan apparently the last. There are no numbers on any of these Cary Sheet cards. However the Metropolitan Hermit might well have been influenced by an earlier Milanese card. The Anonymous Parisian, in turn, is influenced by the Metrapolitan ( ... ris/09.jpg). The PMB Hermit also has the staff. All the other early cards have either nothing or crutches. So this is a definite link to Milan.

Definitely missing among the Cary Sheet triumphs are Death, Judgment, and World. These were surely there, as they are in every tarot deck. However since they have Milanese equivalents, it is worth comparing them to the Tarot de Marseille. Death is similar to the PMB in that he is standing, unlike other Deaths who are on horseback.In the Victoria and Albert and "Lombardy I", he exchanges the bow for a scythe. For the people on the ground, we would have to go to the CY; the Charles VI and the Rosenwald also have them. Angel/Judgment is like many early cards, starting with the CY. The practice of having precisely 3 figures on the ground seems to be Milanese. The Tarot de Marseille World is like the Sforza Castle card only.

Another element that Dummett considers is the layout on the sheet. He says (p. 330):
Sebbene i trionfi non siano disposti in sequenza completa, parecchi gruppi compaiono nell’ordine corretto, da destra a sinistra e, quindi, il fatto che la Temperanza compaia alla destra del Diavolo e della Torre suggerisce un ordine di tipo C. Un esame accurato del foglio rivela che le due carte numerali non erano originariamente dello stesso foglio, ma sono state aggiunte da un possessore precedente, probabilmente al posto della Morte e dell'Impiccato; dovevano essere tagliate da un altro foglio, ora andato perduto, contenente carte dei semi.

(Although the triumphs are not arranged in a complete sequence, several groups appear in the correct order, from left to right and, therefore, the fact that Temperance appears to the right of the Devil and the Tower suggests an order of type C. A careful examination of the sheet reveals that the two pip cards were not originally on the same worksheet, but have been added by a previous owner, probably in place of Death and the Hanged Man; they must have been cut from another sheet, now lost, containing suit cards.)
For the images, see

This arrangement does correspond to the C order in some places, most distinctively in having Temperance just before Devil. But I think he is wrong that the Hanged Man was originally next to Temperance on the other side; also, the card at the top right is probably Justice, as Kaplan surmises. So we have:

top row: Justice, Love, Chariot, Wheel, Hanged Man.
Second: Popess -Empress-Emperor-Pope-Fortitude.
Third: Fool, Bateleur, Star, Moon, Sun.
Bottom: Temperance, Devil, Tower.

As you can see, there are strings of from 2 to 4 cards that correspond to the C order. The virtues do not fit, except for Temperance. If we put the strings together in a way that fits all the orders, we would have:

Fool, Bateleur, // Popess, Empress, Emperor, Pope, Fortitude, // Justice, Love, Chariot, Wheel, Hanged Man, // Temperance, Devil, Tower, // Star, Moon, Sun.

While the position of Temperance indicates C order, the order as a whole is not exactly the same as any of the lists. The high position of Love is not shared by any; it is more a type B characteristic, or the Sicilian A. The order of Fortitude before Justice is not shared by any other C; it is more A and B. If it is a C order. it is more like A and B than in the lists, as is indeed we might expect, given that the Cary Sheet is earlier. To me this suggests a further wrinkle in the question of whether A, B, or C is the original one: we have to keep in mind that the original order of trumps might not correspond to any existing list.

(For reference:

A: ... .35+PM.png
B: ... .56+PM.png

C: ... rders2.jpg ... .16+PM.png

Dummett's conclusion (p. 331f):
È chiaro, quindi, che ci troviamo di fronte all’antenato del Tarocco di Marsiglia, senza scritte e nemmeno numerali. Elementi secondari — il viso pieno sulla Luna, il viso sul torso del [end of 331] Diavolo — suggeriscono che la versione variante del Tarocco di Marsiglia rimase più fedele all’originale della sua versione definitiva; c’è stata comunque una notevole evoluzione dal prototipo milanese alla versione finale.

(It is clear, therefore, that we are faced with the ancestor of the Tarot of Marseilles, even without written numerals. Secondary elements - full face on the moon, the face on the torso of the [end of ] Devil - suggest that the variant version of the Tarot of Marseilles remained faithful to the original of the final version; There was, however, a significant evolution from the Milanese prototype to the final version,)
Yes, it is clear that the Tarot de Marseille is descended from the Cary Sheet. But there are other influences: the PMB as opposed to the Cary Sheet, and cards from other regions. Some attributes on the Tarot de Marseille are ones that I see earliest on the "Mantegna" cards, which are Italian, c. 1465 or earlier: the dog on the Fool card, the four animals on the World, the crossed legs on the Emperor. Also, while there are Milanese elements in the Cary Sheet, there are other influences as well. We might wonder if the Cary Sheet is even Italian. But it is perfectly natural that card makers should borrow from cards elsewhere in constructing new decks, even decks from other regions. They were a mobile lot, as Dummett has established in the case of France. And cards traveled via the merchants even more easily than card makers.

There are many CY/PMB elements in the Cary Sheet (the flower pattern in the suits, the fool's staff and leggings, the Bagatto shown alone with a stick and no jester's costume, the Pope/Popess's staff, Love's couple, the Chariot's horses (I think), the Hermit's staff, the child on the Sun, the three persons of Judgment; but many elements are not: Temperance's chair, the Fool's and Bagatto's hats, the Bagatto's shoes (we can't forget them!), the odd elements in the Hanged Man and Justice, and most of the Star, Moon, and Sun. The Star and Moon are particularly suspicious, because they are so far from the PMB and so close to the Tarot de Marseille. But the other elements, plus ways in which the Tarot de Marseille reflects the PMB, Brera-Brambilla, Sforza Castle rather than the Cary Sheet (e,g, the Aces, suit portrayals, Death, Judgment, World) make the Cary Sheet clearly in a line of development from the early Milan cards to the Tarot de Marseille.

There is also the issue of which Tarot de Marseille, I or II. Dummett addresses this issue in chapter 16 (p. 377):
Tre dettagli conferiscono probabilità all’ipotesi che la sua variante rappresentasse uno stadio di sviluppo più antico rispetto alla versione definitiva. (1) Sul foglio Gary la Luna ha un viso pieno e in tutto il resto assomiglia moltissimo alla carta del Tarocco di Marsiglia. (2) Come nella variante del modello francese la figura che rappresenta il Mondo nella carta del Castello Sforzesco ha la gamba sinistra piegata, ma non incrociata dietro alla destra. (3) Sul foglio Cary, il Diavolo, sebbene del tutto diverso da tutte le versioni del Tarocco di Marsiglia, ha un volto sullo stomaco. La versione variante rappresenta cosi la penultima fase nell’evoluzione del modello. Per quanto riguarda gli stadi precedenti, dobbiamo tirare a indovinare.

(Three details confer probability to the hypothesis that the variant represented a stage of development that is older than the final version. (1) On the Cary sheet the Moon has a full face and throughout the rest of the card looks a lot like the Tarot of Marseilles. (2) As in the French variant of the figure representing the World, in the Sforza Castle card, it has its left leg bent, but not crossed over the right. (3) On the Cary sheet, the Devil, although completely different from all versions of the Tarot of Marseilles, has a face on its stomach. The variant version is thus the penultimate stage in the evolution of the model. As for the previous stages, we have to guess.
These are good points, to which I would add the Pope's crozier, La Force's lion, the Hanged Man's fingers, the World card's cloak, and possibly a male-female pair on the Sun card (all Noblet, all but the Sun also Vieville).

He continues, immediately following in chapter 16 (p. 377f):
E probabile che le ali della Temperanza nel trionfo XIHI siano il risultato di un’errata interpretazione dello scranno a schienale alto su cui essa originariamente sedeva. Sul foglio Cary, lo [end of 377] schienale del sedile è diritto; ma l’impera tri ce siede su un sedile esattamente analogo, con un alto schienale arrotondato, come quello su cui siede la Giustizia nel Tarocco di Marsiglia, e abbiamo più di un esempio di trasformazioni settecentesche del suo schienale in ali. È facile comprendere tali errori. Le matrici in legno erano costose e venivano tramandate da un fabbricante al successore; quando erano troppo consunte per essere riutilizzate, le si copiava, interpretando come meglio si poteva i dettagli confusi.

(It is likely that the wings of Temperance in triumph XIIII are the result of a misinterpretation of the high-backed bench on which it originally sat. On the Cary sheet, the [end of 377] seat back is straight; but the Empress sits on a seat exactly similar, with a high rounded back, like the one on which Justice sits in the Tarot of Marseilles, and we have more of an example of eighteenth-century transformations of its back into wings. It is easy to understand such errors. The wood matrices were expensive and were handed down from one manufacturer to his successor; when they were too worn to be used again, they were copied, reproducing as best he could the confused details.
It is hard to see how one could misinterpret the Cary Sheet Temperance's chair as wings. More likely it is a deliberate change, although one that could have been suggested by the Empress's chair.

It is also clear that the Cary Sheet and other Milanese cards influenced the non-TdM cards of France and Belgium, but to a lesser extent. Here there is more influence from elsewhere in Italy. Dummett has a theory about that, which I will get to in a later post.


It is clear that the Cary Sheet cards have some relationship to the Tarot de Marseille and some relationship to the early hand-painted Milanese cards. But we still haven't formed an idea abut whether the relationship to France or Burgundy is before or after the Cary Sheet. Dummett is clear that changes between the Cary Sheet and the Tarot de Marseille I could be attributed to France (p. 378):
Alcuni cambiamenti nel modello furono, ovviamente, innovazioni francesi, come l’alterazione nella posizione e stile della coppa retta dal Cavaliere di Coppe, e raggiunta dei cani al trionfo XVin (ta Luna). Comunque, l’antenato del Tarocco di Marsiglia deve essere stato introdotto in Francia con le prime carte da tarocchi che vi si diffusero e i fabbricanti francesi cominciarono immediatamente a produrre mazzi di tarocchi in proprio.

(Some changes in the model were, of course, French innovations, such as the alteration in the position and style of the straight cup of the Knight of Cups, and in triumph XVIII (The Moon). of the dogs. However, the ancestor of the Tarot of Marseilles must have been introduced into France with the first tarot cards, which will spread, and French manufacturers will immediately began to produce tarot decks on their own.)
But what about tarot cards based on the PMB and other Italian cards, made in France with changes there, and that the Cary Sheet is a product of these designs?

Against this, one could say, well, where is the evidence? Well, one is the Marcello letter of 1449. He had been given a triumph deck, which was sending with this letter to "Isabella Queen of Lorraine". who was then near Angers, capital of Anjou in western France. Her husband, the Duke of Anjou, rules there and in Provence, which therefore is also her realm. He does not see any need to explain this game, as opposed to the "new kind of triumphs" that is his real prize (the Marziano deck); so it appears that at least in this court, either inin Provence or Anjou or both, they knew the game and the deck. Huck has highlighted the relevant parts of the letter a few posts back, at posting.php?mode=reply&f=11&t=1019#pr15252

There are also cards that suggest a French connection. The Goldschmidt cards are classified by Dummett as Milanese and do seem Milan-related, with its king reaching for a star (as on the second-artist PMB). There is one strong suggestion of France on the Goldschmidt cards: one of the cards is a stylized dolphin. Just such a dolphin was on the arms of the province of Dauphine, which nominally was under the rule of the eldest son of the king of France. If Joan of Arc's Dauphin, Charles VII, is too early (1420s), there is his son, the future Louis XI, who was dauphin from the time of Charles' coronation in 1429 until 1461; there is that king's son, the future Charles VIII, who was Dauphin 1470-1484. The next Dauphin was Charles VIIII's son Francis, born in 1497, died in infancy. Then there was not another one until 1518, the eldest son of Francis I (Wikipedia article on Dauphin) But there were ample occasions before then for giving a present to a dauphin. Huck tells me that these cards were dated by chemical analysis of the pigments to the mid-15th century by the Doermer Institute of Sswitzerland, as reported by Dorfman. I don't know what the range of error of the test was, but I would expect several decades at least.

Between the imagery of PMB and the Cary Sheet I only see one indication of possible French or Burgundian influence. The only place I have seen droplets like on the Cary Sheet Tower card is in a depiction of hailstones, in a c.1330 Norman-French series of illuminations on the events of the Apocalypse (see my post at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=172&p=14659&hilit=hail#p14659).

There is one other possibility, namely, the Star, Moon, Sun sequence, only because these are so different from any other early cards in Italy. I will deal with that at the end of this post.

These mostly speak for French influence. For Burgundy, there is much less. The only reason I have for thinkng the tarot might have been at the Burgundian court in Brussels is tarot-like images in the art of Hieronymus Bosch. However these suggestions might simply be the result of exchanges between artists in Italy and Flanders. Decks of cards are like model books, sources of new and different imagery.

By the same token, any similarities in painting and clothing styles, including the globes on the Tower card, to northern art can easily be explained. There were numerous artistic connections between France, Burgundy, and the Italian courts during the second half of the 15th century. Musicians from the north were extremely popular and competed for among the courts. Painters came to Italy and went to Flanders, including one sent by Bianca Maria Sforza in 1461. Surely, for the courts, the arts exchanged would likely not have excluded allegorical cards, including the "Mantegna" (for the dog and the crossed legs). And it would have gone both ways. In style the Cary Sheet might be Italian simply because it had absorbed the best of Burgundian advances by then, as shown at that time by Leonardo, Raphael, etc. And when they wanted to portray somethng exotic, they had imagery from the North to draw on. But the only exotic dresser I see in the Cary Sheet is the Bagatto, who perhaps is meant that way.

It is impossible to say whether cheap printed cards were popular in France or Burgundy during the time in question. But by 20 years before the first written documentation (the 15-20 year lag that Dummett seems to endorse), tarot cards might have started appearing in France or Burgundy (i.e. 15-20 years before 1505). It may well be that returning French soldiers were the ones that created a mass demand. But why them and not returning German soldiers a couple of decades later? It may have already existed, to some extent. (On the 15-20 lag, I mean the dating of tarot in Milan to 1428 in Milan, although the earliest evidence is c. 1441, and the dating in Bologna to 1435, although the earliest reference is 1459, if we exclude the "Bolognese merchant" who sold tarot in Ferrara in 1442. Today I checked Dummett's later work with McLeod, 2004, to see if he changed his mind. He did: he dates Milan to 1425 (vol. 1, p. 1), and the CY to c. 1441. For Bologna and most other places he doesn't say anything about earliest dates; that may be because this book is concerned to document known games rather than making inferences to what is not documented.)

Even while thinking it plausible that tarot was known in the North in the last third or so of the 15th century, I am not proposing that the Cary Sheet or the early Sforza Castle cards are French or Burgundian. I have other reasons for thinking the Cary Sheet is Italian, having to do with the meanings of these cards, not overt meanings, but non-obvious ones, that are far more likely to have arisen in Italy than in France or Burgundy. One consideration is Egyptianate imagery that I see in the sheet; the courts of Italy but not France of Burgundy was fascinated by Egypt and its "hieroglyphs" during the 15th century. as interpreted by Plutarch, Horappolo, and others (see viewtopic.php?f=14&t=566#p8116). Another consideration is that the only way I can make sense of the Cary Sheet's imagery and order is in terms of certain works known primarily in Milan and Florence, a Middle Platonic vision of the life of the soul (for which see my essay at It especially fits Temperance, the Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, and Sun, in that order, which is probably the most problematic part of the Cary Sheet. The most essential of these philosophical writings were not known in France and Burgundy at that time. I have argued for these interpretations on other threads. I will argue in more general terms (for "hidden meanings" generally) later in this thread. To be sure, the average player would not have cared; but these things come from the courts down. Speculative as it may be, that is the only way I can see to argue for a definite Italian provenance for the Cary Sheet imagery that does not stem from Italian tarot cards.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo"

Dummett's chapter 7 is on the order of the triumphs. Here he presents his well-known division into, first, three groups within the hierarchy--beginning, middle, and end--and second, his division into three types of orders, A, B, and C.

Again, it seems to me that he is putting the cart before the horse, logically speaking (although not rhetorically). He bases his argument here on what he will develop in the next six chapters or so, namely, a large number of lists of the order of trumps in different places that come from poems, prose accounts, and the cards themselves, when numbers are on them. However I will proceed as he does.

But first I need to go back to Dummett's chapter 4. It is not about the invention of the game and the deck, but rather about when the triumphs became standardized as to the subjects and their number, as he makes comments on that issue. This point is of course relevant to the division into sections and orders.

In his conjectured timetable, he puts 1444 as the time of standardization (p. 106):
1444: la composizione del mazzo di tarocchi diventa standardizzata dappertutto.

(1444: The composition of the tarot deck becomes standardized everywhere.)
As far as I can tell, Dummett picks 1444 because that is the approximate date of the Brera-Brambilla, which has the standard 14 cards per suit. If it follows the 3:2 principle of triumphs to cards per suit, it will have 21 triumphs. As I have said, that is a big "if"; not only are there different possible principles, including that of no principle, but there was a state of war among some of the regions affected.

Elsewhere in the chapter he makes other statements. On p.98f, we read:
Il mazzo Visconti di Modrone fornisce una prova che il mazzo dei tarocchi subì una certa evoluzione, come era da attendersi. Quest’evoluzione deve aver toccato senza dubbio i soggetti dei trionfi, e forse anche il loro numero. Poiché la serie dei trionfi è estremamente incompleta in tutti i gruppi di carte da tarocchi dipinte a mano, a parte il mazzo Visconti-Sforza e i tarocchi ‘Carlo VI’, si possono avanzare ipotesi di vario tipo. E nondimeno probabile che, a partire dal 1450, fosse ormai fissa la composizione standard di un mazzo di tarocchi, per quanto riguarda sia il numero delle carte che i soggetti dipinti sui trionfi.

In ogni caso, quella che è di gran lunga la più dettagliata fonte quattrocentesca sui tarocchi, un sermone ‘De Ludo' contro il gioco d’azzardo, tratto da un volume manoscritto anonimo di sermoni, conferma che i soggetti dei trionfi erano già stati [end of 98] standardizzati negli ultimi due decenni del secolo 3. In questo sermone, il predicatore elenca tutti i soggetti normali dei trionfi, compreso il Matto. La maggior parte del sermone fu pubblicata dallo studioso inglese Robert Steele in un articolo del 1900 4. In esso data il volume fra il 1450 e il 1470. In un articolo dell’anno seguente, egli è più cauto nella datazione, suggerendo il periodo 1450-80 5. Ricerche più recenti di Ronald Decker suggeriscono una data più tarda per lo stesso volume, perché alcuni fogli hanno filigrane del 1500 circa. Ovviamente la scrittura del libro può essere stata di molti anni posteriore alla predica del sermone, che è perciò da datare fra il 1480 e il 1500.

(The Visconti di Madrone pack provides evidence that the tarot pack underwent a certain evolution, as was to be expected. This development undoubtedly must have affected the trump subjects, and perhaps even their number. Since the set of trumps is extremely incomplete in all groups of hand-painted tarot cards, apart from the Visconti-Sforza pack and 'Charles VI' tarot, one can advance hypotheses of various types. It is nevertheless likely that, beginning in 1450, it the standard composition of a tarot pack was now set, as regards both the number of cards that the subjects painted on the triumphs.

