The English introduction says not "many", but "several". Actually it are only 4 short documents (at least Depaulis gives only 4).
Thanks for the correction. I left out something, an "as". The translation should have read (highlighting the missing word):
Of all the games mentioned in the journal - chess; backgammon, palm, archery - only the tarot returns as many times.
That is, it returns four times.
Now I want to address Huck's previous post.
Huck quoted a description of a performance at Alfonso d'Este's wedding (I'm not sure the source; his link doesn't work for me):
the third moresca was led by a young woman upon a car which was drawn by a unicorn, and upon it were several persons bound to the trunk of a tree, while seated under the bushes were four lute players. The young woman loosed the bonds of the captives, who immediately descended and danced while the lute players sang beautiful canzone—at least so says Gagnolo;
It seems to me that the cart is simply a version of the "triumph of chastity". Usually the captive tied to something, on or off the cart--was Cupid; in this case it is lovers. Their being freed is somewhat ambiguous; one way of seeing it is that once imbued with chastity they can express themselves in nobler ways. The "triumph of chastity" was drawn by unicorns. The unicorn is a medieval symbol of purity and of Christ, used in many places, including France, e.g. the "unicorn tapestries" in the Cluny Museum. That a unicorn slays a dragon in Borso's Bible does not associate the unicorn particularly with the d'Este; it is simply Christ slaying Satan. It has a similar meaning with the Borgias, purity and Christ. The unicorn in the lap of a pure lady is also in the tapestries. The tree trunk is simply something to tie the lovers to. It is not a symbol of foolishness, and there is no reason for Alfonso to remember this detail and give it a new association, via a word he now associates with the image.
There are stronger associations of "taroch" to craziness or foolishness than this. Andrea has collected some in his essays, to which I added a page from Aldus's Greek-Latin Lexicon. As for the word's appearance in Ferrara, Alfonso had been in Piedmont collecting musicians, and Lucrezia loved frottole, for example. Or the word was already associated with the game there or in France, as an epithet (the game of fools) rather than a name, and somebody, perhaps Alfonso himself, used it as a name so as to distinguish it from the other game that appeared then (perhaps as a result of Beatrice's return from Naples) that used ordinary decks and made one of its suits into trumps.
There is also what Depaulis says in his 2013 book, deriving the word precisely from the verb "tarer" but giving a different explanation for why the word was chosen. First, for the derivation from "tarer", he says (I leave out the dots under the t and h in the Arabic words; I know that a dot under an h gives it a hard sound, like "ch" in German; I don't know what it does to a t):
Oublions les rapprochements avec l'arabe taraha "jeter, lancer", ou taraq (racine trq) "frapper" (et, paraît-il aussi, "prophètiser"), pour suivre plutôt le fil de tarh "dèduction" (même verb taraha mais au sense de "rejeter, déduire"), qui est à l'origine des mots tare (poids du contenant déduit du total, puis défaut) - et autant en italien tara, tarare, taratura, etc.
(Let us forget comparisons with the Arabic taraha "throw, toss," or tariq (trq root) "hit" (and also, it seems,"prophesy"), to follow rather the thread of tarh "deduction" (same verb taraha but in the sense of "reject, deduct"), which is the origin of words tare (weight of the container subtracted from the total, thus defect) - and, as much, in Italian tara, tarare, taratura, etc.)
He then cites two authorities in German for this derivation. One is Karl Lokotsch, 1967, who makes it first for the Italian, from which he says the French derives. The other is Walther von Wartburg, 1968, who simply gives it as a source for the French word "tarot", but also gives an explanation. As Depaulis paraphrases:
Celui-ci explique en effet que le jeu de tarot suppose une sorte de déduction, "parce que dans ce jeu le joueur doit, dans certaines circonstances, mettre de côté une carte".
(The latter explains that the tarot deck assumes a kind of deduction, "because in this game the player must, under certain circumstances, set aside a card.")
Depaulis corrects this by saying that it is not just in certain circumstances that "one must set aside a card", but in all circumstances. He explains:
Un des premiers gestes du jeu consiste en effet a faire un écart que le donneur prend pour lui dans les formes anciennes; ou qui rest sur la table et sera remporté par le meilleur enchérisseur dans les règles modernes.
(One of the first moves of the game is indeed a remainder [écart] that the dealer takes for himself in the old forms; or stays on the table and will be won by the highest bidder in the modern rules.)
Depaulis adds that the rule about this changed at precisely the time when the name of the game changed, and could be the reason why the name changed. He explains:
Nous savons trop peu de la façon de jouer au XVe siècle; mais un des rares points assurés est qu'on jouait à quatre, ce qui laissait deux cartes en trop après la donne. Or, après 1500, on joue aussi à trois, mais avec un "écart" de trois cartes, que rien n'obligeait à faire (puisque 78 est divisible par trois). Cette innovation auraît entraîné un changement de nom pour le jeu, ainsi devenu tarocco. Une sorte de "déduction".
Reconnaissons qu'aucun élément ancien ne vient appuyer cette théorie qui reste, pour le moment, la meilleure hypothèse ou la moins aventureuse.
