SUMMARY to Hübsch (1)
Considering all this, what I've collected in this last post, I got the opinion, that it might be easily wrong to assume, that the note about card players in 1303 in Brieg would be a correct statement.
A natural explanation for the lightning at the church (Cottbus) and the card players in Brieg killed by lightning in the same year 1303 would be, that in the time of Capristanus these notes were invented for propaganda reasons, possibly partly based on older legends or earlier forgeries in the past.
The rulers of Brieg were in a political crisis called "Liegnitzer Lehnstreit" (1449-1469) ...
... and during the disputes ...
Nachdem Herzog Heinrich X. 1452 starb, kämpfte sein Bruder Johann I., dessen Frau Hedwig mit ihrem Sohn Friedrich I. aus der Stadt verwiesen worden war, bei Waldau nordwestlich von Liegnitz mit Waffen um sein Recht, wurde jedoch von seinen Gegnern geschlagen. Neben einer Geldstraße musste er am 19. September 1452 formal auf sein Recht verzichten. Da er trotzdem seine Hoffnung nicht aufgab, suchte er weiterhin Kontakt zu den Liegnitzer Zünften und schloss sich der Capistran-Bewegung an, die sich gegen Böhmen wandte. Seine Bemühungen führten nicht zum Erfolg, da er schon ein Jahr später starb.
Johann I stood at the side of the Capistranus movement ...
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_I._ ... %C3%BCben)
... but he died after 21st of November 1453
So Capristanus had rather free hands to interpret earlier reality in the period.
All evidence (at least for the moment) - perhaps beside the lightning-with-dice picture - is from 17th century on, possibly born during the 30-years-war in Germany, a very nasty phase, which possibly indirectly caused the series of many collections of tragical events in curious books in the following time.
In the case, that it would have been totally invented:
1303 had been the year, when Pope Bonafacio VIII had died, a pope connected to scandals and a foe to Dante, who prolonged his bad memory. Possibly a reason to chose just this date?
The Franiscans were very successful during 13th century and reached soon, that one of them became pope:
Nicholas IV (1288-1292)
... followed by Pope St Celestine V, who was tricked by Bonifacio VIII to abdicate. Then follwed Bonifacio VIII, the bad pope, who died 1303. In this period started the trouble with the Fraticelli:
Angelo da Clareno and the first group of Fraticelli
The first Fraticelli group was begun by Brother Angelo da Clareno (or da Cingoli). Angelo and several brethren from the March of Ancona had been condemned (c. 1278) to imprisonment for life, but were liberated by the general of the order, Raimondo Gaufredi (1289–95) and sent to Armenia, where the king, Hethum II, welcomed them. The local clergy, however, were less enthusiastic, and following popular agitations against them they were exiled from Armenia towards the end of 1293.
They returned to Italy, where in 1294 Celestine V, noted for his asceticism but whose pontificate lasted scarcely six months, willingly permitted them to live as hermits in the strict observance of the Rule of St. Francis. After the abdication of Celestine V, his successor, Boniface VIII, revoked all Celestine's concessions, and they emigrated to Greece, where some of them attacked the legality of the papal action. As the pope, through the Patriarch of Constantinople, caused active measures to be taken against them, they fled to Italy, where their leader, Fra Liberatus, attempted a vindication of their rights, first with Boniface VIII (d. 11 October 1303), and then with Benedict XI, who also died prematurely (7 July 1304). On his journey to Clement V (1305–14) at Lyon, Liberatus died (1307), and Angelo da Clareno succeeded to the leadership of the community. He remained in Central Italy until 1311, when he went to Avignon, where he was protected by his patrons Cardinals Giacomo Colonna and Napoleone Orsini Frangipani.
Early in 1317 John XXII, pursuant to a decree of Boniface VIII, declared Angelo excommunicated and placed him in custody. He defended himself ably in his "Epistola Excusatoria", representing himself as a zealous Franciscan, but John XXII refused to admit his plea, Angelo being a Celestine hermit, and in the decree "Sancta Romana et universalis ecclesia" (30 December 1317) refused to authorize the congregation of which Angelo was head.
Angelo submitted temporarily, but in 1318 fled to Central Italy, where, acting as Minister General, he assumed charge of the congregation dissolved by the pope. He appointed provincials, ministers and custodians, established new friaries, arrogated all authority, issued pastoral letters, and received novices—in a word, he founded an independent Franciscan Order, the Fraticelli.
The Fratecelli became an enduring problem ...
Then followed ...
