Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#21
The easy way to Tarot ...

.... take a usual deck, for instance a 4x13-deck, the most usual deck structure we know of.

Image


As we know from Martiano da Tortona, that there was a specific habit (or definition) with the suits ...
However, the order of these Birds [= number cards] is, although none of their type has right over another, yet this arrangement they have alternately – Eagles and Turtledoves lead from many to few: that is to say it goes better for us when many cultivate virtue and continence; but for Phoenices and Doves, the few rule over the many, which is to say that, the more the followers of riches and pleasure are visible, the more they lead to the deterioration of our station.


... and we know it as a known rule in this early time, we have to assume, that this rule existed.

In the second step (if we already know, that some cards can triumph against others, we define the group of trumps. There are many ways to arrange that, but one of the easiest (and therefore most logical) definitions would be, to take just one of the 4 suits as trumps.

Image


As we know the special old rule (from Martiano) the step to a special evaluation of "highest trump" and "lowest trump" is a very easy one, cause in this old rule the lowest trump (or card) is occasionally high.

In the next step the funny Fool is invented as a 3rd special card beside "highest trump" and "lowest trump". It was an old habit to make at least one card looking funny, usually an Unter. In the Liechtenstein'sche Spiel it was an urinating Fool as Unter of the cups (he fills the cup).

Image


And already you're close to the game of Tarot ... just by defining the most common 4x13-deck.

Image


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

If you add the common numbers of Tarot to this deck ...

12 = 4 points for 3 Kings
9 = 3 points for 3 Queens
6 = 2 points for 3 Unters
---
27

13 points for 13 tricks

12 = 4 points for highest trump, lowest trump and Fool

... you have 27 + 13 + 12 = 52 total points in the game with a deck with 52 cards
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#22
Ross: I haven't come around to your position, of course. I still think the most logical place for the game to have been invented, given the Marziano, is Milan, as a 16 card sequence, at a time not far removed from that of the Marziano itself. I'm just crediting your prediction about the evidence in the matter of "cheaper decks" and won't be discouraged if it remains true. However the evidence for Milan, or pre-1438 Florence, is not compelling by any means. As I've said before, you might well be right. But I don't know why no one on this Forum but me finds it of interest that in two of the Catania cards, the recycled paper has recycled paper the dates 1427 and 1428 on it, according to a recent Playing Card article, suggesting a date close to 1435 for that deck.

Without cheaper decks in Milan, there remains the problem of how it would have gotten to Florence from the Visconti court. Trade is less likely to be the answer, in a time of small production. But I assume that there were ambassadors and condottiere (e.g. Francesco Sforza, 1435/1436-1439) going from one city to the other, and if nothing else the people coming for the conclave in 1438--not just churchmen--although that seems to me rather late. Even though there was no court in Florence, there were wealthy and influential families, of which the Medici would have been the most influential, for informal exchanges which might include cards.

As Huck points out, and Franco before him, there is an easier way to have a trump suit than with all those odd allegories on them and nothing but allegories. It is they that need to be accounted for. There may have been Karnoffel, but "VIII Emperors" doesn't sound like it is Karnoffel. Karnoffel is a long shot, with nothing except a suggestive decree in Milan to indicate its presence (but which might be about something else). Marziano is the closest predecessor, and "VIII Emperors" the next closest. As I have argued, it is reasonably possible to get to tarot from "VIII Emperors" in Florence without going through Marziano in Milan. But the connection between Marziano and the Cary-Yale is so much closer. .

Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#23
The kind of rule change I had in mind was something like this: freeing the trumps from being tied to a suit, so that a player wouldn't have to play a high trump as part of the requirement to follow suit. We have to ask: what would the rule be for "following suit" in a game of "VIII Emperors"? I presume that if Swords were led, for example, and the only Sword one had was the Emperor, one would be obliged to play it instead of a lower trump in some other suit. Or if (in Marziano) Virtues were led, one would be obliged to play Jupiter if that was the only Virtue card one had. Getting rid of that rule would probably make the game more interesting. Another rule change might be to make only a few of the trumps counting cards, as opposed to some complicated hierarchy of points mimicking the court cards. We can't know what these rule changes would have been, but only reconstruct what they might have been based on their originally being just another suit, only higher than the others, or perhaps one thought of as all courts. These are of course rules that Ross would probably say never existed.

