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"

Before looking at Dummett's Chapter 3, I want to quote one more passage regarding the introduction of playing cards into Europe from the Islamic world. In Chapter 4 Dummett says that the Persians probably only had two court cards, and the Malmuks made it three, y (p. 96):
Le carte da gioco non sono un’invenzione europea. Come suggeriscono i titoli di molti libri scritti sull’argomento, il problema della loro origine ha affascinato gli studiosi per duecento anni; ma, in realtà, esso è posto in termini ambigui. Le parole «carte da gioco» possono essere usate in senso generico, comprendendo quindi le carte per Cuccù e Mercante in Fiera; è praticamente certo che le carte da gioco intese in questo senso furono inventate in Cina, dove, dopo tutto, fu inventata la carta e scoperta la stampa. Ma le prime carte da gioco cinesi rappresentavano i Domino, anch’essi un’invenzione cinese. Possiamo dunque porci un problema diverso, quello cioè dell’origine del normale mazzo a quattro semi usato, in forme diverse, nei vari paesi d’Europa. Abbiamo visto che, quasi certamente, esso giunse in Europa dal mondo Islamico, nella forma del mazzo di cinquantadue carte. Fu inventato lì, oppure, come gli scacchi, venne da zone ancora più a Oriente? Come sorse l’idea di fare un mazzo di carte da gioco diviso in semi, contraddistinti da segni di seme? Perché le carte di ciascun seme sono divise in carte numerali e figure? Non siamo ancora in grado di rispondere con certezza a queste domande, ma mazzi di carte da gioco con le stesse caratteristiche erano noti in India fin dai tempi del primo imperatore mogol Babur, e vengono ancora usati in quel paese. Questi mazzi indigeni hanno dieci carte numerali e due figure per seme; nella forma Mogol originaria, ci sono otto semi, mentre le versioni Hindu hanno dieci o dodici semi. Analoghi mazzi a otto semi furono in passato usati anche in Persia, più o meno dalla stessa epoca (inizio del XVI secolo). Questi mazzi sicuramente non derivano da quelli europei, ma altrettanto sicuramente hanno in comune con essi l’origine, forse da un tipo scomparso con quattro semi e quarantotto carte. Secondo questa ipotesi, i Mamelucchi aggiunsero una terza figura ad ogni seme, mentre i Persiani raddoppiarono il mazzo: il prototipo a quarantotto carte sarebbe venuto da qualche luogo più a Oriente, forse dall’Asia Cen-[96]trale. Tutto questo è pura speculazione: ma è certo che il mazzo a quattro semi non fu ideato in Europa ma importato dal mondo Islamico.

(Playing cards are not a European invention. As suggested by the titles of many books written on the subject, the question of their origin has fascinated scholars for two hundred years; but, in reality, it is put in ambiguous terms. The words ' playing cards' can be used in a generic sense, thus including cards for Cuccù and Mercante in Fiera; it is is virtually certain that playing cards in this sense were invented in China, where, after all, paper was invented and printing discovered. But the first Chinese playing cards depicted dominoes, also a Chinese invention. So we can set ourselves a different problem, namely of the origin of the regular deck in four suits used in different forms in the various countries of Europe. We have seen that, almost certainly, it arrived in Europe from the Islamic world, in the form of a pack of fifty-two cards. Was it invented there, or, like chess, came from areas further to the East? How did the idea arise of making a deck of playing cards divided into suits, marked by suit0signs? Why were the cards of each suit divided into numeral cards and figures? We are not yet able to answer these questions with certainty, but decks of playing cards with the same characteristics were known in India since the time of the first Mughal emperor Babur, and are still used in that country. These native decks have ten pip cards and two figures per suit; in the original Mogul iorm, there are eight suits, while the Hindu versions have ten or twelve suits. Similar decks of eight suits were formerly used in Persia, more or less from the same era (early sixteenth century). These decks certainly did not derive from European ones, but just as surely have a common origin with them, perhaps from a type that has disappeared with four suits and forty-eight cards. According to this hypothesis, the Mamluks added a third figure in each suit, while the Persians doubled the pack: the prototype to forty-eight cards would have come from somewhere further east, perhaps from Central Asia. [96] All this is pure speculation, but it is certain that the deck in four suits was not conceived in Europe but imported from the Islamic world.
There are really two theses here. First, that it is certain that the idea of four suits came from the Islamic world somewhere. In that case, cards could have come by two routes, northern and southern. Second, he is saying that perhaps the Malmuks, in the Mediterranean, added the third figure in each suit. In that case the suits would have come first to southern Europe, and then, in the suits there, to Northern Europe. I will address only the second point.

The problem is that there are other reasonable alternatives to the scenario Dummett sketches out. Here is "Andy's Playing Cards" (, on Chinese playing cards, after its account of domino cards. The "Wilkinson" mentioned was a late 19th century Sinologist, first initials "W. H.", who was a diplomat in China:
Another early pattern is known as Gun Pai ("stick cards" or "cane cards"), likely referring to their shape.Wilkinson maintained that these cards were created from early books, whose pages were made individually detachable for an easier reference; later on, their use as an amusement would have caused their size to be reduced. According to his theory, this kind of books came into use in China by the mid 8th century; if this proved correct, the Gun Pai might have been created before the domino cards.

The structure of this pattern was described as based upon three suits, whose cards featured signs from 1 to 9 (but one suit had numerals). The suits were identified by Wilkinson as Jian (or Qian) "coins, money", Tiao with a meaning of "long things, sticks", and Wan meaning "myriads, 10,000".

Three more subjects named Qian Wan ("Thousand Myriads", also known as "Old Thousand"), Hong Hua ("Red Flower") and Bai Hua ("White Flower") completed the set.
A full deck contained four duplicates of each subject (120 cards in total) plus, in some editions, a variable number of special loose cards, up to six per pack, whose function in play - according to Wilkinson's report - was the same as that of Western jokers, i.e. they acted as wildcards that could replace any standard subject.
Another type of deck had four suits and two of these special subjects, corresponding to "Red flower' and "White Flower", for 38 cards total. Still other decks had numeral cards and additional "honours" in each suit, plus special cards:
The main features of the group are:

three suits, given the Western names of Coins, Strings and Myriads;
values running from 1 to 9, plus a number of honour cards, of higher rank;
some decks also have one or more special subjects.
There were as many as 5 of these special cards, not attached to any suit. From the name "Thousand Myriads" above it would seem that these are higher than any suit card.

It seems to me reasonable to hypothesize that some decks were developed that used two "honour cards" per suit, from which the Mogul decks descended, while other decks used the three in each suit. The Malmuks had originally come from precisely Central Asia, brought as slaves until they rebelled against their masters and took over (

"Andy's Playing Cards" presents evidence that the Malmuks' sut signs come directly from Chinese characters for the suits (unfortunately I cannot post the Chinese characters on Andy's site (
But why the signs of the suit of Tûmân were chalices, or cups? Wilkinson suggested that the choice of cups as the suit's distinctive sign might have sprung from a misinterpretation of the Chinese and Manchu character which, turned upside down (), has indeed the shape of a chalice. A detail matching this theory is the position of these signs, always in the top part of the cards in Chinese patterns, while in Arabic courts they are featured below, as in a Chinese card turned upside down. Many scholars rejected Wilkinson's theory; however, in the case it was true, we should think that the earliest decks that reached the Arabs still had suits spelt with Chinese glyphs (not clearly understood by the Arabic players), thus the cards would have not come from Persia, but likely from a region further east.
Since all the suits of the Oriental system are related to money or coins, the symbolic meaning of Tûmân may have a similar relation, as well. For instance, more than the shape of a chalice, the meaning may be the metal which the cups featured in Mamlûk cards are likely made of, i.e. gold. It is probably not a coincidence that also the Persian Toman was a golden piece.
Also for the Chinese suit of Tens, Shi, only found in 4-suited patterns (see the Chinese gallery), it is impossible not to see this cross-shaped character as a stylized sword with its hilt. In fact the corresponding suit in the Arabic deck bears the name of Suyûf, whose meaning is "swords" or "scimitars".
A further coincidence seems to concern the three "special" cards of the money-suited packs, also called honours, and named Old Thousand, Red Flower and White Flower (see the Chinese gallery, page 1); they may have a relation with the three courts of the Arabic deck (king, deputy and second deputy).
So the three court cards may have come from China to Central Asia, and from there gone south to Egypt but also perhaps into North-Central Europe directly.

Even the idea of special cards not attached to any suit seems to be Chinese, as well as wildcards, of which very early on there were 6 per deck of 120 cards, as stated in the link given. Thus what Dummett says immediately following the quote I started this post with is in question:
Il mazzo di carte normale non fu un’invenzione europea, ma il mazzo dei tarocchi indubbiamente sì. Non c’è la minima traccia di prova che qualcosa di anche vagamente simile al mazzo dei tarocchi sia stato conosciuto al di fuori dell’Europa prima del XIX secolo.

(The normal deck of cards was not a European invention, but the tarot deck undoubtedly yes. There is not the slightest trace of evidence that anything even vaguely similar to the tarot deck has been known outside of Europe before the nineteenth century.)
As far as constructing a deck, from what is on "Andy's Playing Cards", there may not have been much left for the Europeans to invent (although they may have had to re-invent); they merely had to expand the number of special cards and decrease the wildcards. And of course adapt the suit signs and put their own conventional images on the special cards.

But what do we really know about these Chinese games? I don't know.

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"

In Chapter 4 Dummett tackles a very big issue: that of the invention of the tarot deck. He begins by stating the difficulty: before the 18th century, people only saved what seemed to them to have intrinsic value; they didn't collect mere ephemera, as a record of life in bygone times. This creates enormous difficulties when it comes to playing cards, which were mostly simply discarded when worn out. Some were used to stuff the bindings of books, there to be discovered when the books were rebound. But these are great exceptions. So the researcher has to make due with inferences and speculations. Here is his most succinct summing up of the task (pp. 93f):
Dai dati di produzione citati nella grande opera in due volumi di H.-R. D’Al-lemagne, possiamo giungere a una stima approssimativa del numero di mazzi di tarocchi prodotti in Francia nel corso del XVII secolo: un milione sarebbe una stima cauta. Di questi ce ne sono pervenuti solo tre. Supponiamo che nel secolo precedente ne sia stato prodotto mezzo milione: di questi ce ne è pervenuto uno solo, incompleto.

Per questo motivo, non si può semplicemente tracciare la storia di un qualsiasi tipo di carte da gioco fino al 1700: bisogna ricostruirla. Praticamente ogni singola carta pervenutaci è di cruciale valore documentario e dobbiamo anche prendere in considerazione qualsiasi elemento di testimonianza letteraria o [end of 94] documentaria e tutto quello che sappiamo sull’evoluzione dei giochi di carte. E per questo motivo che qui consideriamo tutti i primi tarocchi sopravvissuti. Anche quando abbiamo davanti a noi tutti i dati, essi non ci rivelano direttamente tutto quello che vorremmo sapere: siamo costretti ad avanzare congetture e ipotesi e a costruire teorie su quelle che, come ben sappiamo, sono basi documentarie incomplete. Questo vale soprattutto quando cerchiamo di ricostruire sulla base di prove frammentarie la storia dei tarocchi nei primi sei o sette decenni del XV secolo.

(From the data cited in the production of the great work in two volumes of H.-R. D'Allemagne, we can arrive at a rough estimate of the number of decks of tarot cards produced in France during the seventeenth century: a million would be a conservative estimate. Of these there are only three have come down to us. Let us suppose that in the previous century half a million were produced: of these only one, incomplete, has come down to us.

For this reason, until 1700 it is not possible simply to trace the history of any type of playing cards: we must rebuild it. Virtually every single card that has come down to us is of crucial documentary value and we must also take into consideration every documentary element or literary testimony [end of 94] and everything we know about the evolution of card games. It is for this reason that we consider here all the first surviving tarots. Even when we have before us all the data, they do not directly reveal to us all that we would like to know: we are forced to speculate and build hypotheses and theories about those which, as we well know, are based on incomplete documentation. This is especially true when we try to reconstruct on the basis of fragmentary evidence the history of the tarot in the first six or seven decades of the fifteenth century.)
One might think from this that he would hold off on his speculations about the invention of the tarot until he had reviewed all this evidence with us. But no; instead he makes inferences from conclusions he presumably will argue for in later chapters. So I am left having to reconstruct his argument using what I can find later.

The first question is whether, given that a suit of trumps did not come that way from the Islamic world, the 22 triumphs existed separately before joined to the normal pack as a fifth suit. An affirmative answer was argued by Steele, who noted that the "Steele Sermon" did not mention any other cards in his sermon except the triumphs. Against this Dummett says that long before that sermon, we have the remains of decks where the normal deck and the triumphs are clearly one piece. The preacher did not mention the suit cards because he was addressing people who already knew use the cards--or might be tempted to use them, I would add, and he had nothing particular to say about the others.

A similar argument works against Franco Pratesi's ('Italian Cards: New Discoveries’, n. 6, The Playing Card, Voi. XVII, 1988, pp. 23-33) conclusion from a 1521 comedy he found in which two players agree on an order of triumphs but do not mention the other cards.

Another argument, advanced by Moakley, is that there were in fact picture cards called "trionfi" that formed a set by themselves and were used in games. The "Tarot of Mantegna" is one. Unlike some, Dummett is willing to concede that these cards were used in games, but they were never called "trionfi" and were never in wide use (p. 101):
Gertrude Moakley stabilisce, senza possibilità di dubbio, l'esistenza, nel Quattrocento, di parecchi mazzi corrispondenti a questa descrizione generale. Non sembra, tuttavia, che essi siano mai stati, in nessun momento, di uso molto diffuso; nessuno di essi conquistò il favore del pubblico o fu altro che una curiosità isolata. Ciò che più conta, non c’è motivo di ritenere che la parola «trionfi» sia mai stata usata per carte che non fossero tarocchi. Se Gertrude Moakley avesse ragione, gli accenni a ‘carte da trionfi’ nei libri contabili della corte ferrarese, dal 1442 in poi, potrebbero riferirsi non a mazzi di tarocchi, ma ad altri di questo tipo più generale; ma non esistono prove di un uso così generico del termine.

(Gertrude Moakley establishes, beyond any possibility of doubt, the existence, in the fifteenth century, of several packs corresponding to this general description. It does not seem, however, that they have ever been, at any time, in widespread use; none of them won the favor of the public or was anything more than an isolated curiosity. What is more, there is no reason to believe that the word "triumph" was ever used for cards that are not tarot cards. If Gertrude Moakley was right, the references to 'triumph cards ' in the books of the court of Ferrara, from 1442 onwards, could not relate to tarot decks, but other than this more general type; but there is no evidence of use as a generic term.)
I would add that these cards are considerably later than the International Gothic that we find on the cards, even if versions of them go back, as I suspect, to the early 1460s.

Moakley also brings up the inventory of the engraver Francesco Rosselli in 1523 cited by Hind (Early Italian Engravings, Vol. 1, part 1, 10-11, 305-8), with games named «giuocho del trionfo del petrarcha» [game of triumphs of Petrarch]; the «giuco d’apostoli chol nostro singnore» [game of the apostles of our lord)]; the «giuoco di sete virtù»; [game of the seven virtues]; and the «gioucho di pianeti cho loro fregi» [game of the seven planets and their attributes], Dummett says of them: (p. 101f):
Anche questi dovevano essere giochi che richiedevano carte figurate di tipi particolari; ma non sono genericamente classificati come ‘trionfi’. Il nome del primo gioco è collegato al poema I Trionfi

(These games also required special types of picture cards; but they are not generally classified as 'triumphs'. The name of the game is first connected to the poem “Il Trionfi” of Petrarch and cannot therefore be taken to support a general thesis.)
And again these games are after the invention of the tarot (Rosselli's earliest activity was in the 1470s). They are more likely the result of that invention than part of its cause.

Another example brought out by Moakley is some engravings attributed to Nicoletto da Modena, presented by Hind (op. cit. (note 14, Vol VI, 1938, Plates 640-7) as part of a deck of cards; "ma questo non è possibile, poiché sono di dimensioni molto variabili" [but this is not possible, since they are of very variable dimensions] (n. 9, p. 102).

In general, for examples of this type, Dummett comments (p. 103):
Il fenomeno attestato dagli esempi citati da Gertrude Moakley è una persistente e naturale tendenza ad inventare nuovi giochi che prevedono mazzi di carte strutturati in modo completamente differente dal mazzo normale. In Italia ci fu una particolare moda per tali giochi che durò fino alla fine del XVII secolo, come attestano due mazzi di questo genere disegnati da Mitelli.

(The phenomenon attested by the examples cited by Gertrude Moakley is a natural and persistent tendency to invent new games that provide decks of cards structured in a way completely different from the normal deck. In Italy there was a particular fashion for those games that lasted until the end of the seventeenth century, as attested by two decks of this kind designed by Mitelli.)
Dummett's other examples of this type later are all from the 18th century and after; so I don't know how "persistent" the fashion was during the 15th century.

There is one example that is actually before any known tarot, but it counts against the idea of an independent existence for the triumphs. That is the game described by Marziano in a letter to Filippo Maria Visconti, which Pratesi ( dates to 1414-1418, A letter by Marcello in 1449 refers to it as "a new and exquisite sort of triumphs" («un nuovo genere squisito di triumphi»; see Besides four regular suits, of 10 numeral cards and Kings (but unknown if there were other courts), there were 16 special cards identified with Greco-Roman gods and demigods, which beat any suit card but against each other were ranked in a definite way. Dummett says (p. 105f):
Il mazzo progettato da Marziano e dipinto da Michelino non era un mazzo di tarocchi; ma esso costituiva un primo passo in quel senso. E vero che Marcello descrive il mazzo come «un nuovo genere squisito di triumphi» 14. Se esso fu dipinto fra il 1414 e il 1418, non era affatto nuovo nel 1449; in questa data i tarocchi autentici dovevano essere ben noti — Marcello infatti dice di avere ricevuto in regalo «carte da quel gioco che chiamano ‘triumphits’». Non è dunque sorprendente che egli usi il termine «triumphi». Lo stesso vale per l’uso del termine in una traduzione in italiano della vita del Visconti scritta da Decembrio, opera di qualcuno che usava lo pseudonimo Polismagna 15. La parola «triumphi»• non è usata né da Marziano nel trattato sulle carte da lui stesso progettate, né da Decembrio nella sua descrizione del mazzo; questi fatti nuocciono alla tesi di Gertrude Moakley che il termine avesse un senso generico durante il secolo XV.

Il mazzo Marziano/Michelino, benché non fosse un mazzo di tarocchi, era un mazzo composto: comprendeva sia figure e carte numerali di quattro semi che carte figurate con significati simbolici. Milita dunque contro la tesi di Steele e Moakley che i trionfi dei tarocchi esistessero originariamente come un mazzo completo — tesi priva di qualsiasi prova positiva. Il mazzo di Marziano e Michelino depone anche a favore di un’origine milanese dei tarocchi.

(The deck designed by Marziano and painted by Michelino was not a tarot deck; but it was a first step in that direction. It is true that Marcello describes the deck as "a new kind of delightful Triumphs» 14. If it was painted between 1414 and 1418, it was not at all new in 1449; on this date the authentic tarot cards had to be well known - in fact, Marcello says he has received, as a gift, cards from that game they call 'triumphs'." It is therefore not surprising that he uses the term "triumphs". The same applies to the use of the term in an Italian translation of the life of Visconti written by Decembri, the work of someone who used the pseudonym Polismagna 15. The word "Triumphs" is used neither by Marziano in his treatise on the cards designed by himself, nor by Decembrio in his description of the deck; these innocuous facts Gertrude Moakley has stretched for her argument that the term had a generic sense during the fifteenth century.

The Marziano/Michelino deck, although it was not a tarot deck, was a compound pack: it included both figures and pip cards of four suits of picture cards with symbolic meanings. Therefore it militates against the argument of Steele and Moakley that triumphs of the tarot existed originally as a full deck - the thesis lacks any positive evidence. The pack of Marziano and Michelino argues also in favor of a Milanese tarot origin.)
While the Marziano deck certainly argues against any independent existence of a deck of "triumphs" only, I do think that Marcello himself was using the term generically, regardless of what terms Marziano used. A "new sort of triumph" means new in comparison with other triumphs existing at the time, regardless of what they were called. Here is the passage (I don't have the original):
Now I was aware that the most distinguished, illustrious Prince of Milan had thought out a certain new and exquisite sort of triumphs, being, as he was of everything, at one time the keenest in the invention of all the greatest things.
Marcello might, to be sure, be wrong. It might be that the only "sorts of triumphs" he knew were just the tarot pack and the Marziano, and he is just assuming that triumphs had existed before Marziano. They may have, too (I am thinking of the game of Emperors, about which more later).

in any case, Dummett then begins to advance his "conjecture" that the tarot deck was invented by Filippo Maria Visconti in around 1428. However I want to stop for a moment and consider his arguments against a separate existence for the 22 triumphs in some form.

Dummett does not consider that the separate game might have been a board game rather than a card game, and while not precisely the same as the triumphs of the tarot, it was a precursor. Chess has 16 pieces per side. Huck has developed the "chess analogy" in some of his posts. Andre Vitali also has essays on it. Also, the game of Goose was mentioned by Rabelais. It is a "racing" game like backgammon, in which players advance their tokens, in accordance with the roll of dice, along a preset course toward a goal. Goose is similar to tarot, however, in having both ordinary squares, on which one just lands (comparable to suit cards) and special squares, some positive, in that landing on them advances one in the game, and some negative, in that landing on one sends the token back to an earlier. There are 64 squares in all. While Goose itself has only been traced back to around 1500, these "racing" games have a long history. About games like Goose, some research can be found on a couple of threads on THF, but nothing more promising has turned up.

The next question is where the tarot might have originated. First (p. 94):
Abbiamo visto che i tarocchi devono essere stati inventati neH’ambito della nobiltà, e probabilmente in una delle corti dove c’era l’abitudine di giocare con carte dipinte a mano costose. Questo fatto rende le due corti di Milano e Ferrara gli aspiranti più probabili al titolo di luogo di nascita dei tarocchi, senza escludere assolutamente tutti gli altri.

(We have seen that the tarot cards were invented in the ambit of the nobility, and probably in one of the courts where they were accustomed to play with costly hand-painted cards. This fact makes the two courts of Milan and Ferrara the most likely candidates for the title of the birthplace of the tarot, without absolutely excluding all others.)
But there are two other places worth considering, Florence and Bologna (p. 97).
Come vedremo, intorno all’inizio del XVI secolo si erano già cristallizzate quattro tradizioni distinte, relative sia al disegno convenzionale dei tarocchi che alle modalità del gioco, tradizioni che da allora si svilupparono secondo linee in larga misura, se pur non totalmente, indipendenti l’una dall’altra. Queste quattro tradizioni avevano come centri le città di Milano, Ferrara, Bologna e Firenze.

(As we shall see, around the beginning of the sixteenth century four distinct traditions had already crystallized, relating to both the conventional design of the tarot and the manner of play, traditions that developed along lines largely, though not entirely, independent of the other. These four traditions had as centers were the cities of Milan, Ferrara, Bologna and Florence.)

The earliest reference as of Dummett;s writing is 1442 Ferrara. But Pratesi found a 1450 edict in Florence mentioning trionfi. Dummett says (p. 95):
Ad ogni modo, una scoperta di Franco Pratesi suggerisce che l’invenzione dei tarocchi risalga a molto prima. Si tratta di un editto del 1450 della città di Firenze relativo al gioco delle carte, il quale allude specificamente ai triumphi. L’uso delle carte da trionfi, cioè dei tarocchi, sarebbe stato limitato originariamente alla corte dove esse erano state inventate, e forse immediatamente dopo a una o più altre corti. Solo più tardi l’uso di queste carte avrebbe potuto infiltrarsi fra le classi meno benestanti, che non avevano i mezzi per comprare carte dipinte a mano. Queste ebbero modo di giocare con mazzi di carte del nuovo tipo solo quando i fabbricanti di carte da gioco fecero matrici di legno per stampare i trionfi e le Regine, producendo mazzi di tarocchi economici per una clientela più estesa. L’editto fiorentino deve essere stato indirizzato a tali giocatori meno ricchi. Senza questo editto, avremmo potuto datare la prima produzione dei mazzi di tarocchi stampati al 1480 circa, e l’arrivo di tali carte a Firenze al 1490; è certo, infatti, che questa città non è il loro luogo di nascita. La sco-[end of 95]perta di Pratesi fa retrocedere l’intera sequenza storica. Sembra improbabile che meno di due decenni siano intercorsi tra la prima invenzione dei tarocchi, in qualche luogo a nord della Toscana, e la loro diffusione a Firenze grazie alla produzione a buon prezzo da parte di fabbricanti ordinari. Di conseguenza, dobbiamo datare la loro invenzione al 1430 circa.

(However, a discovery of Franco Pratesi suggests that the invention of tarot cards dates back to much earlier. It is an edict of 1450, the city of Florence on the card game, which refers specifically to Triumphs. The use of the triumph cards, i.e. tarot, was originally limited to the court where they were invented, and perhaps immediately after one or more other courts. Only later could the use of these cards infiltrate among the less affluent classes, who did not have the means to buy hand-painted cards. They were able to play with decks of cards of the new type only when the manufacturers of playing cards made woodblock prints of the triumphs and Queens, producing economical tarot decks for a wider clientele. The Florentine edict must have been addressed to those less wealthy players. Without this edict, we would have been able to date the first production of printed tarot decks in 1480, and the arrival of these cards in Florence in 1490; it is certain, in fact, that this city is not their place of birth. Pratesi’s dis-[end of 95]covery sets back the entire historical sequence. It seems unlikely that less than two decades elapsed between the first invention of tarot cards, somewhere north of Tuscany, and their diffusion into Florence thanks to their production at a good price, by ordinary manufacturers. As a result, we have to date their invention at about 1430.)
But why is it "certain" that Florence was not the birthplace of the tarot? Apparently, the answer is that it did not have a princely court, and therefore the cards must have spread by means of cheaply made decks. If so, Bologna is geographically before Florence. At the beginning of Chapter 10, on Florence, in fact, Dummett says (p. 241:
Non si fa menzione del gioco dei Tarocchi nella letteratura fiorentina prima dell’anno 1526 (1); ma Franco Pratesi ha scoperto recentemente una Provvisione del Comune di Firenze del 10 dicembre 1450 che include il Trionfo in un elenco di giochi di carte permessi (gli altri sono la Diritta, il Vinciperdi e il Trenta) (2). Questa Provvisione fu reiterata nel 1463 con raggiunta della Cricca e della Ronfa. Come osserva Pratesi, non si può qui parlare di una corte principesca; il gioco del Trionfo — che possiamo identificare con quello dei Tarocchi — deve essere già stato nel 1450 un gioco del popolo fiorentino. Tuttavia, Firenze non è da considerare uno dei centri originari dei Tarocchi. Come vedremo, ci sono strette affinità fra i tarocchi fiorentini e quelli bolognesi, compreso un ordine dei trionfi di tipo A; per questa ragione il gioco deve essersi diffuso da una delle due città all’altra. Benché l’editto fiorentino del 1450 preceda di nove anni il primo incontestabile riferimento bolognese ai tarocchi, l’ipotesi che si siano diffusi da Ferrara a Bologna e di là a Firenze è più credibile della supposizione che siano giunti a Bologna da Ferrara attraverso Firenze. Dob- [end of p. 241]biamo quindi ritenere che la tradizione fiorentina dei tarocchi sia un rampollo di quella bolognese.
1. In particolare, non si fa cenno ai tarocchi nella collezione curata da Antonio Francesco Grazzini, detto il Lasca, Tutti i trionfi carri, mascherate o canti camascialescki andati per Firenze dal tempo del magnifico Lorenzo de' Medici fino all'anno 1559, Firenze, 1559, che contiene un poemetto di Lorenzo il Magnifico sopra il «giuoco maladetto» dei «Frussi» (del Flusso).

