I want to add a few things to my previous remarks, to give them a wider context. I base myself on the work of Dummett's that I consider fundamental, namely his 1993 Il Mondo e l'Angelo
. He talks about a developmental period in the history of the tarot, before the deck was standardized (p. 98).
l mazzo Visconti di Modrone fornisce una prova che il mazzo dei tarocchi subì una certa evoluzione, come era da attendersi. Quest’evoluzione deve aver toccato senza dubbio i soggetti dei trionfi, e forse anche il loro numero. Poiché la serie dei trionfi è estremamente incompleta in tutti i gruppi di carte da tarocchi dipinte a mano, a parte il mazzo Visconti-Sforza e i tarocchi ‘Carlo VI’, si possono avanzare ipotesi di vario tipo. E nondimeno probabile che, a partire dal 1450, fosse ormai fissa la composizione standard di un mazzo di tarocchi, per quanto riguarda sia il numero delle carte che i soggetti dipinti sui trionfi.
(The Visconti di Madrone pack provides evidence that the tarot pack underwent a certain evolution, as was to be expected. This development undoubtedly must have affected the trump subjects, and perhaps even their number. Since the set of trumps is extremely incomplete in all groups of hand-painted tarot cards, apart from the Visconti-Sforza pack and 'Charles VI' tarot, one can advance hypotheses of various types. It is nevertheless likely that, beginning in 1450, it the standard composition of a tarot pack was now set, as regards both the number of cards and the subjects painted on the triumphs.)
This is in the context of what will be his hypothetical date of invention of 1428-1430 in Milan (p. 106). It seems reasonable to me that the standard subjects were in fact prevailing by 1450 in at least some places. It may have taken a little longer to actual standardize the standard in all regions, and even then there are holdouts and exceptions. Prudence pops up in the list of Lollio/Imperiali, and in the Anonymous Discourse, not as an addition but as a kind of substitute, in the first case for the Traitor and in the second for Temperance. And there is Alciati's curious list, with Fama in place of Temperanza. Dummett argues that the earliest list, in the Sermones de Ludus
should rightly be considered 1480-1500. It appears in a volume which has been dated as possibly as early as 1450. Dummett observes:
Ricerche più recenti di Ronald Decker suggeriscono una data più tarda per lo stesso volume, perché alcuni fogli hanno filigrane del 1500 circa. Ovviamente la scrittura del libro può essere stata di molti anni posteriore alla predica del sermone, che è perciò da datare fra il 1480 e il 1500.
(More recent research by Ronald Decker suggest a later date for the same volume, because some papers have watermarks circa 1500. Of course, the writing of the book may have been many years back to the preaching of the sermon, which is therefore to be dated between 1480 and 1500.)
Later he discusses the famous three groups, achieved by comparing the 18 or so different lists when the virtues are taken out. It is a purely formal operation that has nothing to do with any conceptualizing of what links the members of the groups together. Then there is the question of how to account for these differences. It is an explanation that in fact is not limited to just the order, but also the subjects themselves, in the developmental period (p. 177f). In what follows, the part I want to emphasize is in bold print:
Continuamente osserviamo che i giocatori di una data città o paese giocano solo fra loro e non conoscono quelli di una città vicina; le regole specifiche e talvolta il genere stesso di gioco praticato, variano da città a città; i giocatori di una data cerchia ignorano completamente il modo di giocare di  quelli di un’altra e spesso la loro stessa esistenza. I diversi ordini di trionfi che troviamo in Italia devono rappresentare pratiche diverse adottate in città diverse, presumibilmente in uno stadio anteriore a quello in cui cominciò l’iscrizione sistematica dei numerali sui trionfi. E evidente che, quasi immediatamente dopo l’invenzione dei tarocchi, i giocatori di città e regioni diverse svilupparono particolarità locali nel modo di giocare e che esse, in Italia, coinvolsero anche l’ordine convenzionale dei trionfi; questo fenomeno deve essersi verificato prima che, da qualche parte, divenisse consuetudine l’inscrizione di numerali sui trionfi — e quindi prima della fine del XV secolo. I diversi ordini dei trionfi attestano non la dipendenza dai soli numerali per l’identificazione, ma 1’esistenza, fin dai primi tempi, di una vasta gamma di variazioni locali nel modo di giocare.
E questo elemento, più ancora delle differenze fra i modelli standard usati nelle diverse aree, a fornire la discriminante principale per distinguere tre diverse tradizioni di Tarocchi, la cui origine risale ai primi stadi dello sviluppo del gioco. Non siamo in grado di stabilire se i diversi ordini di trionfi furono adottati come deviazioni intenzionali dalla pratica dei giocatori di altre città, o semplicemente come conseguenza di un imperfetto ricordo di tale pratica; ma è evidente che almeno le caratteristiche principali di ciascuno dei vari ordini possono essere state fissate solo nel primo momento in cui il gioco fu introdotto nell’area che osserva quel dato ordine. Vedremo che l’ordine di tipo A rappresenta la pratica dei giocatori di Bologna, quello di tipo B la pratica dei giocatori di Ferrara e quello di tipo C la pratica dei giocatori di Milano.
