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

Another comment I need to make is that the image from Lydgate that I scanned is reversed. But it's the best I have. In assessing its relationship to the Cary Sheet, that's important. On both the Lydgate and the Tarot de Marseille image, the person or persons falling is in the left side of the pciture, which we can't see on the Cary Sheet.

I checked to see if there is any reference to a devil in Nimrod's tower in Lydgate. There isn't. I also checked to see if Sardanapalus is described as spinning or falling. Yes to the first, no to the second. At the beginning of the tale, that is Saranapalus's first scandalous act (lines 2243-2247, Bergen edition p. 263) followed by my translation:
To vicious lust his liff he dede enclyne;
Mong Assirians, whan he his regne gan,
Off fals vsage he was so femynyne,
That among women vppon the rokke he span,
In ther habite disguisid from a man.
And off froward flesshl insolence,
Off alle men he fledde the presence.

(To vicious lust his life he did incline;
Among Assyrians, when he his reign gained,
Of false usage he was so feminine,
That among women upon the distaff he spun,
In their clothing disguised from [appearing as] a man.
And of froward fleshly insolence
Of all men he fled the presence. )
"Rokke" means "distaff", the editor's glossary says.

However that is not why Sardanapalus meets his sad end. He devotes his life to more feminine things like cooking, getting drunk, and other sensual pleasures. Brothels are his favorite places, among the women. But the illuminator doesn't illustrate this part. Then (lines 2290-2296)
But, as Bochas list to putte in mynde,
Whan Arbachus, a prynce off gret renoun,
Sauh off this kyng the flesshli lustis blyne,
Made with the people off that regeoun
Ageyn[e]st hym a coniuracioun,
And to hym sente, for his mysgouernanaunce,
Off hih disdeyn a ful pleyn diffiaunce.

(But, as Boccaccio puts in our mind,
When Arbachus, a prince of great renown,
Saw of this king the fleshly lust blind,
Made with the people of that region
Against him a conjuration,
And to him sent, for his misgovernance,
Of his disdain a full plain defiance.)
The result is that Sardanapalus flees to his castle and has all his treasures put in a pile with coal and logs, and when the fire is hot enough, jumps in:
Into the fir furiousli he ran.
This tryumphe Saranapallus wan,
With fir consumyd for his fynal meede,
Brent al to asshes among the coles rede.

(Into the fire furiously he ran.
This triumph Sardanapallus won,
With fire consumed for his final deed,
Burned all to ashes among the red coals.)


Well, there is enough of a discrepancy between text and these c. 1450-1460 illuminations, in the direction of the tarot images, that I am still curious (first one from; second one from ... -good.html).

I looked up the circumstances in which Lydgate wrote the poem. He did it for Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, youngest brother of the famous warrior-king Henry V, now deceased, and thus uncle to the young and incompetent Henry VI, starting in 1431 and ending in 1439. It is Duke Humphrey who has the connections to Italy. Jennifer Summit writes (in "'Stable in Study: Lydgate's Fall of Princes and Duke Humphrey's Library", in John Lydgate: Poetry, Culture and Lancastrian England, ed. by Larry Scanlon and James Simpson, p. 208):
Lydgate received his commission in 1431, around the same time that Humphrey bgan to amass many of the most important books in his library. While Lydgate was busy writing, Humphrey commissioned a series of Italian humanists, beginning in 1433 with Leonardo Bruni, to oversee the copying and collection of books for his library, which grew steadiy during this time (6). By 1439, the year in which the Fall of Princes was finally completed, Humphrey was ready to make his first major gift of books to Oxford University.
6. Weiss [Roberto, Humanism in England during the Fifteenth Century, 2nd edition, 1957], pp. 47-53.
So in 1439 Humphrey mighthave also been looking for fitting images to illustrate this vernacular work that he was shepherding to completion. From Weiss (3rd edition, 1967) I learn more. The Papacy had sent Italian humanists to England as its representatives. From them, Humphrey gets Bruni's translation of Aristotle's Ethics and is amazed by its lucidity compared with medieval translations. He gets Bruni to translate the Politics, but after that Bruni breaks with Humphrey because of his impatience and manner. After that, Humphrey gets Zenone da Castiglione, Bishop of Bayeux but a native Italian and student of Gasparino Barzizza, as his publicist (p. 50). Castiglione goes to the Conclave at Basel as an envoy of Henry VI, and [Added next day (in bold):] when that conclave breaks up, joins the Papal court in Bologna, 1437 (p. 51). In 1438-39 he attends the Conclave then in Ferrara and Florence. After that, in 1439, he returns to England (p. 52). It would have been fortuitous if Castiglione had happened to bring back a tarot deck. If not, there would be more opportunities. Through Castiglione and his secretary, a Milanese named Rolando Tolenti (also of the Barzizzas' school in Milan), Humphrey becomes the chief sponsor of Pier Candido Decembrio's translation of Plato's Republic (p. 54) ; Decembrio also advises him on what works he should add to his library. The manuscripts are sent via the Borromei, the Milanese bankers who have a branch in London (http://www.queenmaryhistoricalresearch. ... fault.aspx and Weiss p. 59). By the early 1440s aspiring English humanists are returning home from Padua, Bologna, Ferrara, Rome, and Florence. Weiss mentions humanist book collector Andrew Holes, who returns in 1444 after 9 years in Italy, including a year and half in Florence, 1439-1441 (p. 78: "The Florentine visit proved particularly congenial"). There are numerous other lesser lights as well as papal emissaries, English and Italian, back and forth. Humphrey is connected to most of them. If he wanted new sources of images, all he had to do was ask.

Note added next day: I left out a bit about Bologna in the above paragraph, now in Bologna. That's important, since the illumination particularly reflects the Bolognese card.

Also, there is the illumination of Oedipus that MJ Hurst posted earlier, viewtopic.php?f=11&t=937&p=13701&hilit=Lydgate#p13691, comparable to the Hanged Man, and of course Lydgate's Fortuna. Whether these images are irrelevant, as he maintains, is debatable. They of course are not sources for the tarot, but considering his patron's Italian connections, might serve to date when a pack of cards might have served as a model book for an illuminator, with some fun for his patron.

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

Mikeh wrote:
After that, Humphrey gets Zenone da Castiglione, Bishop of Bayeux but a native Italian and student of Gasparino Barzizza, as his publicist (p. 50). Castiglione goes to the Conclave at Basel as an envoy of Henry VI, and [Added next day (in bold):] when that conclave breaks up, joins the Papal court in Bologna, 1437 (p. 51). In 1438-39 he attends the Conclave then in Ferrara and Florence. After that, in 1439, he returns to England (p. 52). It would have been fortuitous if Castiglione had happened to bring back a tarot deck.
Assuming Tarot existed before 1440. Still no reference before then...

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

Yes, thanks, Phaeded, assuming the tarot existed then. I (with Dummett in this particular book) am trying to deal with realistic possibilities, not certainties. Since there is nothing in the 1440 note to suggest that this pack is something new, I think it is safe to assume that tarot decks existed before the Giusti note. How long before is unknown. Dummett thinks it's safe to co back 17 years as a realistic possibility (about 1425, he says in 2004, based on the 1442 note). So do I.

Now I want to take up Dummett's arguments regarding the non-Tarot de Marseille French and Flemish tarots of the 16th-eartly 18th centuries, as discussed in his chapters 14 and 15. In this context it will also prove relevant to include part of chapter 16, on Piedmont and Savoy, as well. At that point the argument gets very complex and detailed. In his articles and other books, Dummett simplified things. I will try not to here, because that part of the story is quite interesting. But first I want to present the decks, with Dummett's observations and my own on Dummett.


First Dummett discusses the extant decks with Italian suits that depart from the Tarot de Marseille, in France and what is now Belgium. These include, besides the Besancon (already discussed), the Geoffroy, Anonymous Parisian, Vieville, de Hautot, and "Belgian", anachronistically so-called, perhaps more appropriately Flemish. Besides having different imgery, these decks also present variations in the C order of triumphs: Geoffroy and Anonymous Parisian conform to the Tarot de Marseille order; Vieville conforms to Susio's order; de Hautot conforms to the Maison Academique order, in putting the Empress higher than the Emperor, but also puts the Fool as triumph 22; the Belgian tarot puts the Fool as the highest trump as well, but otherwise conforms to the Tarot de Marseille. How do we account for these variations? These cards have been discussed a lot on THF, but not, so far as I know, in relation to Dummett.

About the Geoffroy, he says, after describing the suit signs, which are idiosyncratic and come from a normal deck by Virgil Solis (p. 355f) :
E, ovviamente, possibile che, sebbene le carte dei semi siano non [end of 354] standard, i disegni dei trionfi si conformino, più o meno, a quelli che erano standard a quell’epoca; tutto quello che possiamo dire è che, con una sola eccezione, essi non presentano strette somiglianze con nessun altro tipo di disegno conosciuto. L’eccezione è l’Impiccato. Questa carta non assomiglia per niente al disegno consueto del Tarocco di Marsiglia; la figura è barbuta anziché adolescente ed è vista di profilo anziché di fronte, e la forca non consiste, come di solito, di due pali diritti che reggono una trave orizzontale, ma, come una forca comune, di un singolo palo diritto dalla cui sommità sporge una trave orizzontale, tenuta ferma da un supporto diagonale. La figura riappare in alcuni mazzi svizzeri del Tarocco di Marsiglia, come, per esempio, uno del 1755 circa, opera di Claude Burdel di Friburgo, e uno del 1865 circa, opera di F. Gassmann di Ginevra; in entrambi, la forca ha due pali verticali e due supporti diagonali 12.

L’Asso di Pappagalli reca la scritta «Catelin Geoffroy 1557» e alcune altre carte le iniziali C. G. Tutto ciò che possiamo dedurre con un minimo di sicurezza da questo mazzo è che a quella data l’ordine del Tarocco di Marsiglia era già in uso, non necessariamente dappertutto, e che era già pratica consueta numerare i trionfi, mentre la pratica di scrivere i nomi sulle figure e sui trionfi non si era probabilmente ancora diffusa.

(And, of course, it is possible that, although the suit cards are not [end of 354] standard, the designs of the triumphs conform, more or less, to those that were standard at that time; all we can say is that, with one exception, they do not have close similarities with any other known type of design. The exception is the Hanged Man. This card does not look like the usual design of the Tarot of Marseilles; the figure is bearded rather than clean-shaven and profile view rather than from the front, and the gallows is not, as usually, two straight poles that support a horizontal beam, but as a common gallows, a single pole right from the top projecting a horizontal beam, held in place by a diagonal support. The figure reappears in some Tarot of Marseilles Swiss decks, such as, for example, one about 1755, the work of Claude Burdel of Freiburg, and one of about 1865, by F. Gassmann Geneva; in both, the gallows has two vertical poles and two diagonal supports 12.

The Ace of Parrots bears the inscription "Catelin Geoffroy 1557" and some other cards have the initials CG. All that we can infer with a minimum of security from this deck is that on that date the order of the Tarot of Marseilles was already in use, not necessarily everywhere, and it was already standard practice to number the triumphs, while the practice to write the names on the figures and the triumphs was probably not yet widespread.
12. See S. R. Kaplan, op. cit., 1978, p. 163, for a reproduction of the Gassmann deck, and p. 242 for a Miiller deck of 1972 based on Burdel. A third example is a deck of Johannes II Muller-Hurter of Schaffhausen in the penultimate quarter of the nineteenth century; see Tarot-Tarock-Tarot, edited by D. Hoffmann and M. Dietrich, catalog of an exhibition at the Spielkarten-Museum of Leinfelden, 1988, p. 67, n. 22.)
The web-page has good reproductions of all the triumphs as well as an example of the Swiss version.

Dummett then describes the deck but does not relate it to anything earlier--or after, except to the Tarot de Marseille. For its relationship to earlier Italian decks, I have already said a lot in my previous post; it clearly is a development out of previous Italian decks, especially Ferrara and probably Milan, since it has the Tarot de Marseille order. What is new is this: For the Popess, the key (previously only with the Pope). For Emperor, a high-backed chair, anticipating the Tarot de Marseille. For the Pope, the triple cross. That is the first occurrence I know of for that attribute. The Hermit carries a rosary. Death carries a shovel as well as his scythe. For the Tower he says (p. 357):
. Il trionfo XVI presenta una donna che, mentre suona la viola, viene afferrata da un diavolo; sullo sfondo c’è un’altra figura, un arco e due finestre da cui esce del fumo.

(Triumph XVI presents a woman who, while playing the viola, is gripped by a devil; in the background there is another figure, a bow and two windows from which smoke comes out.)
It corresponds to "Fulmine", i.e. "Lightning". I will say a little more: It seems to be the "house of the devil" motif, as expressed verbally in Ferrara and visually in the Minchiate, the main addition being the musical instruments. I think more can be said. The Bateleur, in having a group of people around him, is similar to many type A and B Bagatos. The Popess's key derives from the Pope's in most A and B versions. The red and white horses are earlier in the Issy. The order may be C, but the imagery comes from a variety of sources, probably by way of Ferrara (and Avignon, where Alfonso I of Ferrara had been visiting a year before the first "taraux" note there and six months beofore the first "tarocco" note in Ferrara).

