Re: translating John of Rheinfelden

I wrote
The other is not quoted by Franco, but is given by Bond in defense of 1377 as the date of composition and repeated by Parlett (although The Playing Card seems to have mistyped "igitur" as "iqitur):
Cum iqitur [igitur in Bond] ab hoc ultimo dicto computetur quod dictum fuit tempore domini Jesu Christi et dum predicauit in terra, transiuerunt interim 1344, quia si ab annis domini 1377 sicut modo est demantur 33 anni quibus uixit remanebunt ad huc 1344.
Neither Bond nor Parlett deigns to translate this passage, which remains rather hard for me. The best I can come up with is:
Since therefore from this last statement, that statement being calculated from the time the lord Jesus Christ preached on earth, 1344, which if from the year of the lord 1377 in like fashion is subtracted the 33 years which he lived, remains thus 1344.
I have no idea what the "last statement" [ultimo dicto] is, or where the date 1344 came from. So I have no idea whether it actually defends 1377 as the date of composition or not. That no one has thought otherwise does not comfort me.
I asked Franco about this passage and the surrounding text. He suggested that the "adhuc" before the second "1344" should be translated as "till now". If so, it is clear that he means that there are 1344 years from Jesus's death until now. In other words, the current year is 1377.

In fact Wiktionary does give "so far" as its first transltation. "So" without the "far" (or "thus) is the second meaning listed. However for that to fit there would have to be some indication in the surrounding text. Franco says, in an emailreply to my query:
Some ambiguity remains. In the text I found no event mentioned for the year 1377. I did not see any other possible reason to introduce that year in the line of reasoning, except for quoting the current year.
So for now, at least until the critical edition comes out, my question is answered. Bond and Parlett appear to be right, this is a passage that speaks of 1377 as the year in which John is writing, and Decker appears to be wrong. The question is not entirely settled. but well enough not to bother again about it until the critical edition comes out.

Re: translating John of Rheinfelden

I remember (dark), that Decker didn't doubt the "1377" per se, but believed, that specific information was added later to the text, when various playing card decks already existed. The general confusion about the 1377 arose from the condition, that 1377 was expected to be the starting point, but that John already knew so much variants, therefore Decker's argument for a later addition.

But the actual reason for the confusion is the expectation, that 1377 is the starting point. John of Rheinfelden personally notes, that he doesn't know, where the cards come from. This only states, that John in his cloister in Freiburg im Breisgau didn't become aware, that playing cards existed before. So with some right one might expect, that playing cards weren't very far spread, but it can't serve as evidence, that playing cards didn't exist at all.

Freiburg im Breisgau is in a region, which was dominated by the Habsburger, which naturally hadn't the best relation to the Luxemburger family (to which Charles IV belonged).
In 1366 the counts of Freiburg made another failed attempt to occupy the city during a night raid. Eventually the citizens were fed up with their lords, and in 1368 Freiburg purchased its independence from them. The city turned itself over to the protection of the Habsburgs, who allowed the city to retain a large measure of freedom.
Further for the year 1377 we have, that Charles IV had military trouble with cities mainly in the South-West region of Germany.
The emperor refused to recognise the newly revitalised Swabian League, seeing it as a rebellion, and this led to an "imperial war" against the league. The renewed league triumphed at the Battle of Reutlingen on 14 May 1377 over an army led by Ulrich of Württemberg. Ulrich was the son of Eberhard II of Württemberg, who was an enthusiastic backer of the emperor's confrontational approach to the Swabian League of Cities. The emperor himself now became more conciliatory, however, and on 31 May 1377 he lifted the ban he had imposed on the League and set up an arbitration court, which was rapidly extended over the Rhineland, Bavaria, and Franconia.
To the Schwäbischen Städtebund belonged Biberach, Buchhorn, Isny, Konstanz, Leutkirch, Lindau, Memmingen, Ravensburg, Reutlingen, Rottweil, St. Gallen, Überlingen, Ulm and Wangen, so Freiburg im Breisgau wasn't directly involved, but Reutlingen (location of the battle) is only 170 km distance.

Actually the peace of 31 May 1377 might have been the starting point for the playing card invasion, that John observed.

