Re: Literary source for the trumps: Dante’s Paradiso
Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 02:15
Wow. I can only assume you never noticed the lion’s halo and paw on the book on the PMB King of Swords’s shield, because there is absolutely no mistaking the connection to Venice:Mikeh wrote:
Actually, looking into it further, I am not convinced that the PMB King of Swords' shield has anything to do with Venice either…
This appears to be from a little later, perhaps 16th century, but an actual Venetian shield with the Lion of St. Mark on it:
Want to take another crack at explaining why the PMB does reference Venice?
I never argued for the placement of death, just noted its order in Dante. Dante explains which trumps (with the exception of the Fool) but not the sequence, the problems of which (“ad hoc rules”) I discuss in this companion post: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1063Mikeh wrote:
Your placement of Death is in fact not in accord with anything. In no tarot order is it after the Last Judgment. It makes no sense for it to be after Last Judgment It seems to me that your theory is more acceptable if Death is placed before Judgment, e.g. with Mars, if necessary together with Fortune. Then Judgment, the Angel, can be put with the 9th sphere.
The soul does not die so obviously I am not arguing that a soul's “death at Saturn” occurs, but rather the last physical vestiges of the body - a purgation of the planetary influences that began at Saturn, and necessarily end at Saturn. On a related note, although they all reside in the White Rose in the Empyrean, the souls that also appear in each plantary sphere are tainted by the less than perfect attributes of the vices and plantary influences opposed to that sphere’s virtue; e.g., the oath-breakers with the Moon (Piccarda left her Franciscan convent), the ambitious with Mercury, amorous with Venus, etc. These taints are all described as enveloping the soul in Macrobius:Mikeh wrote
The purgation of the soul ascending through the planets does not result in its death at Saturn. Any death involved, in Macrobius's picture, is before it even gets to the Moon. It descends at birth and ascends at death, through all the spheres. And Dante is not comparing himself to Semele being immolated; it's Beatrice's image comparing herself to Jupiter and explaining that her true light is brighter than what he sees, so she and the other spirits shield it from him for his protection. Looking at XXI:82ff I see nothing about any rebirth. The "me" in your quote is a voice within a light speaking to Dante.
Obviously the soul takes on matter-like attributes before even having been born – on its fall from the stars - and can expect the same in the postmortem ascent. At XII.14, Macrobiuus details each planet’s influence; e.g., “in Venus’s sphere, the impulse of passion.”When the soul if being drawn towards a body in this first protraction of itself it begins to expereince a tumultuous influx of matter rushing upon it. This is what Plato alludes to when he speaks in the Phaedo of a soul suddenly staggering as if drunk as if it is being drawn into the body, he wishes to imply the recent draught of on-rushing matter by which the soul, defiled and weighted down, is pressed earthwards.” (Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, Book I.XII.7, tr. Stahl, 1952: 135)
Finally, in regard to the “death” of the soul and its return:
Via philosophy or religion the soul attempts to rid itself of the taints even while still on earth, but is still “weighted down” and “pressed earthwards” from planetary influences while here. To say it again, in the last plantary sphere of Saturn, Dante is using language that quite frankly speaks of a rebirth: In Canto XXI.84, Dante is purged by light in a rebirth context - “radiance that holds me in its womb” (XXI:83-84) - and then in the next Canto, XXII.152, still in Saturn, Dante is “turning with the timeless Twins” [Gemini], his birth sign (just as he was turning with the stars as they wove the body he was born in). In the very first canto of the Paradiso this removing of the earthly garment is found in the symbol of the Apollo’s flaying of the skin off of Marsyas.In truth, the soul is not destroyed by its death but is overwhelmed for a time; nor does it surrender the privledge of immortality because of its lowly sojourn, for when it has rid itself completely of all taint of evil and has deserved to be sublimated, it again leaves the body and, fully recovering its former state, returns to the splendor of everlasting life. (XII.17, p. 137)
By Bruni’s time the Guelf/Ghibbeline divide had taken a back-seat to the conservative optimates (Strozzi, Albizzi, etc.) vs the Medici; all were “pro-Pope.” The Medici were of course also optimates but accused of being allied with “new men” (middle class upstarts).Mikeh wrote
Well, Bruni is even worse for you than Dante. Dante was at least on the same side, the Ghibbeline "party of the emperor" as opposed to the Guelfs, that of the pope. Florence was Guelf, that's how they got their money. Bruni was the prime minister, or at least secretary of foreign affairs, for Filippo's arch-enemy. Anyway, the elevation of Prudence to director of the virtues is not Bruni's invention. It is already in Plato's Republic, where Wisdom is the virtue of the rulers, i.e. directors..