I have been reading recently Macrobius (Saturnalia book one) on how our calendar was invented. He goes on for page after page of previous calendars that were used and then, over the course of the years, proved not to be very practical, but then couldn't simply be rationalized because of all the religious holidays that had to be fit in at particular times of the month. It finally took a dictator to work out a practical compromise, such as it is. Then there is the absurd system of measurement my country uses, alongside a more rational one used only for scientific purposes. Simplicity and elegance are sometimes hard to come by.

Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#24
mikeh wrote: As Huck points out, and Franco before him, there is an easier way to have a trump suit than with all those odd allegories on them and nothing but allegories. It is they that need to be accounted for. There may have been Karnoffel, but "VIII Emperors" doesn't sound like it is Karnoffel. Karnoffel is a long shot, with nothing except a suggestive decree in Milan to indicate its presence (but which might be about something else). Marziano is the closest predecessor, and "VIII Emperors" the next closest. As I have argued, it is reasonably possible to get to tarot from "VIII Emperors" in Florence without going through Marziano in Milan. But the connection between Marziano and the Cary-Yale is so much closer. .
Karnöffel was also running with the name Keyserspiel and even as Imperatori game, that's the reason, why Franco long ago suggested, that there would be a context. The Imperatori note was in Würzburg and from the 1440s, the same period, when the most Imperatori decks were mentioned in Ferrara. The first Karnöffel note appeared in 1427, the first Imperatori note in Ferrara in 1423, so both close to each other.
Würzburg 1443 - 1455: The only note of the Imperatori game outside of Ferrara/Florence appears in Würzburg: According Schreiber 1938 (p. 52) Paulus Wann (lived mostly in Passau ca. 1420-1489) in his "Tractatus de contractibus" reports about a card game, that was played in the time of Fürstbischof Gottfried IV. (1443 - 55) during the Fasching time and which showed blasphemous tendencies against God and the Holy Virgin: "Et notandum vidi in Herbipoli, cum ibi essem ... Ille tempori Vaschangali (Fasching) unus quidam ibi ludens ad cartas ludum vocatum imperatoris, cum blasmephemaret deum et beatum virginem, captus fuit". Schreiber adds in a footnote: "Cod. lat. man. 4695 S. 37 und Code. lat. 12730 S. 56b der Hof- und Schlossbibliothek in München."
Other (later) notes refer to Ludus caesarum or Keyserspiel or Königsspiel or Karnöffel (if all names really refer to a similar game, is still an unsolved question).
http://trionfi.com/imperatori-cards-ferrara-1423

Further we have the note of Ingold 1432 ...
http://trionfi.com/0/mi/00/
"Nun sind auf dem kartenspil fier küng mit iren wauppen, und hat ieglicher under im XIII karten, das macht an ainer sum LII, und hat ieglichü das zaychen irs küngs. Etlich kartenspil hat dar zu fier küngin und fier junkfrawen, etlich haben den ackerman, den edelman, den wuchrer, den pfaffen, die toypel, den riffian, den wirt; und gewint ie ains dem andern ab: dem edelman der wuchrer, dem wuchrer der pfaff, dem pfaffen das täppelweib, dem täppelweib der riffian, dem riffian der wirt, dem wirt der weinman, dem weinman wider umb der pauman der den wein pauwen sol, der nimpt das gelt wider von dem wirt."
... a row of 8 funny figures, directly replacing the court cards Ober and Unter.

