Re: Bidev 1979 typescript on playing cards' origin

#12
mikeh wrote: (as part of the Bidev translation)

Bidev:

2. In each corner there are three peaces [sic], King, Rook and Horse, the fourth is, of course, the Alfil /Bishop/, who is situated in one subcorner-square, between the Horse and Rook. There is no Fers, from which derivated our Queen. The promoted pawn became peon alferzado, one to the Fers promoted Pawn. Murray says:

"Green commences, and the order of the play is Green, Red, Black, White.

Each player attacks the player who succeeds him, and defends himself from the player who preceded him. There is no alliance between opposite players.

When a player was mated he fell out, his conqueror appropriated his surviving men, and the 3 survivors continuated [sic] the game. The final survivor won. The game was played for money..."



Murray was not aware that 4SChess was played with 3 dice. That is mentioned/explained in Alfonso's Chess book in the commentary explaining the rules of play for the board-game of the Four Seasons played with 48 uniform shaped small discs painted in the same 4 colours as pieces -and pawns of the 4Schess. These 48 discs may influenced the number of cards in Naipes (7). Alfonso X was known as fond of astronomy and astrology. The unusually chess - and board-games at the end of his MS are astronomic and astrologic. The arrangement of the 4 coloured pieces in the 4SChess is in accordance with the basic astronomic-astrologic principles: to each season is given 90°, and
three pieces to represent the 3 months of the year. Each season occupies a quarter of the year with 91 day expressed by the number 90° of the zodiacal quarter for each season.
Murray says ...

https://books.google.de/books?id=dNSBCg ... e.&f=false

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After this at the same page (below the picture) Murray proceeds with this text, which refers to a new point and game (Los Escaques):

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It looks, as if Bidev was confused by the presentation in the book of Murray: He proceeds with ... "Murray was not aware that 4SChess was played with 3 dice." .... which seems to be nonsense, at least not related to the game, which Murray had discussed before.

....

David Parlett is available in snippet view:
https://books.google.de/books?id=rH6DAA ... q=escaques

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"al-falakiya" seems to mean "movement of the spheres"

Los Libros de Acedrex Dados E Tablas: Historical, Artistic and Metaphysical Dimensions of Alfonso X's "Book of Games".
ProQuest, 2007 - 1441 pages
https://books.google.de/books?id=aImR3uIw0kwC&pg=PA628
... has a longer article to this game
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Bidev 1979 typescript on playing cards' origin

#13
mikeh wrote: This argument is not conclusive, of course; for one thing, the Muslims would have had the same four temperaments ...
Bearing in mind also, that the games in Alfonso are predominantly translations from Muslim sources, albeit they are compiled, organised and justified along Christian lines. The astrological revival of the time also, was based upon translations of Arabic sources. However, a textual analyses* indicates Isidore of Seville as a probable source for these seasonal, elemental & humoristic attributions.

But also see note 973 (Golladay) on p.577: The relationship between the year’s seasons and man’s bodily humors is made explicit in two works described by Bland. As-Suli’s sixth of ten advantages of chess relates directly to the LJ’s fifth treatise of four-seasons games and its elemental qualities and employs chess as medicine to counteract imbalances of the four humours in players (Bland 9). The fourth chapter of Anmizaj ul Catal (Exemplum vei militariae) of 1446 also treats of the four temperments associated with the king, queen, fil and rook pieces and the medicinal properties of the game of chess (Bland 30).

mikeh wrote: He is right about green in Muslim symbolism (http://peopleof.oureverydaylife.com/col ... -6326.html); whether would be a reason not to use the color green, I don't know...
As one of five colours mentioned in the Koran, and as the one said to be the Prophet's favourite colour, Green is of special significance in Islamic colour symbolism; however, that does not mean it is particularly restricted, on the contrary it makes of it a favourite (to the extent it is said that some crusaders would avoid the colour green less they were mistaken for muslims!). There are no real restricted colours in Islam, though the colours red, yellow & saffron are avoided among some sects as the colours of Paganism, used for the temples and idols of 'primitive communities'.These three colours are rarely used in the internal painting of Mosques for example, and Imams too will avoid wearing them (especially saffron). I don't think this led to any restrictions on use for daily secular purposes though (Arabic chess pieces were commonly red and white for example, not black and white).
mikeh wrote:Bidev himself, in his own interpretation of the four suits in terms of the four elements, is thoroughly based in the occultist assignments, with staves as fire ("The staves are, of course, combustibles") and swords as air. He ignores his own data, i.e. Alfonso's game book and his observation that Latin staves (at least some of them) are green!
His zodiac overlay is also more based on occultist assignents of the fixed signs to the four corners, than in Alfonso's text; from which we might instead infer/draw the cardinal signs related to the months as beginnings of the seasons (equinox/solstice) mentioned in the text (march, june, september & december).
mikeh wrote:In the diagram, I see the King and the Knight, maybe a Rook and a Bishop, anyway four pieces per player. I guess they correspond to what is in the miniature. But then there are the pawns.four per player, and where are they? If I knew, maybe I could say something about Alain's question. According to the description, there should be 8 pieces in each corner. 4 of them pawns.

