When new games appear, they either involve a rather large leap from what came before or represent an incremental step from something else, of which some of the steps might become lost over time. Chess is an example of something that developed incrementally. Most popular card games have predecessor games that can be documented. It would be surprising but not unprecedented if the game later known as trionfi and then (perhaps with a rule change) tarocchi did not have predecessors from which they developed, other than the equal suits of common cards. In fact we know one earlier game in considerable detail, Marziano's game of deified heroes, described in a treatise written before the author's death in 1425, of which more than one copy was made, one in 1449 and another probably shortly thereafter. What is not known is whether it counts as a an ancestor of the ludus triumphorum in the sense of something from which the tarot developed, perhaps with intermediaries.
Another game, Karnoffel, documented in Bavaria of 1426, shares some aspects with tarot, in that some of the cards of one suit, picked randomly at the start of the hand, functioned as trump cards and when doing so were given names reminiscent of trionfi titles: Devil, Pope, and Emperor. Karnoffel itself was the name of the most powerful card, the jack of the trump suit. The name itself seems to have had an independent existence as a pejorative term; medically it referred to a herniated testicle. One might think in this connection of the PMB Fool card.
A third game is documented in 1423 for a deck made in Florence for a court lady of Ferrara: "VIII Emperadori". Nothing more is known about this game. It is fertile ground for speculation.
There is also speculation that the Cary-Yale deck might have been a kind of intermediate deck, or a variation on an intermediate form. That is the main topic I want to explore. But first I need to say a little about Marziano's game and "VIII Imperadori", as possible ancestors to the Cary-Yale cards.
Pratesi speculated in 2016 that "VIII Imperadori" might have been an ordinary deck with 8 extra cards, all Imperials, that functioned both as cards above the Kings in the four suits and formed a hierarchy of their own (original at http://www.naibi.net/A/501-COMTRIO-Z.pdf, my translation at http://pratesitranslations.blogspot.com ... about.html). This was in the course of dividing card games into types: games that used just cards divided into suits, with no superior powers to cards of any one suit, and games with special triumphal cards. There was also a mixed form where cards in one ordinary suit, varying from one deal to the next, took on triumphal roles. Marziano's game and possibly VIII Imperadori both fell into the triumphal type, but in a separate class from tarocchi. The difference is that in the former class were "decks with an additional series of superior cards that can be connected to the four suits", while the latter class (tarocchi) were "decks with a series of cards that cannot be connected with the four suits". He left the nature of the connection undefined.
How Marziano's trump cards relate to the four suits in his deck can be explained with reference to the following table.
In trick-taking power, the trump cards are ordered by columns from left to right, the lower the number, the more powerful the card, in the sense of being able, when played in a trick, to take any trump of a higher number as well as any ordinary suit card. In this way they function precisely like the trump suit of tarocchi.
How trump cards are connected with the ordinary suits is indicated by the rows of gods, characterized as Virtues, Riches, Continences, and Pleasures. The suits are types of birds, related to the orders of gods both in being subordinate to them and by similarity, as indicated by the following sentences.
He does not spell out the similarities, but they are for the most part not hard to imagine. The Eagle, is the bird of Jupiter, leader of the order of Virtues. The Dove is the bird of Venus, leader of the order of Pleasures. The Turtledove is a species famous for its fidelity of one mate to the other, thus suitable for Continences. How the Phoenix relates to Riches is not clear. On the one hand, it was associated with the sun, whose yellow color is that of gold. On the other hand, it was famous for burning to ashes, leaving only a worm that grew into the next phoenix. Riches are similarly subject to being reduced to almost nothing, from which they might grow again.
These allegories explain the similarities, but not the property of subordination. The writing here is rather condensed. When he says "to the order of virtues, the Eagle," I think he means "to the order of virtues, the Eagle is related by subordination and similarity". Why did he say that the birds in each suit were subordinate to the gods in the corresponding order? I can only think that he meant the trumps to be extensions of the suits, applying specifically to the rule that one must follow suit if one can in a particular trick (presa, in Italian), which would then include the four gods in the corresponding order. This means that one might be forced to play a card one would rather not use in this particular circumstance, either because the trump in question is one that one would rather save for later in the game or because it will be lost to a trump of higher power played by another player. Whether that is what Marziano intends, however, is unclear. He might just mean that the birds are subordinate to the gods in general. In imagining what the game played with the Cary-Yale cards, I will try to keep the unclarity in mnd.
