Re: Sola-Busca riddles

Your relating the 2 of Swords to Alexander is interesting. I have analyzed the card as a a more general acknowledgement of the fear someone will feel venturing forth in a risky endeavor, in the face of opinions to the contrary (wasps?), or, alternatively, the change of the seasons (as birds heading south), from opportune to its opposite. (See my post at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=530#). Interpreting the forelock as a horn, i.e. a penis, would suggest a fear of separating from one's older lover, the possessor of the horn--or perhaps a fear of entering such a relationship. Is there such a person in the legend of Alexander? Or is it the general acknowledgement of the older man/younger man sexual relationship then practiced in Greece, or at least Athens (and spiritualized by Plato), and likewise in Renaissance Italy, notably Florence? It would certainly be in line with the general homosexual flavor of the cards. In any case, the expressions on the faces of the two men need to be taken into account. I think they express a younger man's trepidation going off to battle and leaving the older man.

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

In Troy Alexander placed a a crown over the tomb of Achilles, and Haephaestion did the same over the tomb for Patroclus'; thus Alexander and Haephaestion are identified with each other as Achilles and Patroclus were identified with each other - afterwards they stripped naked and took part in racing games with the rest of their Companions --

At the temple of Athena Alexander deposited his own armour and took from the temple a set of Armour from the Trojan war that had been consecrated to Athena, thus further identifying himself with the heroes of the Trojan war --

Achilles had given his set of Armour to Patroclus when he went off the fight and was killed; Achille's divine Mother had the divine blacksmith Haephestus make Achilles a new set of Armour - which was won in a contest between Odysseus & Ajax after Achilles death -- thus his set of armour became a symbol of Achilles --

Alexander was said to be a descendant of Achilles on his mother's side, and of Hercules on his father's side - thus we may consider that the set of Armour and Hercules club on the Ace of Clubs could possibly be related to the heroic ancestory of Alexander:
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

"a shield lying on the ground constitutes the focal point for the Greek heroes' fight over the arms of Achilles but shields are also found in representations of hoplitodromoi jumping over them or placed on the ground while the soldiers are arming themselves.”

The Seven of Swords, with figure bearing swords jumping over a shield:
Image ... &q&f=false
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

Seneca on the Woman of Troy:

At the end of the Trojan war the ghost of Achilles rises from the tomb and demands that Polyxena be sacrificed to him before the Greeks shall be allowed to sail away, his shouts fill all the shore:

“Go, go, ye cowards, bear off the honours due to my spirit; loose your ungrateful ships to sail away over my seas. At no small price did Greece avert the wrath of Achilles, and the great cost shall she avert it. Let Polyxena, once pledged to me, be sacrificed to my dust by the hand of Pyrrhus and bedew my tomb.” So speaking with deep voice, he bade farewell to day and, plunging down to Dis once more, closed the huge chasm as the earth was again united. The tranquil waters lie motionless, the wind has given up its threats, the calm sea murmurs with gentle waves, from the deep the band of Tritons has sounded the wedding hymn."

It is to Helen that the task of preparing Polisena for her 'wedding' falls, and at first she decieves her by claiming that it is to Pyrrhus she is to wed:

[861] [Aside.] Whatever wedlock, calamitious, joyless, has mourning, murder, blood, and lamentations, is worthy of Helen’s auspices. Even in their ruin am I driven to be the Phrygians’ bane. It is my task to tell a false tale of marriage with Pyrrhus; mine, to dress the bride in Grecian fashion; by my craft she will be snared and by my treachery will the sister of Paris fall. Let her be deceived; for her I deem this the easier lot; ‘tis a death desirable, to die without the fear of death. Why dost hesitate to execute thy orders? To its author returns the blame of a crime compelled.

[871] [To POLYXENA.] Thou noble maid of the house of Dardanus, in more kindly wise doth heaven begin to regard the afflicted, and makes ready to dower thee with a happy bridal; such a match neither Troy herself while still secure, nor Priam, could make for thee. For the greatest ornament of the Pelasgian race, whose realm stretches wide over the plains of Thessaly, seeks thee in holy bonds of lawful wedlock. Thee will great Tethys call her own, thee, all the goddesses of the deep, and Thetis, calm deity of the swelling sea; wedded to Pyrrhus, Peleus as thy father-in-law shall call thee daughter, and Nereus shall call thee daughter. Put off thy mournful garb, don festal array, forget thou art a captive; smooth thy unkempt locks, and suffer my skilled hand to part thy hair. This fall, perchance, will restore thee to a more exalted throne. Many have profited by captivity.