Further the Karnöffel game description of Mysner, also using (likely) 8 figures: (4 ?) heilige Lehrer, Emperor, Pope, Devil and Karnöffel.
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=416&hilit=mysner

Further the 8 Ringmann cards (1508), using 4 persons of the court and 4 persons of the church.
http://trionfi.com/0/c/09/
(unluckily the pictures are lost, but the text is available at https://openlibrary.org/books/OL1400433 ... imiledruck)

The later Karnöffel (based on a document of 1537) have differences to the Mysner description. Mysner might have had in mind 8 court cards (as Ingold), the later Karnöffel seems to have used a trump suit. So this likely have been two different games (though with the same name).

Probably the 8 Imperatori cards in Ferrara were either added cards (as 4th and 5th court cards, getting a 4x15-deck as the Michelino) or replacement cards for Ober and Unter (getting a deck similar to Ingold's game).

I don't understand this sentence: "Karnoffel is a long shot, with nothing except a suggestive decree in Milan to indicate its presence (but which might be about something else)."
I don't know about a Karnöffel game in Milan.

added: btw the theory of this development (demonstrated a few posts ago) goes back to discussions of 2003. It's an old part of the 5x14-theory.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#25
I wrote earlier
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1120&start=20#p17858
If you add the common numbers of Tarot to this deck ...

12 = 4 points for 3 Kings
9 = 3 points for 3 Queens
6 = 2 points for 3 Unters
---
27

13 points for 13 tricks

12 = 4 points for highest trump, lowest trump and Fool

... you have 27 + 13 + 12 = 52 total points in the game with a deck with 52 cards[4 players]
The same would work for a 4x14-deck:

12 = 4 points for 3 Kings
9 = 3 points for 3 Queens
6 = 2 points for 3 Knights
3 = 1 point for 3 Fante
---
30

14 points for 14 tricks

12 = 4 points for highest trump, lowest trump and Fool

30 + 14 +12 results in 56 points for the game with 56 cards

It wouldn't work for a 4x15-deck or a 4x12-deck.

A 4x15-deck and the wish to have the same number 60 for the points likely would result in this solution

15 = 5 points for 3 Kings
12 = 4 points for 3 Queens
9 = 3 points for 3 Obers
6 = 2 points for 3 Maids
3 = 1 point for 3 Fante
---
45

15 points for 15 tricks (in a game with 4 players)

45 + 15 = 60 would lead to a game with 60 cards and 60 points for four players. Points for highest trump, lowest trump and Fool are not necessary, and possibly one can say, that this rule of 3 special cards developed either from the 52-cards deck or from the 56-cards deck.

I've recently spoken about a Tarot variant with 78 cards and 78 points (game for 3 players) and also about the 5x14-theory with 70 cards and 69,5 points (game for four players):
Alain ...
In another formulation : what datation could be given to the "Tetractys game" of the 56 suit cards?
In German games it's common counting, that King = 4, Queen = 3, Jack = 2 ...
Surely that's older stuff, but where it really can be observed first ...
Rules of the Trumpfspiel:
The dealer is chosen by luck, the lowest card determines the dealer.
It's not told, how many players; it's not told, how much cards and which cards.
Everybody gets 9 cards.
From the remaining cards the highest is turned and determines trump (it's not said, if the "highest cards" are also trump, but likely they are). If the turned card is an ace, the dealer can exchange this to a worthless card, if other cards follow from the trump suit, then these he may exchange also. It's not said, if the other players may exchange anything.
The game is won by the highest points.
Ace has 4 points.
King has 3 points.
Frau-Queen has 2 points.
Jack-Bub has 1 point.
(this should make 40 points totally)
If somebody gets all tricks, the win is doubled.
thread ... viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1051 (from 1637)

Here it are ...

Ace has 4 points.
King has 3 points.
Frau-Queen has 2 points.
Jack-Bub has 1 point.

This leads to a game ...
https://www.pagat.com/couillon/couillon.html
... with strong similarities, somehow in the border of France and Germany.

