Re: New Pratesi note on the Cary-Yale

#21
Phaeded wrote,
Mike’s translation of Pratesi, who states the following after recognizing Depaulis’ bringing attention to Giusti’s 1440 first-ever mentioning of tarot:
But if in 1440 "normal" triumph packs already exist, it must be deduced that the CY pack, precisely because of its exceptionality, coexisting among objects of more common use, is of secondary historical significance.
The fundamental sea-change in tarot research is precisely that: everything now points to tarot’s roots as Florentine - not Milanese [and thus so much for Marziano] - and yet became something else in the city of its origins: minchiate. There is no reason to do the reverse and look for tarot’s origins in minchiate when there is no historical evidence that places it before tarot.
Pratesi is thinking in terms of different possible scenarios: if p, then q. If not p, then maybe something else. You quoted one of the "if" clauses. It's just an "if". by "normal pack" he means the one with 22 triumphal cards, for ordinary use--if it existed in 1440, then the Cary-Yale is of secondary importance. But if it didn't yet exist, then it may not be of secondary importance. Here is the whole passage
Se però nel 1440 esistevano già mazzi “normali” di trionfi, se ne dovrebbe dedurre che il mazzo CY, precisamente a causa della sua eccezionalità fra oggetti coesistenti di uso più comune, risulta di importanza storica secondaria. Se invece si pensa a un prototipo destinato a ottenere poco dopo un notevole successo in una forma normalizzata, bisognerebbe risalire a date precedenti, come quell’anno 1428 sostenuto da altri. In definitiva, la discussione sul tema non si presenta chiusa, tanto che se ne trovano tracce ricorrenti fino agli ultimi giorni.

(But if in 1440 "normal" triumph packs already exist, it must be deduced that the CY pack, precisely because of its exceptionality, coexisting among objects of more common use, is of secondary historical significance. If we think instead of a prototype destined to obtain shortly afterwards considerable success in a normalized form, it is necessary to go back to earlier dates, like the year 1428 supported by others. Ultimately, the discussion on the subject is not closed, if we find traces recurring until the last days.)
This question does not get resolved by the end of the article. His last sentence makes this clear:
Diversi degli aspetti discussi sembrano favorire l’interpretazione del mazzo CY come precursore di mazzi di trionfi standard piuttosto che come una variante di mazzi del genere già di uso comune, ma su questo punto, storicamente di grandissimo rilievo, non sono stati fatti purtroppo progressi significativi.

(Several of the aspects discussed seem to favor the interpretation of the CY deck as a precursor of packs of standard triumphs rather than a variant of a type of pack already in common use; but on this point, of great importance historically, significant progress unfortunately has not been made.)
There are other ways of exploring alternatives besides resolving them. I have no resolution either, just considerations for and against. The Marziano is relevant because it is before 1440. Things before 1440 in Florence are relevant, too. For example, Marziano studied in Florence before going to Milan. Franco tells me.

Also, Franco doesn't mean by "normal packs" just the one made for Malatesta. He means decks before then, too. "Carte a trionfi" is a phrase already in use, not one invented on this occasion. In 1443 a couple of people are arrested for playing triumphs, in a poor part of town. 1440 isn't that far removed. In his essay on the 1506 document (see
he says, relative to 1440 and the Giusti diary (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1074#p16459):
Possiamo allora parlare dei trionfi nella Firenze dell'epoca come di un gioco noto e praticato localmente, tanto che nel 1450 rientrò nel piccolo numero di giochi di carte permessi dalle leggi comunali, il che dimostra che gia possedeva quel carattere tradizionale richiesto per ogni autorizzazione del genere.

In future sarà possibile anticipare ancora le testimonianze fiorentine (ed eventualmente da altre citta), ma non è plausibile che l'introduzione dei trionfi sia avvenuta molti anni prima; ...

(We can then speak of triumphs in Florence of that time as a game known and practiced locally, so much so that in 1450 passed into the small number of card games allowed by municipal laws, which shows that it already possessed the traditional character required for every such authorization.

In the future it is possible also to anticipate Florentine testimonies (and possibly from other cities), but it is implausible that the introduction of triumphs occurred many years before;...)
What does "many years" mean? I asked him, but his reply was not memorable (to me) and I cannot now find the email. He would not commit himself to a number. I remember that in an essay about advances in tarot history since he started writing about it, he began by saying "thirty years are not many". "Many" is a suitably vague term. I also asked him whether he meant by "introduction", introduction into Florence, or introduction into the world. He replied in the same email that I cannot now find. As I recall, he said the question was covered by the "and possibly from other cities"; I take that as a suggestion that there might be more evidence forthcoming elsewhere. It seems to me that if he'd wanted to say "invention" instead of "introduction", he would have said so.

As far as the 1:1 rule between the triumphal cards and the number of cards in a suit, it is not a rule. It is merely a practice for which there is some evidence at various times and places. My guess would be that the PMB "first artist" packs departs from it; but perhaps not, as there are only 14 surviving cards. Pratesi has found evidence for 14 special card decks in Ferrara even in the late 15th century. The PMB "second artist" cards seem to abandon the practice, yes, at least in Milan. According to Tanzi in 2013--an art historian with more than one book on the Bembo-- art historians concur in dating the second artist cards to the 1480s, by their stylistic affinity to the work of Cicognara; I think I have already given the reference. That is surely enough not to warrant dismissing the hypothesis that they were, in fact, done then.

As for minchiate being a precursor of tarot, you are grossly distorting Pratesi's suggestion. He is only suggesting that the minchiate order, for the 16 subjects already given, be considered as one possibly used at the time of the Cary-Yale and possibly governing its order. He is suggesting that minchiate, as a later game, might be preserving an archaic order of triumphal subjects. Minchiate, it appears from the references to it starting in 1466, was a game already many decades old when the first lists of its cards appeared, and so likely to have had an evolution.

Your next quote, beginning "it makes some logic", allegedly from me, is actually from Huck. However you do question the plausibility of something I hypothesize, namely, three sources for 16 triumphs: the virtues, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. The seven virtues were a popular cassone theme in Florence of the 1420s and 1430s. In Milan, it was popular among illuminators of manuscripts in the preceding century. Petrarch and Boccaccio were combined in the illuminations and cassone in Florence of the 1440s. On the "Fame" pictures, for example, they sometimes used Boccaccio's description of the background, hills and villas (not that dissimilar from what is on the Charles VI "World" card). For "Eternity" they also used Boccaccio, for the Cupid in the lady's hand. They also used other sources, or traditions, for the various animals pulling the carts. These are not in either poet. If they engaged in combining sources there, why not in cards? The same artists put out both products. They also put out cassoni, which would combine themes: in one case I know of, it has been reputably hypothesized that one side had the 7 virtues, the other side the 7 liberal arts, and the ends Petrarch and Dante ("Dante and Petrarch in a Painting by Giovanni Dal Ponte," Edward Kennard Rand, Notes (Fogg Art Museum) Vol. 1, No. 3 (Jan., 1923), pp. 25-33, in JSTOR; compare also the two Birmingham cassone panels at http://www.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/wi ... riage.html). The combining is done by the designer, from elements already popular and familiar as themes for that type of artist and that type of consumers. And they take the name of one of the sources for the associated game.

Anyway, virtues and triumphs were already connected: in Petrarch, in Boccaccio, in Dante, in sermons about the saints, wherever. It wasn't a big innovation.