In any case, what is by far the most detailed source on the fifteenth-century tarot cards, a sermon 'De Ludo' against gambling, taken from an anonymous manuscript volume of sermons, confirm that the subjects of the trumps had already been standardized by the last two decades of the century (3). In this sermon, the preacher lists all the normal subjects of the trumps, including the Fool. Most of the sermon was published by the English scholar Robert Steele in an article of 1900 (4). In it, he dates the volume between 1450 and 1470. In an article the following year, he is more cautious in dating, suggesting the period 1450–80 (5). More recent research by Ronald Decker suggest a later date for the same volume, because some papers have watermarks circa 1500. Of course, the writing of the book may have been many years back to the preaching of the sermon, which is therefore to be dated between 1480 and 1500.)
3. Property for a time of Robert Steele, the volume is currently preserved at the Museum of the United States Playing Card Company of Cincinnati, Ohio; it was already in the Museum of Art in the same city.
4. R. Steele, 'A Notice of the Ludus Triumphorum and some early Italian card games', Archaeologi, Vol. 57, 1900, pp. 185-200.
5. Id., 'Early playing cards, Their design and decoration', Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, Vol. 49, 1900-1, pp. 317-23.
Dummett's 1450 date here seems to be based on the estimated date for the PMB (i.e. Visconti-Sforza), from which 19 out of 21 triumphs survive, plus the Fool. Given that 6 of these triumphs are by a second artist in the style of around 1475, and that none of the Milan decks based on the PMB have either the Devil or the Tower cards, it seems to me that the assumption that the deck was standardized everywhere by then is unclear on that basis. But certainly by the time of the Boiardo trionfi poem (he died in 1494), which has 21 subjects plus the Fool, as well as the "Steele Sermon", we can say for sure that this was true in Ferrara, probably by the 1480s. And before that, by the time of the d'Este wedding in 1473, there was already the Sun and Star, and in Florence of around the same time the Moon and the Tower. Also, in a painting by the Bembos in Cremona, which the Denver Art Museum dates at 1455-1460 (although Longhi to 1462, per Kaplan vol. 2 p. 132), there is a detail on the upper right (, of the three magi very much like the two figures the Star card of the d'Este deck (or the three of the Rothschild sheet). So I think we can say that by 1455-1460 there were, everywhere, at least 19 subjects and perhaps all. in any case, there were enough that we can start theorizing about the order of the triumphs.

To get the three groups, Dummett performs two operations. First, he removes the virtues from consideration at this point.That is because they have the feature of being widely various among all the different lists that have come down to us (including the numbers on the cards).

He does not reflect on why this might be, as he is doing a purely formal operation. It seems to me that this shows that the virtues were less important in defining the sequence than the other cards. First there were the "triumphs" of Petrarch Boccaccio, and perhaps Emperors, then the virtues and other "triumphs".

In excluding the virtues, he did so on the basis of how they move around from one standard order to another in the different lists. Now he extends that principle to the other cards, resulting in the definition of three sections to the hierarchy. Here only one thing, it seems to me, is critical, namely, the definition of the middle group. If you have that clearly defined on purely formal grounds, the others fall into place. Here is what he says about that middle group (p. 174):
Il segmento intermedio comprende cinque carte, il cui ordine tipico, dalla più bassa alla più alta è: l’Amore, il Carro, la Ruota, l’Eremita, l’Impiccato. In tutti i casi in cui l’ordine interno di queste carte è diverso, la differenza è il risultato di uno scambio di posizione fra una coppia di carte adiacenti: l’Amore e il Carro; il Carro e la Ruota; la Ruota e l’Eremita; oppure l’Eremita e l’Impiccato. Almeno due virtù, e qualche volta tutte e tre, saranno intercalate in questo segmento.

(The intermediate segment includes five cards, whose typical order, from lowest to highest is: Love, the Chariot, the Wheel, the Hermit, the Hanged Man. In all cases in which the internal order of the cards is different, the difference is the result of an exchange of position between a pair of adjacent cards: Love and the Chariot; The Chariot and the Wheel; The Wheel and the Hermit; or the Hermit and the Hanged Man. At least two virtues, and sometimes all three, will be interspersed in this segment.)
Since Love is the lowest card of the segment, that defines its lower boundary. Since the Hanged Man is the high card of that series, that defines the upper boundary. And since no other cards except the virtues are ever in between, we have a clear separation into groups.

In the case of the first group, the interchange of cards does not define the boundaries. The Pope is never interchanged with any other card. So it could just as well have been put in the second group. Likewise, Death is never interchanged with any other card above it. So it could just as well be in the second group, too. In fact, in his 1986 FMR article, he did put Death in the middle group. But it is the fact of interchange that defines the group. So the Pope is clearly in the first group and Death clearly in the third group. I had not appreciated this point until I read this chapter. Some followers of Dummett ignore this point and put not only Death but even the Devil in the middle group. But that is ignoring the principle upon which he divides the groups.

I have one criticism of this division into sections. If the basis is the variability of different triumphs, then there ought to be four sections, because there is one long sequence that doesn't vary at all among the lists, namely, from Death through the Sun. He says (p. 174):
Il segmento finale è formato da otto trionfi — la Morte, il Diavolo, la Torre, la Stella, la Luna, il Sole, l’Angelo e il Mondo. Trascurando ancora una volta il possibile inserimento di una delle virtù, queste carte si presentano esattamente nell’ordine indicato, con la sola, ma importantissima, eccezione che talvolta le posizioni del Mondo e dell’Angelo sono rovesciate e l’Angelo diventa così la carta più alta.

(The final segment consists of eight triumphs - Death, the Devil, the Tower, the Star, the Moon, the Sun, the Angel and the World. Neglecting once again the possible inclusion of one of the virtues, these cards appear exactly in the order listed, with the single but important exception that sometimes the positions in the World and the Angel are reversed and the Angel becomes the highest card.)
There are actually two parts here: an invariant one, Death through Sun, and a part where the triumphs switch with each other, the last two triumphs. I will explain the importance of this distinction at the end of this post.

Then we come to the orders. Putting the virtues back in, there are three ways it is done. In one, type A, they are all one right after the other in the middle section. In another, type B, Justice is next to Angel. It is a criterion upon which the Judgment, to which the Angel summons all souls,Also, the virtues are not put next to each other. is based. Third, Temperance is put just above Death, and so like B in the third section. Again the virtues are not put next to each other.

Finally, there is a "mixed A and C". This has the Angel above the World, as in type A, but the virtues are arranged in order of type C. This is the order found in Piedmont, which evidently had influence from both A and C regions.

There are other things that can be said about the three orders, but these are the criteria he uses in differentiating them.

Looking at the places associated with the various lists, he also notices a geographic designation that can be put in the three orders. A is in Bologna and Florence, and later also in Rome and Sicily, and thus "Southern". B is in Ferrara and probably Venice, and so "Eastern", and C is in Milan and France, and so "Western".

How are we to account for the differences among the three orders? His answer is that in the absence of numbers, players used the subjects of the cards to identify their position in the order, and (2) players in one locality only cared that there be uniformity within that locale and not other regions of which they may know nothing. Therefore, he says, referring to this second element (p. 179):
E questo elemento, più ancora delle differenze fra i modelli standard usati nelle diverse aree, a fornire la discriminante principale per distinguere tre diverse tradizioni di Tarocchi, la cui origine risale ai primi stadi dello sviluppo del gioco. Non siamo in grado di stabilire se i diversi ordini di trionfi furono adottati come deviazioni intenzionali dalla pratica dei giocatori di altre città, o semplicemente come conseguenza di un imperfetto ricordo di tale pratica; ma è evidente che almeno le caratteristiche principali di ciascuno dei vari ordini possono essere state fissate solo nel primo momento in cui il gioco fu introdotto nell’area che osserva quel dato ordine. Vedremo che l’ordine di tipo A rappresenta la pratica dei giocatori di Bologna, quello di tipo B la pratica dei giocatori di Ferrara e quello di tipo C la pratica dei giocatori di Milano.

(It is this element, even more than the differences between the standard models used in different areas, that provides the main discriminant to distinguish the three different traditions of the Tarot, whose origin dates back to the early developmental stages of the game. We are not able to determine whether the different orders of triumphs were adopted as intentional deviations from the practice of players to other cities, or simply as a result of an imperfect recollection of this practice; but it is evident that at least the main features of each of the various orders can only have been laid down the first time the game was introduced in the area that observes the given order. We will see that the order of type A is the practice of the players of Bologna, one of type B the practice of Ferrara players and type C the practice of the players of Milan.)
And with that, the chapter ends. It seems to me that any deviation in the order of the cards done after numbers had been put on the cards (i.e. after the early 16th century at the latest) would have had to be intentional, e.g. in the Tarot de Marseille and Sicilian cards.

My main area of doubt about this argument is that he has lumped into his various lists, resulting in around 21 different orders, cards of widely different historical periods: they go from Ferrara c. 1480 to France of c. 1650 and Sicily of the same period. These last two are definitely not from the earliest period, nor can they even be used to infer what was present there in the time before a relevant document exists, as the cards were clearly, acccording to his own research, imported there from outside at a late date. It seems to me that the time at which a particular deck was established is an important factor is knowing what to count as part of the "primitive" period. He dates this period as ending at 1480, the time of the "Steele Sermon". However it is not known when this sermon was preached, up to 1500. Also, even in 1521, two players have to have a discussion in order to agree on an order of trumps (according to a document found by Pratesi that I quoted two posts back). Moreover, the distinction between two of the groups may have been drawn before the distinction between either of them and the third. Whether any more precision may be obtained is a matter of looking carefully at the dates and places of the lists, the titles used, other associations with the titles, the iconography of the cards, communication between regions, likely sponsors, and any other relevant considerations.

Another consideration is that while Dummett's explanation accounts for variability, there is also invariability to account for. In Europe north of the Alps, for example, entire countries had exactly the same tarot order, and even among different countries, despite the same lack of awareness between one region and another pertained. And even in Italy, there is an invariant section within the cards, Death through Sun, to be accounted for. Why there and not in the other sections? It seems to me that the answer is the same to both questions. The reason for the invariability among countries north of the Alps is that by then a definite order had been formed in one place that spread by contact everywhere else. That condition didn't exist earlier. People from north of the Alps weren't coming to a particular part of Italy in any great numbers. In the case of the Death-Sun section, I would say that the same condition existed, namely, lack of large-scale population movements among different regions. Only after the Treaty of Lodi in 1454 and the resulting Italian League was there a state of peace among city-states in Italy sufficient to allow that. Also, trade among regions in mass-produced decks could happen. In that situation, a sub-sequence developed in one place could come not only with new subjects but also in a definite order. In other regions, these would replace or add to whatever was already there. At the same time, there could be respect for the existing order of subjects where the subjects themselves had not changed. Variability is a product of unstable times when regions are in isolation from each other Standardization happens when masses of people go between regions formerly isolated. That happened within Italy from 1454 to 1494. Then in 1494 the French invasions started, and an Italian invention as standardized in the particular place of invasion could move north.

This result, that 1454 would have been an important date for standardization, agrees with the 1455-1460 date I began this post with. That is not to say that there would not have been tarot packs with all the standard subjects before 1454-1460. It is just that they probably wouldn't have been a repeated phenomenon everywhere before that period. That the Devil was a card in Karnoffel/Kaiserspiel and the Tower on the "Charles VI" and Rosenwald speaks in favor of those cards being part of the standardization, which the PMB-style hand-painted decks perhaps chose not to include.

The main cards at issue are Devil through Sun. It is possible that cards went from simpler to complex. In that sense the Rosenwald, with just the celestial bodies, might be an example of their first version, and the hand-painted variations we see on the "Charles VI", d'Este, and PMB second artist as variations from those. The Beaux Arts/Rothschild sheet of Bologna is also more complex than the Rosenwald. The same would likely apply to the Devil and Tower. Considering the time between the Giusti note and the 1450 Florence edit, some woodblock version in Florence might go back as far as 1444, in time to influence or be influenced by the Brera-Brambilla (although I don't know how). But what would have been on the woodblock sheets at that early date is another question.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo"

Chapter Three is on what Dummett calls "The Hand Painted Cards of Ferrara". What is odd is that most of the groiups he lists are now considered as having been painted in Florence. For Dummett, it is a matter of trusting the Estense impresas on the some of the cards and making inferences from there, as well as those art experts whose judgments agree with these inferences. But of course the impresa only indicates who the cards were painted for, or a group of such possible patrons. And if the style is so unmistakably that of Ferrara, as Dummett insists, why is that opinion now no longer believed? Did Dummett in 1993 make methodological errors in coming to his conclusions? I will go through the groups one by one. He continues the numbering from his previous chapter, which ended at 21. So we are now at 22. There are five in all, plus a footnote on one card in "Ferrarese" style but which Dummett says belongs to a Milan deck listed in the previous chapter.

Group 22 (p. 69) is what is now called the d'Este tarot of Yale University, 8 triumphs and 8 court cards. There are Estense heraldics on all the Baton courts and the Queen of Swords; the King and Knight of Swords have Aragon heraldics. Thus they were made to commemorate the wedding of Ercole d'Este and Eleanor of Aragon, daughter of the King of Naples, which happened in 1473. This is thus a clear example of a "marriage deck", in case we needed one. It seems to me that there are small numbers written on these cards after the fact; I assume they reflect the B order, but I can't find the information at the present.

Group 23 (p. 80) is what is still called the Catania group, although some, including me, have called it the Alessandro Sforza deck. In Huck's view, which I endorse, its style has an affinity with that of the painter Lo Scheggia of Florence, who also did cassoni, i.e. wedding chests. Dummett argues strenuously against Algiere's idea that even though probably made in Ferrara it was made for Alessandro Sforza (1409-1473), lord of Pesero and Cortignola from 1445. The issue is whether the impresa in the King of Swords - actually, a double impresa, putting in a carnation on a shield a diamond ring - is that of Alessandro Sforza or one of the Estense, "perhaps Borso", Dummett says. Algeri (I Tarocchi, n. 2, p. 33), following Avril (Dix siècles d’enluminures italienne, n. 127, pp. 146-7, 1984), argues for Alessandro. Even though admitting that Alessandro, a personal friend of Ercole's, used such an impresa, Dummett is for the Estense. He says (p. 81f):
È vero che Alessandro Sforza usava quest’impresa; ma Giuliana Algeri sbaglia quando su questa base collega le carte con lui. La dottessa Algeri conviene che le carte di Catania sono state dipinte da un artista ferrarese; quanto all’impresa, era in origine un emblema della famiglia estense. Consiste infatti di due imprese congiunte — quella dell’anello con il diamante, e quella del garofano. Niccolò III d’Este aveva concesso
l’uso dell’impresa dell’anello con il diamante a Muzio Atten- dolo, il padre di Francesco e Alessandro Sforza. Sembra che Alessandro, come amico d’Èrcole d’Este, fosse l’unico membro della famiglia Sforza a congiungere l’anello con il diamante al garofano; ma lo stesso Ercole d’Este usava spesso questa doppia impresa, che compare diciotto volte nella celebre Bibbia miniata di Borso d’Este 5. Data l’origine ferrarese riconosciuta [start of p. 82] delle carte, non c’è motivo di dubitare che l’emblema sulloscudo del Re di Spade sia da collegare a uno dei principi ’estensi, forse a Borso.
5. Ho ricevuto grande aiuto da Ronald Decker nell’investigare questo problema, così come dal professor Charles Rosenberg e dalle dott-sse Sabine Eiche, Jane Bestor e Giuliana Algeri. La Bibbia si trova nella Biblioteca Estense di Modena. Altri esempi dell’uso della doppia impresa da parte degli Estensi sono: un manoscritto di Andreas Pannonius, 'Ad D. Herculem Ducera Civitatis Ferrariensis, anch’esso nella Biblioteca Estense; la moneta d’Èrcole, il ‘diamante’, coniata per la prima volta nel 1475; la filigrana della carta della
cancelleria d’Èrcole; un manoscritto ‘De triumphis relìgionis’ di Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti, del 1497 circa, riprodotto in Werner L. Gundersheimer. Art and Life at the Court of Ercole d’Este, Geneva, 1972 (si veda il frontespizio e ff. 80 verso-81 verso del manoscritto); la testa in marmo di Beatrice d’Este di Gian Cristoforo Romano al Louvre. La dottessa Enrica Domenicali di Ferrara ha dedicato a questo argomento una conferenza tenuta al Convegno dell’International Playing-Card Society a Trieste nel 1989. Ella ha fatto
riferimento a esempi dell’impresa scolpiti su quattro edifici di Ferrara — il Castello Estense, il Palazzo Ducale, la Chiesa di San Cristoforo e la Palazzina di Marfisa d’Este; ha menzionato inoltre un affresco nel Palazzo Schifanoia e numerosi manoscritti miniati. La dottessa Domenicali ricorda anche l’uso dell’impresa come filigrana per la carta di cancelleria di Sigismondo d’Este, un fratello d’Èrcole che divenne signore di Reggio Emilia nel 1462.

(It is true that Alessandro Sforza used this impresa; but Giuliana Algeri is mistaken on this basis when connecting cardswith him. Dr. Algeri agrees that the Catania cards were painted by an artist from Ferrara; As to the impresa, it was originally a symbol of the Este family. It consists in fact of two impresas - a diamond ring, and that of the carnation. Niccolò III d'Este had granted the use of the diamond ring impresa to Muzio Attendola, the father of Francesco and Alessandro Sforza. It seems that Alessandro, as a friend of Ercole d'Este, was the only member of the Sforza family to join the diamond ring to a carnation; but Ercole d' Este himself often used this double impresa, which appears eighteen times in the famous illuminated Bible of Borso d' Este (5). Given the recognized Ferrarese origin of the cards, there is no reason to doubt that the emblem on the shield of the King of Swords is to be connected to one of the Este princes, perhaps to Borso.
5. I received great help in investigating this problem from Ronald Decker, as well as by Professor Charles Rosenberg and Dr. Sabine Eiche, Jane Bestor and Giuliana Algieri. The Bible is in the Estense Library in Modena. Other examples of the use of the double impressa on the part of Este are: a manuscript of Andreas Pannonius 'Ad D. Herculem Ducera Civitatis Ferrariensis', also in the Biblioteca Estense; the currency of Ercole, the 'diamond', coined for the first time in 1475; the watermark of the paper Registry of Ercole; a manuscript 'De triumphis Religioni ' by Giovanni Sabadino Degli Arienti, about 1497, reproduced in L. Werner Gundersheimer, Art and Life at the Court of Ercole d' Este, Geneva, 1972 (see frontispiece and ff. 80 verso-81 verso in the manuscript); the marble head of Beatrice d'Este by Gian Cristoforo Romano at the Louvre. Dr. Enrica Domenicali of Ferrara devoted to this topic a lecture given at the Conference of the International Playing-Card Society in Trieste in 1989. She made reference to examples of the impresa carved on four buildings of Ferrara – the Castello Estense, the Palazzo Ducale, the Church of St. Christopher and the Palazzina of the Marfisa [sic] d'Este; she also mentioned a fresco in the Palazzo Schifanoia and many illuminated manuscripts. Dr. Domenicali also recalls the use of the impresa as a watermark for the stationery paper of Sigismondo d'Este, a brother of Ercole, who became lord of Reggio Emilia in 1462.
This is an example of Dummett's method of accumulating numbers of times something is now observed to have happened in two places, as though it affects the probability of being in one place rather than another. Perhaps it does, but not by much; there are too many other variables. We do not know how many times Alessandro Sforza used it; the library at Pesaro burned down in the 16th century. The two seem equally probable to me, given the data so far. I would greatly appreciate knowing other information on this issue. Of course it is still necessary to look at other groups of cards that are similar, as well as other works of art. That leads up to the next group.

Group 24 is the "Charles VI". Why is it attributed to Ferrara? Dummett sees strong similarities with the Catania Hermit and World cards (p. 84):
Due dei trionfi, tuttavia, l’Eremita e il Mondo, sono quasi identici nel disegno alle corrispondenti carte catanesi. Nella carta catanese si potrebbe interpretare lo scettro
nella figura del Mondo come un turibolo che viene fatto oscillare, mentre, nella carta ‘Carlo VX’, è senza dubbio uno scettro; ciò costituisce la sola differenza fra le due versioni del Mondo; fra quelle dell’Eremita, la differenza è esigua.

(Two of the triumphs, however, the Hermit and the World, are almost identical in design to the corresponding card of Catania. In the Catania World card, the figure of the scepter could be interpreted as a censer that is made to oscillate, while, in the‘Charles VI' card, it is undoubtedly a scepter; this is the only difference between the two versions of the World; between those of the Hermit, the difference is small.

He concludes (p. 84):
La somiglianza fra queste due coppie di carte nei due gruppi, insieme al parere dei critici d’arte che lo stile artistico delle carte ‘Carlo VT sia quello della scuola ferrarese, ci dà valide ragioni per ritenere che queste carte siano state dipinte a Ferrara: in particolare, la più celebre delle carte, l’Amore, che mostra un giovane che bacia una ragazza in mezzo alla folla, richiama alla mente raffresco per il mese di aprile nel palazzo Schifanoia di Ferrara del 1470 circa.