2. Franco Pratesi, 'Italian Cards: New Discoveries’, The Playing Card, Vol. XIX, 1990, pp. 7-17.

(There is no mention of the game of Tarot in Florentine literature before the year 1526 (1); but Franco Pratesi has recently discovered an allowance of the City of Florence of December 10, 1450, which includes Triumphs in a list of card games allowed (the others are Diritta [Straight], Vinciperdi e il Trenta [Thirty]) (2). This was repeated in 1463 with the addition of Cricca and Ronfa. As observed by Pratesi, you cannot speak here of a princely court; the game of Triumph - which we can identify with that of the Tarot - must have already been in 1450 a game of the Florentine people. However, Florence is not considered one of the original centers of the Tarot. As we shall see, there are close affinities between the Florentine and Bolognese Tarot, including an order of the triumphs of type A; For this reason, the game must have spread from one to the other of the two cities. Although the Florentine edict of 1450 precedes by nine years the first indisputable reference to Bolognese Tarot, the assumption that it spread from Ferrara to Bologna and thence to Florence is a more credible supposition than that they came to Bologna to Ferrara through Florence. We must therefore assume that the Florentine tradition of tarot cards is a scion of Bologna.

1. In particular, there is no mention of the tarot in the collection edited by Antonio Francesco Grazzini, called Lasca, Tutti i trionfi carri, mascherate o canti camascialescki andati per Firenze dal tempo del magnifico Lorenzo de' Medici fino al L’anno 1559 [All the triumph floats, masks or carnival songs in Florence from the time of the the magnificent Lorenzo di’ Medici until the year 1559], Florence, 1559 which contains a poem of Lorenzo the Magnificent on the "accursed game of ‘Frussi’" (Flusso).

2. Franco Pratesi, 'Italian Cards: New Discoveries', The Playing Card, Vol XIX, 1990, pp. 7-17.)
If I have inferred Dummett's argument correctly, it is not a good one. First, it is not certain that the tarot originated in the courts of Ferrara or Milan. Luxury decks could just as well have been produced for the wealthy bankers of Florence. Second, it was never certain that the decks attributed to Ferrara were not from somewhere else. In fact, the data of this very chapter 10, as I showed in my last post, suggests otherwise for the "Charles VI". Third, there are means of transmission that leapfrog over cities in their path: artists or artisans go where they think they can sell their skills, or where they have family to help them; merchants, likewise, if they cannot sell their goods in Bologna (due to the memory of Bernardino's preaching, perhaps) will go to where they hope they can, e.g. Florence. Condottiere, likewise, serve not only courts but also cities, and go wherever seems most promising to them.

The Giusti note of 1440 Florence/Anghiari, brought to our attention by Depaulis, tends to show the holes in Dummett's argument. It makes it clear that there were still hand-painted decks in 1440; perhaps the stage of printed decks hadn't been reached yet, or had just dawned. Also, that deck was intended for a condottiere, Sigismonodo Malatesta. Given that the Cary-Yale was likely a gift to Francesco Sforza, another condottiere, diffusion of luxury deck through condottiere is suggested. Perhaps Sforza had been given a deck before he left Milan in 1436 to work for both Florence and the papal states. He probably would have not spent much time, if any, in Bologna.


Having eliminated Florence (for dubious reasons) and discussed Ferrara favorably, we are left with Bologna and Milan remaining for evaluation. Dummett has already said that for Milan the Marziano/Michelino speaks in favor of a Milanese origin. He continues (p. 106):
La prova di un’origine bolognese è molto debole. A favore di un’origine ferrarese sta il fatto che il primo accenno documentario ai tarocchi proviene da Ferrara; ma sappiamo che l’invenzione dei tarocchi deve essere di molti anni anteriore a questo accenno, e perciò la provenienza dell’accenno è puramente fortuita. Un motivo più robusto per supporre che Ferrara sia stata il luogo di nascita dei tarocchi è fornito dall’ambiente culturale della corte estense. Tuttavia, il mazzo Marziano/Michelino fornisce una prova diretta che Filippo Maria Visconti si interessò fin dall’inizio del suo regno a sperimentare nuovi tipi di carte da gioco; è probabile che i suoi esperimenti culminassero nel mazzo di tarocchi come lo conosciamo. Non abbiamo qui una dimostrazione dell’invenzione dei tarocchi alla corte milanese dei Visconti; ma in attesa di altre prove, questa è l’ipotesi più probabile.

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.

Per ora non possiamo rispondere meglio alla domanda su quando e dove esattamente i tarocchi siano stati inventati.

(The proof of Bolognese origin is very weak. In favor of an origin in Ferrara is the fact that the first documentary mention of the Tarot comes from Ferrara; but we know that the invention of tarot cards should be many years before this hint, and therefore the origin of the cue is purely fortuitous. A more robust reason to suppose that Ferrara was the birthplace of the Tarot comes from the cultural environment of the Este court. However, the Marziano/Michelino deck provides direct evidence that Filippo Maria Visconti was interested from the beginning of his reign in experimenting with new types of playing cards; it is likely that his experiments culminate in the tarot deck as we know it. We do not have here a demonstration of the invention of tarot cards at the court of the Visconti of Milan; but pending further testing, this is the most likely hypothesis.

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

1428: Tarot cards were invented in the court of the Visconti.
1430: the Este court in Ferrara knows the tarot.
1435: tarot spread to Bologna.
1440: card makers begin to produce decks of tarot cards at a good price, printed by woodblock.
1442 tarot spread from Bologna to Florence.
1444: The composition of the tarot deck becomes standardized everywhere.

For now it is not possible to respond better to the question of when and where exactly the tarot was invented.
And with that the chapter ends, except for the passage I quoted earlier in a previous post why the name "triumphs" got attached to the new cards, that it is not simply that they "triumph" over the suit cards, but also that there is a reference to the "Trionfi" of Petrarch and perhaps to triumphal parades.


As to why Ferrara is next in line, besides the atmosphere of the Ferrarese court there is the fact that it is the only other place that actually had a court in the sense of a ruling family appointed by a higher power, in both cases the Holy Roman Empire. Bologna and Florence were republics. There is also the evidence of the early hand-painted cards of Chapter Three, which he attributed to Ferrara. That probably influenced Dummett's choice, even though most of these cards are probably Florentine.


I have looked for further arguments for and against the various candidates. I do find where he explains why the claim of Bologna is weak. He starts out his chapter 9, on Bologna, as follows (p. 217):
Il più antico riferimento accertato a carte da tarocchi a Bologna risale al 1459, quando un mazzo di tarocchi risulta fra gli oggetti rubati a un mercante in una rapina1. Questa data, di diciassette anni posteriore al primo accenno ai tarocchi a Ferrara, è coerente con l’ipotesi che il gioco si sia diffuso da Ferrara a Bologna nel 1435, o poco dopo.
1 Cfr. Emilio Orioli, ‘Sulle carte da giuoco a Bologna nel secolo XV’, Il libro e la stampa, anno II (n.s.), 1908, pp. 109-19, a p. 112, e Albano Sorbelli, ‘Un’antica stamperìa di carte da giuoco’, Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, 1940, pp. 189-97, alle pp. 192-3.

(The earliest reference found on tarot cards in Bologna dates back to 1459, when a tarot pack is among the items stolen from a merchant in a robbery 1. This date, seventeen years later than the first mention of tarot cards in Ferrara, is consistent with the hypothesis that the game spread from Ferrara to Bologna in 1435, or shortly thereafter.
1. 1. See Emilio Orioli, ‘Sulle carte da giuoco a Bologna nel secolo XV’, Il libro e la stampa, anno II [On playing cards in Bologna in the fifteenth century', The book and the print, year II] (ns), 1908, pp. 109-19, p. 112, and Albano Sorbelli,, ‘Un’antica stamperìa di carte da giuoco '[An old printing house of playing cards], Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, 1940, pp. 189-97, at pp. 192-3.)
You will notice that he allows 24 years, or a little less, between the arrival of tarot cards in Bologna and its first mention in documents. That is an example of what Vitali has called attention to, the necessity of allowing at least 15-20 years between the invention of something and its being recorded in writing. In this case, it is not even the invention, but the arrival into that city.

Dummett does not seem to know that the merchant indicated in the 1442 Trionfi note in Ferrara was from Bologna ( That tends to support Dummett's "1435 or shortly thereafter" for Bologna. Surely such a merchant, wherever he got the cards, would also try selling them in Bologna itself. 1459 - 1442 = 17 years. It also might suggest that tarot was known already in Bologna, perhaps for 15 or 20 years, applying the "15-20 year lag" principle backwards from 1442. There is some evidence for that, although weak, which Dummett discusses next: a biography of Saint Bernardino and a painting of a certain Prince Fibbia. There is nothing in this discussion that is not already familiar to readers of this Forum, but I will quote the whole thing for those who may not have all the information (p. 217f):
Nel 1423 San Bernardino da Siena predicò a Bologna un sermone di Quaresima contro i giochi: dopo il sermone, la gente portò oggetti da gioco — dadi, tabelle da tavola reale, carte — in piazza davanti alla chiesa di S. Petronio e ne fece un falò. L'Acta Sanctorum Bollandista contiene tre vite di San Bernardino 2. Di queste, la prima è quella scritta per ultima, essendo stata composta qualche tempo dopo la traslazione del corpo di San Bernardino (nel 1472), della quale dà notizia. Fra gli oggetti destinati al falò, vengono elencati triumphales charticéllae, cioè carte da tarocchi 3. Tuttavìa, la più antica delle tre vite, scritta, secondo il curatore (4), nel 1445, menziona solo «naibes» (carte da gioco normali) insieme ai dadi e alle tabelle da tavola reale. Inoltre, nel sermone San Bemar- [end of 217] dino parla diffusamente del gioco delle carte, ma non fa alcun cenno ai triumphi 5. E vero che egli menziona sia reges atque reginae (Re e Regine) che milites superiores et inferiores (soldati superiori e inferiori) in relazione alle carte da gioco, dimostrando di conoscere mazzi con quattro figure per seme, ma non ne consegue affatto che si trattasse di mazzi da tarocchi.
2. Tomo XVI (Maggio, Voi. V), Anversa, 1685, al 20 maggio.
3. Ibid., p. 267*, col. 1.
4. Ibid., p. 257*, col. 1.
5. S. Bernardini Senensis OJ F.M. Opera Omnia, a cura dei PP. Collegii S. Bonaventurae. Vol. II, Firenze, 1950, p. 23.

(In 1423, San Bernardino of Siena preached a Lenten sermon in Bologna against games: After the sermon, the people brought items of the games - dice, backgammon boards, cards - in front of the church of San Petronio and made a bonfire. The Acta Sanctorum Bollandista contains three lives of San Bernardino (2). Of these, the first is written last, having been composed some time after the translation of the body of San Bernardino (1472), which gives news. Among the items for the bonfire, are listed triumphales charticéllae, i.e. tarocchi cards (3) However, the oldest of the three lives, written, according to the editor (4), in 1445, mentions only "naibes" (normal playing cards) along with dice and backgammon boards. In addition, in the sermon San Bemardino speaks extensively of playing cards, but makes no reference to triumphs (5). It is true that he mentions reges atque reginae (Kings and Queens), of milites superiores et inferiores (soldiers upper and lower) in relation to playing cards, providing information on packs with four figures in suits, but it does not follow that they were packs of tarot cards.
2. Vol. XVI (Maggio, Voi. V), Anversa, 1685, al 20 maggio.
3. Ibid., p. 267*, col. 1.
4. Ibid., p. 257*, col. 1.
5 S. Bernardini of Siena OJ F.M. Opera Omnia, edited by PP. Collegii S. Bonaventurae. Vol II, Florence, 1950, p. 23.)
And for Prince Fibbia (p. 218ff):
Il ritratto fa parte di una serie che si trova nella grande sala del palazzo, ora divisa in uffici per l’Associazione Artigiani, e che rappresenta membri della famiglia Fibbia; a giudicare dallo stile, deve risalire alla seconda metà del XVII secolo. Mostra il principe in piedi accanto a un tavolo, con un mazzo di tarocchi bolognesi nella mano destra; parecchie carte scoperte sono cadute o stanno cadendo sul pavimento. La leggenda principale dice:
Francesco Antelminelli Castracani Fibbia, principe di Pisa, Monte Gioii, e Pietra Santa, e signore di Fusechio, fìlio di Giovanni, nato di Castruccio duca di Lucca, Pistoia, Pisa. Fugito in Bologna datosi a’ Bentivoglj, fu fatto generalissimo delle arme bolognese, et il primo di questa famiglia che fu detto in Bologna dalle Fibbie, ebbe per moglie Francesca, fìlia di Giovanni Bentivoglj.
Sotto di essa è scritto in lettere più piccole:
nventore del gioco del tarocchino di Bologna. Dalli XVI Riformatori della città ebbe per privilegio di porre l'arma Fibbia nella regina di bastoni e quella della di lui moglie nella regina di denari. Nato Tanno 1360 morto l'anno 1419.
[Eng of 218]Sembra che questa parte della leggenda sia stata sovrapposta a una più breve in lettere della stessa dimensione della principale, forse consistente solo nelle due date; ma pare improbabile che le carte da gioco che compaiono nel ritratto siano un’aggiunta posteriore. È innegabilmente vero che alcuni mazzi di tarocchi bolognesi del XVIXI secolo recano lo stemma dei Fibbia sulla Regina di Bastoni e quello dei Bentivoglio sulla Regina di Denari8, anche se tale pratica non fu mai generalizzata. Come dobbiamo interpretare questo ritratto e la sua leggenda?

La leggenda non avanza la pretesa che il principe Fibbia fosse l’inventore del gioco dei Tarocchi in generale, ma solo della particolare forma praticata a Bologna e nota in precedenza come ‘Tarocchino’ perché giocata con un mazzo ridotto. La pretesa più modesta è la meno plausibile. Perché una variante del gioco originale potesse essere inventata da qualcuno morto nel 1419, il mazzo dei tarocchi stesso avrebbe dovuto essere stato inventato non più tardi della prima decade del XV secolo, cioè a soli trentanni circa dall’introduzione delle carte dal gioco in Europa; e ciò è difficile da credere.

Se il principe Fibbia ha avuto qualcosa a che fare con il gioco dei Tarocchi, è di gran lunga più probabile che fosse l’inventore, non della variante bolognese del gioco, ma del gioco stesso, la cui origine dovrebbe in tal caso essere anticipata a prima del 1420. Nel XVII secolo, i giocatori bolognesi erano già da tempo abituati ai soli giochi di Tarocchi della varietà caratteristica di Bologna, tutti praticati con il mazzo ridotto di sessantadue carte; l’unica eccezione era la forma davvero deviarne di derivazione fiorentina e conosciuta come Germini o Minchiate (mai come Tarocchi), che si giocava con un mazzo del tutto particolare. E ben possibile che nella mente di chi compose la leggenda sul ritratto non fosse chiara la distinzione fra l’invenzione dei Tarocchi e l’invenzione del Tarocchino; costui potrebbe aver pensato che non esistessero altre forme del gioco e persino che esso fosse ignoto al di fuori di Bologna e dintorni. Se è così, il principe Fibbia potrebbe davvero essere il primo inventore del mazzo dei tarocchi e del gioco con esso praticato.

Per dimostrare tutto questo, una testimonianza cosi tarda, di tre secoli e mezzo successiva al fatto, non ha gran peso. La più semplice spiegazione dell’esistenza della leggenda che il prìncipe Francesco Fìbbia abbia inventato il gioco è che essa sia basata su fatti; ma sono possibili altre spiegazioni ugualmente convincenti. La storia può essere nata come ipotesi per spiegare la presenza sulle carte degli stemmi dei Fibbia e dei Bentivoglio; qualche ricercatore intraprendente può aver passato in rassegna i registri alla ricerca di un membro di una delle due famiglie sposato con un membro dell’altra. Dopo tutto, la storia di questi stemmi, fornitaci dalla leggenda sul ritratto, non è molto plausibile; un fabbricante di carte non avrebbe avuto alcun bisogno di autorizzazione per mettere uno stemma su una carta. Allo stesso modo, l’autore della vita di San Bernardino (posteriore al 1472) potrebbe aver dato per scontato che i tarocchi, ben noti quando egli scriveva, esistessero già nel 1423 e che dovessero quindi essere inclusi nel falò.
8 Un mazzo del genere è al British Museum, un altro a Milano nella collezione di Giuliano Crippa.

[The portrait is part of a series that is found in the great hall of the palace, now divided into offices for the Artisans' Association, which represents Fibbia family members; judging by the style, it must date from the second half of the seventeenth century. It shows the prince standing next to a table with a pack of Bolognese tarot cards in his right hand; several cards have fallen or are falling on the floor, their fronts exposed. The main legend says:
Francis Antelminelli Castracane Fibbia, Prince of Pisa, Monte Gioii, and Pietra Santa, and Lord of Fusechio, son of Giovanni, born of Castruccio Duke of Lucca, Pistoia, Pisa. Fled to Bologna gave himself to the Bentivoglio, was made chief of the Bolognese arms, and the first of this family of the Fibbia said in Bologna, had for his wife Francesca, daughter of Giovanni Bentivoglio.
Below it is written in smaller letters:
Inventor of the game of tarocchino of Bologna. From the XVI Reformers of the city had the privilege of putting the Fibbia arms [arma] in the Queen of Batons and that of his wife in the Queen of Coins. Born Year 1360 died Year 1419.
[end of p. 218]It seems that this part of the legend has been superimposed on shorter letters of the same size of the main, perhaps consisting only in the two dates; but it seems unlikely that the playing cards that appear in the picture are a later addition. It is undeniably true that some Bolognese XVIIIth century tarot packs bear the Fibbia arms [stemma] on the Queen of Batons and that of the Bentivoglio on the Queen of Coins (8), although this practice was never widespread. How should we interpret this portrait and its legend?

The legend does not advance the claim that Prince Fibbia was the inventor of the game of Tarot in general, but only the particular form practiced in Bologna, formerly known as 'Tarocchino' because they played it with a short pack. The more modest claim is less plausible. Why a variant of the original game could be invented by someone who died in 1419, the tarot pack itself would have had to have been invented no later than the first decade of the fifteenth century, that is just about thirty years after the introduction of the cards from the game in Europe; and it is hard to believe.

If Prince Fibbia had something to do with the game of Tarot, it is far more likely that he was the inventor, not of the Bologna variant of the game, but the game itself, the origin of which should then be advanced to before 1420. In the XVIIth century Bolognese players had long since become accustomed to only Tarot games characteristic of the variety of Bologna, all charged with the short pack of sixty cards; the only exception was the really divergent form derived from Florence known as Germini or Minchiate (never as Tarot), which was played with a pack of its own. It may well be that in the mind of whoever composed the legend of the portrait there was not a clear distinction between the invention of Tarot and the invention of Tarocchino; he might have thought that there were no other forms of the game and even that it was unknown outside of Bologna and its surroundings. If so, prince Fibbia could really be the first inventor of the tarot pack and the game being practiced with it. [end of 219]

To demonstrate all this, a witness so late, three and a half centuries after the fact, does not have much weight. The simplest explanation for the existence of the legend that Prince Francesco Fibbia invented the game is that it is based on facts; but there are other possible explanations equally convincing. The story could have originated as a hypothesis to explain the presence of the arms [stemmi] of the Fibbia and the Bentivoglio on the cards; some resourceful researcher may have reviewed the registries for a member of one of the two families married to a member of the other. After all, the history of these coats of arms [stemmi] given to us by the legend on the portrait is not very plausible; a card manufacturer would have had no need for permission to put a coat of arms on a card. Similarly, the author of the life of San Bernardino (after 1472) may have taken for granted that the tarot, well-known when he wrote, already existed in 1423 and that it should therefore be included in the bonfire.
8 A pack of this kind is in the British Museum, another in Milan in the collection of Giuliano Crippa.)
These arguments here are often used to discount both pieces of evidence. Dummett is not doing that. He is only saying that the statements should not be be considered as reliable, say, as the Ferrara Wardrobe Registry. The alternatives are not more plausible than the simpler and more straightforward inference. I think more can be said for the accounts that Dummett is criticizing. in the case of St. Bernardino, the later biographer may have thought that the earlier one was remiss in not mentioning tarot cards, which he finds particularly reprehensible (or commendable) and for which there is abundant testimony of their presence in his 1425 bonfire. He is trying to write a credible biography, not one that will provoke controversy among those who approve or disapprove of tarot, or those who may think it reflects well or badly on the city.

For Prince Fibbia, there is still the question of the stemma of the Fibbia family on the Queen of Batons. Is it there because of the portrait, or vice versa? If the stemma came first, why would it continue get a place of honor along with the Bentivoglio, throughout the centuries? That didn't happen with any other marriage deck. And what about 17th century decks? It seems to me likely that the stemma is there because of the portrait. If so, why the Fibbia coat of arms at all? There would likely have been a legend. Without the legend, even if the portrait had been done, it would not by itself have carried enough weight to warrant being put on the card. People would have objected, just as they did in the case of the "mixed government".On the other hand, the Fibbia may have been friends with certain card manufacturers. And maybe people did object, so that we don't see the stemma very often.

But most importantly, nothing about the early history of the tarot, before 1440 is a hard fact. It is all hypothesis, this no more or less than anything else. And even in 1440 we know nothing about the deck itself, except that it was hand painted.

Dummett concludes, about Bologna (p. 219):
Non siamo pertanto in grado di decidere con sicurezza fra le due ipotesi: se i tarocchi siano stati inventati a Bologna nella seconda decade del XV secolo e si siano diffusi in seguito, prima a Ferrara e poi a Milano; oppure se siano stati inventati a Milano o a Ferrara nel decennio 1420-30 e si siano diffusi da Ferrara a Bologna nel decennio 1430-40. Possiamo solo dire che, sulla base delle carte pervenuteci, incluse quelle dipinte a mano, le carte da tarocchi bolognesi presentano maggiore affinità con il disegno ferrarese che con quello milanese. Nonostante l’incertezza sulla loro origine, la storia dei tarocchi a Bologna può essere ripercorsa senza difficoltà dalla fine del XV secolo ai giorni nostri.

(We are not therefore able to decide with confidence about the two cases: if tarot cards were invented in Bologna in the second decade of the fifteenth century and have spread as a result, first at Ferrara and Milan; or if they were invented in Milan or Ferrara in the years 1420-30 and have spread from Ferrara to Bologna in the decade 1430-40. We can only say that, on the basis of the cards that have come down to us, including those painted by hand, Bolognese tarot cards have a greater affinity with the design of Ferrara that with the Milanese. Despite the uncertainty about their origin, the history of tarot cards in Bologna can be traced without difficulty from the end of the fifteenth century to the present day.)
The only problem is that the designs he calls "Ferrara" are more likely Florentine. So we are back to Florence.


Lacking extant early cards, one argument in favor of Ferrara is the early playing card notes, including "13 new playing cards, of which 5 are figures" in 1422 ( That is a very weak argument, since they might also have been replacement cards. But all we have are weak arguments.

Another possibility, this time relating to Florence as well as Ferrara, is a note of 1423 in which Ferrara pays for "one pack of VIII Emperor cards" from Florence ( Given that it required a special pack, could the game of Emperors (or "VIII Emperors", or 8 special cards called "Emperors") have been a predecessor to Tarot? And perhaps even a predecessor to Marziano's game? We know nothing specifically about that Italian game referred to as "Imperatore" other than references to it exist from 1425 to 1450. In Germany, however there was a game "Karnoffel", of which Dummett says (p. 164): riferimento più antico è del 1426, quando fu incluso in un’ordinanza della città di Nòrdlingen fra i giochi che potevano essere legalmente praticati alla festa annuale della città39. Il primo accenno al Karnoffel risale quindi quasi precisamente al momento in cui, secondo la congettura del capitolo IV, fu inventato il gioco dei Tarocchi.

(...the earliest reference is from 1426, when it was included in an ordinance of the city of Nordlingen among games that could be legally practiced at the city’s annual festival 39. The first mention of Karnoffel then goes back almost precisely to the time when, according to the conjecture of Chapter IV, the game of Tarot was invented.)
Here is Dummett on Karnoffel (p. 164d):
Il Karnoffel si giocava originariamente con un mazzo tedesco di quarantotto carte (senza Assi). Nei semi semplici le carte erano ordinate nel modo consueto: Re (la più alta), Ober, Unter, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 la più bassa). L’elemento eccezionale era che, originariamente, scoprendo una carta, uno dei semi diventava seme di briscola; ciò che affascinava Johann Geiler e gli allegoristi protestanti era che l’ordine in questo seme veniva completamente sconvolto. La carta più alta diventava l'Unter di briscola, chiamato il Karnoffel; seguiva il 6 di briscola, chiamato il Papa; e la terza carta più alta era il 2 di briscola, chiamato il Kaiser. Dal punto di vista della storia dei giochi di carte, il fatto più interessante è che solo alcune carte del seme di briscola diventavano briscole e, fra queste, alcune erano solo briscole parziali. Nelle forme più antiche del gioco, solo il Karnoffel, il Papa e il Kaiser erano vere e proprie briscole, in grado di battere qualsiasi carta di un seme semplice. Dopo questi era il 3 di briscola, che poteva battere qualunque carta del seme semplice che non fosse il Re, ma era battuto a sua volta dal Re. Allo stesso modo, il 4 di briscola poteva battere qualsiasi carta dall'Unter in giù, ma era battuto dal Re o dall’Ober; il 5 di briscola poteva battere qualsiasi carta numerale ma era battuto da tutte e tre le figure. Supponiamo, per esempio, che, in un gioco a quattro, le Campane siano il seme di briscola. Il primo giocatore gioca l'Unter di Ghiande, il secondo il 4 di Campane che lo [end of 164] batte. Il terzo gioca l'Ober di Ghiande, che batte il 4 di briscola. Per assicurarsi la presa, il quarto può giocare una qualsiasi delle carte seguenti, se la possiede: il 3 di Campane; il Re di Ghiande; il 2 di Campane (Kaiser); il 6 di Campane (Papa); oppure l'Unter di Campane (Karnoffel). Nel gioco del Karnoffel, non c’è obbligo di rispondere al seme o giocare una briscola.