Actually, I postulate four sources; for I have yet to account for the Emperor and the Empress. They may come from the game of "VIII Emperors", or perhaps they are just what is above the Kings and Queens, if the existence of the Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Empire before that counts as a source. Not all sources are texts or paintings.

At the end of your post you say:
As for 1428 – unless one undertakes to prove how the Sforza pomegranates and fountains were a later addition, this early date is an impossibility…like chess, currently in checkmate by the bishop (or was it an elephant?).
In reference to a deck in c. 1428, I said:
It would not have had Sforza heraldics on it, but then neither does the Brera-Brambilla.
As far as adding Sforza stemmi, I don't see how hard it would be for Filippo to say to the Bembo workshop, "This deck commemorates the courtship and marriage of my daughter and Sforza. So put Sforza stemmi in the batons and swords, and on the man's chest in the Love card. Put Visconti stemmi in the coins and cups. And leave the banners on the Love card the way they have been." I cannot prove that the pomegranates and fountains are a later addition. All I can do is give reasons for supposing a practice: different decks had their particular stemmi on particular cards, for a particular family, absent on other versions of the same card: the d'Este, the Charles VI, the Brera-Brambilla, etc. It was a practice borrowed from illuminated manuscripts, which put the stemma at the bottom of the page. That should be enough not to dismiss the hypothesis out of hand. I do not dismiss your Paradiso hypothesis out of hand either. You handled my initial objections well. But at the moment another hypothesis, at least about the CY, seems to me worth pursuing.

Re: New Pratesi note on the Cary-Yale

#22
I'm surprised the my own contributions to the subject of Marziano da Tortona are consistently overlooked.

In his funeral oration, Gasparino notes that he studied in Pavia, Padua, Bologna and Florence, before going into the service of Pope Gregory XII in Rome. He begins to appear in Filippo's documents at the very beginning of his rule in Milan, in 1412.

Since the studio in Florence closed in 1407 (one of many stops and starts since 1348), and only reopened in 1413, if Florence was Marziano's last study before going into the Pope's service, he must have studied there no later than 1407 (see Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance, p. 78ff. for these dates).

More relevant to trump cards in Florence is Fernando de la Torre's game, which has a single Emperor card added to the deck, invented circa 1450. Fernando studied in Florence between 1432-1434. So he many have been inspired to this invention by something he saw in Florence. It is a tenuous indirect evidence of "proto-Tarots" in Florence. Either that, or he invented it independently. Nevertheless, the Florentine connection continues to nag me.
Image

Re: New Pratesi note on the Cary-Yale

#24
Franco has published meanwhile another contribution to the theme ...

Trionfi milanesi e fiorentini – ipotesi e commenti
http://www.naibi.net/A/506-MIFIOR-Z.pdf

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

MikeH has already cleared the first notes of phaeded, nonetheless I would like to add something to ...
The fundamental sea-change in tarot research is precisely that: everything now points to tarot’s roots as Florentine - not Milanese [and thus so much for Marziano] - and yet became something else in the city of its origins: minchiate. There is no reason to do the reverse and look for tarot’s origins in minchiate when there is no historical evidence that places it before tarot.
We still have the poem of Burchiello from c. 1440, that means just the moment, which is very interesting to us ...
Se tu volessi fare un buon minuto
togli Aretini et Orvietani e Bessi
e sarti mulattieri bugiardi e messi,
e fa' che ciaschedun sie ben battuto;
poi gli condisci con uno scrignuto
e per sale vi trita entro votacessi,
e per agresto minchiatar fra essi
accioché sia di tutto ben compiuto.
Spècchiati ne' Triomphi, el gran mescuglio
d'arme, damor, di Bruti e di Catoni
con femine e poeti in guazabuglio: questo fanno patire i maccheroni
veghiando il verno, e meriggiando il luglio
dormir pegli scriptoi i mocciconi.
Dè parliàn de moscioni,
quanta gratia ha il ciel donato loro,
che trassinando merda si fan d'oro.
A printed text of 1759 ...
https://books.google.de/books?id=srVTAA ... ar&f=false
... gives this text, slightly modified (more words start with big letters, the text gets in this way more information)

Image


I naturally don't know, which version is closer to the original.

The poem was detected once by Raimondo Luberti, who had contact to us around 2003. We transported it it in our collection of Trionfi documents. http://trionfi.com/0/e/00a/
Andrea Vitali discussed it ...
A mistake about Burchiello

Before starting to examine the documents that are the subject of this analysis, we would like to underline the mistake made by some tarot historians who have connected the term Triomphi, quoted in one of the Sonnets by Burchiello, to the Tarot cards, when it is unequivocally the fact that the author is referring to the Trionfi of Petrarch. The works of Burchiello (nickname of Domenico di Giovanni) had great diffusion and for this reason were objects of much interpolation and remaking. Burchiello lived from 1404 to 1449 and was a professional barber in Florence; his shop became a veritable art circle that gave hospitality to poets and artists of every kind. In about 1440 - tarot had already appeared almost twenty years before with the name of Triumphs - he composed some sonnets that were collected with those of others under the title Sonetti del Burchiello, del Bellincioni e d’altri poeti fiorentini alla burchiellesca (Sonnets by Burchiello, Bellincioni and other Florentine poets in the burchiello style). The printed edition, edited very late, in 1757, and which seems even to have been published in London (but in Livorno, actually), takes for granted that the sonnets are by our author.


Burchiello


Burchiello’s cultural position is clearly that of derisory parody of the project and values of Humanism. His real originality is expressed in the sonnets “alla burchia”, so called probably because they referred (even if not directly) to the French tradition of “boat” verses (burchia: boat), which is to say, mixed at random, like the goods on river boats. Examples of this are the notable verses of his most famous sonnet, which, according to some critics, hide double meanings, primarily of an obscene type (impossible to translate into English):

Nominativi fritti, e Mappamondi,
E l'Arca di Noè fra due colonne
Cantavan tutti Chirieleisonne
Per l'influenza de' taglier mal tondi

To underline the mistake of attribution mentioned earlier, we report the whole Sonnet XXXI “Se tu volessi fare un buon minuto” (If you would take a good moment):

SONNETT XXXI [as already given] ...
..

The Sonnet shows itself as a critique against idlers, false literati, the falsely learned, who are totally useless to society, of whom it would be better to be rid. The verses erroneously interpreted as referring to the tarot are the following:

Spècchiati ne’ Triomphi, el gran mescuglio
d’arme, d’amor, di Bruti e di Catoni

See yourself in the Triumphs, the great mix
Of arms, loves, Brutuses and Catos.