To get from these two games to playing cards, you would take the number per suit of the World game, but change some of the discs to non-pawn chess-figures, as in Four Seasons. How many honors/courts? 2? 3? 4? Well, the King could be a king, and the knight a knight. Beyond that it is not obvious...
The pieces are king, a rook, a knight, and a fil. Their rank or relative values may be derived from the figures attribution to the points of a die in Alfonso:

6 = king
5 = fers
4 = rook
3 = knight
2 = fils
1 = pawn

SteveM

*Sonia Musser Golladay, Los Libros de Acedrex Dados E Tablas: Historical, Artistic and Metaphysical Dimensions of Alfonso X's "Book of Games".p.573

Also note in relation to use of dice Golladay states:

“That players might opt to use six-sided dice also to play this chess, as in ancient chaturanga, may be inferred from a passage in the four-seasons tables variant which refers to them.”

So Bidev appears to have been correct in saying that dice could be used in four-seasons chess. However, one dice is used, to decide the piece to be moved.

*Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Yahya al-Suli (born: 880 A.D, died: 946 A.D)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakr_ ... ya_al-Suli
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Bidev 1979 typescript on playing cards' origin

#14
SteveM wrote:The relationship between the year’s seasons and man’s bodily humors is made explicit in two works described by Bland. As-Suli’s sixth of ten advantages of chess relates directly to the LJ’s fifth treatise of four-seasons games and its elemental qualities and employs chess as medicine to counteract imbalances of the four humours in players (Bland 9).
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On the Persian Game of Chess Read June 19th, 1847 by N. Bland

https://books.google.com.tr/books?id=fV ... nd&f=false
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Bidev 1979 typescript on playing cards' origin

#15
The astrological chess game, from an arabic source:
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Bland, p.32

Muhammad ibn Mahmud al-Amuli was a medieval Persian physician from Amol, Iran. He wrote an Arabic commentary on the epitome of Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine that had been made by Yusuf al-Ilaqi. Between 1335 and 1342, Amoli also composed a large and widely read Persian encyclopedia on the classification of knowledge titled (Nafa'is al-funun fi ‘ara'is al-‘uyun).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_ibn_Mahmud_Amuli

Astrological chess was also described in Muraj adh-dhahab (Fields of Gold), 947. by the Arabic historian Ali ibn Abdullah al-Masudi (888-956).

From the French translation (Volume I, Chapter VII, p.161)

Après lui régna Balhit. On inventa, à cette époque, le jeu d'échecs, auquel ce roi donna la préférence sur le trictrac, en démontrant que l'habileté l'emporte toujours dans ce jeu sur l'ignorance. Il fit des calculs mathématiques sur les échecs, et composa, à ce sujet, un livre nommé Tarak-Djenka, qui est resté populaire chez les Indiens. Il jouait souvent aux échecs avec les sages de sa cour, et ce fut lui qui donna aux pièces des figures d'hommes et d'animaux, leur assigna des grades et des rangs, assimila le roi (Chah) au chef qui dirige, et ainsi de suite des autres pièces. Il fit aussi de ce jeu une sorte d'allégorie des corps élevés, c'est-à-dire des corps célestes, tels que les sept planètes et les douze signes du zodiaque, et consacra chaque pièce à un astre. L'échiquier devint une école de gouvernement et de défense ; c'était lui que l'on consultait en temps de guerre, quand il fallait recourir aux stratagèmes militaires, pour étudier la marche plus ou moins rapide des troupes. Les Indiens donnent un sens mystérieux au redoublement des cases de l'échiquier ; ils établissent un rapport entre cette cause première, qui plane au-dessus des sphères et à laquelle tout aboutit, et la somme du carré de ces cases. Ce nombre est égal à 18, 446, 740, 773, 707, 551, 615, où se trouvent six fois mille après les chiffres de la première série, cinq fois mille après ceux de la seconde, quatre fois mille après ceux de la troisième, trois fois mille après ceux de la quatrième, deux fois mille après ceux de la cinquième, et une fois mille après ceux de la sixième. Les Indiens expliquent par ces calculs la marche du temps et des siècles, les influences supérieures qui s'exercent sur ce monde, et les liens qui les rattachent à rame humaine. Les Grecs, les Romains et d'autres peuples ont des théories et des méthodes particulières sur ce jeu, comme on peut le voir dans les traités des joueurs d'échecs, depuis les plus anciens jusqu'à es-Souli et el-Adli, les deux joueurs les plus habiles de notre époque. Le règne de Balhit, jusqu'à sa mort, dura quatre-vingts ans, ou, selon d'autres manuscrits, cent trente ans.

