Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#11
I don't understand your objection, Huck. I am not challenging Traversari's ability to learn Greek mostly on his own (although there were a few Greek-speakers around). I am challenging his ability to learn Hebrew that way, and especially in such a manner as to feel confident about challenging Jerome. Krautheimer assumes he had Jewish help, and I'm sure he's right. Newman says the same, and Soury (French, 1867). Greek is different, as long as you stick to pagan authors; nothing much is at stake. By 1436 he'd had a long time with Greek. Hebrew is something else altogether. He has no published Hebrew translations.

Huck wrote
and possibly it was also not difficult with other Eastern languages.
But more probably not, at least according to the experts. And certainly not Aramaic. Many Hebrew-speakers in Italy had a hard time reading the Zohar, for example, at least not the Ashkenazi or native Italian ones.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#12
Huck wrote
and possibly it was also not difficult with other Eastern languages.
I have been researching Hebrew vs. Greek for a Latin-speaker. Both the Italic languages--so including Latin--and the Hellenic--including Greek--are in the Indo-European language family. Hebrew and Aramaic are in a different language family, called the Afroasiatic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_language_families). Even Russian, which is very difficult for a Romance-language speaker to learn, is part of the Indo-European family. Hebrew and Aramaic are a whole order of magnitude more distant from Latin than that.

Another thing is that Hebrew, as a Semitic language, is based on consonants. For someone who doesn't know the spoken language, that increases the difficulty, because of the large number of different words written in the same way (vowel marks optional; I don't know when they were standardly used for scripture) and even pronounced in a way that doesn't distinguish clearly between words; also, there were 29 consonant sounds and only 22 letters; for a large part of its history, one letter served for more than one sound (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_languages; but I don't fully understand this part of the article). So context is all-important; but then, the idioms that eliminate possibilities will also be very different. Hebrew in Italy would perhaps have borrowed idioms from Italians; but the Torah and Talmud were written in places nowhere near Italy.

Yes, Traversari could have learned his Hebrew from a converted Jew. I allow for that possibility. But it would not even be possible for someone in the second generation to teach it, because Hebrew was an ecclesiastical language only. And Aramaic wasn't even that; it was the language in which explanations of the Hebrew scripture (Targumim) had been written in the days when Aramaic was the major spoken language of the Jews.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#13
I will start now to look at the careers and writings of two personalities, Yohanan Alemanno and Luigi Pulci. I am at this point mostly interested in what light they shed on Jewish-Christian interactions in the 1450s and, by implication, before 1438.

YOHANAN ALEMANNO (c. 1435 - after 1504)

Allemano is best known as a teacher of Pico della Mirandola (1463-1394) , starting in 1488 if not before. Although born in Italy, he was of an Ashkenazi family that had spent much time in Spain, Idel says, and his father made a living selling old manuscripts. So some of these manuscripts, whatever they were, might have influenced young Yohanan. Idel observes, p. 155:
According to some evidence, which needs detailed investigation, the arrival of
R Yohanan Alemanno's family in Italy from Aragon in the 1430s was instrumental
in bringing some speculative literature from Spain.
Yohannan was educated by R Yehudah Messer Leon, a famous but by all accounts quite conservative writer. Idel writes, contrasting the older generation with that of Yohanan (p. 159):
The earlier authors, R. Moshe ben Yoav (Datillo), Moshe Rieti, R. Elijah del Medigo, and R. Yehudah Messer Leon, were much more conservative, closer to medieval Jewish philosophy, and unaware or suspicious of both magic and Kabbalah.
In this connection Hava Tirosh-Rothschild in Between Worlds: The Life and Thought of Rabbi David ben Judah Messer Leon, 1991, says that Judah Messer Leon (c. 1420-25 - c. 1498) issued a ruling in the 1450s banning Gersonides' Perush al-ha Torah and Kabbalah (p. 26). (On the Internet at least, nobody calls Gersonides a Kabbalist; he is an Aristotelian, but departs from Aristotle in ways that could have been seen as objectionable. I can find nothing out about the particular work in question.)

Judah Messer Leon's son, David ben Judah Messer Leon (c. 1470-c. 1526), wrote that he had been forbidden to study Kabbalah by his father, but nonetheless, since the year of his marriage when he was 18, he studied it secretly (Tirosh-Rothschild, p. 41). That would have been in 1489, the year his father sent him to Padua to study the Ashkenazi legal tradition in the yeshiva of Judah Minz (pp. 40-41). Despite the ban on Kabbalah, Judah Messer Leon apparently supported a Renaissance education in other respects, including the Aristotelian-oriented part of the humanism that young Christian gentlemen were taught. Alemanno apparently received the same.

Idel says nothing about where Alemanno got his education from Judah Messer Leon, before or after the latter awarded him his doctorate in 1470. However in Studies in Jewish Manuscripts, edited by Joseph Dan and Klaus Herrmann, p. 25 (http://books.google.com/books?id=AO6dzM ... sa&f=false), we learn that Cassuto (1918) states that he was in Florence in two periods of his life, the first from "sometime after his 21st birthday until he was 28".. Moreover, during his stays there he lived in the home of "Yehiel (or, as he was known in Christian circles, Vitale) da Pisa". Herrman continues:
Cassuto devotes many pages to Yohanan Alemanno, who spent two periods of his life in Florence, the first being sometime after his 21st birthday until he was 28 (1455-1462) and again when he returned in 1488 and came into contact with Pico della Mirandola. He spent his years there in the home, and under the patronage, of Yehiel (or, as he was known in the secular sources, Vitale) da Pisa (28).
_________________
28. See D. Kaufmann, "La famille de Yeheille de Pisa," REJ 26, 1893, pp. 83-110, 220-239.
If before 1452 Alemanno received a conventional education under someone like Judah Messer Leon (who if not his teacher certainly would have carried much weight in Mantua), and after around 1465 was definitely with Judah Messer Leon, where did he get his Platonism? And what, despite everything, motivated his turn toward the Kabbalah?

We might wonder if that first period might have led him toward both the Kabbalah, from Jewish sources, including ones his family might have already had, as well as Platonism, from Christian sources.

The first period would have been during the lifetime of Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464), leading up, in 1462, to his entrusting his Plato manuscript (probably Plethon's earlier, Hankins surmises; see http://books.google.com/books?id=CX06ds ... 3F&f=false, p. 29) to Ficino (1433-1499) to translate.