The verse “the great mix of arms, loves” could at first sight be understood as referring to the tarot: Love is represented in the VI Triumph, while the arms could remind us of the armour of various characters in the Triumphs. If we also consider that Cato is in the so-called Sola Busca Tarots (1), the attribution of these verses to Triumphs or tarots appeared plausible. To understand fully the true meaning (2), which is that the Triumphs indicated by Burchiello refer to the work by Petrarch and not to the tarot Triumphs, it is necessary to consider the whole stanza in which the quoted verses appear:

Spècchiati ne’ Triomphi, el gran mescuglio
d’arme, d’amor, di Bruti e di Catoni
con femine e poeti in guazabuglio:
questi fanno patire i maccheroni
veghiando il verno, e meriggiando il luglio
dormir pegli scriptoi i mocciconi,

See yourself in the Triumphs, in that mix
of arms, loves, Brutuses and Catos,
a jumble of women and poets:
these Triumphs make fools suffer
and stay awake in wintertime
and make idiots sleep
on their writing desks in summer

“Women” are present in Tarot cards, but there are not in them poets, who abound instead, together with a great variety of women, in Petrarch; but the next verses are really clarifying. First of all it is necessary to consider the meaning of “macaroni” (3), a term that in the Renaissance meant “fool”. Let’s read again the verses: “These (the Petrarch Triumphs) make fools suffer and stay awake in wintertime and make idiots (4) sleep on their writing desks in summer" (5). To understand Petrarch’s Triumphs, it was necessary to have a sharp literary mind, not a foolish one: for that kind of mind it would have been impossible to disentangle that great jumble of arms and loves, women and poets, Brutuses and Catos that we find in the work.
by Andrea Vitali in
Tarot in Literature I
The most important documents
http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=199

Andrea Vitali was sceptical about it, and we ourselves were sceptical all the time, but naturally we wouldn't forget about it.

MikeH some time later attempted another translation at ...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=953&hilit=burchiello&start=10
Let's see. Between Google Translate and Florio (my usual mix) I get:

If you wanted to make a good minced meat
take the Arezzans and Orvietans et Bessians
and tailors, mule-drivers, and assumed liars,
and make each one well beaten;
then season it with one hunchback
and for salt you mince in a privy-emptier,
and for sourness minchiatar among them
to the end that everything is well done.
Mirrored in Triumphs, the great mix
of arms, of love, of Brutuses and Catos
with women and poets in a hodge-podge [confusion]:
this do suffer the maccheroni [poets?]
up late the winter, and noontime July
sleeping eyelashes writing, the sniveling fools.
A parliament of fleas,
how much grace heaven has given them,
that in dragging shit is made the gold.

Well, I don't know what "minchiatar" means here, maybe "adding foolishness". It still seems like a verb.

The last line is perhaps alchemical, as the prima materia was found in dung. Or it's just an ordinary metaphor.

On the other hand. it certainly looks like "triomphi" is a reference to something like tarot, especially if it's capitalized. We have a hunchback, a traitor (Brutus), an Emperor (noble person), a liar (Bagatto), any number of fools, a triumphator (arms), love, women (empress or popess), up late (the moon or stars), noontime July (sun). the angel (grace) and the world (heaven). Perhaps I'm just adding foolishness.
Well, we know more nowadays. First: it's a sonnet (14 lines in 4-4-3-3) + a final tercet (3 lines).
If you wanted to make a good minced meat
take the Arezzans and Orvietans et Bessians
and tailors, mule-drivers, and assumed liars,
and make each one well beaten;

then season it with one hunchback
and for salt you mince in a privy-emptier,
and for sourness minchiatar among them
to the end that everything is well done.

Mirrored in Triumphs, the great mix
of arms, of love, of Brutuses and Catos
with women and poets in a hodge-podge [confusion]:

this do suffer the maccheroni [poets?]
up late the winter, and noontime July
sleeping eyelashes writing, the sniveling fools.

A parliament of fleas,
how much grace heaven has given them,
that in dragging shit is made the gold.
Burchiello is in 1440 outside of Florence and he is banned for the rest of his life since 1434. It's natural, that he was deeply angry about some Florentine people.
About his life: "Ebbe vita travagliata: a Siena, dove nel 1439 scontò alcuni mesi di prigionia, gli risultano tre pene pecuniarie di cui una per furto, guadagnate per beghe d'amore e di mestiere, poi a Roma, dove si era recato nel 1443 per aprire una nuova bottega di barbiere. Vi morì in miseria pochi anni dopo il suo arrivo."
He was in prison in Siena some months and had a hard time.
If he had heard about a new fashion with playing cards in Florence he had reason to comment it.

Even if "minchiatar" in this context would be only just a mockery word (without playing card background), the word "triomphi" might relate to these new modern decks ... and, if he really referred to "Trionfi = playing cards", in this case it would be a document of the rank of the Malatesta-Giusto document. It is reason enough to give it some attention.

*******************
The first part ...
If you wanted to make a good minced meat
take the Arezzans and Orvietans et Bessians
and tailors, mule-drivers, and assumed liars,
and make each one well beaten;

It's clear, that this is mockery, but against whom? Tailors, mule-drivers and assumed liars are anonymous and naturally only mentioned to design the mockery. The text becomes "personal", when he mentions "Arezzans and Orvietans et Bessians", which are persons of Arezzo and Orvieto and .... the original has "Bessi" ... https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/besso#Italian
... that's known as masculine plural of "besso" and besso means "foolish". So "Bessi" seems to be also anonymous mockery.

Petrarca was of Arezzo
Bruni Arentino was of Arezzo
Bruni wrote a biography of Petrarca in 1436 and this was (likely) one of the big reasons, why Petrarca and his Trionfi poem became popular. [... and this is the plausible reason, why Trionfi became a playing card expression. Bruni was also of high importance during the council 1439, especially in the activities of the 3 triumphal entries in the city of Florence. We earlier had worked on it.

I don't have any idea, who was "from Orvieto" and why these persons also were attacked.
http://www.atlantidemagazine.it/dblog/a ... colo=13692
Curiously this page demonstrates, that the poet Burchiello has some attention in Orvieto.

Image


Another poem of Burchiello, it seems to be No. 89 (it looks like 29, but this seems to an error) of the same Rime collection (?). The minchiatar-Triomphi poem has no. 31. It gives a comment to Orvieto.

*******************
The second part ...
then season it with one hunchback
and for salt you mince in a privy-emptier,
and for sourness minchiatar among them
to the end that everything is well done.

Hunch-back = scrignuto
??? expression for penis ??? ... see privy-emptier ... or sausage?

privy-emptier = ?
Image

https://books.google.de/books?id=2XtWDh ... er&f=false

Excrement + gold is mentioned the 5th part of poem

sourness = agresto
Agresto Sauce
http://everything2.com/title/Agresto+sauce
Also known as salsa all' agresto, this Italian sauce dates back to the Middle Ages. It has some similarities to pesto, in that it is a paste made from herbs, nuts and oil, but that is where the comarisons end. Agresto sauce includes verjuice (agresto itself refers to unripe grape juice) as a main ingredient and when combined with a variety of nuts it provides an intriguing flavour that is a glimpse of what people ate hundreds of years ago.

Traditionally it was served with boiled meats, but don't limit yourself. Try it with anything you would use pesto for, such as a topping for bruschetta or tossed through freshly cooked pasta. If you cant find verjuice, try a mix of white wine vinegar, lemon juice and a little sugar.

Ingredients

1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled (or use garlic oil)
3 cups parsley leaves, washed and dried (about 2 bunches)
½ cup basil leaves
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup verjuice
Sea salt
Pepper
Method

Roast the nuts in a pre heated 200° C (390° F) oven for about 15 minutes. Rub the walnuts to remove the skins. In a food processor, blend the nuts, garlic and herbs together until roughly chopped. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream, then do the same with the verjuice. Taste for salt and pepper. If you are feeling particularly energetic, you could make this sauce in a mortar and pestle.
"agresto minchiatar" might naturally something else. We have to remember, that Minchiate associated the penis in some Italian regions. It's interesting to observe, that this poem of Burchiello associates in its first 2 part "normal cooking" and that Pulci (who clearly knew Minchiate as an expression of a playing card) later used Minchiattar and Minchionelli in a poem of 1471, which also seems to refer to "normal cooking".
Earlier discussed between Marco and myself:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=414&p=5125&hilit=minchiattar#p5125

***************
The third part ...
Mirrored in Triumphs, the great mix
of arms, of love, of Brutuses and Catos
with women and poets in a hodge-podge [confusion]:

... as Andrea already stated, this part might well relate to some unknown Trionfi card versions with arms (perhaps just heraldry ?), love symbols, Roman heroes like Brutus and Cato, with women and poets ... we have the rare appearance of "chorone" (meaning crowns) as a deck type name around 1446/47 (Siena and Florence) and possibly the literary crowns of Florence (Dante-Boccaccio-Petrarca) were addressed in this way. So poets might have appeared in such decks.