(We know too little about the manner of play in the fifteenth century; but one of the rare assured points is that it was played in four, leaving two cards left over after the deal. However, after 1500, it was also played in three, but with a "remainder" of three cards, which there was no requirement to make (because 78 is evenly divisible by three). This innovation would have resulted in a name change for the game, thus become tarocco. A kind of "deduction".
We recognize that no ancient element goes to support this theory which remains, for the moment, the best or least adventurous hypothesis.
Well, it seems rather a leap to me, to go from an Arabic word (for the hard c) that drops the hard c (needed in Italian) and then to imagine the "remainder" (écart) as a "deduction". (It only seems to work in French because of the ambiguity of "écart", which can mean "difference"; that is close to both "deduction" and "remainder", even if "deduction" is not what the 2 cards at the end of the deal are).
Also, it is far from clear that the game was only played in foursomes during the 15th century. There is the famous fresco in Milan of the 1440s or 1450s, for example, of five players around the table. And when Galeazzo Maria Sforza wrote his letter home from Ferrara in 1457, he speaks of playing with his host, one of the Picos, without mentioning anyone else. We don't even know if the game was always played with 22 special cards, as opposed to a lesser number. Assuredly there were 22 by 1500, but if fewer than four players played the game earlier, that would have continued as a less played alternative when fewer than four were available to play. I wish Depaulis had at least given a footnote to an essay that defends his point.
Oddly to me, Depaulis ignores the meaning of "taré" as "defect", hence "mentally deficient". He also seems unaware of "tarous" as the Provencale
form of "taré" in that sense. It is that sense that most readily comes into to mind with "tarocchi". Perhaps it is because he doesn't know if any of those words had that meaning in the 15th century.
For the meanings we want, however, it seems to me that we need not go exclusively to the Arabic (which as interpreted by Depaulis then requires the clumsy tie-in with the supposed rule-change, or else a recourse to modern dictionaries). Besides the Arabic "taraq", for deduction and maybe defect, there was also the Greek "tarachos", meaning "agitated" (from which the Arabic might derive), which entered Latin as "taraxia" sometime before 1600 (when "ataraxia" is recorded in English). In the 1497 Aldus Greek-Latin Lexicon, "tarachos" was defined as "perturbatio" and "turbatio" (photocopied in my essay at http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page.aspx?id=317
#). That, regardless of whether the Arabic-derived words meant "mental defect", would give a good enough pedigree for "tarochus" applied to the game. Then we have "taroccho" not in the sense of "mental defect" but of "crazy", as in "out of control". which it seems to me also applies to the "therocho" wind (also called "sirocco") that makes people crazy, as Andrea puts it (http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page. ... 99&lng=ENG
), and also to the proposed (by eminent philologists of Portuguese recently) "cavaleyro taroco"--crazy knight (not just "vain and foolish" as in Andrea's supheading--in a 13th century poem (http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page. ... 09&lng=ENG
), and the "Tarare loca" of the Lorca poem given by Andrea at the end of that essay. I notice elsewhere, as part of a long quote from an 1840 Italian dictionary by Andrea (http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page. ... 20&lng=ITA
In turco Taraka, tumulto, strepito, rumore. In persiano Tyrak vale per il medesimo
(Taraka in Turkish, tumult, clamour, din. Tyrak in Persian, with the same signification.)
Again, of course, we don't know how early these meanings apply. But given that the Greek in 1497 had that same meaning, perhaps not only the Turkish and Persian but the Arabic, too, had the meaning of "tumult" by then.
The 4 lute players might present the 4 suits.
4 "angel musicians" were typical in scenes of special holiness.
Huck quoted SteveM, about "tarocch" as "trunk of a tree":
It was me. The word 'tarocch' is attested in the Milanese dialect as meaning 'tree trunk', a geneological 'tree of life' and figuratively as 'blockhead', 'loggerhead' (i.e., a dunce, fool).
It is not only in Milanese, but elsewhere. Andrea Vitali quotes Prof. Antón Santamarina, a member of the Executive Council USC (Instituto da Lingua Galega) of the University of Santiago de Compostela; but the part I put in bold should not be downplayed (this is my translation from Andrea's Italian, at http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page.aspx?id=509
#, footnote 19; for the original, go to http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page. ... 09&lng=ITA
The Galician dictionary records the word 'taroco', but with the meaning of ‘piece of wood, piece of hard bread’ (trozo de madera, trozo de pan 'duro’), nothing with the meaning of 'crazy'. Based on the data, medieval lexicographers find nothing. This 'taroco' ('piece of wood', with the variant 'Tarouco') is very similar to the Castilian word 'tarugo', according to the DRAE: '1. m: Piece of wood or of bread, usually thick and short; with the secondary meaning of 4 m. coloq: Person of approximate understanding (= holding the hard head, which is clumsy, like a piece of wood)' (Persona de rudo entendimiento = que tiene la cabeza dura, que es torpe, como un trozo de leña). In the Leonese language there exists the variant 'taruco'. Portuguese dictionaries also recorded 'tarugo' (1721), which surely comes from the Castilian (1386). However, the similarity can be random and the relationship between the two words is hard to justify, because, 'taròco' has an open ò. In addition, the meaning 'lack of understanding' is modern".
So we have to ask how recent in Italy, too (and in France and Provence), the meaning "lack of understanding" is. I do not understand the point about an "open ò", nor how the Professor knows that "lack of understanding" is only modern.