This was the time of the controversies over who was superior, Plato or Aristotle, a debate to which the Neoplatonist Plethon had added fuel in 1438; his way had been prepared by the early translators, Bruni and Decembrio, and now Filelfo, Cusano, Bessarion, and many others were joining in (Hankins p. 196, not in Google Books).

Ficino, like Alemanno, had been trained in Aristotelian scholasticism, and like him (at least later) was breaking away from that tradition in a Platonic direction, with Cosimo's hearty approval. According to Hankins (Plato in the Renaissance, (http://books.google.com/books?id=BLgfAA ... no&f=false, p. 276), Ficino in the 1450s was influenced mainly by an Augustinian monk and teacher named Lorenzo Pisano, who was from an aristocratic Pisan family. Through him he came in contact with a Platonizing theology and the writings of pseudo-Dionysius (as translated by Traversari, perhaps). Although he was long familiar with the extant Latin translations of Plato, he wrote his own first Platonizing work in 1456 (no longer extant, but it upset his spiritual advisers, Hankins says).

Ficino, born 1433, was about two years older than Alemanno, born c. 1435. Pulci, whom we will meet shortly, was born in 1432.

Alemanno's sponsor (then or later, I'm not sure) Yehiele/Vitale da Pisa, of course, was a member of one of the four banking families invited to Florence from Pisa in 1430. Thus Alemanno's early Jewish sources, apart from Aristotelian ones, might have included those that Trevarsari's Jewish source knew. This possibility is strengthened by footnote 27 at the bottom of page 25 in Studies in Jewish Manuscripts (http://books.google.com/books?id=AO6dzM ... sa&f=false), in which Alemanno in a post-1488 work cites the same Aramaic work, the Targum Esther ha-Sheni, that seems to have been the source of the bird in Ghiberti's Solomon and Sheba panel. Only now it is not the Pope who is the new Solomon (in Krautheimer's interpretation, with Sheba as the Greek Church), but the "typical nobleman" (Idel's quote from Alemanno) of Alemanno's day, who allocates money to the idols worshiped by his wives, even though he doesn't believe in them. (The post-1488 work is Alemmano's Hesheq Schlomo, in English, The Desire of Solomon; according to Idel, p. 177, Alemanno says in it that Pico encouraged him to write it.)

Another clue is in other "of Pisa"'s that Idel gives: Alemanno's patron was "the grandfather of R. Yehi'el Nissim of Pisa"; his student was "the latter's uncle, R. Yitzhaq of Pisa" (Idel p. 179). The da Pisas were not only bankers but rabbis. And all of them, to some extent, can be assumed to be friends of the Medici.

At the same time, Judah Messer Leon was always in the background, even in Florence. in the 1450s one of Judah's students married Yehiel da Pisa's daughter Hannah (Tirosh-Rothschild, p 28f). This gave Judah an entree into Jewish high society, so to speak, the society of wealth and power--"the most prominent Jewish family in Italy", Tirosh-Rothschild says--rather than knighthood and service, one that a yeshiva director in Ancona both needed and sought. There is no reason why Alemanno would not have welcomed the association as well. It might have been how Alemanno came under Yehiel's wing. But there were things going on then, the late 1450s and early 1460s, in Florence just as there would be in Padua in the 1480s, that the man in Ancona could not prohibit.

LUIGI PULCI (1432-1484)

For more about this period, the 1450s-1460s, I turn to Lorenzo de' Medici's friend Luigi Pulci. According to Edoardo A Labano (in the introduction to the 1998 English translation of Morgante), the German scholar Ernst Walser has shown that:
Luigi did not derive his sharply rationalistic, pantheistic, and tolerant ideas from the study of antiquity, but rather from his familiarity with Florentine Jews, from whom he also acquired his profound knowledge of the cabala.
This quote is at http://books.google.com/books?id=CIICQp ... ws&f=false. The "highly regarded essay" is Lebens- und Glaubenprobleme aus dem Zeitalter der Renaissance: Die Religion des Luigi Pulci, ihre Quellen und ihre Bedeutung, Marburg: a.n. Lahme Envert, 1927.

I don't know where Walser gets the idea of "profound knowledge of the cabala", but I can see now who the "Florentine Jews" might be: those invited by Pico and Lorenzo, in the circle of the da Pisas and other Jewish bankers. How serious the involvement with "magic" (Ageno's phrase) was is unclear. Ageno cites some 1466 letters from Pulci to Lorenzo, of which I give my translations here: "God will help us, or Salay" (Lett. IV, p. 40); "Estimate that Salay still wants his part from us" (Lett. VI, p. 49); "Here with some saplings and advice from Salay I am governed" (Lett. VIIII, p. 53); and ""I cannot think of anything else but you and Salay from a time past (for a long time?) (Lett. IX, p. 56). Agnelo introduces these quotes, on what basis I do not know, by saying, in my translation
Probably as early as 1453 Luigi had been initiated into the practice of magic.
For the original Italian for all of this, see my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1019&p=15588&hilit=Salay#p15588.

There is also his antagonist, the priest Matteo Franco, who in 1474, in the nasty exchange of sonnets with Pulci, accused him of being one who has committed "a great sin" and "makes war on God with his tongue and pen". According to Labano, Franco is "referring to the magic rituals which were held at the Neroni family, where Luigi was often a welcome guest" (p. xvii).

The sonnet exchange is the trouble in 1474 that Huck has recently reminded us of, the sonnets against first Franco and then Ficino, then n 1475 the sharp rebuke from Lorenzo and Pulci's "Confessione". Later, in 1484, just when things seemed to be really looking up, he had the bad luck to die, in Padua where the clergy refused to bury him in consecrated ground (Labano p. xxiii). I can't help wondering if it wasn't the plan of someone in Padua to have him die; after all, Pico and his Kabbalist friends had just been there translating documents that many, Christian as well as Jewish, thought better forgotten.

These things might make Pulci a dabbler in magic, but a Kabbalist? "Salay" or "Salaye" sounds to me as much Arabic as Jewish. In discussing Pulci's "cabala", Labano next mentions Averroist works:
As Walser points out, the introduction of Averroistic doctrines into European thought was due mainly to Jewish scholars who translated Arabic texts and provided Latin commentaries of such texts throughout the Middle Ages. (104)
__________________
104. See Lebens- und Glaubensprobleme..., 64-71.