Re: translating John of Rheinfelden

Huck wrote,
I remember (dark), that Decker didn't doubt the "1377" per se, but believed, that specific information was added later to the text, when various playing card decks already existed.
For Decker's words, see viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1094#p16827

From Interlibrary Loan I have obtained a copy of Arne Jönssen's English-language article, "Card-playing as a Mirror of Society: On Johannes of Rheinfelden's Ludus cartularum moralisatus", pp. 361-372 of Chess and Allegory in Medieval Europe, Stockholm 2005. It contains some points not mentioned so far pertaining to translation issues, resulting in a summary which I think, unless something important has been omitted, establishes rather conclusively that John's treatise was wholly written in 1377. The argument is not new, but it is much more convincing given Jönssen's extensive summary of the work and Bidev's pagination of the sections as reproduced by Franco.

First, the title isn't Ludus carularum moralisatus. He says (p. 361):
In the scholarly literature as well as in the medieval manuscripts the treatise is referred to as either the Ludus cartularum moralisatus or De moribus et disciplina humane conuersacionis ("on the morals and discipline of human life". The former title is the more informative one, but the latter title is undoubtedly the authentic one, for in the prologue of the treatise, the uathor writes that he has three aims: 1. the [sic, should be "to"] describe card-playing as regards the cards as physical objects and way to play (ludum cartularum in se describere qujoad materiam et modum ludendi) 2, to draw conclusins as regards morals or teach noblemen how to live in a morally acceptable way (ipsum ludum ad mores trahere seu nobilus dare normam vivendi[/i]) and 3. to teach the common people how to live virtuously (ipsos populares instuere seu eos informare de modo virtose operandi[/i]). For these reasons, he writes, the treatise should be entitled De moribus et disciplina humane conuersacionis 1.
1. I have chosen to retain the title Ludus cartularum moralisiatus , for I find it an advanage to have card-playing in the title to facilitate bibliographical searches.
Second, Jönssen affirms that the treatise was written in 1377. While quoting Decker, 1989, on the other side, for a later date, he does not address the issue of whether part of it might have been added later. For him the document is all of one piece. Annoyingly to me, he does not say, for the passages indicating 1377 that he adduces, in which part of the document they occur. I would presume that they occur in part 1; he also doesn't say specifically in which part John discusses the variety of decks, but I presume that it is also in part 1, specifically 1.6.

Third, while quoting the same Latin passages that Franco did indicating the chapter contents, he does not offer English translations of them. However he does have remarks on Part I and summaries of Parts II and III. For Part I he says
Part I contains general aspects, and there is for instance a long exposition of the symbolism of numbers but also chapters on the usefulness and pleasure of playing cards (I. 3 and 4). Since I believe that those chapters are of general interest, I will give a rather detailed analysis below, for it will provide an opportunity to demonstrate in some detail Johannes' way of reasoning and his use of sources.

I.1. de materia ludi et de diversitate instrumentorum
I.2. actus moris virtutum et viciorum
I.3. ludus cartularum valet pro alleuacione et requie laboratorum
I.4. hominibus ociosis est utilis et quod valeat pro solacio eorum
I.5. ludus cartularum comparitur statui mundi nunc currentis quoad actus nature simul et morum
I.6. proprietates numeri sexagesimi
This is substantially the same as that which Franco quoted from Bidev, except a little briefer and sometimes with different word-endings. The only substantial difference is in 1.6, which here reads, I think, "properties of the sixtieth number" where in Bidev and the English translations it is "the aliquot parts of the number sixty, and the properties of numbers". Thus Jönssen's prefatory summary gives us some confirmation, at least in general, for the translation I offered in my first post.

Jönssen's later summary of 1.3 and 1.4 takes him about three pages to present. The essence is that card games should be educational as well as entertaining. Mere entertainment has some justification, as providing variety and relief from work (he apparently is not aware of gambling), but also promotes sloth. So card-playing is more worthy if it educates and improves people's character at the same time. It are especially useful for soldiers, since there are rules, a hierarchy of prestige, organization, and command, and one winner with one or more losers. In general it provides a model of society, with its hierarchical order, with the King and his court at the top, as models of morality and wisdom, and all the professions necessary to them below.