It is not hard to see how the game of "VIII Imperadori" might be similar to Marziano's, with an Emperor and an Empress added onto each of the four suits for purposes of following suit, but also with the ability to take all ordinary suit cards as well as inferior Imperadori. It seems to me likely that the empires in question would have been the Roman, Greek, Persian, and Babylonian. I base this on a comment by Prof. Arne Jönsson about one of the games presented by John of Rheinfelden (Arne Jönsson, “Card-playing as a Mirror of Society. On Johannes of Rheinfelden's Ludus cartularum moralisatus,” In O. Ferm & V. Honemann (Eds.), Chess and Allegory in the Middle Ages, Sällskapet Runica et Mediaevalia, Stockholm, 2005, pp. 359-371, on p. 370):
Besides John, probably in 1377 but surviving only in a later copy of 1429, there is a similar identification of empires in a 1747 century allegorical interpretation of Minchiate reported by Andrea Vitali in his 2018 essay “Note allegoriche al Giuoco delle Minchiate”, http://letarot.it/page.aspx?id=784 (for the English translation (click on British flag top right).As regards the four suits, they represent, in Johannes’ opinion, four kingdoms, namely the four successive world monarchies, Babylonia, Persia, Macedon (or Greece), and the Roman Empire. As his symbol the Babylonian king has a man’s head, the Greek king has bells, and the Roman king an eagle. Johannes tells us that he does not understand the Persian king’s symbol.
The author does not observe that Cyrus conquered the Chaldeans (i.e. Babylonians), Alexander the Great conquered the Persians, and the Romans conquered the Greeks, but the mention of these conquerors should be enough. (He seems to be mistaken in thinking that Darius was a Babylonian; he was the third successor to Cyrus.)Si può assimigliare questo gran mazzo di Carte alla Catastrofe delle vicende mondane; tutte insieme è come il Genere Umano, che vive alla rinfusa su questa Terra; le 4 seguenze sono come le 4 Monarchie” (7).
1 monarchia = quella degli Assiri o Caldei, iniziata con Nino e terminata con Dario
2 monarchia = quella dei Persiani, da Ciro a Dario Codomano
3 monarchia = quella dei Greci con Alessandro Magno
4 monarchia = quella dei Romani
(One can assimilate this great deck of cards to the Catastrophe of worldly events; all together it is like the Human Genus, which lives scattered on this Earth; the 4 sequences are like the 4 Monarchies" (7).
1 monarchy = that of the Assyrians or Chaldeans, beginning with Ninus and ending with Darius
2 monarchy = that of the Persians, from Cyrus to Darius Codomannus
3 monarchy = that of the Greeks with Alexander the Great
4 monarchy = that of the Romans
The eagle mentioned by John of course was the bird on the Romans' standards; it was also the bird of Jupiter. Bells are the Swiss and German equivalent of Coins, which might correspond to Riches in Marziano's game. As Pratesi reasoned in his 1989 article about the four orders of gods (http://trionfi.com/earliest-tarot-pack):
So we Have, for Marziano:At first sight, they seem to be quite original; however, if the usual interpretations of the four suits in a standard pack are considered, the originality of these orders is strongly reduced: it is not difficult to suspect denari under riches, spade under virtues, coppe under pleasures, even if the association of bastoni with virginity or even with temperance, the alternative name of the order, is to me something still unheard of.
Virtues - Eagles - Swords
Riches - Phoenices - Coins
Continences - Turtledoves - Batons
Pleasures - Doves - Cups
And for "VIII Imperadori", Emperors and Empresses. Even with the Marziano/John of Rheinfelden suit assignments, there are two possible configurations:
Of the two above, what corresponds to Marziano's matrix is the top one, as for the hierarchy among gods he goes by columns.