But what does Averroism have to do with magic? In reading the Jewish Enclopedia's article on the subject, I see absolutely nothing about magic (although Jewish Averroists did discuss prophecy). But "Averroism" was a broad term that applied to anyone who used Averroes (an Aristotelian) in a positive way, such as Maimonides or, later, Gersonides. Perhaps in that broad way even Kabbalists such as Abulafia would qualify as Averroist, but if so the term has lost much of its meaning.

Walser's assumption, I think, is that Jewish dabblers in magic absorbed Arabic elements. I do not have access to Walser's book to clarify his meaning further.

But what does any of this have to do with "Salay"? Agnelo refers us further to the body of Morgante itself, octaves 57-49 of Canto XXI, which she says were written in 1471. They are here, in English translation: http://books.google.com/books?id=CIICQp ... ye&f=false, p. 451. "Salayé" there is an angel who fell with Lucifer. Other demons named--some might be men--are Salyass, Berith, Squaciaferro, Nillo, Bocco, Sottin, Obysin, Ruggiadan, Bileth, Astoroth, and Oratas. What nationalities are such demons? The ones ending in "-th" could be Jewish; the ones ending in "-o" could be Italian or Spanish. The ones ending in "-in" might be French (Pulci says that Sottin speaks in pseudo-French). The acute accent on the "é" in "Salayé" suggests French or Spanish. These demons seem like a European hodge-podge; if any are Arabic, they have been transplanted to Romance soil.

In another place, Canto XXIV, stanzas 112-113, the narrator mentions

Moco and Scarbo, then, and Marmores,
and the bifurcate bone that closed at last

which he associates with the cave of the sibyl that he (the narrator) visited, as well as someone named Cecco d'Ascoli. Pulci in fact visited the Sibyl of Norcia's cave in December 1470 or shortly thereafter. He promised Lorenzo to bring him some truffles after his return from Norcia to visit the sibyl (http://books.google.com/books?id=CIICQp ... ia&f=false). According to the translator's notes, Cecco d'Ascoli had been a professor of astrology at Bologna, forced to leave in 1324, moved to Florence, and was burned alive as a heretic there in 1327. His major work is the Acerba, "for a long time considered to be an important text by all those interested in magic" the translator says, p. 896; it tells how the demons Moco, Scarbo, and Marmores can be evoked. The "birfurcate bone" is from the breast of a rooster that has been bewitched. When placed in a fire it can answer a wizard's questions by opening or closing itself.

It strikes me that Pulci probably dabbled in all sorts of magic, Christian as well as Jewish and perhaps Arabic, of a not very sophisticated kind, and perhaps merely for purposes of research for his poem. What this mostly speaks to is the wide-ranging freedom of esoteric thought and practice in Florence at that time, of a piece with Ficino's singing of Orphic Hymns to Cosimo on his deathbed but more radical.

Now I will take a short break and try to see what Cassuto has to say about Alemanno in Gli Ebrei a Firenze nell' Età del Rinascimento. The name "Jochanan Alemanno" appears 41 times, my computer tells me.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#14
I don't understand your objection, Huck.
I don't really object, it's just, that I ask myself, what we overlook.

"Marranos Gather in Southern Italy to Explore Their Roots"
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/ ... ICk8TGG-ao

Well, that's later in time, when Spain had taken the kingdom of Naples.

The Jews of Europe and the Inquisition of Venice: 1550-1620
Brian Pullan
I.B.Tauris, 15.02.1998 - 348 Seiten
http://books.google.de/books?id=wSAifos ... ly&f=false
... has a lot about the later time.

Our time of interest should have been earlier. In 1391 200.000 Jewish persons were converted by pressure to "New Christians" in Spain, as I read. "200.000" is a rather big number for the generally small numbers of Jewish population.

A strong man behind it ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Ferrer
Vincent is said to have been responsible for the conversion of many Jews to Catholicism, often by questionable means; for instance, he is said to have made their lives difficult until they converted and to have "dedicated" synagogues as churches on the basis of his own authority.[9] One of his converts, a former rabbi by the name of Solomon ha-Levi, went on to become the Bishop of Cartagena and later the Archbishop of Burgos. Vincent is noted to have contributed to anti-Semitism in Spain, as violence accompanied his visits to towns that had Jewish communities.[10]

Because of the Spanish's harsh methods of converting Jews at the time, the means which Vincent had at his disposal were either baptism or spoliation.[11]
Soloman ha-Levi, alias Paul of Burgos, converted in 1391
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_of_Burgos

Also is noted Jeronimo de Santa Fe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ger%C3%B3nimo_de_Santa_Fe

Also involved: Antipope Benedict XIII, abdicated in Constance 1415
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipope_Benedict_XIII
In part to bolster faltering support for his papacy, Benedict initiated the year-long Disputation of Tortosa in 1413, which became the most prominent Christian–Jewish disputation of the Middle Ages.[4] Two years later Benedict issued the Papal bull Etsi doctoribus gentium , which was one of the most complete collections of anti-Jewish laws.[5] Synagogues were closed, Jewish goldsmiths were forbidden to produce religious objects such as chalices and crucifixes,[6] and Jewish book binders were prohibited from binding books in which the names of Jesus or Mary occurred.[7] Those laws were repealed by Pope Martin V, after he received a mission of Jews, sent by the famous synod convoked by the Jews in Forlì, in 1418.
The Spanish situation is said to have returned to normal states as late as c. 1430.

I had Ferrer in my articles to the Franciscan collection (though Ferrer was a Dominican). His preaching style is said to have influenced San Bernardino.
It's remarkable, that the Spanish pope Calixtus III. made Ferrer a saint in 1455 (and it's claimed, that Ferrer had done a prophecy about it).