Il 7 del seme di briscola, chiamato il Diavolo o 7 maligno, aveva un ruolo speciale. Se giocato in una presa, ma non come prima carta, non poteva vincerla; ma, se giocato come prima carta, batteva automaticamente qualsiasi altra carta, tranne, in alcune versioni del gioco, il Karnoffel. Le rimanenti carte del seme di briscola, il Re, l'Ober, il 10, 9 e 8, non avevano alcun valore come briscole: di fatto esse formavano tra loro un seme semplice a parte. Se la prima carta della presa era una briscola, poteva essere battuta solo da una briscola più alta: per esempio, se le Campane erano briscole e si apriva la presa con il 3 di Campane, esso poteva essere battuto solo dal 2, dal 6 o dal Unter di Campane, in quanto briscole superiori, e non dal Re, che non era una briscola. Ma se si apriva con il Re di Campane, esso contava come il Re di un seme semplice: non poteva essere battuto dal 3 di briscola, ma solo dal 2, dal 6 o di Unter di briscola.

(Karnoffel originally was played with a pack of forty-eight German cards (without Aces). In the simple suits, the cards were ordered in the usual way: King (the highest), Ober, Unter,[/i] 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 (the lowest). The exceptional element was that, originally, revealing a card, one of the suits became the trump suit; what fascinated Johann Geiler and the Protestant allegorists was that the order in this suit was completely shocking. The Unter of trumps, called the Karnoffel, became the highest card; the 6th trumps followed, called the Pope; and the third highest card was the second trump, called the Kaiser. From the point of view of the history of card games, the most interesting fact is that only a few cards of the trump suit became trumps and, among these, some were only partial trumps. In the most ancient forms of the game, only the Karnoffel, Pope and Kaiser were real trumps, which can beat any card of a simple suit. After these was the 3 of trumps, it could beat any card of the simple suits that was not the King, but was in turn defeated by the King. Similarly, the 4 of Trumps could beat any card from the Unter down, but was beaten by the King or the Ober; the 5 of trumps could beat any numeral but was beaten by all three figures. Suppose, for example, that, in a four-player game, the Bells are the trump suit. The first player plays the Unter of Acorns, the second the 4 of Bells, which [end of 164] beats it. The third plays the Ober of Acorns, which takes the 4 of trumps. To make the trick certain, the fourth can play any one of the following cards, if he possesses it: 3 of Bells; King of Acorns; 2 of Bells (Kaiser); 6 Bells (Pope); or Unter of Bells (Karnoffel). In the game of Karnoffel, there is no obligation to follow suit or play a trump.

The 7 of the trump suit, called the Devil or the malignant 7, had a special role. If played in a trick, but not as the first card, it could not win; but, if played as the first card, it automatically beat any other card, except, in some versions of the game, the Karnoffel. The remaining cards in the trump suit, the King, Ober, 10, 9 and 8, had no value as trump cards: in fact they formed among themselves a separate simple suit. If the first card was a trump, it could only be beaten by a higher trump: for example, if Bells were trumps and the trick opened with the 3 of Bells, it could be beaten only by the 2, the 6, or Unter of Bells, as the superior Trumps, and not by the King, which was not a trump. But if you opened with the King of Bells, it counted as the King of a simple suit: it could not be beaten by the 3 of trumps, but only by the 2, the 6, or the Unter of trumps.
19. Cited by W.L. Schreiber, Die alteste Spielkarten, Strassbourg 1937, pp. 42-3.
The Kaiser as the 2 of trumps is not far from where the Emperor is in the tarot. Nor the 6 as the Pope. That there is a Devil, right next to him, seems an allegory for treachery, which has to strike first, as we see in the tarot's Hanged Man and the Devil. Could Karnoffel have influenced Tarot? Dummett says not, because tarot was unknown in Germany until the 16th century. But there is the matter of the name. Dummett explores the relationship (p. 166):
Un nome alternativo per il Kamóffel era il Kaiserspiel (il gioco dell’Imperatore) e pare che questo sia sempre stato il nome con cui era noto in Svizzera; il più antico riferimento svizzero ai Tarocchi di cui siamo a conoscenza, quello già citato del 1572, raggruppa di fatto i due giochi con un terzo: nella espressione «troggen, munteren und keiseren», il primo nome si riferisce ai Tarocchi e il terzo al Kaiserspiel o Kamóffel-'. Nel testo latino di uno dei sermoni del Geiler, Keiserspil è indicato come nome alternativo per il gioco, con la traduzione latina «ludus Caesaris»; ma un testo latino proveniente da Wurzburg contiene un passo relativo al periodo 1443-55 a proposito di «un tale... che giocava a carte a un gioco chiamato dell’Impe-ratore»22. «Ludus Imperatoria» («gioco dell’Imperatore») sarebbe una traduzione latina del tutto naturale di «Kaiserspiel» e può pertanto indicare il gioco chiamato da Geiler ludus Caesaris, cioè il Kamóffel. In questo caso, il gioco avrebbe anche potuto essere noto a Ferrara. Nel 1450, un certo Andrea di Bonsignore di quella città ricevette un compenso di 2 lire per aver dipinto due mazzi di «carte da imperatori»25; intorno al 1454 Borso d’Este giocava a carte dette dell’imperatore e un libro contabile per gli anni 1452-7 registra due pagamenti, di 12 soldi al mazzo, per «carte da imperaturi» o «de imperatore

(An alternative name for Karnoffel was Kaiserspiel (the game of Emperor) and it seems that this has always been the name by which it was known in Switzerland; The earliest reference to the Swiss Tarot of which we are aware, that the above-mentioned 1572, in fact, includes two games with a third: the expressions ‘troggen, munteren und keiseren'; the first name refers to Tarot and the third to Kaiserspiel or Karnóffel. In the Latin text of one of the sermons of Geiler, Keiserspiel is indicated as an alternate name for the game, with the Latin translation of "ludus Caesari”; but a Latin text from Wurzburg contains a passage which covers the period 1443-55 about "a man... playing cards in a game called Imperator" (22). "Ludus Imperatoria" (“Game of Emperor”) is a completely natural Latin translation of "Kaiserspiel' and may therefore indicate the game called by Geiler ludus Caesaris, i.e. Karnóffel. In this case, the game could also have been known in Ferrara. In 1450, a certain Andrea Bonsignore of that city received a fee of 2 pounds for having painted two decks of "emperor cards” 23; around 1454 Borso d'Este played a card game called Imperator, and an account book for the years 1452-7 records two soldi payment for the deck (24), for " "carte da imperaturi: or "de imperatore".
22. "... quidam unus... ludens to cartas Ludum vocatum imperatoris." W. L. Schreiber, Die àltesten Spielkarten, p. 52; the text is a manuscript Tractatus de - tractibilis by Paulus Wann, cod. lat. 4695, 37; and cod. lat. 12730, p. 56b, in the Staatsbibliothek in Monaco of Bavaria.
23. G. Campori, ‘Le Carte dipinte per gli Estensi nel Secolo XV’, Atti e Memorie delle Reali Deputazioni di Storia Patria per le provìncie modenesi e parmensi ('Painted Cards for the Este family in the fifteenth century’, Proceedings and Memoirs of the Royal Deputation of National History in the provinces of Modena and Parma], Vol III, Modena, 1874, p. 123-32; see p. 127.
24. See G. Bertoni, Poesie, leggende, costumanze del medio evo [Poems, legends, customs of the Middle Ages], p. 218 for the game of Duke Borso and Note 3 to the entries in the account book of the court. W.L.Schreiber, op, cit. p. 96, calls them Imperator cards painted at Ferrara in 1450 but does not give a source.
But Dummett finds it more likely that the Ferrarese "Emperors" was a different game entirely, stimulated by the game of tarot (p. 166):
Dal momento che Ferrara fu uno dei centri più antichi del gioco dei Tarocchi, è difficile non sospettare che il Kamóffel poteva aver fornito l’idea originale che condusse alla creazione del mazzo di tarocchi. Se è così, il Kamoffel, è il lontano antenato del Whist, del Triomphe, dell'Ombre e di tutti gli altri giochi, lungo una linea che, sorprendentemente, attraversò i giochi per i quali fu inventato il mazzo dei tarocchi.

Nel complesso, tuttavia, le probabilità sono a sfavore di questa ipotesi. Se le «carte da imperatore» prodotte a Ferrara dovevano servire per giocare al Kamóffel, presumibilmente esse avevano semi tedeschi; ma non esistono altre indicazioni che carte con semi tedeschi fossero conosciute, e meno che mai prodotte, in Italia durante il XV e persino il XVI secolo. Inoltre, sembra che il Kamóffel fosse fin dall’inizio quello che fu poi in seguito — un gioco del popolo; è pertanto difficile supporre che giungesse all’elegante corte di Ferrara. Più probabilmente, i due giochi del Kamóffel e dei Tarocchi, non erano collegati e rappresentarono due approcci indipendenti all’idea di briscola quale noi la conosciamo attraverso il Bridge e giochi simili. Nel Kamóffel si utilizza uno dei semi ordinari, ma solo ad alcune delle sue carte è assegnato potere totale o parziale di briscola; nei Tarocchi al mazzo viene aggiunta un’intera nuova serie di carte figurate. Proprio come la licitazione entrò a far parte di molti giochi a prese che in origine ne erano privi, così l’idea di briscola fu incorporata in quasi tutti i giochi di questo tipo; da alcuni, per esempio la Trappola, si sa per certo che era originariamente assente. I più famosi fra i giochi che hanno rifiutato l’idea della briscola sono il Picchetto e quelli della popolare famiglia italiana del Tressette; anche alcune forme successive della Trappola rifiutarono l’idea, mentre altre l’adottarono. Toccò ai Tarocchi dare l’idea agli altri giochi di carte.

(Since Ferrara was one of the oldest centers of the game of Tarot, it is difficult not to suspect that the Kamoffel could have supplied the original idea that led to the creation of the Tarot deck. If so, Kamoffel is the distant ancestor of Whist, Triomphe, Ombre and all the other games, along a line which, surprisingly, was traversed by the games for which the tarot deck was invented.

Overall, however, the odds are in disagreement with this hypothesis. If the "emperor cards " produced in Ferrara are supposed to be used for playing Kamóffel, presumably they had German suits; but there are no other indications that cards with German suits were known, and even less, produced in Italy during the fifteenth and even sixteenth centuries. Moreover, it seems that Karnoffel was from the beginning what it was later - a game of the people; therefore it is difficult to suppose it came to the elegant court of Ferrara. More likely, the two games, Kamóffel and Tarot, were not related and represented two independent approaches to the idea of Trumps as we know it through Bridge and similar games. In Karnoffel one of ordinary suits is used, but only a few of its cards are assigned full or partial power of trumps; in the Tarot deck a whole new set of picture cards is added. Just as bidding became part of many trick-taking games that originally were without it, so the idea of trumps was incorporated into almost all games of this type; in some, for example Trappola, it is known with certainty that it was originally absent. The most famous among the games that have rejected the idea of the trump are Picchetto and those of the popular Italian family of Tressette; even some forms of subsequent Trappola rejected the idea, while others adopted it. Contact with Tarot give the idea to other card games.
The part about German suits is very weak: Italians would have made decks with Italian suits. Also, there was no standard German suit-system in 1425. Also, Dummett does not appear to know the 1423 reference, which implicates both Ferrara and Florence.

Dummett seems to think that Karnoffel was a peasants' game and therefore unlikely to have influenced an Italian game of the court. True, it turns things upside down. But I don't see why the upper classes might have been just as interested in playing such games, if only to know how to stop such revolutions. Also, it might have been seen as the lower ranks of the nobility gaining advantage over the upper ranks.

In Karnoffel, only three cards were full triumphs, while others weren't trumps at all. In this regard the 1422 note
might mean 5 full trumps, with pictures, and the rest partial or non-trumps.

If Emperors was first, when would it have given way to tarot? Even in 1450, Borso was still playing the game, although that seems to be the last reference in Italy. 1423 in Ferrara is not that far from 1428 in Milan. And perhaps when Marcello spoke of Marziano's game as one "sort" of triumphs, Imperatore was another, and the tarot deck a third. Some of the extant cards of incomplete decks with only an Emperor and maybe one or two other triumphs might also be from an Imperatore deck (Rothschild, Brera-Brambilla).


I can give two other arguments in favor of Milan, neither very strong. One is that when the Cary-Yale cards came to Yale, they were each associated with a suit, just as in the case of Marziano's game. I still have the email to that effect from the Beinecke Library. The cards used to be labeled that way on their website. However it is not known whether these associations were originally there.

My other argument for Milan is from information I learn in Dummett's chapter on the early rules of the game in various places. The winner of the game, everywhere is not determined only by who gets the most tricks, but by who reaches a pre-set goal first, e,g, 300 points; in that way, it is a kind of race. In the scoring, the court cards have point values from 1 to 4, different for each rank, but in Milan only three of the triumphs have point-values: the Fool, the Bateleur, and the World. Dummett says (p. 150):
È possibile che la selezione delle carte di valore di punteggio fra i trionfi avesse già subito variazioni nel XV secolo nei tre centri originari del gioco: Milano, Ferrara e Bologna. Il sistema di gran lunga più conosciuto è quello che, con ogni probabilità, fu usato a Milano. In base ad esso, c’erano solo tre carte di valore di punteggio, a parte le sedici figure, e ciascuna di esse valeva 4 punti: il trionfo più alto (il Mondo), il trionfo più basso (il Bagatto) e il Matto.

(It is possible that the selection of cards with point values among the triumphs had already undergone changes in the fifteenth century in the three original centers of the game: Milan, Ferrara and Bologna. The system that was by far the best known is that, in all probability, used in Milan. According to it, there were only three cards with point values, apart from the sixteen figures, and each of them was worth 4 points: the highest triumph (the World), the lowest triumph (the Bagatto) and the Fool.)
In Bologna, however, the triumphs with point-value are those plus the Angel. Here is Dummett (p. 237):
Come abbiamo spiegato in precedenza, nella forma originale del gioco dei Tarocchi un giocatore o partito segnava un punto per ogni presa fatta* Nei semi, le carte con valore di punteggio erano solo le figure — un Re valeva 4 punti, una Regina 3, un Cavallo 2 e un Fante 1. Nella tradizione milanese c’erano altre tre carte con valore di punteggio: il trionfo più alto (il Mondo), il trionfo più basso (il Bagatto) e il Matto, che valevano ciascuna 4 punti. Il sistema bolognese era equivalente a questo (se pur descritto in altro modo), con due differenze. Prima di tutto, 6 punti extra venivano assegnati a chi faceva l’ultima presa; in secondo luogo, non solo il trionfo più alto, l’Angelo, ma anche quello immediatamente successivo, il Mondo, erano carte con valore di punteggio, e ciascuna valeva quanto un Re. A parte le figure, dunque, c’erano solo quattro carte con punteggio, tutte in pratica da 4 punti: l’Angelo, il Mondo, il Bagattino e il Matto: queste erano (e sono) collettivamente note come ‘tarocchi’; i trionfi in generale non sono chiamate ‘tarocchi’, ma semplicemente ‘trionfi’.

Questo sistema di punti base deve essere molto antico e risale probabilmente alle prime forme del gioco così come esso era praticato a Bologna.

(As we explained above, in the original form of the game of Tarot a pair or a player scored a point for each trick made.* In the suits, only the figures had point-values - a King was worth 4 points, a Queen 3, a Knight 2 and a Jack 1. In the Milanese tradition there were three other cards with point-values: the highest triumph (the World), the lowest triumph (the Bagatto) and the Fool [Matto], each worth 4 points. The Bolognese system was equivalent to this (albeit described in another way), with two differences. First of all, 6 extra points were awarded to those who made the last trick; Second, not only the highest triumph, the Angel, but also the one immediately following, the World, were cards with point-values, and each was as good as a King. Apart from the figures, then, there were only four with point-values, all in practice 4 points: the Angel, the World, the Bagattino and the Fool: these were (and are) collectively known as 'tarots '; triumphs in general are not called 'Tarots', but simply 'triumphs'.

This system of point-values must be very old and probably dates back to the earliest forms of the game as it was practiced in Bologna.)
But Milan's point system is simpler. If games progress from the simpler to the more complex, the Bolognese would be later. The reason for the addition would be that the Angel has been promoted to high triumph, and point-values go to the highest and the lowest. But since the World already had point-value, it is not taken away. The Bolognese game is more complex in other ways, because points are scored for the last trick.

The Bolognese game developed another complexity, namely, scoring points for combinations of cards: Dummett talks about this way of getting points in relation to Bologna but not Milan: it is "characteristic" of Bologna (p. 237):
Questo sistema è probabilmente molto antico e costituisce un tratto caratteristico del gioco bolognese. Forse precede la riduzione del mazzo da settantotto a sessantadue carte; ma è improbabile che sia tanto antico quanto il sistema di punti base a cui si è sovrapposto.

(This system is probably very old and is a characteristic feature of the game in Bologna. Maybe it precedes the reduction of the seventy-eight to a sixty card pack; but is unlikely to be as old as the points system on which it is superimposed.)
So if one game is more complex than another, it is likely to have become that way later in time than simpler games.

This argument of mine for Milanese priority is by no means conclusive. It is possible that after the game was invented in Bologna, it died out there, possibly as a result of St. Bernardino's preaching. But it continued in Ferrara, and the "13 cards" note reveals the primitive state of the triumphs originally, with only five picture cards and the rest numerals. Somewhere along the line, on this scenario, it was improved. Then the game came back to Bologna after it became popular in Florence and followed whatever developments Florence added.

In favor of Milan, I have appealed to one difference between the A, B, and C orders. Some have thought that the placement of the virtues in the three orders says something about the priority of one order over another. That is possible. But I see no a priori reason why they should all be placed together. If it follows a Petrarchan progression, different virtues might be needed for different parts of life. In fact, the A order is unique among the three in having them together, just as it is unique in having the Angel as high trump. Putting the virtues together might then be a rationalization of earlier practice, which seemed to those later as chaos.

On balance, I think Dummett is right to single out Milan as being most likely to have the tarot deck by around the late 1420s, as a development out of Marziano's game; there are other reasons as well, as I have discussed.. Before that, it is hard to say. Bologna remains possible. And Ferrara and Florence, too, given the "VIII Emperors" of 1423 and a possible relationship to tarot. Along with that, the Rothschild cards, fairly securly Florentine, might be of that period. After Milan, it is also hard to say, because of all the possibilities, until it ends up in Florence in the mid to late 1430s. Everything is very hazy. But that is the nature of the beast.

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

Dummett's next chapter, number 5, is on Divination and Occult Meanings in the early history of the tarot. It is mostly negative, of course. I am going to skip that chapter for now, for two reasons. First, I have already been dipping into chapters 6-10 in evaluation of claims in chapters 1-4. I might as well have done with those chapters. Second, it is frequently advanced that occult meanings and divination explain nothing that the tarot's use in games cannot explain as well or better. To evaluate that claim, it is necessary to see what the use in games does explain and to see if anything is left. For that we need to look at chapters 6-10 at least, and probably more.

Dummett devotes chapter 6 to a reconstruction of the basic rules of the game of tarot. First he discusses bidding, a practice that he says was introduced in the 18th century (p. 145) from the Spanish game of Ombre and applies to partnership games, which can be for as few as 3 players, one playing against the other 2. Then he moves to the nature of trick-taking, which of course was part of the game from the beginning. He observes that the direction of play is another indication of its Italian origin (p. 145)
Nei giochi di Tarocchi l’ordine ciclico è quasi sempre antiorario, elemento che costituisce un ulteriore indizio della loro origine italiana poiché, quando i giochi di carte furono introdotti, l’ordine antiorario prevalse in Italia e nella Penisola Iberica, l’ordine orario negli altri paesi.

(Tarot games are almost always in a counter-clockwise cyclic order, an element that is a further indication of their origin as Italian, when card games were introduced, the counterclockwise order prevailed in Italy and the Iberian Peninsula, the clockwise order in other countries.)
Each player contributes a card from the suit led, or if he has none, then a triumph. The trick is won by the player with the highest card. For the suits, the King was the highest card, followed in sequence by the other courts. Then in Swords and Batons, the order went from 10 to Ace, but in Cups and Coins, it went from Ace high to 10 low. "This picturesque feature was abandoned only in Sicily and France," he adds. This feature is of historical interest. In other games, using the normal pack, the Ace was sometmes promoted as the high card among the numerals. That is not hard to understand as a variation on the usual order, but the complete reversal of the order is "more bizarre". It also occurs in Ombre, which suggests that it precedes the 16th century (p. 147). John of Rheinfelden says that "some suit signs are considered good and others evil, which seems like an allusion to the practice. It is also a feature of Marziano's game (p. 148):
Nel gioco di Marziano, nel quale si usava il mazzo non standard dipinto da Michelino da Besozzo per Filippo Maria Visconti, le carte numerali erano gerarchizzate in ordine discendente, dal 10 all’Asso, nei semi di aquile e tortore, ma nell’ordine inverso, dall’Asso al 10, nei semi di fenici e colombi.

(In Marziano's game, which used a non-sandard pack painted by Michelino da Besozzo for Filippo Maria Visconti, the pip cards were hierarchical in descending order, from 10 to Ace, in the suits of Eagles and Turtledoves, but in the reverse order, from Ace to 10, in the suits of Phoenices and Doves.)
Dummett notes that in India the games of Ganjifa also had this unusual practice. So no doubt the Europeans learned it from the Muslims, and tarot simply kept it.

I would note also that the heraldics in the Cary-Yale are consistent with this practice, Swords and Batons having Sforza heraldics, and Cups and Coins having Visconti. Presumably the more severe suits (Virtues, Virginities: Swords, Batons) go from 10 to Ace, the more pleasurable (Riches, Pleasures: Cups and Coins) from Ace to 10, as though severities were of higher value than pleasures.

France did not retain the practice, but I would observe that even there we see black suits, Piques and Trefles, and red ones, Coeurs and Carreaux.

In tarot the object is to score points, not simply win tricks. I have already mentioned the difference between Milan and Bologna, that in Bologna the Angel got points (as well as the three cards in Milan), there were points for the last trick, and also points for combinations. Unlike trumps, which Dummett thinks was an innovation of the tarot (disregarding the case of Emperors, which I discussed in the last post), the idea of cards with different point values was not original with tarot, but was present in many games by the early 15th century (p. 151f:
Il gioco dei Tarocchi non [end of 151] fu certamente il più antico gioco a prese europeo. Certamente esso introdusse un’idea completamente nuova — quella del Matto. Se supponiamo che abbia anche introdotto l’intero concetto di briscola, è più che sufficiente: è estremamente improbabile che ne abbia anche introdotto un terzo, quello di carte con punteggio diverso. Quest’idea si ritrova in moltissimi giochi di carte europei, inclusi alcuni che non hanno alcun possibile rapporto diretto con i Tarocchi, come il gioco spagnolo di Malilla (noto in Francia come Manille e nei Paesi Bassi come Manilla). È probabile che fosse già diffusa all’inizio del XV secolo e che i Tarocchi se ne siano appropriati derivandola da forme esistenti di giochi a prese complessi senza briscole

(The game of Tarot [end of 151] was certainly not the oldest European trick-taking game. Certainly it introduced a completely new idea - that of the Fool. To assume that it also introduced the whole concept of Trumps is more than enough: it is extremely unlikely that it also introduced a third, that of cards with different scores. This idea is found in many card games in Europe, including some that can have no direct relationship with Tarot, like the Spanish game of Malilla (known in France as Manille and the Netherlands as Manilla). It is likely that it was already widespread at the beginning of the fifteenth century, and that the Tarot appropriated it, deriving it from existing forms of complex trick-taking games without trumps.)
By a "complex trick-taking game" Dummett means any such game where the score is not simply a matter of the number of tricks won.

In the above quote, Dummett asserts that the Fool, like the idea of trumps, was an original contribution of the tarot. He does not find it in earlier card games or in Asian games. Since both trumps and wild cards were a feature of Chinese games, according to "Andy's Playing Cards" (and trumps a feature of Karnoffel), it might be wondered how he knows that they weren't a feature of Muslim games. Has he looked at the early rules of Muslim games? It might simply be lack of evidence one way or the other. The matter does not seem to me very important.

The Fool can be played at any time in lieu of another card, although it can never win any trick. At the end of the game the player who played it exchanges one of the cards won in tricks with the other player to get the Fool back (if he has none, then he is out of luck). In scoring, the Fool not only has points, the same as the Kings and other "tarots", but can substitute for any card missing to make combinations, in games that count combinations. Dummett assumes that this was an original property of the Fool, as opposed to being the lowest trump, but it really isn't known. We have discussed this matter in the "Dummett and Methodology" section.

Dummett describes other rules as well: how at the end of the deal, the cards left over go to the dealer, who discards them face down before play starts but gets to count them as his in the scoring. Also, points accrue at the beginning of play as well as the end, if a player so chooses. But then he has to show his cards to the other players. Dummett does not say when these rules came into effect or how they differed from place to place, so I will not go into detail. Since the first written rules are of 1637 France, it is not easy to say.

Other games did develop which had trump suits, and the word "triumph" came to be applied to the cards of the suit so designated (usually by turning over a card at the beginning of play). Dummett spends considerable time discussing whether the word "triumph" came originally from Tarot or from some other game. The problem is that the name also designated the game. Why would it do that if some other game also had cards named "triumphs"? Also, Moakley's hypothesis that the iconogaphic model for some of the cards of the game was somehow modeled on those of triumphal processions is an attractive one (p. 154) , which would explain how the name "triumphs" got applied to the game. I would add here that while the idea that the imagery of such processions corresponded to that of some of the cards is not verified, it surely is that it fits the Trionfi of Petrarch plus the similar poem by Boccaccio.

Dummett hypothesizes that when the word "triumphs" came to be applied to cards in other games, and even to the games themselves, it was necessary to use another word for the original game. And thus "tarocchi" came into use. That hypothesis is universally accepted these days.

I would add that before "tarocchi" the word "minchiate" may have been used as as the name of a game using the tarot pack in Florence. The word "tarocchi" has a similar meaning to words of the "minchiate" family of words, that of Fool. Later, an expanded version of tarot in Florence came to be called "Minchiate". It was also called "germini", after the highest numbered trump, the Gemini. There were also "Ganellino", in Liguria, and "Gallerini", in Sicily, for the same game, from a name for the first triumph, i.e. the tarot's Bagatto ( If the game of tarot was still unique in having a wild card, then "the game with the fool" would have been an appropriate designation. Naturally, those who thought playing tarot was evil could also use this term to their advantage, calling it the game of fools (although such people tended to consider all card games in this light). This thesis, as well as the other (a term of abuse), is apparent in the course of several essays by Andrea Vitali. But Dummett does not speculate on why the name "tarocchi" became the preferred name, or where the word comes from.

