I have been re-reading the thread to try to figure out better what Ross's argument is, so I can examine it critically. I am going to say some things that probably will sound crazy and belong in the Unicorn Terrace, but if so, I would like to know why they are crazy, or more importantly, wrong-headed.
Ross 31 January 2019
Nobody wanted there to be two popes. Having two popes was offensive in itself. Putting that in a game would be to satirize the Church. However as a "pope without reign". as Anonymous has it, calling him "pope" in that sense is a credit to the Church. Felix, the "pope without reign", became a Cardinal, another word Anonymous applies . The same would apply to rival claimants to be emperor. The loser would only be a king, wherever he ruled before being elected Emperor, and "king" is what Anonymous calls the secular leader not an Emperor.
Ross 31 January 2019
Why four? That's the kind of question you'd need to have the inventor in front of you, to pick his brain. Why are there four suits in a deck of cards? Why four court cards? Why are there ten pips? Those kinds of questions don't have a real answer. We can just speculate, or, essentially, moralize.
My speculation would be that they reflect the fact of four suits, of which two are often considered feminine and ranked from Ace high to Ten low, and two masculine, ranked naturally. Two spiritual, and two physical. Perhaps the "feminine" suits inspired the idea of two female papi. Perhaps also that the game was conceived for four players, in two partnerships, so they have a way to work together. But all that is just speculation. The fact is, there are four papi.
Your question shows me that you really haven't understood what I have been arguing since December 2013. Go back to that first post, the explanation is there, with parallels.
The game is learned at the table.
The trump sequence is learned visually, by groups.There are no numbers or names on the cards.
Papi are a group; Virtues are a group; fateful things are a group; the heavens are a group; the set of counting cards, the two lowest and two highest, is a group.
The bare subjects are all that is necessary to understand the ranking. Everything else is decoration, whether simple or elaborate.
"Why four?" is precisely the right question to ask, because there are groups of two, three, five and six, too. You answer it, too, in terms of both symbolism (standing for popes and emperors) and ludic precedent. Feminine suits for feminine papi. Four suits altogether.
I would add a couple of things, two card games that probably had trumps: the game of "VIII Imperadori" had 4x2 imperadori, whoever they were, is easy to reduce to four, one for each suit instead of two. The application of "VIII Imperadori" to Bolognese "papi" is straightforward enough: 8 reduced to 4, to reflect the Christian world of that time.
There was also the game of "Karnöffel", which introduces some wrinkles. It had four trumps capable of triumphing over the Kings: the Karnöffel beat anything, the Devil everything but the Karnöffel, but only when led, the Pope next, and then the Emperor. They had a name as a group: Kingstreiter (King-beater, although I would have thought "Königstreiter") https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karn%C3%B6ffel
It strikes me tha the Bagatella is a kind of devil, deceiving people, and the Matto a kind of Karnöffel, as David Parlett explains the term (https://www.parlettgames.uk/histocs/karnoeffel.htm
In fact its primary meaning is a scrotal hernia and, by extension in some contexts, the testicles. By further extension it also came to mean a rough, uncouth and violent rogue, thence a Landsknecht or lansquenet, and, later still, satirically, a cardinal of the church.
Isn't the PMB Matto wearing a truss, perhaps suggesting a hernia? By some accounts, the Matto and Bagatello are also part of the same group of trumps, the low end of it (I recall a thread called "the first six trumps"). In that case they, and not only the Pope and the Emperor, could be considered "papi". The Fool isn't a "papa" except in some ironic sense, but who is to say there wasn't irony in the early tarot? True, there is no suggestion of such a sequence anywhere. But Minchiate comes close: Its Bagatella card is rather similar to some early Empress, Emperor and Pope cards. He even looks like a papa with his children.
(Unfortunately I do not know how to make an attachment show up on the page, so I keep having to link to a special blog with images. In my file title, "Ganellino" seems to be an early name in Minchiate for the Bagatella, if in Florence or Bologna I don't know. I don't know its etymology either. Addition:
"Ganellino" only dates to 1716, in Rome (http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=257&lng=ENG
). An earlier account, written before the Tuscan author's death i(who lived 1606-1665) has "bagattino" (http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=215&lng=ENG
), which is the same as the Bolognese term.