John's account, however, will prove to have two failings: first, he never provides a one to one correspondence between profession or noble rank and particular cards in particular suits. So it is not quite done. Secondly, the cards in front of him presumably do not actually show the professions and ranks he would like to see there. So John's interpretations could be ignored by players easily enough. The luxury decks with different professions, or different aspects of hunting, correct these deficiencies: the cards are now a model of society, or of a particular pursuit that nobles are supposed to know. It is an educational game. The game of Marziano falls in the same category, So does the Cary-Yale, teaching not only, in the court cards, a hierarchy of ranks, but also, in the fifth suit (assuming it had the same number of cards as the others), Imperial virtues, Petrarch's and Boccaccio's allegorical triumphs, and the virtues of the Church. I am not proposing that the designers of these later decks knew John's work, but merely that John is an example of a type of thinking about games, already popularized in relation to chess.

For Part II Jönssen writes:
Part II of Johannes' work is devoted to the honours cards (to use modern terminology) and contains an exposition of the functions of the various members of the royal court, viz. the King, Queen, two marshalls and the maid of honour. Johannes' ideal pack of cards had thus a composition somewhat different from the one we use today (see below).

II.1. de rege et eius bonis condicionibus
II.2. de regina et eius honestis moribus
II.3. de principali principe et eius diligenti prudencia
II.4. de regimine principalis et eius decenti prudencia
II.5. de principe milicie et eius excellenti experiencia
This again is substantially the same as in Bidev. The only difference is that in 2.3 instead of "diligenti prudencia" Bidev's version has "diligenti providentia".

So apparently five court cards are referred to in this chapter, somehow supported by the Latin he quotes. I remain mystified as to how exactly how it supports his summary, in relation to the maids. Perhaps "regimine" somehow means "maids of honor". I have not read the sections in question, and Jönssen does not summarize the one on "regimine".

Related to Part II is its last section, on the significance of the number 60. Jonnsen says more about this subject, in his extended discussion of Part I (even if he does not say it is in section 1.6). It is this part where John talks about the wide variety of decks. Since it is well known, I will not repeat it here, but go on to what Jonnsen says next, which I presume is a paraphrase of what immediately follows in John's presentation (pp. 369-370).
The set-up Johannes prefers is the 60-card pack pack with four suits each comprising one king, one queen, two marshalls and one maid plus ten other cards (representing various trades such as bakers, millers, butchers, doctors, etc.) He has several reasons for recommending the 60-card-pack. For instance, that pack is much more flexible when it comes to the number of players, since 60 can equally be divided more times than 52. With 60 cards you can thus have 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30 or 60 players, i.e. you have 11 alternatives; with 52 cards there are only five options. Another reason is that the moral message becomes more appropriate with 60 cards, for, as Johannes writes, the aim of these playing cards is to symbolise the King's court in its entirety, but the court would be incomplete without a queen and maid. No king can live his life without a consort, for two reasons: he must have children and also in the interest of decency. The king cannot live forever, consequently, children are necessary to perpetuate the office. Thus the King absolutely must have a Queen, and that is why the 60-card-pack with Queen and maid is better than the 52-card-pack without them.

Furthermore, according to Johannes, card-playing illustrates the division of responsibilities at court: in the same way that the Queen of cards takes position number two in the world of cards, the real queen takes second place in the real court next to the King. In this context it may be interesting to add a note on the worth of the cards: according to Johannes the inferior marshall is worth 11 points, the maid of honour 12, the superior marshall 13, the queen 14 and the king, finally, 15.
Perhaps in the original there is "regimina" instead of "maid of honour". We have here not only an account of the court cards, with the knights low (so the order of sections earlier follows the order of rank), but also something about the object of the game: it is not merely to win tricks, but to capture point-getting cards, of which the court cards are the highest.

About Part III Jönssen says (pp. 364-365):
Part III is devoted to the servants of the King, the artisans and craftsmen who are required for the proper functioning of the court. It is divided into 12 paragraphs. The first tow serve as introductons. III.1 is about common people, that is artisans, in general, and III.2 discusses the fact that there were no artisans in Paradise. The other ten paragraphs discuss various groups of artisans on the basis of the King's needs. For instance, the King must have bread. Consequently there must be bakers, millers, and farmers (III.3) The King must have wine. Consequently there must be cupbearers, grape-pickers, and storekeepers. The king must have meat. Consequently there must be merchants, butchers, hunters, and cooks (III.5), etc., as shown below:

