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

mikeh wrote:Huck wrote,
The note about the enemy led me to the assumption, that he got help of the earlier wife of Filippo Maria Visconti, to which he might have gotten access via the peace negotiations in May 1449 with Savoy.
Thanks for bringing out the reference to "the enemy". That excludes Bianca. But it still might mean anybody against Sforza's takeover of Milan, not only friends of the Repubic, Savoys, but even a Visconti or someone from the old regime, who knew about the goods taken from the Visconti castle. Or even someone from the Ambrosian Republic, for goods taken out after the Castle fell into their hands.

Why would he have needed to have access to Maria in peace negotiations with Savoy? And where was she then?
She's a logical person either to possess the deck or to know, how it got lost. She had managed, that she still could live in the Ambrosian republic. And naturally she had some insider knowledge, which treasures had been in Visconti possession before August 1447.
She's also a logical person to have appeared in the negotiations, cause it was her work, that Savoy engaged for Milan.

If my suspicion about the journey of Mantegna and the truth of Marcello's description of his search for a nice deck is true, then there must have been a time, when Marcello changed his mind from "a new deck" to "Michelino deck".

Likely one cannot interpret the gift of Marcello as a "private mission" ... there was an interest of the Venice state, that Marcello had a good personal relation to Sforza earlier (since long time, likely already in 1439), and since this went rather well with Sforza, there was also an interest in a good personal relation of Marcello to Renee. Likely that was a common clever way in Venetian diplomacy to develop persons (agents) who could influence foreign rulers.

Though Isabella or Renee might have thought, that Marcello had paid for the deck (and likely it was in the interest of the Venetian senate, that they believed this) it seems not possible, that Marcello did so. Marcello didn't get such a high salary.

Huck wrote,
[neither Franco Pratesi, Ross or me had the idea, that "new and exquisite sort of triumphs" might mean "new in Provence, and Provence already knew Trionfi decks", as far I know; and I would think, that still everybody of us would take that as rather improbable. Ross argued in the past, that "new" means, that the full Tarot structure already existed as the "common Trionfi".

I vaguely remember Ross saying that last. That seems to me seeing more than is there. Whatever "new" is opposed to, however, it is something that would be familiar to his reader, Isabelle, i.e. poems, processions, or cards.

In that regard, Ross wrote once (2006, at ... post937439)
There was already a deck in France - the deck that Marcello had sent to Isabelle of Lorraine in Launay, near Angers, in 1449. It was a local deck, presumably, made in or around Milan. But there's no telling what "style" of deck it was (this is in addition to the more famous Michelino da Besozzo deck).
According to this, Marcello's letter didn't go anywhere near Rene in Provence. I couldn't find a Launay near Angers. I did find one near Rouen. Angers is in the Loire Valley. Is it correct to assume that this was a tarot deck of some sort, perhaps the one that he had been given by Caraffa (made in Italy)? The reason I ask is that Ross then uses, in 2006, this letter as evidence that at least one tarot deck was in France by 1450, namely, the one sent by Marcello along with the Michelino. If so, Isabelle would presumably already know how to play the game, since Marcello doesn't talk about it.

For me the issue is whether this letter is evidence that the tarot was known in France before the French invasions of Italy.
A rough descripion, how to play it, is given with the Martiano text. And it wasn't a "Tarot" deck, the game was called "Trionfi" ... :-)

Wiki has to Angers:
"King René of Anjou contributed to the economic revival in a city that had been diminished by the Black Death (1347–1350) and the Hundred Years War (1337–1453). A man of great culture and generosity, René transformed Angers into a cultural and political centre and held there a brilliant Court. He transformed the castle moat into a menagerie and built several gardens. He also founded in Angers a new Ordre du Croissant which was supposed to compete with the Order of the Golden Fleece, created several years earlier.
The foundation of the order of the Croissant indicates "1449". If Renee or Isabella were constantly at this place in 1449, I don't know, maybe Ross has better information.
Wiki states, that Renee was born in Angers (castle of Angers)


The chateau is enormously sturdy, with several hundred metres of defensive walls further reinforced by a total of 17 towers. Entrance was is through one of two drawbridges across a moat. It is one of very few defensive castles that was never successfully taken successfully by siege.