Known Tarot rules are late, as we know, but it uses mostly 2 point-systems:

King = 4 (number of Emperor in trump sequence)
Queen = 3 (number of Empress)
Cavallo = 2 (number of Popess, which is somehow the "Junckfrawe", an old court card)
Fante = 1 (number of Magician)
or
King = 5
Queen = 4
Cavallo = 3
Fante = 2

One may conclude, that 1-2-3-4 is the original, and 2-3-4-5 followed.

Part of the Tarot rules are 3x4 or 3x5 points for highest trump, lowest trump and Fool.

Further each trick has a value (which differs). Mostly this question is solved by card counting.

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

The 5x14-deck is considered to have been early (at least by me).

If I use the 1-2-3-4-system and 4 points for each special trump and 1 point for each trick I get with the 5x14-deck

40 points [(1+2+3+4)x4] for the 1-2-3-4-system
12 points for the special trumps
17.5 points for 70 cards in a game with 4 players
-----
69.5 points totally

... which is nearly 70 points for a game with a deck with 70 cards. The 1/2 missing point might have been used as a tie-breaker.

In a French rule (for 78 cards, from which I assume, that it is a later rule) we get the following system ...

40 points [(1+2+3+4)x4] for the 1-2-3-4-system
12 points for the special trumps
26 points for tricks for 78 cards in a game with 3 players
------
78 points totally

So there are 78 points for a game with 78 cards.

There exist different Tarot counting systems. But I think, that in the "original old rules" players were interested to have elegant number-systems. Number of game points identical to the number of cards seems to have been an interest of the rules makers.

John of Rheinfelden (1377) used for his 60 cards deck ..

15 points ... Kings
14 points ... Queens
13 points ... upper marshall (= Ober)
12 points ... Maid (Junckfraw = virgin = Lady at the court)
11 points ... lower marshall (= Unter)
number cards according their numbers

This system seems to have been reduced in Italian Tarocchi versions to ...

4 = King
3 = Queen
2 = Cavallo
1 = Fante
(the maid is lost)

... but in the trumps row (Milanese version)

4 = Emperor. higher than king
3 = Empress, higher than Queen
2 = Popess = Virgin = Maid (Cavallo is lost)
1 = Magician, lowest trump

In the Minchiate versions (court cards) we have ...

4 = King
3 = Queen
2 = Cavallo (human-animals)
1 = 2 male pages, 2 female pages (Maid + Unter)

... here Maid and Unter are mixed at one position, and that already at the Rosenwald Tarocchi.

Image


So we see that JvR model is proceeded in variants.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1102&start=350

So one can see, that there seems to have been an old motif to have games, in which it was attractive to have the same number of points and cards.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#26
Huck wrote: I don't understand this sentence: "Karnoffel is a long shot, with nothing except a suggestive decree in Milan to indicate its presence (but which might be about something else)."
I don't know about a Karnöffel game in Milan.
I think Mike is referring to Visconti's 1420 decree banning card games that did not follow the "ancient and correct method", that is, those that didn't follow rank or suit, which might apply to a game like Karnöffel.

The posts and sources are here -
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&p=5187&hilit=foras#p5187
Image

Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#27
mikeh wrote: 1428: Tarot cards were invented in the court of the Visconti.
...
Franco's research shows that 1440 is too late for cheap decks.
A few qualms here.

Even Pratesi has to equivocate with calling Marziano 'quasi-tarot.' The series of subjects with which we are primarily occupied do not reflect the classical mythology of Marziano (I'm thinking especially of Pratesi's paper: On Trumps, Triumphs, and Tarots. (10.06.2012): http://www.naibi.net/A/126-TRITARTRU-Z.docx ). I don't even see how the love interests of the pagan gods (e.g., Daphne) qualifies as a species of 'triumphal' art, unless narrowed to a triumph of love/chastity, which is rather restricted in light of the far-flung subjects of tarot proper. At all events, your qualified statement must read 'quasi-tarot' was invented in Milan...by a humanist. Why Ross seemingly dismisses this last piece of information and places the creation of an even more complex series of subjects within the hoi polloi of the card-playing public continues to perplex me. On the flip side, there are no references to the Marziano deck at the time of its inception and thus no evidence of it's diffusion to Florence or elsewhere (both historical references to Marziano post-date the CY and therefore the ur-tarot - Decembrio's vita and Marcello's letter).