Well, it's a question, if some of these early "marranos" took their way to Italy. When Calixtus was chosen as pope (1455), likely a greater number of the Spanish clergy visited Italy, possibly also "marranos".
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#15
A note about Giannozzo Manetti and a Jew, later named "Giovanfrancesco di messer Giannozzo Manetti":

The Jews of Florence: From the Origins of the Community Up to the Present
Roberto G. Salvadori
Casa Editrice Giuntina, 2001 - 92 Seiten
http://books.google.de/books?id=02gdKsU ... ws&f=false
Manetti wished to understand the holy scripture in the original language. So he turned to the Jew. Finally the Jew converted [this sounds a little bit like a pleasant forgery, but who knows ...]
Manetti wrote a not published book [ContraJews et Gentes] against Jews. He took part in a "common" dispute with Jewish sages in 1447, organized by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (... !!!!) [just in 1447, when he was in Pistoia, and worked against gambling and playing cards].
Manetti studied further Hebrew by Manuele di Abramo da San Miniato [this name appears variously in the web; Manetti taught him philosophy].
San Miniato is in the mid between Pisa and Florence and became part of Tuscany already in 1370.

Manetti is called a pupil of Traversari (he's said to have learned Latin late, with 25 years in 1422, with Traversari) , but not for Hebrew. These studies were started 3 years after Traversari's death (so should have been in 1442).

Latin Translation in the Renaissance: The Theory and Practice of Leonardo Bruni, Giannozzo Manetti and Desiderius Erasmus
Paul Botley
Cambridge University Press, 08.07.2004 - 207 Seiten
http://books.google.de/books?id=X2W1I-n ... ri&f=false
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#16
mikeh wrote:
For more about this period, the 1450s-1460s, I turn to Lorenzo de' Medici's friend Luigi Pulci. According to Edoardo A Labano (in the introduction to the 1998 English translation of Morgante), the German scholar Ernst Walser has shown that:
Luigi did not derive his sharply rationalistic, pantheistic, and tolerant ideas from the study of antiquity, but rather from his familiarity with Florentine Jews, from whom he also acquired his profound knowledge of the cabala.
This quote is at http://books.google.com/books?id=CIICQp ... ws&f=false. The "highly regarded essay" is Lebens- und Glaubenprobleme aus dem Zeitalter der Renaissance: Die Religion des Luigi Pulci, ihre Quellen und ihre Bedeutung, Marburg: a.n. Lahme Envert, 1927.

I don't know where Walser gets the idea of "profound knowledge of the cabala", but I can see now who the "Florentine Jews" might be: those invited by Pico and Lorenzo, in the circle of the da Pisas and other Jewish bankers.
Ernst Walser had been a professor for Romanistik and had some sense for rebellious poets (also Folengo belonged to his themes).
https://www.worldcat.org/search?q=ernst ... umber_link

He published about Pulci in 1926, already rather old (he died 1929), that should mean "pre-Scholem" and this means likely a lot. His view on Kabbala was likely limited by this condition.
The Pulci family had debts, when the father died and Luigi Pulci worked for the Jews to solve the money problems (which likely never were really solved. One of the Pulci brothers died in the prison cause of later debts). Remarkable is, that a lot of the Pulci relatives were poets. The family must have had a poetry mystery, likely manifested in the youth and education of Luigi Pulci. The young Pulci children must have loved to play with words. That wasn't Latin poetry. Pulci had difficulties with Latin (he wrote a wordbook with Latin words, and this was just to cover his own weaknesses), and that naturally formed a big line between Pulci and Lorenzo's other friends, and this big line was part of the later conflicts.
But his early poetry talent was ideal for his job as children guard for Lucrezia Tornabuoni, caring for the Medici sons and their friends at the villa of Caffaggioli. And Pulci's talent likely caused, that the boys also got some poetry talent, inclusive Lorenzo.

Pulci loved living on the country. He likely was more on the country than in Florence, in the Mugello, where the family had a mill, c. 5 km from the villa Caffagioli.
Lorenzo's father hadn't a good health, so activities like hunting, riding, some fighting etc., which usually are transmitted from father to son, likely often needed a replacement figure. Pulci was such a replacement.

The common Pulci biographers overlooked this rather normal dimension completely, as far I understood it. They didn't realize the function of Caffagioli, and didn't notice, that Pulci's mill was so near.
Lorenzo and his gang loved hunting.
How serious the involvement with "magic" (Ageno's phrase) was is unclear. Ageno cites some 1466 letters from Pulci to Lorenzo, of which I give my translations here: "God will help us, or Salay" (Lett. IV, p. 40); "Estimate that Salay still wants his part from us" (Lett. VI, p. 49); "Here with some saplings and advice from Salay I am governed" (Lett. VIIII, p. 53); and ""I cannot think of anything else but you and Salay from a time past (for a long time?) (Lett. IX, p. 56). Agnelo introduces these quotes, on what basis I do not know, by saying, in my translation
Probably as early as 1453 Luigi had been initiated into the practice of magic.
For the original Italian for all of this, see my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1019&p=15588&hilit=Salay#p15588.
In your link you write about the sybil mountains.
I wrote about it here, 7 years ago:
http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=90080
... well ..
... here somebody else: http://www.where-to-go-in-italy.com/sib ... tains.html
It are just beautiful mountains, and likely they had already some tourism in 15th century, and Pulci was one of the tourists.

Salay ... if "Salay" was just a poetical figure which Pulci invented to amuse and fascinate his young listeners some years ago, why shouldn't he note this old joke later in his insider posts (which are not meant to be read 500 years later and interpreted as "kabbalistc mysteries") ? When Goethe wrote his Faust, must we assume, that Goethe was a man with some homunculi in his pockets?
There is also his antagonist, the priest Matteo Franco, who in 1474, in the nasty exchange of sonnets with Pulci, accused him of being one who has committed "a great sin" and "makes war on God with his tongue and pen". According to Labano, Franco is "referring to the magic rituals which were held at the Neroni family, where Luigi was often a welcome guest" (p. xvii).
Hm, I think, the Neroni were banned since 1466, after they were involved in the rebellion against Piero. Maybe some of them returned meanwhile in 1474? I don't find information to this detail. If Pulci took contact to the Neroni outside Tuscany or only outside of Florence, and Pulci visited them, shouldn't one assume, that Pulci was there cause of a diplomatic commission from the side of the Medici? Anyway, this accusation stays obscure, at least for the moment.
The sonnet exchange is the trouble in 1474 that Huck has recently reminded us of, the sonnets against first Franco and then Ficino, then n 1475 the sharp rebuke from Lorenzo and Pulci's "Confessione". Later, in 1484, just when things seemed to be really looking up, he had the bad luck to die, in Padua where the clergy refused to bury him in consecrated ground (Labano p. xxiii). I can't help wondering if it wasn't the plan of someone in Padua to have him die; after all, Pico and his Kabbalist friends had just been there translating documents that many, Christian as well as Jewish, thought better forgotten.
Pulci was Sanseverino's man, and Sanseverino fought for Venice then.
Pico studied peacefully in Padua in 1480-82, why should that have caused that trouble? Perhaps Pico left Padua, cause the Ferrarese war started?
These things might make Pulci a dabbler in magic, but a Kabbalist? "Salay" or "Salaye" sounds to me as much Arabic as Jewish. In discussing Pulci's "cabala", Labano next mentions Averroist works:
As Walser points out, the introduction of Averroistic doctrines into European thought was due mainly to Jewish scholars who translated Arabic texts and provided Latin commentaries of such texts throughout the Middle Ages. (104)
__________________
104. See Lebens- und Glaubensprobleme..., 64-71.