It was during the 14th and 15th centuries that Angers castle was most important, and during this period the impressive Apocalypse tapestry was also commissioned - the important and substantial work depicts the story of the apocalypse on a series of six tapestries, reaching over 100 metres in length.

The building itself was again further modified and the chapel added at this time to house a fragment of the cross of the crucifixion.

During the 16th century the castle was home to Catherine de Medici. Later in the same century her son, Henry III, removed much of the defensive capabilities of the castle with the stone being used to develop the surrounding town.

As far I remember, St. Maurice (soldier saint and very important in the order of the Crescant) had been of great importance in Angers ... and "Anjou" and "Angers" sound similar.


Angers cathedral, St. Maurice (Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d'Angers)

Southern Window, Christ with zodiac and 12 elders, given to 1451

The Cathedral claimed to have the head of John the Baptized, but Amiens claimed this also.

The head in Amiens ...
John the Baptist's head[edit]

Reliquary for the head of Saint John the Baptist
The initial impetus for the building of the cathedral came from the installation of the reputed head of John the Baptist on 17 December 1206. The head was part of the loot of the Fourth Crusade, which had been diverted from campaigning against the Turks to sacking the great Christian city of Constantinople. A sumptuous reliquary was made to house the skull. Although later lost, a 19th-century replica still provides a focus for prayer and meditation in the North aisle.

Amiens had been of importance for the French kings. But likely the Anjou in Angers had also some use for the head.

The "crescent" was a heraldic sign for the second son. Oldest sons mostly became the ruler, and second sons often had condottieri or military function. The Anjou (second son) became kings in Naples and Hungary.

The idea of the rder of the Crescent likely had been about the function of these "second sons", ready to fight for new kingdoms with the help of crusades.

wiki has ..
The Ordre du Croissant (Order of the Crescent; Italian - Ordine della Luna Crescente) was a chivalric order founded by Charles I of Naples and Sicily in 1268. It was revived in 1448 or 1464 by René I, king of Jerusalem, Sicily and Aragon (including parts of Provence), to provide him with a rival to the English Order of the Garter. René was one of the champions of the medieval system of chivalry and knighthood, and this new order was (like its English rival) neo-Arthurian in character. Its insignia consisted of a golden crescent moon engraved in grey with the word LOZ, with a chain of 3 gold loops above the crescent. On René's death, the Order lapsed.

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

The good king: René of Anjou and fifteenth century Europe
Margaret Lucille Kekewich
Palgrave Macmillan, Dec 15, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 284 pages ... ume&q=1449


According this Rene was resident in Provence, when Sforza wrote his letter in February 1449.


According this ...

René d'Anjou
Étienne Casimir Hippolyte Cordellier Delanoue
A. Mame et Cie, 1851 - 305 pages ... 49&f=false

... Rene arrived in Normandy (Louviers) at the first days of October 1449 and was at Rouen at November 10.

If he was in Angers between "mid of 1449" and "first days of Otober", he didn't stay long, cause he likely needed some time for travelling.
Well, it doesn't say, if Isabella accompanied him.

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

Huck wrote,
A rough descripion, how to play it, is given with the Martiano text. And it wasn't a "Tarot" deck, the game was called "Trionfi" ... :-)
Ross wrote that Marcello sent a second deck, in addition to the Michelino/Marziano deck and book. What I was asking was, could it have been what today we call a "tarot". I know the Michelino deck was called "Trionfi". I don't know what the second one was called, and actually, what interests me is what it was, more than what it was called. Is there any suggestion that this second deck was a tarot deck, i.e. one anything like what we today call "tarot"? --I mean, one with a fifth suit that has more trick-taking power than the others, but not one representing the Greco-Roman gods. If it was just an ordinary four suited deck, I don't see why he would have sent it.Or did he send a second one at all.