The next deck Dummett describes is the Vieville, presumably because it, like the Geoffroy, lacks titles. I find this procedure unhelpful, because the Anonymous seems visually much closer to the Geoffroy; and indeed, other non-standard decks before then had titles--they were needed. Dummett says that the Vieville "represents the fusion of two traditions of depiction, one derived from the Tarot of Marseilles and the other entirely different". So let us look at the deck that is more different first, Anonymous Parisian, to see what can be gleaned from it of a different tradition, of which the Geoffroy already has some signs. For a good comparison of the Geoffroy with the Anonymous Parisian, see the web-page already cited, They seem vaguely related.

It is true that Dummett dates the Anonymous later than the Vieville, but he says that Depaulis dates it to the "first half of the century", and others, like Huck, still earlier. Moreover, the checkered border is reminiscent of the earlier Sforza Castle cards, which Dummett says is a characteristic of the 16th century. However Dummett seems to have a worthwhile (although not conclusive) point when he says that it can't be much earlier than the other two packs (Noblet and Vieville), because they all have the same design on their backs. Perhaps it is a re-issue of an earlier design.

As usual, he starts with the suit cards:
I trionfi hanno i soliti numeri romani. In aggiunta, come abbiamo già detto, i trionfi, le figure e gli Assi hanno i nomi scritti per intero in fondo alla carta; le parole usate per Re, Regina, Cavaliere, Fante e Asso sono Roy, Royne, Chevalier, Varlet e Ar. Le Spade sono coltellacci a lama larga, i Bastoni rami malamente levigati; entrambi sono disposti, specialmente nelle carte numerali più alte, in modo molto strano. Le carte numerali del seme di Bastoni e, ancora di più, quelle del seme di Spade presentano una certa somiglianza con il mazzo da Tarocchino non standard di G.M. Mitelli (Bologna, 1664 circa); quelle del seme di Spade assomigliano un po’ anche alle carte corrispondenti nel mazzo ferrarese cinquecentesco non standard della collezione Leber a Rouen, e a quelle del mazzo quattrocentesco del cosiddetto Oberdeutscher Stecher. Sembra che dal XV al XVII secolo sia esistita una forma standard dei segni di seme latini — o almeno delle Spade — per i mazzi non standard. Ciascun segno del seme di Denari nel mazzo parigino anonimo, dal 2 al 10, porta uno stemma30. Ciascun Asso presenta un animale che porta una bandiera su cui compare il segno di seme: un unicorno per le Spade, un centauro alato per i Bastoni, un leone per i Denari e un cervo per le Coppe.

(The triumphs have the usual Roman numerals. In addition, as we have already said, the triumphs, the figures and the Aces have the names written out in full in the bottom of the card; the words used by the King, Queen, Knight, Jack and Ace are Roy, Royne, Chevalier, Varlet and Ar. The swords are broad-bladed knives, sticks badly polished branches; both are organized, especially in the higher numeral cards, very strangely. The pip cards in the suit of Batons and, more importantly, those of the suit of Swords bear a certain resemblance to the non-standard Tarocchino deck of G. M. Mitelli (Bologna, 1664); those of the suit of Swords also resemble a little their correspondents in the cards in the sixteenth-century non-standard Ferrarese deck in the Leber collection in Rouen, and those of the fifteenth-century so-called Oberdeutscher Stecher deck. It seems that from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century there existed a standard form of the Latin suit signs - or at least in Swords - for non-standard decks. Each sign of the suit of Coins in the anonymous Parisian deck, 2-10, bears an emblem 30. Each Ace has an animal bearing a flag on which the suit sign appears: a unicorn for Swords, a winged centaur for Batons, a lion and a deer for Coins and Cups.
30 These coats of arms have been identified by Michael Popoff; see Tarot, jeu et magie, p. 64.)
Huck dates the deck by the significance of the emblems on the Coins. Later I will give a link to that discussion. I would say that the Batons are somewhat Spanish style, in that they portray branches with knobs on them. The same style had a certain vogue in Italy; so it is not surprising that it might resemble some decks there. The F at the top of the "Varlets", for the Italian "Fante", is a clear suggestion of Italian practice, in case anyone still thinks the game is French (, which also shows the Batons).

For the Triumphs, he comments (p. 366f):
La maggior parte dei disegni delle figure e dei trionfi non presenta particolari somiglianze con quelli dei modelli standard a noi noti. Ci sono due eccezioni: l’Impiccato ile Pendìi;) (XII) è molto simile nel disegno a quello del Tarocco di Marsiglia, mentre il Mondo (XXI) è sorprendentemente simile alla carta corrispondente nei mazzi più tardi di quel modello standard di cui il mazzo di Viéville è l’esempio più antico. Il Mondo (le Monde) è rappresentato da una figura nuda ritta su un globo diviso in tre parti, delle quali la prima mostra il sole, la seconda la luna e le stelle e la terza la terra; assomiglia al-[end of 366] quanto ai Mondo del Tarocco bolognese.

(Most of the depictions of figures and triumphs have no particular similarities with those of the standard models known to us. There are two exceptions: the Hanged Man (XII) is very similar in design to that of the Tarot of Marseilles, while the World (XXI) is strikingly similar to the corresponding card in the later decks of the standard model of which the deck of Viéville is the oldest example. The World (Le Monde) is represented by a naked figure standing on a globe divided into three parts, the first of which shows the sun, the second the moon and the stars and the third the earth; most resembles [end of 366] the World of the Tarot of Bologna.)
I will say more (not restricting myself to alleged "standard models" and emphasizing earlier decks). The Fool as jester is similar to Minchiate. The Bateleur surrounded by people continues the Geoffroy's A/B depiction. The Popess, with book and key, does likewise. The Imperatrice, lacking the eagle, does likewise. Pope, staff and key, likewise. The Chariot retains the Geoffroy's groom, but on the horse, as in the Issy. The Hermit's staff is that of the Metropolitan. The four human figures of the Wheel are like the PMB and Cary Sheet. The pose of the lady with the lion is that of the Metropolitan and the CY. The Hanged Man is from the PMB/Metropolitan. The diagonals on the crossbar have the Geoffroy as a precedent ( Death walking with a scythe is that of the Geoffroy minus the shovel. A standing Temperance is PMB. The Devil is similar in some ways to that of the Metropolitan and some Minchiates. The Tower card is called "Foudre", Lightning, but there is none; its chaos is similar to that of Geoffroy. The Star is the astronomer of the A's (2 astronomers) especially the d'Este and Minchiate Moon (1 astronomer). The Sun's theme of vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3) is that of the d'Este, where Alexander tempts Diogenes to join his court, and might be that of the Bolognese/Charles VI, with its toiler under the sun. The Angel with a long trumpet and four lower figures is like the Metropolitan. The figure on the globe of the World is Fortune, not the Bolognese Mercury, and the globe represents the cosmos, not the four elements, although the configuration is like that of Bologna or Minchiate. It was common in Italy to represent Fortune on a globe and with a sail.

I conclude that the Anonymous Parisian shows both Milanese and non-Milanese Italian influence, which could be either from A or B but is closest to the B of the d'Este. In that way it is like the Geoffroy, although with very different designs.

I turn to the Vieville. The triumphs are at ... age-2.html. Dummett says, very prosaically (normally I would skip this part, but I want to emphasize that this is all he says about these triumphs):
I soggetti dei trionfi includono il Papa (V) e la Papessa (II). La Papessa assomiglia molto a quella sul Tarocco di Marsiglia, ma il Papa è alquanto diverso: indossa una mitra invece della tiara, regge un pastorale invece di una croce e ha due cardinali, dai volti visibili, inginocchiati davanti. Come vedremo, queste due carte furono sostituite da altre nella versione più tarda di questo modello. Ci sono altre due carte che differiscono completamente da quelle della versione successiva, il Carro e il Mondo. Entrambe assomigliano ai disegni del Tarocco di Marsiglia. Come nel Tarocco di Marsiglia il Mondo presenta una figura all’interno di una ghirlanda ovale, con i simboli dei quattro Evangelisti ai lati della carta; la figura, tuttavia, è maschile, la testa circondata da un’aureola; nella parte inferiore, il leone occupa l’angolo sinistro e il bue quello de-[end of 361] stro. Il Carro non è tirato da cavalli, ma da bestie con teste umane.

Gli altri trionfi assomigliano molto nel disegno a quelli della versione successiva, se pur disegnati in modo molto più elegante.

(The subjects of the triumphs include the Pope (V) and the Popess (II). The Popess is very similar to the one on the Tarot of Marseilles, but the Pope is somewhat different: he bears a miter instead of the tiara, holding a pastoral rather than a cross, and two cardinals, visible from the face, are kneeling in front. As we shall see, these two cards were replaced by others in the later version of this model. There are two other cards that are completely different from those of the later version, the Chariot and the World. Both resemble the designs of the Tarot of Marseilles. As in the Tarot of Marseilles, the World presents a figure within an oval garland, with the symbols of the four Evangelists on the sides of the card; the figure, however, is masculine, the head surrounded by a halo; at the bottom, the lion occupies the left corner, and the ox on the right. The Chariot is not pulled by horses, but by beasts with human heads
He does describe other triumphs, but only to explain how they differ from the Tarot de Marseille. It is as though the Tarot de Marseille already existed, and Vieville was departing from it! I want to emphasize the similarities to othe tarots. Actually, the Pope is quite similar to the Noblet, as are all of triumphs 1-5 and the Fool. The cardinals, identifiable by their red hats (as well in the Tarot de Marseille), seem to be from the Charles VI, of all places. The Love card has the priest of the Geoffroy. Justice, here the 7th, has wings or a strange chair. The Chariot is the Cary Sheet/Tarot de Marseille model with human heads. The Wheel is similar to the Tarot de Marseille I except that the head of the one going down is more human, as on the Metropolitan card. The Hermit's staff and lantern are not defined except as folds in the robe, but otherwise is Tarot de Marseille I. The Hanged Man is Noblet's, with the odd fingers, except that he is turned right side up, if one goes by the numbers. Temperance has the "Sol Fama" banner, of which the precedents ares Alciati's name for the card, Fama, and the Minchiate final card. The Devil is without a stick or little figures. He seems to evolve from the Anonymous. The Tower has the globes but no tower. It may be related to the pastoral scene on the Cary Sheet. The Star is that of the Anonymous, the astronomer of the d'Este and type A Moon card, especially that of Minchiate, but with the stars, four little and one big, of the Cary Sheet. (This and the next can be seen at The Moon comes from the type A Sun. The Sun, by its child and banner, seems related to the Cary Sheet Sun. Judgment and World are like the Tarot de Marseille I of Dodal.

Another very interesting thing is that the triumph order is not that of the Tarot de Marseille, but of Susio and Alciati. How did that happen? Dummett has a complex and very intersting theory that I will discuss later (it is in Chapter 16).

For Vieville, some titles are in the sentence that appears on the Ace of Coins and 2 of Cups (p. 361):

And continues on the 2 of Cups:

This again is a mixed bag. Most are traditional Italian, as in the Steele Sermon. However we have "Amoureux" of the Tarot de Marseille and "Trompe" from Minchiate's "Trombe". "Force", as in the Tarot de Marseille, has a precedent in Alciati (C order) and some B lists. "Baga" is of interest for the unusual spelling. It also existed in Piedmont, Dummett will tell us. "Tranny" is the Chariot, 'Ma" is the Fool.

For reference: ... rders2.jpg

The pip cards are similar to the Tarot de Marseille except without numbers, he says. That means, they are simialr to the Sforza Castle and Cary Sheet, lacking numbers, which the Tarot de Marseille II will add.

I could not find any comments on the courts. Robert posted the Kings at They are like the Tarot de Marseille I except for Cups, which is like the Budapest. From what I can see on French Wikipedia (, the Page of Swords looks young and that of Cups more mature, whereas in the Tarot de Marseille it is the other way around.

The Vieville is thus a Tarot de Marseille with non-Milanese Italian influences, a tendency that is in both the previous French decks ( as well. This is not surprising, considering the Florentine influences at court, Catherine and then Marie de Medici, and Henry III's visit to Ferrara. (However Dummett has a different theory of transmission, which we will see later.)