But what does Averroism have to do with magic? In reading the Jewish Enclopedia's article on the subject, I see absolutely nothing about magic (although Jewish Averroists did discuss prophecy). But "Averroism" was a broad term that applied to anyone who used Averroes (an Aristotelian) in a positive way, such as Maimonides or, later, Gersonides. Perhaps in that broad way even Kabbalists such as Abulafia would qualify as Averroist, but if so the term has lost much of its meaning.


Scholem parts "Kabbala" in a "practical" and an "intellectual" part. The practical part dealt with a sort of magic and was very common, also - or especially - for pople with low standard.
Likely the common church used more of this sort the magic ... :-) ... especially when I think about all the ways to make some money with the 3 holy kings. A priest brought money near to the bones of 3 kings. This money was then good for everything. One could even get a signed paper for the operation, that others would believe the story of the holy money. Organized talisman production, similar to the operation, where one could get Ablass for money, an excuse for sins bought with money.

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

Btw. Pulci had the nickname "Gigi" ... :-) ... rather an author, who makes demons appear, heroes born and men murdered and other strange stuff look realistic in his stories, is a true magician.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#17
As always, my primary interest is in the fabled Ur-Tarot – and whether you place its creation with Anghiari or in the couple of years before, we are still looking at Florence under the Medici, after Cosimo’s return in 1434, with Pope Eugene IV resident in that city.

As to the possible Jewish influence on the design of the ur-tarot in those historical circumstances, I think we can safely answer that question in the negative. The most relevant study I would point you to in that regard is conveniently available here in pdf:
“Pope Eugenius IV and Jewish Money-Lending in Florence: The Case of Salomone di Bonaventura during the Chancellorship of Leonardo Bruni”. Andrew Gow and Gordon Griffiths, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 2 (Summer, 1994), pp. 282-329
http://www.andallthat.co.uk/uploads/2/3 ... orence.pdf

Without re-reading the article (its been a while and I don't have the time) I remember the summary as this: there was a conflict between Florence and the Papacy after the Anghiari victory for the spoils of war, which centered on the town of San Sepolcro. The solution was for Florence to simply buy it – in order to do so, the bankrupt state turned to the assets of a Jewish money-lender, invoked the illegality of what the lender was doing, heretofore ignored (if even encouraged), and seized his assets to pay off Pope Eugene for the title to the town (actually I believe it was a long term lease with the right of the pope to re-purchase the town). I also believe Salomone di Bonaventura's family were then induced to convert to Xtanity, so instead of finding Jews in the literate circles of Bruni peddling the kabbala, you would have found them in a church.

If a mystical interpretation of the Jewish alphabet was at the basis of the ur-tarot then I find it completely odd that Jews should be singled out for persecution by the town who created the ur-tarot, immediately after they created it. Subsequent mappings of Jewish mysticism onto the ur-tarot are just that.

Phaeded

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#18
Phaeded wrote: If a mystical interpretation of the Jewish alphabet was at the basis of the ur-tarot then I find it completely odd that Jews should be singled out for persecution by the town who created the ur-tarot, immediately after they created it. Subsequent mappings of Jewish mysticism onto the ur-tarot are just that.

Phaeded
hi, Phaeded, welcome,

I think, we talk about the general Jewish-Christian interactions, not specific related to early Trionfi card development.
A Hebrew alphabet at the base of the Ur-Tarot makes no sense, when we assume decks with 14 or 16 trumps at the beginning. But once the "22" as number of the special cards was chosen, possibly around the time of the Boiardo Tarocchi (assumed is January 1487 for the poem, one month after Pico de Mirandola had published his theses). Pico was cousin to Boiardo, both had some knowledge about Hebrew language.
That's another period, about 50 year later. And the Boiardo Tarocchi or "Game of passions" is quite different in its content, though with the "correct" later Tarot game structure, 4x14+22.

There were Jews in Scandiano (Boiardo's place) ...
http://books.google.de/books?id=sbuAw8i ... ws&f=false
(about very friendly relations between Jews and Christians in 1598, but Jews were there already in Boiardo's time)

... and Jews in Ferrara, and Ferrara was also considered friendly to Jews.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#19
Thanks for referring me to that article, Phaeded. I read it.
Phaeded wrote
I also believe Salomone di Bonaventura's family were then induced to convert to Xtanity, so instead of finding Jews in the literate circles of Bruni peddling the kabbala, you would have found them in a church.
What the article says is that one of his sons converted to Christianity and then was given a substantial sum by the pope. This son likely, according to the authors, tipped off the Signori about his father's legally not quite legal business dealings and also where hia money was to pay the fine. Nobody else converted to Christianity, and other Jews weren't bothered as long as they didn't overstep their contracts in the slightest way. A lot of people's attitude was, "If you give them an inch, they'll take a mile." The article blames in particular the Pope, for his change of policy in that direction in 1441; it seems to me no coincidence that Jews in Anghiari were persecuted in 1442. As for Bruni, it says he had a closed mind as far as Jews were concerned; he even said that there was no need for anybody to learn Hebrew. The article adds that the Medici did not rule Florence in the 15th century, in the way, say, that the Sforza ruled Milan. Florence was still a republic. In any case, even for the Medici, tolerance had its limits, namely, if it threatened the family or the city. That didn't mean they didn't respect Jews for what they contributed to the city, culturally as well as financially. That's a major thing I want to explore, the cultural influence and interaction with Christians. Not everybody was as close-minded as Bruni.

