1447 Martin Le Franc / Jean Marie Lhôte

#1
A French language report of Jean Marie Lhôte ...
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Marie_Lh%C3%B4te
... who wrote about games and also about Tarot, appeared in an IPCS article XXX/4 p. 152-160: "Martin Le Franc et les Tarots Visconti." (2002)

According this Martin Le Franc wrote 22 poems (or 23 ?) inside a prose text, "L'Estrif de Fortune" (The debate between Fortune and Virtue) in 1447/48.

Martin Le Franc ..
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Le_Franc
Lhôte says, that there was a relationship between Martin and the Visconti family.
Lhôte thinks, that the poems relate to the 22 Tarot cards. The article is in French, my ability with this language is not good enough to say too much about it.

Maybe it's interesting to see the original text. Here's a version of 1477 ...
https://archive.org/details/OEXV569

The last footnote of the article text gives the impression, that the poems don't follow any of the standard orders in their sequence.

Image
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: 1447 Martin Le Franc / Jean Marie Lhôte

#3
I've meanwhile inserted a link to an online edition of 1477.
My computer connection is too slow to follow the details in an appropriate way, so you can look yourself , if the presentation in the footnote makes sense.

https://archive.org/details/OEXV569

I personally don't think, that the Trionfi card versions in 1447/48 already had 22 special cards. But nonetheless the case is interesting. But my French is not good enough for this case.

Added: I don't know, which function the titles have. Lhôte quoted snippets of the poems, but that doesn't satisfy me. One has to see an edition close to the original. This seems troublesome, as the text seems to be rather long. a pdf-file offers about 450 pages.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: 1447 Martin Le Franc / Jean Marie Lhôte

#4

http://gorbutovich.livejournal.com/4628 ... ead=319697
(lots of other Fortune pictures at this page)

From an edition of the Martin le Franc work (1470/80). Most pictures, that I see at images of google.com look French, nothing looks like Tarot or Trionfi images.

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I find this snippet:

Image

http://books.google.de/books?id=tv2HiXQ ... ti&f=false

Martin le Franc referred to the death of Filippo Maria Visconti, which helped to date the work. "Fol93r" might help to find this passage.

************

This page claims, that the "poem" was made for Philip the Good of Burgundy.
http://lessingimages.com/viewimage.asp? ... &cr=9&cl=1

This is confirmed by the wikipedias. But the deciding sponsor seems to have been anti-pope Felix, at lest in the relevant time. Well, Filippo Marias Visconti belonged to the political side of Pope Felix ... this must have been the natural context for Martin le Franc.

************
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: 1447 Martin Le Franc / Jean Marie Lhôte

#5
thanks,
thats a pretty dense text.
doesnt look like the poems are explicitly linked to specific cards and,as you say, the pictures dont seem to have much in common with the Visconti designs
sounds like Lhote may be cherry-picking to suit his ideas

nevertheless,the timing of the connections of the people and ideas presented by Lhote could certainly be a hint that the original game of tarot may have been a philosophy game as well as as a simple gaming game.

Re: 1447 Martin Le Franc / Jean Marie Lhôte

#6
There is no reason to think that the pictures should illustrate tarot cards, unless it is clear that the author had that intention. They can illustrate any scene. I suspect that the author had nothing to do with these illustrations. They come from various editions of the book. The earliest extant, I think, is 1477, published in Bruges, with miniatures, per Worldcat. Many others were 16th century. A search on Worldcat reveals that a frontispiece for one edition was done by Jean Fouquet, an illuminator at the court of Charles V, i.e. in Paris, born in 1415, died before 1481.

Le Franc was with Felix in Basel for the Council (1438 & years on either side), then Lausanne and Geneva, then the Burgundian court 1447-1451, which would have been in Ghent (very close to Bruges), then Savoy (see http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Le_Franc) but with much contact with Paris. Died 1461.

L'Hote does indeed correlate particular mentions of tarot subjects with particular ones of the 22 poems (actually, there are 23, but he only counts the poems said by Virtue and Fortune, not the introductory one to the Reader). The order of the subjects as they appear in the poems does not correspond very well to the order in the tarot, except that the Fool is first and the World is last. If the particular lines that L'Hote singles out were strung together in one poem, they would definitely count as a "tarot appropriati". But he has indeed picked one or two lines from wherever they are in much longer poems. I'd have to look at the poems as a whole to see how incidental the words are to the oems in which they appear.