Thanks for the information about Maria of Savoy. So she was still in or near Milan in 1449 and saw her, or her family's, interest as with the Republic (perhaps as a temporary expedient) and not with Sforza. Good to know.


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

mikeh wrote:Huck wrote,
A rough descripion, how to play it, is given with the Martiano text. And it wasn't a "Tarot" deck, the game was called "Trionfi" ... :-)
Ross wrote that Marcello sent a second deck, in addition to the Michelino/Marziano deck and book. What I was asking was, could it have been what today we call a "tarot". I know the Michelino deck was called "Trionfi". I don't know what the second one was called, and actually, what interests me is what it was, more than what it was called. Is there any suggestion that this second deck was a tarot deck, i.e. one anything like what we today call "tarot"? --I mean, one with a fifth suit that has more trick-taking power than the others, but not one representing the Greco-Roman gods. If it was just an ordinary four suited deck, I don't see why he would have sent it.Or did he send a second one at all.

Thanks for the information about Maria of Savoy. So she was still in or near Milan in 1449 and saw her, or her family's, interest as with the Republic (perhaps as a temporary expedient) and not with Sforza. Good to know.
Ady (Phaeded's source) reports a "curious treaty" between Louis, Dauphin of the Dauphine, and Savoy (possibly a secret treaty ?), which tells, that both side desired territoral wins by the operation (p. 53/54) ... 7/mode/2up

Marcello's letter didn't describe the second Trionfi deck, so there's zero information about its content. And there's no second source about them.
... :-) ... if he had taken some time to describe them, we would know a lot more.
At that time it happened that Scipio Caraffa had just returned from the region of Provence, where he had spent the most delightful and refined time in the fairest comfort of your singular realm; and I considered most observantly his conversation concerning the best and happiest conditions of my lords. By some chance the conversation turned to this game, which is called “Triumph”, certain cards that had been offered to me and which I give as they were given.
When Scipio had seen them, being a thoughtful and diligent man, he said your Majesty would be very much pleased by them: and he urged exceedingly and immediately that they should be sent to you at the first opportunity. Thus indeed he affirmed that with them you might give considerations to divine things, as such great things are the business of royalty. Yours are of this kind; they are accustomed to being conducted any time you are unoccupied with many and various thoughts and subjects by means of these pastimes, that you might restore and revive in some measure the wearied mind. On account of this fact, nothing should be able to bring you anything unpleasant or disagreeable.
For my part, by no speech, by no words, would I be able to convey it. This book, these cards [Michelino deck] I greatly prize, will be carried by Giovanni Cossa to be given to you. Also attached, the cards [the other deck] mentioned above, although they might be unequal to your Boundless Highness; ...

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

Two questions that are vexing WHY Marcello suddenly decided to send a gift to the wife of Rene of Anjou: 1. Since it was the arrival of this person in the Sforza camp that sparked the idea, who was Scipio Caraf(f)a and why was he there? 2. Who was the "enemy" that Marcello (or his middle man) dealt with to obtain the Marziano deck?

I don't see how #2 is not the Ambrosian Republic, or at least that Visconti's personal effects were held within Amb.Rep.-controlled territory, if not in Milan proper (perhaps the items were auctioned off, considering how cash-strapped the Amb.Rep was): "I exerted all of the keenest ingenuity for it, I started to pursue it night and day, how by negotiation after the death of the former prince, I might be influential for you. Indeed, for a long time it was difficult for one book and deck of cards to be able to be found among the furniture, so much of the riches and splendours of the Duke being scattered as well as destroyed in the disturbance. And because of the difficulty of things I would not have been able to investigate and to know, in any way whatsoever, unless I had depended on the enemy himself." On the strong possibility that Sforza or Marcello’s agent was behind “enemy lines” – in Milan (at the town hall of the Broletto where auctionable items were held) – to acquire the Marziano deck at auction: “A detailed explanation of how this [auctions] was done survives from the period of the short-lived Ambrosian republic that governed Milan from 1447-1449 ….The need for a regularized system of auction sales was primarily due to the new government’s desparate need for cash to pay its mercenary armies. Everything that could be sold was put up for auction. This included the personal possesions of the deceased Visconti Duke, such as his jewelry as well as his tiles and bricks of his fortress, and the lands once under his control [has a Pratesi investigated these records for a reference to the deck?] (Evelyn S. Welch, Shopping in the Renaissance: Consumer Cultures in Italy 1400-1600, 2005: 189)