As for your second point about 1440 as too late as marking mass production, what specifically are you referring to besides some uncited sociological time-lag rule before something novel is adopted or recognized? I'd prefer to stick to the evidence on this point and not anecdotal social theory. And the only evidence we have is that tarot was produced in Florence and known of by a provincial notary who ordered a deck for a potential (or recurring?) client, in the summer of 1440. But we must qualify 'provincial notary' as he was not just officially bearing witness to the signing of the odd condotte but intimately involved in the business of supplying soldiers (procuratore) to condottieri and allied to the Medici faction. In the grand scheme of things he was a tiny, provincial cog in the rather vast political machinery of the Medici, but an extremely knowledgeable cog - e.g., his other entries carefully track the movements, victories and disappointments of both Sforza and Cosimo.

I won't bore you with all of my Anghiari ur-tarot arguments again here (suffice to say, it was a singular Medicean trionfo over both internal and foreign enemies, hence the name given to the card novelty, IMO), but will point out the generally downplayed audacity of Giusti's act. This is almost never discussed in regard to Giusti's now famous diary entry: Malatesta was not a Medici ally at the time of Giusti's gift. In 1437 Giusti was registrar to the Florentine vicar to Anghiari (Morelli, a Medicean partisan), but in 1440 he seems to have held no official position other than the private role of 'registrar of money' (cancelliere del soldo) for the mercenary compagnia di Agnolo Taglia, someone who had relations with Malatesta as a 'lance for hire.' The audacity here is that reaching out to Malatesta was a brazen act of foreign relations; Giusti presumably did so with the consent of the Medici in order to re-establish a condotte with the mercenary ruler of Rimini (who was once friendly enough to participate in the ritual consecration of the Florentine duomo in 1436, before Visconti paid him off for at least his neutrality).

Two fundamental conclusions here:
1. The deep connection Giusti had to the Medici at this early date makes him an active Medici partisan; and
2. The strong possibility that 1440 tarot production was tied to the Medici - for why else would that gift "made expressly in Florence" be given to Malatesta at a time of estrangement with the Medici by a Medici partisan, unless that gift was meant to connect Malatesta back to the Medici? Malatesta's arms were added - to a Florentine production (that did not already feature the Medici palle or allude in some way to the Medici, only recently reinstalled as the leading party in 1434?).

So back to the problem of pre-1440 mass production; I can see at least three fundamental facts that rule it out:
1. Preponderance of written testimony does not speak to either the novelty nor mass production of tarot before 1440: 1436's consecration of the duomo brought all manner of visitor to Florence; likewise the Church Union Council of Florence, from Jan-July, 1439 brought an equally large number of foreign visitors eager to describe the wonders of Florence. Despite Pratesi's deep dive into the archives and the well-studied foreign and Florentine reporting of both events, nary a word of 'trionfi'. Ross rules out anything earlier than this well-documented period.
2. Giusti uses an undocumented phrase to describe tarot, suggesting it was something novel. To cite Ross again, he wrote at the time of Depaulis drawing attention to Giusti's diary: "the unique term naibi a trionfi" viewtopic.php?f=11&t=773
3. Was the Florentine ur-tarot even hand-painted? Since all we have for the earliest evidence are the hand-painted decks for the Visconti-Sforzan ducal court, we tend to classify all early tarot as hand-painted, and later versions as woodblocked/printed; but of course social conditions were quite different in Florence than in Milan, where the former had 'Republican' rulers with a public that had to be appealed to more often and overtly. I agree with Ross that tarot was produced for the gaming public (but conceived of by a humanist, a'la Marziano, IMO), but that mass-produced Florentine item could simply have been embellished, easily enough, by having the recipient's coat of arms added when given as a gift to one of that social rank. There is no reason to infer anymore than this from Giusti's entry - there is nothing about a one of a kind, hand-painted deck, just adding 'Gismondo's belli to something being made in Florence. A case-in-point would be the two surviving versions of the Sola Busca - the uncolored version in which armorial shields are blank and a colored version in which the coat of arms of Venetian patricians have been added.