Also, since all the tarot subjects are common medieval themes, what are the chances that a book would be written using these words in each of 22 poems, without any knowledge at all of the tarot? Actually, I think small enough to be interesting. But we also have to look to see if these words occur in more than one of the 22. That requires a searchable version of the poems.

Well, I have requested Peter Dembowski's critical edition of the book, 1999, from Interlibrary Loan. A library in Oregon has it. There is also a possibly relevant essay by him in a library here where I have borrowing privileges.

There is also the issue that some of L'Hote's quotations don't fit the tarot subjects very well. Hope, Faith, Charity, and especially the Bagatto, are the most dubious. L'Hote makes no claim for the Bagatto at all, except to say that it is an inverted Faith. Temperance and Justice are mentioned specifically (in a psychomachia, it is hard to avoid them), but not the theologicals, except Faith (how could a poem about the human condition by a priest not mention Faith?). Some of the other connections are a bit forced, too, notably House of God and Hanged Man, maybe others. Others are quite close to what is on the card. My translation of the quotations isn't very good, but I haven't tried, using an online dictionary with old spellings in it. Once I have done as much as I can, but not waiting for the Dembowski, I'll post them. It is not clear to me that he was referencing the Cary-Yale. The Brera-Brambilla might have had the conventional 22 subjects, or most of them (e.g. possibly still having Prudence, another word that occurs in L'Hotes' quotes).

I see no particular reason why there shouldn't have been 22 tarot subjects by 1444-1447, in a tarot sent to Felix V by his son-in-law Filippo Maria Visconti, or by someone else, like Maria of Savoy (who returned to Savoy after her husband's death, I'm not sure when; I'd expect 1447). Le Franc may not have actually seen the cards (not actually being with Felix), but just had them described in a letter. His knowledge of Filippo seems to be hearsay (he describes a large painted Wheel of Fortune allegedly owned by Filippo, not confirmed elsewhere, L'Hote says). It also might be that he revised the book for new manuscript versions, once he started living in Savoy and Piedmont. I'll see what Dembowski says.

Re: 1447 Martin Le Franc / Jean Marie Lhôte

#7
I have been trying to translate the quotations that L'Hote provides to back up his claim that each of the 22 poems present a different tarot trump. He presents them, I think, in the order of easiest to hardest. However I think it woudl be better to present them in the order in which the 22 poems appear. I am sure my attempts at translations has numerous errors. Middle French is not a specialty of mine. I did look up archaic words in Cotgrave's 1611 French-English dictionary. Apart from L'Hote's thesis, I think these quotes are of interest to show just how one educated French cleric in a courtly milieu close to that of the Visconti thought about tarot-like subjects at the time the tarot was being formed.

First is poem II, which he identifies with the Fool. In that poem Le Franc says:
« Se l'umaine creature / N'est pas faicte à l'avanture, / Mais de cil Ouvrier soubtil, / Le quel par propre droiture / Et eternele nature Sur tout estend son oustil, / Et en ce mondain courtil / Gouverne la plante mendre. / Bien fol et meschant n'est il / Qui ne luy veult graces rendre? »
The nearest English equivalent I can come up with is this:
If the human creature / Is not made by chance, / But of this subtle Worker, / The which by his own rightness / And eternele nature on all extends its tools, / And in this worldly garden / Governs the guidance of plants. / Indeed foolish and wicked is not he / Who does not render thanks to him?"
Well, it at least has the word "fol".

Then in poem III we have Fortune, one of the protagonists of the dialogue:
« Du monde elle est, ou bonne ou male, / Mais luy baillier couronne ou ceptre / Comme aiant dignité roiale / C'est trop enorguillir son estre. »

(From the world she is, good or ill, / But to him governing crown or scepter / As having royal dignity /She too much puffs up his being.")
I would have thought this was, implicitly the Emperor (there might be a reference to a certain Duke here, but not negatively; I'll get to that in another post). But there is no denying that Fortune is there in the poem. Good fortune puffs a ruler up. Petrarch had said the same. The card is similar, I think. Fortune there reminds the ruler of how precarious his position is, to help him guard against too much self-confidence. We are out of sequence, of course, but it is not clear what the early sequence actually was. And anyway, he's not writing for people who know the tarot. The book has its own dynamic.