(The similarity between these two pairs of cards in the two groups, together
with the opinion of art critics that the artistic style of the 'Charles VI’ cards is of the school of Ferrara, gives us good reason to believe that these cards were painted in Ferrara: in particular, the most famous of the cards, Love, which shows a young king kissing a girl in the crowd, brings to mind a fresco for the month of April, in the Schifanoia palace of Ferrara of about 1470.
He does not mention who these "art critics" are. The only one before 1994 of which I am aware is Algeri, with whom Dummett disagrees at least half the time. (However it is true that Lauro Paula Gnaccolini, curator of the Brera's "Il secreto del segreti" exhibition at the Brera last year endorses in passing, p. 38 of the catalog, Algeri's attribution of the deck to Ferrara in the 1987 catalog to their "Charles VI" exhibition.) On p. 83 he says of the "Charles VI"
Lo stile vivace ed elaborato differisce completamente da quello dell’autore sia dei tarocchi principali [end of p. 83] Visconti-Sforza che delle sei carte secondarie di quel mazzo.

(The lively and elaborate style differs completely from that of the principal author of the Visconti-Sforza pack or the six secondary Visconti-Sforza cards of that pack.)
Apparently the lively style is like that of the Schifanoia. I have read several studies of the Schiafanoia and haven't seen any comparison to the Charles VI cards. The kissing couples are not stylistically very similar, if you keep in mind Florentine art of the same time (compare ... ril_01.jpg
and ... les_06.jpg

The relationship of the "Charles VI" to the Catania, however, seems well founded, in that they both seem to have ended up in the same place. Unusually, three of the Catania triumphs (World, Hermit, Chariot) have little handwritten numbers on them; so do the "Charles VI" cards; the numbers correspond.

Apart from any developments in the art world since 1993, we have to ask, why couldn't the decks he has so far attributed to Ferrara just as well have been done in Florence or Bologna? As far as style, I see no more similarity of the "Charles VI" to the Schifanoia than I do to the cassoni paintings of Giovanni or the "seven virtues" of Pollaiuolo in Florence (e.g. ... thchar.jpg) or especially, one by Lo Scheggia ( ... %20Vecchio). There are also little hints of Florence sprinkled among the cards: suggestions of the Florentine fleur de lys in the Pope and Emperor, seven Medici "palle" on the Chariot. Moreover, in Chapter Six Dummett says that Franco Pratesi found a Florentine prohibition of 1450 against triumph cards, from which Dummett deduces that the cards had been in Florence long enough to have cheap popular versions. Otherwise there would have been no need for the prohibition. In Ferrara there is no evidence of tarot outside the court.

A little later Dummett says that there are similarities between the "Charles VI' and the printed cards of Bologna, which he will discuss later in his book (p. 84):
Vedremo più avanti che i disegni di alcuni dei trionfi, in particolare il Mondo e la Torre, presentano alcune affinità con quelli usati sulle carte bolognesi e che, inoltre, l’ordine delle carte, quale risulta dalla numerazione, si avvicina più a quello bolognese che a quello che sappiamo essere stato prevalente a Ferrara. E pertanto possibile che il mazzo ‘Carlo VI’ sia stato dipinto a Ferrara per una delle famiglie nobili di Bologna, i
Bentivoglio, per esempio. Il mazzo è runico, fra quelli dipinti a mano, a presentare numeri sui trionfi 11.
11. Ci sono numeri arabi su tre trionfi di Catania [gruppo (23)] (ma non sulla carta, forse la Temperanza, con la figura nuda sul cervo); sembrano però di mano molto posteriore.

(We will see later that the designs of some of the triumphs, in particular the World and the Tower, have some affinity with those used on Bolognese cards and that, moreover, the order of the cards, as shown in the numbering, is closer to that of the Bolognese, whom we know to have been prevalent in Ferrara. It is thus possible that the 'Charles VI' pack was painted in Ferrara for one of the noble families of Bologna, the Bentivoglio, for example. The cards are unique, among those painted by hand, in showing numerals on the triumphs 11.
11. There are Arabic numerals on the three Catania triumphs [group (23)] (but not on the card, perhaps Temperance, with the nude figure on the deer); but they seem by a much later hand.)
Having read Dummett's later chapter and the one after, I would add that he also points out the similarity of the Bolognese cards (including the designs that exist from the 17th century as well as the Beaux Arts/Rothschild sheets) to printed cards attributed to Florence (Rosenwald). The comparison with the Bolognese cards is in chapter 9, which comes after the chapter in which he discusses the there orders of A (Southern: Bologna, Florence), B (Eastern: Ferrara, and C (Lombardy) (p. 228) .(That distinction is something we discussed a lot in the "Dummett and Methodology" thread. See in particular my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=975&p=14697&hilit=Southern#p14697, where I give links to Dummett's charts of the thee orders.) He says of the sequence of numbers on the Charles VI: (pp 227f) :
È evidente che si tratta di un ordine di tipo A. Sulla Giustizia si può ancora leggere chiaramente il numero viij, quindi non è un ordine di tipo B, e sulla Temperanza il numero vj, quindi non è un ordine di tipo C: anzi, il numero vij è ugualmente chiaro sulla Fortezza, quindi le tre virtù sono consecutive — una indicazione decisiva di un ordine di tipo A. Il numero xviiij è ancora chiaramente leggibile sul Mondo, quindi l’Angelo doveva essere la carta più alta. Pertanto la numerazione può solo essere arrivata a xx; il Bagatto, che non ci è pervenuto, doveva essere privo di numero.

(It is clearly an order of Type A. The number viij can still be clearly read on Justice; so it is not is an order of type C; also, the number vij is equally clear on Fortitude, so the three virtues are consecutive - a decisive indiction of an order of type A. The number xviiij is still clearly legible on the World, so the Angel must have been the highest card. Therefore, the numbering can only be continued to xx; the Bagatto [Magician], which has not survived, had to be unnumbered.)
The feature of having an unnumbered Bagatto is a feature of found in type A only, and never in types B and C, he has said earlier (p. 226):
Questa particolarità si ritrova in altri ordini di tipo A, sebbene non in tutti; mentre non si verifica mai in ordini di tipo B o C. Il suo scopo potrebbe essere stato quello di garantire che la Morte ricevesse il numero 1$, come sempre avviene negli ordini dei tipi B e C, poiché, in questi due casi, una delle virtù la supera per rango.

(This feature is found in other orders of type A, but not all; while it never occurs in orders of type B or C. Its purpose may have been to ensure that Death received number 13, as always happens in the orders of types B and C, as in these two cases, one virtue is above it in rank.)
Since I am going to discuss the A order a lot, here is the chart, from Game of Tarot: ... .35+PM.png

A possibility he does not raise is that the Popess by the time the "Charles VI' gots its numbers had been removed from the deck altogether, as in Minchiate. But perhaps it had a Popess originally. The evidence is the Rosenwald sheet, which he considers reflective of the Florentine standard model. I will get to it in a moment (it is in chapter 10, on printed cards in Florence, and I am now in chapter 9, on Bologna). In Chapter 9 he discusses the relationship of the "Charles VI" to the cards of Bologna.
Dummett continues (returning to p. 228):
L’ordine differisce da quello bolognese in quanto le virtù sono di rango più basso del Carro e la Giustizia è superiore alla Fortezza. Nondimeno, questi numeri non possono essere stati collocati sulle carte da un giocatore ferrarese, ma solo da uno che viveva in un’area in cui l’ordine osservato per i trionfi non era altro che una variante di quello bolognese. È improbabile che fosse nativo di Bologna, non solo a causa della differenza secondaria nell’ordine dei trionfi, ma perché la numerazione dei trionfi non era consuetudine bolognese; come vedremo, è più probabile che vivesse a Firenze. Comunque, anche se i tarocchi ‘Carlo VI’ furono sicuramente dipinti da un artista ferrarese, devono essere stati dipinti per — o essere ben presto entrati in possesso di — un membro dell’aristocrazia di una regione che seguiva la tradizione bolognese dei tarocchi piuttosto che quella ferrarese.

(The order differs from that of Bologna since the virtues are of lower rank than the Chariot, and Justice is superior to Fortitude. Nevertheless, these numbers on the cards cannot have been placed by a player of Ferrara, but only by one who lived in an area where the order observed for the triumphs was nothing more than a variant of the Bolognese. It is unlikely that he was a native of Bologna, not only because of the minor difference in the order of the trumps, but because numbering of the trumps was not customary in Bologna; as we shall see, it is more likely that he lived in Florence. However, even if the 'Charles VI' tarot was definitely painted by an artist from Ferrara, it must have been painted for - or will soon be in possession of - a member of the aristocracy of a region that followed the Bolognese tarot tradition rather than that of Ferrara.
He then points out the cards of the "Charles VI" that are similar to those of Bologna: Fortitude, the Moon (with two figures under the Moon; the d'Este has just one), the Sun (quite different from the d'Este), the World (different from the d'Este, similar to the Catania), the Tower (but missing the two figures of the Beaux Arts), the Hanged Man. On the other hand, the Hermit, Death, and the Angel are markedly different in the two decks.

However Dummett makes a questionable assumption here: that the "Charles V" was painted for a region that followed the Bolognese tradition of tarot. He can only say, "followed the type A tradition". He cannot assume that it is first Bolognese and then Florentine, unless he has established elsewhere that the A order was in Bologna before it was in Florence. I cannot see that he has.

The presence of numbers on the Charles VI suggest that at some point it was used in some place other than Bologna. Therefore we need to consider the possibility that it was made for Florence, butbefore Florence used the order indicated by the numbers, So at this point I will add the Rosenwald (, from Chapter 10, which he says exhibits the Florentine standard order. He argues that the Rosenwald cards are laid out in order, going from right to left, except that one part can't be quite right. This is the part, going from right to left, that starts with the Chariot and ends with the Wheel.


Of this row he says (p. 244f):
Unica fra le carte del foglio, la Ruota è trappolata in malo modo ed è quindi impossibile decidere se recasse un numero 6. E evidente che o il numero XII sull’Eremita è un errore, oppure le carte non sono in stretta sequenza. In base alla prima ipotesi, l’Eremita dovrebbe recare il numero XI, la Ruota essere priva di numero e tutte le carte essere disposte nel loro giusto ordine. In base alla seconda ipotesi, la Ruota dovrebbe recare il numero XI e l’ordine esatto delle tre carte di destra della seconda fila sarebbe:

XI la Ruota; XII l’Eremita; l’Impiccato (senza numero).

Dì queste due ipotesi, la seconda è senza dubbio la più probabile, poiché l’ordine dì questo segmento dei trionfi quale appare dal foglio, anche se non impossibile, è tuttavia stranissimo. Come abbiamo osservato in precedenza, la regola generale è che, se lasciamo da parte le virtù, il segmento intermedio compare in quest’ordine: [end of 244]

l’Amore, il Carro, la Ruota, l’Eremita, l’Impiccato

dal quale può differire limitatamente allo scambio fra una coppia di carte adiacenti. Se si accetta la seconda ipotesi, queste cinque carte compaiono esattamente nell’ordine indicato sopra; in base alla prima ipotesi, il mazzo Rosenwald rappresenterebbe l’unica eccezione alla regola.

6. Per colmo di sfortuna, anche sul foglio di Leinfelden questa carta è troppo seriamente danneggiata perché lo si possa dedurre da lì.

(Unique among the cards of the sheet, the wheel is badly torn, and it is therefore impossible to decide whether it has a number 6. It is evident that either the number XII on the Hermit is a mistake, or the cards are not in strict sequence. According to the first hypothesis, the Hermit should bear the number XI, the Wheel be without number and all of the cards are placed in their proper order. According to the second hypothesis, the Wheel should bear the number XI and the exact order of the three cards to the right of the second row would be:

XI the Wheel; XII the Hermit; the Hanged Man (no number).

Of these two hypotheses, the second is without a doubt the most likely, because the order of triumphs in this segment is as it appears on the sheet, although not impossible, it is still strange. As we noted above, the general rule is that, if we leave aside the virtues, the intermediate segment will appear in this order:

Love, the Chariot, the Wheel, the Hermit, the Hanged Man

from which possible differences are limited to the exchange between a pair of adjacent cards. If you accept the latter, these five cards appear exactly in the order shown above; according to the first hypothesis, the Rosenwald deck represents the only exception to the rule.
6 To cap misfortune, also on the Leinfelden sheet of cards this is too badly damaged to infer it from there.
With the phrase "As we noted above" he is referring to a passage in an earlier chapter, p. 174 (50 pages earlier!) in which he talked about the A order in detail, after first dividing all of A, B, and C into three segments, of which we here are concerned with the middle one, that starts with Love:
Nel tipo A, l’Angelo è il trionfo più alto, seguito immediatamente dal Mondo. Le tre virtù. Temperanza, Fortezza, Giustizia compaiono insieme, di solito inserite subito al di sopra della carta più bassa del segmento intermedio, che, in un ordine di questo tipo, almeno quando siamo in grado di stabilirlo, è invariabilmente l’Amore. Esistono, tuttavia, numerose variazioni all’interno del tipo A. In un caso le tre virtù sono sotto l’Amore; in un altro, precedono non solo l’Amore ma anche il Carro. Fra le virtù, la Temperanza è sempre la più bassa delle tre negli ordini di tipo A, ma le posizioni relative delle altre due variano. Le cinque carte del segmento intermedio compaiono talvolta nel loro ordine tipico indicato sopra; ma in alcuni casi la Ruota e il Carro sono scambiati e in un caso lo scambio è avvenuto fra l’Eremita e l’Impiccato.

(In type A, the Angel is the highest triumph, preceded immediately by the World. The three virtues. Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, appear together, usually placed immediately above the lowest card of the intermediate segment, which, in an order of this type, at least when we are able to determine this, is invariably Love. There are, however, numerous variations in the type A. In one case the three virtues are under Love; in another, not only before Love but also the Chariot. Among the virtues, Temperance is always the lowest of the three in orders of type A, but the relative positions of the other two vary. The five cards of the intermediate segment sometimes appear in their typical order shown above; but in some cases the Wheel and Chariot are exchanged and in one case the exchange took place between the Hermit and the Hanged Man.)
But invariably the Hermit comes after the Wheel. So the order in the Rosenwald would be:

X Chariot - XI Wheel - XII Hermit - Hanged Man

And by stopping the numbers, Death, the 14th card, avoids being numbered other than 13.

(Note added 6/14: Here I would note in passing that Pratesi, 2011, takes the other alternative, and decides that the Hermit card is misnumbered and the Wheel unnumbered. See He does not mention Dummett or his arguments on this point. However Depaulis in his article "Early Italian Lists of Tarot Trumps" The Playing Card, vol. 36, n° 1, July-September 2007, pp. 39-50 follows Dummett.)

The Rosenwald then gives the standard Florentine order. It is very close to that of the Bolognese. The only differences are (a) in the Florentine, the Chariot comes after the virtues, and in the Bolognese before the virtues; and (b) the Bolognese have the four "papi". (Here again is the chart: ... .35+PM.png.) The Bolognese cards look quite siimilar to the Rosenwald, too. The Ace of Coins is decorated with the dog and the hare, like early Bolognese cards.

As far as the order of the virtues, in the numbering on the cards, they are:

the Rosenwald is 9 Fortitude, 8 Justice, 7 Temperance
the Bolognese is 9 Forza, 8 Justice, 7 Temperance,
the "Charles VI' is 8 Justice, 7 Fortitude, 6 Temperance.

To these I add the Minchiate, which is a presumably Florentine development out of the Rosenwald. Here is its order of virtues, the same as the numbers and order of the "Charles VI":

the Minchiate is 8 Justice, 7 Fortitude, 6 Temperance.

In addition, Chariot comes after the virtues in all of these except the Bolognese. If the Florentine order is first, then it would appear that the Bolognese comes between it and the Minchiate, and the Minchiate derives from the Florentine at the time of the 'Charles VI' numbers, but after the Bolognese order, which has the "four papi". That is because the Minchiate uses the principle of the unranked "papi."has "three papi".

Let us assume that the Charles VI, going to Florence and perhaps made there, c. 1470 plus or minus 10 years, had the same order as the Rosenwald, but later changed to that of the Minchiate by the time the numbers were put on. So we have, in temporal order (I put those together where we still don't have a clear temporal priority as far as the order):

Charles VI deck, no numbers but presumed order from the Rosenwald
Rosenwald deck with some numbers but laid out on a sheet

Bolognese deck (no numbers but presumed order from later practice)
Charles VI with some numbers

Minchiate with numbers

(Note added June 14, 2014: I didn't add the information from Depaulis's analysis of the Strambotto, which I had posted at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=975&p=14909&hilit= ... tto#p14909. In that case, Depaulis makes the Charles VI Chariot actually x and not viiij, and so the transitional deck would be that of the Strambotto, c. 1500, where I have put the Charles VI above; and the Charles VI with numbers would overlap with the Minchiate. Dummett went with Steele's reading of the Chariot as viiij. I don't know how Steele could have misread an x as viiij or anything like it, but I include Depaulis's reading for the sake of completeness. All it affects is whether the numbered Charles VI is transitional, or the Strambotto, or both (in different places). The interesting thing about the Strambotto is that it seems to have been written and printed in Rome. That suggests to me that at some point, perhaps in the beginning, the tarot decks that Florence exported to Rome, probably without numbers, might have omitted the Popess, and Minchiate might have been invented in Rome and exported to Florence when the Medici were restored there in 1530 by the Medici pope, Clement VII. This is of course a conjecture. I will return to this issue after considering more factors, coming out of Dummett's chapters 10 and 11.) (Note added Sept. 29, 2015. My conjecture about minchiate being invented in Rome and then brought to Florence ignores Huck's important finding of a mention of minchiate in Florence in 1517, at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=780. which I hadn't noticed. And since then there has been Pratesi's discovery of a mention of minchiate in Florence of 1506 (see viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1074). The problem remains, was it the same game and deck as that known later? But the increased frequency of "sightings", or near "sightings", as in Pratesi's observations about the Rosenwald, ,makes it more probable than otherwise that it probably is the same "bird" in all these cases.)

If you compare the Charles VI images ( ... t-deck.htm) with the Rosenwald (, you will see much similarity. For the Moon, and Sun, the similarity is in the top of the Charles VI card, which was the important part as far as the players were concerned. The similarity in the vitues' haloes is of course striking, to which should be compared Lo Scheggia's (link above) and those of Minchiate. In the suit cards, if you compare the Rosenwald ( with the Minchiate (, there is also much similarity, down to the centaurs. In the Rosenwald, there is also the hare and rabbit on the Ace of Coins, similar to the Bolognese. The Minchiate also continues many of the Rosenwald's characteristic designs, most notably that of the Love card, with the lover kneeling before his beloved.

A major difference between the Rosenwald/Charles VI and that of the Bolognese cards is that instead of the Popess, Empress, Emperor, and Pope, the Bolognese have the "four papi", all of the same rank when it came to taking a trick, and not distinguished by particular titles. At this point I need to justify the assumption that the Rosenwld game came before the Bolognese. I think an argument can be constructed that applies to the Bolognese game what Dummet says about the development of Minchiate. which he considers descended from the Florentine standard order (p. 249):
Un confronto fra i trionfi dal II al V del mazzo Rosenwald e gli enigmatici trionfi II, III e UH del mazzo delle Minchiate fa vedere chiaramente come questi ultimi abbiano acquisito la loro forma. Sul foglio Rosenwald, il II è la Papessa, il IH l’Imperatrice, il nn l’Imperatore e il V il Papa. Se mettiamo il HI e il mi Rosenwald a confronto, rispettivamente, con il II e il III delle Minchiate, vediamo che i disegni sono praticamente identici. Inoltre, c’è una stretta somiglianza fra la figura del Papa sul trionfo V del foglio Rosenwald e la figura di un Imperatore ritratta sul IHI delle Minchiate. E accaduto semplicemente che il Papa è stato secolarizzato nel modo più economico: la tiara è ora racchiusa in una semplice coroncina ed egli regge in mano un globo e uno scettro. Così, nel formare il mazzo delle Minchiate, la Papessa fu soppressa e il Papa trasformato in un sovrano secolare. L’identità esatta dei tarocchi II, HI e UH non ha più una grande importanza per i giocatori delle Minchiate, dal momento che queste carte dovevano essere identificate dal numero — come Papa due, Papa tre e Papa quattro — piuttosto che dal soggetto. E possibilissimo che la secolarizzazione del Papa non sia avvenuta al momento della formazione del mazzo delle Minchiate; se in origine il HH avesse raffigurato inequivocabilmente un Papa, sarebbe meno sorprendente il nome di ‘Papi’ per la sequenza di carte a cui appartiene.