Of special interest here is the first French use of the word "triumphe" for a card game, in 1482. Dummett discusses whether it was a tarot game or a game with the normal deck (pp.158-160; for the sake of ease in reading, I have included the footnotes only in the Italian)
Il gioco francese di Triomphe o Triumphe è di particolare interesse perché è l’unico per il quale esistano tracce anteriori al XVI secolo. Il primo riferimento compare in una lettre de rémission (grazia del re per un reato commesso) datata 1482 8; essa descrive una lite scoppiata nella città di Béthune, nei pressi di Lille, a causa di una partita di triumphe fra quattro membri dell’aristocrazia, uno dei quali aveva ucciso un altro durante l’alterco 9. Ora, per quanto ne sappiamo, la parola «tarocchi» non era ancora stata introdotta in Italia. Il più antico uso documentato risale, come abbiamo visto, al 1516; ma la versione francese, nella forma taraux, compare fin dal 1507 10 e possiamo quindi presupporre che fosse già nota in Italia a quell’epoca.
8. Archives Nationales, Parigi, serie JJ [?], libro 206, lettera 828, folio 181 recto. Alla lettera si fa riferimento in F. Godefroy, Dictionnaire de L'ancienne langue française, Vol. X, Complement, Parigi, 1902, s.v. *triomphe’, e in Du Cange (sieur Charles du Fresne), Glossarium Mediae et Infimae Latinitatis, Vol. VI, Parigi, 1845, s.v. *triumphus'; ma Thierry Depaulis ha visto la lettera stessa e a lui sono debitore di dettagliate citazioni da essa.
9. «... se esbatirent a jotter aux quartes aujeu du triumple pour le vin»; «triumple» è ovviamente un errore per «triumphe». L’uccisore era Jehan de Tremons e la sua vittima Alixandre de Lassisse.
10. Cfr. H. Chobaut, Les Maitres-Cartiers d’Avignon du XVe siècle à la Revolution, Vaison-la-Romaine (Vaucluse), 1955, estratto dalle Mémoires de l’Académie de Vaucluse, année 1955, p. 25. Questa fonte verrà nuovamente discussa nel capitolo XIII. [end of 158]

D’altra parte, abbiamo trovato l’espressione «triumphos cum chartis» in uno statuto di Reggio Emilia del 1500 in un contesto in cui deve far riferimento al gioco dei Tarocchi, per analogia con ordinanze simili di Salò, Brescia e Bergamo risalenti rispettivamente al 14S8, 1489 e 1491. Resta quindi aperta la possibilità che il gioco citato nella lettre de rémission non fosse quello che verrà più tardi praticato con il nome di Triomphe e un mazzo normale, ma un gioco di Tarocchi. Non possiamo escludere completamente questa possibilità. È tuttavia molto probabile che il gioco dei Tarocchi fosse introdotto in Francia e vi acquistasse rapida popolarità in seguito alle guerre francesi in Italia, iniziate nel 1494, e all’occupazione francese di Milano dal 1499 al 1512 e dal 1515 al 1522. Inoltre, nella lista che, nel 1534, Rabelais fornisce dei giochi praticati da Gargantua, la triumphe e le taraut sono elencati separatamente. È vero che passa più di mezzo secolo fra la lettre de remission e il Gargantua di Rabelais, ma nel frattempo compaiono altri tre riferimenti al triumphe. Nei libri contabili della corte di Lorena, ci sono due voci che registrano denaro usato dal duca Renato II nel 1496 per giocare a le triumphe 11. Due anni dopo, nel primo dei due riferimenti scoperti da Thierry Depaulis, un documento dell’ufficio dell’arcidiacono di Parigi accenna a la triumphe come a un gioco proibito 12; il secondo è un sermone di Michel Menot del 1518 in cui la triomphe è citata con altri giochi di carte 13. La fonte del 1518 deve far riferimento a un gioco praticato con il mazzo normale, dal momento che a quel tempo era già in uso la parola «tarot» o «tarau». Si può pensare che, nel corso dei venti anni che separano il documento del 1498 dal sermone di Menot, l’uso della parola «triumphe» fosse cam-[end of 159]
11. Citati in H.-R. D’Allemagne, Les Cartes à jouer du XVe au XX' siècle, Vol. Il, Parigi, 1906, p. 212: «Au Roy, le 29 armi pour jcruer au triumphe à Vézelise deux francs». »Encore audit seigneur roy le V mai pour jouer audit triumphe à Vézelise deux florins d'or».

12. Citato in L. Pommeray, L’Officialité archidiaconale de Paris aux XVe et XVe siècle, Parigi, 1933, p. 422, da un documento latino negli Archives Nationales, Z 1°-21, folio 33 verso: la frase che ci interessa dice «lusisse ad ludum prohibitum videlicet a la triumphe a la carte». Notare che il genere del nome sembra essere cambiato fra il 1496 e il 1498.

13. Michel Menot, Sermons choisis, a cura di Joseph Neve, Parigi, 1924, secondo sermone di Quaresima: «... qui ludit at ludum chartarum, du glie, du flus, de la triomphe».

biato proprio come quello di «trionfi» in Italia più o meno nello stesso periodo. Tuttavia, le probabilità sono complessivamente a sfavore di quest’ipotesi. Sembra più probabile che in tutti questi passi, dal 1482 in poi, si faccia riferimento a uno stesso gioco, quello citato da Randle Cotgrave nel suo dizionario francese-inglese del 1611 come «triomphe» 14 e descritto con quel nome nella Maison académique del 1659 e con il nome di «French-Ruff» nel Compleat Gamester di Charles Cotton del 1674 15.

È vero che, nell’ipotizzare che il gioco di Triumphe a cui si fa riferimento nel 1482 fosse praticato con un normale mazzo, noi distruggiamo le nitide linee di demarcazione del quadro che altrimenti otterremmo: la parola «tarocchi» introdotta dopo il 1500 e prima del 1507; la parola «trionfi» usata esclusivamente per il gioco dei Tarocchi per tutto il XV secolo e, in seguito, assieme ai suoi affini, per giochi con briscole praticati con il mazzo normale. Si potrebbe osservare che esistono buone probabilità che uno statuto come quello entrato in vigore a Reggio Emilia nel 1500 facesse uso di un linguaggio antiquato; ma nel 1492 il cardinale Ippolito d’Este scriveva per ringraziare la madre per l’invio di «triumphi dorati»16 e la parola «trionfi» — e non «tarocchi» — è usata da Pier Antonio Viti nella sua Illustrazione del poema del Boiardo che deve risalire al decennio 1490-1500 17. E la precisione stessa del quadro, tuttavia, a renderlo sospetto. Quando vengono introdotte nuove parole, esse spesso coesistono, per qualche tempo, con le vecchie; pertanto, la parola «tarocchi» potrebbe essere più antica di quanto possiamo verificare con prove documentarie e molti potrebbero aver continuato a preferire ancora il termine più [end of 160]
14. Randle Cotgrave, A dictionarie of the French and English tongues, Londra, 1611.
15. Charles Cotton, The Compleat Gamester, Londra, 1674, pp. 121-2. Il resoconto nella Maison académique del 1659 è alle pp. 181-4, dove la versione principale è la variante nota alle volte come L’as qui pitie', in essa, l’Asso vale più del Re e può essere preso dal mazziere in cambio di un’altra carta se viene scoperto per fissare il seme di briscola.
16. Cfr. Giulio Bertoni, Poesie, leggende, costumanze del medio eoo, Modena, 1917, p. 218.
17. II titolo ‘I Tarocchi’ fu dato alla composizione del Boiardo da un curatore dell’Ottocento.

antico «trionfi». Il nostro problema immediato comunque non è questo, ma piuttosto se esistessero prima del XVI secolo giochi a briscole con mazzo normale. Se il Triumphe giocato nel 1482 è un gioco di questo tipo, la risposta è affermativa. Infatti, sarebbe una coincidenza straordinaria se il nome di questo gioco non avesse alcun legame con la parola italiana «trionfi»; almeno l’idea centrale del gioco deve essere di provenienza italiana e quindi giochi del genere dovevano essere praticati in Italia prima del 1480. Questo, di per sé, è perfettamente coerente con la nostra ipotesi generale. Verso, diciamo, il 1475, il gioco dei Tarocchi doveva esistere da almeno quarantacinque anni — tempo più che sufficiente perché a qualcuno venisse l’idea di adattare il concetto di briscola a un gioco con il mazzo normale. Forse per qualche tempo i due tipi di gioco coesistettero in Italia, entrambi conosciuti come «Trionfi»; se essi erano diffusi in città e regioni diverse, questo fatto non avrebbe causato troppa confusione, soprattutto perché ci sono ben pochi elementi per pensare che il gioco con il mazzo normale abbia mai raggiunto grande popolarità fra gli Italiani, nonostante gli entusiasmi che suscitava in Cardano.

(The French game of Triomphe or Triumphe is of particular interest because it is the only one for which there are traces prior to the sixteenth century. The first reference appears in a lettre de rémission (grace of the King for an offense committed) dated 1482 (8); it describes a fight that broke out in the town of Bethune, near Lille, due to a game of triumphe among four members of the aristocracy, one of whom killed another during the altercation (9). Now as far as I know, the word "tarocchi" had not yet been introduced in Italy. The earliest recorded use dates back, as we have seen, to 1516; but the French version, in the form taraux, appears as early as 1507 10, and we can therefore assume that it was already known in Italy at that time.[end of 158]

On the other hand, the expression "triumphos cum chartis” is found in a statute of Reggio Emilia of 1500 in a context in which reference must be made to the game of Tarot, by analogy with similar ordinances of Salò, Brescia and Bergamo dating back to 14S8, 1489 and 1491. The possibility therefore remains open that the game mentioned in the lettre de rémission was not one that will be later practiced with the name of Triomphe and a normal deck, but a game of Tarot. We can not completely exclude this possibility. However, it is very likely that the game of Tarot was introduced in France and there acquired rapid popularity following the French wars in Italy, starting in 1494, and the French occupation of Milan from 1499 to 1512 and from 1515 to 1522. Moreover, in a list that, in 1534, Rabelais gives some games practiced by Gargantua, triumphe and taraut are listed separately. It is true that there is more than half a century between the lettre de rémission and the Gargantua of Rabelais, but in the meantime three other references to triumphe appear. In the account books of the court of Lorraine, there are two entries that record money used by Duke René II in 1496 to play at le triumphe (11). Two years later, in the first of two references discovered by Thierry Depaulis, a document of the office of the Archdeacon of Paris mentions la triumphe as a prohibited game (12); the second is a sermon by Michel Menot of 1518 in which triomphe is cited with other card games (13). The 1518 source must refer to a game played with a standard deck, since at that time the word "tarot" or "tarau" was already in use. You might think that, in the course of the twenty years between the document of 1498 and the Menot sermon, the use of the word "triumphe" had changed [end of 159] just like that of "triumphs" in Italy at more or less the same time. However, the odds are in total disagreement with this hypothesis. It seems more likely that all these passages, from 1482 onwards, refer to the same game, the one cited by Randle Cotgrave in his French-English dictionary of 1611 as "triomphe” (14), described by that name in the Maison Académique of 1659 and with the name "French–Ruff” in the Compleat Gamester by Charles Cotton of 1674 (15).

It is true that, in assuming that the game Triumphe to which reference is made in 1482 was practiced with a regular deck, we destroy the sharp lines of demarcation in the picture that otherwise we would get: the word "tarocchi" introduced after 1500 and before 1507; the word "triumph" used exclusively for the game of Tarot throughout the fifteenth century and later, together with its cognates, for games with trumps played with the normal deck. It could be observed that there is a good chance that a statute such as that entered into force in Reggio Emilia in 1500 made use of an antiquated language; but in 1492 Cardinal Ippolito d'Este wrote to thank his mother for sending “golden Triumphs" 16 and the word "triumph "- and not "tarocchi" - is used by Pier Antonio Viti in his Illustrazione of the poem by Boiardo one must go back to the decade 1490-1500. And the accuracy of the picture, however, to make it suspect. When new words are introduced, they often coexist with the old for some time; therefore, the word " tarot" might be more ancient than we can check with documentary evidence, and many might have still continued to prefer the older term, [end of 160] “trionfi”. Our immediate problem, however, is not this, but rather whether there existed before the sixteenth century games with trumps with a normal deck. If the Triumphe played in 1482 is a game of this type, the answer is yes. In fact, it would be an extraordinary coincidence if the name of this game did not have any link with the Italian word "triumph"; at least the central idea of the game is to be of Italian origin, and therefore such games had to be practiced in Italy before 1480. This, in itself, is perfectly consistent with our general hypothesis. To, say, 1475, the game of Tarot had to be at least forty years old - more than enough time for someone to come to the idea of adapting the concept of a trump to the game with the normal deck. Perhaps for some time, the two types of game coexisted in Italy, both known as "Triumphs'’ if they were common in cities and region, this fact would not cause too much confusion, especially since there are very few reasons for thinking that the game with the normal deck ever achieved great popularity among Italians, despite the enthusiasm it aroused in Cardano.
Well, in France there are two possibilities, it seems to me. So far nothing is proven one way or the other.

In this case, a game with a normal deck could be called "triumphs" without necessitating a name change for the other game, because in France the other game did not exist. It has been argued that another game using a normal deck with a trump suit was played in Italy, namely, Ronfra. And if so, the name change should have been earlier than it was. Dummett argues successfully that there is no grounds for that assertion about Ronfa; it may not even have been a trick-taking game, but merely one where different cards had different points in combinations, like Primiera.

Finally, Dummett considers the game of Karnoffel, also called Kaiserspiel, from which I gave lengthy quotes in my last post. He argues that this game, even if invented at the same time as the tarot, did not co-exist with the tarot in any widespread way anywhere, so that "truimphs" would not distinguish tarot from it. The problem is that if it did exist in Italy, or something like it with special cards, it would have been in exactly those areas where tarot developed, notably Florence and Ferrara, because that is where a game named "Imperatore" is mentioned. Dummett says that there is no evidence that this game of "Imperatore" had any relationship to the German game of "Kaiserspiel". And if tarot is a descendnt of "Emperors", why are there no descendants?

The first point seems to me unclear, since the names and places of the trump cards in that game correlate well with those of the tarot. Also, the Italian courts had their authority from the north (the Emperor) and had many connections there.It seems to me that if the two games co-existed in Ferrara and elsewhere, there are two ways in which "triumphs" would fit the game later known as "tarocchi" better and more naturally than that called "Emperors". First, there are many more of these special cards than in "Emperors", in fact forming a fifth suit; and second, the iconograpy is suggestive of Petrarch and Boccaccio.

As to why there are no signs peculiar to "Karnoffel" in any Italian games, my answer is first, "Emperors" never was very widespread; and second, it got eclipsed very quickly by the game later known as "tarocchi". Perhaps it only held on where there were people, such as Borso d'Este, who had played it in their youth, and then it died out.

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"

Dummett's next three chapters are about printed cards and documents from three of the early centers of the tarot, Ferrara, Bologna, and Florence. So first, in Chapter 8, Ferrara, with which he also includes Venice and Trent.

For reference, ere are some typical B orders, the chart from Game of Tarot: ... /Screen+Sh

Dummett begins the chapter by giving some early lists that conform to this order, which I will summarize briefly, with my comments in brackets.

1. Anonymous, Trionphi de Tarocchi’, describes the ladies of the court of Ferrara and dates to around 1540. B order, no numbers. [titles at]

2. Troilo Pomeran da Cittadella (a town in the Veneto),‘Triomphi composti sopra li Terrochi in Laude delle famose Gentildonne di Vinegia’. Vinegia - Venice.1520-1550, per Bertoni, but closer to second date. Marsilli says 1530-1560. B order except 4Emperor 3Popess and 2Empress (i.e. Popess and Emperor switched). [Tre tre dates it to 1534; see ms. is at Titles of the cards, viewtopic.php?f=11&t=552&start=0#p7877. 5 stanzas on p. 9 of Kaplan vol. 2.]

3. Leonardo Colombino, ‘Il Trionfo dei Tarocchi’, Trento 1547. B order unless Fame replaces Hanged Man. Temperance, Devil, and Popess absent, Dummett says. [Andrea Vitali at has in Italian and English the whole stanza on the Devil, Stanza XIX out of 86 total.]

4. Vincenzo Imperiali (Ferrara), 'Risposta' [Response], c.1551. Love and Chariot switched. [see ... ra_1550_ca]

5. Alessandro Citolini da Serravalle (a town in the Veneto), 'La Tipocosmia’, c. 1561. Same as Pomeran, but with some different titles. [titles at ... stcount=12 with link to page of text ]

6. Anonymous, "Discorso" c. 1570. 6th place is Prudenza, Temperanza missing. Cardinal replaces Popess as #4, King replaces Empress as #2. Fortitude and Chariot switched. This work is now available in print, in Italian and English, along with another Discrso, in Explaining the Tarot, edited and translated by Ross Sinclair Caldwell, Thierry Depaulis, and Marco Ponzi. Their introduction, p. 60, proposes on linguistic grounds that the work comes from the Marches, perhaps Pesaro.

7. Tomaso Garzoni, La Piazza Universale di tutte le Professimi del Mondo, e nobili et ignobili, [The Universal Plaza of all the Professions of the World, Noble and Ignoble], Venice, 1585. Same as #1. This list copied by Ulisse Aldrovandi (1552-1605), who makes many references to Garzoni. Garzoni plagiarized Citolini, Dummett says, because the lists almost match, as well as their lists of other games, including some rare ones. [Garzoni's titles are at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=552. Aldrovandi's are at]

8. 'Steele Sermon' (Ferrara area), c. 1480. Love and Chariot switched. [ ... _Cum_Aliis]

Since it is known that the tarot was in Ferrara in the 15th century, Dummett concludes that it went from there to Venice and from there to Trent. No other cities are indicated.

Dummett goes on to document numerous references to the painting of tarot cards during the reign of Borso d'Este, including one for packs with 70 cards each. These could be 5x14 or 4x12 + 22, as I have said. There is also the wedding deck of Ercole d'Este. There is also the engraved Sola--Busca, then believed to be from Ferrara, bought by someone in Venice, who had it painted. Since those triumphs are numbered, he concludes that the practice of numbering triumphs in Ferrara must be from at least then, 1490.(It seems to me that they might be numbered because they are non-standard subjects.)

If so, then I would guess that the practice of considering 13 an unlucky number may well have originated then and there. Before numbers, there was no immediate association of a card with a number, just a place in the sequence. Then when type A cards got numbers, they went out of their way to avoid giving Death any other number, either leaving it unnumbered or leaving the Bagatto unnumbered. In Milan at that time, judging from the Cary Sheet, the cards did not yet have numbers. I seem to recall that Isabella d'Este, who didn't leave Ferrara until her marriage in 1490 at age 16, had various superstitions and consulted certain "cards of fate".

From Alfonso I d'Este's reign (1505-1535) there are no hand-panted decks recorded, but much interest in tarot, Dummett says. Later (p. 213) he cites documents. When he refers to the "first attested use of the word 'tarocchi', that is of course before the discovery that it had been used in a similar document of the Estense court in 1505:
Nel Registro di Guardaroba del 1516 si legge che il tesoriere della corte, Sigismondo Cestarello, diede dei denari a Gian Francesco della Mirandola «per comprare dua para de tarocchi... per mandare a Belfiore», cioè ad uno dei palazzi estensi; questo è il primo uso attestato della parola «tarocchi». Deve essersi trattato di un anno in cui l’entusiasmo per il gioco aveva raggiunto livelli massimi nell’ambiente di corte, perché la stessa fonte registra anche che, nel maggio di quell’anno, il Cestarello doveva fornire alla corte «quattro para de tarocchi». In giugno furono acquistati dal mercante Luca Rossi «due para de tarocchi pel bisogno del Signore»; il duca, dunque, giocava ai Tarocchi egli stesso. Nel 1517 era stato mandato a Belfiore un altro «paio di tarocchi» tramite un ragazzo chiamato Scipione; e il 27 luglio venne pagato «uno cartolaro in S. Paulo per il pretio de uno paro de tarocchi mandati a Belfiore». Luca Rossi inviò all’altro Palazzo ducale di Codigoro sia «tarocchi» che «scartini» (un tipo di carte da gioco spesso menzionato nei documenti) 53.

The Wardrobe registry of 1516 states that the treasurer of the court, Sigismund Cestarello, gave some money to Gian Francesco della Mirandola «per comprare dua para de tarocchi... per mandare a Belfiore» ["to buy two tarot packs... to send to Belfiore"], of the Este palaces; this is the first attested use of the word "tarocchi". It must have been a year in which the enthusiasm for the game had reached maximum levels in the environment of the court, because the same source also records that, in May of that year, the Cestarello should provide to the court «quattro para de tarocchi» [four tarot packs]. In June, were purchased from the merchant Luca Rossi "due para de tarocchi pel bisogno del Signore " [two tarot packs for the need of the Lord]; the duke, therefore, played tarot himself. In 1517 there was sent to Belfiore another "para de tarot " by a boy named Scipio; and July 27 was paid «uno cartolaro in S. Paulo per il pretio de uno paro de tarocchi mandati a Belfiore» [ "a card-seller in S. Paulo for the price of one tarot pack sent to Belfiore." Luca Rossi sent to another ducal palace of Codicote both "tarocchi" and "scartini" (a type of playing cards often mentioned in documents). (53)
53. See G. Bertoni, Poesie, leggende, costumanze del medio evo [Poems, legends, customs of the Middle Ages], p. 219, and I Tarocchi, p. 102. The 'scartini' cards were for the game of Scartino. For references to Scartino, as it was played by Beatrice, Isabella, Ercole, Hippolito and Alfonso d'Este, and by Lodovico il Moro and others, see: Francesco Malacuzzi-Valeri, La corte di Lodovico il Moro [the court of Ludovico il Moro], Vol I, Milan 1913, p. 575; A. Venturi, 'Relazioni artistiche tra le corti di Milano e Ferrara nel secolo XV’, Archivio storico lombardo, anno XII [artistic relations between the courts of Milan and Ferrara in the fifteenth century ', Lombard Archives, year XII], 1885, pp. 225-80, at p. 254; Alessandro Luzio and Rudolph Render, Mantova e Urbino, Torino e Roma, 1893, pp. 63-5, in particular p. 63, note 3; the same two authors, 'Delle relazioni di Isabella d’Este Gonzaga con Lodovico e Beatrice Sforza’, Archivio storico lombardo, anno XVII ['Of the relations of Isabella d'Este Gonzaga, Lodovico and Beatrice Sforza', Archives Lombard, year XVII], 1890, p. 74-119, 346-99, 619-74, especially p. 368, note 1, and p. 379-80; A. Luzio, I precettori d’isabella d’Este [The preceptors of Isabella d'Este], Ancona, 1887, p. 22; G. Bertoni, loc, cit.; and the Diario Ferrarese 1499 in L.A. Muratori, Rerum italicarum Scriptores. Vol 24, p. 376. The first reference to this game is from 1492, the latest from 1517.
I would add here a late reference that Andrea Vitali found, from Alfonso's mistress of his later years, Laura Dianti, whom he left well provided for after his 1534 death (see An account entry in 1554 says:
“13 luglio: Alla detta Signora soldi 10 marchesani per Sua Signoria ad uno che fa carte per il preti de uno paro de carte et uno paro de tarochi mandati al Vergenese a Sua Signoria per Alberto Basso suo lavoratore, £. 0.10.0”.

("July 13: To the aforesaid Signora, 10 soldi Marchesani for Her Ladyship to one that makes cards for the cost of one pack of cards and one pack of tarot sent to the Vergenese to Her Ladyship by her worker Alberto Basso, £. 0.10.0".)
As far as printed cards, there are the sheets in the Metropolitan and Budapest museums, among others. Are they from Ferrara or Venice? After noting that they are frequently attributed to Venice, he says (p. 190):
La realtà è, comunque, che non sembra che il gioco dei Tarocchi sia mai stato molto popolare fra i Veneziani. Sappiamo dai ‘Triomphi’ di Troilo Pomeran che era noto a Venezia nel Cinquecento; ma a quel tempo il gioco veneziano più in voga era la Trappola, giocata con il mazzo normale, ridotto a trentasei carte scartando le carte dal 3 al 6 di ciascun seme. Questo gioco potrebbe essere stato influenzato dai Tarocchi e forse averli influenzati a sua volta. Quanto alle carte, non c’è nessuna prova che le carte da tarocchi siano mai state fabbricate a Venezia; i tarocchi Soia-Busca rappresentano l’unico mazzo per il quale possiamo attestare un legame con Venezia ed esso fu prodotto a Ferrara. Probabilmente non sono mai esistiti ‘tarocchi di Venezia’.

(The reality is, however, that it seems that the game of tarot has never been very popular among the Venetians. We know the 'Triumphi' of Troilus Pomeran, who was known in Venice in the sixteenth century; but at that time, the most popular Venetian game was Trappola, played with the standard pack, reduced to thirty-six cards by discarding the 3-6 cards of each suit. This game could have been influenced by Tarot and perhaps have influenced it in turn. As for the cards, there is no evidence that the tarot cards were ever made in Venice; the Sola-Busca cards are the only tarot pack to which we can attest to a link with Venice, and it was produced in Ferrara. There probably never existed a 'Tarot of Venice'.)
This paragraph is not very convincing. Venetians could be expected to be quite jealous of their right to produce their own cards; in fact there is a document to that effect reputedly of 1441, ( There is no evidence that the Sola-Busca was produced in Ferrara as opposed to Venice. Similar art existed in both places. In fact it has since been linked to an artist in Ancona (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=988&p=14771&hilit= ... ola#p14771). There is an adequate number of references to tarot in the Veneto, if not as many as in Ferrara, if those not in any order are included (e.g. Aretino's Carte Parlante, written in Venice).

(Added June 16/2014: Another one is the 1521 comedy by Notturno Napolitano, Il Giuoco de' Trionfi, about which, in English, see The full text in archaic Italian is at That the title explicitly refers to tarot says something about Venetians' presumed interest in the game.)

Dummett tries to link the Budapest cards with those of some known normal deck, especially that of Trappola, the most popular game in Venice. But Dummett knows of none, except three other sheets of suit cards whose origin is also unknown (which he calls the Donson, Cary and Vitoria). Lacking Italian cards, Dummett goes to Central Europe, where Trappola emigrated in the 17th century when it died out in Venice. These cards look Italian, he says, but nothing like any of the sheets' suit cards. He cannot imagine Venice putting out two such dissimilar patterns for normal decks at the same time (on top of their known standard model for normal decks, I presume) and on that basis they must be from Ferrara. I have perhaps oversimplified or misstated Dummett's argument. Here is the end of it (p. 203):
Questo modello originario delle carte da Trappoloa, portato nell’Europa Centrale, ci fornisce, dunque, un particolare modello standard veneziano usato fino al 1640 e risalente presumibilmente all’inizio del Cinquecento. Se decidiamo che il tipo di carte esemplificato dai mazzi Budapest, Donson, Cary e Vitoria, è veneziano, dobbiamo dedurne che i fabbricanti di quella città introdussero due repentini cambiamenti nell’arco di centocinquanta anni. Cambiamenti repentini si verificano davvero nel disegno delle carte da gioco nell’ambito di una singola area: talvolta, quando viene inventato un nuovo modello standard, più spesso quando ne viene importato uno da un’altra località. Nel nostro caso, tuttavia, né il modello della Trappoloa né il modello veneziano (o trevisano) moderno erano invasori esterni: senza una simile pressione dall’esterno, non pare plausibile che i giocatori veneziani siano stati così volubili nella loro lealtà ai disegni tradizionali. La sola conclusione naturale è che il tipo distintivo delle carte dei semi del ‘mazzo Budapest’ non abbia avuto nessun rapporto con Venezia, ma che il ‘mazzo Budapest’ provenga dalla città che sappiamo essere stata uno dei primi famosi centri della manifattura di carte da gioco, Ferrara.