We come now to the de Hautot deck ( ... IIp323.JPG). Notice the checkered borders, the same as the Anonymous Parisian and the earlier Sforza Castle cards.It is this deck that changes the Popess and Pope to the Captain and Bacchus. (Ross once posted the related early 17th century engraving, at:, which was found by Dummett's son Andrew.) Of the others Dummett says (p. 371f):
Tutti i trionfi rimanenti e tutte le figure dei semi assomigliano molto ai disegni del mazzo di Viéville. Ancora una volta, il disegno dell’Impiccato (XII) è stato capovolto: la figura deve essere guardata come diritta, intenzione confermata non solo dalla posizione del numerale, ma anche dal nome scritto sulla carta; la gamba destra non è attaccata alla traversa della forca (rovesciata), come invece avviene sulla carta di Viéville. Il trionfo XVI, con la scritta «la foudre» (il Fulmine), mostra un uomo nell’atto di avvicinarsi a un albero che sta per essere colpito da un fulmine e che funge da riparo a delle pecore, proprio come nel mazzo di Viéville. Il trionfo XIHI è anch’esso simile alla carta Viéville e reca lo stesso rotolo con le parole «fama sol»; il nome è scritto «atrenpance». L’Eremita, con il numero IX, non ha nulla nella mano destra, mentre quello di Viéville ha un libro. Cupido, sul trionfo VI, ha l’arco e la freccia che stranamente mancano nella carta di Viéville. La Ruota della Fortuna (X) ha solo figure umane. La figura della Giustizia (VIII nel mazzo de Hautot) ha inconfondibili ali, mentre, sul VII del mazzo di Viéville, esse sono più simili alle parti di pend of 371] uno schienale che dovevano rappresentare in origine. Sulla tromba dell’angelo nel trionfo XX di de Hautot, non c’è il drappo che compare sulla carta di Viéville. Ci sono ‘goccioline* nell’aria sul trionfo XVIII (la Luna), simili a quelle della versione di Viéville. La figura sul trionfo XVII (la Stella) regge una clessidra, invece del libro con il disegno della clessidra sulla copertina che compare nella carta di Viéville. La figura sul XVIIII è vestita. Il Matto reca la scritta «le fol» e il numero XXII, mentre quello di Viéville non ha numero.

(All the triumphs and all the remaining figures of the suits are very similar to the designs of the Viéville deck. Again, the depiction of the Hanged Man (XII) has been turned:; the figure must be seen as upright, an intention confirmed not only by the position of the numeral, but also by the name written on the card; the right leg is not attached to the transom of the gallows (upside-down), as it is on the Viéville card. Triumph XVI, with the words "la foudre" (Lightning), shows a man in the act of approaching a tree that is about to be struck by lightning and which serves as a shelter for sheep, just as in the deck of Viéville. Triumph XIIII is also similar to the Viéville card and bears the same roll with the words "fama sol "; the name is written "atrenpance." The Hermit, with number IX, has nothing in his right hand, while the Viéville has a book. Cupid, in triumph VI, has the bow and arrow strangely missing in the Viéville card. The Wheel of Fortune (X) has only human figures. The figure of Justice (VIII in the deck of Hautot) has distinctive wings, while, on the VII of Viéville, they are more similar to the parts of [end of 371] a backrest that they originally were to represent. On the angel's trumpet in the triumph XX of de Hautot, there is the banner that appears on the Viéville card. There are 'droplets’ in the air on triumph XVIII (The Moon), similar to the Viéville version. The figure on triumph XVII (The Star) holds an hourglass instead of the book with the depiction of the hourglass on its cover that appears in the Viéville card. The figure in XVIIII is dressed . The Fool bears the inscription "le fol " and the number XXII, while the Viéville has no number.)
That the Wheel has all human figures makes it similar to the Anonymous. Also, the World card is that of Anonymous. Otherwise, the similarity to Vieville rather than the Anonymous suggests that Vieville is considerably later than Anonymous. Yet both are part of one tradition. Atypically, the Empress and the Emperor have changed places (p. 372):
L’unica irrègolarità nella numerazione dei trionfi è che l’Imperatore è numerato III e l’Impe-ratrice IIII, come nel mazzo di Reynaud menzionato nel capitolo XII.

(The only irregularity in the numbering of the trumps is that the Emperor is numbered III and the Empress IIII, as in the deck of Reynaud mentioned in Chapter XII.)
It is also that of the Maison Academique. Reynaud is 1743 Grenoble; the Emperor has both the Roman numeral III and the Arabic numeral 4, he says on p. 319.

Then there are the pip cards (p. 372):
Le carte numerali dei semi si sono allontanate un po’ dalla forma, quasi identica a quella del Tarocco di Marsiglia, che avevano nel mazzo di Viéville. C’è un uccello sul 2 di Spade e una corona sul 3; il 2 di Denari ha perso il suo rotolo a forma di S. Il 2 di Coppe conserva le teste dei draghi. L’Asso di Denari e il 2 di Coppe sono privi della curiosa scritta che si trova sulle carte di Viéville, ma il 2 di Coppe ha acquisito una nuova scritta, la quale rammenta al giocatore che a Coppe e Denari le carte di numero più basso battono quelle di numero più alto33. L’Asso di Denari descrive le carte come «cartes de taros tres fines». La Coppa sull’Asso di quel seme è molto arrotondata e ha una base circolare, non ottagonale; dallo stelo spuntano due fronde. I Bastoni sono di forma arrotondata anziché piatta, ma conservano le estremità a cuneo caratteristiche del Tarocco di Marsiglia e presenti nel mazzo di Viéville.

(The pip cards of the suits, almost identical to that of the Tarot of Marseilles, have strayed a bit in form from the Viéville deck. There is a bird on the 2 of Swords and a crown on the 3; the 2 of Coins has lost its roll in the shape of an S. The 2 of Cups keeps the heads of dragons. The Ace of Coins and the 2 of Cups are free of the curious inscription on the Viéville cards, but the 2 of Cups has acquired a new inscription, which reminds the player that in Cups and Coins the lower numbers beat the higher numbers 33. The Ace of Coins describes the cards as "cartes de tres fines taros." The cup on the Ace of that suit is very rounded and has a circular base, not octagonal; two fronds sprout from the stem. The Batons are rounded rather than flat, but retain the ends of the wedge features in the Tarot of Marseilles and the Viéville deck).
It is this deck that becomes the Belgian standard, once the Emperor regains his higher status. Dummett observes:
Il modello standard esemplificato dal mazzo de Hautot fu prodotto in notevoli quantità nel XVIII secolo nei Paesi Bassi sotto la dominazione austriaca, cioè, in termini moderni, in Belgio. È stato l’unico tipo di mazzo di tarocchi con semi latini ad essere prodotto in quella regione e, fino a pochissimo [end of 372] tempo fa, cioè fino alla ricostruzione del mazzo di Viéville e alla scoperta di quello di de Hautot, rappresentava una specie di enigma, poiché era il solo modello standard con semi italiani per tarocchi non appartenente alla famiglia del Tarocco di Marsiglia che venisse usato fuori d’Italia.

(The standard model exemplified by the deck of Hautot was produced in large quantities in the eighteenth century in the Netherlands under Austrian rule, that is, in modern terms, Belgium. It was the only type of tarot deck with Latin suits to be produced in that region and, until very recently, that is until the reconstruction of the Viéville deck and the discovery of the one of de Hautot, was something of an enigma, since it was the only standard model with Italian suits for tarot not belonging to the family of the Tarot of Marseilles that was being used outside of Italy.)
Then comes the Belgian standard model (p. 373f]. Some are in Kaplan; others are on the Web, e.g. the Bodet at ... tTarot.jpg:
Il Tarocco belga, prodotto in quelli che erano allora i Paesi Bassi austriaci, differiva ben poco dal mazzo de Hautot. L’Imperatore e l’Imperatrice erano correttamente numerati, rispettivamente, mi e IH; il nome del Capitano Spagnolo era quasi sempre storpiato in Capitano eracasse. Il Matto aveva talvolta la scritta «le fou», anziché «le fol», ma conservava sempre la numerazione XXII. Il nome del trionfo XIIII è spesso scritto Atrempance, ma talvolta compare nella forma moderna Temperance. Nel mazzo di Galler, le ‘goccioline’ sul XVIII (la Luna) si sono trasformate in specie di piume e, in quello di Vandenborre, in stelle. La figura sul trionfo XVII (la Stella) non ha più in mano né una clessidra né un libro. Cupido, sul trionfo VI, ha perso l’arco e la freccia, come nel mazzo di Viéville. Analogamente, la Giustizia (trionfo VIII) non ha più ali ben definite; gli oggetti che si scorgono sopra alle sue spalle potrebbero anche essere interpretati come parte di uno schienale. La figura in ascesa sulla Ruota della Fortuna (X) è di nuovo un asino, come sulla carta di Viéville, e, sempre come nel mazzo di Viéville, c’è un drappo sulla tromba del trionfo XX (il Giudizio). L’Eremita (IX) regge un libro nella mano destra; la gamba destra dell’Impiccato (XII) è di nuovo appesa alla sezione a croce della forca, sebbene egli rimanga in posizione eretta come prima. Questi dettagli suggeriscono che il [end of 373] mazzo de Hautot non si colloca su una linea completamente diretta di evoluzione dai disegni che compaiono nel mazzo di Viéville al modello che veniva prodotto dai fabbricanti belgi.

(The Belgian Tarot, produced in what were then the Austrian Netherlands, differed very little from the deck of Hautot. The Emperor and Empress were properly numbered, respectively, IV and III; the name of the Spanish Captain was almost always disfigured into Captain eracasse. The Fool was sometimes written "le fou", rather than "le fol”, but always kept the numbering XXII. The name of triumph XIIII is often written Atrempance, but sometimes appears in its modern form Temperance. In the deck of Galler, the 'droplets' on XVHI (the Moon) have turned into a sort of feathers, and in that of Vandenborre, into stars. The figure on triumph XVII (The Star) no longer has in its hands either an hourglass or a book. Cupid, in triumph VI, has lost his bow and arrow, as in the deck of Viéville. Similarly, Justice (triumph VIII) has no well-defined wings; the objects that can be seen above at her back could also be interpreted as part of a backrest. The figure on the rise on the Wheel of Fortune (X) is again a donkey, like the Viéville card, and, again, as in the deck of Viéville, there is a banner on the trumpet of triumph XX (Judgement). The Hermit (IX) holds a book in his right hand; the right leg of the Hanged Man (XII) is again hanging on the cross section of the gallows, although he remains in the upright position as before. These details suggest that the [end of 373] deck of Hautot is not placed in a completely direct evolution from the depictions that appear in the Viéville deck model that was produced by the Belgian manufacturers.)
I do not understand the reasoning behind the last sentence at all. The Belgian manufacturers simply modified de Hautot in accordance with the Tarot de Marseille, the Vieville, and their own taste. One curiosity is that the Chariot has only one horse. On the de Hautot, I cannot tell if that is true or not. In the pips, as far as any relationship to previous decks, he makes this interesting observation about the Belgian batons (p. 374):
I Bastoni sono bastoncini diritti e arrotondati, di larghezza uniforme da un’estremità all’altra, e quelli paralleli sono congiunti in quattro punti; presentano un’evidente somiglianza con quelli della Primiera bolognese e del Tarocco bolognese.
(The Batons are straight rods, rounded, of uniform width from end to end, and they are joined at four parallel points; they have a clear similarity with those of the Primiera Bolognese and Tarocco Bolognese.)
You can see what he means if you compare the card at the bottom of with the Batons at the top right at


Now I want to turn to Dummett's very interesting hypothesis that the de Hautot and even the Vieville may have been inspired by something in the border area between France and Italy, i.e. Savoy or Piedmont. He discusses this in Chapter 16. In Piedmont edicts go back as far as 1579 (p. 395). And of course there is Piscina's Discourse, 1565. The theory is extraordinarily detailed, much more so than what he presents in his other books and articles. I will try to present just the essentials. But mostly I will be trying to break it up into bite-sized chunks. First, some background.

The oddity in Piedmont is that the Angel is the highest trump, a practice that persisted even when the only cards that the Piedmontese could get were ones with the World as highest. Moreover, the Angel, the Bagatto, and the Fool are the only point-getting triumphs; the World has none (p. 397). Therefore:
Il gioco dei Tarocchi deve pertanto essere stato originariamente introdotto in Piemonte non dalla vicina Lombardia, ma [end of 397] da Bologna, dalla Toscana o dagli Stati Pontifici: Bologna è di gran lunga l’origine più probabile.

(The game of Tarot must therefore have been originally introduced into Piedmont not from nearby Lombardy, but [end of 397] from Bologna, Tuscany, or the Papal States: Bologna is by far the most likely origin.)
There is more, a part he usually does not get into when discussing this issue (p. 398):
Ciò che garantisce attendibilità a quest’ipotesi è una pratica atipica per i giochi di Tarocchi piemontesi in genere, ma osservata da giocatori a noi contemporanei a Moncucco Torinese e in altri villaggi nei pressi di Asti. Qui i giocatori usano un Tarocco piemontese di cinquantaquattro carte, ridotto per l’esclusione delle carte dall’Asso al 6 di Spade e Bastoni e dal 5 al 10 di Coppe e Denari. Questo gioco presenta due sole analogie con i giochi bolognesi — a parte la posizione dell’Angelo (20) come trionfo più alto con valore di 5 punti, come sanno tutti i giocatori piemontesi. La prima è l’uso di una serie di segni fra compagni. A Bologna oggi ne rimangono solo tre, ma ce n’erano moltissimi fatti a voce; a Moncucco, sono ancor’oggi fatti a gesti. Questa analogia non vale molto come prova, poiché pratiche simili si sono sviluppate in un gran numero di giochi di carte altrimenti irrelati; ma la seconda analogia è molto sorprendente. I giocatori di Moncucco attribuiscono ai quattro trionfi immediatamente superiori al Bagatto — e cioè la Papessa (2), l’Imperatrice (3), l’Imperatore (4) e il Papa (5) — lo stesso valore, proprio come i giocatori bolognesi trattavano i quattro Papi prima del 1725 e hanno da allora trattato i quattro Mori. Come a Bologna se due o più di questi trionfi sono giocati nella stessa presa quello giocato per ultimo batte gli altri: la loro numerazione interna è del tutto ignorata 7.