C’è qui una prova diretta che i disegni del modello standard del mazzo delle Minchiate sono quelli di un modello già esistente per il mazzo dei tarocchi ordinario — naturalmente con l’eccezione di quelli dei venti trionfi supplementari. Quel modello non è esemplificato nei fogli Rosenwald; deve essere successivo ai disegni di questi fogli, e sopravvive solo nel mazzo delle Minchiate.

(A comparison between triumphs II to V of the Rosenwald deck and the enigmatic triumphs II, III, and IIII of the Minchiate deck shows clearly how they have acquired their shape. On the Rosenwald sheet, the II is the Popess, III the Empress, IIII the Emperor and V the Pope. If we put the Rosenwald III and IIII in comparison, respectively, with the II and III of the Minchiate, we see that the designs are virtually identical. In addition, there is a close similarity between triumph V. the figure of the Pope on the Rosenwald sheet. and the figure of an emperor portrayed on the Minchiate IIII. It just happened that the Pope was secularized in the most economical way: the tiara is now enclosed in a simple crown, and he holds in his hand a globe and scepter. Thus, in forming the deck of the Minchiate, the Popess and the Pope were suppressed, transformed into one secular ruler. The exact identity of tarots II, III and IIII no longer has a great importance for players of the Minchiate, since these cards had to be identified by number - as Pope two, Pope three, and Pope four - rather than by subject. It is possible that the secularization of the Pope did not take place at the time of the formation of the Minchiate; if the IIII had originally shown unequivocally a Pope, the name of 'Papi' would be less surprising. for the sequence of cards to which it belongs.)

Here is a direct proof that the designs of the standard model of the Minchiate are those of an existing model for the ordinary deck of tarot - of course with the exception of those of twenty additional triumphs. That model is not exemplified in the Rosenwald sheets; it must be a successor to the designs of these sheets, and survives only in the Minchiate:
Below is first the Minchiate and 2nd the Rosenwald. The bottom one is the Bolognese, as posted by Ross Caldwell on the "Bolognese Sequence" thread.




The reason that Dummett says there is an intermediate deck between the Rosenwald and the Minchiate is that the order of the cards is different. The Minchiate and the Charles VI numbers are almost the same: the only difference is the switching of the Wheel and Chariot. So the intermediate deck's order is either that represented by the Charles VI numbers or that of the Charles VI numbers except for switching Wheel and Chariot.

If you compare the Rosenwald and Minchiate with the Bologna, I think the Bologna is more of the same, but at an earlier stage: two of the Bolognese figures have symbols reminiscent of the pope and popess (keys and staff), as opposed to the three globes of the Minchiate. Of the Bolognese Dummett observes (back to p. 229):
Ci sono pervenuti parecchi gruppi di carte da tarocchi bolognesi standard del XVII secolo; uno, che forma un mazzo di sessantadue carte quasi completo, è alla Bibliothèque Nationale di Parigi 14. I quattro Papi, seppure non distinti nel gioco, sono chiaramente distinti nel disegno come Papale o Imperiale, maschio o femmina.

(Several sets of Bolognese standard tarot cards have come down to us from the seventeenth century; one, forming an almost complete deck of sixty cards, is at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (14). The four Popes, although not distinct in the game, are clearly distinguished in the depiction as Papal or Imperial, male or female.
As Dummett notices, in the Minchiate the Pope and the Popess have been reduced to one figure and secularized.

In addition we must consider the order of priority as far as the rules of the game. Tarot was a trick-taking game whose model was trick-taking games played with the normal deck. In these games, there are none we know of (correct me if I am wrong!) that have three or four of the same rank in the same suit, such that the trick goes to the one that was played last. So it is likely that tarot at first had the same principle, that all the cards have a different rank and that the high card won the trick. The "four papi" rule would then be a variation on the simpler principle.

There remains the question of the "extreme conservatism of the Bolognese players", Dummett asserts that only from the beginning of the sixteenth century. Here is what he says (p. 225):
La più antica prova diretta dell’ordine dei trionfi rispettato a Bologna risale al 1664 circa; dopo quella data è rimasto invariato. Non c’è ragione di ritenere che non dovesse essere stato quello fin dall’introduzione del gioco, tranne per un aspetto. Una caratteristica dell’ordine dei trionfi è quasi esclusivamente bolognese. Le quattro carte di rango immediatamente superiore al Bagatto o Bagattino — e cioè il Papa, la Papessa, l’Imperatore, l’Imperatrice — erano collettivamente note a Bologna come ‘Papi’ 18. Fu consuetudine fra giocatori bolognesi attribuire a queste quattro carte lo stesso valore: ciascuna poteva battere il Bagattino ed era battuta da qualsiasi altro trionfo, e, se due o più Papi erano giocati nella stessa presa, quello giocato per ultimo batteva gli altri. È certo che si tratta di una consuetudine molto antica; sarà stata introdotta verso l’inizio del XVI secolo, prima della riduzione del mazzo a sessantadue carte. E tuttavia improbabile che si tratti della pratica originaria. Se il gioco dei Tarocchi fu introdotto a Bologna da un’altra città, allora in un primo tempo sarà stato giocato come altrove, con una ben precisa gerarchizzazione fra i Papi. Se invece fu inventato a Bologna, allora l’uguaglianza di rango fra i Papi deve essere stata adottata come regola solo dopo il diffondersi del gioco in altre parti d’Italia.
18. Si veda Playing cards of Various Ages and Countries selected from the Collection of Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Voi. III, Londra, 1895, p. 14, che cita un manoscritto bolognese del 1820 che si riferisce all’affare del canonico Montieri (v. infra, p, 232). Si vedano anche Scritti originali del Conte Carlo Cesare Malvasia spettanti atta sua Felsina Pittrice, a cura di Lea Marzocchi, Bologna, 1983, p. 148, e il manoscritto ‘I trionfi de Tarocchini Appropriati ciascheduno ad una Dama Bolognese’ (v. infra, p. 234), che assegna i «quattro Papi» collettivamente a quattro dame.

(The oldest direct evidence of the order of the triumphs respected in Bologna dates back to 1664; after that date it remained unchanged. There is no reason to believe that it should not have been that since the introduction of the game, except for one thing. One feature of the order of the trumps is almost exclusively Bolognese. The four cards of the rank immediately above the Magician or Bagattino - namely, the Pope, the Popess, the Emperor, the Empress - were collectively known in Bologna as 'Papi' (18). It was customary among Bolognese players to attribute to these four cards of the same value: each could beat the Bagattino and was beaten by any other triumph, and, if two or more papi were played in the same trick, the one played last beat the others. It is certain that it is a very ancient custom, introduced at the beginning of the sixteenth century, before the reduction to a sixty-card deck. It is unlikely, however, that this is the original practice. If the game of Tarot was introduced in Bologna from another city, then in the first instance it will have been played as elsewhere, with a well-defined hierarchy among the Papi. If it was invented in Bologna, then the equality of rank among the Popes must have been adopted as a rule only after the spread of the game into other parts of Italy.
18. See Playing cards of Various Ages and Countries selected from the Collection of Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Vol III, London, 1895, p. 14, citing a Bolognese manuscript of 1820 which refers to the deal of the canon Montieri (see below, p, 232). See also Scritti originali del Conte Carlo Cesare Malvasia spettanti atta sua Felsina Pittrice , edited by Lea Marzocchi, Bologna, 1983, p. 148, and the manuscript 'I trionfi de Tarocchini Appropriati ciascheduno ad una Dama Bolognese’ (see below, p. 234), which assigns the four 'Papi' collectively to four ladies.)

The time of the change is what I would expect: after the Charles VI deck was made (with the Rosenwald's order) but before the Minchiate. The Minchiate is only a further extension of the same principle, which I think was to suppress the identity of objectionable cards, namely the Pope and the Popess.

At the beginning of the 16th century, of course, there was an important political event that shaped the course of Bolognese history for the next 350 years, namely the defeat of the Bentivoglio by the Papacy in 1507 and the re-establishment of direct rule by the Church at that time. Nominally it was still a republic, but no local nobility was allowed to take initiative away from the Church.

Also, it is not necessarily the players, but the manufacturers (p. 222), who were so conservative.
Sia i produttori di carte che i giocatori bolognesi sono stati eccezionalmente conservatori. Esempi di mazzi di tarocchi e di mazzi normali dal XVII secolo in poi indicano Bologna come classico esempio di un fenomeno di cui abbiamo già parlato: l’uso di uno stesso modello standard per il mazzo normale e per le carte dei semi del mazzo di tarocchi.

(Either the manufacturers of cards or the Bolognese players were exceptionally conservative. Examples of Tarot decks and regular decks from the seventeenth century onwards indicate Bologna as a classic example of a phenomenon which we have already discussed: the use of a single standard for the normal deck and the cards of the tarot deck.)

I think the reason for adding "manufacturers" is that what remains constant is not the game, but the details on the cards, from at least the time of the Beaux Arts-Rothschild sheets. What is striking is that it is the parts below the main subject, the so-called "decorative" parts, that didn't change--the parts of least interest to the players. It is as though the manufacturers were bound by some convention to keep the details the same, so as to prevent any change in meaning, e.g. satirical intent.

There were in fact several small changes that occurred after 1507. Most notably, Bologna got a shorter deck sometime in the 16th century, as a result in the change in the normal deck to the 40 card Primiera deck, which came from Spain, first recorded in Bologna in 1588, but in Florence in 1526 (p. 224), The design of the courts to include a Maid in two suits and Jacks in the other two probably come in then, too, as well as the reversed order of ranking in Coins and Cups vs. Swords and Batons (also p. 224: I will put this long quote in an appendix to this post, so as not to detract from the main theme).

Also, in the case of one triumph, the design itself changed radically. Dummett observes (p. 229):
La fortissima somiglianza fra i dodici trionfi dei fogli Rothschild/Beaux Arts e queste carte seicentesche, con l’eccezione del Diavolo, è già stata rilevata; si può, molto approssimativamente, collocare il cambiamento di disegno di quest’ultima carta intorno al 1600. Poiché i disegni bolognesi erano estremamente conservatori, deve esserci stata una ragione ben precisa per il cambiamento; è difficile stabilire quale.

(The strong similarity between the twelve triumphs of the Rothschild /Beaux Arts sheets, and these seventeenth century cards, with the exception of the Devil, have already been noted; you can, very roughly, place the design change of the latter Bolognese card around 1600. Because the designs were extremely conservative, there must have been a reason for the change; it is difficult to determine what.)

I suspect the hand of the Church, which had a special attachment to the Devil; perhaps the BAR design looked too medieval--the later design corresponds better to the stereotypes of that period).

Again, I suspect the heavy hand of the Church, which I suspect continued to express itself in the introduction or promotion of Minchiate in the 1520s in Florence and elsewhere, which continued the suppression of the two objectionable cards by reducing them to one, called a "papa".

As late as 1725, the Papi were changed again, as eveyone knows, to the Moors, at the behest of the papal authority, after first burning a different deck, on a geographical theme, and briefly jailing its publishers, for declaring that Bologna had a "mixed" government (p. 232: I will include this passage as an appendix). Another example of the Church's hand is in what happened to the tarot in Ferrara after it came under direct Papal rule in the late 16th century: it rapidly went extinct (p. 216). My hypothesis is that the Papacy hadn't had enough power over the people to do the same in Bologna in the early part of the century, and then the people of Bologna hung on to what little they had, out of sheer pride in their erstwhile heritage. (By then the legend was that Bologna was the birthplace of the tarot, but that is a story for another post.)

It remains possible that the designs of the triumphs and their order other than the "papi" was introduced into Florence from Bologna, and in that sense the Florentine order is derivative from the Bolognese. I will put off that discussion until another post, when I discuss Dummett's chapter four, which deals with the invention of the tarot and its early transmission among regions.

Well, that was quite a bit on the "Charles VI." But it was important, because Dummett's arguments in later chapters affect very much what he is saying in this Chapter Three, as they may for Chapter Four, which is on the invention of the tarot. That is where lines of transmission among regions gets added to the mix, and other considerations having to do with temporal priority.

For now I will turn to Dummett's group 25 (p. 85). These are the "Rothschild" cards, or more specifically, what he calls the Rothschild-Bassano cards. He finds stylistic similarities with the "Charles VI": the same "incisiveness" and figures that leap out of their frames. I can't argue with that, although there are also differences, the Rothschild Emperor lacks the three-dimensionality of the Charles VI's, a characteristic that started being added to art in Florence with Massaccio in the late 1420s (see my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1005&hilit=Christi ... =10#p14991). I would argue with the dating of "late 15th century"; but that is an area where art historians' expertise is crucial, and earlier datings weren't proposed until 1992 (Bellosi).

Another new point is the Florentine fleur-de-lys on the coin, therefore a Florentine florin, in the Rothschild Emperor's hands, as Ross pointed out at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=788&p=11585&hilit=Catania#p11585 (pointed out earlier by Christina Fiorini, 2005see my quotation at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1005#p14974; Ross says in that thread that Thierry Depaulis also noted it around the same time).

So it appears that the Rothschild cards were made for someone in Florence. Detailed comparison of the cards with Florentine art suggests that in fact it probably was made in Florence, sometime from 1423 on. It may not be a tarot deck, as opposed to the game of Emperors, since the Emperor is the only triumph. If so, it is likely that all the cards in groups 23-25 are Florentine.

Added to that discovery, there are also Franco's more recent discoveries about Florence, notably of a purchase in 1453 of a tarot deck by a notary for his own use. The game had reached the middle class. And then there are exports to Rome in the 1460s. But many of the arguments in favor of Florence (and possibly, without the "papi", Bologna) are already in Dummett 1993, Chapters 9 and 10; he just doesn't let them introduce any uncertainties into the position he had articulated, on dubious grounds, in Chapter Three.

I hope the above has been helpful in explaining why the groups of hand-painted decks that Dummett in 1993 was called Ferrarese are now called Florentine, and how Dummett in the later chapters of his book anticipated much of the thinking behind that shift. Now I can summarise Dummett's final two groups of cards in Chapter Three.

Group 26 (p. 85ff) is a set of numeral cards in the Rothschild collection, plus 4 cards in the Museo Correr in Venice, which have the same dimensions and backs. Why should these be considered a tarot group?. He argues that if a group has only numeral cards, that means that someone sold the figures and kept the numerals. The probability of that happening by chance in a normal deck is 39,000 to 1, he says. For a tarot deck, the probability is slightly lower. Another question: why should these be assigned to Ferrara? He cites Algieri here, who notices a resemblance between the Correr Ace of Swords, which has a sword in a wreath piercing a bleeding heart, and the cards of the Catania group. That card would be worth seeing, since bleeding hearts are common in religious art in numerous places of Northern Italy at that time. There are also of course three such swords in the Sola-Busca 3 of Swords, a deck that he does not include among the "hand-painted decks of Ferrara", presumably because it was first engraved and then painted. The Rothschild cards, his group 23, also have that characteristic (first woodcut and then painted), but I cannot see that Dummett mentions that fact.

Group 27 (p. 89f) is a different looking set of numeral cards, owned by the same anonymous Milanese collector who owns the so-called "Bonomi" group of Milanese cards, But these apparently have similarities to group 25. This information comes to Dummett from a Mr. Giuliano Coppa.

Groups 26 and 27 are worth noting for possibly being detached from tarot decks. So far they don't match any decks, he says, in dimensions, borders, or backs.

Finally, he discusses the Issy Chariot card ( ... hariot.jpg). Dummet makes it part of the Warsaw cards, which he identified with Milan because of a Sforza heraldic on the Knight of Coins (p. 91):
12 Un bel trionfo dipinto a mano, il Carro, fu venduto all’asta il primo luglio 1991 a Parigi presso Guy Loudmer (catalogo dell’asta, p. 17). Due giovani montano i cavalli che tirano il carro; sul carro siede una dama che regge una spada nella mano sinistra e un disco nella destra; quattro fanciulle l’accompagnano. La nota nel catalogo assegna la carta a Ferrara per via dello stile artistico; quest’attribuzione è molto convincente. Inoltre, la nota l’identifica come proveniente dallo stesso mazzo del paio di carte del Museo di Varsavia ((10) del capitolo precedente, p. 62). Tuttavia, come ha osservato Ronald Decker, c’è un’impresa sforzesca sulla moneta del cavallo di Denari di Varsavia; si veda Janet Backhouse e altri, Renaissance Painting in Manuscripts, New York, 1983, p. 111, per un’illustrazione dell’impresa sul contratto di matrimonio di Ludovico Sforza. Quindi, se tutte e tre le carte provengono dallo stesso mazzo, il mazzo fu dipinto da un pittore ferrarese per la corte di Milano.

(12. A beautiful hand-painted triumph, the Chariot, was sold at auction on July first, 1991. in Paris by Guy Loudmer (auction catalog, p. 17). Two youths hold the horses that pull the chariot; on the chariot sits a lady holding a sword in her left hand and a disc in her right; four girls accompany her.The note in the catalog assigns the card to Ferrara by its artistic style; this attribution is very convincing. In addition, the note identifies it as coming from the same pack as the pair of Museum of Warsaw cards (10) of the previous chapter, p. 62). However, as Ronald Decker noted, there is a Sforza impresa on the coin of the Warsaw Knight of Coins; see Janet Backhouse and others, Renaissance Painting in Manuscripts, New York, 1983, p. Ill, for an illustration of the impresa on the marriage contract of Ludovico Sforza. So if all three cards come from the same pack, the pack was painted by a Ferrarese painter for the court of Milan.)

Or possibly a Sforza somewhere else? In that case his group 10 of the previous chapter should be in this chapter and attributed to Florence. If so, however, the artist included another Milanese characteristic; the female charioteer, which we see on the Cary-Yale and PMB. While the deck conforms to a Milanese standard, there is nothing to prevent its being made by a Florentine.

At the end of the chapter Dummett observes the striking differences in the way some subjects of the hand-painted cards of this chapter are portroyed compared with those of Milan in the previous chapter. In particular, he calls attention to the differences in Fortitude - the lady with the column here and often no lion, no columns in Milan but always a lion - and the celestials, i.e. Star, Moon, and Sun, which are "realistic" in this chapter, while in Milan there are figures reaching up to touch the Star and Moon and a child on a card reaching up to the Sun. I would add that there are differences in the Chariot and Hanged Man as well: a man in this chapter, a lady in the previous; money bags in this chapter, none in Milan. A few of these differences will continue even in 17th century France, e.g. Vieville vs. Noblet's "Tarot of Marseille" . But that is a subject for another chapter.

One thing is clear from this chapter: although there were or less "standard" tarot subjects (but with odd ones here and there), there never was a "standard" deck. view. As Dummett says in the very first sentences of Chapter One
Nelle note alla Terra desolata T. S. Eliot scrisse: «non conosco la costituzione esatta del mazzo dei tarocchi». Non esiste, in realtà, nulla del genere; esistono più forme distinte del mazzo dì tarocchi, ciascuna diversa dall’altra per composizione.

(In the notes to the Waste Land T. S. Eliot wrote: "I am not familiar with the exact constitution of the Tarot pack". There is, in fact, nothing of the kind; there exist several distinct forms of the tarot pack, each different in composition.

There are only different forms in different places, over various time-periods,some of which we know, others which we can infer with more or less definiteness. And others, it seems to me, of which we have only the vaguest notion.



Da Bologna non ci è pervenuto alcun mazzo di tarocchi completo, né alcuna descrizione del mazzo o del gioco anteriori al XVII secolo. A quell’epoca, il gioco era praticato con un mazzo ridotto di sessantadue carte, con reliminazione delle carte numerali dal 2 al 5 di ciascun seme; come abbiamo già osservato, il nome ‘Tarocchino’ veniva usato per indicare l’impiego dì questo mazzo ridotto. Questo nome fu in uso fino al XIX secolo, ma oggi non lo è più. A giudicare da casi simili in Sicilia e in Germania, è molto probabile che il nome fosse originariamente adottato per distinguere due forme diverse del gioco praticate alla stessa epoca, la forma nuova con il mazzo ridotto e la forma vecchia con il mazzo completo di settantotto carte; supporre che tutti i giocatori abbandonassero il mazzo completo subito dopo l’introduzione di giochi con il mazzo ridotto non è verosimile. Anche se ancora esistenti nel 1588, la vecchia forma e il mazzo completo erano stati completamente dimenticati alla metà del XVII secolo, benché persistesse il nome di ‘Tarocchino’. Sfortunatamente, non abbiamo indicazioni precise sul momento in cui il mazzo venne ridotto. La riduzione è sintomo della generale tendenza nei giochi di Tarocchi ad aumentare il rapporto fra trionfi e carte dei quattro semi. Deve aver avuto luogo durante il Cinquecento, forse nei primi anni del secolo, quando in Italia, Spagna e Francia si diffuse la voga di giochi con il mazzo normale ridotto in modi diversi; un esempio è il gioco veneziano della Trappolapola, giocato con trentasei carte, con l’omissione delle carte numerali dal 3 al 6 di ciascun seme. I giocatori bolognesi hanno continuato fino ad oggi ad osservare la regola che diversifica l’ordine delle carte numerali nelle due coppie di semi. A Spade e Bastoni, pertanto, le carte sono cosi ordinate:

Re (la più alta), Regina, Cavallo, Fante, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, Asso (la più bassa),

mentre a Coppe e Denari l’ordine è:

Re (la più alta), Regina, Cavallo, Fante, Asso, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (la più bassa).