(This original model of the Trappola cards brought into Central Europe gives us, therefore, a particular Venetian standard model used until 1640 and probably dating from the early sixteenth century. If we decide that the type of card packs exemplified by the Budapest, Donson, Cary and Vitoria, is Venetian, we must infer that the manufacturers of that city introduced two sudden changes over a hundred and fifty years. Rapid changes occur in the very design of playing cards within a single area: sometimes, when a new standard model is invented, most often when it is one imported from another location. In our case, however, neither the model nor the Venetian (or Trevisan) model of Trappola were modern foreign invaders: without such pressure from the outside, it does not seem plausible that Venetian players were so fickle in their loyalty to traditional designs. The only natural conclusion is that the type of distinctive cards of the 'Budapest deck' has had no relationship with Venice, but that the ' Budapest deck' originates from the city that we know was one of the first famous centers of the manufacture of cards game, Ferrara.)
He does not talk much about the triumphs. Are they Ferrarese? Here is Dummett's description (p. 192):
Non occorre precisare il disegno di ogni carta, ma solo quelli difficili da indovinare. Il Mondo è rappresentato da un angelo che regge un globo, le braccia abbassate. Il Sole, con volto e raggi, risplende su un bosco di quattro alberi. Una giovane nuda (eccetto che per un perizoma) regge la Luna in alto; un uomo nudo regge la Stella, presso un albero. Il trionfo XV raffigura una torre quadrata, con una grande porta e una scaletta alla base; un fulmine dà fuoco alla cima della torre. Il Diavolo, con una faccia sulle reni e gli artigli ai piedi, tiene un forcone. La Morte va a cavallo reggendo una falce. L’Eremita regge una lanterna e porta il bastone; indossa un gran cappello. La Fortuna è assente dalla Ruota: la figura discendente e quella al nadir sono umane, ma quella ascendente ha la testa di animale, e quella al culmine è del tutto animale. La Fortezza sconfigge un leone. Il Carro ha la forma di un enorme conca, trainata da cavalli, nel quale stanno fanciulli vestiti e un putto alato ritto su di un globo. Il Bagatto siede all’angolo di un tavolo, mentre due uomini e due donne stanno dietro di lui. Il Bagatto non è barbuto, e indossa un cappello floscio; sul tavolo ci sono vari oggetti. Il Matto è un vecchio barbuto, che cammina a destra, e indossa un cappello e una cappa con campanelli.

(There is no need to specify the design of every card, but only of those hard to guess. The World is represented by an angel holding a globe, arms lowered. The Sun with a face and rays shining on a forest of four trees. A young woman, naked (except for a loincloth), holds the moon at the top; a naked man holds the star, in a tree. Triumph XV depicts a square tower, with a large door and a ladder at the base; lightning sets fire to the top of the tower. The Devil, with a face on the abdomen and claw feet, holds a pitchfork. Death carrying a scythe rides a horse. The Hermit holds a lantern and holds a staff; he wears a large hat. Fortune is absent from the Wheel: the descending figure and that on the bottom are human, but the ascending one has the head of an animal, and that on top is the whole animal. Fortitude defeats a lion. The Chariot has the shape of a huge basin, pulled by horses, on which are clothed children and a winged cherub standing on a globe. The Bagatto is seated at the corner of a table while two men and two women are behind him. The Bagatto is not bearded and wears a floppy hat; There are various objects on the table. The Fool is an old bearded man, who walks to the right, wearing a hat and a hood with bells.)
What strikes me is the similarity of many of these designs to those of Milan as opposed to Florence. A globe being held by an angel, as opposed to a figure standing or sitting on a globe, is characteristic of the PMB. Two celestials holding their card-subjects is characteristic of the PMB. So is a tower in a pastoral setting. Fortune is as described by Aretino. Someone defeating a lion is characteristic of the PMB. The Hanged Man, without money bags, is like Milan's. A bearded, walking Fool is characteristic of Milan. However the Devil is that of the Beaux Arts/Rothschild, Love is that of the Rosenwald and Minchiate, The four people with the Bagatto is like Minchiate.So it is two-thirds Milan, one-third Florence.

The trump order, too, seems a hybrid. That the World is highest is characteristic of Milan. That the virtues are not all together is like Milan. But their order is more like Florence.

He hypothesizes that the numbering of trumps began in Ferrara (p. 203f):
Sembra probabile che proprio a Ferrara venisse adottata per la prima volta la pratica di numerare i trionfi. Non solo il ‘mazzo Budapest’ è l’unico fra quelli quattrocenteschi pervenutici in cui essi erano tutti numerati, ma il ‘sermone Steele’ contiene, come abbiamo visto, l’unica lista antica di trionfi che fornisca anche ì numeri. Poiché l’ordine, in quella lista, è di tipo B, il sermone sarà stato predicato a Ferrara o nelle sue vicinanze; pertanto, la pratica di numerare i trionfi in quella zona risale almeno al 1490 circa. Sappiamo che essa fu adottata a Bologna solo trecento anni più tardi; e ci sono anche prove

(It seems likely that the practice of numbering the triumphs was adopted for the first time in Ferrara. Not only is the 'Budapest pack' the only surviving fifteenth century one in which they were all numbered, but the 'Steele sermon' contains, as we have seen, the only ancient list of triumphs that also provides numbers. Because the order in the list is of type B, the sermon was preached in Ferrara or nearby; Therefore, the practice of numbering the triumphs in that area dates back to at least 1490. We know that it was only adopted in Bologna three hundred years later; and there is also evidence that it was not adopted in Milan until the sixteenth century. Even so, the designs of the triumphs of the 'Budapest pack' are probably prior to the addition of numerals, considering the awkward way in which the numerals were forced into every available space.)
His reason for "1490" is that the Sola-Busca trumps, which probably were painted in 1491, also are numbered. It seems to me that the Sola-Busca's might have been numbered because the trumps were so non-standard that no one would recognize them. It is of interest that the designs of the 'Budapest' are probably before 1490.

Next Dummett discusses the Boiardo "tarot" poem (he died 1494) and the cards to be made from it. It is online in Italian and English at Dummett says (p. 208):
Doveva esserci anche un Matto, chiamato dal Boiardo «el Folle» e, in contrasto con la pratica consueta, da lui identificato con il Mondo. C’erano anche ventun trionfi, rappresentanti ciascuno una qualità e raffiguranti altri personaggi storici pertinenti: così la Perseveranza era simboleggiata da Penelope, l’Ozio, il trionfo più basso, da Sardanapalo e la Fortezza, il più alto, da Lucrezia. Non c’erano corrispondenze fra questi soggetti dei trionfi e quelli del normale mazzo di tarocchi. Ciascuna di queste settantotto carte doveva recare una terzina descrittiva composta dal Boiardo; in aggiunta, dovevano esserci due carte, recanti ciascun un suo sonetto.

There was to be a Fool, called by Boiardo "el Folle”, and, in contrast to the usual practice, he identified it with the World. There were also twenty-one triumphs, each representing a quality and depicting other historical relevant characters: thus Perseverance was symbolized by Penelope, the Ozio, the lowest, triumph, by Sardanapalus, and Fortitude, the highest, by Lucrezia. There were no matches between these subjects and those of the triumphs of the regular pack of tarot cards. Each of the seventy-eight cards was to bear a descriptive triplet composed of Boiardo; in addition, there would have been two cards, each bearing one of his sonnets.
Actually, there are a few correspondences. Besides Fortitude, there is Time, a title sometmes given to the Hermit. Also "Chance" is close to "Fortune", and "Desire" to "Love". There may be other correspondences.The verses were published in Venice in 1523, with the fifth suit called by the editor "Triumph of the World", or, later "Triomph of the Vain World", of which Dummett says (p. 204):
Questo titolo ben si accorda con l’idea di Gertrude Moakley che i trionfi del mazzo dei tarocchi fossero così chiamati perché erano visti come rappresentazione di un corteo trionfale allegorico. I due sonetti da stampare su carte separate sono insieme ai cinque capitoli.

(This title fits in well with the idea of Gertrude Moakley that the triumphs of the tarot pack were so called because they were seen as an allegorical representation of a triumphal procession.)
The suits were Fear, Jealousy, Love, and Hope, represented by Whips, Eyes, Arrows, and Vases. Thus there are two negative and two positive suits. The poem was printed in 1523, Venice, while a manuscript, called the Illustrazione, described the designs the cards should have and the game itself. It was writen Pier Antonio Viti da Urbino (1470-1500), addressed to a lady in Urbino. The manuscript says that the low cards are most powerful in Whips and Eyes, and the high cards more powerful in Arrows and Vases. Dummett notes (p. 206) that in 1971 a deck of 48 cards conforming to these designs was sold at auction and then resold to a Swiss collector. Dummett surmises that they are the same as those described and illustrated by Romain Merlin, in 1869 (L'Origine des cartes a jouer, pp. 94-6 and table 28).

Another B deck is the Rouen cards (these days more usually called the Leber, for the name of the collector), of which seven triumphs remain, most with Arabic numerals (I give the usual English name in brackets; there appear to be two written subjects, one in Latin and one in Italian):

Number, written subject, corresponding standard subject
16 Incjjtum Sydus, Stella, [the Star]
14 Perditorum Raptor, Plutone, [the Devil]
11 Rerum Edax, Saturno, [the Hermit]
10 Omnium Dominatrix, Fortuna, [Wheel]
7 Victoriae Premium, Carro, [Chariot]
5 Pontifex Pontificum, Pontifice, [Pope]
Imperator Assiriorum, Imperatore assiro, [Emperor] [/quote]
There is also a Fool, unnumbered, with the words "Velim fundam dari mihi".

These can be seen at, with a translation of the Latin.

From the numbers, it is possible to deduce that the deck is of type B:
Se l’ordine dei trionfi del mazzo di Rouen assomigliava ad uno di quelli noti da altre fonti, doveva trattarsi del tipo B. Per il fatto che la Stella reca il numero 16 sono possibili due sole spiegazioni. La prima è che ci siano cinque trionfi superiori alla Stella: questo accade solo nell’ordine di tipo B, in cui la Giustizia è il secondo trionfo più alto. La seconda è che ci siano solo quattro trionfi più alti della Stella, così che la numerazione arrivi solo fino a 20. In alcuni casi questo si verifica davvero perché il trionfo più basso è lasciato senza numero e la numerazione parte da 1 con la seconda carta più bassa. Non pare che questo sia possibile per il mazzo di Rouen, altrimenti la carta corrispondente al Papa recherebbe il numero 4 e non 5. Inoltre, la particolarità di lasciare senza numero il trionfo più basso e di numerare il resto da 1 a 20 è presente solo in ordini di tipo A. In tutti gli ordini di tipo A le tre virtù sono immediatamente consecutive l’una all’altra nella gerarchia, mentre fra i trionfi di Rouen pervenutici non c’è spazio per tre carte consecutive. Possiamo pertanto escludere la seconda possibilità e concludere che l’ordine dei trionfi nel mazzo di Rouen è di tipo B.

(If the order of the Rouen trump cards looked like one known from other sources, it had to be type B. For the fact that the star bears number 16 only two explanations are possible. The first is that there are five triumphs above the Star: this happens only in the order of type B, in which Justice is the second highest triumph. The second is that there are only four triumphs higher than the Star, so that the numbering goes only up to 20. In some cases this occurs because really the lowest triumph is left without number and numbering starts at 1 with the second lowely card. I do not think that this is possible for the pack of Rouen, otherwise the card corresponding to the Pope would bear the number 4 and not 5. Moreover, the particularity of leaving without number the the lowest triumph, the rest numbered from 1 to 20, is only present in type A orders. In all orders of type A the three virtues are immediately consecutive with each other in the hierarchy, while among the surviving triumphs of Rouen there is no room for three consecutive cards. We can therefore rule out the second possibility and conclude that the order of the trumps in the pack of Rouen is type B.(
Finally, there are nine cards in a deck in the Museo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari [Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions] in Rome, of which four are triumphs, with Roman numerals: Love (VIII), the Hanged Man (XII), the Star (XVI) and the Sun (XVIII). It is is probably type B, Dummett says (p. 209):
Come nel mazzo di Rouen, la numerazione della Stella e del Sole, rispettivamente, come XVI e XVIII, indica o un ordine di tipo B o uno di tipo A in cui non sia numerato il trionfo più basso. In questo secondo caso, la numerazione dell’Amore come Vili lascerebbe alle virtù la possibilità di occupare tre posti consecutivi sotto di esso. Esiste tuttavia solo un ordine di tipo A in cui le virtù valgono meno dell’Amore, e quest’ultimo reca quindi il numero Vili. È quello che si trova nel Tarocco siciliano, risalente al XVII secolo. Il gruppo di carte nel Museo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari è sicuramente del XVI. Poiché l’Amore occupa l’ottavo posto nella maggior parte degli ordini di tipo B, possiamo essere praticamente certi che l’ordine dei trionfi in questo mazzo è di quel tipo.

(As in the pack of Rouen, the numbering of the Star and the Sun, respectively, as XVI and XVIII, indicates an order of type B, or one of type A in which the lowest triumph is not numbered. In this second case, the numbering of Love VIII is such as to leave the possibility of the virtues occupying three consecutive positions below it. However, there is only one order of type A in which the virtues are valued less than love, so that the latter will bear the number VIII. It is in the Sicilian Tarot, dating back to the seventeenth century. The group of cards in the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions is definitely sixteenth. Because Love is the eighth in the majority of B-type orders, we can be pretty sure that the order of the trumps in this pack is of that type.)
The triumphs are skillfully done, Dummett says; XVI and XVIII seem to illustrate scenes from Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, as Kaplan suggests (vol. 2), a Ferrarese book dedicated to Ippolite d'Este written with the Estense in mind. The lovers in VI could be Ruggioro and Bramante, whom Boiardo in his Orlando Inamorato had declared the founders of the d'Este family, an attribution that Ariosto continues.

Since these cards have not, as far as I can tell, been discussed much on THF, it is perhaps worth quoting Kaplan and showing them. Here is Kaplan (vol. 2 p. 287), followed by the cards as pictured in his book (p. 288) :
Card XVI, and possibly cards VIII and XVIIII, refers to Orlando Furioso, by the Italian poet Ariosto (Group 4 of the Sfoza Castle cards also shows a scene from Orlando Furioso, on its back designs.) The scene on card XVI is of the fight between Orlando and Rodomond, a pagan. Orlando, in a state of madness, has thrown away his armor and is naked. They wrestle on a bridge that Rodomond built in remorse for killing his beloved, Isabella. Rodomond challenges all kngihts to combat on the bridge, in honor of Isabella. The bridge is situated near Isabella's tomb, probably shown as a mausoleum on the right of the card's picture. Orlando overcomes Rodomond in the struggle when they both fall in the water and Rodomond is too encumbered by his armor.

Card XVIIII depicts a nude man uprooting a tree. In the background is a fountain withan ornament on top. Possibly this card depicts Orlando in a state of madness. In Orlando Innamorato, the epic poem to which Orlando Furioso is a sequel, there are two fountains, one whose waters evoke love in those who drink from it, and another whose waters evoke hatred. Possibly the fountain in the background is one of these.

Card VIII may show the wedding feast of Rogero, a Saracen knight who converts to Christianity, and Bradamant, the maiden warrior. The scene takes place indoors, on a tiled floor. Cupid is overhead, along with another figure whose identity is unclear. Two musicians, a man playing a cello and a woman playing a lute, are in the foreground. The lovers kiss in the background.

There is also a design on the backs of eight of the cards:
Their matching back designs show nude, winged Orpheus or Cupid playing a viol, with a quiver of arrows on his back. He stands in a hilly landscape.
The ninth card, a 7 of Swords, has a different scene, "according to Michael Dummett, two palm trees"; its face is identical to another 7 of Swords in the main group.

Comparing these cards to others, it seems to me that the Love is similar to the Budapest (as well as to most other early Love cards, except the "Charles VI") in having the two lovers plus Cupid, but there are also musicians in the background; the Hanged Man is similar to the Budapest in that there are no money bags, but the poles are columns rather than poles. The bent leg are not like in the "Charles VI" (where it doesn't cross the other) and Beaux Arts/Rothschild sheet (only slightly bent, as in the Budapest), but as in the Rosenwald and PMB, forming a kind of cross. The pips are nothing like the Budapest, Dummett says.

From the dissimilarity in skill and in designs between these cards and the Budapest, I would think Venice is suggested for the Budapest, because Ferrara was renowned for the high quality of its artists". but that is not Dummett's view.

There is also one card that was found on the site of medieval Cairo, suggesting that such cards were exported. Dummett says (p. 212f):
La carta del ‘mazzo Cary’ del Museo Benaki attesta l’esportazione delle carte da gioco ferraresi in Egitto durante il XV secolo. La metà di un 8 di Bastoni, molto simile a quello del Museo di Roma, salvo che i Bastoni si intersecano invece di essere intrecciati, fu scoperta fra documenti medievali a Fostat (il sito antico del Cairo). Questo frammento può indicare una continua esportazione di carte, da gioco ferraresi in Egitto fino alla conquista degli Ottomani nel 1517.

(The 'Cary' card in the the Benaki Museum attests to the export of Ferrarese playing cards into Egypt during the fifteenth century. Half of an 8 of Batons, very similar to that of the Rome Museum, except that the batons intersect instead of being twisted, was discovered among medieval documents at Fostat (the site of old Cairo). This fragment may indicate a continued export of Ferrarese playing cards into Egypt until the Ottoman conquest in 1517.)
The "Cary" suit cards are a product of the enigmatic workshop that produced the "Budapest" tarot. Again, I would think that cards exported to Cairo would more likely be Venetian rather than Ferrarese. The back shows a man fighting a lion, which is typical of the Budapest (and also the PMB).

Last, Dummett cites Lollio and Imperali again, plus two "tarot appropriati" sources that cite the tarot. One is "Due Sonetti Amorosi", two sonnets to a Lady Mamma Riminaldi. The first has the lines:
... han solo ricetto
Quelli, che maj si pardon ne i tarocchi,
Come è Giovanmaria matto famoso:
Chi li vuol dunque haver degno riposo.
Buon è che privo sia d’ogni inteletto:
Poi che ne vano al ciel tutti li sciocchi.

(...they have only refuge,
Those whom the tarot never pardons,
What a a famous fool is Giovanmaria:
Who wants them is therefore worthy of having rest.
Good is one devoid of any intellect:
Then go to heaven all the fools.)
I would note that in the anonymous "tarot appropriati" in which a different card is assigned to each of 22 ladies of Ferrara, Mamma Riminaldi gets the Fool card:
La S. Mamma Riminaldi. - Nulla val la beltà senza pazzia.

(The Lady Mamma Riminaldi - Beauty is worth nothing without craziness.)
Dummett also quotes the end of the second sonnet (p. 213):
Però dee creder fermamente ognuno
Ch’un spirito malvagio habbia costej
Sopposta solamente al Bagattino,
Per poter dire i buon tarocchi mej
Saran, s’avien ch’io giuochi, et de questi uno
Vo trare il Matto che è cervel divino.
Mary Greer has a translation of the whole sonnet on her blog ( ... stern-art/):
It seems that the angel, star, sun, and moon,
With the world, and all who desire to live with it,
Hate the beauty that the skies gather
In the proud face of Madam Mamma.
Perhaps among these goddesses there is one
who strips men of good, for love of fortitude,
That is, not for death or evil fortune,
Who from her firm will cannot be turned:
But surely everybody ought to believe
An evil spirit, following only the Bagatino,
Must possess this woman in order for her
to be able to say: “the good tarot shall be
mine, to be able to play as I please, and I draw
this one, the Fool, who is the brain divine.”
The Italian version of both sonnets, plus a prose translation of the entire first one, can be found in Andrea Vitali's essay at

In 1580 there is also Tasso's Romeo: (p. 215):
Annibal Pocaterra:... E poi ch’in questa compagnia non era per me luogo alla primiera, ho eletto anzi di rimirar giuoco piacevole che di sfidarmi con alcuno a Trappola o a sbaraglino.
Margherita Bentivoglia: Avresti trovati compagni da tarocchi.
A.P.: A tal giuoco non ricuserei di giocare.

(Annibal Pocaterra: In this company since there was no place for me to play primero I preferred looking instead for a pleasant and challenging game of Trappolla or Sbaraglino with someone.
Margaret Bentivoglia: You would have found company for Tarot.
A. P.: I would not refuse to play such a game. (54).
54. T. Tasso, Dialogues[/], critical edition edited by Ezio Raimondi, Vol III, Florence, 1958, p. 510.)

For one more tarot reference in this dialogue, plus a reference in a 1575 letter of Tasso's, see

In the 17th century, Dummett writes, tarot disappeared from Ferrara (p. 216):
Malgrado le sue tre mogli, Alfonso II non ebbe eredi legittimi. Papa Clemente Vili si rifiutò di riconoscere come successore Cesare d’Este, un cugino germano di Alfonso ma dì discendenza illegittima, e reclamò Ferrara sotto il diretto governo papale. Nel 1598, Lucrezia d’Este, duchessa dì Urbino e sorella di Alfonso, rinunciò per conto di Cesare alle pretese degli Estensi su Ferrara; Cesare si stabilì a Modena e il cardinale Pietro Aldobrandini entrò a Ferrara per governarla in nome del Papato. Si estinse così la luce scintillante di Ferrara; essa precipitò nella mediocrità e non ebbe più parte alcuna nella storia politica e artistica. Scomparsi erano i poeti; scomparsi, per la maggior parte, pittori e musicisti; scomparsa la corte brillante. Insieme a queste cose importanti, scomparve anche il gioco dei Tarocchi dalla città che aveva visto tanti appassionati giocatori.

(Despite his three wives, Alfonso II had no legitimate heirs. Pope Clement VIII refused to recognize as successor Cesare d'Este, a cousin of Alfonso but illegitimate offspring, and claimed Ferrara under direct papal rule. In 1598, Lucrezia d' Este, Duchess of Urbino and Alfonso 's sister, gave up on behalf of Cesare the claims of the Este to Ferrara; Cesare settled in Modena and Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini came to Ferrara to govern in the name of the Papacy. The shining light of Ferrara became extinguished; it fell into mediocrity and no longer had any part in political history and art. The poets disappeared; the majority of its painters and musicians disappeared; the brilliant court disppeared. Along with these important things, the game of Tarot also disappeared from the city that had seen many passionate players.

Checking another source, I see that Andrea found one report of tarot being mentioned in the 17th century, inNotizie relative a Ferrara(Information Related to Ferrara), an 1864 book by Luigi Napoleone Cittadella, director of the City Library of Ferrara ( ... 88&lng=ENG and However it is in 1607, and after that, nothing. Cittadella reports, in Chapter XVIII, "Games and Repressive laws":
Posteriormente al governo degli Estensi, nel 18 giugno 1607 Orazio Spinola card. legato di Ferrara proibisce con editto i giuochi dei dadi e delle carte, meno quelli di ricreazione come Primiera, Picchetto, Tarocco e simili.

(Subsequent to the government of the Estensi, on June 18, 1607, Orazio Spinola, cardinal legate of Ferrara, prohibits with edicts games of dice and cards, except in recreation Primiera, Piccheto, Tarot and the like.)

But in the next edict prohibiting card games that Cittadella reports, of 1628, and all edicts following, there is no mention of Tarocco at all. Citadella continues:
Con altro editto del 1628, che venne ristampato e ripubblicato colle stesse parole un secolo dopo, cioè nel 1728, si proibiscono i giuochi di Bassetta, Faraone, Biribisso, Torzetta bianca e rossa, Girello, Dicidotto, Ochetta, Dadi e qualsiasi altro di ventura, con la pena della galera per cinque anni pei giuocatori, e di tre tratti di corda per quelli che staranno a vedere; con questo inoltre che quelli, che saranno trovati in stanze a giocare colle porte chiuse, si avranno per convinti che giuocassero a giuochi prohibiti. Nel 1676 il card. Marescotti legato, con editto del 3 novembre, proibisce di tener giuochi dell'Anca o Biribisso, nè dare o ricevere denaro pei lotti di Genova e di Milano, giuocare a carte, a dadi, a riffa, sotto gravi pene e multe. Finalmente, il legato d'Elci nel 29 decembre del 1741 riproduceva l'editto della Segreteria di Stato del 18 detto mese, proibendo i giuochi di Biribisso, Torretta, Girello, Auca e Roletta, con comminatoria della galera, o della relegazione".

(With another edict of 1628, which was reprinted and republished in the same words a century later, in 1728, are prohibited the games of Bassetta, Faraone [Pharaoh], Biribisso, Torzetta white and red, Girello, Dicidotto, Ochetta, Dice, and any other venture, with the penalty of five years in prison for gamblers, and three sections of rope for those who stand and watch; with this addition, those found in rooms gambling behind closed doors, who have to be believed playing prohibited games. In 1676 the cardinal legate Marescotti, in an edict of November 3, prohibits keeping the games Anca or Biribisso, nor giving or receive money by lots in Genoa and Milan, from playing at cards, dice, raffles, under severe penalties and fines. Finally, the law of Elci on December 29 of 1741 reproduced the edict of the Secretary of State of the 18th of that month, prohibiting the games of Biribisso, Torretta, Girello, Auca and Roletta, on pain of jail or confinement.)

With such penalties, what is surprising that card games survived at all. Why tarot in particular is not mentioned after 1607 remains an unexplained mystery, given that other card games endured despite repression.

Note: I have added one sentence to my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1019&p=15160#p15160, noting that Pratesi in 2011,, takes a different position than Dummett on the order of the Wheel vs. the Hermit in the Rosenwald, putting the Wheel after both the Hermit and the Hanged Man. I also added one more paragraph a little further on in that post, incorporating Depaulis's information about the c. 1500 Strambotto.)

(Note: On June 16, 2014, I added a comment here about Notturno Napolitano's comedy Il Giuoco d' Trionfi, with links to articles by Vitali and Pratesi on this work.)

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

Chapter 9 is on Bologna. I have already quoted much of what is of interest in this chapter. However a summary may be in order here, with quotes where there is something new.

The first reference to tarot in Bologna is 1459, of a robbery of tarot cards.Then in 1472 a biography of St. Bernardino says that in 1423 tarot cards were part of a bonfire he organized, although a previous biography only said "cards". It is clear that in the 1470s tarot cards are being produced in quantity (p. 220):
Già dal 1477 carte da tarocchi venivano prodotte in quantità a Bologna, come è documentato dalla commissione al fabbricante di carte Pietro Bonozzi, che firmò un contratto in quell’anno 9.

Already since 1477 tarot cards were produced in quantity in Bologna, as documented by the Commissioner to the card manufacturer Pietro Bonozzi, who signed a contract in that year 9.
9. See articles cited in note 1. [Emilio Orioli, ‘Sulle carte da giuoco a Bologna nel secolo XV’, Il libro e la stampa, anno II [On playing cards in Bologna in the fifteenth century', The book and the print, year II] (ns), 1908, pp. 109-19, p. 112, and Albano Sorbelli,, ‘Un’antica stamperìa di carte da giuoco '[An old playing-card printing house], Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, 1940, pp. 189-97, at p. 192-3.]
In this regard, the early 16th century Beaux Arts and Rothschild sheets (which are of the same deck) compare very well with the oldest Bolognese cards, which date to the 18th century, suggesting little change in the design of the cards since the beginning of the 16th century, which is when Dummett thinks the "four papi" were introduced, on which I have already quoted him in my post on his Chapter 3. The first direct evidence of the order comes from 1664 (p. 225). The names are standard, except that the Hanged Man is "Traditore", Fortitude is "Forza", and Temperance is "Tempra". "Il Bagatino" was used until the 19th century.