Antipope Nicholas V (1328-1330), a Franciscan
... who took side with emperor Ludwig IV, the Bavarian against pope John XXII
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_IV,_ ... an_Emperor
Fraticelli and the Franciscan antipope caused, that the Franciscan order earned a difficult state during 14th century. Matters improved, when the Franciscan San Bernardino proved to be an excellent preacher attracting occasionally 100.000 visitors (if one could trust the reports). He started this career in 1417 in the mid of the council of Constance, which also had 100.000 of visitors, from which about 4000 were prostitutes (if one can believe the reports).
San Bernardino got accusations under pope Martin V (1418-1431), but was treated friendly by pope Eugen IV (1431-1447). San Bernardino died 1444 and became saint 1450 in the Jubelee year very quick. The Franciscans were on their way to reach a new climax. Capristanus as one of his best pupils was send to Germany, which recently had been rather opposed against the council of Ferrara/Florence and to a great part had favoured for some time the antipope Felix. This was in 1452, after the coronation of the new emperor Fredrick III, who had changed the sides from the council of Basel to Pope Eugen and Enea Peccolomini.
Well, a good time for some lightning strokes in the year 1303.
Beside this there are more trivial possibilities of a later forgery. It's astonishing, that all notes are from 17th century and the start of the development isn't clear. Something should be in the text of Conrad Dieterich.
But still it's possible, that there was something in Brieg, maybe not immediately in 1303, but perhaps a little later.
Hübsch (in his later parts) notes, that there were "sichere Nachrichten" (secure notes) for playing cards in Bohemia in 1340, but before this there were already "Urkunden" (it sounds like official documents) about playing cards played by Polish nobility.
Inside the many possible contacts between Poland and Bohemia there's one man Boleslaw III the Generous ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boles%C5%8 ... e_Generous
... who (still rather young thn, bt an important heir) in 1303 went from Brieg to Prague to marry the king's daughter of Bohemia. He even was considered a possible future king of Bohemia in 1305 (the kin died), but others were chosen. One could call him a Polish noble man, though he had an orientation to Bohemia.
He loved life and money, which he needed for this life, and made a lot of curious things. In his late biography he had been excommunicated for long years, though he finally was reduced to the region of Brieg, which he loved most of his dominions.
He was twice excommunicated by the Church for these dilapidations: first, for the delay in paying the Tithe in 1337, and secondly, when he sequestered Church property in 1340. The excommunication was only removed on his deathbed thanks for the insistence of his sons. Despite his unstable relations with the Church, Boleslaw was quite generous to it, contributing to the growing importance of the Monastery of Lubiaz and founded two monasteries, one Franciscan and another Dominican, in Brieg.
There's one curious year in the description of Bohemia by Hajek: 1329. This was an especially "lucky year" for Bohemia, most other years in the period of King John were "not good" and some were "really bad".
https://books.google.de/books?id=7iFhAA ... 00&f=false
page 532, starting "year 1329"
There's a sudden richness in Bohemia, and the people reacted with interests in luxury: they bought nice clothes and they styled their hairs in a manner never seen before.
This year followed a dominant participation of John the Blind in a very successful crusade of the German knight order against Lithuania. Also Bohemia was enlarged, they got more territorial rights in Silesea (which was an enduring development). These territorial wins in the North-East and the military campaigns naturally led to cultural exchange and new customs in Bohemia ... that's, what I conclude.
"From North-East" would mean "possibly" from Silesia, Poland, state of the German knight order or Lithuania. All these were connected to the military action of King John in 1428/29.
About the master of the German order knights, Werner von Orseln, (reigned 1324-30) we have the note from chess researcher van der Linde ...
.. that he allowed chess, but prohibited playing card and dice games. Unluckily these statutes are considered to be "later forgery" to get a territorial advantage for the knight order.
... reported at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=514
If the suspected forgery had anything to do with the considered card playing prohibition I don't know.
If - curiously - the German knight order had playing cards in the 1320s and the West European countries hadn't them, then it naturally would have to do with the trade of the Baltic Sea (Ostsee), which was managed by the Hanse. The Hansa and the knights had natural close cooperations. If some playing card decks reached the region on the way of the old trading routes along the Russian rivers via Nowgorod (full of German trading companies once).
The Hanse founded a "Kontor" in Nowgorod (a trade station in foreign countries) around the mid of 13th century, totally the Hanse had 4 of them (London, Brügge, Bergen and Nowgorod). In Nowgorod it was called "Petershof", but it presented an own quarter of the city, protected by a palisade and it had only one entrance and an own church "St. Peter". Usually around 200 merchants were present, together with their helpers (two were allowed for each merchant). The merchants of Lübeck gained an important position there since 1293, freeing themselves from the dominance of the Gotlandish Kontor.
The merchants either stayed the full summer (Sommerfahrer) or the full winter (Winterfahrer). The major export products were animal coats and wax, naturally not playing cards.
The Mongols knew about the strategical value of trade and promoted it by improving the conditions of the silk route.