(From Bologna no complete tarot deck has come down, nor any description of the deck or the game prior to the seventeenth century. At that time, the game was played with a reduced deck of sixty cards, with the elimination of the 2-5 pip cards of each suit; as we have already noted, the name 'Tarocchino' was used to indicate the use of this short deck. This name was in use until the nineteenth century, but today it no longer is. Judging from similar cases in Sicily and Germany, it is very likely that the name was originally used to distinguish between two different forms of the game practiced at the same time, the new form with the short deck and the old form with the full deck of seventy-eight cards; the assumption that all the players would abandon the full deck immediately after the introduction of games with the short deck is not likely. Although still in existence in 1588, the old form and the full deck had been completely forgotten by the middle of the XVIIth century, although the name persisted in 'Tarocchino'. Unfortunately, we do not have precise information about when the pack was reduced. The reduction is a symptom of the general trend in games to enhance the relationship between Tarot trumps and the four suits of cards. It must have taken place during the sixteenth century, perhaps in the early years of the century, when in Italy, Spain and France the vogue of games with the normal deck reduced in different ways was widespread; an example is the Venetian game of the Trappola, played with thirty-six cards, with the omission of the numeral cards 3-6 of each suit. Bolognese players have continued to this day to observe the rule that diversifies the order of numeral cards in the two pairs of suits. In Swords and Batons, therefore, the cards are so ordered:

King (highest), Queen, Knight, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, Ace (lowest),

while in Cups and Coins the order is:

King (highest), Queen, Knight, Jack, Ace, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (lowest).)

Nel 1725 un assurdo contrattempo portò a un notevole [end of p. 231] cambiamento nei soggetti dei trionfi. Il canonico Luigi Montieri produsse un mazzo di Tarocchino geografico e araldico. Tali mazzi didattici godettero di un’enorme popolarità nei secoli XVII e XVIII. Potevano essere basati su qualsiasi tipo di mazzo — da tarocchi o normale, con semi francesi o italiani. Come altri dì questo tipo, la quasi totalità della superficie di ciascuna carta era dedicata a fornire informazioni geografiche e araldiche: solo un piccolo pannello nella parte più alta ne indicava la denominazione come in una carta da gioco. Bologna faceva da tempo parte dello Stato Pontificio, ma, in base a un accordo del 1447, godeva di notevole autonomia. Quando il mazzo fu sottoposto all’attenzione delle autorità papali, esse lessero con indignazione su una carta che Bologna aveva un governo misto. Fecero arrestare il canonico Montieri e tutti quelli che erano stati coinvolti nella pubblicazione del mazzo, che fu pubblicamente dato alle fiamme. Nella bolla del 12 dicembre 1725 il cardinale Tomaso Ruffo, il legato, condannava le carte dì Montieri per «mille irregolarità vane, ed improprie Idee, degne del più esemplare castigo, come altresì di darle alle fiamme, e di proibirne affatto l’uso, e il commercio con pubblico nostro Editto». Le autorità si resero conto ben presto, tuttavia, che procedere oltre avrebbe suscitato profondo risentimento in una città orgogliosa delle sue antiche libertà. Il caso venne quindi rapidamente lasciato cadere e Montieri e gli altri rilasciati dopo pochi giorni di prigione. Per salvare la faccia, tuttavia, il legato Pontificio finse dì essersi scandalizzato per un aspetto totalmente diverso del mazzo, che era comune a tutti i mazzi da tarocchini bolognesi e non specifico della versione geografica di Montieri. Egli ordinò «che nel Gioco dei Tarocchi fossero sostituiti ai 4 Papi 4 Mori, e all’Angelo una Dama». Interpretando correttamente che l’affronto alla dignità papale sarebbe stato più profondamente avvertito di quello alla dignità dell’Angelo del Giudizio Universale, Montieri si piegò alla prima richiesta ma non alla seconda, e il legato senti che l’onore era salvo. In tutte le copie superstiti del mazzo geografico compaiono Mori al posto dei Papi, ma il trionfo più alto è ancora l’Angelo anziché una Dama e si continua ad asserire che Bologna ha un governo misto. Nel suo libretto esplicativo della riedi-[end of p. 232]zione del mazzo, Montieri chiamava i quattro nuovi trionfi «Satrapi» (17)

Il mazzo Montieri ha le carte dall’Asso al 6 in ciascun seme e omette quelle dal 7 al 10, ma questa è solo una semplificazione che deve rendere più facile rappresentare le denominazioni delle carte numerali nei piccoli pannelli che servono a questo scopo. Nei trionfi, incluso il Matto, ciascun pannello racchiude anche una singola lettera maiuscola. Quando i trionfi sono disposti in ordine discendente, con il Matto in fondo, le lettere formano le parole: c luigi montieri inventor. Si tratta di una prova evidente del fatto che nel 1725, come nel 1668, l’ordine dei trionfi era quello suddetto.

Non solo il canonico Montieri, ma anche tutti i fabbricanti di carte di Bologna si adeguarono al decreto che imponeva la sostituzione di Mori al posto dei Papi, pur trascurando la parte relativa all’Angelo. Sylvia Mann ha osservato che il cambiamento fu in origine effettuato nel modo più economico: le vecchie matrici furono alterate in modo da rimuovere dalle figure dei Papi i tratti specificamente papali o imperiali e, nella colorazione delle carte, i volti furono scuriti in modo da produrre i ritratti di quattro re orientali — quattro satrapi. Le quattro carte non sarebbero potute diventare così simili l’una all’altra se non fosse già stata consuetudine trattare tutti e quattro i Papi come aventi lo stesso valore. Nel capitolo XVI vedremo come questa supposizione sia inaspettatamente confermata da una forma moderna, poco conosciuta, del gioco. Abbiamo così un mezzo molto efficace per stabilire se un [end of 233] mazzo di Tarocchino sia anteriore o posteriore al 1725: basta vedere se contiene Papi o Mori.
17. Un resoconto di questa storia grottesca si trova in Gian Battista Comelli, ‘Il «governo misto» in Bologna dal 1507 al 1797 e le carte da giuoco del Can. Montieri’, Atti e Memorie della Reale Deputazione di Storia Patria per la Romagna, ser. 3, Vol. XXVII, 1909. C’è anche un libretto informativo di Franco Presicci accluso alla riproduzione del mazzo Montieri pubblicata dalle Edizioni del Solleone di Lissone nel 1973. Le citazioni dalla bolla e dal decreto successivo sono tratte rispettivamente da un manoscritto inserito nella copia del libretto di Montieri della Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio di Bologna, e dal documento del 1820, che riporta la storia dell’affare, citato in Playing cards... from the Collection of Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Voi. Ill, Londra, 1895, p. 14. II libretto di L. Montieri è intitolato L’Utile col Diletto ossia geografia intrecciata nel giuoco de Tarocchi con le insegne degl’Illustrissimi ed Eccelsi Signori Gonfalonieri ed Anziani di Bologna dal 1670 al 1725, e fu pubblicato a Bologna nello stesso anno 1725.

(In 1725, an absurd mishap led to a considerable [end of p. 231] changing of the subjects of the trumps. The Canon Luigi Montieri produced a deck of geographic and heraldic Tarocchino. These educational decks enjoyed enormous popularity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They could be based on any kind of deck - tarot or normal, French or Italian suited. Like others of this type, almost all of the surface of each card was dedicated to providing geographic and heraldic information: only a small panel in the upper part indicated its name as a playing card. Bologna was long part of the Papal States, but, on the basis of an agreement in 1447, enjoyed considerable autonomy. When the deck was brought to the attention of the papal authorities, they read with indignation on a card that Bologna had a mixed government. They arrested Canon Montieri and all those who were involved in the publication of the deck, which was publicly burned. In the bull of December 12, 1725, the legate Cardinal Tomaso Ruffo condemned Montiere's cards for "a thousand vain irregularities and improper ideas, worthy of the most exemplary punishment, as also to give to the flames, and to prohibit all use, and trade by our public edict." The authorities soon realized, however, that to proceed further would have aroused deep resentment in a city proud of its ancient liberties. The case was then dropped quickly and Montieri and the others were released after a few days in jail. To save face, however, the Papal legate pretended to have been scandalized for a totally different aspect of the deck, which was common to all Bolognese Tarocchini decks and not specific to the geographical version of Montieri. He ordered "that the Game of Tarot was to replace the 4 Papi with 4 Moors, and the Angel by a Lady." Correctly interpreting that the affront to the dignity of the Pope would have been more deeply felt than the dignity of the Angel of the Last Judgement, Montieri bowed to the first request but not the second, and the legate felt his honor secure. In all surviving copies of the geographic deck the Moors appear in place of the Popes, but the highest triumph is still the angel instead of a lady, and it continues to assert that Bologna has a mixed government. In his explanatory booklet for the new edition of the deck, Montieri called the four new triumphs "The Satraps" (17).

The Montieri deck has the cards in each suit from Ace to 6 and omits those from 7-10, but this is just a simplification to make it easier to represent the names of the pip cards in the panels that serve this purpose. In the triumphs, including the Fool, each panel also contains a single uppercase letter. When the trumps are arranged in descending order, with the Fool at the bottom, the letters form the words: c luigi montieri inventor. This is a clear proof of the fact that in 1725, as in 1668, the order of the trumps was given.

Not only the Canon Montieri, but also all the card makers of Bologna conformed to the decree which required the placement of the Moors in place of the Popes, while neglecting the part relating to the Angel. Sylvia Mann noted that the change was originally made in the most economical way: the old dies were altered so as to remove from the figures of the Popes the specifically papal or imperial traits, and, in the coloring of the cards, the faces were darkened so as to produce the depictions of four eastern kings - four satraps. The four cards could not have become so similar to each other if it had not already been customary to treat all four Popes as having the same value. In the sixteenth chapter we will see how this assumption is confirmed by an unexpectedly modern form, little known in the game. So we have a very effective means to determine whether a deck of Tarocchino is before or after 1725: just see if it contains the Popes or the Moors.)
17. An account of this grotesque story is in Gian Battista Comelli, 'The "mixed government" in Bologna from 1507 to 1797 and the playing cards of Can. Montieri', Proceedings and Memoirs of the Royal Deputation of National History for Romagna, ser. 3, Vol XXVII, 1909. There is also an information booklet Franco Presicci attached to the reproduction of the the Montieri deck published by Editions Solleone of Lissone in 1973. Quotations from the bull and the subsequent decree are taken respectively from a manuscript inserted in the copy of Montieri's booklet in the Library of the Archiginnasio of Bologna, and from the document of 1820, which shows the history of the affair, quoted in Playing cards... from the Collection of Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Vol Ill, London, 1895 p. 14. The booklet by L. Montieri is titled Profit with Delight geography that is woven into the game Tarot with the insignia of the Most Illustrious Exalted and Gentlemen Gonfalonieri and Elders of Bologna from 1670 to 1725, and was published in Bologna in the same year 1725.

"Satrapi" of course rhymes with "papi". I question the extent to which Bologna "enjoyed considerable autonomy", except for the period before 1507. Playing card manufacturing, like all matters of the press, seems to have been under the direct authority of the Papacy, even if they did bow to popular pressure on one small point. I assume that a "mixed government" means one partly by representatives and partly not. Which part did the Cardinal object to as an unfair descripton of the government of Bologna? If it was the part about representatives, then of course there is no autonomy (was the agreement of 1447 still in force?). If the non-representative part, his own action refutes his objection and it is appropriately withdrawn. I notice that in the title of Dummett's reference has "mixed government" (in quotes) between 1507 and 1797 (Napoleon's invasion) only: so in that period, there is autonomy except when the papacy objects, which it may do in the most trivial matters, and In fact did so in the instance of the Moors, simply to allow the legate to save face. After an illustrious 15th century,. Bologna in fact languished in obscurity for 300 years, running a conservative university, cultivating its gardens, cooking exquisitely (or so I read), and playing cards.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo"

Good addition, Huck. The article by Decker that Dummett is responding to, on a 14 card Cary-Yale proposal, is in Journal of the International Playing Card Society vol. 3, no. 1 (August 1974), pp. 23-24, 48.

Now I am going to continue with other early hand-painted decks of Milan, from Ch. 2 of Il Mondo e l'Angelo. Here are some new or otherwise noteworthy things.

(1) On the Brera-Brambilla, Dummett estimates that it, and the PMB as well, had 21 triumphs plus the Fool (p. 51).
A parte le Spade diritte nel mazzo Visconti-Sforza e le frecce sulle figure del seme di Bastoni nel mazzo Brambilla, la composizione e i disegni di questi due mazzi si accordano pienamente con l’ipotesi che siano stati, in origine, due mazzi di tarocchi del formato standard di settantotto carte: tutti i semi contenevano evidentemente le regolamentari dieci carte numerali e quattro figure; e i trionfi pervenutici, inclusi i sei del mazzo Visconti-Sforza, che sono opera del secondo artista, presentano tutti soggetti convenzionali.

(Apart from the straight Swords in the Visconti-Sforza pack and the arrows on the figures in the suit of Batons in the Brambilla pack, the composition and patterns of these two packs fully agree with the hypothesis that they were originally two tarot packs of the standard form of seventy-eight cards: all the suits demonstrably contain the regular ten numeral cards and four figure; and the triumphs that have survived, including the six in the Visconti-Sforza pack that are the work of the second artist, all show the conventional subject matter.)
As to the number of triumphs, it seems to me that there are other reasonable possibilities. It is so close in time to the Cary-Yale that it might have been part of the "primitive"--and experimental--time period. There are only two surviving triumphs. It is hard to say much from that.

The BB was done a little later than the CY ("il mazzo Brambilla un po’ più tardi", quoted in my last post). It is later because the cards are closer to the PMB than the CY is in style, "severe" and sparser in extraneous details. He says, in relation to the three packs. Here I have added explanatory notes to the translation, about which decks are which. In the beginning, he is speaking of the Cary-Yale (p. 47):
Questo mazzo è collegato al mazzo Brambilla dall’impiego del fiorino di Filippo Maria e dall’altemarsi rovesciato di frecce e mazze nel seme di Bastoni. Ciò nonostante. Giuliana Algeri ritiene a ragione che il suo stile artistico differisca da quello degli altri due mazzi. Gli altri mazzi sono in un certo senso severi: dai trionfi e dalle figure è assente ogni dettaglio superfluo per la rappresentazione dei loro soggetti, mentre nel mazzo Visconti di Modrone le carte figurate mostrano spesso personaggi supplementari e in essenziali. Se fu dipinto da un altro artista, si trattò comunque di un artista della stessa scuola.

(This pack [the CY] is connected to the Brambilla pack by the use of the florin of Filippo Maria, and of alternating inverted arrows and clubs in the suit of Batons. Nonetheless, Giuliana Algeri rightly feels that the artistic style differs from that of the other two packs [the BB and the PMB]. The other packs are in a certain sense severe: every detail unnecessary for the representation of the subjects is absent from the triumphs and figures, while in the Visconti di Modrone pack the figure cards often show additional inessential personages. If it was painted by another artist, it was nevertheless an artist of the same school.)
Another reason for dating the BB later than the CY is that the 14 cards per suit reflect a less "primitive" period in the tarot's development. Later in the book, on p. 106, quoted in my last post, Dummett hypothesizes the time of the deck's standardization to around 1444.

(2) As to the PMB, which he calls the "Visconti-Sforza", he says, e.g. in my quote discussing the BB, that it, too, reflects the 21 plus Fool standard model, since there are 14 cards per suit and 19 surviving triumphs.

All this follows and says no more than he has already said in his "pure hypothesis" that the CY had 24 trumps. Is there anything more substantial than that.

One can count the cards in the PMB. They are 19 plus the Fool, only two less than the standard 21. It is a considerably smaller jump from 19 to 21 than from 11 to 24.

One problem, of course, is that six of the 19 are by a different artist. in what he says art historians say is the style of a different period and place (Ferrara 1475 vs Milan 1450). I will get into the reasons for this dating under another heading. We have to ask: are these six new additions of c. 1475, substitutions (meaning for subjects that are in the CY but not those of the PMB new cards), or replacements (meaning new versions of subjects in the PMB originally?

Dummett argues strongly that the original PMB did not contain only the14 triumphs of the first artist. He says:
Se, dei sei trionfi dipinti dal secondo artista, nessuno era compreso nel mazzo Visconti di Modrone, sarebbe plausibile l’ipotesi che si tratti di addizioni successive. Le cose non stanno però cosi: versioni di due di essi, la Fortezza e il Mondo, sono incluse fra le carte Visconti di Modrone. Poiché la Giustizia ha fatto fin dall’inizio
parte del mazzo Visconti-Sforza, non si può sostenere che le virtù fossero originariamente del tutto assenti da questo mazzo.È pertanto estremamente probabile che le versioni della Fortezza, della Temperanza e del Mondo ad opera dall’altro pittore siano o componenti del mazzo originario o sostituti di carte smarrite. Se le cose stanno così, si indebolisce notevolmente l’ipotesi che la Stella, la Luna e il Sole siano addizioni successive; anch’esse sarebbero o componenti originari o sostituti.

(If, of the six triumphs portrayed by the second artist, none were included in the Visconti di Modrone pack, it would be plausible to assume that they were succeeding additions. But things are not so: versions of two of them, Fortitude and the World, are included among the Visconti di Modrone cards. As Justice was part of the Visconti-Sforza pack from the beginning, it cannot be argued that the virtues were originally entirely absent from this pack. [54] It is therefore highly likely that the versions of Fortitude, Temperance and the World by the other painter were components of the original pack or substitutes for lost cards. If this is so, it weakens considerably the hypothesis that the Star, Moon and Sun are later additions; these also would be original components or substitutes.)
I can tentatively accept all of this except the last sentence. Just because 3 cards repeated old subjects doesn't mean that the three others did so as well. We have no idea what the circumstances were. Perhaps the 3 theological virtues of the CY were just omitted from the original PMB, and Galeazzo Maria, remembering his visit to Florence and the Star, Moon, and Sun cards there, decided they should be added to the deck. At the same time, he decided that the Fortitude card should commemorate his father, perhaps even changing the name to "Forza", and the Temperance card--along with the Star and the Moon--should commemorate his sister Elisabetta, who died after childbirth in 1472. (Dummett claims that "Forza" never appears in the 16th century literature (p. 71):
Nella letteratura italiana del Cinquecento, la carta che rappresenta la virtù cardinale è sempre chiamata ‘la Fortezza’, mai ‘la Forza’, come avviene nel moderno Tarocco piemontese;

In Italian literature of the sixteenth century, the card that represents the cardinal virtue is always called 'la Fortezza', never 'la Forza', as in the modern Piedmont Tarot;
"Forza" is in fact an alternate name for Fortezza in Folengo,, and Imperiali, ... ra_1550_ca; and Alciato calls it "Forti",
In that case the principle being followed originally would be to keep the same number of triumphs, i.e. 16. Or Hope, Faith, and Charity were kept originally, but Galeazzo never liked them and in the 1470s, he decided to make the change. We have no idea.

Another problem is with Dummett's leap from 19 to 21. There are numerous other examples of this "Milan standard pack" later in the century, and none of them have the Devil or the Tower. That could have been by chance or later removal, but it most straightforwardly suggests that, whatever was the case in other cities, these two cards weren't present in the Milanese hand-painted decks.