Next is poem IV, which L'Hote correlates with the Empress. This is one of the more difficult ones, not only for him to defend but for me to translate. He finds these lines:
« De celle haulte Puissance, / Bien parfait Trésor, Plaisance, / Sourse, Fontaine, Habondance / Dont tout
prent commencement, / Mal ne poeut avoir naissance. / [...] Mais sa laideur, sa muance / Sans fin, sans amendement / N'a estât ne fondement. / Tant se fait estrangement / Qu'il n'a estre ne moment, / / Ne nature mesmement /Rendant aucun parement. / Pictagoras plainement / le nomme infini erreur. / Et je l'appelle malheur, / Privation, faulte, horreur, / Tresredoutable fureur, / Du deable germain frereur, / Desplaisant à cil Seigneur, / Qui n'a pareil ne greigneur / Et de tout a connaissance. »

From the high Power /Indeed perfect Treasure, Delight/ Spring, Fountain, Abundance / Whence all are born / Evil cannot be born. / [...] But its ugliness, its alterations / Without end, without amendment / Is without origin. / It is made by estrangement / It is then that / Nature itself gives it adornment. / Pythagoras plainly / calls it infinite error. / And I call it calamity, / Privation, fault, horror, / Very redoubtable fury, / Paternal male cousin of the devil, / Displeasing to the Lord, / without peer/ And has knowledge of everything. »
Since it starts with true beauty and ends with evil disguising itself with adornment, L'Hote decides that this last is about "wicked queens", poisoners, not lacking in those troubled times. Well, that interpretation is somewhat forced. But I will continue.

Poem V relates to Charity, L'Hote says. What is mentioned is actually Providence, he admits, but that is the same thing. The voice of Virtue says:
« J'ay donc de vous que providence divine gouverne toutes choses haultes, moyennes et basses.»

I have then from you that divine Providence governs all things high, middle, and low.
This refers to the three regions of pure spirit, angels and demons, and things in matter, L'Hote says, a common belief of the time, especially found in Platonic philosophers (Piscina, a century later, will cite Plato's Apology, giving the midle region to the "Demoni" card.) However I see nothing specifically about Charity here, even divine charity. Well, we can assume it, apparently. Actually, he quotes a more explicit statement of divine Charity in Poem VIII. But that poem relates to another virtue, he insists (although he does admit that Charity is there, too), in this case Faith. I will quote it a little later.

Poem VI relates to the Popess. In this case it is a sibyl or prophetess:
« Se Pomme povoit avoir / Engin pour apercevoir, / Congnoistre, entendre, scavoir / Ce qui luy poeut avenir,/»

(If an Apple have could have/ an Engine for seeing / Experiencing, understanding, knowing/ it can for her the future.
I am guessing that the "luy" means "her" on his interpretation. It is woman, of course, who somehow is associted with the Apple. This interpretation fits well with the interpretation of the Popess as Sister Manfreda. She had it from a higher source that the Pope and Cardinals would be overthrown and replaced by those inspired by Giugliema, including, according to testimony, herself as Pope. We are still waiting, apparently. Also, when Baldini in 1470s Florence was making engravings of pagan sibyls prophecying Christ's birth, he put headgear very much like papal tiaras on a couple of them.

Poem VII has the Sun. Here is the quote, presumably spoken by Virtue. The explanations are L'Hote's, from :
« Hommes au bien perdurable invitéz, / Gardéz le droit de vos humanitéz. / [...] Ne Saturnus rechigné de viellune / Ne Mars le fier ne pianette nesune / Faire pourroit que soyéz surmontéz, / Mais qu'en terre ne soyéz ahurtez / Et de voulloir esvertué montez / Avecques moy au coupel de ma dune. Dont vous verréz que se Vertu n'arrune / Les faits humains, tout ne vault une prune / Et au vent vont vos vaines vanitéz. » [ahurtez = arrêtés; coupel = sommet; arrune = arrange, contrôle]