I am not sure where to find that "first post", presumably of December 2013.
Ross wrote, 3 Feb 2019
So to get back to my point about having a light touch. The argument from ignorance only has weight when we have a right to expect evidence, and there is none. Otherwise we assume that things carried on in the trend that they display once they are known. That is, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence unless we can reasonably expect evidence and it is not there. This is the case with Fiorini’s dating of Rothschild to 1420, since we can reasonably expect that for 20 years, all over northern Italy, that some other evidence would exist. There was no great flood that destroyed all the documents and cards between 1420 and 1440. Plenty of documents, but no mention of carte (or naibi) da trionfi until 1440. Therefore that dating is improbable on the face of it. Now we know of course that some of the stiffener in the Rothschild cards is dated to the 1430s – if I remember correctly. So the cards must be later than that. But we didn’t need that proof, since a rational methodology already gave the correct answer. Proof is just consistent with the argumentation, which shows that we are using a good methodology, just as with the 3 to 5 years before 1442 methodology.
But for the equal papi rule and the Bolognese triumphal iconography, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, because we do not have a reasonable expectation of positive evidence. No rulebooks for any form of the game exist until the early 17th century. And the only rules we know from the 15th century are from Trotti, who remarks offhandedly that the best way to play triumphs is four people in two partnerships. We don’t even have proof, or a hint, of the Fool as “excuse” until the Steele Sermon. We cannot expect there to be a mention of the equal-papi rule, since the rules we do know are so few and so unsystematic.
So, since everything we know about Bolognese cards and the equal papi rule is consistent from the first time we hear about until now, we have every right to assume that when the lights go off and the trail goes dark, the same situation prevailed. If the path is straight when you can see, the only reasonable course is to assume it is still straight when it is dark. It is metholodogically unsound to assume that all hell breaks loose as soon as the evidence stops.
That seems a key argument. I of course would like very much to know where that information about the stiffener can be found, as the 1430s does not seem outlandish for the Rothschild, and it is a rather long period, if it starts in 1430. Dal Ponte was still active, at least til 1435,, (he died in 1438) and Bellosi's arguments still make sense to me (see my blog at http://rothschildcards.blogspot.com/
). The Rothschild Emperor card looks primitive, as does the Catania Empress card. The style of having little figures below one big figure - used mostly in Madonnas, coronata
or con bambino
- was going out of fashion in preference for a single picture frame where the size of foreground figures was dictated by perspective. Even Bembo did so. So adults turn into children.
Your argument for four "papi" works better for Bologna than for Florence. In Florence the evidence for a Popess is 1 in favor, 2 against, and 1 leaning against The Minchiate order (against a Popess) mimics the Charles VI numbers precisely for the trumps they have in common, except that the beginning isn't clear: if the Emperor is 3, then either there is no Popess or the Bagatella was unnumbered. The close correspondence of the order to Minchiate's in that part suggests her absence (leaning against). In Bologna, it is true, the Bagattino is unnumbered, but that might just be to make the numbers consistent with Minchiate, which was played there, at least after the 1530s.
Then there is the strambotto, also against, There is also the Bronzino poem of the 1530s (for Minchiate) which mentions empress, emperor, pope, amore, but no popess. "Papa 1", "Papa 2", etc., seem not to have been invented yet (Nazario Renzoni, 2012. “Some remarks on Germini in Bronzino's Capitolo in lode della Zanzara” The Playing Card
41:2, pp. 85-86).