In favor of Dummett's hypothesis here, however, is that the Tower, at least, is present in another city's cards, those of the "Charles VI" tarot, and that both Tower and Devil are in the Cary Sheet. But the "Charles VI', besides being from a different city, also is later than the original PMB; the Cary Sheet is much later,by 25 to 50 years. Perhaps Galeazzo didn't like the Tower card and thought it might bring bad luck.

(3) As I have already said, Dummett gives two possible approximate dates for the PMB (which lacks the Visconti florins): 1450 and 1475 (p. 50). Here is what he says:
Se le sei carte secondarie del mazzo Visconti-Sforza rimpiazzano carte precedenti, il mazzo è databile intorno al 1450; ma se sono [49] opera di un collaboratore, secondo l’ipotesi di Ronald Decker, la data cade attorno al 1475, a causa dello stile delle sei carte.

(If the second six cards replace cards in the Visconti-Sforza pack earlier, the pack can be dated around 1450; but if they are [49] by an assistant, according to the hypothesis of Ronald Decker, the date falls around 1475, because of the style of the six cards.)
The 1475 date is on the assumption that the second artist cards were painted at the same time as the first artist cards, by an assistant. The 1450 is on the assumption that the second artist cards were painted later, i.e. 1475, as replacements for earlier versions of the same cards. Later he gives a lower limit for the date of the second artist cards. Speaking of the decks that derive from the PMB, he says (p. 55):
Quelli che contengono copie di una delle sei carte Visconti-Sforza dipinte dal
secondo artista devono essere posteriori al 1470, che è la prima data plausibile per quelle carte;...

(Those that contain copies of one of the six Visconti-Sforza cards painted by the
second artist must be later than 1470, which is the first plausible date for those cards
He says that the second artist cards are in a style of 1475 Ferrara.
The reason for the late dating of these cards is their style (p. 45):
L’opinione corrente è che queste sei carte siano state dipinte circa vent’anni
dopo da un ignoto artista di scuola ferrarese; ma Ronald Decker considera il mazzo frutto di una collaborazione ineguale fra due artisti del tempo del duca Galeazzo Maria 6.

(Current opinion is that these six cards were painted about twenty years later by an unknown artist of the School of Ferrara; Ronald Decker considers the deck the result of an unequal collaboration between two artists of the time of the Duke Galeazzo Maria 6.)
6. See R. Decker, 'Two Tarot Related Studies', Part III, Journal of the Playing-Card Society, Vol IV, 1975, pp. 46-52.
But most scholars, he adds, consider that the deck except for these cards was done during the reign of Francesco Sforza, "probably in the earlier years of his reign" [probabilmente nei primi anni del suo regno].

In 2007 (Artibus Historia 56, pp. 15-26) Dummett discarded the idea that the second artist cards were replacements and hypothesized that all the cards were painted around 1462-3 by Bonifacio and Benedetto Bembo, Benedetto as the second artist. He based this on stylistic similarities to ecclesiastical artworks done around that time attributed to Benedetto. I transcribed the relevant portion of his article at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=365&p=4912&hilit=Artibus#p4912.

i myself don't see the similarities, but all I have seen are poor reproductions. I hypothesize the first artist cards, which show much wear, were probably originally done for the Sforza children, and so in the early to mid 1450s. The other cards, which show much less wear, are much like two of the Belfiore Muses, probably among those done for Borso d'Este around 1449 (see viewtopic.php?f=12&t=463&p=5923&hilit=Belfiore#p5923). Ciriaco d'Ancona saw them then, just before moving to Cremona, where he died in the early 1450s. The style of these Muses later became that of the "Tarot of Mantegna" images, which seem to have influenced the Schifanoia Palace frescoes in c. 1470, a project on which many painters participated, including some from other cities. The 1475 date seems reasonable to me, both from the decreased wear and from my hypothesis that the lady on three of the cards (Temperance, Star, Moon) is likely Elisabetta Maria Sforza, Galeazzo Maria Sforza's sister, who died at age 16 as a result of childbirth, in 1472 (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=365&p=4821&hilit=Elisabetta#p4821). Stylistically, they could be any time from 1449 to 1475, depending on when the artist and/or his patron decided to follow the model of these Belfoir Muses. After 1472 is most likely, because the Schifanoia project would have been the most logical way for a Milanese artist to learn Ferrarese styles. Dummett's 1462 date is based on the date of the altarpiece now in the Sforza Castle. I see nothing Ferrarese about it in the reproductions. The La Spezia Museo Civico's Madonna of Humility is more believably in a Ferrarese style, but it is not known when it was painted. From reproductions, I see no point of resemblance in style to the six second artist cards.

(4) Dummett notes a possible third early deck from Milan, in a footnote on p. 51:
11. S.R. Kaplan riproduce nella sua Encyclopedia of Tarot, Vol. II, New York, 1986, p. 24, un’incisione di una Dama di Denari da Bertolo Belotti, La vita di Bartolomeo Colleoni, Bergamo, 1923. L’incisione rappresenta ovviamente una carta da gioco dipinta a mano e dorata, e corrisponde aìl’incirca alla carta Visconti di Modrone, ma non con esattezza completa; in particolare, la moneta della carta Visconti di Modrone porta l’emblema del sole raggiante, mentre quella dell’incisione porta il biscione visconteo. Il Belotti non cita la provenienza dell’incisione, e le indagini di Kaplan non l’hanno scoperta.

(11. S.R. Kaplan shows, in his Encyclopedia of Tarot, Vol. II, New York, 1986, p. 24, an engraving of a Queen of Coins, from Bertolo Belotti, Vita di Bartolomeo Colleoni, Bergamo, 1923. The engraving is obviously of a hand-painted and gilded playing card, and corresponds to a card in the ambit of the Visconti di Modrone, but not with complete accuracy; in particular, the coin on the Visconti di Modrone card bears a radiant sun emblem, while the engraving bears the Visconti viper. Belotti does not mention the origin of the engraving, and Kaplan’s investigation has not uncovered it.
I have already discussed the remainder of the chapter at . He dates these later hand-painted decks of Milan to 1475-1510. The lower date is due to the fact that many of the decks copy the second artist designs.

I have already summarized the rest of the chapter at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1017#p15124. However there are a couple of things that didn't have to do with how many decks and how cards are identified with what decks. Principally, he has a lot to say about the Goldschmidt cards, commenting on two articles in the 1980s by John Shephard ("The Goldschmidt Sun", The Ploying Card, Vol XVI, 1987, pp. 37-40'The Lance and the Fountain: some Variant Forms of the World', The Playing Card, Vol XVII, 1988, pp. 54-7). He likes Shephard' idea that the subject of a card can be identified by what is shown on top. So for example when there are gravestones on the bottom and a sun at the top, the subject is the Sun. The idea also fits with the principle of "immediate recognition" for the players. He does not like Shephard's idea that in the Goldschmidt cards, all the trumphs have ceckered floors. That is because on one card, of a lady in prayer, there is no checkered floor and also no suit sign (p. 74 . Dummett can't imagine a hand-painted suit card without a suit-sign. Agaisnt Shephard here, Dummett makes the intersting proposal that the Goldschmidt cards might be the earliest instance of the suppression of the Pope and Popess cards. There is a bishop and a lady at prayer on a kneeler (images scanned from Shephard's article)


Dummett proposes that the Pope and the Popess have been downgraded, at the request of a pious family.
. The Bishop [card (c)] could replace the Pope, and maybe the lady on the kneeler [card (e)] the Popess; if so, we would have here the oldest example of the frequent suppression of those two cards, very often deemed offensive: The Goldschmidt pack may have been produced for a clergyman or a particularly devout noble family. The lady at the kneeler could be a portrait from life; this hypothesis seems particularly likely for the lady with the miniature castle, who should be the founder of some famous castle. as was the case with portraits of bishops with reference to cathedrals.
Dummet's idea is that all these Milanese decks are painting the standard PMB subjects. In his view, the Goldschmidt cards are part of a deck to which two Guildhall cards also belong, with close to the same dimensions and same color of back. One of them has a hunter-type figure very similar to one of the Goldschmidt cards. The other is a very close copy of the PMB World card. So they would date somewhere around 1475-1500.

I myself find it unclear whether the Guildhall cards are part of the same deck, because the borders are different: one Guildhall has a border the same color, white, but much wider than the Goldschmidt's The other, the World card, has a dark border. I illustrated this on my other post (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1017#p15124, scroll down to the pictues). If the World card is not part of the Goldschmidt's deck, then the Goldschmidt cards could be considerably earlier than 1475. But perhaps they are companion decks, done together, with the idea that if a card from one is lost, it can be temporarily replaced from the other.

Another issue regarding the Goldschmidt is the shape of the Baton suit-signs: gnarled cudgels in both the Guildhall and Goldschmidt, much like those of the "Spanish" suit style, which early on could have been either Spanish or French. He resists the idea that they are non-Italian, because the French only learned about tarot too late for these cards, something he will argue for later. Spanish suits could have been familiar by way Naples; there is also Shephard's proposal, which Dummett does not oppose, p. 73, that they were made for Cesare Borgia, of Spanish descent, with the Dolphin an allusion to the duchy in which he was a count, Delphinato:
Shephard pensa anche che le figure umane dipinte nei tarocchi Goldschmidt siano quasi tutti ritratti dal vivo. A suo parere, il mazzo fu realizzato per Cesare Borgia nel 1500; ravvisa nel delfino incoronato un’allusione al ducato di Valentino nel Delfinato, e ritiene che la carta equivalga all’Asso di Denari, così come il biscione del gruppo Tozzi. Così si spiegherebbero, a suo avviso, i Bastoni di tipo spagnolo, poiché Cesare era, ben
inteso, di lignaggio spagnolo. Questo tipo di Bastoni non era ancora molto diffuso in Spagna, ma sappiamo dal foglio di Barcellona che esisteva a quel tempo.

Shephard also believes that the human figures painted on the Goldschmidt tarots are almost all portraits from life. In his opinion, the pack was created for Cesare Borgia in 1500; he sees in the crowned dolphin an allusion to the Duchy of Valentino in Delfinato, and believes that card is equivalent to the Ace of Coins, as well as the Tozzi group snake. This would explain, in his view, the Batons of the Spanish type, because Cesare was well known as of Spanish ancestry. This type of Batons was not still widespread in Spain, but we know from the folio in Barcelona that it existed at that time.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo"

Dummett according MikeH's translation wrote: We do not know with certainty if the Visconti di Modrone pack included the Fool, or how many triumphs there were. It has been suggested that, apart from the three missing virtues, it included only those triumphs that have come down to us, in all, therefore, fourteen. Fourteen triumphs and sixty-four suit cards would bring the number of cards in the pack to the usual seventy-eight, although distributed differently. The total number of cards in a Tarot pack is not, however, particularly significant: what really matters is the ratio between the number of trumps (apart from the Fool) and the number of suit cards. It is true that this varies greatly from one type of Tarot pack to another, but it is extremely likely that, at this early stage of evolution of the pack, the ratio was the only constant. With seventy-eight cards in the pack, the ratio is 3 to 8: in other words, the number of triumphs is exactly one and a half times that of the cards in each suit. If this was the ratio in the Visconti di Modrone pack, there would have to be twenty-four triumphs. It would thus have been able to include all the standard subjects and, in addition, Faith, Hope and Charity; or, if Prudence was one of the triumphs, it contained all the standard subjects except one. All this is, however, pure hypothesis: only the unexpected discovery of new elements could give us reliable information about the triumphs missing from the Visconti di Madrone pack.)
This refers to the discussion with Decker in the 1970s.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo"

In Chapter Two of Il Mondo e L'Angelo (1993) Dummett discusses the cards he classifies as Milanese. This chapter and the next correspond to Chapter 4 of Game of Tarot (GOT), with many additions.

I gave a summary of the second half of this second chapter at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1017#p15124, but I didn't discuss the first three on his list of Milanese at all, i.e. the Cary-Yale, Brera-Brambilla, and PMB. Before I begin, I need to say that he consistently calls the Cary-Yale deck (CY for me) by its older term, "Visconti di Madrone", and the PMB deck the "Visconti-Sforza". Also he consistently does not include the Fool among the triumphs. This is from its role in the game; it never takes, i.e. triumphs in, a trick. Also, it is normally not numbered, suggesting that it is not part of the trump sequence.

In this post I am just going to look at what he says about the Cary-Yale, probably the oldest extant tarot deck known. This of course is a very familiar issue on THF; but it doesn't hurt to approach it from the angle of Dummett's later thoughts. I really think that they provide a good framework for discussion.


Here is what I see that is new or otherwise of note:

(1) About the coin-image with Filippo Maria Visconti's name in it, both in the CY and in the in the Brera-Brambilla (BB) suit of coins. It is often used to date the decks, Dummett says (p. 46, note 7):
7. La tecnica di queste rappresentazioni del fiorino di Filippo Maria rimane un mistero. Pare evidente che sono state fatte per mezzo di un autentico conio, ma i numismatici ci assicurano che le immagini sulle carte sono più grandi della moneta stessa; forse l’artista usò il conio per una medaglia.

(It seems evident that they have been made by means of an authentic coinage, but the numismatic experts assure us that the images on the cards are larger than on the coin itself; perhaps the artist used the coin for a medal.)
I had not read this bit at the end about the medal idea before. I assume he is implying that the medal, and not the coin, would have been what was imprinted on the coin. That would also explain the feature that Marco noticed, at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13807&hilit=florins#p13807, that the words around the circumference aren't in the same place on the coin and the card. But it won't help in dating the card, except for some time in Filippo's reign, because the Visconti florins had had that same design through 3 prior Visconti rulers (see my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13807&hilit=florins#p13797. But the medal idea is interesting, because Pisanello was in Milan in 1440-41 and did strike medals, of Francesco Sforza and Filippo Visconti. But the device used for imprinting couldn't have been an actual medal, because the letters would have come out reversed (likewise for a coin). It had to have been something made for the express purpose of making the coin image. A medalist could have made such a die easily enough, just for the card--actually two dies, because both sides of the coin are represented. The technology was readily available even without Pisanello, for example, in making rings that left their imprint on sealed letters, i.e. a goldsmith's product, done to leave an imprint that looked like the coin. If so, it could have been done any time between 1412 and 1447. In fact Dummett here only uses the coin argument to establish an upper limit, i.e. no later than 1447. I can't argue with that.

(2) Dummett no longer insists that Bonifacio Bembo painted the CY and BB. This is because, while the experts were unanimously for Bembo in 1980, some experts since have seen the hand of Zavatarri in the cards.

I would add that for me it is not even clear which of the Bembo would have donethe work, including the Lancelot illuminations, as it was a workshop established by the father earlier. Evelyn Welch expressed this doubt in the Encyclopedia of Art, 1996. I reproduced his encyclopedia entry at the end of viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13407&hilit=Welch#p13420. That said, the CY cards look to me more in the Bembo style than the Zavatarri.

(3). Dummett continues to be ambivalent about the occasion for the CY Love card. Opinion in the past was unanimous that it was assicuated with a particular marriage. That view has been questioned by the Deckers,propose instead that it represents Tristan and Isolde. I would guess that this based on the similarity of the cards to those for a Lancelot book were done around 1446, noted in 1980.

It seems to me that that in proposing a marriage here, no one was saying it portrayed the actual act of getting married. That would have been done in a church, or at least with a priest present. So the card, on the "marriage" interpretation, would be a meeting between bride and groom before the wedding. This was actually a common occurrence among the nobility at the highest level in their region.

Dummett reviews and evaluates three different proposals for the marriage: the 1428 (actually, 1427) wedding of Filippo with Maria of Savoy; (b) the 1441 wedding of Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza; and (c) the wedding of Galeazzo Maria Sforza and Bona of Savoy. The arguments against (a) and (c) are well known. Filippo kept his wife isolated, away from him, with no chance of contacting other men, and the marriage was childless, probably never consummated. Against both (a) and (c), the white cross on a red field, besides being the shield of Savoy, is also that of Pavia, where the Visconti had a second court. Against (c), the cards with the coins and Filippo's name would have to have been saved for 20 years, and the triumphs added in the same archaic style. (This last argument is not conclusive, as a Visconti coin could have been saved and used to make the dies needed, and a deck made from scratch in the archaic style, which the Bembo were known to be good at. Such a deck would make sense as propaganda for Galeazzo Maria's claim for "bon droyt" as Filippo's direct and loyal descendent. as well as being the son of the foremost condottiero of his age. But Galeazzo Maria was not known for his subtlety.)

Dummett also has one new argument, which he makes against the 1428 interpretation, but would work against the 1441 as well, unless Filippo really wanted his daughter's marriage to be a bad one:
In addition, the card shows a dog between the two people; as the barking of a dog at a wedding was considered a bad omen by Filippo Maria, only an artist of the highest impertinence or recklessness would have included one on a card intended to evoke the event.
Dummett gives no source for this alleged superstition.

In favor of the 1441 wedding, however, there remain the Sforza heraldics of the fountain and quince in all the figure cards of Batons and Swords, and the Visconti heraldics on the Coins and Cups. For this reason Kaplan's proposal that the cards commemorate the Francesco-Bianca marriage is not eliminated. Kaplan did not address the difficulty of the banners on the tent; but they could both be Visconti banners, one in Milan and one in Pavia, representing the bride and Lombardy, the groom's adopted home, and balancing out the fountain on the man's chest, which is a Sforza emblem. Dummett concludes (p. 49):
Sia che sia stato un regalo nuziale oppure no, gli anni intorno al 1441 sembrano la data più probabile. Se si è trattato di un regalo, l’ipotesi di Kaplan è la più plausibile; non sarebbe stato un gran complimento per una donna della Savoia che emblemi savoiardi fossero dipinti su una sola carta, mentre le altre carte erano piene di quelli viscontei e sforzeschi. Anche se non si è trattato di un regalo, questa data rimane ugualmente probabile. Nei suoi ultimi anni, Filippo Maria era quasi cieco. Sappiamo che, quando era più giovane, il gioco delle carte lo aveva appassionato e che aveva commissionato un mazzo dipinto a mano a Michelino da Besozzo. E pertanto plausibile che egli abbia commissionato due mazzi di tarocchi a un pittore della fama di Bembo o di Zavattari, ma non è al tempo stesso plausibile che lo abbia fatto negli ultimi anni di vita. Il mazzo Visconti dì Modrone può essere ragionevolmente datato verso il 1441, e il mazzo Brambilla un po’ più tardi.

(Whether it was a wedding gift or not, the years around 1441 seem the most likely date. If it was a gift, Kaplan's hypothesis is the most plausible; it would not be a great compliment to a woman to have emblems of Savoy painted on a single card, and other cards were full of those of the Visconti and Sforza. Even if it was not a gift, this date remains equally likely. In his later years, Filippo Maria was nearly blind. We know that when he was younger, he was passionate about playing cards and had commissioned a hand painted pack from Michelino da Besozzo. It is therefore plausible that he commissioned two packs of tarot cards to a painterof the reputation of Bembo or Zavattari, but it is not very plausible that he did it in the last years of life. The Visconti di Modrone pack can be reasonably dated to 1441, and the Brambilla pack a little later.)

For myself, the 1441 marriage commemoration idea remains the most plausible, because of the heraldics on the court cards and the Love card. As for the dog, it is not barking; if a barking dog is a bad omen, a calm dog would seem to be a good omen (as opposed to no dog at all, which would be neutral). Dogs otherwise were symbols of faithfulness.

Besides what Dummett has brought out, I would add that there was a strong tradition among the Visconti of giving illuminated manuscripts featuring their own portraits and heraldics as marriage gifts, (as shown by Kirsch; see viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&sid=126a9f155b ... 9c61577b38;), of which illuminated cards might have been a fashionable extension. Francesco and Bianca themselves, much later, commissioned a marriage commemoration tapestry reminiscent of the scene on the card (

As to the banners, their both being Visconti is OK by me, but the alternating banners do look like they are complementing the scene below and so the union of two houses, as so many commentators have said. It seems to me that they could refer back to a previous commemoration, whether in a tarot card or some illumination or fresco, of the Filippo-Maria of Savoy marriage, perhaps done before the 1427 marriage. This is a standard technique in many works of art; it situates the work in a tradition. If done before the marriage, the work in question would have given a much needed (considering his previous wife's fate) impression of a lover's devotion to the match--or done afterwards to give that impression to outsiders.