"Men losable to good invited / To keep the law of your humanity. / [...] Saturn frowns from age / Never rely on Mars / He made it that you are overcome, / But in earth be not stopped / And by will mount to virtue / With me to the top of my hill [or surge].. Hence you will see that if Virtue controls you / Human deeds all are not worth a plum / And the wind will take your vain vanities." [Ahurtez = stopped; Coupel = top; arrune = arrange, control]
Perhaps the Sun is in there somewhere, if Saturn and Mars are. L'Hote says, in explanation, that the Sun goes up and down, like Fortune. I am not sure that helps. I am surprised he didn't see the reference to "vain vanities" as implyin the Sun, as in some Biblical quote I dimly remember.

Poem VIII has Faith. There are two quotes:
« jamaiz faillir on ne poeut en alléguant la providence et le vouloir de Dieu »

(never fail to give allegience to providence and the will of God "
And also:
« Qui tout son cueur en Dieu met / Et à luy se recommande, / ce que Fortune promet, / ou transmet / Luy est bien petite offrande. / Et du ciel il ne demande / Plus que Nature commande, / Ains soubmet / Sa demande / A la Providence grande, / Suppliant qu'elle luy mande / Et espande / Grace d'éviter l'esclandre / et que se pechié commet, / Hastif pardon luy remande. »

Who all his heart in God puts / And recommends himself to him,/ this that Fortune promises / or transmits / to him is a small offering. / And from heaven he asks/ More than Nature commands / Thus he submits / his application / To Providence high, / Supplicating it to send / And expand / Grace to avoid shame / and if Sin he commits / Remands again to pardon him.
Faith is in the first part, Charity at the end.

For poem IX we have
« De franc arbitre fust jadis homme anobly, / Que Testât glorieux pour sa vie estably / Conquérir en povoit. Mais il mist en oubly / Sa haute gentillesse et ne s'en recorda, / Quant par foie creance au dyable s'acorda / Qui comme vil esclave en son chep l'encorda. » [chep = prison]

From free will once nobly was man, / That glorious Head for his life established / He was able to conquer it. But he mist (?) forgets / His high kindness and he does not remember / As by faith credence to the devil is accorded / Who as vile slave in his prison is tied. [chep =Prison]
Here, you will have noticed, there is mention of faith. But it is the wrong sort. The Devil is clearly referred to.

For poem X we have the Pope, apparently the personnage referred to as "Rome" (although I seem to recall that for Le Franc the Pope was in Basel):
« Ne jectéz ja vostre plainte / Contre fortuneuse empainte, / Se Romme est orez despainte / Jadis du monde lumière, / [...] Par sagesse singulière, / Dieu fait le devant derrière / Et au temps donne manière / De liesse ou de complainte. / Homme aussy, cause haultiere, / Met la main à la matière. / Et n'est chose tant entière / Qui ne sente son actainte / Partant de voulenté sainte, / Ou d'opinion emprainte / En la gloire seculiere. » [empainte = impulsion, choc]

"Do not throw your complaint / Against Fortune’s shock / If Rome is now abandoned / Once the light of the world / [...] Of singular wisdom, / God makes the front the back / And time gives way / To joy or lament. / Man also, noble cause / Puts his hand to matter. / And is nothing whole / Who does not feel his action / Leaving the holy will, / Or of opinion imprinted / In secular glory." [Empainte = pulse, shock]
For XI, we have the Hanged Man. Remember that Le Franc is French and cannot be expected to understand the precise symbolism.
« Que sens n'avéz, proesse ne valeur / Par qui France languissant en douleur / Puist recouvrer sa premiere couleur, / Tant est au bas / Par vos haines, divisions, debas / Que d'elle on fait comme d'un viel cabas / Et est subgecte au gorrel et au bas. » [cabas = au fig. putain; gorrel = joug; bas = bât]

What sense has prowess or valor / by which France languishing in pain / can recover its first color / So much is she ibrought low / By your hatred, divisions, strife / That of her is made as of a vile whore / And is subjected to the yoke and beaten. [cabas =fig. whore; Gorrel = yoke; bas = beaten]
Well, that's enough for now.