After him reigned Balhit. At this time the game of chess was invented, to which the king gave preference over backgammon, demonstrating that skill always wins in this game over ignorance. He made mathematical calculations about chess, and wrote on this subject a book called Tarak-Djenka, which remains popular among Indians. He often played chess with the wise men of his court, and it was he who gave to the pieces the figures of men and animals, their assigned grades and ranks, likened the King (Shah) to the head that directs, and so on for the other pieces. He also gave this game a kind of allegory of the higher bodies, that is to say, the heavenly bodies, the seven planets and the twelve signs of the zodiac, and each piece was consecrated to a star. The board became a school of government and defense; using it in wartime to represent military stratagems and to study the movement of the troops. The Indians give a mysterious meaning to the multiplication of the squares of the chess-board; they establish a connection between this first cause, which hovers above the spheres to which all leads, and the sum of the square of these boxes. This number is equal to 18,446,740,773,707, 551,615, where there are six times a thousand according to figures from the first series, five times a thousand after those of the second, four times a thousand after those of the third, three thousand times after those of the fourth, two thousand times those after the fifth and once those thousand after the sixth. The Indians explained by these calculations the march of time and centuries, the celestial influences in this world, and the ties that bind the human train. The Greeks, Romans and other nations have their own theories and specific methods for this game, as is shown in the treaties of chess players, from the oldest to el-Adli and es-Souli, the two most skilled players of our time. The reign of Balhit, until his death lasted eighty years, or, in other manuscripts, a hundred and thirty years.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Bidev 1979 typescript on playing cards' origin

#16
It seems to me that despite his errors, Bidev's theory about the "four seasons" game still cannot be ruled out as playing a role in the origin of European playing cards. While it may be true that there were no restrictions on the use of green in Islam, the fact remains that there is no green in the Istanbul polo stick cards (or anywhere else, except perhaps a little on the plants in Cups), unlike the Latins' bastoni cards. Likewise there is no blue, or blue and gold pairing, on the Spanish bastos cards, which we might expect if they derived from the Istanbul polo sticks.

Here are the Istanbul cards (from https://marygreer.wordpress.com/2008/04 ... /mamluk-3/)



And Spanish cards, from 1574 (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_playing_cards).

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The green of the bastos/bastoni appears deliberate. So there could be a connection to the green of the "four seasons" game, even if that game itself was inspired by similar Arab games. I don't think that green was associated with the sanguine temperament per se; looking online, it seems to have been associated with red, as the term "sanguine", i.e. blood-infused, would imply. On the Spanish bastos number cards, both red and green are evident, even if the courts and ace are primarily green.

Re: Bidev 1979 typescript on playing cards' origin

#17
SteveM wrote: Astrological chess was also described in Muraj adh-dhahab (Fields of Gold), 947. by the Arabic historian Ali ibn Abdullah al-Masudi (888-956).