I have been roundly criticized for hypothesizing an actual tarot deck of 1427-1430, one without the Sforza stemmi but with an otherwise similar Love card. It was said that I was introducing a "Russellian teapot". But it is not. There is no reason to hypothesize a teapot floating in outer space between the earth and Mars, but plenty of reason for thinking that the Cary-Yale was not the first tarot deck in Milan. For one thing, there were already tarot decks in Florence, a city for which Francesco was working at tha time. For another, card decks get used up with use. So it is to be expected that an earlier deck, not as expensive, would not have survived. For his part Dummett makes no claim that that the Cary-Yale was the first deck in Milan. In fact, he hypothesizes just the opposite. You can imagine my surprise when I saw on p. 106 Dummett himself hypothesizing the invention of the tarot deck in Milan of around 1428:
Possiamo redigere dunque una cronologia provvisoria, basata di necessità su congetture; le date sono naturalmente approssimative:

1428: i tarocchi sono inventati alla corte viscontea.
1430: la corte estense di Ferrara conosce i tarocchi.
1435: i tarocchi si diffondono a Bologna.
1440: i fabbricanti di carte cominciano a produrre mazzi di tarocchi a buon prezzo, stampati da matrici di legno.
1442: i tarocchi si diffondono da Bologna a Firenze.
1444: la composizione del mazzo di tarocchi diventa standardizzata dappertutto.

(We can therefore draw up a provisional chronology, based of necessity on conjecture; the dates of course are approximate:

1428: Tarot is invented in the court of the Visconti .
1430: the Este court in Ferrara knows the tarot.
1435: tarot spreads to Bologna.
1440: card makers begin to produce decks of tarot cards at a good price, printed by woodblock.
1442 tarot spreads from Bologna to Florence.
1444: The composition of the tarot deck becomes standardized everywhere.)
A discussion of these places and time will be suitable at another time, when I get to chapter 6 (except for the last one: that is his date for the Brera-Brambilla). My point is that Dummett hypothesizes decks not only in Milan but elsewhere considerably before the first recorded instance that he knew about, that of a court purchase in Ferrra from a Bolognese merchant in 1442.

It might be argued that Dummett, unlike me, does not hypothesize any specific details about this deck. It seems to me that we can indeed project back one specific from 1441 to 1428, not with any certainty, to be sure, but with some weak claim to justification. The justification is precisely the presence of the banners on the tent, which look so much like those of a courtly love situation particular to a Visconti and a Savoy.

(3) Another issue that Dummett takes up is that of what cards and how many are missing from the 11 that have come down to us.

As to how many triumphs there were, he says various things. First he says:
E impossibile stabilire se il mazzo Visconti di Modrone sia stato un esperimento isolato, che si distaccava da una norma già stabilita, o se sia runico esempio superstite di uno stadio primitivo in cui il mazzo dei tarocchi non aveva ancora acquisito la struttura che doveva in seguito diventare canonica. Se esso rappresenta uno stadio primitivo, è altresì impossibile stabilire se si tratti di uno stadio in cui coesistevano notevoli variazioni nella composizione dei mazzi di tarocchi o in cui prevaleva una norma ben precisa, diversa da quella che sarebbe stata osservata in seguito.

(It is impossible to determine if the Visconti di Modrone pack was an isolated experiment, that departed from a norm already established, or it was the unique surviving example of a primitive state, in which the tarot pack had not yet acquired the structure that was to become canonical. If it represents a primitive stage, it is also impossible to determine whether it is a stage in which there co-existed considerable variations in the composition of Tarot packs or one in which a precise norm prevailed, different from that which would was observed afterwards.)
That seems to me very sensible.

However he also says what he said in GOT, against the idea that it had only 14 triumphs; now, however, he makes it it is "extremely likely", unless the deck was already standardized at 21, that it contained 24, despite the fact only 11 have come down to us; at the same time, this is "pure hypothesis", until more reliable information is at hand (in the lengthy quote that follows, I highlight these phrases). Although these statements "impossile to determine", "extremely likely", and "pure hyothesis") don't actually contradict each other, the middle one has a very different tone out of context than the other two At least one of these three statements is bound to sound right, if the truth is ever known. Here he goes (pp. 51-52, basically what he says in GOT; but I give the 1993 statement as a groundwork for discussion:
L’ipotesi che il mazzo Visconti di Modrone non fosse una variante isolata ma rappresentasse uno stadio primitivo nell’evoluzione del mazzo dei tarocchi offre un
valido motivo per ritenere che si tratti del più antico gruppo di carte da tarocchi pervenutoci e quindi sicuramente prodotto durante il regno di Filippo Maria Visconti e probabilmente prima del mazzo Brambilla: quest’ultimo, infatti, evidentemente
aveva solo le solite quattro figure per ciascun seme, anche se, dal momento che ci restano solo due dei suoi trionfi, non possiamo sapere con certezza quali soggetti fossero ritratti
su quelli andati perduti. Poiché una delle virtù di solito inclusa nel mazzo dei tarocchi, la Fortezza, compariva nel mazzo 52 Visconti di Modrone, è estremamente probabile che anche le altre tre virtù cardinali — Giustizia, Temperanza e Prudenza — figurassero originariamente fra i trionfi di quel mazzo, formando, con le tre virtù teologali, la consueta serie delle sette virtù maggiori. Una delle curiosità del gruppo standard dei
trionfi nel mazzo dei tarocchi è che la quarta virtù cardinale, la Prudenza, non è inclusa a fianco delle sorelle; ma, quando incontriamo la Fortezza insieme a Fede, Speranza e Carità, è difficile non pensare che l'interò gruppo dovesse in origine essere presente.

Non sappiamo per certo se il mazzo Visconti di Modrone comprendesse il Matto, o quanti trionfi ne facessero parte. È stata avanzata l’ipotesi che, a parte le tre virtù mancanti, esso includesse solo quei trionfi che ci sono pervenuti, in tutto, quindi, quattordici. Quattordici trionfi e sessantaquattro carte dei semi porterebbero il numero di carte del mazzo alle consuete settantotto, seppure distribuite in modo diverso. Il totale delle carte in un mazzo di tarocchi non è, tuttavia, particolarmente significativo: ciò che conta davvero è il rapporto fra il numero dei trionfi (a parte il Matto) e il numero delle carte dei semi. È vero che questo varia notevolmente da un tipo all’altro di mazzi di tarocchi: ma è estremamente probabile che, in questa prima fase di evoluzione del mazzo, il rapporto fosse l’unico elemento costante. Nel mazzo a settantotto carte, il rapporto è 3 a 8: in altre parole, il numero dei trionfi è esattamente una volta e mezzo quello delle carte di ciascun seme. Se il rapporto nel mazzo Visconti di Modrone era questo, dovevano esserci ventiquattro trionfi. Esso avrebbe allora potuto includere tutti i soggetti standard e, in più, Fede, Speranza e Carità; oppure, se la Prudenza era uno dei trionfi, sarebbero stati presenti tutti i soggetti standard tranne uno. Tutto questo è, tuttavia, pura ipotesi: solo l’imprevista scoperta di nuovi elementi potrebbe darci informazioni sicure sui trionfi mancanti del mazzo Visconti di Modrone.

(The hypothesis that the Visconti di Modrone pack was not isolated but represents a variant of one primitive stage in the evolution of the tarot pack offers a valid reason for believing that it is the oldest group of tarot cards come down and thus definitely produced during the reign of Filippo Maria Visconti and probably before the Brambilla pack: the latter, in fact, clearly had only the usual four figures for each suit, although, since there are only two of its triumphs, we cannot know with certainty, of those subjects lost, which were portrayed. As one of the virtues usually included in the tarot pack, Fortitude, appeared in the 52 Visconti di Madrone pack, it is extremely probable that the other three cardinal virtues - Justice, Temperance, and Prudence - also originally figured among the triumphs of the pack, forming, with the three theological virtues, the usual series of the seven greater virtues. One of the curiosities of the group of standard triumphs in the tarot deck is that the fourth cardinal virtue, Prudence, is not included alongside her sisters; but when we encounter Fortitude together with Faith, Hope and Charity, it is difficult not to think that the entire group should have originally been present.

We do not know with certainty if the Visconti di Modrone pack included the Fool, or how many triumphs there were. It has been suggested that, apart from the three missing virtues, it included only those triumphs that have come down to us, in all, therefore, fourteen. Fourteen triumphs and sixty-four suit cards would bring the number of cards in the pack to the usual seventy-eight, although distributed differently. The total number of cards in a Tarot pack is not, however, particularly significant: what really matters is the ratio between the number of trumps (apart from the Fool) and the number of suit cards. It is true that this varies greatly from one type of Tarot pack to another, but it is extremely likely that, at this early stage of evolution of the pack, the ratio was the only constant. With seventy-eight cards in the pack, the ratio is 3 to 8: in other words, the number of triumphs is exactly one and a half times that of the cards in each suit. If this was the ratio in the Visconti di Modrone pack, there would have to be twenty-four triumphs. It would thus have been able to include all the standard subjects and, in addition, Faith, Hope and Charity; or, if Prudence was one of the triumphs, it contained all the standard subjects except one. All this is, however, pure hypothesis: only the unexpected discovery of new elements could give us reliable information about the triumphs missing from the Visconti di Madrone pack.)
As to the first part, I would agrees that Prudence would reasonably have been one of the cards, because there are already all 3 theological virtues and 1 cardinal virtue in the deck.The seven virtues were a common theme in art. So likely, (if the person who chose the subjects was thinking in a strictly traditional way), they all were there. Furthermore, as I found out a little while back, the Popess in the PMB carries attributes of Prudence (also Wisdom), namely a book and a staff-cross (see my post at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=970&p=14202&hilit= ... aff#p14202). So perhaps the Popess substituted for Prudence and/or Wisdom. Since Giotto used a cross-staff and a scroll for Faith, however, there are other possibilities,

The rest of this passage, about the preferred principle being the ratio of triumphs to suit cards, seems to me more dubious. The problem is that we cannot say what principle governed triumphs vs. normal suits, if any, was from looking at what happened later. What happened later was decided later, not at the earlier time, including decisions by people in other cities. That person may or may not have used the same principle used in the Cary-Yale, if there was one. The principle that Dummett enunciates is one possible way of continuing the tradition (which also helps define the tradition). But in fact we don't know. There are merely arguments for and against.

We do know that normal decks had a variety of numbers of suit cards, 40, 48, 52, etc. We know that later there were different tarot games for different numbers of suit cards, too. So another possibility is that the triumphs (excluding the Fool) were 21 in CY, for whatever reason, and that whoever came next used the principle of "same number of trumps" and only the suit cards changed in number. In that case, the ratio would vary, but depending on the number of suit cards. These later decisions would then define the standard. It does not make the previous period, before such decisions, any the less "primitive".

Another realistic possibility for "same number of triumphs": it could have been 19 plus the Fool at the beginning, given that the PMB, also from Milan, has that number (and no hand-painted Milan deck has the Devil or Tower). The Star, Moon, and Sun of the PMB have visual similarities with Hope, Faith, and Charity, respectively and might have been replacements for them. That possibility is also suggested by the place of these virtues in Minchiate, which are exactly in the same spots as the Star, Moon, and Sun in the standard tarot order. Even though done much later, the Minchiate inventor might have been thinking about earlier decks with the theological virtues when he restored them to the sequence.

Another reasonable alternative that Dummett has not considered is that the number of triumphs equal the number of cards in each of the suits, whatever it was. Since suits typically had 13 or 14 cards,This is supported by various documents attesting to the making of "13 new playing cards" in 1422 (, "14 figures" in 1441 (, not known to Dummett in 1993), and decks of 70 cards in 1457 ( ... ts-ferrara; they might be 5x14-- or (4x12) + 22, as Franco Pratesi recently suggested). So in the CY, with 16 cards per suit, there would be 16 triumphs. If someone initially used "same number as the suits" as a principle, the next person could have changed it to "same number of trumps". Or vice versa.

I would also make an argument to literary and visual precedents for the sequence as a whole. Visual representations in games (including board games) devised deliberately rarely are just random; they have a rationale. In the triumphs as in the suits. it would have been easy just to number the cards, like pages in a book, and give free rein to the artists' imaginations for the pictures. But it didn't happen. You had to memorize the sequence, even after a few decks, e.g. the Sola-Busca, in fact were numbered. There was very likely a reason the sequence had to be memorized, something about life. The reason may have changed over time, too: from something satirical to something serious, for example.

Here I would build on an idea expressed by Dummett, the closest thing to an overall plan to the tarot that I find in his book, on pp. 106-7, immediately after the section I quoted earlier from p. 106). By "scope" in the first sentence I think he means whether divination or occult meanings were involved, which is the next subject he takes up. By the "carte supplementari" he means not the 6 second artist cards of the PMB, but rather the whole set of triumphs added to the normal deck.
Prima di considerare lo scopo dell’invenzione, vale la pena di domandarsi perché le carte supplementari furono chiamate ‘trionfi’.

Molti hanno cercato di spiegare il termine «trionfi» con l’uso dei ventuno trionfi nel gioco, cioè come quelli che ‘trionfano’ sulle altre carte; e non siamo in grado di dimostrare l’inesattezza di questa spiegazione. Più suggestiva è, tuttavia, una brillante ipotesi di Gertrude Moakley. La studiosa ritiene che il nome non abbia niente a che fare con l’uso delle carte, ma solo con ciò che vi è raffigurato: la serie dei trionfi rappresenterebbe una specie di corteo trionfale. Come è documentato da Burkhardt e Moakley, uno dei passatempi prediletti delle corti del Rinascimento italiano era proprio l’allestimento di tali cortei trionfali con carri addobbati di figure derivate dalla mitologia classica o raffiguranti astrazioni quali l’Amore, la Morte, ecc.: una metamorfosi del trionfo di un generale o imperatore romano in un elegante intrattenimento allegorico. Un elemento frequente di questi trionfi rinascimentali era l’idea che è al centro del poema petrarchesco I Trionfi, in cui ciascuna astrazione personificata trionfa, sconfìggendola, sulla precedente; così nel poema l’amore trionfa su dei e uomini, la castità sull’amore, la morte sulla castità, la fama sulla morte, il tempo sulla fama e l’eternità sul tempo. L’ipotesi sarebbe confermata se fosse possibile spiegare i soggetti dei trionfi del mazzo dei tarocchi come parte di un corteo trionfale di questo genere; ma, malgrado i notevoli sforzi di Gertrude Moakley, integrati successivamente da quelli di Ronald Decker, tale spiegazione, pur plausibile in linea di principio, è difficile da rendere convincente nei dettagli. Ciò nonostante, in mancanza di meglio, possiamo accettare come probabile, seppure assolutamente non come certo, che fu questa associazione di idee a ispirare l’uso della parola «trionfi» per le carte supplementari del mazzo dei tarocchi.

(Before considering the scope of the invention, it is worth asking why the additional cards were called 'triumphs'.

Many have tried to explain the word "triumph", with the use of twenty-one trumps in the game, that is, as those that 'triumph' over the other cards; and we are not able to demonstrate the inaccuracy of this explanation. More striking, however, is a brilliant idea of Gertrude Moakley. The researcher believes that the name has nothing to do with the use of the cards, but only with what is shown: the set of trumps would represent a kind of triumphal procession. As documented by Burkhardt and Moakley, one of the favorite pastimes of the courts of the Italian Renaissance was just the preparation of these triumphal processions with floats decorated with figures derived from classical mythology or depicting abstractions such as Love, Death, and so on. : A metamorphosis of the triumph of a Roman emperor, general in an elegant allegorical entertainment. A common element of these Renaissance triumphs was the idea that is at the center of the poem I Trionfi [The Triumphs] of Petrarch, in which each abstraction personified a triumph, triumphing over the previous one; thus in the poem, love triumphs over gods and men, the chastity over love, death over chastity, fame over death, time over fame, and eternity over time. The hypothesis would be confirmed if it was possible to explain the subjects of the trumps of the tarot deck as part of a triumphal procession of this kind ; but, despite the considerable efforts of Gertrude Moakley, supplemented later by those of Ronald Decker, such an explanation, though plausible in principle, is difficult to make convincing in detail. Nevertheless, in the absence of anything better, we can accept as probable, though not as absolutely certain, that it was this association of ideas inspiring the use of the word "triumph" for the additional cards of the tarot deck.
It seems to me that most of the Petrarchan triumphs (to which I think can be added one from Boccaccio, and perhaps also a view of Love in a more positive sense than Petrarch expresses), most are already in the CY surviving cards: Love, Chastity as the lady on the Chariot, Fortune (from Boccaccio), Death, Eternity. Probably Fame is there, too, in the so-called World card, with its trumpets at the top and a scene with at least one knight at the bottom. If Dummett can extrapolate from four virtues the existence of the other three, surely I can extrapolate one or two more Petrarchan triumphs; Time was in the other early decks, usually called the Old Man. The virtues then take their places as tools for overcoming the negative and achieving the positive of the various triumphs. 7 triumphs plus 7 Virtues is 14. Since the Emperor and the Empress are among the surviving cards, perhaps coming from the game of Emperors, we can get as far as 16 in this way but no further. We don't know what else was in the game of Emperors. Possibly there were other high and low members of society (e.g. Pope, Popess, Bagatto, Fool), as in the frontispiece to an edition of Petrarch's De Remediis done in Milan c. 1400, of which MJ Hurst posted a color reproduction, ... detail.jpg. If so, that would make 18 plus the Fool. Also, these cards were later all next to each other in the order. That is not true of the the 3 remaining. (The Hanged Man could conceivably count as a very low member of society; but he was not in any grouping of such figures that I know of, nor is he in that part of the sequence.) However it is just as likely that the Emperor and Empress were at the beginning of the sequence by themselves, just to represent the card-player himself or herself, at the beginning of life, with material privileges but nowhere near the goal..

Another schema is the "chess analogy", of 16 pieces to 16 triumphs that Huck has worked out for this deck. Its results are consistent with the "triumphs plus virtues plus Emperor and Empress (only)" model. Over-determination is a valid principle for works of art.

Another fact is that when the Cary-Yale came to Yale, the existing triumphs had been assigned to particular suits. If this was original (a questionable assumption, I know), it would imply a number divisible by 4: i.e. 12, 16, 20, or 24.

I am not proposing this as an "original" tarot, about which I have less of an idea. I am just proposing it as one reasonable alternative fitting the Cary-Yale.

I can also think of an argument that supports Dummett's proposal. The "Olympian gods" deck of Marziano, much like the tarot that followed, if it had 10 numeral cards per suit plus kings, i.e. 11 cards, the ratio of suit cards to triumphs is very nearly 3:2. If there were one less triumph and one less suit card, it would have been 3:2 (and very close to 3:8 as well in the other ratio) It is true that if there were five other courts that didn't count for points, then its suit cards would equal the number of triumphs. But I'd think that if there were 6 court cards, an atypical number even in an age of experimentation, Marziano would have mentioned them.

So there are several reasonable possibilities at that time, including "no principle" in that early "primitive" time, ranging from 13 to 24 triumphs (excluding the Fool), but with 16, 18, 19, 21, and 24 the most reasonable (with or without the Fool). I think we have to leave it at that, pending more information.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo"

mikeh wrote:
So the argument seems to be lack of evidence to the contrary, including places (extant cards) where evidence of independent, non-Latin derivation would be expected to be found. If he is right, any spread of cards from a non-European source was so minimal as to be undetectable. However he seems not to have known about Hübsch. It seems to me that when we discussed this before, there was something more tangible. I will try to check. (At the moment I can't find that discussion.)
I found a note about Hübsch in a Czech report about playing cards in Bohemia in an IPCS article of 2000 ...



... but I didn't note, that this got much attention by others. The year "1364" in the article is wrong, cause it's a clear 1354 in the book of Hübsch ...

Image ... en&f=false

Naturally one might suspect, that if somebody searched in 1364 for a Jonathan Kraysel, that this means nothing. But the error might have occurred later than 1929.
Before my original post, I had looked on the Internet at books about medieval trade and there was some trade overland to Poland in the Middle Ages, which could have gone down to Bohemia. I didn't see mention of Kiev-Prague. But with the rise of the plague, that might have been used more.
Hübsch's book is full of very specific details since 10th century. And the presence of the emperor in Prague is a sort of guarantee, that this was a time of increased trade in all directions.
There were two means of transmitting plague; one was by being bitten by an infected flea or rat; the other, for a different strain of plague that infected the lungs, by means of droplets in the air.