But later, at the prompting of Hecuba, she reveals it is to Achilles she is to be wed in sacifice:

[938] Would that the prophet of the gods bade me, too, end with the sword this lingering, hateful life, or fall before Achilles’ tomb by the mad hand of Pyrrhus, a companion of thy fate, poor Polyxena, whom Achilles bids be given to him, and be sacrificed in presence of his ashes, that in the Elysian fields he may wed with thee.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

Thanks for answering my question with your usual erudition (about Haepheston laying a wreath at the tomb of Patroclus, of which I had no idea). So Haepheston parallels Patroclus and Alexander parallels Achilles. On the 2 of Swords, it is an older man and a younger man. That would be Patroclus as older and Achilles as younger, with Achilles roused to fight after Patroclus's death. So the older man on the card could even be dead. In Alexander's case, the two men are the same age, which doesn't quite fit the card except by way of Achilles and Patroclus. But at least they are lovers.

I had not seen how the Trojan War/Alexander parallels in the court cards apply to the suit cards as well, at least some of them. On this page, you have the Ace of Batons and the 7 of Swords. I wonder how many more. The 5 of Discs as Achilles/Alexander?

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

I still believe the Sola Busca is Venetian (most likely in connection to the annexation of Cyprus in 1489), who would have valued Alexander the Great’s precedent of conquering the “infidel” East, when under Persia, as the most fitting ancient exemplar when contemplating a counter blow to the Turks after the fall of Constantinople in 1454. Ironically, Alexander was an exemplar that the Venetians would have to wrest back for themselves from the Turks (which the Sola Busca admirably does); in that regard consider two newer scholarly works that place the conqueror of Constantinople, sultan Mehmed II (1432-1481), in a panegyric relation to Alexander the Italians:
Almost immediately upon his return from Constantinople [1454], the Venetian Senate sent [Nicolo] Sagundino on a sort of lecture tour – he visited Pope Nicolaus V and then King Alfonso of Naples, delivering a public oration that was expanded and circulated in Italy. Sagundino’s oration included a detailed description of the Ottoman sultan, Mehmed II, as well as an analysis of Turkish military strength and an account of the death of Constantine IX Palaiologos, the last Byzantine emperor….Sagundino portrayed Mehmed as inspired by classical culture, saying that “he has particularly chosen to emulate Alexander of Macedon and Gaius Caesar, whose deeds he has arranged to be translated into his own language…He is determined to challenge their fame and he seems to be ardently inspired by their glory and praises.” But Sagundino also emphasized Mehmed was “inflamed against Christians” and determined to win the reputation of an Alexander or a Caesar through conquering Italy: “Everything is being prepared [by Mehmed] to assault Italy….”
("Legitimating Venetian Expansion: Patricians and Secretaries in the Fifteenth Century," Monique O’Connell (71-86), in Venice and the Veneto during the Renaissance: the Legacy of Benjamin Kohl, eds. Knapton, Michael, Law, John E., Allison Shaw, 2014: 78)
Indeed Mehmed often figured himself as a new Alexander and at times an eastern Caesar, which helps explain the preservation of two Florentine prints likely given to him by Florentine merchants in residence in Constantinople. Both were incorporated in an album with other works on paper that were also probably gifts to the sultan. One, depicting the Triumph of Fame (c. 1460-65), includes figures of Achilles, Hector and Caesar on horseback [almost suggestive of that Lo Scheggia panel of ‘triumvirs’ before a Sibyl/Fama], each identified by name on their armbands and each wearing dragon-crested helmets, which suggests that Mehmed was familiar with the positive association between empire-builders from classical antiquity (both real and fictional) and dragon-related imagery.”
(Barzman, Karen, The Limits of Identity: Early Modern Venice, Dalmatia, and the Representation of Difference, 2017: 191).

Sure the mention of Florentines (but not to Alexander) is suggestive as a place of origin for the Sola Busca, but it was Venice that was most pitted against the Turks, and the rallying cry against them ultimately fell on deaf ears in the rest of Italy. More pointedly, the first reference above that circulated the connection between Mehmed and Alexander is in regard to the work by a Venetian secretary, Sangundino, who rose to be chancellor of Crete.


Re: Sola-Busca riddles

Yes, it is one of the threads I have been researching recently -- Bellini the Venetian painter while at the Court of Mehmed II was nicknamed 'Apelles' in reference to Alexander's painter, and Mehmet self-identification with Alexander -

In 1461 Sigismondo Malatesta wrote a letter of introduction on behalf of Matteo de Pasti to Mehmed II which also draws a parallel with Apelles and Lysippus to the Veronese medalist (however, parallels between the employment of court artists dedicated to their patrons and Alexander's famous artists (the painter Apelles and sculptor Lysippus) was something of a common theme among the North Italian courts in the 15th century)
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

I wonder if Panfilo might be related to the Pamphile who appears as the Knave of Clubs on some cards?