From the French translation (Volume I, Chapter VII, p.161)

After him reigned Balhit. At this time the game of chess was invented, to which the king gave preference over backgammon, demonstrating that skill always wins in this game over ignorance. He made mathematical calculations about chess, and wrote on this subject a book called Tarak-Djenka, which remains popular among Indians. He often played chess with the wise men of his court, and it was he who gave to the pieces the figures of men and animals, their assigned grades and ranks, likened the King (Shah) to the head that directs, and so on for the other pieces. He also gave this game a kind of allegory of the higher bodies, that is to say, the heavenly bodies, the seven planets and the twelve signs of the zodiac, and each piece was consecrated to a star. The board became a school of government and defense; using it in wartime to represent military stratagems and to study the movement of the troops. The Indians give a mysterious meaning to the multiplication of the squares of the chess-board; they establish a connection between this first cause, which hovers above the spheres to which all leads, and the sum of the square of these boxes. This number is equal to 18,446,740,773,707, 551,615, where there are six times a thousand according to figures from the first series, five times a thousand after those of the second, four times a thousand after those of the third, three thousand times after those of the fourth, two thousand times those after the fifth and once those thousand after the sixth. The Indians explained by these calculations the march of time and centuries, the celestial influences in this world, and the ties that bind the human train. The Greeks, Romans and other nations have their own theories and specific methods for this game, as is shown in the treaties of chess players, from the oldest to el-Adli and es-Souli, the two most skilled players of our time. The reign of Balhit, until his death lasted eighty years, or, in other manuscripts, a hundred and thirty years.
Here, for the sake of completion, is the rest of what he has to say about chess:

The course of the story and following the narrative leads us to talk about chess and to quote what has been said on this subject. Already, in another part of this book, in the chapter of India, we talked about the origin of chess and nerd, and the affinity of these games with the planetary bodies and stars. We will add a few new details.

The authors, ancient and modern, say that all the varieties of chess-boards can be reduced to six:

1. The ordinary square chess-board, which consists of eight boxes long by eight wide: it is attributed to the ancient peoples of India.

2. The oblong chessboard, four cells wide and sixteen long.

3. The 10x10 square chessboard. It has in addition two additional pieces called 'war machines', which move like the king, except if they take they can be taken.

4. The round chessboard attributed to the Byzantines.

5. Another round chessboard related to the stars and called zodiacal: its squares, twelve in number, as the signs of the zodiac..., on which move seven different colored pieces. The number seven refers to the five planets and the two great luminaries, the sun and the moon. We already mentioned in the chapter of India the theories of its scientists on the influence of celestial bodies and on the love of planetary substances. They believe that each sphere moves by the sympathetic attraction of a higher sphere; and as the soul descends from the world of intelligence it loses the memory of its origins and becomes ignorant of the knowledge she had. We have reported that the knowledge of these confused theories, according to them, is attached to the positions in the game of chess.

6. Another chessboard called organic, which was invented in our days. It contains seven squares by eight, and twelve pieces arranged six against six on each side of the table. Each of the six pieces is named after one of the organs or members that enable man to judge, speak, hear, see, touch, walk, that is to say, of the senses and common sense, whose seat is in the heart.

The Indians, Greeks, Persians, Byzantines and other nations who know of chess, have described this game, its shape, its laws, its origin, its causes, its features, the disposition of the pawns and figures, their different positions, etc. In addition, players bring together anecdotes and entertaining jests that, in the words of many of them, stimulate the player, give free rein to his moods and make for sharper thinking. These books are for them as didactic songs for the warrior on the battlefield, for the Hadi when the caravan is fatigued, for the distributor looking to the bottom of the water tank for travelers. It is for the chess player a stimulant as effective as the songs and verses for teaching fighters. Among the pieces of this kind, I will quote the following passage from a poem due to a player:

Poems to the honor of chess, are spread about, like a brilliant
flame more ardent than a brazier.
Many times they gave the advantage to the weak player over his ablest opponent!*

Here is a passage in which this game is described with a rare happiness of expressions:

A square chessboard, dressed in a red leather, is placed between two loyal friends.
They evoke the memory of the war and simulate it, but without seeking bloodshed.
One attacks, the other responds and the fight does not flag them.
See how by clever strategy the knights run over both armies, without fanfare or flags,
etc.

Among the poems of the same kind, remarkable for the elegance and finish of the descriptions they contain, we mention and finish with Abu 'l-Achan, son of Abu'l-Bagal the Katih; this character, who distinguished himself as secretary and as a government agent, was also renowned as a scholar of the game:

The intelligent man has chess to discover the consequences that escape the eyes of the ignorant.
With the steady gaze of wisdom it provides the denouments of the future under the guise of frivolity;
And thus it serves the interests of the Sultan, showing him through play how disasters are prevented.
For the experienced man, chessboard strategy equals that of the lance and squads (i.e, of the battlefield).