Re: 1447 Martin Le Franc / Jean Marie Lhôte

#8
The major roles of the text are Reason, Fortune and Virtue ... this are 3. In a game with three dice you have 20 kinds of results, 14 for the numbers 4-17, six for the results 1-1-1, 2-2-2, 3-3-3 etc.

3 roles (three dice) and 20 results make 23 ... the whole text has 23 poems.

Mitelli later had constructed games with these elements, but likely this game structure was already used around 1450..

Fortune is the major topic. It's common to connect dice game with Fortune.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: 1447 Martin Le Franc / Jean Marie Lhôte

#9
Good, Huck. The case is getting weaker all the time.

I will continue. For poem XII, we have the Emperor, to wit:
« Soubs la pourveance bonne / Du Créateur qui hault tonne, / Empereur porte couronne / Dont grands poeuples avironne, / Aux quelx divers tourmens donne / Ou par voulenté felonne / Ou car n'est sage personne. »

Under the good power / of the Creator who thunders on high / Emperor wears crown / Whence great peoples row (?), / To whom various torments he gives / Or by treacherous will / Or in as much as no one is wise.
For triumph XIII, Strength (La Force) I we have Hercules and lions. The title then was, in most sources, Fortezza, i.e. Fortitude, the cardinal virtue, but Hercules no doubt had that as well :
«Herculés fut oultrageux voyagier / Qui entreprint toutes les mers nagier / Pour nom acquerre. / [...] Pluseurs monstres il avait abastu, / Tué géants et lyons desvestu. Tant estoit fort »

"Hercules was an outragous voyager / Who undertook to swim all the seas / To acquire a name. / [...] Many monsters has he beaten, / Killed giants and despoiled lions. So strong he was."
L"Hote observes that this applies more readily to the PMB card than to the Cary-Yale's.

For XIV, we have Judgment (the title then was the Angel, but the concept is the same):
« Et quant point n'y penseront, / Les meschants trespasseront, / Tout ce monde lesseront, / Fuir Juge ne pourront.

And he doesn’t think about it at all, / The wicked will pass on, / All leaving the world, / Cannot Escape the Judge. "
For XV, the triumph is "Triomphe". I assume he means the Chariot. At the end he says that this one corresponds to trump VII in the traditional order ("ordre traditionell"). The Chariot was often called "Triumphal Chariot":
« Luise le soleil ou pleuve: / Le temps glache comme ung fleuve, / Aussy font les biens mondains. / D'or et d'argent estes plains, / Honnouréz comme les saints: / Quy n'a de quoy, sy le treuve. »

Whether the sun shines or it rains: / Time slides like a river / So also are worldly goods. / From Gold and silver you are pitiable [or, Gold and silver are pitiable] / Honored like the saints / Who has the wherewithal, finds it thus. [Glache = slide]
I see the Sun and Time here (the old man with the hourglass, in the early tarot), but nothing resembling a Chariot. Presumably he sees gold and silver as the proof of secular triumph.

In poem XVI, L'Hote finds the Maison-Dieu--not by that name, of course, but in what is depicted on the card.
« Fortune et pechié forvoyent / Les hommes, tant qu'ilz ne voyent / Comment par leur seule faulte / Eslongent la Cité haulte [...] Les deux contre toy combatent, / Homme mortel, et te bâtent / Voullans qu'en chemin demoeures / Et de corps et d'esprit moeures. [...] Mes armes sont bien congnues Dessus et desoubs les nues: / Champ de gueule à troys fleurs d'or / Pour toy mener je porte or. »

Fortune and Sin mislead / men, so much that they do not see / How by their fault alone / they are removed from the high City [...] The two against you fight, / mortal man, and beat you / You wish the abiding road / and manners of body and spirit. [...] My arms are known Above and below the naked ones/ Red Field with three gold flowers / To lead you I wear gold
By "arms" is meant a coat of arms. He says that Dembowski says that such arms are unknown. He finds "red field with three gold flowers" a reference to the fire (red) and lightning (gold) on the Tower card. That seems quite a stretch. But might there not have been a coat of arms on the Chariot card? In the Cary-Yale, the lady holds a gold coin with a Visconti heraldic on it (http://www.tarothistory.com/images/caryyalechariot.jpg). Perhaps L'Hote's description of the arms is meant to be generic. Also, the horses are by me identified with body and spirit, the two lower parts of the Platonic soul. He could also be thinking of Fortune and Sin as the two horses. And there is a road.