***************
The fourth part:
this do suffer the maccheroni [poets?]
up late the winter, and noontime July
sleeping eyelashes writing, the sniveling fools.

I've not much to add. I've doubts about macaroni poets, cause this expression seems to have developed later. But: who knows this for sure?

***************
The fifth part:
A parliament of fleas,
how much grace heaven has given them,
that in dragging shit is made the gold.

Well, we observe from the lists of the silk dealers, that not only very expensive decks were decorated with some gold, but also cheaper decks (and not only Trionfi cards). But it can't be excluded, that gold decoration was associated for some time with the name "Trionfi".
And we meet shit and gold in one line: gold + excrement, possibly connected to anal sex.
***************

Well, the attack on the persons (poets ?) of Arezzo gives to think and meets possibly the heart of the very early Trionfi card development.

Burchiello was prisoner in Siena a few months in 1439? Why? The political hand of Florence reached far. Persons, which were banned in Florence, weren't free persons usually. They had orders to stay at specific cities, for instance. Florence had big interests in the council, and a free-running Burchiello with mockery-feelings was a political risk.
Unluckily it's difficult to get much information about his life.

The meeting of 2 words (minchiatar and Triomfi), which much later are used to name 2 different important games, is a very strange accident (especially cause minchiatar is very rare), so that the suspicion is great, that this had a causal relation. Maybe it was caused by the condition, that Pulci (or other poets) later reflected on this passage from Burchiello.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: New Pratesi note on the Cary-Yale

#25
I am working on a translation of Franco's second note on the CY. In this post I am going to give the first seven sections, out of ten, the first 10 pages out of 13. My goal is to produce an English translation as near as possible to the Italian original. Since the interrelationships of clauses is important to keep visually clear, the translation sometimes keeps the Italian word order, when not to hard to follow in English.. My short comments, mostly giving the original Italian, will be in brackets. The original is at http://www.naibi.net/A/506-MIFIOR-Z.pdf; it is dated Feb. 12, 2016.

Milanese and Florentine Triumphs - Hypotheses and Comments

1. Introduction


This note can be considered as the continuation of one written month ago 1 on Visconti tarot Modrone or Cary-Yale deck that will be referred to simply by the initials CY. That note had as subject title "elucubrazioni "; Michael S. Howard, who to had contributed that study, translated it with ruminations 2 and that term has led me to recognize that the subject was not digested enough. In fact, the conclusion of the previous note was not really conclusive, especially the uncertainty on the interpretation of the CY deck as a precursor of standard triumph decks or as a variant of such packs already in common use.

I turn to the subject by discussing some additional consideration on the virtues and assumed links with the Florentine minchiate. The CY being examined is and remains the same: no change at all whether you consider it in one way or another; however, its historical significance changes, and that very much: in light also of the teaching of Sylvia Mann, the importance of an original specimen before a standard is incomparably superior to that of an extravagant variation on a theme already known.

2. The Virtues

The era of the introduction of the triumphs coincides with that of the early Renaissance, and among the poetic and pictorial cycles of the time were very popular both the triumphs (with influences of non-immediate derivaton from classical civilization and from Petrarch's poem), and the virtues, often presenting their victory over the corresponding vices. In short, that we find among the triumphal cards some triumphs and some virtue does not occasion any surprise;
______________
1 http://www.naibi.net/A/502-CARYYA-Z.pdf
2 viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1086

2
possibly a few other correspondences [risconti] are to be found in the tarot.

Everyone knows that the virtues are seven, four cardinal and three theological, but perhaps it is useful to provide some official clarification in this regard; this is how they are defined under the title, In summary, in a catechism of 790 pages 3.
1833 Virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good. 1834 The human virtues are stable dispositions of the intellect and the will that govern our acts, order our passions and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They can be grouped around the four cardinal virtues, prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. 1835 Prudence disposes the practical reason to discern, in every circumstance, our true good and to choose the means for achieving it. 1836 Justice consists in the firm and constant will to give God and neighbor their due. 1837 Fortitude ensures, in difficulties, steadfastness and constancy in the pursuit of the good. 1838 Temperance moderates the attraction of pleasures of the senses and provides balance in the use of created goods. 1840 The theological virtues dispose Christians to live in relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have God as their origin, motive and object, God known though faith, hoped for and loved for himself. 1841 There are three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. 1842 By faith, we believe in God and believe all that he has revealed to us and that Holy Church proposes for our belief. 1843 By hope we desire and await from God, with faith, eternal life and the graces to merit it. 1844 By charity, we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for love of God. It is "the bond of perfection" and the form of all the virtues.
I do not know if and how this doctrine of the virtues has already been superseded by more recent versions of the official catechism, but for our purposes it seems to me already more than necessary; if necessary, you should resort to the doctrine of the time, it will not be easy to find in a form similar "official". I add only (Fig. 1) a photo of Faith and Hope, designed by Andrea Pisano a century before the time in question here. Now we know enough to continue our reflections.
_______________
3. Catechismo della Chiesa Cattolica, Città del Vaticano 1992, pp.466-467.


3
[Translator's note: I was not able to get a good reproduction of Franco's photo to put here; you may go to page 7 of the original, but I found one on the Web just as good, at http://e-arthistory5.blogspot.com/2013_ ... chive.html. There are also very clear photos of the two separately at https://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/ita ... 22hope.jpg and https://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/ita ... 3fides.jpg, by Mary Anne Sullivan at https://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/ita ... doors.html.
Image

Figure 1. Florence, Baptistry, detail from the South Door

Anyone interested in the tarot cards, in their various forms, structures and orders, certainly will bump into the problem of the virtues. The triumphal cards are ordered so as to see a growing power of the same - a necessary condition for using them in the game with no writing on them directly of their number in the series. Michael Dummett, having discussed at length the various kinds of orders for the major Italian cities, stressed the fact that precisely the three cards that represent three of the seven virtues (indeed, three of the four cardinal virtues) are the most erratic in the "canonical" orders of the triumphal card sequence. On issues like that I can defer to what is recurrently discussed in the literature, at least from 1980 onwards.

The reason why I will deal briefly with the virtues now is that the three theological virtues are in the CY; in this case three are preserved out of three, and the case is presented unusually favorably. As for the four cardinal virtues, only one of them is preserved, fortitude, and, on the other hand, the card of Prudence is absent in almost all tarot packs.