Here for example from an F Tourcaty deck:

This Pamphile however is not inspired by Boccaccios's Panfilo, Pamphilus was a medieval "comic" character, though it is difficult to construe a story about rape as 'comic' nowadays: ... ea&f=false
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

SteveM wrote:
28 Oct 2017, 13:56
"There lies the Fate of Carthage!"


Hannibal, upon seeing his brother's severed head, cried: "There lies the fate of Carthage" -- his prophetic words were fulfilled many years later, when Carthage was utterly destroyed, largely at the instigation of Cato the Elder, who according to Plutarch was said to end his speeches, regardless of their subject matter, with the words: "Carthage must be destroyed!"*

*Plutarch: 'The annihilation of Carthage . . . was primarily due to the advice and counsel of Cato'
Re; Catone as Cato the Elder.

Gaius Claudius Nero (c. 247 BC – c. 189 BC) may have some relevance. He is the one who kept the head of the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal, Hannibal's brother, and had it thrown into the camp of Hannibal, who is said to have then declared "There lies the fate Carthage!" A sign of utter defeat, which soon saw the end of the second Punic wars and Hannibal's leaving Italy.

The defeat of Hasdrubal at the Battle of the Metaurus, at which Nerone was one of the heroic commanders, was the turning point in the second Punic war.

Nerone's victory was put into verse by Horatio:

Quid debeas, o Roma, Neronibus,
Testis Metaurum flumen et Hasdrubal

This taunt of Nerone's was in contrast to Hannibal's own treatment of Roman consuls and commanders, captured or killed, who Hannibal is said to have treated with great respect and dignity.

If the consul Nerone had not defeated Hasdrubal, then it might have been that Emperor Nero would have ever reigned at all, as Lord Byron wrote of Nerone [the Consul and commander in the Battle of Metaurus] :

"The consul Nero, who made the unequalled march, which deceived Hannibal, and defeated Hasdrubal, thereby accomplishing an achievement almost unrivalled in military annals. The first intelligence of his return to Hannibal, was the sight of Hasdrubal's head thrown into his camp. When Hannibal saw this, he exclaimed with a sigh, that "Rome would now be the mistress of the world." To this victory of Nero's it might be owing that his imperial namesake reigned at all. But the infamy of the one has eclipsed the glory of the other. When the name of Nero is heard, who thinks of the consul? But such are human things."
— Byron.

Hamilcar Barca was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War, who was defeated by our Catulus [of the wounded thigh]. His sons were Mago, Hasdrubal and Hannibal, who were generals in the following Punic wars.

Hamilcar is said to have had a great deal of hatred for Rome, one which was only worsened by the harsh terms of peace following the Carthaginian defeat in the First Punic war. And he went to pains to instil similar hatred in his sons.

The child over the flames in this image is difficult to decipher; but one of the things it reminds me of, though it is probably a bit of a stretch, is that Hannibal as a very young child was taken to the temple by his Father Hamilcar and held over the sacrificial flames, and made to swear to his Father and the Gods never to make a friend of Rome.

Perhaps this is a reminder of that oath, which led eventually to the utter destruction of Carthage. It was completely destroyed, burnt to the grounds, and the Queen of Carthage threw herself and her two children into the fire.

Nerone as taunting Hannibal in defeat : "This is where your oath against Rome shall lead."

In Summary:

Many of our Roman figures appear to be connected to the Gallic and Punic Wars.

Catone and Nerone were both at the Battle of Metaurus, at which Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal was slain and beheaded.

Hasdrubal and Hannibal's hatred of Rome had been instilled in them since childhood. It is said their father held Hannibal over a fire as a young child and made him swear he would never make a friend of Rome.

Nerone had the decapitated head of Hasdrubal thrown into Hannibal's camp. Upon seeing it Hannibal is said, in the blow of mourning, to recognize the destiny of Carthage:

"Hannibal... agnoscere se fortunam Carthaginis..."
[Livy 27:51]

Catone was one of the leading figures in the faction calling for a Third Punic War, ending his speeches, whatever the subject, with "Carthage must be destroyed." It was during his consulship with L. Valerius Flaccus {195 B.C.}, that the Senate ordered Hannibal to be brought to Rome, because rumours were circulating among the Romans that he was stirring up war.

Cato as such, may be seen as the instrument of the fate which Hannibal recognized in the head of his slain brother.

The child over the flames is emblematic of the Carthaginian enmity against Rome, which led to their ultimate destruction by Rome, epitomized by Nerone and Catone.
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Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
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