Che non si tratti di una peculiarità dei giocatori dei Tarocchi dell’Astigiano è dimostrato da un trattatello sulla forma del gioco praticata a Annecy, pubblicato probabilmente nel tardo XVm secolo8. Vi sono descritti tre tipi di gioco praticati con settantotto carte con semi italiani, rispettivamente, da due, tre e quattro giocatori. Questi giochi sono identici a quelli descritti nelle fonti piemontesi; il gioco a due, conosciuto a Annecy come «a Fora» dall’annuncio di un giocatore che informa di aver raggiunto il totale richiesto di 31 punti, non è altro che l’insolito gioco piemontese di Trentuno, oggi dimenticato, in [end of 397] cui ciascun giocatore riceve una mano di otto carte; il Folle (''le Fou' ad Annecy) è il trionfo più basso ed è privo di valore di punteggio9. In tutti i giochi di Annecy l’Angelo (trionfo 20) era ritenuto più alto del Mondo (trionfo 21) e valeva 5 punti, come succede sempre nei giochi dei Tarocchi piemontesi. L’unica differenza fra i tre giochi di Annecy e i corrispondenti piemontesi è relativa ai trionfi dal 2 al 5, chiamati lPapots’ dai giocatori di Annecy. Per questi quattro trionfi essi osservavano la stessa regola degli odierni giocatori di Moncucco: i quattro trionfi avevano tutti lo stesso rango e l’ultimo giocato nella presa batteva ognuno degli altri tre.

Annecy è, com’è noto, in Savoia. Dal momento che la pratica di trattare i quattro trionfi immediatamente superiori al Bagatto come uguali tra loro è altrimenti tipica della sola Bologna, il fatto che venga osservata ad Annecy e nell’Astigiano è prova evidentissima dell’influenza bolognese sulla forma dei Tarocchi praticata in Piemonte e Savoia. Non sembra probabile che una tale pratica possa aver avuto origine da un mazzo in cui i trionfi erano tutti numerati.

(What ensures the reliability of this hypothesis is a practice atypical for Piedmontese Tarot games in general, but observed by us with contemporary players in Moncucco Torinese and other villages near Asti. Here, players use a Piedmontese Tarot of fifty cards, reduced by the exclusion of the cards from Ace to 6 in Swords and Batons and 5-10 in Cups and Coins. This game features only two similarities with Bolognese games - apart from the location of the Angel (20) as a triumph with the highest value of 5 points, as all the players in Piedmont know. The first is the use of a series of signs among peers. In Bologna, today there are only three, but there were a lot of facts to entry; in Moncucco, even today gestures are made. This analogy is not worth much as evidence, since similar practices have developed in a large number of otherwise unrelated card games; but the second analogy is very striking. Players in Moncucco attribute to the four triumphs immediately above the Bagatto - that is, the Popess (2), the Empress (3), the Emperor (4) and the Pope (5) - the same value, just like the Bolognese players treated the four Popes before 1725 and have since treated the four Moors. As in Bologna if two or more of these trumps are played into the same trick the last played beats the others; their internal numbering is completely ignored 7.

That it is not a peculiarity of the players of the Tarot of Astigiano is demonstrated by a treatise on the form of the game practiced in Annecy, probably published in the late eighteenth century 8. It describes three types of game practiced with seventy-eight cards of Italian suits, respectively by two, three and four players. These games are identical to those described in the Piedmont sources; the two-person game, known in Annecy as "Fora", the announcement by a player, informs that he has reached the required total of 31 points; it is nothing more than the unusual game in Piedmont of Thirty-one, now forgotten, in [end of 398] which each player is dealt a hand of eight cards; the Fool (‘le Fou' at Annecy) is the lowest triumph and has no point- value 9. In all games, the Angel of Annecy (Triumph 20) was considered higher than the World (triumph 21) and was worth 5 points, as always happens in Piedmont Tarot games. The only difference between the three games of Annecy and the corresponding Piedmont relates to triumph 2-5, l called 'Papots’ by players in Annecy. For these four triumphs they observed the same rule of today's players in Moncucco:; the four triumphs all had the same rank, the last played in the trick beating each of the other three.

Annecy is in Savoy. Since the practice of treating the four triumphs immediately above the Bagatto as equal to each other is otherwise typical of Bologna alone, the fact that it is observed in Annecy and Astigiano is evident proof of the influence of the Bolognese Tarot on the form practiced in Piedmont and Savoy. It does not seem likely that such a practice would have originated from a deck where the triumphs were all numbered.
7 See John McLeod, 'Piedmontese Tarot with 54 Cards - a Link between Bologna and Belgium?', The Playing Card, Vol X, 1982, p. 109-17.

8. Regles du jeu de Tarocs comme on le joue vulgairement à Annecy, Annecy, undated. This treatise was discovered by Jean Lepoivre and commented on by T. Depaulis, see Tarot, jeu et magie, n. 118, pp. 122-4.)
As is well known, the order of triumphs described by Piscina confirms that these practices were in existence even in c. 1565. Moreover, the practice of scoring combinations, verzicole, with the Fool being able to fill in for missing cards, is also a Bolognese feature not found in the Milan game, but found in Piscina's Piedmont. So there is the pecularity of a combination of A and C in Piedmont.

Another oddity relates to the shortening of the deck in Bologna, the so-called "Tarocchino". It is different In Piedmont:
Quando il gioco dei Tarocchi giunse in Piemonte da Bologna, il mazzo probabilmente conteneva ancora settantotto carte; non c’è menzione nel Discorso di Piscina del mazzo ridotto e i giochi dei Tarocchi piemontesi, nelle forme conosciute fin dal XVIII secolo, sono per lo più praticati con l’intero mazzo di settantotto carte.

(When the game of Tarot in Piedmont came from Bologna, the deck probably still contained seventy-eight cards; there is no mention in Piscina’s i]Discourse[/i] of a reduced pack. and games of Piedmontese Tarot, in the forms known since the eighteenth century, are mostly practiced with the entire deck of seventy-eight cards.)
It is true that they did use a reduced pack of 54 cards in some games, but the principle was different:
Nel Tarocchino bolognese le carte escluse dai quattro semi sono quelle con i numeri più bassi, eccettuati gli Assi, e dunque le carte dal 2 al 5 di ciascun seme. Nel ‘mazzo castrato’ piemontese, d’altronde, le carte escluse sono quelle di potere di Presa più basso nel gioco, cioè le carte dall’Asso al 6 nei semi di Spade e Bastoni, ma dal 5 al 10 in quelli di Coppe e Denari.

In Tarocchino Bolognese the cards excluded from the four suits are those with the lowest numbers, with the exception of the Aces, thus cards 2-5 of each suit. In the 'castrated deck' of Piedmont, on the other hand, the cards excluded from trick-taking power are lowest in the game, ie the cards from Ace to 6 in the suits of Swords and Batons, but 5-10 in those of Cups and Coins.
But in neighboring Savoy, a shortened deck is in effect, removing the 2-5 in each suit, as in Bologna (p. 401).
Abbiamo, tuttavia, un’indicazione che mazzi di sessanta-due carte erano usati nel ducato di Savoia. In un opuscolo col titolo Le tarot français, pubblicato a Chambéry nel 1902, a soli quarantadue anni dall’annessione della Savoia alla Francia, sono descritti dei giochi che non hanno alcun rapporto né con le forme dei Tarocchi allora praticate a Besan^on e Digione né con i giochi descritti nell’opuscolo pubblicato ad Annecy. Questi giochi di Chambéry si facevano o con un mazzo completo di settantotto carte o con un mazzo ridotto di sessantadue; e il metodo della riduzione era Io stesso di quello bolognese, cioè per esclusione delle carte dal 2 al 5 da ciascun seme. Forse il mazzo ridotto bolognese era un tempo conosciuto in Savoia; forse si tratta di una coincidenza. Certo, a Chambéry l’ordine delle carte era diverso da quello bolognese. Nel gioco bolognese le carte numerali di Spade e Bastoni sono disposte, dopo le quattro figure, in sequenza discendente: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, Asso; e quelle di Coppe e Denari in sequenza ascendente: Asso, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. A Chambéry, tuttavia, esse erano disposte dopo le figure in sequenza discendente in tutti i semi: Asso, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 — ordinamento questo che si trova solo a Chambéry.

(We have, however, an indication that decks of sixty-two cards were used in the Duchy of Savoy. A pamphlet with the title Le tarot français, published in Chambéry in 1902, just forty-two years after the annexation of Savoy to France, describes games that have no relation either to the forms of the Tarot then practiced at Besancon and Dijon or the games described in the pamphlet published at Annecy. These games were done in Chambéry either with a full deck of seventy-eight cards or with a reduced deck of sixty-two; and the method of reduction was the same as the Bolognese, that is, by the exclusion of cards 2-5 from each suit. Perhaps the short Bolognese deck was once known in Savoy; perhaps it is a coincidence. It is certain in Chambéry the order of cards was different from that of Bologna. In the Bolognese game pip cards of Swords and Batons are disposed, after the four figures, in descending sequence:; 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, Ace; and those of Cups and Coins in ascending order: Ace, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. In Chambery, however, they were arranged after the figures in descending sequence in all suits: Ace, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 - this sort is found only in Chambery.)
Finally we get the connection to the Belgian Tarot (p. 401f):
Possiamo ora spingere le nostre congetture un passo più avanti. Il modello del Tarocco ‘belga’ presenta precise affinità con i tarocchi italiani e, in particolare, con quelli bolognesi. È [end of 401] pertanto probabile che, come il Tarocco di Marsiglia, abbia avuto un prototipo italiano. Abbiamo già notato la somiglianza delle carte numerali del seme di Bastoni nei mazzi prodotti in Belgio con le corrispondenti bolognesi. Il Mondo (XXI), come è raffigurato nei mazzi prodotti in Belgio, nel mazzo di de Hau-tot e nell’anonimo parigino seicentesco, sebbene non nel mazzo di Vìéville, assomiglia anch’esso al Mondo nel Tarocco bolognese molto di più che a qualsiasi altra versione. Più sorprendenti ancora sono le figure della donna con verga sul trionfo XVIII (la Luna) e dell’uomo con i compassi sul trionfo XVII (la Stella) in tutte le versioni del Tarocco belga. Queste figure compaiono anche nel Tarocco bolognese, ma, rispettivamente, sul Sole e sulla Luna; per qualche equivoco, sono state spostate in giù di una carta nel Tarocco belga. Questi dettagli attestano una derivazione di fondo del Tarocco belga da quello bolognese — una derivazione, tuttavia, remota, che ha dato adito a molti cambiamenti ed errori.

(We can now push our conjectures a step further. The model of the 'Belgian' Tarot presents specific affinity with the Italian tarot cards and, in particular, with those of Bologna. You [end of 401] therefore likely that it, like the Tarot of Marseilles, had an Italian prototype. We have already noted the similarity of the numeral cards in the suit of Batons in decks produced in Belgium with the corresponding ones in Bologna. The World (XXI), as is depicted in decks produced in Belgium, in the deck of Hautot and in the anonymous of Paris seventeenth century, although not in the deck of Vieville, also looks like the Tarot Bolognese World much more than any other version. More surprising still are the figures of the woman with a rod on the triumph XVIII (the Moon) and the man with calipers on triumph XVII (The Star) in all versions of the Belgian Tarot. These figures also appear in the Tarot of Bologna, but, respectively, on the Sun and the Moon; due to some misunderstanding, they have been moved down a card in the Belgian Tarot. These details are evidence of the Bolognese derivation at bottom of the Belgian Tarot - a derivation, however remote, that has given rise to many changes and errors.
Another point is the change in the order done by Vieville; it conforms to that of Susio (for reference: ... rders2.jpg) (p. 401):
Se, in Savoia e Piemonte, veniva un tempo usato un mazzo con un modello di derivazione bolognese, esso potrebbe facilmente essere stato adottato da alcuni fabbricanti francesi. Sembra probabile, dunque, che il modello francese alternativo al Tarocco di Marsiglia, rappresentato dai mazzi di Viéville e de Hautot — cioè il modello ‘belga’ — sia entrato in Francia dalla Savoia; il modello antico piemontese, derivato originariamente da quello bolognese, sarebbe, in tal caso, l’antenato del mazzo di Viéville e dei suoi discendenti. Quest’ipotesi spiega l’uso di un ordine lombardo simile a quello di Susio nel mazzo di Viéville, invece del solito ordine francese. L’ordine di Viéville non sarebbe derivato direttamente da tarocchi lombardi ma da un ordine piemontese; quando questo cambiò sotto l’influsso della tradizione predominante francese, grazie a uno scambio dei posti del Mondo e dell’Angelo e di una numerazione dei quattro ‘Papi’, gli ultimi resti dell’ordine bolognese andarono distrutti, e l’ordine di Susio fu completamente restaurato. Vale la pena di notare che entrambi i libretti savoiardi di regole del gioco — quello da Annecy e quello da Chambéry — non solo chia-[end of 401] mano il Matto «le Fou», ma chiamano anche il trionfo 1 «le Boga», lo stesso nome usato da Viéville.