He puts a discussion of the "Charles VI' in this chapter, even though he has attributed it to Ferrara and thinks the numbers written on it after the fact are Florentine. I have already discussed this issue in my post on Dummett's Chapter 3.

Around 1600 the design of the Devil card was changed, from the one with a face and mouth in the middle of the figure to what it is in the 17th century extant decks.He does not describe it, but it shows a devil standing in profile, with one mouth from which flames leap out. It is pictured in Vitali and Zanetti's Il Tarocchino di Bologna, p. 32. Since I cannot find this card pictured anywhere on the Web, here is my scan of that page: ... hcent1.JPG. You can see how close they are to the Beaux Arts/Rothschild designs (,

A "non-standard" deck was done by a cardmaker named Mittelli between 1663 and 1669 for the Bentivoglio family. Dummet says (p. 231):
Si conoscono esemplari colorati di questo mazzo, per esempio, presso il Museo della U.S. Playing-Card Company di Cincinnati; è stato anche pubblicato un volume di tali incisioni. L’edizione del libro attesta che l’ordine dei trionfi suddetto era rispettato a quel tempo, poiché essi sono disposti in quell’ordine. Attesta anche la pratica di trattare i Papi come aventi lo stesso valore, poiché Mitelli rimpiazzò la Papessa con un secondo Papa, diverso dall’altro nel disegno, ma non distinguibile in base al soggetto della carta 16. I disegni di Mitelli sono del tutto non standard e non hanno avuto alcuna influenza sull’evoluzione del modello standard, anche se esiste una certa somiglianza fra il seme di Spade di Mitelli e quello del mazzo cinquecentesco nella collezione Leber di Rouen,
16. lì volume delle incisioni fu ristampato nel 1970 da Huber e Herpel, di Offenbach am Main, con il titolo Bologneser Tarockspiel des 11. Jahrhunderts. Per la datazione delle incisioni, si vedano il catalogo Costume e Società nei Giochi a stampa di Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, Perugia, 1988, p. 158, e il volume di scritti di Carlo Cesare Malvasia menzionato, supra, nella nota 13, di p. 225. Sono debitore a Franco Pratesi per il secondo riferimento. Nel suo ‘Italian Cards: New Discoveries’, n. 7, The Playing Card, Voi. XVTI, 1988, pp. 587-65, e n. 9, ibid., 1989, pp. 136-46, il Pratesi sostiene che l’omissione della Giustizia dall’edizione bolognese seicentesca del poemetto veneziano ‘Barzeletta sopra del giuoco’ attesti un posto per questa carta nel gioco bolognese dei Tarocchi.

(We know examples of this colored pack, for example, at the Museum of the U.S. Playing Card Company of Cincinnati; it has also published a book of these engravings. The edition of the book attests that the above order of the triumphs was observed at that time, as they are arranged in that order. It also attests to the practice of treating the Popes as having the same value, as Mitelli replaced the Popess with a second pope, different from the other in depiction, but not distinguishable according to the subject of the card 16. The Mitelli designs are completely non-standard and had no influence on the evolution of the standard model, although there is a certain similarity between the Mitelli suit of Swords and that of the sixteenth century in the Rouen pack of the Leber collection.
16.The volume of engravings there was reprinted in 1970 by Huber and Herpel, Offenbach am Main, with the title Bologneser Tarockspiel des 17 Jahrhunderts. For the dating of the engravings, see the catalog Costume e Società nei Giochi [Custums and Society in Games] published by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, Perugia, 1988, p. 158, and the volume of writings by Carlo Cesare Malvasia mentioned, supra, note 13, p. 225. I am indebted to Franco Pratesi for the second reference. In his 'Italian Cards: New Discoveries', n. 7, The Playing Card, Vol XVII 1988, p. 587-65, and n. 9, ibid., 1989, p. 136-46, Pratesi argues that the omission of Justice from the Venetian edition of the seventeenth century Bolognese poem ‘Barzeletta sopra del giuoco’ ['Barzeletta on games'] attests to the position of this card in the Bolognese game of Tarot.
In the late 17th century a painting is done with words attributing the invention of tarrochino to a Prince Fibbia of the early 15th century, but since this was after tarocchino, with a short deck in the suits, had substituted for tarocchi, this probably means the game itself. That reduction had been accomplished in the early 17th century.

A 17th century deck in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris show the Fibbia arms in the Queen of Batons; the Queen of Coins is missing (p.229).

In 1725 a geographical deck attributing a "mixed government" to Bologna led the papal legate to require that the four "papi" be changed to Moors, which was done. I quoted Dummett's account earlier.

Around 1750, all the lowest courts become male [Fanti], instead of having Maids [Fantini] in Cups and Coins. In 1760-1780 the deck became two-headed. Dummett complains (p. 239):
Quando gli Assi del Tarocco bolognese furono, senza necessità alcuna, trasformati in'carte a due teste, l’Asso di Spade assunse una forma particolarmente strana, irriconoscibile per i non iniziati, e l’Asso di Denari perse il cane e la lepre che lo avevano abbellito fin dal XVII secolo se non prima.

(When the Aces of the Tarot of Bologna were, unnecessarily, changed into cards with two heads, the Ace of Swords took on a particularly strange form, unrecognizable to the uninitiated, and the Ace of Coins lost the dog and the hare that had graced it since the seventeenth century, if not before.)
Then shortly after, numbers were added to the cards.

He lists 5 "tarocchini appropriati" (pp. 234f). In this case rather than give a literal translation, I think it will be clearer if I follow the Italian with a list. I will then add my own comments, when I have any, in brackets after each item on the list.
I ‘tarocchi appropriati’ entrarono in voga a Bologna più tardi che altrove, e non sempre erano in versi. Un elenco manoscritto, del 1668, è menzionato da Lodovico Frati; egli scrive: «si definivano alcune dame colle carte del gioco dei tarocchini. Donna Cristina di Nortumbria era battezzata come l’Angelo e la contessa Palmieri Fava come il Diavolo»18. Un altro, ‘I trionfi de Tarocchini Appropriati ciascheduno ad una Dama Bolognese’, è composto di due parti distinte: la prima parte elenca le corrispondenze fra i trionfi e le dame, e la seconda fornisce in prosa una spiegazione della corrispondenza proposta, talvolta crudele; per esempio, il Diavolo è assegnato alla contessa Baldi «perché di spaventole deformità, e bruttezza». Questa sgradevole composizione è conservata in manoscritto e fu redatta senza dubbio prima del 1725, poiché include fra i trionfi i «quattro Papi» 19.

Un altro esempio bolognese, anch’esso conservato in manoscritto, è un sonetto satirico, Tl giuoco de Tarocchini sopra Michele Tekeli Ribello’. Questo sonetto, datato all’ultimo decennio del XVII secolo, inveisce contro il traditore ungherese Imre Thòkòly (1657-1705), che si era battuto accanto ai Turchi contro la liberazione della sua patria. Il sonetto, probabilmente del decennio 1680-90, usa i nomi di tutti trionfi in sequenza, salvo che c’è un solo Papa; come negli altri due manoscritti, l’ordine dei trionfi è quello costante nelle fonti bolognesi 20.

Infine, altri due manoscritti, composti dopo il 1725, contengono rispettivamente ‘Thrionfi de Tarocchi e motivi latini appropriati a ciascuno dei canonici di S. Pietro’ e ‘Trionfi dei [end of 234, start of 236] Tarocchini’. Il primo consiste soltanto di un elenco in tre colonne: la prima con il nome di un trionfo, la seconda con quello di un canonico e la terza con un motto latino. Quattro Mori sostituiscono i Papi, ma sono collocati al di sotto del Matto e del «Bagarino»; gli altri trionfi sono elencati nell’ordine consueto 21. Il secondo manoscritto è un elenco di dame bolognesi, con i trionfi corrispondenti; i «quattro Moretti» sono collocati giustamente al di sopra del Bagattino 22.
18. Si veda L. Frati, La vita privata di Bologna dal secolo XIII al secolo XVI, p. 184.
19. II manoscritto è conservato nella Biblioteca Universitaria di Bologna, ms. 83/9, Fondo Ubaldo Zanetti, e fu esposto alla mostra di tarocchi a Ferrara nel 1987; si veda I Tarocchi, p. 109, n. 38, che data la composizione imprecisamente al XVIII secolo. Si veda anche F. Pratesi, ‘Italian Cards: New Discoveries’, n. 9, The Playing Card, Vol. XVII, 1989, pp. 136-46. Pratesi cita erroneamente l'espressione «quattro Papi» del manoscritto come «quattro Mori», e conclude che esso è da datare dopo il 1725.
20. Anche questo manoscritto è nella Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 3937/ CII/33, folio II verso. Fondo Ubaldo Zanetti. Si vedano I Tarocchi, pp. 109-10, n. 39, e F. Pratesi, op. cit. [end of 234]
[start of 236] 21. Ancora una volta il manoscritto è nella Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 3938/CIH/25, Fondo Ubaldo Zanetti. Si vedano I Tarocchi, p. 109, n. 37, e F. Pratesi, op. cit.
22. Si veda F. Pratesi, op. cit. Il manoscritto è nella Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 3905/6, Caps. 73.19.
Here is the list I extract from the above:

1. 1668, in which ladies of Bologna are given names of tarocchi, including one as the Angel and another as the Devil.
2. Another, before 1725, similarly, where a Countess Baldi is assigned to the Devil for her horrid deformities and ugliness. [This list is in Vitali and Zanetti, Il Tarocchini di Bologna, by Vitali and Zanetti, 2005.]
3. From the 1680s, a satirical sonnet, ‘Il giuoco de Tarocchini sopra Michele Tekeli Ribello’ about a Hungarian who fought alongside the Turks. Only one Pope is included. [The sonnet in Italian is at A translation of the first four lines is at The occasion was 1683, but the poem could be any time before 1725.]
4. After 1725, 'Thrionfi de Tarocchi e motivi latini appropriati a ciascuno dei canonici di S. Pietro’ [Triumphs of Tarocchi and Latin reasons appropriate to each of the canons of St. Peter']. The four Moors are listed below the Bagatino and the Fool. [Ross Caldwell gave this list with a translation at He lists the Moors above the Bagatino and the Fool. However his source, Vitali and Zanetti, Il Tarocchini di Bologna, 2005, has the order in the way Dummett says.]
5. After 1725, "The Triumphs of Tarocchini", which associates ladies with cards, with the "Moretti" above the Bagatino and Fool.

I would add that Vitali and Zanetti include at least two more, both in strict Bolognese order, both anonymous and undated. One links the triumphs in order with different districts in the city of Bologna. The other is called "La Granda de Tarochini che invita le sfere celesti aeree ferree, e sotteranee, al Trionfante Applauso universale del Sig. Andre Casale". This poem is discussed with quotes in Italian and English at This last has "Temperamento" highligted in the poem and lacks any mention of Papi, except in a separate stanza at the end, which simply lists the appluading cards, which has both "Tempra" and "quattro Papi". Casale died in 1639, so the poem is between then and 1725. Vitali and Zanetti also give a few other poems that include the titles of the cards within them, but since Alciati's is one of them, I am not sure which are Bolognese.

I have already discussed one aspect of Dummett's account of the rules, more complex than in Milan, with the Angel counting for points, also the last trick and combinations. Besides sequences, there is another type of combinations, called "cricche" or, in the past, "parigli". The rules are complex (p. 238):
Le cricche sono gruppi di tre o quattro carte di un solo tipo, ad esempio tre o quattro Regine; non è possibile formare una cricca di carte numerali, ma tre delle carte conosciute come ‘tarocchi’, o tutte e quattro, formano una cricca. Come indica il nome, le ‘sequenze’ sono sequenze di tre o più carte di un qualsiasi seme oppure di trionfi. Una sequenza deve andare dalla carta più alta, un Re o l’Angelo, in giù, ma basta che siano presenti solo due delle tre carte successive. Un gruppo di tre o quattro Assi, o di tre o quattro Morì, conta, tuttavia, come sequenza e non come cricca: questo è importante perché il punteggio per le cricche è raddoppiato se ce ne sono tre o più (‘criccone’) e lo stesso vale per le sequenze. Sia il Matto che il Bagattino fungono da jolly (‘contatori’) e, con certe limitazioni, possono riempire i vuoti in qualsiasi tipo di cricche o sequenze (ma non possono mai sostituire il Re o l’Angelo in una sequenza). Nel punteggio, le cricche e le sequenze vengono segnate due volte: una, in apertura di partita, quando vengono dichiarate dal giocatore che le ha in mano; poi, nuovamente, in fine di partita, in quanto incluse nelle prese fatte da un giocatore, o, nel gioco a quattro, da una coppia di compagni. Quando tutte le carte sono state prese dall’una o dall’altra delle due coppie, questi punteggi finali sono molto più alti dei punti delle singole carte che hanno valori di punteggio e delle prese stesse. Questo sistema è probabilmente molto antico e costituisce un tratto caratteristico del gioco bolognese. Forse precede la riduzione del mazzo da settantotto a sessantadue carte; ma è improbabile che sia tanto antico quanto il sistema di punti base a cui si è sovrapposto.

(The "cricche" are groups of three or four cards of one type, for example three or four Queens; one cannot form a cricca of pip cards, but three of the cards known as 'tarots' , or all four, form a cricca. As the name indicates, the 'sequences' are sequences of three or more cards of any suit or triumphs. A sequence must go down from the highest card, a King or the Angel, but only two of the next three cards. A group of three or four aces, or three or four tens, counts, however, as a sequence and not as a cricca: this is important because the score for the cricche is doubled if there are three or more ('criccone') and the same applies to the sequences. Both the Fool and the Bagattino are wild ('‘contatori') and, with certain limitations, they can fill in the gaps in any kind of cricche or sequences (but can never replace the King or the Angel in a sequence). In the score, the cricche and sequences are marked twice: once, in the opening of the hand when declared by the player who has them in his hand; then, again at the end of the hand, in so far as they included in the tricks made by a player, or, in the game of four, by a pair of players. When all the cards have been taken by either of the two pairs, these final scores are much higher than the points of the various cards that have score values and the tricks themselves. This system is probably very old and is a characteristic feature of the game in Bologna. Maybe it precedes the reduction of the seventy-eight to a sixty card pack; but it is unlikely to be as old as the points system on which it is superimposed.)
He ends the chapter by saying (p. 239):
Laddove Ferrara è stata volubile, Bologna è stata fedele23: non solo il gioco dei Tarocchi continua ad esservi praticato fin da prima del 1459, ma sia il gioco che le carte hanno subito meno cambiamenti che in qualsiasi altra località.

(Where Ferrara was fickle, Bologna was faithful [23): not only does the game of Tarot continue to be practiced since before 1459, but both the game and the cards have undergone fewer changes than in any other locality.
25 See G. Franco Laghi, Il Gioco dei Tarocchi Bolognesi [The Game of Bolognese Tarot], Banco Popolare di Bologna e Ferrara, 1983, for the rules of the modern game.

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

Dummett's Chapter 10 is about Florence. I have already discussed much of it, but there is more.

For Dummett, you will recall, the oldest reference is 1450, probably to a cheap deck (since Dummett, it has become 1440, hand-painted), and the Rosenwald sheet exemplifies the standard Florentine model. I have already discussed, in my post on Dummett's Chapter 3, his reconstruction of the order of trumps on that sheet and of the numbers on the "Charles VI'", which while different from those of the Rosenwald probably reflect Florence at some point in time.

Unlike in the Bolognese tarot, the Popess, Empress, Emperor, and Pope are all distinct. He does not propose that the Popess was no longer part of the game when the "Charles VI" numbers were aded, although, as I have mentioned, that is in fact a realistic possibility, especially given the Strambotto of c. 1500 Rome found by Dipaulis, which explicitly lists all the triumphs but omits the Popess (I added this information about the Strambotto to my original post there, with a link to Depaulis's discussion of the Strambotto, of which I posted the relevant pages from The Playing Card 2007 at .viewtopic.php?f=11&t=975&p=14909&hilit= ... tto#p14909).

Around 1520-1530, he estimates (although later in the chapter, p. 257, he says "most plausibly" 1535), the game of Minchiate was invented, at first called Germini, and it soon eclipsed that of Tarot. [Note added Sept. 29, 2015: see my note in a previous post on this page dated Sept. 29, 2015, for more complications.] Dummett considers Florence the home of Minchiate. In fact, he says that the main reason for considering the Rosenwald Florentine is by comparison with the Minchiate (p. 245):
Giuliana Algeri ha avanzato l’ipotesi che i tarocchi Rosenwald siano d’origine ferrarese 7; ma quest’ipotesi è senza fondamento, poiché la Giustizia è numerata Vili, e l’ordine è evidentemente del tipo A, non del tipo B (ferrarese). Tuttavia, non abbiamo ancora addotto alcun motivo per considerarli fiorentini; ciò risulterà dal confronto dei tarocchi Rosenwald con le carte del mazzo delle Minchiate.

(Giuliana Algeri has suggested that the Rosenwald tarot is Ferrarese in origin (7); but this assumption is without foundation, because Justice is numbered VIII, and the order is obviously of type A, not type B (Ferrara). However, we have not yet put forward any reason to consider it Florentine; this will result from the comparison of the Rosenwald tarot with the cards of the Minchiate pack.
7. In the catalog I tarocchi, p. 88, n. 17.)
I have already discussed how he considers the Minchiate "papi" to be slight reworkings of the Rosenwald's papal and imperial triumphs.

Pratesi ( has written about whether the Rosenwald, for which there are four sheets extant, should be considered as a version of Minchiate, as a fifth sheet would bring the total to 96 cards (one less than the standard number, perhaps combining the Fool and Bagatto into one, as suggested by the card). If so, it would have been an early version that still distinguished among four imperial and papal figures. There should be a fifth sheet, because on the four extant sheets, six cards of a tarot deck are yet to be accounted for--or one card if the 10s were omitted. Franco suggests one possibility, that the missing Queen of Batons might be have been identified with the Empress; but the number III on it suggests that it had to be the Empress. One idea: perhaps the player could choose which of the two it would be. But such a rule has never been reported.

The oldest datable extant Minchiate deck is 17th century, virtually identical to what was seen later, Dummett says, as are some undatable sheets in the Spielkarten Museum at Leinfelden. The style is consistent with the late 15th or early 16th century. The designs are such that the numbers on the first 15 must have been added after the designs had been accomplished. The 20 additional cards--from XVI through XXXV--have special panels for the purpose, and then the last 5 cards are unnumbered, as they would have been in the tarot.

These cards are the three theological virtues, the cardinal virtue Prudence, the four elements, and the twelve zodiac signs. A slight change is that the Angel is called "Le Trombe" The Trumpets, and has the words "fama fola" [fame flies] at the bottom.Also the card before the Star is called "House of the Devil", and the Devil is called "Demonio" as well as "Diavolo". The one before death was sometimes "The Traitor" as well as "The Hanged Man"; the next card lower was "The Hunchback" and "Time"; Love was called "Papa cinque" [papa five]; and the Bagatto was called "the One" or "papa uno".

When the additional cards are subtracted, Dummett says, they "form a sequence whose order is immediately identifiable as belonging to type A" (p. 247). Some designs are reminiscent of the Bolognese (as well as the Rosenwald). And like the Bolognese, but not the Rosenwald, there are both Jacks and Maids. But the Knights, as centaurs and monsters, are more simlar to the Rosenwald's centaurs (which we also see, strangely enough, on the Budapest cards of Ferrara or Venice). He argues that even though there are many differences between the Rosenwald and Minchiate designs (p. 248):
Le somiglianze fra il mazzo Rosenwald e le carte delle Minchiate sono troppe per mettere in dubbio l’origine fiorentina dei fogli Washington. In entrambi i casi, l’ordine dei trionfi è dì tipo A, ma differisce da quello bolognese in quanto le tre virtù sono collocate immediatamente al di sopra dell’Amore invece che del Carro; possiamo considerare questo tratto come caratteristica debordine fiorentino, diverso in questo riguardo da quello bolognese. (Per questa ragione, i numeri sui tarocchi ‘Carlo VI’ suggeriscono una mano -fiorentina.) In entrambi i mazzi, i semi di Coppe e Denari hanno Fantine, non Fanti; e nel mazzo Rosenwald tutti e quattro i Cavalli sono centauri — un stadio intermedio molto convincente prima dei due centauri e dei due mostri delle Minchiate.)

(The similarities between the Minchiate pack and the Rosenwald cards are too many to cast doubt on the Florentine origin of the Washington sheets. In both cases, the the trump order is of type A, but differs from the Bolognese in that [end of 248] the three virtues are placed immediately above the Chariot instead of Love; we can consider this as a characteristic trait of the Florentine order different in this respect from that of Bologna. (For this reason, the numbers on the tarot 'Charles VI' suggest a Florentine hand.) In both packs, the suits of Cups and Coins have Fantine, not Fanti; and in the Rosenwald pack all four horses are centaurs - a very convincing intermediate stage before the two centaurs and two monsters of the Minchiate.)
As far as differences, he says that the Rosenwald Bagatto has a jester's hat, whereas in the Minchiate he is a "a well-dressed young merchant" ("il Bagatto Rosenwald porta un cappello da buffone, mentre, nelle Minchiate, è un giovane mercante ben vestito"). Since the Bolognese Bagatto also has a jester's hat, that is a curious change. Actually, the Minchiate figure is more ambiguous; he is dressed more like an entertainer than a merchant, but he seems to carry a book. Below left is the 17th century "Uno" in Kaplan vol. 1. The details are clearer on the 18th century version in Kaplan's vol. 2, below the first (I include the other "papi" for anyone who wants to inspect them).

One difference might be the footwear, more practical in the 17th century version. I can't tell if that figure has a wand instead of a book. The auxiliary figures in both tie him to the d:Este and Budapest cards.

In other cards, Dummett is correct when he says that there are differences in detail. at least one detail strengthens the case for a Florentine origin. For example, there is a woman running from the "house of the devil" ( It has been commented by others (Huck in particular) that this detail is reminiscent of Masaccio's famous "expulsion from Eden" fresco in Florence ( ... n-1427.jpg). The Moon card, with one astronomer instead of two ( ... thMoon.jpg), is more like the d'Este version than the Charles VI or Bolognese ( ... hschSM.jpg). This is perhaps an argument in favor of the d'Este as originating in Florence.

Although as in Bologna the game was played in two sets of partners, the scoring in Minchiate is more complicated than in Bologna (p. 252):
Il modo di giocare alle Minchiate appartiene alla stessa categoria del gioco del Tarocchino bolognese, pur differendone totalmente nei dettagli. Come a Bologna, la forma principale del gioco era a quattro, in coppie fisse, almeno dal Seicento in poi. I valori delle carte erano completamente diversi da quelli bolognesi. I Re valevano 5 punti ciascuno, ma le altre figure avevano perso i loro valori di punteggio. Il Matto valeva 5 punti, come pure i seguenti trionfi: il I, il X, il XIII, il XX, il XXVIII e tutti quelli dal XXX al XXXV. Le cinque arie (i trionfi più alti non numerati) valevano 10 punti ciascuna, e i ‘Papi’ dal H al V valevano 3 punti ciascuno, così che la metà esatta dei quaranta trionfi aveva un valore di punteggio. Come a Bologna, l’ultima presa era particolarmente importante: valeva infatti 10 punti. Una caratteristica che non è presente nel gioco bolognese, nella forma a noi nota, era che la coppia che prendeva una carta con valore di punteggio degli avversari ne acquisiva subito i punti, oltre a conteggiarla nel punteggio alla fine della partita. Della carta presa così si diceva che essa ‘muore’; risulta dvìV Invettiva di Lollio e dalla Risposta di Imperiali che questa regola era prevalente anche nel gioco ferrarese, con la stessa terminologia.

(In manner of play, Minchiate belongs to the same category as the Bolognese game of Tarocchino. while differing totally in detail. As in Bologna, the main form of the game was for four, in fixed pairs, at least from the seventeenth century onwards. The point-values of the cards were completely different from those of Bologna. The Kings were worth 5 points each, but the other figures lost their point-values. The Fool was worth 5 points, as well as the following triumphs: the I, X, XIII, XX, XXVIII, and all those from XXX to XXXV. The five aire (the highest triumphs, unnumbered) were worth 10 points each, and the 'Papi' from II to V were worth 3 points each, so that exactly half of the forty triumphs had point-value. As in Bologna, the last trick was particularly important: in fact worth 10 points. One feature that is not present in the game of Bologna, in the form known to us, was that the pair who took a card with a point-value of the opponents immediately acquired points, as well as counting it in the score at the end of the game. Of the card taken so it was said that it 'dies'; the Invective of Lollio and Response by Imperiali shows that this rule was prevalent also in the game of Ferrara, with the same terminology.)
Combinations, i.e. "verzicole", also counted, as in Bologna. Only cards with point-values could be part of these combinations, except for Card XXVIIII.There were also special combinations: "for example, the One, the Fool and the Trumpets, or I, XIII and XXVIII" (p. 253). 13 cards were not dealt, so that each player received 24 cards, but the dealer and the person to his left (from the other partnership) were permitted to draw from them (face up), so that all the cards with point-values would be in play. It was then announced how many cards of each suit had been set aside. Playing well required a good memory and keeping track what cards were left, both of suits and triumphs.

Then there is the question of when the game was invented. Dummet looks at the early literary references (p. 254):
Uno dei primi riferimenti cinquecenteschi si trova nel dialogo di Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) Le carte parlanti, pubblicato nel 1543, in forma di conversazione fra un fabbricante, il Padovano, e le sue carte. Un altro, un po’ anteriore, si trova nella novella Sopra un caso accaduto in Prato di Agnolo Firenzuola (1493-1543), scoperta da Franco Pratesi e datata da lui intorno al 1538 12. Una terza menzione, anch’essa scoperta da Franco Pratesi, è nel Capitolo in lode delle zanzare del pittore Angelo Bronzino (1503-1572), che Pratesi colloca nel decennio 1530-40 13. In tutti questi scritti, le carte e il gioco sono chiamate ‘i Germini’,

(One of the earliest references in the sixteenth century is in the dialogue of Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) Carte Parlante [Talking Cards], published in 1543, in the form of a conversation between a manufacturer, the Paduan, and his cards. Another, somewhat earlier, is in the novella Sopra un caso accaduto in Prato [On a case that happened in Prato[ by Agnolo Firenzuola (1493-1543), discovered by Franco Pratesi and dated by him to around 1538 (12). A third mention, also discovered by Franco Pratesi, is in the Chapter in praise of mosquitoes by the painter Angelo Bronzino (1503-1572), which Pratesi places in the decade 1530-40 (13). In all of these writings, the cards and the game are called 'Germini'.
12.. F. Pratesi, ' Italian Cards: New Discoveries ', n. 5, The Playing Card, Vol XVI, 1988, p. 78-83.
13. Ibid.)
Dummett knows of only one 'tarot appropriati' based on the triumphs of this pack: "I Germini sopra quaranta Meretrice della città di Firenze" [The Germini over forty Whores of the city of Florence], anonymous, 1553. (The entire poem, in Italian and English,is online starting at

As to this word "Germini", Dummett explains (I omit his Italian): "The term 'Germini' is a corruption of the Latin name, Gemini, the Zodiac sign represented by triumph XXXV, the highest supplemental trump." The name was gradually replaced by "Minchiate" over the course of the 17th century.