From Volume 8, p.312-317

Original Arabic with French translation (the source for my translation above) here:
https://archive.org/stream/lesprairiesd ... 2/mode/2up

SteveM

*A less literal but more in the nature of the verse has it:

Hotter than the glow of charcoal glows the player’s timely jest.
Think how many a weaker player it has helped against the best.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Bidev 1979 typescript on playing cards' origin

#18
mikeh wrote:
The green of the bastos/bastoni appears deliberate.
It doesn't seem surprising to me that a suit of branches and leaves should have a pre-dominance of green. What about the rest of the suits, do they each have a pre-ponderance of one colour that might indicate an elemental association and to differentiate between one suit/element and another? (I am colour blind, so not confident to say yeah or nay).

It wouldn't surprise me that some early association between four suits and four elements didn't make its way into some decks designs. It is even plausible that the four suit design was modeled upon such considerations.

I don't see why there should be some expectation that a western christian deck should share the same colour palette as Mamluk cards, or vise-versa? And surely there are further limitations to such comparisons made between a handpainted deck and a printed/stencilled one?
mikeh wrote:Likewise there is no blue, or blue and gold pairing, on the Spanish bastos cards, which we might expect if they derived from the Istanbul polo sticks.
There is no gold on the cheap mass produced printed/stencilled cards? Seriously? Would you expect there to be?
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Bidev 1979 typescript on playing cards' origin

#19
Steve: What I am suggesting is that a suit involving branches and green (not necessarily leaves) might be inspired by the use of green pieces in another game to suggest spring, i.e. the "four seasons" game, not that a suit involving branches might involve the use of green. The latter is of course not surprising. A suit involving branches, or trunks, and green is perhaps less likely to be inspired by a game depicting polo sticks in blue and gold. It is just one consideration in favor of Bidev, and certainly not anything like a proof or other necessity. (Added later: And no, I don't see any other color correspondences, just correspondences in imagery that seem to correspond to temperaments. Also, I suppose I should say that if you associated sanguinity with playing active sports,then you could see polo sticks as expressing the sanguine temperament, and get to green trunks/branches that way, varying the wood. But no such inference is required if we start from Alfonzo. On the other hand, the leap from board to cards, and from green to branches, does not have to be supposed in the case of the polo sticks; we only have to suppose thinking of games in terms of temperaments. But again, that is what Alfonso's book does. Can it be assumed as common knowledge, independently of books like Alfonso's? If not, then Alfonso's plays some role.)

Huck thanks for reproducing the relevant pages from Murray, which answer my questions about where the pieces were put on the board in the "four seasons" game. Thanks also for giving the link to the Ph.D. Thesis by Golladay, https://books.google.de/books?id=aImR3u ... ns&f=false. Actually, quite a bit of this thesis is available online for reading.

One thing I was unclear about was how the four pieces other than pawns relate to court cards. The king and knight are obvious enough. But the others? On p. 109 she mentions that the alferza is not really a bishop, but corresponds to "vizier", which would correspond to the "ober" of German cards. But the four-season game has no "alferza", unless the "fer", the empowered pawn from which our Queen derives, is such a piece. The word "fil" seems to be what others identify as "bishop"--but were any ecclesiastical connotations implied? The word seems to derive from the Persian for "elephant", and represent the elephant-knights of India. I thought the rook was the elephant-knight. In contrast, the "fil" was the weakest non-pawn on the board, in that way corresponding to the "page" in cards. So I am still rather confused.

Her chapter on the metaphysical aspects of Alfonso's Book of Games is pretty interesting. It is very similar to the framework that D'Oncieu uses to analyze tarot. Here is a nice quote (p. 1051: LJ is the Book of Games):
Generally, and in the LJ generally, divine triads, earthly quaternities, celestial sevens and zodiacal twelves were some of the most important symbolically.
There is also a section on the significance of the number five, of which we can see p. 1070. She sees it as the four sides of the board--the four directions, the four limbs of man-- and its center--man as the microcosm, and in man the heart or navel. Not the pentagon, unfortunately (but she gets to it later). This is a book about board games, which are mostly four-sided (except one at the end with seven sides). The Book of Games also doesn't feature the number 10, which of course is very important in Neopythagoreanism.