As for Scipio Carafa - Huck is apparently relying on an uncited source that Ross found that in turn muddled the facts: "At this time, the King (Charles VII) had a friendly relationship with the Doge of Venice, and received at his court Scipio Carafa, ambassador of the Fairest Republic, then at war with Milan."
Yes, Carafa was an ambassador/envoy in Venice at some point before going to France. That does not make him a Venetian ambassador....Venice did not use condotte with foreigners to represent her foreign relations - that was strictly handled by Venetian patricians in a most controlled manner. Hell, Venice even used her own patricians to fill the lower posts of consuls (visdomino) and provveditore, as we all know all too well with Marcello. Relying on a Neapolitan as their ambassador to the King of France would have been unthinkable.

A little more info on Carafa: Per this Dutch genealogical research site, Scipio himself became lord of Pascarola, now a parish of Caivano, a city 14 km northeast of Naples. It seems pretty clear to me that as a member of one of the powerful Neapolitan baron families, now allied with Alfonso of Aragon, whose interests he was an envoy for. ... 840925.php
Much more info on Scipio's son (grandson?), on Treccani: ... ografico)/


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

The French source said, that he was ambassadore of Venice in France. The situation in the soldier camp looks, as if the person Scipio Carafa had something to do with Renee d'Anjou, and he behaves like an ambassadore for Venice. The situation with Alfonso of Aragon was stressed in the time of 1448/49, why should Marcello tolerate an Aragonese ambassadore spy in the soldier's camp of Sforza?

Maybe he hadn't the usual state of a Venetian ambassador, maybe he was just a sort of agent used by Venetian ambassadores.

The name Carafa points to Naples, that's clear ...

... but Naples had been ruled by Anjou, till 1442. Shouldn't one assume, as Caraffa had been in Provence in 1449, that he had accompanied Renee into exile?

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

Very interesting, Phaeded, about the auctions. I'll have a look at Welch's book myself. And thanks for the clarifications and the link to Ady, Huck. I was wondering about that treaty of the Dauphin with Savoy. When you guys are more or less done, I have more to post about Dummett. This has been a very enlightening exchange for me, so don't stop now. It should actually be its own thread (pages 6-7 of this thread so far), but I don't know if we have a moderator currently to move things. If it doesn't happen, I'll change the thread title to include Marcello and on the first post refer people to the right pages, when you're more or less through, as this discussion is something that should be easy to find.

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

mikeh wrote:Very interesting, Phaeded, about the auctions.
Where the auctions took place (and where the nobles were beheaded as traitors to the Republic and placed on pikes - Filelfo was outraged about that as he had former pupils beheaded) - the Broletto (from one of my visits there):
Italy, April 2010 328.JPG
(2.62 MiB) Not downloaded yet
Also, the palace at Pavia where the Ducal library was held - to give you an idea of its size (only a corner of it):
Italy, April 2010 365.JPG
(811.78 KiB) Not downloaded yet

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(For reference:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I found one more argument in Dummett that the Tarot de Marseille stems from Milan, based on the imagery of the Tarot de Marseille and Cary Sheet Tower cards. I don't think it is a very good argument. But I give it for completeness, and because I think there is the possibility of a better argument, based on the same cards, although I don't know whether it suggests French or Italian provenance. Dummett's is in Chapter 18, p. 425:
Il disegno bolognese e quelli ‘Carlo VI’ e Rosenwald, tuttavia, non suggeriscono che l’edificio fosse in origine una torre, ma piuttosto una fortezza; né, a giudicare da queste carte, pare che il fulmine fosse la causa originaria della deflagrazione. Si è portati a supporre che il disegno del Tarocco di Marsiglia derivi da un adattamento di uno precedente, per ragioni locali. Nel 1521, quando i Francesi erano ancora in possesso di Milano, una delle torri del Castello Sforzesco, eretta sotto il duca Francesco Sforza, crollò uccidendo molti soldati francesi. Comunemente si credette che fosse stata colpita da un fulmine a del sereno; il prodigio preannuncio davvero la rapida e definitiva espulsione dei Francesi dalla città.