(If, in Savoy and Piedmont, a deck was once used with a model derived from the Bolognese, it could easily have been adopted by some French manufacturers. It seems likely, therefore, that the French alternative model to the Tarot of Marseilles, represented by the packs of Viéville and de Hautot - that is, the 'Belgian' model - was brought into France from Savoy; the old model of Piedmont, originally derived from the Bolognese, would, in that case, be the ancestor of the Viéville deck and its descendants. This hypothesis explains the use of an order similar to that of the Lombard Susio in the Viéville deck, instead of the usual French order. The order of Viéville could not be derived directly from Lombard tarot cards but by an order of Piedmont; when this changed under the influence of the predominant French tradition, thanks to an exchange of places of the World and the Angel and a numbering of the four 'Papi', the last remnants of the Bologna order were destroyed, and Susio’s order was completely restored. It is worth noting that both Savoyard booklets of the rules of the game – the one from Annecy and the one from Chambéry - not only call the Fool "le Fou" but also called triumph I “the Boga", the same name used by Viéville.)
This is quite ingenious. Everything fits together, even the connectors on the Batons.

He concludes (p. 403):
Se questa ipotesi è giusta, l’ingresso dell’antenato del modello ‘belga’ dalla Savoia avvenne probabilmente in epoca piuttosto antica, per lasciar spazio ai notevoli sviluppi che precedono la produzione del mazzo di Jacques Viéville a metà del XVII secolo. Il modello potrebbe, ovviamente, aver subito una significativa evoluzione in Piemonte e Savoia prima di penetrare in Francia; in ogni caso, entrò in Francia probabilmente nel Cinquecento.

E possibile che i disegni notevolmente diversi per le carte numerali di Coppe e Bastoni, che si trovano in alcuni mazzi svizzeri da tarocchi basati sul modello del Tarocco di Marsiglia, siano residui del modello che fu l’antenato del Tarocco belga.

(If this hypothesis is correct, the input of the 'Belgian' model's ancestor from Savoy was probably quite old in age, giving way to the remarkable developments that precede the production of the deck of Jacques Viéville in the middle of the seventeenth century. The model could, of course, have undergone a significant evolution in Piedmont and Savoy before penetrating into France; in any case, it probably entered France in the sixteenth century.

It is possible that the significantly different depictions for the pip cards of Cups and Batons, which are found in some tarot decks of the Swiss-based model of the Tarot of Marseilles, are residues of the model that was the ancestor of the Belgian Tarot.)
So the non-Tarot de Marseille imagery comes from Bologna by way of first Piedmont and then Savoy, or perhaps Switzerland. The order, however, comes from Lombardy.

Is this argument still correct, now that the Charles VI has since been assigned to Florence? Could Vieville not have gotten his non-Tarot de Marseille elements directly from Florence by way of the two Medici queens, Catherine and Maria? In that case, the image of the World card might derive from the Minchiate image of the World, the image of the Star from the Minchiate Moon (which is a more precise fit than the Bolognese), and the Moon from the Charles VI Sun. That theory does not account for the change in order and the odd coincidence of the name "Boga" for the first triumph. We don't know where else it was called "Boga" at that time. So the most reasonable hypothesis is that Vieville did get this word and the order of triumphs from a deck produced in Savoy. (Where he might have gotten the name "MA" is unclear, but it is simply "MAT" without the silent T). How it got there is another story. Clearly the game would have got there from Piedmont, where triumphs 2-5 must have looked a lttle different from what Vieville got. Since there is no reason to think that the "four papi" rule existed before the Papacy's takeover of Bologna in 1507, what seems most reasonable to me is the first tarot in Piedmont and Savoy was Lombard, with a Lombard order, and then whoever imposed the "four papi" on them also for some reason preferred the Minchiate Moon for the Star card and the Charles VI/Bolognese Sun (modified) for the Moon card.

I say "imposed" deliberately; if the "four papi" in Bologna had anything to do with the Papacy's preferences, the same would likely be true in Piedmont. The Dominican Inquisition had jurisdiction there as well as in Bologna; and the University of Bologna was the main place these Inquisitors got their training. This Inquisition was extremely active in Piedmont, Savoy, and even Dauphiné from the 1480s through the 1500s, rooting out witches and other heretics, especially Waldensians (see The persecution continued through the 17th century. Milton wrote a sonnet protesting one episode that occurred in 1655 ( ... n_Piedmont). The hills and valleys had been a refuge for Cathars and Waldensians since the 1200s. The Waldensians, very much proto-Protestants (although portrayed as witches, in an illustration reproduced by Wikipedia), were particularly numerous in the 1500s and in fact those remaining in Piedmont merged with the Calvinists in the 1530s.

We know from the 1505 Avignon document mentioning "taraux" that the tarot already existed in Piedmont in 1505, and that Piedmont card makers were in communication with those in Avignon. Depaulis brought this out in his article on the document, which Dummett and McLeod discuss (vol. 1, p. 149), speaking of tarot in Piedmont, specifically a town named Pinerolo, which is near the border with Savoy (
The cards were, however, known there as early as 1505: the document from Avignon mentioned on page 17 [i.e. the "taraux" document] records an exchange between the Avignon cardmaker Jean Fort and two men in Pinerolo, one a paper manufacturer and th other, Bernardine Tourque, a cardmaker. Pinerolo was famous at the time for its paper, and Fort is to send woodblocks for printing cards, two gross of packs of the Lyons type, 48 tarot packs, together with pig bristle and colours in exchange for paper. Presumably Tarot cards were not only known but made in Pinerolo at that time.
If Lyons card makers were like those in Avignon, and Paris card makers like those in Lyons, the chain of transmission is complete without Vievilla having to know Savoy cards (although he would still have to know "Baga" and the Susio order). It seems to me natural that Lyons card makers would also be in communication with those in Piedmont and Savoy, perhaps through religious channels, since the Waldensians originated in Lyons.

The word "Pinerola" might be familiar to readers of Piscina as the "da Pinerola" who was Piscina's dedicee. Perhaps this person knew about tarot cards from his town's association with them.

It is not clear that Vieville was the first Frenchman to put the astronomer on the Star card. Vieville's card is most similar to the Anonymous Parisian, which may have been a considerably earlier design. Unfortunately we do not have the Geoffroy Star card for comparison. Given all the interactions among cardmakers in different regions, one might think that Savoy would not have had to be involved. But there is the odd coincidence that there are four small stars and one big one on both the Vieville Star card and the standard 19th century Piedmont version (compare the cards at and ... age-2.html).

If the date at which the Piedmont tarot conformed to the Inquisition's wishes (or of whoever brought Bologna's rules there) was after 1507, it is not surprising that the Star card would have the Minchiate's one astronomer rather than Bologna's two. Piscina does not say what is on the bottom of that card. Perhaps in his day there were still different versions of the card. This is of course speculation, but so is every account of how Piedmont got a mixture of A and C elements.

However it came to Vieville, the Sun card remains unexplained. It seems to me most closely related to the Cary Sheet card of the boy waving a banner. Vieville's reasons for his choices remains unknown. Perhaps the addition of a horse relates to a literary text that he thought was important, e.g. the "pale rider" of Revelation, a form taken by Christ, although not described there as a child. The closest match I have found is with an esoteric source, the Chaldean Oracles, which has a boy on a white horse as part of an ecstatic vision associated with the sun. This text had recently been published in Paris.

In general, it seems to me, there are layers of changes here. We know the ingredients: type C territory, Piedmont/Savoy, and type A territory, but not how or why they were combined in the way they were.

However the overlap here with Huck's theory about the origin of the Anonymous in 1559 is unmistakeable. Here are some quotes from Huck at ttp://
Pierro Strozzi and Leone both were dead in 1659, logically they couldn't have influenced anything with the Tarot de Paris in 1559 or in c. 1600 or later. But there was a son, Philippe, in 1559 just 18 years old, well, of a similar age as the young Louis Gonzaga (20 years old). Philippe had already gotten some military merits in Piedmont (note "Piedmont") and during the successful siege on Calais ...
And for the son's connection to the Tarot de Paris:
If one thinks about the idea, that the Tarot de Paris had been made in 1559, then this months between peace and death of the king seem to be the right moment, when two young Italians - Gonzaga and Strozzi - arranged an Italian gift for the French society. As already said, the suit of coins has 55 places to celebrate somebody in this deck, but there are only 3 Italian signs recognized by Popoff, two for Strozzi and Gonzaga and one for Milan, which once had been France. Well, and it seems somehow logical, that Italians made this deck and it seems somehow logical, that the producers appeared at the 2 of coins. And the Tarot of Paris is one of the most amusing between the old decks, and it's easily acceptable, that it was arranged in the spirit of two rather young men in good condition and with some humor and without fear about some satirical ideas.
And more on Piedmont. On the modified Maltese cross on the back, here is Huck:
the Malta grandmaster 1534-35, Piero de Ponte, also called Perin (Perrin) Dupont, was from Piedmont (which was unusual for a grandmaster) and that the following grandmaster Didier de Saint-Jaille was born in Toulon (Provence, near to Piedmont) and belonged to the Provencal-tongue group (which was also unusual). He was also only for a short time grandmaster..
And Brissac, Governor-General of Piedmont 1551- 1559:
So it seems, that Brissac was really of importance, especially for the fights in Piedmont. As the young Philippe Strozzi is said to have fought in Piedmont, it seems clear, that there was a relation Strozzi-Brissac. Brissac naturally was moved in 1559 from Piedmont to other regions ... but likely he had some presence at the peace festivities in 1559 Paris. He became Comte of Brissac in 1560, and later in 1611 Brissac became a duchy.

If Piscina is said to have made the funeral oration for Brissac, then it seems probable, that Piscina accompanied Brissac to France (?).
The nearness in time and style of Tarot de Paris (1559) to the Tarot de Lyon (Catelin Geofroy 1557) perhaps indicates, that already this deck might have been influenced by Gonzaga or Strozzi family or a related person. Of special interest might be also the person Charles de Cossé, Count of Brissac, as governor of Piedmont with possible influence on Piscina, who wrote about Tarocchi cards in 1565.
How does Huck's hypothesis fare in relation to Dummett? Dummett connects the transmission of the deck and order to Vieville rather than the Anonymous Parisian prmarily because it is with the Vieville that Susio's order comes to the French tarot, and the two triumphs he associates most closely with Bologna. Anonymous retains the Tarot de Marseille order. Yet the "Bolognese" World card comes in with the Anonymous and not with Vieville; it is likely that the Star, with one astronomer, dos, too. So we have this "Piedmont connection" independently of Vieville. Given the relationship between the Anonymous and the Geoffroy, the 1550s for the Anonymous Parisian is not too early at all.

So there remains ample room in Dummett's broader picture for Huck's theory that the Anonymous was done in 1559, just two years after the Geoffroy.

It seems to me that some 19th century packs show remnants of designs found in both the Anonymous and Vieville. Some versions of the World card have the figure standing on a globe, just as in the Anonymous ( There is also the relationship to Vieville. Aside from the general style, closer to Vieville than to the Tarot de Marseille I of Noblet, there is the Star card, which for Vieville (and the Cary Sheet) and often the Piemontese has one large star and four small ones (, ... age-2.html).

Thierry Depaulis has proposed that the Piedmont Tarot--I assume he means the one we see in the 19th century--might have been introduced from France rather than Lombardy during its occupation by France 1536-1559 ("Il Torocco Piemontese" in Vitali, ed., Il Castello dei Tarocco). After discussing Piscina, he says (p. 130):
Possiamo dedurre dunque che nel 1565 i tarocchi erano già ben noti nella "Sabaudia". Ma da dove venivano? Si ritiene che l'origine sia da cercarsi a Bologna, con una forte influenza proveniente da Milano, ma non si deve dimenticare che lo stato sabaudo venne integralmente occupato dai francesi fra il 1536 e il 1559. La presenza francese lasciò una marcata impronta sulle istituzioni sabaude (per esempio i Senati, copiati dai Parlements francesi) e necessariamente sulle pratiche culturali. È forse da questo momento che le carte ordinarie di tipo francese, detto dai collezionisti, furono introdotte nella Savoia e nel Piemonte da Lione.