(We continuously observe the players in a given city or region only play with each other and do not know those of a neighboring town; specific rules and sometimes the kind of game played itself, vary from city to city; players of a given circle completely ignore in manner of play  those of another, and often their very existence. The different orders of triumphs that we find in Italy must represent divergent practices in different cities, presumably at an earlier stage than when the systematic entry of numerals for triumphs began. It is clear that, almost immediately after the invention of the tarot, players of different towns and regions developed local particularities in the manner of play and that, in Italy, the formal order of the triumphs was also involved. This phenomenon must have occurred before, somewhere, the inscription of numerals on the triumphs became the custom - and thus before the end of the fifteenth century. The different orders of triumphs does not attest only to the lack of dependence on numerals for identification, but to the existence, from the earliest times, of a wide range of local variations in the manner of play
It is this element, even more than the differences between the standard models used in different areas, that provides the main discriminant to distinguish the three different traditions of the Tarot, whose origin dates back to the early developmental stages of the game. We are not able to determine whether the different orders of triumphs were adopted as intentional deviations from the practice of players to other cities, or simply as a result of an imperfect recollection of this practice; but it is evident that at least the main features of each of the various orders can only have been laid down the first time the game was introduced in the area that observes the given order. We will see that the order of type A is the practice of the players of Bologna, one of type B the practice of Ferrara players and type C the practice of the players of Milan.)
However there is also the phenomenon in Florence where two different but in many ways similar decks do not differ in their order but do in the precise subjects and number of cards, namely trionfi and minchiate. And there is the phenomenon that Prudence continues to pop up in various places, not only between Hope and Faith in minchiate, but in place of the Traitor in Lollio/Imperali (see http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page. ... 24&lng=ENG
) and of Temperance in the Anonymous Discourse. There will be a different rationale in each case.
This principle of the localization of play, it seems to me, can affect the subjects of the cards as well as their order and in that case is even not limited to the developmental period. It is a phenomenon we will see again in the Protestant/Catholic border areas when the Popess and Pope are replaced by other cards, Juno and Jupiter or Captain Fracasse and Bacchus. There does not even have to be facilities for the local mass production of such cards. It is only necessary that the authorities have a sample of what they want, created by one of their artists, and require the producer in the other place to produce cards of that type.
There is no reason why Milan should somehow be unique in this regard, and be the only place to produce a somewhat different deck for its own reasons in response to a new phenomenon elsewhere. It is possible, but it is just as likely to go the reverse. That a Milanese deck actually exists that does not conform to the standard verified later does not preclude others having followed the principle earlier but with cheaper decks that did not survive.
I think we can go one step further than Dummett regarding this principle. The variability of a card in the different orders is a measure of how early in the developmental process the card was introduced. When a deck arrives from one place from another, the card makers and players may not only find the order illogical but come to prefer a somewhat different selection of subjects. That seems to have in fact happened. Prudence seems to have been a particularly hard subject to fit in; it occurs in several places in the sequence and most commonly not at all. The virtues are the most variable, so they are among the oldest. Some of the "Petrarchan" cards are also variable, but some more than others. On the other hand, there are other factors: ambiguities and alterations in meaning might have affected the variability. There is a Petrarchan Chastity, represented by a female Charioteer, which becomes the Chariot, often with a male charioteer. The meaning is different. Time is represented by an old man, who logically then might be put before Death. Fame was represented in Boccaccio and some of the illuminations of Petrarch as a a lady and a circle with a landscape and castles. Is it the World? Or is it the New Jerusalem, as in the 2nd artist PMB card? Its position in the order fluctuates accordingly, which then affects the place of the Angel of Judgment. Love, the Wheel, and Death are fairly clear; their order fluctuates the least. The Emperor and Empress, whom we know are early, are also clear.
Some cards are virtually fixed in their order. The sequence Devil-Fire-Star-Moon-Sun is always the same. They are non-Petrarchan, not virtues, not Imperials, and do not fit in the chess analogy. There are not in the Cary-Yale, and the theologicals are in their place in the minchiate. All these factors together suggests a late addition, at least in some places, at a time when there was much more interaction among regions than previously. The same can be said for the Bagatella, which is always first, and the Traitor always 12 (except the Sicilian, but that is not very early).
All of this is additional argument for the 16 cards of Pratesi's and my reconstructions, and my proposed shifts in the order and eventually the subjects as well, toward replacements and expansions.
There is one thing I could use some help on, in these reconstructions. I can see the rationale for substituting Prudence for Temperance, as in the Anonymous Discourse. Prudence, in the ordinary sense of the word, is knowing the correct means toward a desired end and acting on that knowledge. "Cleaving to the mean" is a good guide to follow in one's means toward achieving the objective. So it includes Temperance. In the case of the Traitor, Prudence is what needs to be followed to avoid what is pictured on the card. To the extent that the Traitor is Judas (the 12th disciple), Prudence involves following God's will so as to be with God in eternity. That puts Prudence higher in the hierarchy.
But what is the rationale for putting Prudence between Hope and Charity, as we see in minchiate and in Franco's reconstruction of a proto-minchiate? I have a tentative solution, but it needs filling out in relation to Florence of the 1430s or later. First, Prudence involves knowing one's true good, not only the means toward attaining a good. The true good is God and being with God, loved by and loving God. So it belongs with the theological virtues, if one is going to put with one set rather than another. Then for why it is between hope and faith, all I can think of is that while Jesus's coming to earth and dying for our sins gives us hope of attaining our true good, faith involves knowing rationally that that end is attainable and how to attain it. It is like crossing a bridge. When I get to it, I may hope that I with my heavy load can cross it. But examining the bridge with the eyes of an building engineer, who knows how to build a bridge, and seeing the example of others, can give me faith that in acting in a certain way will help me to attain the goal. So hope plus prudence leads to faith. Reason is Faith's handmaiden. And God's Charity is what I will need to get there, since my own merits are inevitably deficient. If God is to be charitable to me, I must be charitable to those in a weaker position than me.
This is a somewhat ad hoc rationale. I am curious to know what was actually said about Prudence in relation to the theological virtues in that time--a textual justification, if possible, not for the whole sequence but just that small part.