3. Direct Construction of the virtues

By direct reconstruction I mean the supposition that the CY is a variation on the theme of the tarot existing in their canonical form, and therefore attempts are made to associate the three "intruders" cards of the theological virtues, which would all be absent there at the beginning, to others replacing precisely those three. No one, to my knowledge, has suggested that the hypothetical complete sequence of triumphal cards in this deck was made up of at least 25 cards: the traditional 22 plus 3 new cards, precisely those of the theological virtues in question. Therefore, is it established that some figures of the tarot were inserted instead of the three theological virtues? Unfortunately an association group to group is not seen, and one should proceed to try different analogies for each individual card. For reports of this kind I can I can use as a basis the famous Encyclopedia of Kaplan 4.
The trump cards Hope and Charity (and the card Faith, which is not shown) do not appear in traditional seventy-eight-card tarocchi decks but are found in minchiate packs, which generally comprise ninety-seven cards. For
this reason, some researchers believe the Cary-Yale tarocchi pack is either a minchiate deck or an intermediate game in the development and evolution of either tarot or minchiate. Hope depicts a crowned female figure in profile wearing a long robe, kneeling in prayer, with an anchor tied to her wrists. At the bottom of the card is a hunched figure of a man with a rope around his neck and with the words “Juda traditor” written in white letters on his purple garment. The despairing figure of vice is Judas. It has been suggested that the card of Hope may be a substitute for any one of several traditional Major Arcana cards missing in the Cary-Yale pack – Temperance, or The Hanged Man (suggested by the rope), or The Star with its symbolic meaning of rising new hope. Charity shows a crowned and seated female figure facing front who carries a silver torch in her right hand while supporting a suckling infant with her left arm. Charity is richly robed in an ornate gown with ermine cape. At her feet, beneath the throne at the bottom left of the card, is a crowned king suggesting King Herod. Charity may be a substitute for The Popess, but the image of a woman breast-feeding her child is inconsistent with the traditional imagery of The Popess. The Faith card depicts a female figure with a cross in her left hand; the index finger of her right hand is upraised to ward off evil spirits. Beneath her throne is a crowned king, possibly the figure of Heresy. Faith may be a substitute for The Pope or The Popess.
______________
4. S. R. Kaplan, The Encyclopedia of Tarot. Vol 1. New York 1978, p. 91.

5
When the same Kaplan puts all the preserved Visconti-Sforza cards in a long table on p. 64 of the same first volume of the Encyclopedia, he adds the three theological virtues above the 21 World, and also, with a question mark following, the Popess-Charity , Pope-Faith, and Hope-Starassociations. But we read in the text copied above that Hope, as well as replacing the Star, could have substituted for Temperance or even the Hanged Man. On the other hand, in place of the Popess could also have been inserted Faith, alternatively Charity.

As a source, the Encyclopedia is not perfect because it does not distinguish sufficiently the associations suggested by the author from those suggested by other experts, who also are mentioned in general and collectively, without being named individually. For our purposes, absolute accuracy is not required, however; it is sufficient to understand if indeed there could be such a substitution. The very fact that recognizable clues were found and interpreted in favor of such associations can be considered a confirmation of that possibility.

4. Inverse Reconstruction of the virtues

By an inverse reconstruction I mean that there obtains in the CY a situation preceding the canonical form of the tarot and that, correspondingly, the three theological virtues were already present in this experimental and pioneering form. What card has subsequently substituted for that which was originally a theological virtue? Our task here becomes easy: we do not have to study the situation again, but we can take advantage of what has already been suggested. One simply has to copy down the similarities found before. Was it true that the existing Popess could have turned into a figure of Charity in the CY? Good; then it can also be said, now, that the pre-existing figure of Charity was then transformed over time (she may have lost the milk) into the canonical one of the Popess. The same applies for the Faith-Pope, Hope-Star couples and other hypothesized associations between a theological virtue and a "canonical" card.

In short, at first sight pairs of associated figures work in both directions. Looking more closely, however, it is not at all certain that the symmetry is really respected: it is possible, even probable, that a likeness suggested in one way proves far less convincing

6
when viewed in the opposite direction. There is also an asymmetry for the same basic reasons in the replacement of the figures: having a homogeneous group of three figures, how is it possible to "break it up" into three independent figures, or at least into one independent figure and a reduced group of two?

Furthermore, it is naturally more reasonable to find the three theological virtues together in a high position on the list, rather than away from each other or in the front positions. In short, if a replacement there was, it would seem more logical to the group the theological virtues and move them up in the ranking (direct reconstruction), rather than vice versa, their break-up and movement down (inverse reconstruction). On this basis one could conclude that the CY was obtained from a standard deck and not vice versa. However, one might also conclude that it is the very idea of a replacement that does not find sufficient handholds. The situation remains unclear; I will go back over this after pursuing another detour through ... Florence.

5. Comment on minchiate

In traditional Florentine minchiate there are no fewer than 41 triumphal cards; it seems unlikely that this deck, which has been used for centuries, was born with all its 97 cards. In particular, the cards of the four elements and the twelve zodiac signs are presented as a rear insertion within an already standardized sequence ; All historians agree on an interpretation of this sort. Among other things, it is a sequence that has an order recognizable in itself (which turned out not to be sufficient for their use as trump cards in a game, so that to ensure the order the cards were marked with the actual numbers). For example, this is quite reasonable given that the zodiac signs were not added so that one follows the other, in the same way as the corresponding constellations in the heavens succeed one another in the passing months. This is already a sequence a little different from that of Petrarch's triumphs, in which the victory and the triumph were more obvious and corresponded almost to victory in a battle.

What was the initial form of minchiate? No one knows. The only thing that is known is that the game of minchiate in 1477 was done

7
in multiple ways and that only the one in which cards were won was allowed. It was the difference between the cards taken which determined the final score, but how many all the cards in play were we do not know. Let us assume, just for the sake of argument, that the minchiate pack was originally a deck of 80 cards like the hypothetical CY reconstructed in the study described above, with the help of a possible analogy with minchiate, if only for the theological virtues. One would also be satisfied to have finally seen a minchiate with a "reasonable" structure. However, the discussion cannot end here. How did that CY, which looks like it was invented in the Visconti court, not leave traces in Milan, but leave them some time later in Florence? As if only in Florence had survived an experiment that in Milan would be born only to die very quickly after its birth.

Any reconstruction of the type [genere] ends in leaving us perplexed. Let us try once more to see the situation in reverse: is it possible that a primitive minchiate pack already in use in Florence has generated the Milanese CY? By primitive minchiate pack I mean here the pack of Florentine triumphs purchased by Giusto Giusti in 1440 5, which will be indicated from now on with the initials GG.

6. Two links in a chain


To continue the discussion some preliminary hypotheses. in part already used or under consideration. are necessary: we have already assumed that the CY was originally a deck of 80 cards, 40 pips [numerali, numbered], 24 courts [figurata], 16 triumphal [trionfali]; we admit that the GG Florentine triumphs (whether already called minchiate or not) has existed with its own composition not only before the corresponding standard of 97 cards, but even before the tarot of 78. While holding in the background the appropriate "standard" decks of tarot and minchiate as ultimate goals, we will examine three decks of "experimental " playing cards " as schematically shown in Fig. 2, that of Marziano da Tortona, referred to as the MZ, and also the CY and the GG. Unfortunately, the discussion must be based mainly on assumptions, advanced in succession: none of the three decks is precisely known; of the third, the only one for which we know with
_________________
5. Th. Depaulis, Le Tarot révélé. La Tour-de-Peilz 2013, p. 17-18.