There is nothing that rules out the ur-tarot as a mass-produced article at its inception...in 1440. Whether it was hand-painted (which does not alter the fundamental connection of Medici-Giusti-Malatesta) or printed by woodblock in one of the numerous studios/shops patronized by the Medici in Florence, there is no other evidence that suggests anything else than Florence/1440 as the city and year of the ur-tarot .

Phaeded

Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#28
Phaeded wrote: A few qualms here.

Even Pratesi has to equivocate with calling Marziano 'quasi-tarot.' The series of subjects with which we are primarily occupied do not reflect the classical mythology of Marziano (I'm thinking especially of Pratesi's paper: On Trumps, Triumphs, and Tarots. (10.06.2012): http://www.naibi.net/A/126-TRITARTRU-Z.docx ). I don't even see how the love interests of the pagan gods (e.g., Daphne) qualifies as a species of 'triumphal' art, unless narrowed to a triumph of love/chastity, which is rather restricted in light of the far-flung subjects of tarot proper.
There are specific elements, which make it a forerunner of the Tarot game. First: It has clearly trumps (in the description of Martiano da Tortona and this is the oldest clear description of trumps). Second: it is called a new Ludus triumphorum (Marcello's letter) and Trionfi games are commonly considered as forerunner for Tarot games. Third: It has a hierarchical trump row and this consists NOT of common playing card motifs (court and number cards). And: An exchange of the trump motifs never was a reason to doubt the category "Tarot" for decks, which fill the form of Tarot packs (4x14+22). Well, it hasn't this form, but other decks called "Trionfi" also didn't fill this form. And a lot of people prefer to call these decks "Tarot or Tarocchi", although we're rather sure, that the word Tarot didn't exist till a much later time.

That's just a language game. This deck with its 16 unusual motifs clearly belongs to the development of the Trionfi decks.
Well, one can - with some right - explain it as a 4-suit-deck with 4x15 structure without the addition of a specific 5th trump suit (as common for Trionfi and Tarot deck). Actually that's a true insight, of course. But actually it's that, what we would search, if we hadn't already found it: a deck with both characteristics of a common 4-suits game in a combination with a longer row of nearly independent trumps inside the 4 suits. Just cause we want to know, how Tarot developed.

...
I won't bore you with all of my Anghiari ur-tarot arguments again here (suffice to say, it was a singular Medicean trionfo over both internal and foreign enemies, hence the name given to the card novelty, IMO), but will point out the generally downplayed audacity of Giusti's act. This is almost never discussed in regard to Giusti's now famous diary entry: Malatesta was not a Medici ally at the time of Giusti's gift. In 1437 Giusti was registrar to the Florentine vicar to Anghiari (Morelli, a Medicean partisan), but in 1440 he seems to have held no official position other than the private role of 'registrar of money' (cancelliere del soldo) for the mercenary compagnia di Agnolo Taglia, someone who had relations with Malatesta as a 'lance for hire.' The audacity here is that reaching out to Malatesta was a brazen act of foreign relations; Giusti presumably did so with the consent of the Medici in order to re-establish a condotte with the mercenary ruler of Rimini (who was once friendly enough to participate in the ritual consecration of the Florentine duomo in 1436, before Visconti paid him off for at least his neutrality).
Malatesta was immediately involved in a siege of Forli, already in August (before he got the deck) ...
Combatte i ducali agli ordini di Francesco Sforza, mentre il fratello Domenico si conduce al soldo dei Visconti. Colloca il campo a Ronco ed assedia Forlimpopoli: i difensori hanno spesso la meglio sui suoi uomini. Si accampa a Selbagnone ed assedia Forlì.
http://www.condottieridiventura.it/inde ... di-brescia