In poem XVII, L'Hote finds the Hermit.
Avise toy en chemin, / Car Pechié / Embuchié, / Embronchié / Et par grand barat muchié,
/ En habit de pelerin / Se faint de Vertu voisin. » [embuchié = prêt à embusquer; embronchier = caché 6]

He advises you on the road, / for Sin ready to ambush, / Hidden / And by great guile hidden/ In pilgrim's dress / makes Virtue a neighbor. [Embuchié = ready to ambush; embronchier = hidden]
L'Hote seems not to know that in the early cards the Old Man held an hourglass, so that he was Time, and in the PMB dressed rather expensively. Time, "Temps", fortunately, is a word that occurs several times in his quotes from other poems, which might better fit this card than this verse, or those verses the cards he associates them to.

We move on to XVIII. He says that in both V and XVIII "the virtues jostle; it is a question of justice, temperance, wisdom, prudence, patience..." XVIII in particular evokes "justice, hardiesse, actrempance [tempérance], courtoysie, sagesse" (justice, boldness, temperance, courtesy, wisdom). But the card associated with this poem, L'Hote declares, is Hope, "Esperance" in French, another of the Cary-Yale's theological virtue cards. In this poem L'Hote finds the phrase, "l'actente et l'esperance" (I don't know the meanng of "actente": perhaps "attention", like the similar "Actendéz" in the quote for poem XXIII. L'Hote says that this card is the one that probably changed to Temperance in later tarots. Similarly Charity, by the famous balancing of mercy with justice, becomes the Justice card. And Faith into the Bateleur. L"Hote seems to have no respect for the idea that Justice and Temperance had to be in the Cary-Yale if four other virtues were. But many virtues are in the poem!

In poem XIX, the name of the corresponding card is buried inside it somewhere. It is the Star:
« hardis et proeux champions qui en bien petit temps le monde tournèrent et par tout lesserent leur treslouable renommée ! [...] Et firent sy grand cris que du bout en aultre le monde fust estonné de leur voix et de leur lumière tout à cop esblouy. On les compare aussi à estoilles trescleres, ou au ciel estellé... »

"bold and proud champions who in a very short time change the world and by all are granted their very laudable fame. And such great cries were made that at the end the world was astonished by their voices and by their light suddenly dazzled. They are compared also to very bright stars, or the starry sky.
Of course triumph is mentioned here also, as well as fame, one early title for some card, and the world,

In poem XX we have the Moon. From the quotation marks in the middle, I would assume that both Fortune and Virtue are speaking:
«"Le ciel vous point, le ciel vous pique / Par influence magnifique." / "Que poeut sens et que vault practique / Contre puissance lunatique?"»

"The sky points to you, the sky pierces you / by its magnificent influence." / "What can sense and experience be worth / against lunatic power?"
Poem XXI has Death:
« Le Créateur glorifie, / En cui seulet te confie, / Car les vivans mortifie / Et le morans vivifie. »

The Creator glorifies / in whom alone you trust, / For the living mortify / And the dead quicken.
It seems to me that such sentiments are expressed in other of his quotations from the poems, too.

Poem XXII has the Lover:
« Oyez petis et grands ma doctrine notable. / [...] L'amour n'est pas durable. / Le plus prez d'elle a plus de soussy miserable, / Car mains arrestee est que le vent variable, / Que jamés en ung point estre ne poeut estable. »

"Big and little ones, hear my beautiful notable doctrine. / [...] Love is not sustainable. / The most worthy has [or is under] more misery, / For steady hands is as the variable wind / That never in one point will ever be at rest.
I don't quite get the point about "mains arrestee".