The article also cited regulations having to do with Arabs in Florence. That is something I know absolutely nothing about. How significant were they in Florence? Were there Arab residents, apart from temporary traders and diplomats? Or did the decrees just mention them so as to lump Jews in with Muslims? They say nothing about the Chinese in Florence, for example, of which I seem to recall there was a significant number.

Phaeded, I have no opinion on the ur-tarot, not even on whether it had 22 trumps. My interest in tarot is not that narrow. In relation to the tarot, I am interested in texts, culture, personalities, and trade, in the places and times of the early tarot. Jews had texts, culture, personalities, and trade in those places and times. They interacted with and helped shape the majority culture. When I started investigating, it was because of the alleged Jewish magical influence on Pulci and some things about the Sefer Yetzirah of possible relevance to the tarot. Then I noticed the early Jewish presence in Lucca, connected with silk and the preservation of a tradition among Jews around the Sefer Yetzirah. All of these things, as well as Jewish divination practices, are reasonably of relevance to the tarot. Now I notice a positive Jewish influence on Traversari, a figure already of interest to me. What else is there? We tend not to include the Jewish part of the culture, at least not before Pico, or if we do, think only in terms of the money they provided, one way or another, to the rulers. I want to start correcting that picture.

Huck, most of your points are well taken. But I have one more thought about Jews who converted to Christianity, in relation to Traversari. Jewish converts tended to want to interpret Judaism in terms of Christianity (as being hidden Christianity) and not the other way around. By the other way around, I mean such things as seeing, from a Jewish perspective, the shortcomings of Jerome's translation of the Bible, or that the Targimim, or phrases that Jerome omitted, might add useful imagery to the Old Testament stories. For that reason I think Traversari's Jew would probably not have been a convert.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#20
I have more to add about Alemanno, the 15th century Jewish admirer of Plato, and where that admiration may have come from and where it went. Also, from the same source, more commentary on the Jewish religious atmosphere in Florence of Traversari's time, before 1439.