8
certainty the date of production, no card has survived; the only pack of which we have cards is the second, but not all are there, we are not sure how many and which are now lost. The first two packs present themselves as originating in the Milanese court of the Visconti, the first definitely linked, and partly due, to Duke Filippo Maria; perhaps also the second, at least if we accept an early date among those proposed. Already in these first two decks there are uncertainties. The MZ certainly has four kings and sixteen triumphal cards; uncertain is the number of cards of the four suits, including court cards possibly present alongside the king. Especially uncertain is whether this first known deck of triumphs, could really represent the first-ever attempt to create a pack of the type [genere]. with additional cards superior to the others. It also remains uncertain whether it was a totally isolated attempt, with no direct sequel, or if it can be considered as a link in a chain in which successive attempts take into account the prior ones (the identity of place is a clue especially favoring the chain).

The CY also has several uncertain points. The date of 1441 often proposed is not secure. For completing the preserved triumphal cards there are several possible scenarios and no certainty. The hypothetical reconstruction of 16 triumphal cards is based on a possible analogy with chess pieces and (especially in my opinion) on a possible analogy with the MZ - so that would in fact be a previous link on the same chain - with the same number of triumphal cards but already changed in the direction of the standard decks to follow.

The temporal sequence between the two is secure (in the sense that no one has yet proposed a date of the CY prior to the MZ), as is the fact that going from the first to the second we approach the typical tarot form, while not reaching it. Having admitted that the CY triumphal cards were originally 16, the same as those of the MZ, it is easy to assume that the gods or deified heroes are transformed into other triumphant characters, but with a similar structure (at the limit [al limite] also in so far as [per quanto riguarda} the "transformation" of the triumphal series into cards of the four suits, if the allocation proposed into four groups by Michael Howard is convincing).

The clients of these special packs cannot be overlooked. Especially for the CY, the origin in the ducal court of Milan unfortunately only serves

9
to explain the extraordinary character. This uniqueness could be of two different types, precisely those that we would like to distinguish, either an elegant variation on the theme of the traditional triumphs or an innovative intermediate structure that will lead to the standard triumphs. To decide, only Einstein with his space-tim ecan help: understanding the place to be that of the court of Milan, the time coordinate will be decisive and the prototype of great historical interest will be all the more likely the further back in time one can push the dating; Already 1441, the most often suggested, is too recent.

7. The third hypothetical link in the chain

At this point it may be useful to introduce into the discussion Florentine minchiate. What links minchiate with the above? Exactly nothing, it would be said, and so said all the experts, with the exception of some art historian ... not knowing the history of playing cards. But if we agree to call minchiate the first Florentine triumphs [Ma se accettiamo di chiamare minchiate i primi trionfi fiorentini], here in 1440 Giusto Giusti is ordering a pack, and no one knows how this GG might be constituted, except that it had especially the for us hardly useful coat of arms of Sigismondo Malatesta. There could not be a big difference between the Florentine and Milanese decks if the same Sigismondo Malatesta receives both for his use from Florence in 1440 and from Milan and Cremona some ten years later.

The cards of the Florentine triumphs could be born and developed in a manner completely independent of those of Milan, but this presents itself as a hardly logical reconstruction, and it appears rather likely that the two developments were somehow connected. There must then be considered the hypotheses that the Milanese triumphs gave rise to the Florentine and also, at least in principle, that the Florentine triumphs gave rise to the Milanese ones.

It may seem strange that I do not take into account Ferrara, also having in mind the subtitle of the fundamental book of Dummett, From Ferrara to Salt Lake City. There is something not quite right about that [Qualcosa non torna.] Surely the courts of Milan and Ferrara were in close contact, but when in 1444 those two ducal courts played a little trionfi with special cards, players of the people in Florence were playing in the streets with


10
common decks. 8 They are precisely those packs of Florentine triumphs that could solve most of our remaining doubts in our historical reconstructions, necessarily [up to now] the result of unverifiable speculation. I am able to imagine "ordinary" packs like that, used by the people, as even [perhaps] produced by Milanese handicraft, in addition to Florentine, although I personally have some difficulty with Ferrara, where early triumphs are actually documented in court circles. [In response to my request for clarification, Franco tells me, "I am not able to imagine in Ferrara an active handicraft capable of producing a big amount of card packs, and people playing in the streets with ordinary cards of local production – as certainly was possible in Florence and maybe! in Milan.] (If anyone thought also of Bologna, or other cities, there might be clues in favor, but they can be overlooked in this discussion.) [Translator's note: in the graph below, I think there are supposed to be horizontal and vertical lines here, which did not show up on the pdf reader and print-out. I will try a different computer later, but I think it is readable as it is.]

Image

(Figure 2. Scheme of packs discussed
[Milano = Milan; Firenza = Florence]
)

From Florence we have no information [notizia] of decks as old as the MZ, but certainly already in 1440 the GG presented no extraordinary novelty; it was enough to order its production at any of the local manufacturers of playing cards. For the dates attributed to the packs discussed, it does not appear impossible that the GG influenced the CY. However, since it is reasonable to bring the CY back to a local development from the preceding MZ, we would need to make a nice unsupportable somersault [un bel salto mortale] to suppose that the same Marziano had had the idea of his Milan deck from a somewhat similar effort underway in Florence when he was finishing, right there, his university studies. At the state of our current knowledge, this would be an acrobatic act hardly recommendable.

Consequently, we should reconstruct the chain as a derivation of the Florentine triumphs from previous ones in Milan, though not
_______________
6 http://www.naibi.net/A/424-GIGLIO444-Z.pdf

11
from the Milanese standard ones but from the intermediate, so to speak, precisely the type of the CY. Then in Milan that deck would have been changed to the standard tarot, while in Florence it would remain as the basis of the next expansion of the traditional minchiate. Necessary conditions for the plausibility and validity of a reconstruction of the type [genere] are the CY being as close as possible to that of the MZ as dated and structured and absolutely not the later and extravagant occasional pack purposefully different from the ones already used at the time.

Translator's note: I will take up parts 8, 9, and 10, pp. 11-13, later. In the meantime, let me know how to improve the translation, and especially any mistakes I have made in presenting Franco's argument.

Re: New Pratesi note on the Cary-Yale

#26
I have a few comments on the parts of Franco's note that I have translated so far. First, there is the sentence where he says:
Nessuno, a mia conoscenza, ha suggerito che l’ipotetica sequenza completa delle carte trionfali di questo mazzo fosse costituita da almeno 25 carte: le 22 tradizionali più 3 nuove carte, appunto quelle delle virtù teologali in esame.

(No one, to my knowledge, has suggested that the hypothetical complete sequence of triumphal cards in this deck was made up of at least 25 cards: the traditional 22 plus 3 new cards, precisely those of the theological virtues in question. )
= Michael Dummett of coure proposed just such a hypothesis, both in his 1980 book in English and in his 1993 book in Italian (p 52, for the latter). However he makes it clear that it is "pure hypothesis". Franco replied that he had read the argument but not taken it too seriously and had forgotten about it. He will make a correction if he writes anything more about the CY.

Correction (April 17, 2015): the following, which originally appeared in this post, should be removed:

[The other comment is about Marziano in Florence. In clarification, he says that for the period of relevance, we have no knowledge of any relationship to Florence. That is consistent with Ross's research. When Franco wrote about Marziano, he estimated that the project would have been about 1415; since then it has been thought later.]

The above in brackets is wrong. Franco's clarification to me was not about Marziano. It was about the state of our knowledge about triumphs in Florence, which is that we have no knowledge of it before 1440.