I don't know, how you define ally.
Two fundamental conclusions here:
1. The deep connection Giusti had to the Medici at this early date makes him an active Medici partisan; and
2. The strong possibility that 1440 tarot production was tied to the Medici - for why else would that gift "made expressly in Florence" be given to Malatesta at a time of estrangement with the Medici by a Medici partisan, unless that gift was meant to connect Malatesta back to the Medici? Malatesta's arms were added - to a Florentine production (that did not already feature the Medici palle or allude in some way to the Medici, only recently reinstalled as the leading party in 1434?).

So back to the problem of pre-1440 mass production; I can see at least three fundamental facts that rule it out:
1. Preponderance of written testimony does not speak to either the novelty nor mass production of tarot before 1440: 1436's consecration of the duomo brought all manner of visitor to Florence; likewise the Church Union Council of Florence, from Jan-July, 1439 brought an equally large number of foreign visitors eager to describe the wonders of Florence. Despite Pratesi's deep dive into the archives and the well-studied foreign and Florentine reporting of both events, nary a word of 'trionfi'. Ross rules out anything earlier than this well-documented period.
2. Giusti uses an undocumented phrase to describe tarot, suggesting it was something novel. To cite Ross again, he wrote at the time of Depaulis drawing attention to Giusti's diary: "the unique term naibi a trionfi" viewtopic.php?f=11&t=773
3. Was the Florentine ur-tarot even hand-painted? Since all we have for the earliest evidence are the hand-painted decks for the Visconti-Sforzan ducal court, we tend to classify all early tarot as hand-painted, and later versions as woodblocked/printed; but of course social conditions were quite different in Florence than in Milan, where the former had 'Republican' rulers with a public that had to be appealed to more often and overtly. I agree with Ross that tarot was produced for the gaming public (but conceived of by a humanist, a'la Marziano, IMO), but that mass-produced Florentine item could simply have been embellished, easily enough, by having the recipient's coat of arms added when given as a gift to one of that social rank. There is no reason to infer anymore than this from Giusti's entry - there is nothing about a one of a kind, hand-painted deck, just adding 'Gismondo's belli to something being made in Florence. A case-in-point would be the two surviving versions of the Sola Busca - the uncolored version in which armorial shields are blank and a colored version in which the coat of arms of Venetian patricians have been added.

There is nothing that rules out the ur-tarot as a mass-produced article at its inception...in 1440. Whether it was hand-painted (which does not alter the fundamental connection of Medici-Giusti-Malatesta) or printed by woodblock in one of the numerous studios/shops patronized by the Medici in Florence, there is no other evidence that suggests anything else than Florence/1440 as the city and year of the ur-tarot .

Phaeded
From that, what we have as reports and documents, I think, we can clearly say, that big mass production wasn't in the 1440s, and even for the 1450s it stays limited .

The price for the cheapest deck in Ferrara is about 20 soldi in Florence (the value of the Ferrarese Lira was than the Lira in Florence).
The silk dealers bought in 1449 some decks for 11 Soldi (that's the price for the trader, not for the customer).
In the 1450s the general lowest trader price is about 9 soldi, only in 2 cases it is a little bit lower. The number of bought decks is always below 12, the silk sealer seem to be not confident, that they would sell them quickly.

The prices of the Roman documents are difficult to estimate, as I at least don't know precisely the relation of the Roman currency to Florentine money. Also one doesn't know, if the Roman custom officers can estimate the value of the decks precisely. We have 107 import documents of Trionfi cards in 10 years between 1453 - 1465, which is 10.7 for each year, and so roughly one import for each month (but actually less, as some Trionfi traders often travelled together). So likely there were often discussions, how much the traders had to pay for the decks (and the custom officers didn't know, how to spell the word, many different writing forms).