Her analysis very much supports Bidev's approach as defined by his "motto" from Culin, i.e. “The games are based upon certain fundamental conceptions of the universe.” There is also a little about divination (unfortunately Google Books just teases us here, with the continuation of the discussions omitted). On p. 1096:
Alfonso and other medieval astrologers hoped to divine the future, at once transcending their humanity and harnassing the power of the divine knowledge of Creation."
The idea seems to be that if a game reflects the working of the cosmos, then mastering the game would imply mastering the cosmos. Later she speaks of Alfonso's "divinatory games" (p. 1099); it seems to be the astrological games she has in mind (p. 1102). Divinatory games seem to be comparable to Alfonso's kneeling before the Virgin and touching her robe, thereby achieving direct contact with the divine--a very heterodox and non-Roman Catholic notion (pp. 1098-99). That the text is not clearer on these operations is in keeping with their hermetic orientation, which obscures deliberately (p. 1100). In this regard the text itself becomes a riddle, or a game. Here it may be significant that the "four seasons" game is in the fifth treatise and the astrological game in the seventh (p. 1114).

Her specific analysis of the divinatory aspect starts on p. 1108, where she says that:
Such a usage of games is logical in light of modern research by Botermans, Culin, and Pennick which traces the origins of nearly all games back to geomantic divinatory rites adapted from religious practices.
In a long footnote, she has a nice quote from Pennick on this point, about how game boards reflect the layout of temples, sacred enclosures, and holy cities, a point she applied earlier to the circle-in-the-square of games as reflected in the design of medieval churches. The quote from Pennick ends, "Chess ... is of divinatory origin." Unfortunately the next two pages, 1109-09 are omitted from Google Books' selection, and when Google returns it is on a different subject. But she takes up the subject again on p. 1197, citing Culin and Needham. She also makes the point that the counter-clockwise movement of the astrological game suggests a God's eye view, because from a human perspective the heavens go clockwise (p. 1229 but discussed earlier).

She mentions Tarot at one point, but it is only to show how the World card fits the "circle in the square" orientation she has been stressing. She puts "the earth" in the center, although also saying that the card is a logical outgrowth of "several Christian and oriental art forms", including "rose windows and mandalas", preceding it (p. 1140). There is also Cowen's work on Chartres Cathedral, noting "the five windows of the choir hemicycle (a semicircular arrangement) [which] relate in various ways to the Virgin Mary"(p. 1154). Moreover, one window "uses sacred geometry based on Plato's Timaeus. Geometrically it is twelve pentagons, i.e. the faces of a dodecohedron, the solid that represented the fifth element and "the whole spiritual heaven" (p. 1155).

She says that the astrological game of the seventh treatise involves seven concentric circles and a hierarchical progression through them; thus it is a cosmograph. Medieval clocks, i.e. in Venice, Padua, Wells Cathedral, and Wimborne, combine the imagry of both treatises five and seven by having the concentric circles pus figures in the four corners (p. 1165). She continues to insist that Alfonso's book describes "divinatory games" (e.g. p. 1164), apparently the "four seasons" and "astrological" ones, perhaps also the "world" game, but Google Books does not show us pages elaborating this thesis. Perhaps it has something to do with the God's eye view of counter-clockwise movement; or maybe it is simply that these games teach the principles of astrology which then must be put into practice in one's life. Somehow, in the thesis of the sacred divinatory origin of most games, geomancy is primary (1194), with its multiples of 2. The I Ching is not cited in this connection. A text she does not recommend on this last topic is Murray, who is relatively disnterested in "primitive" games.

I see that I have much to learn regarding the history and pre-history of games!

Added later: I now see that the entire thesis is online at http://jnsilva.ludicum.org/HJT2k9/AlfonsoX.pdf.
So I will go back and see what I have missed.

Added later: the main thing I missed is an online resource set up by Meissenburg, with a urls such as https://www.netcologne.de/404/mynetcologne/ and
http://www.mynetcologne.de/~nc-jostenge/meisse.htm. But all that comes up is "404 Fehler" (mistake). Also, she develops 9 out of 5: if the center 1 and the corners are 4, the spaces between the corners are 4 more. She mentions a nine-square platform of seeresses in places as diverse as India, China, and the Norse lands (p. 1074, citing Pennick 132-3).

Added later: I missed Steve last question, about the "gold" on the Spanish cards. I was referring to the off-yellow. I didn't know what else to call it, in traditional terms. If you like, "off-yellow".

Added later: I made an addition to my first paragraph. Another thing: one big plus for the pdf version is that it includes the bibliography. Pennick's book is Secret Games of the Gods, Weiser 1992.