(The designs of Bologna, the 'Charles VI', and the Rosenwald, however, do not suggest that the building was originally a tower, but rather a fortress; nor, to judge by these cards, does it seem that lightning was the original cause of the explosion. One would assume that the design of the Tarot of Marseilles is derived from an adaptation of a previous one, for local reasons. In 1521, when the French were still in possession of Milan, one of the towers of the Castello Sforzesco, built under Duke Francesco Sforza, collapsed, killing many French soldiers. It was commonly believed that it had been struck by lightning out of the blue [fulmine a del sereno, out of the serene. a colloquial expression for “unexpectedly”]; the prodigy foreshadowing the really quick and final expulsion of the French from the city.
There are numerous problems with this argument. The association of lightning with the card was not original with the Tarot de Marseille; even the "Steele Sermon" called it "La Sagitta", "the Arrow", i.e. lightning, and it is quite visible on the Charles VI card (at left at ... othsch.jpg). Also, the tower on the Sforza Castle is itself part of a fortress, not a free-standing tower. And already the Bolognese card shows men falling (previous link, at right). Nor does it seem that the French would want to memorialize God's warning to them of His displeasure at their occupation of Milan. Nor is the tower on the card collapsing; It is just losing its top.

There are much better predecessors of the Tarot de Marseille than the one in this incident, most notably the Metropolitan card (2nd from left below; the Cary Sheet is at far left; on the right are the Noblet and the Vieville). That it reflects a 15th century design is shown by an illumination to a Lydgate Fall of Princes, with the same devil inside the tower, and people falling. It is another odd coincidence--three so far.




My question is, is this illumination in a French or an English book, and from when in the 15th century? I don't know. If a French illumination. that suggests French provenance for the card, unless someone brought French images to Milan. If an English source and at the right time, the 1460s-1490s, that might suggest Milanese provenance for the card, because Milan and England were close allies then (against the French), and the Borromeo banking family had a branch in London (see Huck's post at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=857&p=12378&hilit= ... and#p12378). The imagery also might suggest Ferrarese provenance, if the Metropolitan card is from there; I don't know Ferrara's connections with England then. Cards would have been a ready source of images for illuminations. Maybe I can find out more at the library tomorrow when it's open (unfortunately today is a holiday here).

While looking unsuccessfully for an answer to this question on the Internet, I did find two other tarot-like illuminations to Fall of Princes, both English. On ... -good.html, if you scroll down you will see a man, Sardanapolus, jumping off a tower, this is from Bury St. Edmunds, England, c. 1450-1460. Then on another site there was "Sardanapolus spinning", rather like the Charles VI/Bolognese Sun card, at ... 16000.html, c. 1455, but no information about where the illumination was done. Perhaps it is in the same manuscript. Sardanapolus is an ancient king of Assyria often given in medieval manuscripts as the antitype of Prudence (see my post at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=397&p=12533&hilit= ... lus#p12533). He had not crossed my mind as a reference for two cards, but there he is.

Added later in day: when I searched again for the source of the Lydgate illumination, Google gave me the answer right away. It's p. 7 of Bodley 263, c. 1450, English ( That seems too early to be of any significance, but I don't know for sure. The little guy in the doorway is certainly a strange coincidence, and I wonder if Lydgate mentions him.

As for Sardanapalus, the one British Museum commentator says that he is described as spending time spinning wool with his concubines. The illuminations are in Harley 1766, English, 1450-1460. The other commentator says he is described as jumping from the doorway of his palace into the burning pile of his riches. That's not exactly what is portrayed. That's three coincidences so far. Well, I guess I go to the library to see what Lydgate himself said.

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