Though the connections to European countries were mostly reached by the Goldene Horde and the island Krim and the republic of Genova (1257 Chinese silk on the Genuese markets, 1263 Genova was allowed to build a station in Caffa) and the North was more used for robberies and slaves, one cannot exclude, that some playing cards went this way. Although the trade connection to Genova and its colonies was occasionally disrupted (siege of Cappa in 1307/08, the Portoguese finally burnt their place; another attack in 1347 brought the plague to Europe), this was a long time a reliable way.
The Mamluks had a lot of battles against the Mamluks, and these were able to stop them.
Mamluks and the Mongols
When the Mongol Empire's troops of Hulagu Khan sacked Baghdad in 1258 and advanced towards Syria, Mamluk Emir Baibars left Damascus for Cairo where he was welcomed by Sultan Qutuz. After taking Damascus, Hulagu demanded that Qutuz surrender Egypt but Qutuz had Hulagu's envoys killed and, with Baibars' help, mobilized his troops. Although Hulagu pulled the majority of his forces out of Syria to attend the kurultai when great Khan Möngke died in action against the Southern Song, he left his lieutenant, the Christian Kitbuqa, in charge with a token force of about 18,000 men as a garrison. Qutuz drew the Ilkhanate army into an ambush near the Orontes River, routed them at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 and captured and executed Kitbuqa (see Qutuz).
After this great triumph, Qutuz was assassinated by conspiring Mamluks. It was said that Baibars, who seized power, was involved in the assassination. In the following centuries the rule of mamluks was discontinuous, with an average span of seven years.
The Mamluks defeated the Ilkhanates a second time in the First Battle of Homs and began to drive them back east. In the process they consolidated their power over Syria, fortified the area, and formed mail routes and diplomatic connections between the local princes. Baibars's troops attacked Acre in 1263, captured Caesarea in 1265, and took Antioch in 1268.
Mamluks also defeated new Ilkhanate attacks in Syria in 1271 and 1281 (Second Battle of Homs). They were defeated by the Ilkhanates and their Christian allies at the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar in 1299, but soon after that the Mamluks defeated the Ilkhanate again in 1303/1304 and 1312. Finally, the Ilkhanates and the Mamluks signed a treaty of peace in 1323.
Once, about 650 years ago, there was a city ...
... estimated are 600.000 inhabitants (English wiki) ... one of the most populated places in the world.
This source speaks of 75.000 ...
http://www.discussionworldforum.com/sho ... php?t=2428
it was full of wealth, luxury, and splendour, but it also commanded fearsome military might. It was indeed a lrage city, by the standards of the Middle Ages, boasting a diverse population of 75,000 people.
It was Sarai Batu, the capital of the Golden Horde, a powerful multi-ethnic empire controlled by the Tatars, of which much of modern Russia was a part.
Today, in a bid to attract tourists, the governemnt of Astrakhan oblast has invested money and put together a team of arcaheologists, engineers, architects, and such for the purpose of unearthing the remains of Sarai Batu and rebuilding it to its former glory.
It was a very complex city. Within its walls, lived a dozen ethnic groups: Bulgars (Tatars, Bashkirs), Mongols, Alans (Ossetians), Circassians, Russians, Byzantians (Greeks). Each group lived in its own quarter.
The difference between 75.000 and 600.000 goes back to the condition, that there were two Sarai, Sarai Batu (old Sarai, 75.000) and Sarai Berke (New Sarai, 600.000), not too far from each and at the same river.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/top ... lden-Horde
More or less, both disappeared.
How much of the modern Westrn people know about the former existence of Sarai? I personally didn't till recently. If such a big city could disappear from the public attention, what could we say about playing cards in Sarai?
For playing cards we have about 50 European notes in the "accepted time" (1370-1400; so wrote Depaulis recently, but this means, less than to in a year). Could we claim from this number, that there were no playing cards before? Hardly not. For the Trionfi decks we have about 200 documents for the first 25 years, but we can't be sure, if there was nothing before.
Matters are less well recorded in the previous time, how many decks must have reached Euope, before somebody wrote it down on a document, which indeed can be accessed by a playing card researcher in 2015? And if it is written down and it becomes known, how much chances it has against the critical arguments of modern playing card research?
Hübsch had stated, that Bohemia had playing cards before 1340, and that Polish nobility played before with them. Beside of that he notes various observations, which he claims to have been made in the archive of the city council of Prague. Master Ingold wrote in 1432, that he had read a book, which stated, that the cards were in Germany in 1300. Somebody has stated, that in 1303 playing cards were in Brieg. The Werner von Orseln document lets assume, that the German knights had playing cards in the 1320s. A Prague synode in 1353 has a "cartarumque. All forgeries or misunderstandings?