It seems to me that overland trade would have been less likely than river transport to carry either form of plague, because rats would jump off goods loaded on mules right away, and infected caravan drivers would have died by the time they got to their destination. Whether goods themselves would have retained the infection as left by the droplets I did not see discussed; I assume much less. So these overland routes might have been used more after the plague started--but if so, they would have had to take along their own security forces. Normally security was the responsibility of the area traveled through, but that wouldn't have been true of these areas.
Generally big rivers (Rhine, Donau) are interpreted as a difficulty for the distribution of the plague. Mountains were another. So Bohemia didn't get the first wave of the plague. Contradicting to earlier reports it seems, that also Nuremberg was involved in the first big wave. Also Southern Poland wasn't involved (where the trade way went through).

On John of Rheinfelden, Dummett accepts that the report about cards was originally 1377. Here is his first mention of Johannes, on p. 23 (I include the footnotes for completeness):
Le carte da gioco comparvero per la prima volta in Europa nel 1370 circa 6. Non ci è pervenuta alcuna carta del XIV secolo (con al massimo un’eccezione 7); dei molti riferimenti ad esse in documenti dell’epoca, uno solo ci dà qualche informazione sul loro aspetto. Si tratta del celebre Tractatus de moribus et disciplina humanae conversationis, scritto a Basilea, probabilmente nel 1377, da un frate di nome Giovanni (di solito indicato come Giovanni da Rheinfelden).
6. Il primo documento contenente la parola «naips», che significa ‘carte da gioco’, è il Diccionari de rims (Vocabolario di rime) del 1371 del poeta catalano Jaume March (pubblicato a cura di Antoni Griera, Barcellona, 1921; si veda p. 63). Cfr. Jean-Pierre Étienvre, Figures du jeu: études lexico-sémantiques sur le jeu de cartes en Espagne (XVIe-XVIIie siècle), Madrid, 1987, pp. 19, 68. Étienvre cita un altro riferimento alle carte da gioco nel Llibre de les dones di Francesc Eiximenis, «probabilmente dello stesso anno».
7. Si tratta di due fogli antichissimi stampati da matrici di legno e non tagliati nell’Instituto Municipal de Historia a Barcellona: si veda Simon Wintle, ‘A «Moorish» Sheet of Playing Cards’, The Playing Card, Vol. XV, 1987,
pp. 112-22. È probabile che questi fogli risalgano al primo decennio dei XV secolo.

(Playing cards appeared for the first time in Europe in about 1370 (6). No card of the fourteenth century still exists (with a maximum of execution (7)); of the many references to them in documents of the time, only one gives us some information on their appearance. This is the famous Tractatus de moribus et disciplina humanae conversationis, written in Basel, probably in 1377, by a monk named Johannes (usually indicated as John of Rheinfelden).
6. The first document containing the word ‘naips', which means 'playing card', is the Diccionari de rims (Dictionary of rhymes) by the 1371 Catalan poet Jaume March (published under the editorship of Antoni Griera, Barcelona, 1921; see p. 63). Cf. Jean-Pierre Étienvre, Figures du jeu: études lexico-sémantiques sur le jeu de cartes en Espagne (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle), Madrid, 1987, pp. 19, 68. Étienvre cites another reference to playing cards in Llibre Francesc de les dones by Francesc Eiximenis, “probably of the same year”.
7. There are two sheets printed from ancient wood matrices, uncut, in the Instituto Municipal de Historia in Barcelona: see Simon Wintle, 'A Moorish Sheet of Playing Cards', The Playing Card, Vol XV, 1987, pp. 112-22. It is likely that these sheets go back to the first decade of the fifteenth century.)
Also, I left out a footnote to the passage I did quote on p. 24 that I should probably have included, as it reinforces his defense of the correctness of 1377. Here is the beginning of the paragraph I quoted, to the end of the page, followed by the footnote:
Il Tractatus de moribus ci è pervenuto solo in un manoscritto del 1429 e in altri tre, tutti del 14728. Ci sono pochissime varianti fra questi quattro testi, ma, se l’originale è veramente del 1377, essi devono contenere interpolazioni, forse del copista del 1429. Da questi testi e da un certo numero di antichi mazzi tedeschi pervenutici, veniamo a conoscenza di un alto grado di sperimentazione nella composizione del mazzo
8. Cfr. Sir Edward Augustus Bond, ‘The history of playing-cards’. Athenaeum, n. 2621, 19 gennaio 1878, da p. 87, col. 3, a p. 88, col. 2; Peter Kopp, ‘Die frühesten Spielkarten in der Schweiz’, Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte, Voi. 30, 1973, pp. 130-46; e Hellmut Rosenfeld, ‘Zu den frühesten Spielkarten in der Schweiz: eine Entgegnung’, ibid.. Voi. 32, 1975, pp. 179-80. Più recentemente, Ronald Decker in ‘Brother Johannes and the Year 1377, The Playing Card, Vol. XVIII, 1989, pp. 46-7, ha proposto un’emendazione del testo, secondo la quale la data 1377 sarebbe quella in cui le carte da gioco arrivarono per la prima volta nella sua regione; il trattato quindi potrebbe essere stato composto un po’ dopo, forse intorno al 1400, oppure nell’anno 1429 della prima copia. Comunque, come rilevato da David Parlett nella sua lettera alla Playing Card, Voi. XVHI, 1990, p, 73, altri brani del trattato convalidano l’anno 1377 come data della sua composizione; si veda anche la risposta di R. Decker, The Playing Card, Voi. XIX, 1990, pp. 20-1.

(The Tractatus de moribus has survived in only one 1429 manuscript and three others all of 1472 (8). There are very few variations among these four texts, but if the original is really in 1377, they must contain interpolations, perhaps by the 1429 copyist. From these texts and a number of old extant German packs, we learn of a high degree of experimentation in the composition of the normal
8. Cf. Sir Edward Augustus Bond, ‘The history of playing-cards’, Athenaeum, no. 2621, 19 January 1878, from p. 87, col. 3, to p. 88, col. 2; Peter Kopp,‘Die frühesten Spielkarten in der Schweiz’, Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte, Vol. 30, 1973, pp. 130-46; and Hellmut Rosenfeld, ‘Zu den frühesten Spielkarten in der Schweiz: eine Entgegnung’, ibid.. Vol. 32,1975, pp. 179-80. More recently, Ronald Decker in 'Brother Johannes and the Year 1377’, The Playing Card, Vol XVIII, 1989, p. 46-7, proposed an emendation of the text, according to which the date 1377 would be the one in which playing cards arrived for the first time in his region; so the treatise may have been composed a little later, perhaps around 1400, or in 1429, the year of the first copy. However, as noted by David Parlett in his letter to The Playing Card, Vol XVIII, 1990, p, 73, other parts of the treatise validate the year 1377 as the date of its composition; see also
the response of R. Decker, The Playing Card, Vol XIX, 1990, pp. 20-1.
Well, the researchers were astonished by the big number of playing cards, and the detail, that there were so much variations, which contradicted the idea, that there was an immediate and very quick playing card invasion in 1377. Seeing the contradiction between their theories and the text of Johannes, they brought up the interpolation story of 1429.
But John writes, as I understood it, that the playing cards arrived in "this year 1377" and he notes details like close earth quakes (confirmed; "The Basel earthquake of 18 October 1356 is the most significant seismological event to have occurred in Central Europe in recorded history", accompanied by other smaller earthquakes around this time in this region ... Freiburg im Breisgau is relatively close to Basel, about 50 km) and a living King Louis of Hungary (died 1382).

And Johannes was full of enthusiasm for the cards, if he had been aware of all the prohibitions short after 1377, it seems plausible, that he couldn't write in this positive manner.

Well, there was the feature of missing earlier documents ... but generally the time was bad with documents, likely cause a lot of things were bad cause the life in an enduring catastrophe. And it's plausible, that there were lots of regions without playing cards ... but some regions, likely preferred by less trouble with the general plague, might have had cards.
It's in the logic of every innovation story, that the new things are in some regions and in others not. And if traffic and trade was hampered by the plague, naturally the spread of innovations slowed down.

There's the document of 1367 in Bern (prohibition; Kaplan published it). If it wouldn't have been so early, nobody would have attacked it. But the English researchers attempted to make it "from 1397" or so, as far I remember. But the German researchers didn't see a reason to agree with their idea.

Naturally one is astonished, what happened to the early Bohemian playing card production. There was in 1409, a situation, when German students left the Prague university .. in protest. Thencame the story of Jan Hus in 1415 in Constance, and then followed the brutal Hussite wars for a long time. Likely the Hussites didn't love playing cards.

Around 1455 we have the Hofämterspiel for Ladislaus postumus. A guild of cardmakers was established in 1526.

Added a half hour later: one place I remember exploring a non-Latin link to Central Europe was in my first post on Decker's book. Wikipedia, had a link between the Persian "Ganjifa" cards and the Ambraser Hofjagdspiel and Hofamterspiel. but no explanation in any of these three sites of an historical link.
Don't you know these cards?
Perhaps this list helps ...
there's an error with the links, sorry. These work ... Stuttgarter Jagdspiel 1427-31 ... Hofämter c. 1455 ... Ambras c. 1440

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo"

Yes, thanks for the details on the Bohemian cards, Huck. Dummett seem to assume that t trade would have only gone to Bohemia and Poland via the Mediterranean countries, and that therefore originally the suit signs were Latin all over Europe. Specifically, he says (p. 31):
Unfortunately, Brother John, in his Tractatus de moribus, failed to indicate what the suits signs were; but as far as we know today, it is logical to assume that the 'Latin' signs were used throughout Europe in the first decades of the spread of playing cards.

(Sfortunatamente Frate Giovanni, nel suo Tractatus de moribus, mancò di indicare quali fossero
i segni di seme; ma per quanto ne sappiamo oggi, è logico supporre che i segni ‘latini’ fossero usati in tutta Europa nei primi decenni di diffusione delle carte da gioco.)
And later, more fully (p. 36):
Quale che sia la verità sulle diverse versioni del sistema di semi latino, è ampiamente dimostrato che carte con semi latini, nelle varie forme, erano l’unico tipo conosciuto in Italia, Spagna e Francia fin verso il 1470. Se accettiamo l’ovvia ipotesi che, quando le carte da gioco fecero la loro prima comparsa in Europa, esse avevano dappertutto lo stesso sistema di semi, ne consegue che questo poteva essere soltanto il sistema latino: si
potrebbe giungere a questa conclusione anche senza saper nulla a proposito delle carte mamelucche.

Ci è pervenuta una notevole quantità di carte tedesche e svizzere del Quattrocento e primo Cinquecento, in maggioranza databili dopo il 1450. In entrambe le aree si producevano carte con semi latini e non solo per l’esportazione; erano tuttavia ben lungi dal predominare. In nessuna delle due aree, tuttavia, esiste un sistema alternativo che lasci in alcun modo supporre di essere stato il modello rispetto al quale gli altri siano deviazioni. Anzi, troviamo in Germania e, in misura minore, anche in Svizzera, tracce di frenetica sperimentazione con i segni di seme e altri tratti del mazzo di carte: innumerevoli oggetti diversi sono utilizzati come segni di seme nell’uno o nell’altro mazzo. Quello che doveva diventare il sistema di semi tedesco fu ideato intorno al 1460, e quello svizzero risale forse alla stessa epoca; ma fu solo verso la fine del secolo che il primo fu elevato a sistema standard — e quello svizzero qualche decennio più tardi. Niente di tutto ciò porta conferme definitive alla nostra ipotesi, ma tutto è coerente con essa. È probabile che le carte da gioco tedesche e svizzere del Trecento fossero a semi latini; nel Quattrocento iniziò una lunga ricerca di un sistema di semi più consono alle culture nazionali.

(Whatever the truth about the different versions of the Latin suit system, there is ample evidence that cards with Latin suits, in various forms, were the only type known in Italy, Spain and France after 1470. If we accept the obvious hypothesis that when playing cards made their first appearance in Europe, they were everywhere the same suit-system, it follows that this could only be the Latin system: one could come to this conclusion without knowing anything about Mamluk cards.

A significant quantity of German and Swiss cards of the fifteenth and early sixteenth century have come down to us, the majority dated after 1450. In both areas, cards with Latin suits, and not just for export, were produced; however, they were far from being predominate. In none of the two areas, however, is there an alternative system which lets us in any way suppose it to have been the model against which others are deviations. Indeed, we find in Germany and, to a lesser extent, also in Switzerland, traces of frantic experimentation with suit signs and other parts of the card packs: countless different objects are used as suit-signs in one or another pack. What was to become the German suit-system was invented around 1460, and the Swiss dates perhaps to the same time; but it was only towards the end of the century that it was elevated to a standard system – and that of the Swiss some decades later. None of this leads final confirmation to our hypothesis, but everything is consistent with it. It is likely that German and Swiss playing cards of the fourteenth century were Latin-suited; in the fifteenth Century there began a long search for a suit-system best suited to the national cultures.)
So the argument seems to be lack of evidence to the contrary, including places (extant cards) where evidence of independent, non-Latin derivation would be expected to be found. If he is right, any spread of cards from a non-European source was so minimal as to be undetectable. However he seems not to have known about Hübsch. It seems to me that when we discussed this before, there was something more tangible. I will try to check. (At the moment I can't find that discussion.)

Before my original post, I had looked on the Internet at books about medieval trade and there was some trade overland to Poland in the Middle Ages, which could have gone down to Bohemia. I didn't see mention of Kiev-Prague. But with the rise of the plague, that might have been used more.

There were two means of transmitting plague; one was by being bitten by an infected flea or rat; the other, for a different strain of plague that infected the lungs, by means of droplets in the air.

It seems to me that overland trade would have been less likely than river transport to carry either form of plague, because rats would jump off goods loaded on mules right away, and infected caravan drivers would have died by the time they got to their destination. Whether goods themselves would have retained the infection as left by the droplets I did not see discussed; I assume much less. So these overland routes might have been used more after the plague started--but if so, they would have had to take along their own security forces. Normally security was the responsibility of the area traveled through, but that wouldn't have been true of these areas.

River traffic would have spread the plague rapidly, via stowaway rats. Since the plague didn't get to North-Central Europe unti later than the Mediterranean (and in a weaker strain), these routes clearly weren't used much.

However the normally most used trade routes did go from the Mediterranean northward.

On John of Rheinfelden, Dummett accepts that the report about cards was originally 1377. Here is his first mention of Johannes, on p. 23 (I include the footnotes for completeness):
Le carte da gioco comparvero per la prima volta in Europa nel 1370 circa 6. Non ci è pervenuta alcuna carta del XIV secolo (con al massimo un’eccezione 7); dei molti riferimenti ad esse in documenti dell’epoca, uno solo ci dà qualche informazione sul loro aspetto. Si tratta del celebre Tractatus de moribus et disciplina humanae conversationis, scritto a Basilea, probabilmente nel 1377, da un frate di nome Giovanni (di solito indicato come Giovanni da Rheinfelden).
6. Il primo documento contenente la parola «naips», che significa ‘carte da gioco’, è il Diccionari de rims (Vocabolario di rime) del 1371 del poeta catalano Jaume March (pubblicato a cura di Antoni Griera, Barcellona, 1921; si veda p. 63). Cfr. Jean-Pierre Étienvre, Figures du jeu: études lexico-sémantiques sur le jeu de cartes en Espagne (XVIe-XVIIie siècle), Madrid, 1987, pp. 19, 68. Étienvre cita un altro riferimento alle carte da gioco nel Llibre de les dones di Francesc Eiximenis, «probabilmente dello stesso anno».
7. Si tratta di due fogli antichissimi stampati da matrici di legno e non tagliati nell’Instituto Municipal de Historia a Barcellona: si veda Simon Wintle, ‘A «Moorish» Sheet of Playing Cards’, The Playing Card, Vol. XV, 1987,
pp. 112-22. È probabile che questi fogli risalgano al primo decennio dei XV secolo.

(Playing cards appeared for the first time in Europe in about 1370 (6). No card of the fourteenth century still exists (with a maximum of execution (7)); of the many references to them in documents of the time, only one gives us some information on their appearance. This is the famous Tractatus de moribus et disciplina humanae conversationis, written in Basel, probably in 1377, by a monk named Johannes (usually indicated as John of Rheinfelden).
6. The first document containing the word ‘naips', which means 'playing card', is the Diccionari de rims (Dictionary of rhymes) by the 1371 Catalan poet Jaume March (published under the editorship of Antoni Griera, Barcelona, 1921; see p. 63). Cf. Jean-Pierre Étienvre, Figures du jeu: études lexico-sémantiques sur le jeu de cartes en Espagne (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle), Madrid, 1987, pp. 19, 68. Étienvre cites another reference to playing cards in Llibre Francesc de les dones by Francesc Eiximenis, “probably of the same year”.
7. There are two sheets printed from ancient wood matrices, uncut, in the Instituto Municipal de Historia in Barcelona: see Simon Wintle, 'A Moorish Sheet of Playing Cards', The Playing Card, Vol XV, 1987, pp. 112-22. It is likely that these sheets go back to the first decade of the fifteenth century.)
Also, I left out a footnote to the passage I did quote on p. 24 that I should probably have included, as it reinforces his defense of the correctness of 1377. Here is the beginning of the paragraph I quoted, to the end of the page, followed by the footnote:
Il Tractatus de moribus ci è pervenuto solo in un manoscritto del 1429 e in altri tre, tutti del 14728. Ci sono pochissime varianti fra questi quattro testi, ma, se l’originale è veramente del 1377, essi devono contenere interpolazioni, forse del copista del 1429. Da questi testi e da un certo numero di antichi mazzi tedeschi pervenutici, veniamo a conoscenza di un alto grado di sperimentazione nella composizione del mazzo
8. Cfr. Sir Edward Augustus Bond, ‘The history of playing-cards’. Athenaeum, n. 2621, 19 gennaio 1878, da p. 87, col. 3, a p. 88, col. 2; Peter Kopp, ‘Die frühesten Spielkarten in der Schweiz’, Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte, Voi. 30, 1973, pp. 130-46; e Hellmut Rosenfeld, ‘Zu den frühesten Spielkarten in der Schweiz: eine Entgegnung’, ibid.. Voi. 32, 1975, pp. 179-80. Più recentemente, Ronald Decker in ‘Brother Johannes and the Year 1377, The Playing Card, Vol. XVIII, 1989, pp. 46-7, ha proposto un’emendazione del testo, secondo la quale la data 1377 sarebbe quella in cui le carte da gioco arrivarono per la prima volta nella sua regione; il trattato quindi potrebbe essere stato composto un po’ dopo, forse intorno al 1400, oppure nell’anno 1429 della prima copia. Comunque, come rilevato da David Parlett nella sua lettera alla Playing Card, Voi. XVHI, 1990, p, 73, altri brani del trattato convalidano l’anno 1377 come data della sua composizione; si veda anche la risposta di R. Decker, The Playing Card, Voi. XIX, 1990, pp. 20-1.

(The Tractatus de moribus has survived in only one 1429 manuscript and three others all of 1472 (8). There are very few variations among these four texts, but if the original is really in 1377, they must contain interpolations, perhaps by the 1429 copyist. From these texts and a number of old extant German packs, we learn of a high degree of experimentation in the composition of the normal
8. Cf. Sir Edward Augustus Bond, ‘The history of playing-cards’, Athenaeum, no. 2621, 19 January 1878, from p. 87, col. 3, to p. 88, col. 2; Peter Kopp,‘Die frühesten Spielkarten in der Schweiz’, Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte, Vol. 30, 1973, pp. 130-46; and Hellmut Rosenfeld, ‘Zu den frühesten Spielkarten in der Schweiz: eine Entgegnung’, ibid.. Vol. 32,1975, pp. 179-80. More recently, Ronald Decker in 'Brother Johannes and the Year 1377’, The Playing Card, Vol XVIII, 1989, p. 46-7, proposed an emendation of the text, according to which the date 1377 would be the one in which playing cards arrived for the first time in his region; so the treatise may have been composed a little later, perhaps around 1400, or in 1429, the year of the first copy. However, as noted by David Parlett in his letter to The Playing Card, Vol XVIII, 1990, p, 73, other parts of the treatise validate the year 1377 as the date of its composition; see also
the response of R. Decker, The Playing Card, Vol XIX, 1990, pp. 20-1.
Added a half hour later: one place I remember exploring a non-Latin link to Central Europe was in my first post on Decker's book. Wikipedia, had a link between the Persian "Ganjifa" cards and the Ambraser Hofjagdspiel and Hofamterspiel. but no explanation in any of these three sites of an historical link.

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