In an earlier post I mentoned that Herrmann in his article, p. 25 (http://books.google.com/books?id=AO6dzM ... sa&f=false) cited Cassuto as saying that between the ages of 21 and 28 Alemanno was in Florence, i.e. 1456-1462. He does not say where in Cassuto's book this is. I have now converted Cassuto's book into a text file and have checked all 42 instances of the word "Alemanno", one of which is someone else, as well as surrounding text. Casutto does say that Alemanno was in Florence twice, early and late, and who he stayed with each time, but not, as far as I can tell, when he was there the first time. Below I give my translation of Casutto pp. 301-304. I do not give the original Italian as it is readily available online (http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/f ... nfo/749012). I also do not include his quotes written in Hebrew letters, nor do I attempt to translate them; instead, I put "Hebrew" in brackets. Anyone wishing to see them can easily go to the original. They are all in the footnotes, preceded by his paraphrase in Italian. In what follows, I put the part specifically about Alemanno in bold. The rest is about who he stayed with and the intellectual environment, going back as far as when that family was in Pisa. Also, I have put all the footnotes at the end. Since Cassuto renumbers them on every page, I have used the expedient of identifying them by two numbers, first the page number and then Cassuto's footnote number. Please remember that this is only one source out of several, all different in one way or another. I will give others in a later post.
[301]: Jochanan ben Izchak Alemanno, from a family of French origin, was probably born in Italy (301-3) between 1435 and 1438 (301-4), [302] and was raised and educated in the house of Jechiel da Pisa, in Florence. In the da Pisa family, which we have already seen to be the most well known among the Jewish banking families not only of Florence, but of the whole of Tuscany, and certainly one of the most well known in Italy, the cultivation of literature and the sciences, and writers and scholars; the da Pisas were always proponents as generous as they were educated and intelligent. At the dawn of the quatrocento the first of the da Pisas, Jechiel ben Mattathia, while directing in Pisa his banking company, which even then had assumed an importance of first rank, also had a way of occupying himself with competence in literature and poetry, making himself a liberal patron of their devotees. The fame of Jechiel was widely known even outside of his city, and the grammarian Prophiat Duran Ephodi had occasion to sing his praises in the presence of his disciple Joseph ben Jehuda Zark, who in 1413 wanted to travel to Pisa and ask to be put under Jechiel’s protection. They welcomed him with the most kind donations, and held him close to them as a welcome guest for several months, during which Joseph Zark several times took the occasion in various circumstances to compose verses in honor of his patron, and to offer as gifts his literary works and those of others (302-1). The son or successor of Jechiel, Izchak ben Menachem da Pisa, by which the seat of the family and home bank passed to Florence, was a worthy successor of his father also in the intellectual field, by his love of study as attested by the numerous manuscripts that belonged to him,containing literary and philosophical, historical and scientific works (302-2). With his son Jechiel, who, living in the era of Lorenzo de’ Medici, wanted somehow to be the Lorenzo the Magnificent of the Jewish community in Florence, these noble family traditions reached their peak. From the pain and bitterness from which his life was often saddened, Jechiel sought comfort in study and in conversation with scholars and men of letters, to whom his doors were always hospitably open. Well bestowed with fortune’s goods, he provided a vast and solid culture, welcomed by Lorenzo de’ Medici, and bound by intimate friendship with well known personages, such as Don [303] Izchak Abravanel, the wise counselor to the king of Portugal and the King of Spain, Jechiel da Pisa united in himself all the conditions necessary for him to be the Jewish patron of the Florentine Renaissance. And indeed, his house was, according to Don Izchak Abravanel, a "place of meeting for the wise". On every side he loved to procure books of Jewish literature, biblical exegesis, and religious philosophy, to read and to meditate on in the hours that his extensive business left him free; and also Abravanel chooses for him several works not easy to find in Italy. So he once received from Abravanel the comments of David Kimchi on the Agiographa, some writings of Abravanel himself, and exegetical studies of other Spanish authors; another time Don Izchak sent him the writings of Prophiat Duran Ephodi and Joseph ibn Shem Tob, asking in return for a copy of the biblical commentaries of Immanuel da Roma (1). In the munificent house of Jechiel da Pisa, where were gathered together "wisdom and greatness" (2), Jochanan Alemanno was lovingly raised and carefully educated and instructed (). He was thus able, when grown up, to be able to devote himself to teaching, and later lived in various [304] Italian cities as tutor at wealthy Jewish families (4). We know here that around 1470 he was in Mantua, and that he was welcomed at the Gonzaga court, where once, as he himself tells us in passing, he heard a skilful blind German musician (5). After many years of the wandering life, and, apparently not very happy despite the esteem with which he was surrounded and the honors that had attained for his erudition, in 1488 he came back to Florence, and shortly after his arrival at the beginning of autumn in [304] the same year, 1488, he returned to be hosted by the same da Pisa family (1), with whom he seems to have continued to dwell in Florence, until the termination of Jewish moneylending in 1497. What is certain is that by an act of the Eight of the Guard and the Balia his presence in Florence is attested even in 1494 (2). As his noble character induces him to avoid resorting to the aid of his patrons, he prefers rather to pawn in times of need even his most expensive books, as a Florentine document in Hebrew lets us know that he once did (3); however, it is certain that in Florence, under the direct protection of the da Pisa, he was able to enjoy a tranquility which he hardly would have shared elsewhere, and could devote sufficient serenity to the drafting of the multiple works which he had long begun or at least designed.
_____________________
301-3. In Chapter 19 of his Chaj ha-'Olamim he says he belongs to 'Italian Judaism’ but adds that France was his homeland [patria], that his surname was “tedesco” or ‘Alemanno’ cf. Mortara, Catal, dei mss., ebr. della bibl. della communita della Israel, di Mantova, Livorno 1878, p. 28. In the preface to diesiteli Slielomò, published in Rev. de 'ét. juiv., XII, p. 265-266. he presents himself to the reader with the name of Jochanan ben Izchak from Paris, which suggests that his father was born in Paris and at a very tender age had been conducted from France into Italy, as a result of the last deportation of Jews from France, which occurred in the year 1394. I say at a very early age, because our Jochanan was born about forty years later. As for the German surname, that may be explained by assuming that the family had gone to France from Germany. --- By an erroneous interpretation given to a passage by Gedaliah ibn Jachia, Shaisheleth, ed. Venice 1687, c. 63b, he was alleged by some (e.g., Zunz, Ges, Schr. III, p. 189, and Reggio Bikkuve ha’-illim, 5580, p. 13) that Jochanan was from Constantinople; see on this Steinschneider, at Salfeld, in Das Hchelied bei den jued. Erklaerern des Mittelalters, in Magazin fuer d. Wissensch. d, Judenthums, VI (1879), p. 134, n. 2 (estr. p. 117).
301-4. As Jochanan hints more than once in his writings about his age, it is not easy to determine the year in which he was born, because the composition of each of these works will attest, as we will see later, lasted many years, so that there lacks a single point of departure. Mortara (Catalogue del ms. Mantova cit., p. 23) does indeed have him born in the year 1435, because in Chaj ha 'Olamim, the introduction of which has the date of 1470, he says (chap. 19) he is 35 years old. But consider that in 1488 the Chaj ha-'Olamim was not yet finished (preface. Cheshek Shelemo [Desire of Solomon, publ. in rev. d. ét. juiv., XII, p. 256), and that other passages of the same work contain dates as far as 1500 (chap. 8 § 4) and 1508 (ibid., in the autograph in the appendices), so that we must recognize that the date of 1435 is by that less uncertain. For similar reasons, little can be gained by the passages of Cheshek Shelomo (the drafting of which was begun in 1488 on a sketch-front, and in 1492 was not yet over) attesting to an 'author about fifty years' (ms. Steinschneider, c. 76a), and rgR he had certain dreams several times since forty years earlier (ibid., c. 50b; see. Hebr. Bibl.,]/i] V, p. 28). On the other hand, in a passage of his Miscellany[/i[, published in He-chaluz, II (1853), p. 23, n. 1, and dated 1478, Jochanan speaks of the books that his ideal type of perfect man must study “not before arriving at forty years”; and this can make us reasonably assume that when he wrote these words, he must at least have reached this age. As with the other aforementioned chapter 19 of Chaj ha’-Olamim, which forbids us to go back beyond I485, we can conclude with some verisimilitude that Jochanan Alemanno was born between 1435 and 1438.
302-1. La familia da Pisa, p. 14). for more information about Jechiel ben Mattathias
and others see La familia da Pisa, passim, which has a large family tree of the da Pisa and related families.
302-2. Ibid., p. 20-21.
303-1. Ibid., p. 80.
303-2. Prefac. to Cheshek Schelomò by Jochanan Alemanno, publ. in []Rev. d. et. juiv.
, xii, p. 256: [Hebrew follows]
303-3. [Hebrew writing] (Jechiel) [Hebrew writing] On his education in Florence Jochanan also touches on more above, speaking precisely of the city of Florence (p. 254): [Hebrew writing].
303-4. Ibid., p. 254: [Hebrew writing]
303-5. Sha'ar ha-Cheshek, introduc., c. 6b. It is no doubt that German of which Bertolotti speaks in Musicians at the Gonzaga court in Mantua from the fifteenth to eighteenth century, Milan [1890], pp. 8-9, and he was certainly in Mantua in 1470 and perhaps in 1475. The “Prince” of whom Jochanan speaks is certainly Ludovico Gonzaga III, and not Pico, as has been repeatedly supposed (e.g. by Steinsohneider, Hebr, Bibl. XXI, p. 182, or by Perles, Beitraege cit., p. 191).
304-1. Prefaz. cit. to Chesek Shelomo, p. 253 [Hebrew]; ibid., p. 256: [Hebrew].
304-2. O. G.
vol. 98, c. 12b (July 11, 1494): "Mag.r Jochanam."
204-3. Cod. Laurent. Plut. 88, 12, c. 7b; see Appendices, document XLVIII.
This passage is of interest on several points.

First, Cassuto infers that Alemanno's father was born in France and lived in Paris; Cassuto says nothing about a stay in Spain before arriving in Italy.