(We can deduce, therefore, that in 1565 tarot cards were already well known in "Sabaudia ." But where were they from? It is believed that the origin is to be found in Bologna, with a strong influence from Milan, but we must not forget that the state of Savoy was entirely occupied by the French between 1536 and 1559. The French presence necessarily left a strong imprint on Savoyard institutions (eg the Senates, copied from the French Parlements) and cultural practices. Perhaps by this time the ordinary French type of cards, so-called by collectors, were introduced in Savoy and Piedmont from Lyons.
It seems to me that the situation is more complex than that. There is certainly an affinity with the Lyonnaise cards of Dodal and Payen. But Piscina could hardly have mistaken the Lyonaise Popess and Empress cards (seen even in Geoffroy) for males, since he speaks of "Emperatori e Papi" without distinguishing gender (unless, I suppose, he wanted to avoid the issue of interpreting the Popess). Unfortunately we have no 16th century cards from Lombardy or Piedmont for comparison. But given that tarot was to the immediate west of Savoy-Piedmont considerably before it was to the north, and that there was a positive relationship between the two duchies, Savoy and Milan, through marriages,including Galeazzo Maria Sofrza's in 1468, Lombardy seems to me more likely initially, even before the influence from Bologna. The four stars on the Star card are also from that time (and also the sheep of Vieville's Tower, and the boy with the banner under the Sun). Then, after Piscina, there may indeed have been the influence of Lyons, restoring the Popess and in many other ways.

So in general I think that Dummett's ideas on the origin of the Belgian pattern, and that of Piedmont-Savoy, remains quite defensible. They may only need be taken further back, perhaps to an Anonymous in the 16th century, and also to the Geoffroy just before, with Milanese-type cards in Piedmont-Savoy even in the 15th century.

There is more to be said, mostly on the Fool as the 22nd triumph, but I will stop for now.

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


There is also another feature of the de Hautot/Belgian deck that is of interest, namely the practice of having the Fool as highest trump. What Dummett has to say he calls "a slight possibility"; indeed, I do not think his proposal for a connection to Bologna via Piedmont is as persuasive as his other thoughts on Piedmont.

Dummett announces that he is going to argue for something that at first blush appears rather startling:
C’è anche una vaga possibilità che un’altra peculiarità sia da collegare all’ipotizzata ascendenza bolognese del Tarocco belga. Nel mazzo di de Hautot e in quelli prodotti in Belgio, il Matto (Fou) reca il numero XXII: come è stato osservato, ciò sembra implicare nettamente che il suo ruolo originale non era quello di Excuse, ma entrava nel gioco come il trionfo più alto.

(There is also a slight possibility that another peculiarity is to be connected to the hypothesized Bolognese ancestry of the Belgian. In the deck of de Hautot and those produced in Belgium, the Fool (Fou) is numbered XXII; as has been noted, this clearly seems to imply that its original role was not that of the Excuse, but it entered the game as the highest triumph.)
But when he says "original role", I think he means "original role in Belgium", and not "original role anywhere". That is because he gives no argument for, nor says in so many words, that it was originally the highest triumph in Bologna.

So now here his argument for the origin of what I will call the "Fool high" rule:
Tali giochi erano praticati in Germania e in tutto l’Impero Asburgico, compresa la città di Trieste, ma solo con mazzi di cinquantaquattro carte, ridotti nel modo già indicato, oppure con mazzi di quarantadue carte con una sola carta numerale (Asso o 10) in ciascun seme. Sono ancora praticati nella Foresta Nera e in tutti i paesi che furono un tempo parte dell’Impero Asburgico — Austria, Ungheria, Cecoslovacchia e la Slovenia.

(This is true for a large class of Tarot games later. Such games were practiced in Germany and throughout the Hapsburg Empire, including the city of Trieste, but only with decks of fifty-four cards, reduced as indicated above, or with decks of forty cards with a single numeral card (ace or 10) in each suit. They are still practiced in the Black Forest and in all the countries that were once part of the Habsburg Empire - Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Slovenia.)
These games are first reported in 1750, Dummett says in Chapter 18 (p. 430), contemporaneous with the introduction of French-suited tarot packs. It would be of interest to know how games of that sort arose, but I cannot see that Dummett pursues the issue. French suited tarot seems to have started in southern Germany (Regensburg) and then spread north, east, and to Belgium. In Belgium it overlaps the same practice with Italian suits. In these decks, the Fool or Skus did not actually have the number 22 on the card. It was simply a rule.

There is one place documented which stands a chance of having a more ancient game than those places (p. 403).
Il Matto è usato come trionfo più alto nei giochi dei Tarocchi praticati nel Cantone svizzero Vallese. Nei Grigioni, come abbiamo già osservato, si gioca una forma dei Tarocchi che sembra assai poco diversa da quello che doveva essere l’originale stile di gioco milanese. Il Vallese, tuttavia, ha uno stile di gioco completamente diverso; e ciò può essere significativo, considerata la vicinanza di quel cantone alla Val d’Aosta. Nel Cantone Vallese, il gioco è praticato, ancora una volta, con un mazzo di sessantadue carte, ridotto per l’esclusione delle carte dal 7 al 10 in ciascun seme. Il Matto — detto «dr Narr» (il Folle) — conta normalmente come il trionfo più alto in qualsiasi presa. I giocatori ammettono un’unica eccezione: se un [end of 403] giocatore ha in mano il Matto senza altri trionfi non è costretto a rispondere a un trionfo, o a giocare il Matto se gli manca il seme della presa, ma può giocare una qualsiasi carta. Se si avvale del privilegio di rifiutare, deve conservare il Matto fino all'ultima presa, che esso non ha più la capacità di prendere, ma non può neppure esser preso; il suo possessore lo riprende in cambio di una carta di valore basso. In caso contrario, il Matto conserva la sua funzione di trionfo più alto anche nell’ultima presa.

The Fool is used as the highest triumph in the games of Tarot in effect in the Swiss canton of Valais. In Graubünden, as we have already noted, they play a form of Tarot that looks very little different from what was supposed to be the original style of play in Milan. Valais, however, has a completely different style of play; and this can be significant, given the proximity of the canton to Val d'Aosta. In the canton of Valais, the game is played, once again, with a deck of sixty cards, reduced by the exclusion of cards 7-10 in each suit. The Fool - known as "Der Narr" - normally counts as the highest triumph in any trick. Players admit one exception: if a [end of 403] player holds the Fool with no other triumphs, he is not forced to respond with a triumph, or to play the Fool if he lacks the suit of the trick, but it can play any card. If he avails himself of the privilege to refuse, he must retain the Fool unti the last trick, when it no longer has the ability to take, but neither can it be taken; its owner takes it back in exchange for a card of low value. Otherwise, the Fool retains its function of highest triumph even in the last trick.
So it has a double function: highest trump and Excuse. The card of low value actually plays the role of the Excuse in the game, but the result is not quite the same as usual. But what does this have to do with Bologna? I will try to summarize his argument, and then, because I might have missed something, I will quote the whole thing. Here is what I think he is saying: In Bologna four triumphs had high point value: The XXI Angel, XX World, ! Bagatto, and the Fool. When the World was made highest triumph, XXI, players remembered that there was another triumph higher than it. But instead of saying that the Angel was the highest, regardless of what it says on the card, which is what they did in 18th century Piedmont, they made the Fool higher, as XXII, at least in some games.

Here is this argument as he presents it (p. 404f):
Non abbiamo alcuna indicazione di come nacque questo nuovo metodo di usare il Matto; eccetto che a Trieste, non è stato mai conosciuto né in Francia né in Italia. Sfortunatamente, il gioco dei Tarocchi è oggi estinto in Belgio e non esistono fonti di informazione su come venisse praticato in quel paese. In giochi in cui il Matto o Sküs è il trionfo più alto, le tre carte, tranne le figure dei semi, che hanno valori alti di punteggio continuano ad essere, come prima, il trionfo I, il trionfo XXI, e il Matto stesso. In questo contesto, tuttavia, ciò ha un significato diverso. Quando il Mondo o XXI è il trionfo più alto esso non può, ovviamente, essere perduto. Né, tranne casi eccezionali, può essere perduto il Matto, quando esso ha il suo ruolo originale di Excuse; infatti, chi l’ha giocato, sebbene non possa fare la presa, se lo riprende, lo mette fra le carte vinte e, in molte varianti del gioco, cede in cambio un’altra carta fra quelle prese in precedenza. Il giocatore, pertanto, non può perderlo, a meno che non abbia fatto nessun’altra presa, oppure, in alcuni giochi, a meno che non ritardi a giocarlo fino all’ultima, alle ultime tre o alle ultime cinque prese. Delle tre carte che hanno i valori alti' di punteggio (a parte i Re) una non può mai essere persa, e un’altra non lo può, di solito; solo il trionfo I corre dunque seri pericoli di essere preso. Quando il Matto o Sküs assume il suo ruolo di trionfo più alto, tuttavia, è l’unica carta perfettamente al sicuro: in questo caso, infatti, il trionfo XXI può essere preso, sebbene solo dallo Sküs. Questo conferisce al XXI un ruolo simile a quello che ha il suo equivalente iconografico, il Mondo, nel gioco bolognese: si ricorderà, infatti, che in quel gioco ci sono quattro carte con valori alti di punteggio, oltre alle figure dei semi — il Matto, il trionfo più basso (il Bagattino) e i due trionfi più alti, l’Angelo seguito dal Mondo.

Si può quindi azzardare l’ipotesi che il nuovo ruolo di trionfo più alto sia stato assegnato al Matto da giocatori che avevano familiarità con il gioco bolognese o che lo ricordavano vagamente.

(We have no indication of how did this new method of using the Fool; except in Trieste, was never known in France or in Italy. Unfortunately, the game of Tarot is now extinct in Belgium and there are no sources of information on how it was practiced in that country. In games where the Fool or Sküs is the highest triumph, the three cards, except the figures of the suits, which have high point-values continue to be, as before, the lowest triumph, triumph XXI, and the Fool himself. In this context, however, this has a different meaning. When the World or XXI is the highest triumph it cannot, of course, be lost. Nor, except in exceptional circumstances, may the Fool be lost, when it has its original role as Excuse; In fact, even when it is played, although it does not win the trick, it is put among the cards won and, in many variations of the game, is given in exchange for another card among those taken earlier. The player, therefore, can not lose it, unless he has not made one trick, or, in some games, unless he delays its play until the last, the last three, or the last five tricks. Of the three cards that have high point-values (except the Kings) one can never be lost, and another cannot, usually; only triumph I runs a serious risk therefore of being taken. When the Fool or Sküs assumes the role of highest triumph, however, it is the only card perfectly safe: in this case, in fact, triumph XXI may be taken, though only by the Sküs. This gives the XXI a role similar to that which its iconographic equivalent, the World, has in the Bolognese game; it will be remembered, in fact, that in this game there are four cards with high point-value, in addition to the figures of the suits - the Fool, the lowest triumph (the Bagattino), followed by the two highest trumps, the Angel and the World. [end of 404]

We can then venture the hypothesis that the new role of highest triumph has been assigned to the Fool by players who were familiar with the Bolognese game or remembered it vaguely.)
I would wonder why, on this hypothesis, the Angel would have lost its status as high point-getter. Apparently the choice was to change to the Milanese way of scoring, but not the Milanese ranking of the triumphs. This choice is convenient for Dummett's theory.

Where would this have happened? One would think in Piedmont, where the "Angel high" rule was practiced. But Dummett does an admirable job of serving us a dish of disjunctions:
Forse questo sviluppo si verificò per la prima volta in Svizzera, nel Cantone Vailese: rammentando l’altrimenti inspiegata scritta «cartes de suisse», che compare su tutti i mazzi di tarocchi con semi italiani prodotti in Belgio, dobbiamo tener conto della possibilità che nel XVII o persino all’inizio del XVIII secolo mazzi di tarocchi di modello ‘belga’ fossero prodotti in Svizzera. In alternativa, questo sviluppo può aver avuto luogo in Francia. Benché nessun odierno giocatore francese di Tarocchi abbia mai sentito parlare dell’uso dell'Excuse come trionfo più alto, abbiamo visto che prima del XVUI secolo il gioco era praticato a Parigi e in altre località della Francia da dove successivamente scomparve. Poiché il modello ‘belga’ può essere stato usato in alcune di queste aree, o in tutte, è possibile che vi siano state distinte tradizioni di gioco. La Maison académique indica effettivamente uno stile di gioco notevolmente diverso dalla norma, ma la differenza principale consiste nella distribuzione di solo parte del mazzo, mentre il Matto mantiene il suo ruolo originale di Excuse.

(Perhaps this development occurred for the first time in Switzerland, in the canton of Vailese: recalling the otherwise unexplained words “cartes de suiss", which appear on all tarot decks with Italian suits produced in Belgium, we must take into account the possibility that in the XVIIth or even the beginning of the XVIIIth century, Belgian model tarot packs were produced in Switzerland. Alternatively, this development may have taken place in France. Although today no French player of the Tarot has ever heard of the use of the Excuse as the highest triumph, we have seen that before the XVIIIth century the game was played in Paris and other places in France where it subsequently disappeared. Because the 'Belgian' model may have been used in some of these areas, or in all, it is possible that there were distinct traditions of the game.)
Then there is the question of when this would have happened. That the Fool as highest triumph may have been as early as the 16th century in Paris is suggested by a remark of Charles Estienne's, which Dummett quoted earlier in connection with the use in France of "Le Mat" and "Le Fou". There he maintained that the word "Mat" is solely a translation from the Italian, whereas "Fou" is the normal French word. and the one most often used for the card, adding, however, "but the term “le Mat” was also known, perhaps especially in the Paris region" (p. 379).