Cary-Yale cards in the A orders
Now I want to turn to the cards of the Cary-Yale. I pick these because they are the first known. I proposed to Pratesi that besides the 11 surviving cards, there had been 5 other trump cards: Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Time and the Wheel of Fortune (reported by Pratesi at http://www.naibi.net/A/502-CARYYA-Z.pdf, my translation at http://pratesitranslations.blogspot.com ... ti-di.html). Not only would the number of trumps equal the number of cards in the other suits, but these five extend in a logical way the series already present in the surviving cards. Since there were already 4 of the 7 primary virtues of the Church, it is logical that there should be the other 3. Also, 5 of the 6 Petrarchan triumphs of "I Trionfi" were present (Love, the Chariot with lady as Chastity, Death, the card with a lady with a trumpet looking down on a knight as Fame, and the "Rise to Judgment" card as Eternity), so it was logical that the 6th one would be there, too, namely Time. For the 16th card I suggested the Wheel of Fortune, because Fortune and her Wheel was a common triumphal subject in literature and art, including Boccaccio's Amorosa Visione, which has many similarities to Petrarch's poem. It is also a surviving triumph from both of the succeeding Lombard hand-painted decks. However this one is more speculative than the others.
Below: Cary-Yale Chariot (a chaste noblewoman, probably the same as on the Love card), and World (Fama, holding trumpet and crown above a knight in a miniature world)
To play the game, these cards had to be in a definite order. Pratesi proposed that of Minchiate, imagining these 16 as a core from which both Minchiate, with its 40 triumphal cards plus the Fool, and Tarocchi, with its 21 plus the Fool, derived. Considering that Minchiate has the only known sequence containing the theological virtues and Prudence, all four of which were in my proposed triumphs, this is an eminently reasonable proposal. The order, Pratesi proposed, would then be as follows: Empress, Emperor, Love, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, Wheel, Chariot, Old Man, Death, Hope, Prudence, Faith, Charity, World, Angel. My only doubt about this Minchiate-derived list was about Time: did it correspond to the Old Man in a position just before Death, or to a higher position. just before World and Angel, perhaps one of the terrestials. Petrarch's own primary image of Time was the sun.
The question now is whether these 16 are of the tarocchi-type, unconnected to suits, or of the Marziano-type, where there is a connection. The problem is to define four groups of triumphal cards that somehow link to corresponding suits "by similarity", as Marziano would say. (We need not get into the other issue, of whether these groups should be considered extensions of the existing suits.) Pratesi was not able to identify four such groups. For my part, I suggested the four cardinal virtues as ordering principles, but I was unable to see how they could function as such using the Minchiate order. I proposed a different set of groups, based on some evidence that since then has been shown (in part as a result of my attempts to find confirmation) to be false. So for now I will stick to Minchiate and a few variations on it, where I think I have made some progress.
But first, how are the four virtues related by similarity to the four suits? Gertrude Moakley answered this question in 1966. She imagined, p. the four suits as though four uniformed groups of knights in a parade, She adds (http://moakleyupdated.blogspot.com/2017 ... akley.html:
In a footnote she adds (my translation of the Italian in brackets):With more imagination one can see that each of these four companies of knights is devoted to one of the cardinal virtues and wears its device: the sword representing Justice, the cup of Temperance, the staff or column of Fortitude, and the coin or mirror of Prudence (1).
(original of footnote at https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YluhGwWfhkk/ ... 018det.jpg)1. Justice was usually represented as a figure with scales and a sword, Temperance as pouring liquid from one vessel into another, Fortitude with a staff or a broken column, and Prudence with a mirror by means of which she can look behind her (coins as a symbol of Prudence are rarer). The virtues are often mentioned in relation 'to the Visconti and Sforza, for one of their titles was "Conte di Virtù.” At the death of Giangaleazzo Visconti the virtues were represented as mourning him as their lord: "O chiara luce, o specchio, o colonna, o sostegno, o franca spada, the la nostra contrada mantenevi sicura in monte e in piano!" [O clear light, o mirror, o column, o supporter, o confident sword, you kept our territory safe in the high places and the flat!](Arch stor lomb, anno xv, p 792). For "mirrors" and "columns" as names for the suits of coins and staves see Chatto (Facts, p 53). His authority is Innocentio Ringhieri, Cento giuochi liberali et d'ingegno (Bologna 1551) p 132.
An example of Fortitude with a staff is Giotto's figure in the Scrovegni Chapel of Padua (below left). With a column, an example is the "Charles VI" Fortitude card, c. 1460 Florence (https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jFo6BG6IwJQ/ ... titude.jpg). As for Ringhieri, his book is now online: simply enter the data supplied by Moakley. The game in question is the "Game of the King," of which I reproduce the title and introduction, followed by the part pertaining to the suits, from the next page, continuing to the end of that page:
So a relationship of suit-signs to cardinal virtues does seem to have existed during the time in question.