Re: New Pratesi note on the Cary-Yale

#27
mikeh wrote:I have a few comments on the parts of Franco's note that I have translated so far. First, there is the sentence where he says:
(No one, to my knowledge, has suggested that the hypothetical complete sequence of triumphal cards in this deck was made up of at least 25 cards: the traditional 22 plus 3 new cards, precisely those of the theological virtues in question. )
= Michael Dummett of course proposed just such a hypothesis, both in his 1980 book in English and in his 1993 book in Italian (p 52, for the latter). However he makes it clear that it is "pure hypothesis". Franco replied that he had read the argument but not taken it too seriously and had forgotten about it.
Like so many things Dummett wrote, this is the simplest and most obvious explanation. Based on the surviving cards, Cary-Yale was rather obviously an expansion of what Dummett termed an "archetypal" pattern, and that expansion obviously included the three Christian Virtues. Is that certain? No. Could there have been other added card? Yes. But Dummett's "hypothesis" is the simplest explanation that explains the facts in question, the surviving cards.

Why was it expanded? To create the most luxurious deck ever, presumably as a gift or commemorative deck. It had the biggest cards, the most silver and gold, and both suit cards and trump cards were expanded in ways that seem exactly consistent with what we know to be ideals of the day. Brother John had explained his own favorite deck design:
Also, there are some who make the game with four kings and eight ' marschalli' and the other common cards, and add besides four queens with four attendants, so that each of those four kings, with all the family of the whole kingdom, speaking of the chief persons, is there, and the number of the cards will then be sixty. And this manner of making the cards and in this number the most pleases me, and for three reasons: first, because of its greater authority; second, because of its royal fitness; third, because of its more becoming courteousness.
These three virtues apply to the Cary-Yale deck, and along with its size and the richness of its decoration set it apart from all other decks. These virtues explain its design.

Like so many of Dummett's other parsimonious explanations, this has not been improved upon by any of the many more "creative" imaginings of Tarot enthusiasts, who always seem to prefer the complex and far-fetched. It will probably remain the best explanation, and is probably correct. That's the beauty of staying close to the evidence instead of weaving elaborate fictional worlds with assorted imaginary decks. That's the virtue of parsimony.

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: New Pratesi note on the Cary-Yale

#28
mjhurst wrote: Like so many of Dummett's other parsimonious explanations, this has not been improved upon by any of the many more "creative" imaginings of Tarot enthusiasts, who always seem to prefer the complex and far-fetched. It will probably remain the best explanation, and is probably correct. That's the beauty of staying close to the evidence instead of weaving elaborate fictional worlds with assorted imaginary decks. That's the virtue of parsimony.

Best regards,
Michael
hi Michael,

As a game structure "4x16 + 25" is far fetched and "creative" and "5x16" is just simple and normal, especially, when we know before only decks with 4x13, 5x13, 6x13 and 4x15 (all mentioned by Johannes of Rheinfelden.

The evidence is, that we have 11 known trumps. Adding 5 trumps is closer to the evidence than adding 14 trumps, especially if some evidence till the Boardo poem is only for shorter decks and not for the more complex 4x14+22 structure.

Dummett himself reconsidered his earlier arguments in 2004, when he became aware of the 70-cards decks produced in Ferrara in 1457.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1073
... this was found, when you were inactive. I assume, you overlooked it.

Around the same time John Berry wrote something, which pointed in the direction of the 5x14-theory (text presented in the same thread). He expressed a position, which he already had in 1989, as it appeared in a book review of Bob O'Neill then (text presented in the same thread).

Personally I think, that Dummett's new suggestion also went in the wrong direction. But read yourself, if you wish to reconsider your statements.

Best regards
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: New Pratesi note on the Cary-Yale

#29
Hi, Huck,
Huck wrote:As a game structure "4x16 + 25" is far fetched and "creative" and "5x16" is just simple and normal, especially, when we know before only decks with 4x13, 5x13, 6x13 and 4x15 (all mentioned by Johannes of Rheinfelden.
Your "game structure" theories are as enlightening as the 1001 other numerological theories about the design of Tarot, including the writings of Levi, Papus, Wirth, and Crowley.

The actual "structure" of most early Tarot decks was 4x14+22. (Or, 4x14+21+1, if the Fool is to be treated separately.) This is far closer to 4x16+25 than any of your preferred theories. In fact, Dummett used the 3/2 ratio ("game structure", the fifth "suit" compared to the other four) as an argument in favor of a 4x16+24 (plus a Fool) design for Cary-Yale. (See below.) All such considerations seem arbitrary and unhelpful.
Huck wrote:The evidence is, that we have 11 known trumps. Adding 5 trumps is closer to the evidence than adding 14 trumps, especially if some evidence till the Boardo poem is only for shorter decks and not for the more complex 4x14+22 structure.
If both hypotheses were adding arbitrary cards then that argument makes sense. However, your approach creates a new deck, unlike any that are actually known to have existed. My hypothesis creates a slight modification (logical expansion) of a standard pattern deck. You invent a completely novel deck and fit it into an imaginary evolution, and you also add endless fiction about the 16 Heroes deck, Chess, and whatever else crosses your mind. It's a wild ride, and a lot of fun for you, but it's just fiction writing. My hypothesis is that they simply filled out the most common set of virtues, to make the deck more grand, befitting a royal audience on some notable occasion.

By the way, the actual design I would suggest for Cary-Yale, based on Dummett (1980), is 4x16+26, for a 90-card deck. It seems most plausible that, in addition to Faith, Hope, and Charity, Prudence was also added to fill out the most common set of the virtues. Dummett noted (page 78) that by leaving out Prudence the deck would have the same ratio of trumps to suit cards as in standard decks. That is, 24/16 = 21/14. Neither he nor you offer any reason why such naive numerological considerations would be paramount, but that was his suggestion. As usual with such suggestions, he did not strongly support it but presented it as possible.

What we know from the larger history of Tarot is that the trump/suit ratio was NOT fixed, but instead varied repeatedly. It appears to have increased over time, sometimes with the addition of trumps (Minchiate) but usually with the omission of suit cards. So there is no justification for the assumption of a fixed ratio, or any other such arbitrary numerological argument. Nothing in the game requires or even favors such constraints, whereas the presence of recognizable iconographic groupings (such as the matching male-female court cards, or the complete set of virtues) is an immediately apparent benefit in the manner suggested by Brother John.
Huck wrote:Dummett himself reconsidered his earlier arguments in 2004, when he became aware of the 70-cards decks produced in Ferrara in 1457.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1073
... this was found, when you were inactive.
Personally I think, that his new suggestion also went in the wrong direction. But read yourself, if you wish to reconsider your statements.
Yes, I read those posts at the time, and I had read his article long before that. (I only have 7 back issues of the Journal, but that is one of them.) It is not a very helpful article, as Dummett is trying to solve a problem (why do the virtues move around so much) that is much more easily approached from another direction. In it he speculates in a manner reminiscent of you and others on this site, and comes to no conclusion.

Best regards,
Michael

P.S. Having just re-read the article, let me add some detail about Dummett's befuddlement. He opens the article with a recapitulation of his excellent three-sections analysis. He never quite grasped their significance, and he repeatedly wanted to include Death (and thereby Temperance, in some decks) in the third group, but he did understand the stability of the three groups over time and across a dozen+ orderings. The actual design is not that difficult, as has been endlessly pointed out since 2000. The Pope and lower cards represent a ranks of Mankind motif; the middle trumps are conventional allegory; the Devil and higher trumps are eschatological. This is a perfectly conventional and understandable division, repeated in many period works, and it makes a coherent interpretation of the individual subjects not only possible but relatively straightforward.