III.1 de hominibis communibis puta de mechanicis in generali et in confuso
III.2 de hoc quod artes mechanice non fuissent in paradyso
III.3 de hoc quod ut rex in mensa panem habeat, indiget pystore molitore et agricolis
III.4: de hoc quod ut rex vinum habeat, indget cupario, vindemiatore, cellerario seu pincernis
III.5. de hoc quod ut rex cibum regium habeat, indiget mercatore, carnifice, venatore et cocis
III.6. de hoc quod ut regales vestes decentes habeat indiget sartore textore tinctore et qui lanam et fila tribuat
III.7. de hoc quod ut calceos decentes habeat, indiget cerdone, carnificem pastore, et qui calceos suit
III.8 de hoc quod ut pellicia et varium habeat, indiget venatore carnifice pastore et qui indumenta ex pellibus faciat
III.9. de fabris eorumque materiis et instrumentis
III.10 de medicis eorumque regimine et medicinis
III.11 de aliis operariis puta de carpentariis cementariis, pictoribus et lapicidis
III.12. de sellatoribus equorum, pastoribus, stabulariis, nauibus et nautis
All of this corresponds very much to to Bidev, with two exceptions: Bidev's "piscatore" in III.5 has been removed, and in III.12 "stabulariis" has been added. I assume it is derived from "stabulum", meaning "stable".

Jönssen's English translations corresponds well to the translations that I offered (with some help from Franco), with one exception: Jönssen translates "mechanicis" as "artisans" instead of my "mechanics", as a generic description applying to all the common professions that follow. I am not sure that either corresponds to the meaning John is putting on the word. A physician is not usually described as an artisan or a mechanic. On the other end of the scale, a grape-picker also is neither an artisan nor a mechanic. And surely at least one fruit-picker lived in the Paradise of Genesis, if not for long. But wine requires more than a handful of grapes; there must be something to carry them in, which requires an artisan to make the basket. There is also the matter of not picking all the grapes, but just those of the right degree of ripeness, and also of not letting the juice run on the ground, or letting them sit out too long in the sun, and of working hard so that they will all be picked in time. Perhaps the sense required is "practitioner of a specialized profession", In such a sense, I can see why he, and Huck, too, say that the first two sections are introductory, leaving ten sections for the types of professions, arranged by finished product.

The result is a detailed allegorical description of 60 cards. We now come to the question of what must be assumed to be interpolated if the work is, all or in part, composed in 1429. One alternative is that they include all the parts referring to events and personages relating to 1377. In other words, the scribe, or John himself (in the work as a whole), is deliberately misrepresenting a 1429 work as of 1377. That seems a rather uncharitable conclusion and not a usual practice among monks. And if so, why would the scribe also say he has written this copy in 1429?

The other alternative is that all the parts relating to 60 card decks is interpolation. If so, that is all the sections mentioning queens, maids, and most of that on the number 60, given that a King and 2 marshals, for 52 cards in all, was standard. The part on the virtues of queens alone has 17 sections. Using the page numbers supplied by Bidev, we have:

On the number 60: 25v - 38v = 28 folio pages
On queens: 65r - 81v = 33 folio pages
On maids: 100r - 104r = 10 folio pages

So we have 71 folio pages of interpolation. That seems to me a bit too much to suppose someone else as adding in 1429, all in John's style. If Jönssen has represented John fairly, the logical conclusion is that the whole work was written in 1377.

As a result, I do not see any reason at all to suppose that John's treatise was written in 1429, all or in part. The evidence of Florence in 1377, if nothing else, shows that playing cards had been around for a period probably of some years. Medieval historians take as axiomatic, unless there is evidence to the contrary, that it is normal for there to be at least 15 to 20 years after something new is introduced before it gets mentioned, at least that anyone today can trace. In some cases (e.g. buttons, of relative unimportance to monks) it is longer than that (buttons have their first extant documentation on a relief in Koln of the 1230s--somewhat later in writing-- but were reported in 1996 as in Hungarian tombs of the 10th century: see Wikipedia entries for "Button" and "Hungarian prehistory"). That is why Decker, Depaulis, and Dummett put a probable lower limit of 1410 for the game of tarot, even though their evidence went only back to 1442, and Dummett had no problem speculating a Milanese origin around 1428. It is the 15-20 year lag. John's reference to playing cards as "newly arrived" does suggest that in his town, Freiburg im Breisgau, they appeared more recently. But it says nothing about other areas, even in Germany. The same is true of Viterbo, 1379, a relatively isolated city except for summer visits by the Curia. On the other hand, once someone decides to prohibit something, the news can travel quite fast, via Church channels. At least until we have a full transcription of the text, I cannot see the point of discussing 1429 as a reasonable option for the first appearance of any of John's text. If I have missed something, please let me know.