As it happens, if we divide the 16 into 4 groups, based purely on the Minchiate order as proposed by Pratesi, in the 4x4 matrix so constructed we do not get a cardinal virtue in each row. Here "Trombe", Trumpets, is Minchiate's name for the card otherwise known as "Angelo" or, in the Tarot de Marseille, "Jugement". Likewise Minchiate does not have an Empress or Emperor, just "papas". With Pratesi, I assume that the Empress and Emperor in the Cary-Yale are equivalent to two of the "papi" that appear in their position in the Minchiate . I give the letter "A" to designate this sequence and variations on it, because the order of virtues is that of the A region, i.e. Florence and Bologna, in Dummett's nomenclature.
But it will work if Time is put in a high position, just before Angel:
Here the order of suits, and so of virtues, is Cups, Coins, Swords, Batons. This is different from Marziano's. I do not know if this order of virtues exists elsewhere or not. Marziano's order corresponds precisely to the order of presentation in Plato's Republic. While Aquinas and Cicero put Prudence first, nobody then put Temperance first. So this Minchiate-derived matrix is not as close to Marziano's as it could be. This situation, however, could be remedied if there was one more card before Temperance. This could be achieved if instead of the Wheel, the 16th CY card was the Pope, or a third of three "papas" otherwise unnamed, as they are in Minchiate.
Here the order of virtues is that of Aquinas (Summa Theologiae vol. II part II) and Cicero.
For reference, here is a list of all the major early A orders, which I cut and pasted from Depaulis's "Early Italian lists of tarot trumps", The Playing Card 36-1 (July-Sept. 2007), pp. 44-46. It is more up to date than the one in Dummett's Game of Tarot p. 399 (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YlU6F53x-_E/U ... .35+PM.png). Where Depaulis gives the names in English, it means that the titles are not given, only the number, which is on the card, handwritten in the case of the Charles VI and printed in the case of the Rosenwald. These lists tend to leave out Minchiate's theologicals and Prudence. As already indicated, they go immediately after card XVI, in the order Hope, Prudence, Faith, Charity. In the Bolognese game of tarocchini, I would add, there were no imperials or papals as such; all four were called simply "papa", and whichever was played last in a trick had superiority.
As you can see, the main card that moves around is the Chariot. In most cases it does not affect the rows in which the cardinal virtues appear, because it just exchanges position with the next card, the Wheel. The only exception is the Bolognese order, which puts the Chariot card before instead of after the cardinals. Otherwise the order is much the same as Minchiate, except for lacking Prudence and the theological virtues. But they go between the Tower and the Angel, just like the Star, Moon and Sun. In that case, removing them and putting in Prudence and the theologicals in their Minchiate positions, we would have::
There could even have been four such "papi", as there are in Bologna, although then Time as well as the Wheel would have to be dropped to keep the list at 16. It seems to me rather extreme to drop Time as well as the Wheel. (But stay tuned to this thread; there is a way to have 4 papi as well as both Wheel and Chariot, which Dummett thought of and I will use.)
Another variable, it seems to me, is the position of Prudence. Would it have been with the theologicals early on or with the other cardinals? If the latter, then all four cardinals would be in the same row, which is a rather neat way of emphasizing them and making their position more memorable. Here is what the matrix would look like, keeping just two imperials and the Bolognese position of the Chariot:
Putting in a third "papa" would also have worked. This result is particularly attractive because the four cardinal virtues are all in the same column, highlighting them and making their position easier to remember. Also, the hierarchy of suits, when listed with their corresponding virtues is now the same as Marziano's corresponding to groups of gods.
It seems to me this is sufficient to show how the cardinal virtues might have been the connecting link between suits and triumphs, making the allegory more like Marziano's than of tarocchi. However we cannot conclude that the A order of virtues is the best candidate for a game with the CY cards inspired by Marziano's, or vice versa, until we look at the other two regions of the early tarot, especially Milan, since that is where the CY comes from. They can be adjusted in the same way that I just adjusted the Bolognese order. I will do that in later posts.