Dummett then wonders, as he had two decades earlier, why the three Moral Virtues are the most variable subjects from one ordering to the next. He says it "strongly suggests" that they were an afterthought, added after the game had already been well established in various locales. (This is patently silly, a case of special pleading which attempts to explain the variation in three cards while ignoring the fact that other cards also moved around from one locale to another.) Dummett then attempts to find corroboration for the supposed late addition of the Moral Virtues.

The main part of the article attempts to use the mysterious(?) 1457 Ferrarese decks, with 70-card each, to bolster his hunch. He speculates that three of the eight missing cards were the virtues. He then speculates that one of the defining features of Tarot decks, the Queens, were also missing at the time, and that another defining feature of Tarot decks, the Fool, was also missing. This is also silly. First, it is speculation piled on top of speculation, the sort of thing one would find in a random post here. Second, as Dummett goes on to point out, the earliest surviving decks and documentation have a Fool, and Queens, and the Moral Virtues themselves. After all that, he finally accepts that the sought after corroboration does not exist, although he still likes the idea.

Why does Dummett like the phantom deck with no Virtues? He explains the "why" in his final sentence: "What other hypothesis will explain the strange fact of the varying positions of the Virtues in the trump order?" He mistakenly focuses on the movement of the Virtues, ignoring the fact that lots of the trumps move around, and considers it a question demanding explanation. The actual question is, why do so many of the trumps move around? If one can answer that, the explanation for the Virtues, at least in general terms, will be included in the bargain.

P.P.S. While most or all of the brief article has been posted elsewhere, it is chopped into bits and interspersed with additional speculations on top of Dummett's own speculations. So I have, at least temporarily, posted the article for anyone wishing to read it without interruption.

Dummett's Befuddlement
http://pre-gebelin.blogspot.com/
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: New Pratesi note on the Cary-Yale

#30
[Translator's note: Now I am going to offer a translation of the remainder of Franco's 2nd Note on the Cary-Yale, of which the original is at http://www.naibi.net/A/506-MIFIOR-Z.pdf. As an aid to the reader, since section 7 was in another post, I will repeat figure 2 from that section, which also applies to what comes after:

Image

Figure 2. Scheme of the packs discussed.

Also, there is one clause in bold below. This is not in bold in the original. It is there to highlight a translation error I made, for people who may have already read the translation. Franco caught it and gave me the correct reading.]

8. Return to the virtues.

One cannot consistently follow a logical thread between preserved objects and others of an existence, or at least of a form [forma], only hypothesized. In particular, there are secondary observations that, taken individually, may steer in one direction or in another, but that overall perhaps lead to still greater confusion. Of these observations, I would begin with the previously suspended discussion of the virtues.

In the minchiate sequence (the real one respected for centuries, and the other, purely hypothetical, suggested on the same basis as the CY in the previous note) the theological virtues are found in very high position. It may be reasonable, because the theological virtues certainly cannot be put in a hierarchical order below those of the cardinals, or under other subjects that are lower or even with negative characteristics. However it cannot easily be understood why the cardinal virtue of prudence is inserted, unexpectedly, within the group of the three cardinal virtues.

Once this strange order has been accepted, departing from the GG (assuming that it already respected the sequence of minchiate) and from the CY (if it really was in conformity with the suggested reconstruction), we understand that there may have been interactions between the two decks, Florentine and Milanese. If the theological virtues, all three together, had been inserted into a deck that had none, thus getting in Florence the minchiate (or sooner the GG), one would expect to find them inserted as a compact group, no Prudence in the middle, as indeed is found in the same minchiate for the four elements or twelve zodiac signs.

In conclusion, if one can speak of an “error” in the positioning of Prudence, this would be explained

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preferably as present first in Florence, and then eventually repeated in Milan, rather than born only later in Florence, at the time of the "new" theological virtues. To be convinced of a passage like this, however, it would be necessary to acknowledge either that the MZ had been an isolated experiment, not followed in Milan, or that the MZ and GG cooperated together at the birth of the CY; however the task appears daunting.

9. The court cards.

Probably the most original characteristic of the CY is the presence of six court cards in each of the four suits, for a total of 24 cards of which only 17 are preserved. One interpretation, actually suggested by some experts - which is not completely convincing, but yet does not seem absurd [corrected from: which is not convincing at all, but even seems absurd] - is that that particular pack was intended for a lady of the court, and had the intention of enhancing alongside the knights and military leaders [condottiere] also the corresponding female figures who lived in the ducal court: therefore also ladies in waiting [dame di compagnia] and maids [cameriere ], next to the queen in the cards. A similar explanation can be advanced for the pack described to the card historians [agli istorici delle carte] by [da] Ross Caldwell 7: that deck being dedicated to a noble woman, why not insert a superior card as Emperor-Empress, by identifying her precisely with the same lady, after the other cards are attributed to the personages [personaggi] who live next door?

A different explanation for the court cards and pips may be based on analogy with chess pieces, with a queen’s side alongside the king’s, easily converted into female characters on one side and male on the other. This hypothesis was advanced independently in the previous note, but was already suggested earlier by Lothar Teikemeier in 2003 8.

These are hypotheses, and other might be proposed; but let us see the case as that ring of the chain that was mentioned. For the MZ and GG we do not have enough information, but in none of the known tarots is there such multiplicity. The deck in part, but only in a small part, is still approaching that of minchiate,
_____________
7 http://ludustriumphorum.blogspot.it/200 ... pdate.html
8 http://trionfi.com/0/c/35/

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because in it there are at least the two male and the two female pages. Some hints could be received of possible interaction between the GG and CY; However, if we limit our attention to the court cards, it appears easier to explain the CY as a quirky variation on existing successes in a more traditional form.

10. Conclusions

An earlier discussion of the Cary-Yale tarot, or Visconti di Modrone, has been continued, commenting on various assumptions on the cards of the theological virtues and, more generally, the potential reciprocal influences between Milan and Florence. For Florence there is not the information given comparable with that of the Milanese triumph pack [mazzo dei trionfi] of Marziano da Tortona, the only known triumphs definitely of the first quarter of the fifteenth century, and this is a strong argument in favor of a Milanese priority. However, at the dates of the precious Visconti-Sforza packs, Florentine triumphs were already circulating among ordinary people, and it would be precisely those that should be a priority to find and study. For the Cary-Yale deck it still remains uncertain whether it could be an historically important prototype, but the indications against seem more significant than those in favor. The discussion cannot certainly be considered exhausted, but on these issues, and especially on the Milanese tarot, there is felt more the lack of further documentation than (the lack) of an umpteenth contribution to the debate on the little that has been preserved.

Franco Pratesi – 12.02.2016


[Translator's note: I had some help from Franco in translating the last sentence. I needed to be sure I got it right, before I myself made further contributions on the subject. I think I see errors of omission in Franco's argument in sections 8 and 9, both of ignoring facts already known and of ignoring one or more of the assumptions established earlier; but I need some time to work out a counter-argument, if indeed I think one is justified.]

Added later: I made a translation error in the above, highlighted in bold. It is a major one, greatly obscuring what Franco is saying. The correction is also in bold.

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