Re: translating John of Rheinfelden

At least until we have a full transcription of the text, I cannot see the point of discussing 1429 as a reasonable option for the first appearance of any of John's text. If I have missed something, please let me know.
... :-) ... I agree. I never thought about it very much, since Joenssen had stated it in the same way and Joenssen seems to have had the best overview by knowing all 4 existing versions.

Re: translating John of Rheinfelden

Franco in personal communication reminds me that Dummett had spoken of the necessity of supposing that if interpolations are supposed, they must have been on an "extensive scale" (GofT, p. 12, from my transcription at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1094 .
The hypothesis cannot, however, be that we can get back to Brother John’s original text simply by excising the passage dealing with the variant forms, together with the phrase ‘the common form, and that in which it first reached us’ previously quoted. The Tractatus, as we now have it, goes on to express, and give grounds for, a preference for the 60-card form, and, later, to include a whole short section on the excellence of the number 60, as well as another on the Queen (the treatise as a whole being an essay in moralising based on the playing-card pack). Hence, if interpolations occurred, they were carried out on an extensive scale.
Franco alluded to this account, albeit very briefly, in his note on John, and I even added a link to my previous transcription of Dummett's text. Well, I said that what I was saying was not new; I just could not remember where I read it. Also, the situation is worse than Dummett portrays it.

From combining Bidev and Jonssen you can see how extensive and careful the revisions had to be, on Dummett's line of thought. I wrote above, using Bidev's account of the page numbers where the different sections begin:
On the number 60: 25v - 38v = 28 folio pages
On queens: 65r - 81v = 33 folio pages
On maids: 100r - 104r = 10 folio pages
So the "short" section on the number 60, unless most of it, improbably, is on the number 52, is around 28 folio pages long. The one on the Queen is 33 pages, and there is also the maids, 10, for a total of around 71. All of this has to be written in the same style as the rest of the treatise, while being careful not to allude to any events clearly later than 1377, affirming that the text is written in 1377, keeping those references that would seem to allude to 1377 or before, yet also affirming clearly that the copy is made in 1429. What would be the point of such an exercise? John by 1429 is no eminent authority like Hermes Trismegistus or Thomas Aquinas, worth attributing one's work to so as to ensure its promulgation and preservation.

Just to beat this hopefully dead horse a little longer, it might seem more probable that just the parts suggesting 1377 were late interpolations, as they are all rather short. Here is what Jonssen says are the references to 1377 in John's text. First there is the part at the beginning, "hoc anno...scilicet anno domini 1377", i.e. "in this A. D. 1377". there are three more. He says (p. 362):
However an inspection of the text shows that the date 1377 is supported y three other passages: 1. in part I, ch. 5 Johannes mentions again, explicitly, that he writes in the year 1377, 2. a certain Ludewicus is mentioned as the King of Hungary, which is quite consistent with the year 1377, since this this Ludewicus must be identified as Louis I, the Great, king of Hungary 1326-1382, 3. Johannes refers to the so-called hundred years' war in the following words: uno die omnes muiciones expugnate per regem Anglie se transtulerum ad regem Francie. To be sure, the fortunes of war changed more than once, but nothing prevents us from taking this as a reference to the state of war in 1377.
Part 1 Chapter 5, if all three of the later allusions are from that section, is only 9 pages long, from 16r to 24r. It would be easy enough to make, falsely, the two explicit mentions of 1377 and add the two other topical allusions. This would require a knowledge of the two facts alluded to, not too hard. I do not know what other events are alluded to, on this alternative so chosen that none are specific to the period 1377-1429. It is possible. But again, what is the point? These are not the simple additions of "and card playing" to an earlier prohibition of dice games, out of ignorance of how new card playing is. They have to be deliberate attempts to make the whole text appear to date from 1377. Until someone can explain such a phenomenon, the case seems to me closed.

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