(Actually, counting the occurrences of the two terms in the decks pictured in Kaplan vol. 2, I see them evenly divided both in Paris and in the East, except that "Fol" is is used exclusively in the Besancon and Belgian decks; however there are only two decks total for Paris, Anonymous and Noblet).

The passage by Estienne is as follows (footnote 4, p. 379):
: «L’inuenteur des Chartes Italianes, desquelles on s’esbat au ieu appele le Tarault,feit (a mon aduis) fort ingenieusement quand il meìst les Deners & les Bastons en combat à rencontre de Force et Justice. Mais encor merita il plus de louange, d’auoir en cedict ieu donne le plus honorable lieu au sot, cinsi que nous l'ax, que nous dobuons appeler nars, qui signìfìe sot en Alemant».
And Dummett's explanation:
Un passo molto strano dei Paradoxes di Charles Estienne del 1553 asserisce che «in questo gioco il posto d’onore» è riservato «al Folle [au Sot], proprio come noi lo diamo all’Asso, che dovremmo chiamare Nars’, che significa ‘Folle’ in tedesco».

(A very strange passage of the Paradoxes of Charles Estienne in 1553 states that “in this game the place of honor” is reserved "for the Fool [au Sot], just as we give it to the Ace, which we should call 'Nars', which means 'mad ' in German" (4).
Now, twenty-five pages later, Dummett cashes in on this quote (p. 405)
La Maison académique indica effettivamente uno stile di gioco notevolmente diverso dalla norma, ma la differenza principale consiste nella distribuzione di solo parte del mazzo, mentre il Matto mantiene il suo ruolo originale di Excuse. Tuttavia, nel passo che abbiamo citato dall’opera di Charles Estienne, che risale ad appena un secolo prima, il Matto è indicato come ‘la carta più onorevole’ e paragonato all’Asso nei giochi praticati con il mazzo normale francese. L’ovvia interpretazione è che il Matto fosse, nei giochi noti a Estienne, il trionfo più alto. E possibile che Estienne, non conoscendo bene il gioco, si sia semplice-mente sbagliato. In caso contrario, tuttavia, l’adozione per il Matto di un ruolo diverso da quello per cui era stato inventato, quello cioè di trionfo in grado di battere persino il XXI, risale al 1553, due secoli prima della nascita di quei giochi praticati con sole cinquantaquattro o quarantadue carte che dovevano diventare caratteristici dell’Impero Austriaco e nei quali il Matto o Sküs era conosciuto solo come il trionfo più alto. È diffìcile giudicare se possiamo fidarci o meno di Estienne. Se ci fidiamo, l’innovazione può essere stata caratteristica di alcuni, o magari di tutti i giochi dei Tarocchi praticati a Parigi e forse in tutto il Nord della Francia con antiche versioni del mazzo di Tarocco belga e di quelli praticati successivamente in Belgio. In questo caso, è difficile immaginare quale rapporto diretto.

(La Maison académique actually indicates a style of play significantly different from the norm, but the main difference is in the distribution of only part of the deck, while the Fool retains its original role of Excuse. However, in the passage we have quoted from the work of Charles Estienne, which originated barely a century earlier, the Fool is referred to as 'the most honorable card' and likened to the Ace in games played with a standard deck of France. The obvious interpretation is that the Fool was, in games known to Estienne, the highest triumph. It is possible that Estienne, not knowing the game well, is simply wrong. Otherwise, however, the adoption by the Fool of a role other than that for which it was invented, that of triumph able to beat even the twenty-first, dating back to 1553, two centuries before the birth of those games played with only fifty-four or forty-two cards that were to become characteristic of the Austrian Empire and in which the Fool or Sküs was known only as the highest triumph. It is difficult to judge whether or not we can trust Estienne. If we trust him, innovation may have been characteristic of some or perhaps all the Tarot games practiced in Paris and perhaps all over the North of France with ancient versions of the Belgian Tarot deck and those charged later in Belgium. In this case, it is difficult to imagine what a direct relationship [end of 405] there might be between those games and those charged in the canton Vailese. There had to be a relationship: the transformation of the role of the Fool cannot be considered a natural development, which can occur independently by players in different areas. One possible theory is that this transformation occurred originally in Piedmont and Savoy and simultaneously entered both Switzerland and France.

But this is "the land of conjecture", Dummett cautions. We don't know Estienne's trustworthiness. And nowhere in Piedmont or Annecy is there a trace of this practice, whereas the Piedmontese persisted in keeping the Angel high even after it's number was changed to XX and the World to XXI. If it existed, it cannot have been a popular practice.

I would disagree that this "transformation of the role of the Fool cannot be considered a natural development". Even in the "Steele Sermon", the Fool is put last, right after the World, even though it is "0, El matto sie nulla (nisi velint): The Fool, thus null (unless they wish) (, ... _Cum_Aliis). If I recall from the "Dummett and Methodology" thread (I can't find it just now), there are indications that sometimes early on the Fool was made the first triumph. It is just as natural to make it the last triumph, or even both at once. Allegorically the "fool for God" was the sure road to salvation; and saints such as Francis were called "holy fools". This culture also existed in 16th century France. Estienne compares the Fool to the Ace, which in some games was ranked higher than the King. Making the lowest card in a sequence the highest is thus a natural extension of this principle to the fifth suit. It may have nothing to do with wanting to continue making the two highest trumps point-getters, rather than just the highest one.

In looking up Estienne on Wikipedia, I find that he was in fact a printer when he published these words. He had taken over his brother Charles' business when Charles, a Protestant, moved to Geneva. He had the rank of "king's printer". Among other things, he printed his own books, which gave him lasting fame, especially the ones on anatomy, but also did not save him from bankruptcy. He is said to have died in debtors' prison. I see no reason to doubt Estienne, who was nothing if not meticulous (with discoveries of his own as well) when it came to anatomy. If so, the "Fool high" idea comes before Piscina, in whom there is not trace of that idea. The hypothesis that the "Fool high" rule obtained first in France is the more likely hypothesis, I think. From there, there are many ways it could get to Valais, where people decided to keep both the old way and the new. Although admittedly less likely it could even have developed independently in the two places, Switzerland/Savoy and western France.

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

The passage by Estienne is as follows (footnote 4, p. 379):
: «L’inuenteur des Chartes Italianes, desquelles on s’esbat au ieu appele le Tarault,feit (a mon aduis) fort ingenieusement quand il meìst les Deners & les Bastons en combat à rencontre de Force et Justice. Mais encor merita il plus de louange, d’auoir en cedict ieu donne le plus honorable lieu au sot, cinsi que nous l'ax, que nous dobuons appeler nars, qui signìfìe sot en Alemant».
And Dummett's explanation:
Un passo molto strano dei Paradoxes di Charles Estienne del 1553 asserisce che «in questo gioco il posto d’onore» è riservato «al Folle [au Sot], proprio come noi lo diamo all’Asso, che dovremmo chiamare Nars’, che significa ‘Folle’ in tedesco».

(A very strange passage of the Paradoxes of Charles Estienne in 1553 states that “in this game the place of honor” is reserved "for the Fool [au Sot], just as we give it to the Ace, which we should call 'Nars', which means 'mad ' in German" (4).
That's interesting. For Estienne I earlier noted:
1553. Paris. Tarault (Estienne; MA 131) ... Ross
"Lo stampatore francese Charles Estiene faceva riferimento nella sua opera Paradoxes all "inventore delle carte italiane con cui si fa un gioco di chiamato 'le Tarault'". ... Marcos
In a 1553 Estienne edition: ... lt&f=false
In a 1555 Estienne edition: ... lt&f=false
The passage was shown (modern) and discussed here:
post 9 at the page
The work seems to be (at least in parts) a translation from "Paradossi, cioè sentenzie fuori del comun parere, novellamente venute in luce, la cui edizione princeps, contrariamente all’espressione ‘novellamente venute in luce’, apparve a Lione per i tipi di Giovanni Pullon da Trino nel 1543" by Ortensio Lando, which was discussed recently by Andrea Vitali:
.... in Italian language.
Paradossi (Ortensio Lando), version of 1550: ... sC&f=false
The relevant chapter is Nr. 5

Interestingly I found the word Tarault in a work of 1554 of Estienne:
... at page 357. I can't see any relevance to Tarot.
A further "Tarault" I found in the Robert Estienne (not Charles) dictionary from 1557 "Dictionariolum puerorum": ... &q&f=false
"ung Tariere, ou Tarault, Terebra. Alii Terieri, Alii Terelle". In a 1549 edition: "Tariere"

"Nars" isn't a common German word, at least today. The common word for "Fool" is "Narr" and the plural form is "Narren". However, a German dialect or a foreigner might have transfered "Nar" (singular) to "Nars" (possibly plural).

Estienne notes: "... we give it to the Ace, which we should call 'Nars', ..."

The Ace usually doesn't appear as a single, but as "4 Aces". 4 Aces with 4 Narren we have in the Hofämterspiel (1455).

German decks "mostly" had no Aces at a specific time (actually there are a lot of German decks with Aces, possibly it was more the Southern German deck, which had "no Aces").

So it's interesting what Estienne indeed had in his mind. But ...

I found some indication, that Estienne just translated from Italian. Andrea Vitali wrote about Lando and his "Paradossi" (1543). He didn't note Estienne, who wrote "Paradoxes" (1553), likely he didn#t know about the relationship. In both editions the Tarot or Tarault is an object in chapter 5.

Perhaps someody with more competence in the languages than me should compare the chapter 5 in the both texts.
If it's just a translation or a French adaption of the Italian text, there's no guarantee, that Estienne knew very much about "Tarault". In other words, the passage doesn't really document a French use of Tarot cards.

Andrea Vitali gives this as the relevant passage:
"E si vergognaremo poi d'esser tenuti pazzi? Io certamente per esser di me sparsa upinione che alquanto ne participassi, so bene quante commodità e quanti vantaggi n'ho riportato. Altri di me si rideva, e io lor tacitamente ucellava e godendo de' privilegi pazzeschi sedeva quando altrui, che ben forbito si teneva, stavasi ritto, coprivami quando altri stava a capo ignudo, e saporitamente dormiva quando altrui non senza gran molestia vegliava. Considro alle volte che l'inventore delle carte fosse uomo più di quel che si stima ingegnoso, poi che non solo fa che le virtù: giustizia, temperanza, fortezza, danari, bastoni, e simili cose giostrino e insieme chi di loro più si vaglia contendono, l'un vincendo e l'altro rimanendo vinto, ma fatto ha di più, che 'l pazzo abbi in cotal giuoco onoratissimo luogo. Ebbe costui, né si pò negare, giudizio perfetto e forse che anch'esso vidde quel che vego io, cioè non esser al mondo persone più legate e serve di chi si persuade e appetisce d'aver luogo fra quelli che son tenuti savi, tanti sono e riguardi, tanti e rispetti e le avertenze che di aver lor bisogna, de' quali il pazzo non si cura punto. Stassi egli sempre gioioso e spensierato, non si riposa nella prudenza, non rifugge alla fraude, non ha ricorso all'astuzia, non si confida nell'altrui favore, né anche cio accadrebbe in alcun tempo, avendo di lui Iddio cura e protezione. lo non dubito che molti de' nostri modemi catoni meco non si adirino perche tanto inalzi la pazzia, de' quali vorrei sapere se letto hanno mai le Divine Scritture. E chi più di loro la esalta? chi più la magnifica e ingrandisce? chi con più efficaci parole condanna la sapienza? E noi temerari vorremo da quelle discordare e abracciar non solo quel che da Iddio è biasimato, ma anche odiato? lo trovo che le più valorose nazioni di Europa hanno supremo tittolo di pazzia, e non di sapienza. Incomminciamo un poco da' Francesi (11), quai pazzi chiamarano Paulo in prima, a' Galati scrivendo, il che poi si raferma dall'interprete santo Gerolamo; e Ireneo vescovo di Lione gli chiama anoitus, che nella volgar nostra lingua tanto sòna quanto a dir "senza mente", e in tutto pazzi; né d'altra upinione fu Giulio Firmico nelle sue Astrologhe Commentazioni". (12)
Here a modern French edition of Estienne

Image ... lt&f=false

It's clear, that the translation isn't 1:1 totally identical with the original.

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

Thanks, Huck. I hadn't seen this material. I am no expert on either 15th century Italian or French, but I will work on it. From what I can make out at present, Estienne's text is a free translation of Lando. That means he is going to make additions to explain things that he thinks will be unfamiliar to French readers. As the modern editor says, he inserts here an explanation of Lando's brief allusion to the game of tarot. which Estienne asserts is of Italian origin. He is trying to explain why Lando said the Fool had the place of honor in the game. Lando's word is "pazzo", i.e. crazy, which Estienne translates as "sot". Estienne says it is like the Ace is for us--meaning his French readers and himself. In other words, it is the high card in the suit. In French trick-taking games, the highest card is the Ace, and then the King, Queen, etc. So in Tarault, the highest card is the "sot". Second, he says that we French even call it the "Nars", which is German for "Fool."