The Rosenwald does have a Popess (the only favorable evidence for her Florentine presence), but its other copy in Leinfelden has pages glued to it from a book published in 1501-1502 Perugia (Pratesi, “1501-1521: Carte da Perugia e città vicine", http://www.naibi.net/A/601-UMBRIA-Z.pdf
, trans. at http://pratesitranslations.blogspot.com ... rugia.html
). So it was done no earlier than then, about there. Perugia is rather distant from Florence; its trumps could easily be contaminated, as it were, by ideas from other places, suggesting there should be a Popess. Was the Rosenwald Popess a survival from pre-"suppression" days or a late addition to the Florentine? Later evidence goes both ways. In which case when it goes dark, so to speak, we are left in the dark. It is also possible that there were two types of deck by then in Florence, one called "trionfi" or "tarocchi" and the other "Germini" or "Minchiate" (i.e. 24 trumps plus the Fool, with the other 16 added sometime after the return of the Medici, since the first record of them is 1526).
You go on to talk about the Piedmont rules, which show continuity from Piscina to today, and also Bologna, by inference, since Bologna had the "equal papi" rule in the late 16th century and keeps it today. That argument does not work for Florence. It was a hotbed of innovation, especially in the 15th century. Also, it didn't have the "equal papi" rule, at least later, and all hell didn't break loose in the meantime.
Whether your principle works for Bologna during the 15th century seems to me open to doubt, even if I am not a doubter. It is not a question of all hell breaking loose, but only of a card or two. Starting with Sante in the 1440s, It got many craftsmen from Florence and was closely allied with it politically. Then all hell did break loose, politically, followed by direct rule by the papacy, under which it is no wonder that nothing changed for almost 300 years.
But at least in Bologna there is no counter-evidence. And there is the argument from "ludic fours", which I support, especially considering the masculine gender of "papa" in Bologna. When you get to Florence, the papi had both genders, and a female pope creates problems. Not insurmountable ones, but perhaps ones one would prefer to avoid during the time the game is officially illegal. After that, there is room for two decks, including one with the theologicals and Prudence but no Popess. In short, it seems to me that you are not entitled to blur this issue by saying that gender doesn't matter: "papa" in Bologna is masculine all four times, but there is no such thing in Florence.
An example of possible contamination (of B with Bologna), it seems to me, is the Anonymous Discorso.
Anonymous describes four: Pope, then Cardinal, also described as "Pope without rule", then Emperor, then King. Where does this "Cardinal/pope without rule" come from? Well, there was Felix, who became a cardinal. Then there was Bessarion, both Cardinal and Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, as Phaeded says (which, however, says nothing about when people might have started interpreting one papa as a "pope without reign"). For the second Emperor, any claimant to the throne of Constantinople would in Anonymous's time be an emperor without reign. But Anonymous calls the second Emperor "king". Well, there were sometimes rival claimants to the position of Emperor. Eventually one would be pronounced illegitimate. But both were also rulers of their own small part of the empire, king of Hungary, etc. "King" is parallel to "Cardinal": it's what the losing claimant has left. The last Emperor standing wins.
But this doesn't work if there are two genders involved. Piscina didn't say that Empresses sometimes won over Emperors, and Popesses over Popes (although in the Byzantine Empire something like that actually happened, in that the Emperor and Patriarch said one thing and the rank and file another, about unification with the Roman church, and pretty soon the both were left "without reign'; in this case the rival emperor was the Turk, and the rival patriarch someone who would accept Turkish rule. ). So when two genders are involved, the "equal papi" rule isn't supposed to apply The one possible exception to this is the Cary-Yale, because of its proliferation of feminine figures. In the feminine suits (with Visconti emblems on the courts) I suspect that they beat the males , including Queens over Kings, If so, it would be consistent to include the Imperatori or Papi (whoever, and how many, they were) in that same practice, via some such thing as the "equal papi" rule. This would allow the custom to migrate to Piedmont long before 1500, and even arise independently of it. And if piedmont followed such a custom, too, then indeed Popesses could win against Popes. I do not know: does the "equal papi" rule work in Piedmont, and if so, how, in a deck with both genders?
Note: I rewrote the previous two paragraphs a few hours later.
So I am willing to accept "four papi" for Bologna, from the earliest time there, but I remain in the dark when it comes to Florence. PerhapsBagatella counts; it could be "Papa 1" later, why not earlier, when the cards at least might have looked similar? I am not saying it was, just that it seems as reasonable, or crazy, as anything else.