(Added later in day: Since Dummett's time, in fact quite recently, Lothar Teikemeier found two references to Germini, one in 1517 and early 1518, as reported by Pratesi ( Both are in connection with Lorenzo de' Medici's grandson, also named Lorenzo. Nothing about the content of the game is reported, just the name.)

The first known occurrence of the word "minchiate" to refer to a game, Dummett points out, is in a letter from Luigi Pulci to Lorenzo di Medici (grandfather of the one playing "Germini") in 1466, of which Dummett quotes the relevant sentence (p. 256):
Pure, se havessi cavallo, ho sì gran voglia di rivederti ch’io verrei costì per isvisarti alle minchiate, a passadieci, a sbaraglino, come tu sai ch’io ti concio.

(If I only had a horse, I would come to you to challenge you at Minchiate, at Passadieci, at Sbaraglino, and you know how I mistreated you.)
For the full letter, in Italian and English, see Andrea Vitali's essay at (The above translation is with Andrea's input. Andrea says that "you know how I mistreated you" is a reference to the fact that Pulci always beat Lorenzo at these games.) Passadieci, Dummett explains, is a dice game, and Sbaraglino is backgammon. Dummett wonders whether the word in the letter perhaps was read incorrectly, as the original's whereabouts are unknown since 1956. But it has been reprinted by different editors (p. 256, note 15):
15. Sì veda l'artìcolo di F. Pratesi citato nella nota 12. La lettera fu pubblicata per la prima volta da S. Bongi in Lettere di Luigi Pulci a Lorenzo il Magnìfico e ad altri, Lucca, 1868, e poi, in una nuova edizione, nel 1886; secondo Pratesi, è anche contenuta in L. Pulci, Margarite e Lettere, a cura di D. De Robertis, 1962, ristampato 1984.

(15. See the article by F. Pratesi cited in note 12. The letter was published for the first time by S. Bongi in Letters of Luigi Pulci to Lorenzo the Magnificent and others, Lucca, 1868 and then, in a new edition, in 1886; according to Pratesi, it is also contained in L. Pulci, [ Memoranda and Letters, edited by D. De Robertis 1962, reprinted 1984.
Dummett goes on to say that the word also appears as a game in an ordinance of 1477:
Nel 1477 il Comune di Firenze rilasciò una nuova Provvisione sui giochi, nella quale il «giuocho delle minchiate» compare fra ì giochi permessi insieme con il «giuocho de triomphj» e con altri giochi 16.

In 1477, the City of Florence released a new Provision on games, in which the "game of minchiate" appears among the allowed games along with the "game of Triomphi" and other games. 16
16. See the article by F. Pratesi cited in note 2 ['Italian Cards: New Discoveries', The Playing Card, Vol XIX, 1990, pp. 7-17.]
Also, I would add, words similar to "minchiate", meaning "foolish, stupid" etc. appear in other poems by Pulci, which Andrea gives in full in his essay (with translations that the two of us have worked out). None of these words refer to a game. There is also a poem by a poet named Berchione, perhaps as early as 1440 ( It contains a reference to "Triumphe"; but the "minch'" word is "minchiatar", which I would guess is a verb.

What kind of game would it be? It's anybody's guess, but one possibility, it seems to me, is a modification of a thesis Moakley and Algeri reportedly advanced, that the Cary-Yale was in fact a Minchiate deck. Dummett is scathing about that suggestion, saying that Minchiate "has nothing in common" with the Cary-Yale, with its 16 cards per suit (p. 52):
Una sola ipotesi, avanzata, per esempio, dalla dottoressa Algeri e dalla signora Gertrude Moakley, può essere esclusa con certezza come del tutto anacronistica, e cioè che si trattasse di un mazzo delle Minchiate. Infatti, a parte la presenza delle virtù teologali, il mazzo delle Minchiate non ha nulla in comune con il mazzo Visconti di Modrone, la cui divergenza principale dalla struttura normale del mazzo dei tarocchi è il maggior numero di figure in ciascun seme: in un mazzo delle Minchiate ce ne sono soltanto quattro. Come vedremo, il mazzo delle Minchiate non è una forma derivata dagli
stadi più antichi del mazzo dei tarocchi, ma una deliberata variante inventata a Firenze molto tempo dopo che il mazzo nella sua forma comune era stato standardizzato e cioè nel secondo quarto del XVI secolo.

(One hypothesis, advanced, for example, by Dr Algeri and Mrs. Gertrude Moakley, can be excluded with certainty as completely anachronistic, namely, that it was a Minchiate pack. In fact, apart from the presence of the theological virtues, the Minchiate pack has nothing in common with the Visconti di Modrone pack, whose main divergence from the normal structure of the tarot pack is that of a greater number of figures in each suit: in Minchiate there are only four. As we shall see,the Minchiate pack is not a form derived from earlier stages of the tarot pack, but a variant deliberately invented in Florence a long time after the pack in its common form had been standardized, that is, in the second quarter of the sixteenth century.)
I see no reason to suppose that the Cary-Yale was a Minchiate. But I don't see why that part, the 2 extra courts, couldn't have been dropped, and the four triumphs kept, perhaps in place of some other cards, such as the Popess. Some people might not have liked the theological virtues and prudence being removed and kept them in a deck. That is still not a Minchiate, but it is not a standard tarot either. This hypothesis could explain why the name "Germini" was adopted: to distinguish it from the old deck with some of its characteristics: We'll probably never know the answers to either question (i.e. what the 1466-1477 "minchiate" was or why the name was "Germini" first and a century later "minchiate").

On "Minchiate", the next in time, after 1477, for Dummett is a comment by Berni in his 1526 book on games, primarily Primiera:
"Un altro... ha trovato che Tarocchi sono un bel gioco, & pargli essere in regno suo quando ha in mano un numero di dugento carte che a pena le può tenere, et per non essere appostato le mescola cosi il meglio che può sotto la tavola, viso proprio di Tarocco colui a chi piace questo gioco, che altro non vuol dir Tarocco che ignocco, sciocco, Balocco degno di star fra fomari & calzolari & plebei a giocarsi in tutto di un Carlino in quarto a tarocchi, o a trionfi, o a Sminchiate che si sia..."

(Another found that... Tarot is an excellent game, & he seems to be in his glory when he has in his hand a number of two hundred cards that he can scarcely hold, and so as not to be seen shuffles them as best he can under the table. Let him look to it, one who is pleased with this game of Tarocco, that this word Tarocco says nothing other than stupid, foolish, simple, fit only to be used by cobblers & bakers & the vulgar, to play at most the fourth part of a Carlino, at tarocchi, at triumphs, or any Sminchiate whatever.
(This translation is a slightly modified version of that in Singer, Researches into the History of Playing Cards, p. 28, at ... te&f=false.)
About this quote Dummett says:
Molti hanno ipotizzato che la parola «Sminchiate» in questo passo si riferisca al gioco delle Minchiate. Tuttavia, il termine «sminchiate», usato come verbo, era comune fra i giocatori bolognesi dal XVII al XIX secolo, come risulta dai libri sui giochi dì carte, compreso quello di Pisani. Naturalmente, non aveva connotazioni indecorose, ma era usato dal giocatore che era di mano per chiedere che il suo compagno giocasse il trionfo più alto che aveva in mano e restituisse un trionfo se faceva la presa. In mancanza di una prova che prima del XVII secolo la parola «Minchiate» fosse usata per il gioco noto come ‘i Ger-[end of 255] mini’, non sembra possibile cogliere nel passo del Comento un’allusione a quel gioco. In assenza dì tale prova, sembra più plausibile il contrario, e cioè che il gioco dei Tarocchi fosse praticato a Firenze a quell’epoca, mentre quello dei Germini non esisteva ancora. In tal caso, la sua invenzione è databile molto precisamente fra il 1526 e il 1538,

(Many have speculated that the word "Sminchiate" in this passage refers to the game of Minchiate. However, the term "sminchiate", used as a verb, was common among Bolognese players from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, as shown by the books on card games, including that of Pisani. Of course, it had no unseemly connotations, but it was used by the player who was on hand to ask that his partner play the highest triumph in his hand and give back a triumph if he won the trick. In the absence of evidence that before the seventeenth century the word "Minchiate" was used for the game known as ' Ger- [end of 255] mini ', it does not seem possible to gather from this passage in the Comento an allusion to that game. In the absence of such evidence, it seems more plausible than the opposite, namely that the game of Tarot was practiced in Florence at that time, while that of Germini did not yet exist. In this case, his invention can be dated very precisely between 1526 and 1538.
Part of what Dummett says about "Sminchiate" is on Wikipedia; ( I do not understand how one "gives back" (restituisse) a triumph after winning a trick. Vitali has a different interpretation of the rule at, footnote 14.

It is certainly true that "sminchiate" could be used as a verb. But Dummett has unaccountably left out the rest of the sentence (even putting a period at the end of his quote), which in fact continues, as Singer has it (p. 27, footnote), after merely a comma:
:.., che si sia, che ad ogni modo tutto importa minchioneria e dapocagine, passendo l'occhio col Sol, et co la Luna, et col Dodici, come fanno i puti.

(...: which in every way signifies only foolery and idleness, feasting the eye with the Sun, and the Moon, and the twelve [signs], as children do)
The part at the end obviously refers to the cards of Minchiate, which include the signs of the Zodiac. The Minchiate deck clearly existed in 1526. However it must not have been very popular yet, because he merely ridicules it, and it may have in fact been called "Minchiate". This is not to say that Pulci's game was with such a deck. We just don't know.

To be sure, the word "sminchiate" existed at some point as a verb. The word probably has the same root as Berni's word "minchioneria", foolery. "Taroccare" was also a verb, meaning "play tarocchi" ( as well as many other things ( ... 20&lng=ENG). So was "trionfare", both within the game, meaning to win the trick, and outside it ( That did not stop versions of these words from being the names of games. Likewise, "passadieci" means "pass ten", and "sbaraglino" means "to triumph". Andrea says in his footnote on "sminchiate" (, note 45, in English at, note 14):
Sminchiare = Giocare il trionfo più grande e proseguire con gli altri (dal gioco fiorentino delle Minchiate). Questo termine è rimasto anche oggi nel dialetto bolognese ad indicare un'azione ripetuta e molto decisa.

(Sminchiare = To play with the greatest triumph and go on with the others (from the Florentine game Minchiate). This term is still present in the Bolognese dialect to mean a very strong repeated action.
It sounds to me as though it is applied here as an application of a more general meaning of "to make a fool of everyone". But the etymology is obscure

Either as "germini" or as "minchiate" the game was referred to often in literature of the late 16th and the 17th century. Dummett continues (p. 257f):
Dopo il Berni non sentiamo più parlare da alcuna fonte fiorentina del gioco dei Tarocchi, ma solo dei Germini; ma di questi ne sentiamo parlare moltissimo. Divenne un gioco molto famoso non solo in tutta la Toscana, ma anche a Roma e in tutti gli Stati Pontifici, inclusa Bologna.

(After Berni we do not hear more about the game of Tarot from any Florentine source, but only Germini; but of this we hear a lot. It became a very famous game not only in Tuscany, but also in Rome and in all the Papal States, including Bologna.)
He next observes that both "Menchiatte," and "Germini" are in the Italian/English dictionary of John Fiorio, A Worlds of Wordes, published in London in 1598. These entries are online at and

There follow some references to to "Germini" and "Minchiate" in Tuscan literature (p. 257ff):
Un riferimento al gioco, sotto il nome dei ‘Germini’, compare in una prosa del poeta fiorentino Alessandro Allegri (c. 1560-1629) pubblicata nel 1613 17. Nella parte I della Sfinge, pubblicata nel 1640, una collezione di indovinelli in versi ad opera di un altro poeta fiorentino, Antonio Malatesti (1610-1672), la risposta all’indovinello 20 è: «L’Uno de’ Germini»; e la risposta all'indovinello 71 nella parte II, pubblicata nel 1643, è: «Il giuoco delle Minchiate». Le prime due parti furono ristampate nel 1683 con una parte III postuma, la cui terza sezione era intitolata ‘Quaderni delle Minchiate’ e consìsteva di sessantasei quartine dedicate ciascuna a una delle principali carte del mazzo delle Minchiate. Un amico di Malatesti, il pittore e poeta fiorentino Lorenzo Lippi (1606-1665), compose un lungo poema, Il Malmantile racquistato, due stanze del quale (la 61 e la 62 del VIII canto) avevano a che fare con le Minchiate. La prima edizione di que-[end of 257]sto poema fu pubblicata postuma nel 1676, sotto lo pseudonimo anagrammatico di Perlone Zipoli, con un commento dell’amico Paolo Minuccì, che usava lo pseudonimo di Puccio Lamoni: è questo commento che contiene la prima esposizione delle regole del gioco. Le note di Minucci furono integrate da Antonio Maria Biscioni, con ulteriori osservazioni sulle Minchiate, in occasione di una nuova edizione del 1731. L’opera di Lippi e il commento di Minucci non solo ci forniscono informazioni dettagliate molto utili, ma attestano che il gioco continuò a essere ben noto a Firenze per tutto il XVII secolo. Minucci comincia la sua lunga nota come segue:
MINCHIATE. E un giuoco assai noto detto anche Tarocchi, Ganellinì[/i], o Germini.
L’uso della rara parola «Ganellini» o simile è confermato da un passo del libretto Del giuoco dell’ombra pubblicato a Roma nel 1674 18:
Alcuni dandolo alla primiera, giuoco veramente nobile et altri (con maggior lontananza però del dovere) dandolo alle minchiate, overo a tarocchi, 6 canelini, ò pure al tre sette, overo al trionfino, ò alla bazica, overo alla staffetta, e simili.
La nota di Minucci continua:
Ma perché è poco usato fuori della nostra Toscana, o almeno diversamente da qualche usiamo noi, per intelligenza delle presenti Ottave stimo necessario sapersi, che il giuoco delle Minchiate si fa nella maniera che appresso.
Segue la sua esposizione delle regole del gioco. Nella penultima frase della nota, Minucci estende la sua osservazione ai modi diversi di giocare:
E tanto mi pare che basti per facilitare l’intelligenza delle presenti ottave a chi non fusse pratico del giuoco delle Minchiate, che usiamo noi Toscani, che è assai differente da quello, che con [end of 258] le medesime carte usano quelli dalla Liguria, che lo dicono Gallerini; perché Minchiate in quei paesi è parola oscena.
Quanto alla parola «Minchiate», le leggi fiscali toscane attestano il momento in cui soppiantò «Germini»: dal 1636 al 1677 queste leggi parlano dei ‘Germini’, ma dal 1696 in poi delle ‘Minchiate’19.
17. A. Allegri, Rime piacevoli, parte IV, Verona, 1613, in una prosa dedicata ‘al Sìg. Francesco Niccoli*. Le quattro parti delle Rime piacevoli furono ristampate insieme come Rime e Prose, Amsterdam, 1754; si veda p. 207. Sono debitore per questo riferimento a F. Pratesi, nel suo articolo citato nella nota 12.
18. Alfredo Lensi, Bibliografia italiana di giuochi di carte, Firenze, 1892, attribuisce il libretto al cardinale Giovanni Battista de Luca.
!9. Per essere esatti, le leggi del 1636, 1641, 1646, 1656, 1672 e 1677 parlano dei Germini, e quelle del 1696, 1701, 1706 e così via fino al 1820 delle Minchiate. Questa informazione è fornita da Alberto Milano, ‘Financial Legislation on Tuscan Playing Cards from the beginning of the 17th century to the unification’, The Playing Card, Vol. X, 1983, pp. 102-6.
Rather than translate verbatim, I think these will make more sense in the form of a list (with my comments after each, in brackets).

1. 'Germini' appears in a prose work of the Florentine poet Alessandro Allegri (c. 1560-1629), published in 1613. [Also the names of four triumphs: the world, the trumpets, the fool, the devil. The whole passage is available in Italian and English at]

2, In Part I of the Sphinx, published in 1640, a collection of riddles in verse by the Florentine poet Antonio Malatesta (1610-1672), the answer to riddle 20 is: "the One of 'Germini'; and in Part II, published in 1643, the answer to riddle 71 is: "The Game of Minchiate." The first two parts were reprinted in 1683 with a posthumous Part III, the third section of which was entitled 'The Cards of Minchiate' and consisted of 66 quatrains, each dedicated to one of the main cards in the Minchiate pack.

3. The Florentine painter and poet Lorenzo Lippi (1606-1665), a friend of Malatesta's, composed a long poem, Il Malmantile Racquistato (Malmantile Reconquered), two stamzas of which (61 and 62 of canto VIII) had to do with Minchiate. [These stanzas may be found in both Italian and English at ... 15&lng=ENG, You will also find there stanzas with the words "Germini". "bagatino", and the word "tarocchi" applied to the Devil card. These last two are more appropriate to the game of Tarot than to Minchiate.].

4. The first edition of Lippi's poem, 1674, contained a commentary by his friend Paolo Minuccì. This commentary contains the first explanatio of the rules of Minchiate. The note begins:
(MINCHIATE. It is a well-known game also known as Tarocchi, Ganellini, or Germini.
Later he explains why he is writing these comments (p. 258):
But because it is rarely used outside of our Tuscany, or at least unlike some we use, for intelligence of these present Octaves I deem necessary for it to be known, that the game of Minchiate, is done in such a way as below.
Manucchi later explains why the name "Ganellini" is used in Liguria instead of "Minchiate".
(p. 258f.), this time called "Gallerini":
And so I think that enough to facilitate the understanding of these octaves to those who would practice the game of Minchiate, that we use [i.e. say in] Tuscan, which is very different from that which with the same cards are used for that in Liguria, who say Gallerini; because Minchiate in those countries is an obscene word.
[More of Manucchi's essay can be read in Italian and English at]

5. The word "Ganellini" or similar is also in the book Gioco di Ombre published in 1674:
Some giving to Primiera, [the title of] truly noble game, and others (with greater distance, however, owed) giving that to Minchiate , or to tarot, or canelini, or indeed to treseta, to bazica or to staffetta , and the like.
6. Tuscan tax laws: from 1636 to 1677 these laws speak of 'Germini ', but from 1696 onwards, 'Minchiate' .

Then he turns to an important source for Minchiate in Sicily, Emanuele, Marchese di Villabianca (1720-1802), who wrote a pamphlet called “De' Giuochi volgari in genere” [Of common Games in general]. Villabianca informs us that:
Dal fu Viceré Francesco Gaetani, duca di Sermoneta, che fiorì nel 1663, fu portato in Sicilia il giuoco di carte che noi dicciam de’ Gallerini.

(By Viceroy Francesco Gaetani, Duke of Sermoneta, who flourished in 1663, was brought to Sicily the game of cards that we call Gallerini.)
Again, the name was chosen out of modesty ("per modestia"). He also guesses at its derivation. I apologize if my translation of 17th century Italian has errors (this one was not reviewed by Andrea)
E chisà chisà se il nome di Gallerini fu a derivarvi dalle prime Levate di Galleria che diede in Palermo quel Governante Sermoneta, commutandone i nostri, per modestia, il nome da Manchiate come venivano appellate in Roma, ove tal voce non è di ingiuria, secondo apprendesi nella Sicilia.

(And perhaps the name of Gallerini was to be derived from the first Construction in Palermo, the Galleria, which gave Governor Sermoneta, our commander, for modesty, the name, from Manchiate as it was called in Rome, where such word is not abusive, accordingly it was taught in Sicily.)
As to why the word was obscene in Genoa and Sicily, two rather separated areas, Dummett explains (p. 261):
At that time, Genoa hosted many immigrants from Southern Italy and Sicily, and it seems very likely that the game of Gallerini was brought to them from Sicily, and did not arrive directly from Florence.
Dummett offers no alternative explanation for the derivation of "Gallerini"/"Ganellini". In fact, the name seems to come from what the first triumph was called, the Gannelino. This name for triumph I is in a manuscript that Andrea Vitali found, Regole del nobile e dilettevole gioco delle Minchiate (Rules of the noble and pleasant game of Minchiate) written by the lawyer Niccolò Onesti (Rome, 1716). Andrea writes (;
Di seguito riportiamo il Capitolo Primo, da cui siamo informati che il gioco consisteva di 97 carte, di cui 40 Tarocchi e 56 carte dette La Cartiglia. I Tarocchi erano quelli contrassegnati con i numeri ad iniziare dall'uno detto Ganellino (altro nome utilizzato al plurale per questo gioco, con sua variante Gallerini utilizzato in Liguria e Sicilia) fino al numero XXXV, cioè il segno zodiacale dei Gemelli, per poi proseguire con le cosiddette Arie, cioè la Stella, la Luna, il Sole, il Mondo e infine le Trombe. A questi 40 Tarocchi veniva aggiunto il Matto, senza numero, posto per il quarantunesimo Tarocco.

(In the following we report the First Chapter, by which we are informed that the game consisted of 97 cards, of which 40 were Tarots and 56 were called Cartiglia. The Tarots were those marked with numbers beginning from one, called Ganellino (another name, used in the plural, for this game, with its variant Gallerini used in Liguria and Sicily) up to the number XXXV, which is the zodiacal sign of Gemini; then it continues with the so-called Airs, which are the Star, the Moon, the Sun, the World and finally the Trumpets. To these 40 Tarots was added the Fool, without number, set as the forty-first Tarot.)
Indeed, in Onesti's text itself we read:
Li Tarocchi son quelli che son contrasegnati à capo di ciascuna carta con il numero; incominciando dall'uno che si chiama Ganellino sino al numero XXXV, doppo il quale seguita in ordine la Stella, che viene ad essere il 36. Dopoi la Luna. 37. poscia il Sole. 38. Il Mondo 39. e finalmente le Trombe che compiscono il numero di 40 e le dette cinque si domandano le Arie. Aggiungendosi alli detti Tarocchi anche il Matto che non ha numero et' è' cosi detto perché è vario e si mista con tutte le carte e da esse tassativamente si scioglie come si dirà in apresso, che si pone per il 41. Taroccho.

(Tarots are those marked at the top of each card with the number; starting from the one that is called Ganellino until number XXXV, then follows in order the Star, which comes to be be 36. Then the Moon. 37. then the Sun. 38. the World 39. and finally the Trumpets which are number 40, and these five are called the Airs [Arie]. Adding to the Tarots also the Fool which doesn’t have number and it is so called because it is various and mixes with all the cards and from them detaches absolutely as it will be said later, it is set for 41. Taroccho.)
It might be of interest to know the etymology of this "Gannelino" or "Gallerini". If Dummett is right about the game spreading from Sicily to Genoa, then "Gallerini" would have been first. Is it perhaps related to "gallo" *rooster") by way of "gallino" (analagous to "gallina", hen), thus a variation on "little rooster"?

Villabianca makes one more interesting comment about the game in Sicily (p. 261):
Si maneggia il Giuoco con 98 carte nelle quali 42 trionfi...

(The Game is managed with 98 cards in which 42 are triumphs...)
Dummett says that there are in fact Minchiate decks with six unnumbered triumphs at the top of the hierarchy instead of the usual five. The sixth "depicts a naked woman running with her feet on the rim of a wheel; Woman and wheel are enclosed in a circle governed by two male figures that rise from the earth." He supposes the subject is Fortune. Such a deck was manufactured in Genoa by Solesio with tax stamps that were used 1896-1913.

Then there is the game of Minchiate in Rome, Dummett says (261f):
Nonostante Tasserzione di Minucci, il gioco delle Minchiate, praticato esattamente nel modo fiorentino, era ampiamente diffuso a Roma alla fine del primo quarto del XVIII secolo; è probabile che vi fosse stato introdotto molto tempo prima, poiché deve essere stato da Roma che il Viceré Francesco Gaetani, duca di Sermoneta, lo introdusse in Sicilia nel [end of 261] 1663.

(Despite Manucci's assertion, the game of Minchiate, practiced exactly in the Florentine way, was widespread in Rome at the end of the first quarter of the eighteenth century; it is likely that it had been introduced there much earlier, because it must have been from Rome that the Viceroy Francisco Gaetani, duke of Sermoneta, introduced it into Sicily in 1663.
He ends by noting that Minchaite also existed in other countries (p. 262):
Sembra che le Minchiate fossero note in Francia fin dal 1730 circa, quando Nicholas de Poilly ne realizzò un mazzo in- [end of 262] ciso su rame di disegno molto diverso da quello standard 26. Sono usati i segni di seme francesi; le quattro figure di ciascun seme rappresentano uno dei quattro continenti (per esempio, il seme di Quadri rappresenta l’Asia). Non c’è il Matto, ma ci sono quarantadue trionfi con soggetti non standard, tutti numerati con numeri arabi. Può trattarsi di una pura curiosità, ma verso il 1775 fu stampato un libretto, Regies du Jeu des Min-quiattes, che forniva istruzioni sul modo di usarlo 27.
26. Un esemplare era nella collezione del defunto Claude Guiard di Parigi, e fu esposto al Musée des Arts Décoratifs nel 1981. È riprodotto nel catalogo Cartes à Jouer Anciennes: un rève de collectionneur.
27. Una copia è nella Bìbliothèque Nationale di Parigi; devo questa informazione a Thierry Depaulis,

(It seems that Minchiate was known in France since 1730, when Nicholas de Poilly made a pack en- [end of 262] graved on copper with depictions very different from the standard ones 26. Abbreviations are used for French suits; the four courts in each suit are one of the four continents (for example, the suit of pictures representing Asia). There is the Fool, but there are forty-two non-standard trumps, all numbered with Arabic numerals. It may be a mere curiosity, but towards 1775 was printed a booklet, Regles du Jeu des Minquiattes, which provided instructions on how to use it 27.
26. A copy was in the collection of the late Claude Guiard of Paris, and was exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1981. It is reproduced in the catalog Cartes à Jouer Anciennes: un rève de collectionneur.
27. A copy is in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris; I owe this information to Thierry Depaulis,
You can read about these cards, and see them, in their own little THF thread, starting at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=782&hilit=Poilly#p11174.

There also survive instruction booklets in German. There is even one strange Austrian version printed by Piatnik in the 1930s, with 40 triumphs illustrating scenes from ordinary life. Dummett speculates that the Austrian company started producing it when Solesio stopped producing 97 card packs for Genoa in 1932.

Note later in the day: above, I inserted a reference to Lothar Teikemeir's discovery fof 1517 and 1518 references to "Germini" in connection with the Lorenzo de' Medici who was grandson of Lorenzo Il Magnifico.