This second point is obscure to me. I had no idea that the French called the Ace a "Nars". And of course the German is "Narr". However the first point is more interesting. {addition next day: I misremembered Estienne here. He isn't saying that we French do call it the "Nars"; he's saying we should call it the "Nars"meaning "fool"; it's a bad pun, l'As = Nars. That sort of makes sense, if we compound his ignorance; not only does he not know tarot, but he doesn't know German. Another thing: if he knew the tarot, he probably wouldn't have used the word "sot"; he'd have said "Fol" or "Mat". the words probably used by tarot-players.]

First, it is clear that the game of tarot is assumed unfamiliar to Estienne's French readers. And this reference to the Fool as having the "place of honor" in the game will also be unfamiliar. So there is no question about whether the Fool is the highest trump in western France at that time. They don't even know the game. Or well, now that they have read Estienne, they know one thing, that the Fool has the "place of honor", comparable to the Ace in French games.

Looking at the Italian original, it seems to me that Estienne has misinterpreted Lando. Lando goes on to say that the fool doesn't participate in the struggles that others find important, the achieving of honor and knowledge, for example. He is carefree, because God protects him, and puts little stock in his knowledge. Estienne interprets the fool's indifference to his being by nature the highest triumph. But Lando is saying that he is indifferent to the strugles of the world. If he were the highest trump, he'd be the winner in all these struggles. But he's not the winner at all. He's carefree because he can't be touched. In other words, although he can't take, he can't be taken. He is the Excuse, not the highest trump. That is Estienne's mistake.

But if so, why does the fool have the place of honor? The context here is a paradox about foolishness or madness. It is somehow for Christians the highest virtue, higher than knowledge or wisdom. It is the Pauline point about the "fool for God" who is seen by the world as just a fool. The Fool is the Christian, who wins not in this world but in the next, in other words, when the points are scored to see who won. In Venice, he must have had the highest number of points. But more importantly, the game in Venice--and so Ferrara--must have counted combinations in which the Fool could fill in for a needed card. Allegorically, if the high cards won are good works, the Fool is the Christian faith that makes some of these good works count. So potentially, if one has played the game properly otherwise, the Fool has the potential for securing its owner many points. In that way it has the place of honor, a place which by itself is completely unearned, merely received by the grace of the deal.

What does all this say about the origin of the "Fool high" rule? I think all it says is that it is perfectly natural to give the Fool the highest place in the game. The original way is the more subtle. But in a later age, with the Wars of Religion, when thinking of oneself as knowing the truth is even more clearly folly, and to know (paradoxically) this folly is the beginning of wisdom, beyond which wisdom and madness are one, it might have been seen as natural to make this most honorable card also the most favored in all aspects of the game, especially in a game (as the French was) without scoring combinations. It is a perfectly natural development, and one which Estienne is proof of; perhaps he even contributed to it. It could have started either in France or in Valais, or both independently. So my point against Dummett still stands.

This is just my first impression.

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

Mikeh wrote:
I see no reason to doubt Estienne, who was nothing if not meticulous (with discoveries of his own as well) when it came to anatomy. If so, the "Fool high" idea comes before Piscina, in whom there is not trace of that idea. The hypothesis that the "Fool high" rule obtained first in France is the more likely hypothesis, I think. From there, there are many ways it could get to Valais, where people decided to keep both the old way and the new. Although admittedly less likely it could even have developed independently in the two places, Switzerland/Savoy and western France.
I'd moderate your view of Piscina this way: The ordinal high placement of the fool may not be there in Piscina but the Christian moralizing of tarot is precisely that which would allow the re-evaluation of this card from the god-denying fool from Psalms (the basis of the Giotto vice protoype, 'foolishness') to the 'fool for God' that appears in later iterations of the tarot. In the passage pasted below, Piscina explicitly declares the game inventor a good Catholic, explains that the cards are misunderstood allegories, that the fool in particular mocks worldly vanity – fame – and also provides the explicit rationale for making the fool either first or last: “why the fool is the first could be to mean the beginning and the end of human life.” Given the connection to Savoy, a state that could easily promote the diffusion of new ideas (vs the Anonymous Discourse and its limited circulation), that provides the explanation of how a moralizing interpretation of the tarot could have become fairly widespread.

The relevant passage from Piscina:
the Fool comes out first because it is common, in such amusing shows, that the first to come [on the stage] is someone who wears a strange and pleasant costume, making people laugh, as usually the Jokers and the Fools and similar people do. But those people are grossly wrong. With more subtle consideration of the mind of the Inventor, we say that he wanted to illustrate with his figures many Moral teachings, and under some difficulty, to bite into bad and dangerous customs, & show how today many Actions are done without goodness and honesty, and are accomplished in ways that are contrary to duty and rightfulness. In this way he proved to be not only a Good and loyal follower of the Catholic and Christian faith, but also a true expert and excellent in the customs of civil life: because in the twenty two figures he has placed and chosen, there is none that, being pondered with attention, does not bring with itself the greatest and deepest meaning & that is not worthy to be examined in detail. So the reason why the fool is the first could be to mean the beginning [8] and the end of human life, i.e. childhood and old age. In those ages it somehow seems that people are fools, because they have no wisdom or intelligence, and the fool is placed as the first for this reason. This [explanation] is full of great consideration, but I do not want to leave out unmentioned another one, even it will seem to be a joke. In order to make it clear, you must know that it can be read, in a very pleasant and acute Comedy written by the very learned Intronati, of the famous Academy in Siena, not devoid of seriousness, of the amusing controversy among two very tight-fisted innkeepers: all people of any kind, when they had to travel, used to go to the Inn of the Mirror, but for a long time they had preferred to go to that of the Fool, more appropriate to their will and their actions. This is why, with great mystery, we see the Fool in the game of Tarot being represented in such a way that he looks behind towards a mirror, making fun of the fame of [9] the Mirror, that is lost among all people, who once used to go to that inn. This is why his face is so joyful, he rejoices and glories in the credit he receives, so that all men run behind him.

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

mikeh wrote:Thanks, Huck. I hadn't seen this material. I am no expert on either 15th century Italian or French, but I will work on it. From what I can make out at present, Estienne's text is a free translation of Lando. That means he is going to make additions to explain things that he thinks will be unfamiliar to French readers. As the modern editor says, he inserts here an explanation of Lando's brief allusion to the game of tarot. which Estienne asserts is of Italian origin. He is trying to explain why Lando said the Fool had the place of honor in the game. Lando's word is "pazzo", i.e. crazy, which Estienne translates as "sot". Estienne says it is like the Ace is for us--meaning his French readers and himself. In other words, it is the high card in the suit. In French trick-taking games, the highest card is the Ace, and then the King, Queen, etc. So in Tarault, the highest card is the "sot". Second, he says that we French even call it the "Nars", which is German for "Fool."

This second point is obscure to me. I had no idea that the French called the Ace a "Nars". And of course the German is "Narr". However the first point is more interesting.

First, it is clear that the game of tarot is assumed unfamiliar to Estienne's French readers.
Well, your explanation looks logical (Aces are high, so the Fool - as it is high - is like the Aces), but I'm not sure, if it is proven, that the Ace was high in contemporary French rules. I just don't know it, I don't claim a contradiction. One just need to know the general rules of other popular games to draw such a conclusion.
As I already wrote, there is at least one example (Hofämterspiel), where the number 1 (= Ace ?) is associated to Fools. In Mitelli's dice game interpretations (much later) the 1-1-1 result occasionally was also associated to the Fool, while the 6-6-6 was commonly the total-winning result. Otherwise I know modern dice games, where 1-1-1 is the highest.

"First, it is clear that the game of tarot is assumed unfamiliar to Estienne's French readers."
Well, that's a critical point, as some researchers (for instance Depaulis) assume, that Tarot had then already some larger distribution in France. I personally don't think so. There are not so much "Tarot notes of France" before Estienne, and Estienne just translates or transforms an Italian text. The "tarau of Rabelais" is just a sign, that Rabelais knew the game, but Rabelais had been in Italy. The Avignon production note (1505) is hampered with the condition, that Avignon had a special political state, it was not "France", it's difficult tio serve as evidence, when it stands alone.
Philibert in 1527 played Tarot in Italy, and fought with the emperor against France. That's not evidence for Tarot in France.
And this reference to the Fool as having the "place of honor" in the game will also be unfamiliar. So there is no question about whether the Fool is the highest trump in western France at that time. They don't even know the game. Or well, now that they have read Estienne, they know one thing, that the Fool has the "place of honor", comparable to the Ace in French games.

Looking at the Italian original, it seems to me that Estienne has misinterpreted Lando. Lando goes on to say that the fool doesn't participate in the struggles that others find important, the achieving of honor and knowledge, for example. He is carefree, because God protects him, and puts little stock in his knowledge. Estienne interprets the fool's indifference to his being by nature the highest triumph. But Lando is saying that he is indifferent to the strugles of the world. If he were the highest trump, he'd be the winner in all these struggles. But he's not the winner at all. He's carefree because he can't be touched. In other words, although he can't take, he can't be taken. He is the Excuse, not the highest trump. That is Estienne's mistake.
Well, if we follow this interpretation, then the Estienne quote, short and not so relevant as it is, can't serve as evidence for "Fool as highest trump".

Dummett didn't know, that Estienne's text was a translation or transformation of Lando's text, I would assume.

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

Huck wrote,
I'm not sure, if it is proven, that the Ace was high in contemporary French rules. I just don't know it, I don't claim a contradiction. One just need to know the general rules of other popular games to draw such a conclusion.
What Estienne says, in Dummett's mixture of quotation and paraphrase, which seems to me correct, is "in this game the place of honor” is reserved "for the Fool [au Sot], just as we give it to the Ace,..."

He may not know what he is talking about when it comes to German and Italian games, but surely he knows French games with ordinary cards in his time and place. The text is evidence.

I agree that to be doubly sure one should also look for conflicting evidence in accounts of card games in Paris at that time. OK, Piquet is given as a card game in France early 16th century: card order Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8. 7. ( Piquet seems to have been the main card game then.

I found another, but not very French: ruff, Ace high. ... trump.html, At the latter site, aces are high in one variation. In another variation, they have a different source of honor, the privilege of drawing four and discarding four. But I can't see that Estienne means that, or he would have said so, to differentiate it from the more familiar game of piquet.

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

mikeh wrote: I agree that to be doubly sure one should also look for conflicting evidence in accounts of card games in Paris at that time. OK, Piquet is given as a card game in France early 16th century: card order Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8. 7. ( Piquet seems to have been the main card game then.

I found another, but not very French: ruff, Ace high. ... trump.html, At the latter site, aces are high in one variation. In another variation, they have a different source of honor, the privilege of drawing four and discarding four. But I can't see that Estienne means that, or he would have said so, to differentiate it from the more familiar game of piquet.
For Piquet I find the note, that it first appeared as name 1534, Rabelais list. Looking at this list, I don't find
Piquet, but "au cent" (100). Which might be Piquet, but that's naturally not so sure.

An etymology dictionary says "1640" for Piquet. And notes then 16th century for "Picquet". Attempting Goggle books search engine for 1500 - 1600 I find people with name Picquet or other uses of the word, but no card games (between the first pages). has ...
Piquet is a very old game. It was well established by 1650 with similar rules to the present ones (it differed in using a 36 card pack with a 12 card talon, elder hand being allowed to change 7 cards, and a partie was ended by the first to reach 100, a variant still sometimes played). It was mentioned by Rabelais in 1535 although whether this was the same game is unclear. It has retained its popularity to the present day as one of the best and most skilful card games for two players. The rules described are those published by Cavendish in 1882.

This doesn't sound like "very sure" for the Estienne time mid 16th century, especially when considering, that a "Piquet deck" is a terminus for the deck with "32 cards" (which possibly wasn't given in 1650).

David Parlett has a nice collection to Piquet.
Please read this, it's rather good.

"Ruff" as a game name is very old ...
... however it's by far not clear, what sort of game it meant.

The questions around the "high Ace" are actually ...

Who gave the Ace 11 points or when the Ace was connected to 11 points (in trick games games, in which cards have point value)? In such conditions the Ace should naturally high.

There are trick games without points for cards, counting usually tricks. When there is the first evidence for a high ranking of the Ace in the process of a single trick?

Relative early and common is the ranking of Ace in the number row "sometimes high, sometimes low, depending on the suit", not considering the court cards, which are often trumps. That's clearly very early.

Parlett in his article gives this summary to Piquet ...
1. The earliest version was played with a 36-card pack, which did not come into general use until about that time.

2. Aces outrank Kings. This promotion also dates from the end of the 15th century, though it is interesting (and confusing) to note that the closely related game of Impériale ranks Ace intermediately, between Jack and Ten, as if caught in the process of migrating from low to high position.

3. The valuation of cards at Ace 11, courts 10, and numerals at face value, is not recorded before 1500.

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