Re: Bidev 1979 typescript on playing cards' origin

#20
It seems to me that despite his errors, Bidev's theory about the "four seasons" game still cannot be ruled out as playing a role in the origin of European playing cards. While it may be true that there were no restrictions on the use of green in Islam, the fact remains that there is no green in the Istanbul polo stick cards ...
Steve: What I am suggesting is that a suit involving branches and green (not necessarily leaves) might be inspired by the use of green pieces in another game to suggest spring...,
It is not Bidev’s argument that the green of the Bastons is derived from the green piece of the Four Seasons game. As you yourself noted, he does not himself follow the attributions in the text; and that may well be because of something else you have also noted, the attributions in Alfonso are unconventional, sanguine is conventionally red bile, not yellow/green bile; it is contrary to the conventions of what was, indeed, common knowledge ... (the relationship between elements, humors and temperament).

Bidev’s main argument re: the colour green is about whether Latin suits are copied from the Mamluk Kanifa cards, or vise-versa:
What is now true: That Mamluk copists [sic] of Italian PC with the suited curved swords have interpreted the last signs as scimitars, resp. curved sabres, or that Italians copists have adopted the Mamluk scimitars as curved swords?
It is possible, as far as I know, from the chronological evidence, that the Mamluk Kanifa cards could have been copied from the Latin; and this is clearly what Bidev thinks, but Bidev’s arguments are flawed. He is not arguing that the pre-dominantly green Bastons could not have been copied from the Mamluk because they do not contain green, but that the Mamluk copyists did not copy the green coloring of the Latin bastons because of it being a holy colour and thus prohibited, and that red was not used inside the cups because of the prohibition against wine:
The following three things are doubtless: 1. The green colour of the Latin suit bastos, bastoni, do not appear in Mamluk PC of Istanbul Museum in Top-Capi-Saray. Mamluk copists of Italian PC could not it adopte [sic] because the holy colour of the Islamic religion is green as attested upon their holy emblem: the green flag contered with a yellow halfmoon and a yellow fivestar. 2. The winered [sic] segment of Latin cups do not appear also in the upper part of the Mamluk cups. They are throughout gilt, resp. without a red viny segment in the mouth. The wine is forbidden by the Prophet to the followers of his religion.
Despite these non-existent prohibitions (I have already mentioned the non-existent prohibition against use of the color green, as for wine, one can drink grape juice – and there are plenty of depictions of people drinking in medieval Islamic art) the imagined copyists strict adhere too, they were nonetheless apparently liberal enough in their attitude to Islamic prohibitions to indulge in prohibited pictorial representation:
3. The dragons upon the Mamluk cards are inexplicable from the Islamic religion forbidding pictorial representation of human and animal beings. The dragons may be rather an Islamic decorative adaptation from Portugiese [sic] cards bearing pictures of dragons on the four Aces.
Which is a very good point, excepting for the fact that despite prohibitions against pictorial representation dragons were in fact a common motif of medieval Islamic art! It was one of the major emblems of the Great Seljuk Turks, with whom began the Islamic period in Turkey. It was an emblem of the Seljuk prior to their conversion to Islam, and continued to be so after their conversion. As such it was at first predominant in the Irano-Turkish territories and became diffused from there. (There were in fact two main styles of dragon used in Islamic art, the first being the Seljuk style, the latter being a more Chinese-like style, following on from the mongol invasions.)

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Detail of dragon heads at summit of mosque arches, The Seljuk Han of Anatolia.

Some others:
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Prince Bahram Slays a Dragon, manuscript illumination from a 1371 copy of the Shahnama.


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Gushtap slays the dragon, Iran, 15th century

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Isfander kills a dragon

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Another Seljuk emblem was the double-headed eagle, here an example relief on 13th century minaret:
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(It was not a swidespread ymbol of the Holy Roman Empire until after the fall of constantinople.)

Mamluk art too, is replete with figurative imagery, humnan, animal and mythological (phoenex, dragons, etc). And from surviving examples of Mamluk heraldric emblems we have evidence of white, yellow, red, blue, green, brown and black colours being used in such emblems.

Some Mamluk emblems:

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Cup-bearer and Master of Robes (the yellow diamond).

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Emblem of the Jukander - Keeper of the Polo Sticks, with cup born at the games.

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Sword-bearer
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

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