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

In Chapter 11 Dummett looks at the early tarot in Lucca, Rome, and Sicily. Although he has not yet discussed Milan, one of the four early centers of the tarot, this shift to other cities whose tarot Florence probably influenced is justified as an extension of chapter 10.

For reference, here is Dummett's chart of 1980 again, showing the relationship of the three new decks (Sicily, the "Orfeo" of Lucca, and the "Colonna" of Rome) to the other type A packs: ... .35+PM.png

Lucca, a city to the north of Florence that jealously guarded its independence, seems to have had a very odd tarot. Most either have the word "Orfeo" or a picture that is probably him on their backs. In all of them, the Page of Swords holds a shield with the arms of the city of Lucca on it. People used to think they were incomplete Minchiate decks, because they are of the right period, and the top five are unnumbered. But they have none of the extra triumphs characteristic of Minchiate. Their court cards look nothing like Minchiate's, including male Jacks (or Pages, as we say now) in all four suits. What is really odd is that in none of the decks are there triumphs under number VIIII, which is the Wheel. It is a tarot with 12 triumphs plus the Fool.

The interesting question, however, is what this says about the full pack from which this seems to have descended. This is where Dummett exercises his powers of inference:
Non siamo in grado di stabilire se il presunto mazzo di tarocchi lucchese a sessantanove carte abbia tratto origine da una drastica riduzione del mazzo delle Minchiate, oppure da una meno drastica, seppur ugualmente sorprendente, riduzione del mazzo di settantotto carte: ci troviamo di fronte a un altro mistero dei tarocchi, Se nel mazzo c’erano originariamente ventuno trionfi, quello più basso doveva essere privo di numero, come nel gruppo ‘Carlo VI’. Per ottenere un’intera serie di ventun trionfi, ce ne dovevano essere nove, non otto, sotto il VIIII. Ci sono due possibilità: o la sequenza discendente continuava fino al Bagatto come I, proprio come nel mazzo delle Minchiate, e c’era una carta supplementare non numerata sotto il I; oppure, i trionfi dal UH al I erano, rispettivamente, il Papa, l’Imperatore, l’Imperatrice e la Papessa, con il Bagatto come trionfo non numerato di rango inferiore al loro, come abbiamo ipotizzato [end of 271] che si sia verificato in quel mazzo di tarocchi con settantotto carte sul cui disegni furono basati quelli del mazzo dei Germini.

(We are not able to determine whether the presumed Lucca tarot pack in sixty-nine cards originated from a drastic reduction in Minchiate, or by a less drastic, albeit equally surprising reduction in the pack of seventy-eight cards: we are faced with another mystery of the tarot, if there were originally twenty-one triumphs in the deck, the lowest number must have been without number, as in the 'Charles VI' group. To get an entire series of twenty-one triumphs, there had to be nine not eight, under the VIIII. There are two possibilities: either the descending sequence continued until the Bagatto as I, precisely as in the Minchiate, and there was an additional card, unnumbered, as the I; or, from triumphs IIII to I there were, respectively, the Pope, the Emperor, the Empress and the Popess, the Bagatto as a triumph not numbered ranking below them, as we have assumed [end of 271] has occurred in that deck of tarot cards with seventy-eight cards on whose designs were based those of the Germini pack.
The first possibility is that of the "Charles VI" on his hypothesis of an unnumbered Bagatto, and as in the Bolognese tarot. The "additional card" hypothesis is something that will be seen in the Sicilian tarot. A big "if" here, it seems to me is the "if there were originally 21 triumphs in the pack". The c. 1500 Strambotto that Depaulis found suggests that at least in Rome there were packs with only 20 triumphs, unless the Fool served as the lowest trump and not as a wild card. (You can read it in Italian and English at

Another pack that Dummett discusses is that of the "alla Collona", which clearly refers to the Colonna family of Rome. It shows that Tarot and Minchiate co-existed in the Eternal City. One sheet of such cards is dated 1613, another 1612. They are a normal pack and a tarot pack, each with two sheets. The suits are in the so-called "Portuguese" style. The existing trumps are all numbered. Here are the suit cards: And the triumphs:

Dummett says:
La prima fila è formata dal Carro, con il numero [end of 274] arabo 10, e dalla Ruota, con il numero 11; la seconda da un Sultano, con il numero 5, e dall’Amore, con il numero 6; la terza dal 20 e dal 21. Su entrambe queste ultime carte si scorge la sommità di una testa e, sul 20, alla sua destra, la cima di quello che è probabilmente uno scettro.

Il Sultano deve essere Fequivalente del Papa; non c’è da sorprendersi della sostituzione in un mazzo fabbricato a Roma. Il buco di tre carte fra l’Amore (6) e il Carro (10) ben difficilmente poteva essere colmato da qualcosa di diverso dalle tre virtù. Abbiamo quindi a che fare con un ordine di tipo A, come è prevedibile a Roma; presumibilmente, il gioco dei Tarocchi, come le Minchiate da esso derivate, giunse a Roma attraverso la Toscana. Pertanto, il 20 è probabilmente il Mondo e il 21 l’Angelo. È evidente che si tratta di un mazzo in cui tutti i trionfi erano numerati; dal momento che l’Eremita e ITmpic-cato devono essere stati interposti fra la Ruota e la Morte, que-st’ultima doveva avere il numero 14, come lo avrebbe nel mazzo Rosenwald, se la numerazione arrivasse fin lì.

(The first row is formed by the Chariot, with the Arabic number 10, and of the Wheel, with the number 11; the second by a Sultan, with the number 5, and Love, with the number 6; the third from 20 to 21. On both these cards you can see the top of a head, and on 20, to his right, the top of what is probably a scepter.

The Sultan must be the equivalent of the Pope; it is not surprisingly of a replacement deck made in Rome. The hole of three cards from Love (6) to the Chariot (10) could hardly be filled by something other than the three virtues. So we are dealing with an array of type A, as is to be expected in Rome; presumably, the game of Tarot, like the Minchiate derived from it, came to Rome via Tuscany. Therefore 20 is probably the World and 21 the Angel. It is evident that this is a deck in which all the triumphs were numbered; since the Hermit and the Hanged Man must have been interposed between the Wheel and Death, the latter had to have the number 14, as it would have in the Rosenwald deck, if the numbers had gone this far.)
Dummett suggests later that this deck had a Sultan and a Sultaness. It seems to me that it could also simply have had four "sultans". He never explains where this name "sultan" comes from. It is not on the card and he cites no printed lists to that effect. Maybe they were "Moors". Dummett does say that familiarity with such a deck as the Colonna might have been what prompted the papal legate in 1725 Bologna to demand Moors instead of "papi".

If the Strambotto is from Rome, and also the Colonna, then it would seem that the Strambotto does not give a "standard model" for Rome. That role would have been taken by the Colonna, which must have had four trumps under the 5 Sultan. The Strambotto is merely a transition to Minchiate, and possibly to the "Orfeo" decks of Lucca.

Villabianca claimed that Tarot was introduced into Sicily from Rome by the Duke of Sermoneta in 1663. Here is Dummett's quote from Villabianca (p. 277):
Il giuoco dei tarocchi fu portato in Sicilia dal fu Viceré Francesco Gaetani duca di Sermoneta, che fiorì nel 1662 e da lui insieme a noi fu dato il giuoco or fatto raro delìi Gallerini.

(The game of Tarot was brought to Sicily by Viceroy Francesco Gaetani, Duke of Sermoneta, who flourished in 1662, and from him to us together was given the now rare game of Gallerini.)
The Duke had spent a year as governor of Milan before going to Sicily. Could the Sicilian tarot be Milanese? Dummett says(p. 277):
,,,ci sono buone ragioni per ritenere che il gioco dei Tarocchi introdotto da Gaetani in Sicilia fosse una versione romana piuttosto che milanese. In primo luogo, il gioco dei Germini o Minchiate era a quel tempo del tutto ignoto a Milano. In secondo luogo, come vedremo, nei mazzi siciliani di tarocchi l’ordine dei trionfi è del tipo A, come nel foglio ‘alla Colonna’, mentre nei tarocchi milanesi si usava un ordine di tipo C. Inoltre, il gioco siciliano dei Tarocchi ha certe caratteristiche in comune con la tradizione bolognese/fiorentina; per esempio, ci sono punti speciali per la vincita dell’ultima presa, cosa ignota nei giochi milanesi. Infine, come i tarocchi romani, il Tarocco siciliano esemplifica il sistema ‘portoghese’ di semi.

(...there are good reasons to believe that the game of Tarot introduced by Gaetani in Sicily was a Roman version rather than Milanese. First, the game of Germini or Minchiate was at that time altogether unknown in Milan. Second, as we shall see, in the Sicilian tarot decks the order of triumphs is type A, as in the sheet 'alla Colonna', while in Milan Tarot was used in an array of type C. In addition, the Sicilian Tarot has certain characteristics in common with the traditional game in Bologna/Florence; for example, there are special points for winning the last trick, something unknown in the Milan games. Finally, like the Roman tarot, the Sicilian Tarot system exemplifies the 'Portuguese' suits.)

You can see an 18th century version of the cards at

One place, it seems to me, in which Milan might have influenced the cards is in the design of the Bagatto. In both Milan and Piedmont, at least in the early 18th century, he looks more like a merchant, innkeeper, or cobbler than an entertainer (for Milan and Piedmont, see; for "innkeeper" there is also Alciati, Pavia or Milan, and Piscina, Piedmont). The same is true in the Sicilian tarot (; see also my discussion at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=937&p=14192&hilit=innkeeper#p14192). Perhaps the Duke thought that a tradesman was more suitable as a step up from Poverty, the unnumbered first card, than an entertainer.

As to how "Portuguese" suits got on Roman and Sicilian cards, Dummett says that in Spain of the 15th and early 16th century there were actually three types, out of which the "Spanish" and 'Portuguese" models both emerged. What distinguishes the types has to do with the shape and placement of the swords and batons, whether the Kings are sitting or standing, and the sex of the lowest court figures. Eventually, by the 18th century, the "Spanish" type dominated in Spain, and from there into Italy, which was effectively a Spanish possession. But the older Spanish style existed in "Roman" style normal decks of the 17th century and survived in the Sicilian tarot.

Here are the characteristics that distinguish, first, Iberian-Portuguese from Roman-Portuguese suits, and then "Portuguese" vs "Italian" and "Spanish" (p. 282):
Nella Penisola Iberica il sistema cosiddetto portoghese comprendeva un solo modello standard, propriamente detto. Il modello romano, senza dubbio dello stesso sistema, era chiaramente diverso dal modello portoghese. Una differenza è data dagli indicatori, che non erano mai usati in Portogallo o in Spagna. Un’altra è il tipo di drago sugli Assi — su quelli romani c’è un grifone, su quelli portoghesi un serpente alato. Nei semi portoghesi di Spade e Bastoni, le Fantine (Sotas in portoghese) vengono attaccate da sinistra da cani o altri animali, e impugnano armi per difendersi; le Fantine romane non subiscono minacce.

A parte i draghi, i tratti che differenziano i sistemi di semi italiano, spagnolo e portoghese sono:

la forma delle Spade: curve (italiane) o diritte (spagnole e portoghesi);

la forma dei Bastoni: mazze da cerimonia (italiani), randelli nodosi (spagnoli) o bastoni dentellati (portoghesi);

la collocazione delle Spade e dei Bastoni: intersecantesi (italiani e portoghesi) o separati (spagnoli);

la posa dei Re: seduti (italiani e portoghesi) o eretti (spagnoli);

il sesso delle figure più basse: maschili (italiane e spagnole) o femminili (portoghesi).

(In the Iberian Peninsula what was known as the Portuguese system consisted itself of a single standard model. The Roman model, no doubt of the same system, was clearly different from the Portuguese model. One difference is given by indicators, which were never used in Portugal or Spain. Another is the kind of dragon on the Aces - on those of the Romans there is a griffin, a winged serpent on the Portuguese. The suits of the Portuguese Swords and Batons, the Fantine (Sotas in Portuguese) are attacked from the left by dogs or other animals, and wield weapons to defend themselves; the Roman Fantine are not under threat.

Apart from the dragons, the traits that differentiate the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese suit systems are:

the shape of the Swords: curved (Italian) or straight (Spanish and Portuguese);

the shape of the Batons: ceremonial batons (Italian), gnarled clubs (Spanish) or notched sticks (Portuguese);

the placement of the Swords and Batons: intersecting (Italian and Portuguese) or separated (Spanish);

the pose of the King: seated (Italian and Portuguese) or erect (Spanish);

the sex of the lowest figures: male (Italian and Spanish) or female (Portuguese).
About dragons, in Chapter 1 he had said that dragons are not only characteristic of "Portuguese" vs. "Italian" suits, but are unique to "Portuguese" suits (p. 32).
Il mazzo con semi portoghesi ha tre caratteristiche principali che lo distinguono dal mazzo con semi italiani:
(1) le Spade sono diritte, anche se si intersecano;
(2) la figura più bassa di ciascun seme è femminile;
(3) ci sono draghi sugli Assi.
Di queste tre, solo la terza sembra essere stata un voluto distacco da una norma precedente; è la sola che si trovi unicamente in mazzi che possono essere definiti con semi portoghesi.

(The pack with Portuguese suits has three main features that distinguish it from the pack with Italian suits:
(1) The Swords are straight, even if they intersect;
(2) the lowest figure of each suit is feminine;
(3) there are dragons on the Aces.
Of these three, only the third seems to have been a deliberate departure from a previous rule; and it is the only one that occurs uniquely in packs that can be distinguished with Portuguese suits.)
So "Portuguese" suits have notched straight swords, notched batons, both intersecting, seated Kings, Maids in all suits, and dragons on the Aces.

And here is how Dummett characterizes the three regions of Spain (p. 283):
the shape of sticks: logs (Valencia), gnarled clubs (Barcelona), bent sticks (Vitoria);

the arrangement of Swords and Batons: intersecting (Valencia and Vitoria), separated (Barcelona):

the pose of the King:: seated (Valencia and Vitoria) , unknown (Barcelona);

the lowest figures: female (Valencia and Barcelona), male (Vitoria).
No mention of dragons, unfortunately. What is interesting to me is that the place that has the most "Portuguese" characteristics is Valencia: intersecting Swords and Batons, seated Kings, female Jacks, and batons as "logs", which I assume means with stubs of branches on them. On this last, when I Google "Valencia playing cards", just such knobby logs come up, except for one or two branches that are not lobbed off The particular deck shown online is a result of modifying the old decks to conform to the later look of the cards, the Wikipedia article says, including turning the former Maids into Queens.

I would observe in passing that the Borgias came from Valencia. But undoubtedly there were others.

In any case, Dummett says, to explain the Colonna's suit cards (p. 285):
Quello che sarebbe diventato il sistema spagnolo ebbe origine in un gruppo di modelli che rivaleggiavano con i modelli suddetti, e giunsero a soppiantarli tutti. Ciò che ci interessa è che quello che diventò il modello nazionale in Portogallo era usato originariamente anche in Spagna, forse in Aragona.

(What would become the Spanish system originated in a group of models that rivaled the above models, and came to supplant them all. What concerns us is that what became the national model in Portugal was used originally in Spain, perhaps in Aragon.)
Esistono comunque prove dell'impiego del modello ‘portoghese’ anche nella stessa Spagna. La prima è una coppia di fogli non tagliati per un mazzo completo di Francisco Flores del 1585 circa, conservata nelFArchivo de Indias di Siviglia; questi fogli furono fatti presumibilmente per l’esportazione in Messico9. Da ricordare è anche la scoperta del soffitto di una casa di Anversa coperto di fogli provenienti da un mazzo portoghese; la casa fu costruita fra il 1559 e il 1574 e gli esperti concordano che il rivestimento sia quello originario10.

Tuttavia, la prova inconfutabile è la presenza del sistema portoghese in Sicilia, nell’Italia Meridionale e a Roma nel XVII secolo: esso poteva venire solo dalla Spagna. Carte da gioco del tipo classico spagnolo erano realmente note a Roma in quel secolo, poiché il documento papale già menzionato si riferisce sia alle «carte spagnole» che alle «carte dell’ombra» (carte per il gioco spagnolo dell’ Ombre) come tipi di carte prodotte dai fabbricanti romani. Nondimeno, i modelli standard seicenteschi di Roma, del Regno di Napoli e della Sicilia erano tutti i forme diverse del sistema portoghese; non fu prima del XVIII secolo che vennero introdotti nuovi modelli, del tipo classico spagnolo, per il mazzo normale con cui di solito si giocava 11.

(There exists, however, evidence of the use of the 'Portuguese' model also in Spain itself. The first is a pair of uncut sheets for a full deck by Francisco Flores about 1585, preserved in the Archivo de Indias in Seville; these sheets were presumably made for export to Mexico 9. Be it remembered is the discovery of the ceiling of a house in Antwerp covered with sheet from a deck Portuguese; the house was built between 1559 and 1574, and most experts agree that the coating is to original 10.

However, there is irrefutable evidence for the presence of the Portuguese system in Sicily, in Southern Italy, and Rome in the seventeenth century: it could only have come from Spain. Classic Spanish playing cards were actually known in Rome in that age, because the papal document mentioned above refers to both "Spanish cards" and "Ombre cards " (cards for the Spanish game of Ombre) as types of cards produced by Roman manufacturers. Nevertheless, the standard models of seventeenth-century Rome, the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily were all [enf of 285] different forms of the Portuguese system; it was not until the eighteenth century that new models were introduced, the classic Spanish, for the normal deck as usually played (11).
9 See Trevor Denning, Spanish Playing Cards, London, 1980, pp.. 23-81. The sheets were discovered independently by him and by Harold and Virginia Wayland.
10. See André Kint, 'An important discovery in Antwerp', The Playing Card, Vol. XIII, 1984, pp. 45-54.
11. See M. Dummett, ‘The Portuguese Suit-System in the Central Mediterranean', The Playing Card, Voi. XVII, 19S9, pp. 113-24.)
The Antwerp cards are at The Seville are at The Portuguese are at ... s-replica/. Another such deck, probably 15th century, is at, with cavorting putti, probably related to the South German: Germany exported cards to Valencia and other parts of Spain, according to Andy's Playing Cards.

As additional evidence, Dummett refers to Portuguese-suited cards in a deck in Malta. The Sicilian cards themselves, he says, are clerly adapttions of original Portuguese model. The oldest Sicilian cards even have dogs threatening the Fantinas (p. 292), as do Neapolitan cards (p. 286).

The oldest documentaiton Dummet can find of tarot in Sicily is from 1736 (p. 294), but it must have come long before. He says (p. 293):
È logico presumere che, quando i tarocchi furono introdotti in Sicilia, i fabbricanti si conformarono alla solita pratica di usare il modello standard del mazzo normale per le carte dei semi di mazzi di tarocchi. In questo caso, è probabile che le carte dei semi dei più antichi mazzi siciliani da tarocchi ancora esistenti rappresentino il modello standard usato in Sicilia nel XVII secolo per il mazzo normale. Quest’ipotesi è confermata dalla rassomiglianza quasi esatta dei Re, dei Cavalli e delle Donne degli antichi mazzi da tarocchi con quelli del mazzo d’Infìrrera. Il mazzo dei tarocchi deve essere arrivato in Sicilia nella forma romana; ma è chiaro dalle carte del 1639 che a quella data carte di tipo portoghese erano già usate dai giocatori siciliani. Le carte dei semi dei mazzi antichi siciliani rassomigliano alle carte portoghesi classiche molto più delle [end of 292] carte romane; e si può spiegare questo fatto solo se i fabbricanti usavano per i mazzi di tarocchi un modello già esistente.

(It is logical to assume that, when tarot cards were introduced in Sicily, manufacturers conformed to the usual practice of using the standard normal deck of cards for the suits of Tarot decks. In this case, it is likely that the suit cards of the oldest surviving tarot Sicilian decks represent the standard model used in Sicily in the seventeenth century as the normal deck. This hypothesis is confirmed by the almost exact resemblance of the Kings, Knights, and Ladies of the ancient tarot decks with those of the Infìrrera deck. The tarot deck must have arrived in Sicily in Roman form; but it is clear from the cards in 1639 that on that date Portuguese type cards were already used by Sicilian players. The suit cards of the ancient Sicilian decks resemble classic Portuguese cards much more than the Roman cards; and this fact can be explained only if the Tarot manufacturers used decks of an existing model.)
The "Infirrera" is a Maltese normal pack dated 1693; the 1639 cards are a Sicilian normal pack (both p. 288). Since Dummett wrote, Pratesi has written about an article on Sicilian tarot he ran across in a popular magazine while visiting Polermo, by a professor of Medieval History there, documenting a reference to tarot in 1630 ( That is even before the Duke of Sermoneta's time.

The Sicilian tarot has the unique feature of an unnumbered "Poverta card" under the Bagatto, smply the lowest triumph, with no point value. The Angel has become Jupiter flying over a city. "It will be recalled," Dummett observes, "that, in 1725, the papal authorities advanced reservations about the presence of the Angel in the deck of Bologna" (p. 298). The World card has been adapted to show Atlas holding a globe; it is called Palle, i.r. Ball. The Sun card has Cain and Abel. The Star card, as in Minchiate, has a man on horseback with a star in front of him. The Tower, explictly called by that name, has no lightning or sign of any destruction. Instead of the Devil, there is a Ship, borrowed from Minchiate. Villabianca explains (p. 299; in footnote 23, Dummett admits that the expression at the beginning, speaking of himself in the third person, is odd, but it is somethng he does elsewhere as well. I myself wonder if these notes are not someone's recollections of Villabianca):
A tempi della mia età Villabianca rappresentavasi in queste Carte da Tarocchi le figure del Demonio e del novissimo dell’[anima], ma perché questi davan piùttosto motivi di tristezza ai Giuocatori che d’a [...] pcio fur° abboliti, e cambiati nelle figure del Vascello, e della Torre a spese della duchessa Massa Rosalia Cac-camo, che né fè fare appostar spente i [...].

(In my time Villabianca represented these cards in the Tarot as figures of the devil and the final summons of [soul], but because these are reasons for sadness to the players, that of a[...]pcio was abolished, and changed to the figure of the Ship, and the Tower, at the expense of the Duchess Massa Rosalia Caccamo, that neither fe do appostar off the [...].)
Dummett tells us about this Duchess (p. 299):
. La duchessa a cui si riferisce Villabianca era la moglie di Cristoforo Massa, duca di Casteldaci, che secondo Antonino Mango «sposò Rosalia Caccamo che a 28 maggio 1749 otteneva investitura del titolo di principe di Castelforte, portando il detto titolo in casa Massa» 22. Giuseppe Massa diventa principe di Castelforte nel 1753, presumibilmente dopo la morte di Cristoforo Massa 23. Le sostituzioni [end of 299]ordinate dalla duchessa furono fatte probabilmente verso il 1750.
22. Antonino Mango, Nobiliario di Sicilia, Palermo, 1919, Tomo I, p. 429.
23. Villabianca usa l’espressione «a tempi della mia età Villabianca» in un’altra sezione del suo opuscolo, quella sugli scacchi, dove dice: «H chiarissimo fu Viceré Duca Fogìiani, a tempi della mia età Villabianca,...». Giovanni
Fogliani d’Aragona (1697-1780), marchese (non duca) di Pellegrino, fu viceré dal 1755 fino alla rivolta del 1773: Vilìabianca aveva giocato ai Tarocchi fino ai 1766.

(The Duchess referred to by Villabianca was the wife of Christoforo Massa, Duke of Casteldaci, who, according to Antonino Mango 'married Rosalia Caccamo on May 28, 1749, obtained investiture if the title prince of Castelforte, and was said to bring the title home to Massa » (22). Joseph Massa becomes Prince of Castelforte in 1753, presumably after the death of Christoforo Nassa (23). The replacements [end of 309] ordered by the Duchess were probably made ​​around 1750.
22. Antonino Mango, Nobiliario di Sicilia [Nobilility of Sicily], Palermo, 1919, Volume I, p. 429.
23. Villabianca uses the expression "at the time of my age Villabianca" in another section of his pamphlet, the one about chess, where he says: 'He was clear Viceroy Duke Fogìiani, at the time of my age Villabianca... ". Giovanni Fogliani of Aragon (1697-1780), Marquis (not Duke) Pellegrino, was viceroy from 1755 until the revolt of 1773: Vilìabianca had played Tarot up to 1766.
Needless to say, the Pope and Popess are also gone, replaced with Constancy, in position 4 and Poverty, below 1. He has no information on when this was done. Otherwise, the cards are numbered like the Colonna, the Strambotto, and the Charles VI (but not quite like Minchiate), except that Love is above the virtues in eighth position and the Hermit above the Hanged Man! (see again ... .35+PM.png). This is an eccentric arrangement, which speaks to me of the interfering Duchess. Why the Fool is called "Fuggitivo" is unclear; some 19th century versions have him beating a drum and playing a wind instrument, hardly conducive to fleeing without being caught. The drum changed to a ball soon enough, as though that made everything comprehensible. (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=345&p=10975&hilit=sicily#p10975).

The high point-getting triumphs are the highest, Jupiter, the lowest, the Bagatto (which is called "I Piccioti" or "I Bagotti"), and the Fuggitivo. This is actually similar to Milan rules, except that it uses the Angel-equivalent of rather than the World. But the Globe and the three celestials also have points, although half as many. Here is the schedule (p. 301; I don't think I need to give a translation):
Giove (XX) —10 punti
i Picciotti (I) —IO punti
il Fuggitivo —10 punti
la Palla (XVIIII) — 5 punti
il Sole (XVIII) — 5 punti
la Luna (XVII) — 5 punti
la Stella (XVI) — 5 punti
ciascun Re — 5 punti
ciascuna Regina — 4 punti
ciascun Cavallo — 3 punti
ciascuna Donna — 2 punti
This is somewhat like in Minchiate. As in Minchiate and other type A games, the last trick gets 5 points. The old decks are all with 60 cards. Dummett explains (p. 292):
Gli antichi mazzi dì tarocchi siciliani pervenutici sono tutti ridotti a sessantatré carte per l’esclusione delle carte numerali dall’Asso al 3 di Denari e dall’Asso al 4 degli altri tre semi.

(The surviving ancient Sicilian tarot decks are all reduced to sixty cards, to the exclusion of the pip cards from Ace to 3 in the Coins and Ace to 4 in the other three suits.)
This reduction was also in Villabianca's day. He even calls the reduced deck "tarocchini" (p. 277).
Questo Giuoco di Tarocchi perlo più si suole giocare in quattro... Giuocandosi indi in tre si chiama Giuoco di tarocchini riformato di tarocchi, perché vi si lasciano alcune carte degli ultimi punti.

This Game of Tarot is only for playing in four... playing in three then was called the Game of reformed tarocchini of tarot, because there are left some cards for the last points.
In 1862 all decks in Sicily with Latin suits were required to have a tax stamp on the Ace of Coins. So the obliging manufacturers added a very un-Portuguese-looking Ace of Coins, for 61 cards altogether. The players mostly don't use it, Dummett says. At the end of the chapter Dummett describes numerous small changes that were made to various cards; he does not mention what the Fugitive looked like at all. The oldest extant decks are apparently from Felice Cemino, who died in 1828.

I thought this was a really fine chapter, especially on Sicily, well worth the effort in trying to understand it.

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