As for Bruni and Prudence, by drawing a straight line between Bruni and Plato, you have completely ignored the intervening transformations of the virtues – a tradition that Bruni inherited and necessarily addressed. Although Hans Baron’s humanist “republican” thesis has been discarded, his study on Cicero and the early Renaissance remains fundamental – here in pdf form (and I highly recommend it to you, for in spite its title it is in many ways a history of the (re)evaluation of the cardinal virtues): https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/a ... CUMENT.PDF
Cicero, the mediating means by which the medieval and Renaissance period received Plato, remarks in his De Oficiis that 'prudentia,’ the virtue fundamental to a life of contemplation and scholarship, is described as inferior to ' iustitia’, ‘fortitude' and 'moderatio', the virtues of active life (thus Plato is already turned on his head). St. Ambrose, the patriarch from Milan (and thus a good Christian contemplative), then elevates 'Sapientia-prudentia’, in open contradiction to Cicero’s Roman sentiment, and now ranks that above all the virtues of active life (note that Prudence is not for governing, but contemplation in St. Ambrose). The dominance of Aquinas then comes to the fore who elevates Justice to the supreme virtue (Summa Theologiae, I-II, Questions 66, Article 4). Then in 1345 Petrarch, discovers Cicero's Letters to Atticus In Verona and is repelled that Cicero did not live the life of contemplation so dear to Petrach but in fact lead a very active life that lead to his death. Petrarch even writes a letter to Cicero in Hades admonishing him there. From Petrarch we can now draw a straight line to Bruni, via Salutati (Chancellor of Florence from 1375 to 1406), as Salutati was Petrarch’s student and Bruni’s teacher. One of Salutati's pupils, Pier Paolo Vergerio, wrote, in the name of Cicero, a reply to Petrarch's letter of accusation addressed to Cicero in Hades. But then the pivotal publication penned by Bruni comes out; from Baron:
See my original post for studies by Ianziti and Hankins for studies of Bruni’s elevation of Prudence, not as the ultimate act of contemplation as in At. Ambrose, but as the surest guide to a politically-engaged active life. Baron again:About 1415 Leonardo Bruni Aretino, Salutati's pupil and Vergerio's friend, and later on Salutati's successor as Florentine chancellor, built up on these foundations his biography of Cicero - the standard biography for the Renaissance. It was entitled Cicero Novus, because it was intended to replace Plutarch's Lives of Demosthenes and Cicero, which seemed to Bruni to favour the Greek orator. But the title Cicero Novus also acquired a deeper meaning. In contradiction to the ' old Cicero ' of the Middle Ages - and of Petrarch, this ' new Cicero’ of the Florentine Renaissance no longer rested on the ostensible contrast between Cicero's political career, full of calamitous passions, and his fruitful philosophic life in the haven of quiet solitude… The new conception was based on the admiration of a citizen for the ideal union of political action and literary creation in Cicero's life. (90)
Dante then is an ambiguous figure for Florence under Bruni. His use of the Italian instead of Latin had been scorned by his fellow humansist such as Niccoli (and Bruni himself scorns Dante’s medieval Latin), but Dante’s contribtion to the “polis” by fighting at Campaldino and then making good use of his time in exile by writing the Comemdia, shows him at the apogee of both the active and comntemplative life; his anger in exile in wanting to see Florence punished also makes him, ironically, an example of imprudence. Bruni thus praises Dante as an embodiment of the New Cicero, but at the same time points out his defects as imprudence, thus being made to serve as both a positve and negative exemplar. Significantly, in addition to his Ciciero Novus, “Bruni's biography of Dante was circulated more widely and used more frequently by other writers than any other literary work of the Early Renaissance” (97).In Florence, soon after 1400, men of the old school complained that the young generation were beginning to gather from Cicero's De Oficiis that ' happiness and virtue were bound up with position and reputation in political life '. They were forgetting the philosophic truth that the ' perfect life ' is contemplation and inner peace. In the fourteen-thirties Matteo Palmier, Bruni's closest follower among the citizens, restored the civic attitude of De Officiis as a whole. Just as St.' Arnbrose had done at the beginning of the Middle Ages, Palmieri wrote an adaptation of the Ciceronian work, which made allowance for the needs of his own century. This adaptation was entitled Della Vita Civile, On Civic Life. It would be interesting to observe in detail how, in this book, the Ciceronian faith in action and in a communal life was finally restored? In the crowning chapter, the deepest impression is created by combining the vision of the Somnium Scipionis with the doctrines of De Oficiis. Palmieri transfers Scipio's dream from Roman to Florentine history. In place of Scipio, Dante (who as the wanderer through heaven and hell is best qualified to report on the reward of souls after death) receives the message from the Hereafter on the battlecfield of Campaldino, on the day of one of the greatest Florentine victories.(92-93)
The only demonstrably known term is “cards” - naibi. The simplest explanation as to why “with trumps” gets added is becauses there were “cards with trumps” being produced in Florence following the triumph at Anghiari (in addition to ‘Church Triumphant’, the military victory or ‘trionfi’ may even possibly explain the name of what gets added to cards – trionfi). If Giusti was not the inventor of "naibi a trionfi" then there is no other way for him to have referred to what he had purchased “naibi a trionfi”; there is no reason whatsoever for him to comment on it being a novelty, just that it was being made in Florence: it had a name, however new, and he used it. So a provincial notary, Giusti, who dabbled in procuring men-at-arms for condottiere such as Malatesta, ordered one himself while in Florence, for Malatesta (the gift was good for business). Malatesta was recently brought back into the Florentine-Papal alliance, after a brief dalliance with Visconti, and thus Giusti is also indirectly doing the Medici a favour by helping celebrate that renewed relationship.mikeh wrote:
It seems to me that when Giusti writes "naibi a trionfi", he knows, and expects anyone reading to know, what "naibi" and the accompanying "trionfi" are. So the simplest explanation is that they were already a standard item. The only thing he notes that is unusual is that he had Sigismondo's arms added to them.