Second, he says that the da Pisas raised and educated Alemanno, after which he went on to teach and tutor. It is not at all clear that raising and educating someone would naturally occur between the ages of 21 and 28. I would have thought that the kind of education the da Pisas could give would be at an earlier age, and that he would have been expected to make his own living after that, unless he continued his studies. But we know from other sources that he didn't continue his studies until after age 28, i.e. the early 1460s. Cassuto, who was so careful in giving references regarding Alemanno's date of birth and homeland, gives no sources for his statements in this part at all. This is where other sources are a bit clearer; I will give what I have in another post.

However Cassuto has at least clarified that in both parts of his life in Florence he stayed with the da Pisas, the banking family that had come from Rome to Pisa at the end of the 14th century and then to Florence. He gives no date for the move, but other sources that I have already cited say that the first moneylenders in Florence were 1427 and that the da Pisas were invited by 1430. That is time enough for Traversari to have made the acquaintance of them and their circle (e.g. rabbis, a butcher, etc.). Cassuto also makes it clear that the da Pisas were interested in more than just banking; they were scholars of the Jewish tradition as well. They even had a manuscript of Immanuel of Rome, the early 14th century poet, who wrote in both Italian and Hebrew; his works, including a journey through Hell and Heaven, a loving parody of "his friend Dante", as the Jewish Encyclopedia calls the relationship, were banned and censured by the Jewish establishment because of their "lascivious" content, and thus were not easy to find.

As far as demonstrating where Alemanno got his Platonic bias, it doesn't matter much whether he was in Florence in the early or in the late 1450s. Ever since Plato manuscripts first started arriving from Greece in the 1420s, the re-evaluation of Plato had been a major topic of discussion in Florence. Enough had been translated into Latin by 1450 to give the student a taste. Since Ficino was to Cosimo de' Medici what Alemanno was to da Pisa, the poor son of a physician now under the care of a rich banker patron of the arts, I would not be surprised if they knew each other. Such an acquaintance, at least with Ficino's ideas, is suggested by what Cassuto goes on to say about Alemanno's writings, pp. 304-305. In this part there are no footnotes.
The works of Jochanan Alemanno are composed of great energy, vast in design and size, and testify in the author manifold and admirable erudition, a vigorous intellect and clear reasoning. In each of his works he waited for long years, with constant and assiduous work collecting the material, processing, extending and renovating, dedicating his activity often to several at once, so that the it was possible to quote several times one to another and vice versa. Large in his writings is philosophical speculation about love, by which he connects closely with everything addressed by Italian thought starting from Ficino, with his commentary on the Platonic Symposium, which was widely followed at the end of the quatrocento and into the following century. In Jochanan Alemanno, whose conversation and writings exerted considerable influence on Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, and in whose thought in turn resounded the influence of Italian contemporary thought, we come to have an effective example of the mutual relations that are wont to pass between Jewish literature and the individual countries where it flourished, also making [305] it impossible to fully understand a Jewish author if we ignore the literary and philosophical movement of the environment around him that is not Hebrew, and conversely likewise making of the works of Jewish writers so many useful sources of information for the knowledge of the manner of thinking and feeling of their age. To understand Jochanan Alemanno, who flourished in the last decades of the fifteenth and in the early sixteenth century, it is necessary to note that between 1474 and 1475 Ficino performed the definitive preparation in his comments on the Symposium, that in 1486 Benivieni composed his Canzone d’amore [song of love] and soon after Giovanni Pico commented on it, and in 1495 Equicola wrote his Libro di Natura d’Amore [Book of the nature of love], that Bembo began before 1498 his Asolani and performed it around 1502, that in the same year of 1502 were written the Dialoghi d’amore [dialogues of love] by Leone Abravanel, and that shortly after, Francesco Cattani da Diacceto dictated his treatise De Amore and Baldassare Castiglione his Cortigano [Courtesan], all works - apart from anything else minor or later – with which Jochanan presents numerous points of contact.

Especially connected with the name of Pico is, among the writings Jochanan, that of the Cheshek Shelomo (The Love of Solomon), which will be presented as a commentary on the Song of Songs, but which contains considerably more. Already in his young years Jochanan had planned to illustrate this interesting Biblical poem, and had put in writing something about it, never ceasing, later, over the course of twenty years, to collect material on the subject. When he arrived in 1488 in Florence, nearly contemporaneously with Pico, he felt rather, as he himself tells us, the ardent desire to approach this man so wonderfully gifted with intelligence and wisdom, and entered into relationship with him. In one of the talks he had then with Pico, questioned by him if he knew some perspicuous expositions of the Song of Songs, he said that there were many comments by expert commentators, but that no one in his opinion had managed to penetrate the intimate sense of the sacred text, and added that he himself had in the past composed something on this subject. He was requested by Pico to give him to read what he had written on the subject; he joined with pleasure, and Pico was so strongly interested in this first draft of Jochanan’s exegetical work, that he soon urged the author to occupy himself with alacrity to complete it...
Cassuto continues discussing Alemanno for ten more pages, but this is enough for now. What is of interest for us is that his writing on the Song of Songs, begun twenty years before 1488, was one of many works on the subject of love following the publication of Ficino's commentary on the Symposium published, Cassuto tells us, in 1474-5 (although the autograph manuscript was dated 1469 according to the translator's introduction, p. 3, at http://books.google.com/books?id=c9DWAA ... ume&q=1469). Surely the Symposium and Phaedrus, with their endorsement of physical love as the first step on the ladder toward divine love, would already been discussed by Ficino and other young men, then in their adolescence or shortly after in the 1450s.

Since Ludovico ruled Mantua from 1444-1447, it may be inferred that for Cassuto, Alemanno was in Mantua at some point in the 1470s. Whether Alemanno influenced Equicola is a question to be pursued further. Equicola seems to have composed his poem in Mantua in 1494-6, after being with Ficino in Florence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Equicola, http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/mar ... rafico%29/ ). It seems reasonable to me that Alemanno would have moved back to Mantua in 1494 after the deaths of Pico and Poliziano under suspicious circumstances (Pico's exhumed body was recently found to contain high levels of arsenic, according to Wikipedia). Later Isabela d'Este lent out Equicola to her brother Alfonso in Ferrara in 1511, where he wrote the program for Alfonso's celebrated commissions of paintings by leading artists on Dionysian themes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Equicola). I have attempted to connect the theme of these paintings and some in Mantua to the tarot, starting at http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=317, part A4, and the following part, A5.

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