The last poem, XXIII, has for its card the World:
« Francs cueurs plantéz en terre, non pas pour y périr, / Mais en Cité celeste finalement flourir, / [...] Comme bons chevaliers errants aventureux, / Enflamméz de Vertu et d'Honneur amoureux, Actendéz sa bataille et ses cops rigoureux. »

"Courageous hearts you plant [or planted?] in the ground, not in order to perish there, / But the celestial City finally finally flourishes / [...] As good knights-errant adventurous / inflamed with Virtue and loving Honour, Observe his battle and his rigorous blows."
So we have, for L'Hote, the "heavenly city that will become traditional". In the Cary-Yale, he points out, there is "a walled city and in the foreground a knight (errant?)". Yes, I also find an Arthurian theme in that card, although castles rather than cities. In the quote, I notice that courage, i.e. Fortitude, is also mentioned. And the city, as the "high city" is mentioned elsewhere, too.

I am not ready to draw any conclusions.

Early on in this essay L'Hote has a quote from p. 171 of the poem (in Dembowski's edition) that he thinks refers to Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan. Virtue is speaking:
« En bonne foy, dame Fortune, monlt aidiez a ma cause monstrant par ces notables roys qu'en votsre amour n'a quelconque fiance, et qui plus vous croit, plus est decheu. Ores a point nous souvient de ung duc de Millan le quel fist paindre pompeusement vostre ymage une roue tournant. Et souvent de regardoit et en tenait devis [propos] comme aourant vostre puissance et vous remerciant des honneurs, largesses, triumphes haultes et grosses seignouries que soubs votre main tenoit. Maiz la loenge de son riche ouvrage fut abastue à ung mot par plus sage de luy disant que le paintre avoit lourdement mespris, car n'avoit arresté celle roue de tresfoi cheville, voulant par ce broquart signifier que folement le duc en sa prosperité se confioit et que mis au hault, debvoit doubter [craindre] le tour dont tumberoit en bas. »

"In good faith, lady Fortune, aid my cause, showing these notable kings not to have confidence in the love you have for them, and who, the more they believe you, the more they are ruined. Now we have remembered a Duke of Milan who had painted pompously your image on a turning wheel. And he often looked upon [it] and got devis [propos, purpose, sentiment] as having your power and thanking you for the honors, generosity, high triumphs and large seiniories that he keeps from your hand. But the loenge (?) of his rich work was beaten in a word by one wiser than he, telling him that the painter had heavily ill advised, because he had stopped this wheel three times cheville [joined?], wanting by this brocade (?) to signify that foolishly the Duke in his prosperity is confioit [had confided? confounded?] and that put on high, he must doubt [fear] the turn which brings him down”
Of this L"Hote says:
Autrement dit un duc de Milan a fait peindre une roue de fortune et la regarde souvent en sollicitant son propos.
That means that a duke of Milan has had a wheel of fortune painted and often looks at it seeking its purpose (or, sentiment or advice). Thus it is a kind of divination tool, he says. I myself am not sure about that. The three stops (arresté) on the wheel might be the three figures on top and the sides (except that there was also one at the bottom) in both the Cary-Yale and the Brera-Brambilla; Filippo looks at it to remind himself that others want his job and he must be vigilant to prevent losing power. It is a similar sentiment as in that expressed by his quote from poem III, regarding Fortune, "From the world it is, good or ill, / But to him governing crown or scepter / As having royal dignity / It too much puffs up his being." However Filippo, instead of getting more humility, seems to have become more paranoid. So after him came the deluge, so to speak, i.e. the burning of his castle by those who didn't mind his death.

So goes the world, or something like that.

Re: 1447 Martin Le Franc / Jean Marie Lhôte

#10
The year, F. Visconti connection and reference to 22 is certainly fascinating (and I think discounting the 23rd poem as the intro is reasonable)....but the logic used to connect those verses to the themes of the tarot is as convoluted as a bowl of spaghetti.

If Le Franc were connected to Rene of Anjou that would also be interesting (since Marcello sent the 16 trump card game to Rene's wife in 1449), but that complicates the connection to Visconti who adopted Rene's mortal enemy, Alphonso of Aragon, as his successor. And that Marziano deck sent to Rene's wife begs the question: why was there no reference to any other card game associated with Visconti, especially if a 22 trump one was worthy of being extoled in verse just before the 16 Marziano deck was discovered?

Finally, there was a large wheel of fortune in a Visconti castle - the one on the alpine Lake Maggiore in Angera. Not much left of it today (its part of the fresco cycle celebrating Ottone Visconti's taking of Milan):
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