One document in 1463 (the trader Tornieri) indicates a rapid fall of the prices, much lower than all others (if this isn't part of a document error). Then the price seems to be (suddenly) at the level of the lowest deck prices (for usual cards) in Florence. This would indicate, that a real mass production factor has appeared in this year. Till then it seems, that the price for Trionfi cards was artificially higher than it could have been. A price of 2-3 soldi for a Trionfi deck without special costs should have been possible already earlier, but such decks didn't exist on the parts of the market, which we can observe on the existing documents.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#29
Phaeded wrote: At all events, your qualified statement must read 'quasi-tarot' was invented in Milan...by a humanist. Why Ross seemingly dismisses this last piece of information and places the creation of an even more complex series of subjects within the hoi polloi of the card-playing public continues to perplex me.
"Dismiss" is too strong a word; I just don't feel that Marziano's example should predispose us to think that the same kind of person invented Tarot. Boiardo was a poet, and an intellectual, and he created a unique game. The Sola Busca was clearly not designed by an uneducated person.Francesco de la Torre was a poet and diplomat, probably also educated in a humanist milieu. Don Messore was a priest, and painted Tarots in the Este workshop when it was open. Marziano may also have been a priest; at least, to serve the Pope so closely, he probably had some kind of ordination; he also read Dante with Filippo, and Gasparino Barzizza said of him that he was "most distinguished in the study of the poets." So your "humanist" is a little too constraining a characterization of the kinds of people who invented new configurations of playing card packs. Moreover, there is nothing particularly humanist about the trump subjects.

I imagine that Tarot was invented by someone like the jurist Malatesta Ariosti, who designed and directed the triumphal pageants for Borso d'Este in Modena and Reggio. Since he used the same poem delivered by Fortuna/Occasio that had been given to Alfonso in his triumph in Naples, I wonder if Ariosti didn't have a hand in that triumph too (officially sponsored by the Merchant's Guild of Florence). In any case, "humanist-jurist-poet" could well be a description of a single person. They are not exclusive definitions.

Note that, unlike Marziano, Boiardo, and Sola Busca, the Tarot is just a standard pack with 22 trumps. The others are complete re-imaginings of the subject matter of the suits and trumps. Fernando de la Torre just added a single Emperor to a standard Spanish pack, albeit with verses inscribed on all of the cards.
There is nothing that rules out the ur-tarot as a mass-produced article at its inception...in 1440. Whether it was hand-painted (which does not alter the fundamental connection of Medici-Giusti-Malatesta) or printed by woodblock in one of the numerous studios/shops patronized by the Medici in Florence, there is no other evidence that suggests anything else than Florence/1440 as the city and year of the ur-tarot .
Sure. Except I don't think the state of the evidence warrants precision to a very year. Franco's Florentine evidence contains years where Trionfi are not mentioned, when we know it must have been made and produced. The evidence is simply lost. I don't think a gap of five years or more is plausible (1435-1439 inclusive absence-of-evidence), but I don't see any reason why we might not have any records of the game for a year or two (1438-1439) preceding 1440. To me, that is an acceptable admission of the precision the state of the evidence permits in the matter of dating.

That said, if I had to wager - when Franco discovers it and asks us to place our bets - I'd say 1439, at least after July.
Image

Re: Pratesi Oct. 2016: tarot origins

#30
When I wrote,
Franco's research shows that 1440 is too late for cheap decks.
Phaeded was right to challenge me, I think. I thought I had remembered something by Franco in which he said that. But I can't find it, so probably my memory is playing tricks. The earliest record in the legal records (Giglio, literally "Lily") of Florence he has found seems to be 1444, two men playing triumphs on the street. That at least suggests a cheap deck. I don't know if Ross's observation that "naibi a trionfi" is a unique term shows anything, other than that there wasn't a precise standard term. Was there ever, in the 15th century? The 1444 record has "charte a trionfi" (http://www.naibi.net/A/424-GIGLIO444-Z.pdf).

I am not sure what the lack of records before 1439 would show. In Florence thus far there is a gap of 6 years to the next mention of the game, legalizing it. That might mean that despite the prohibition, it wasn't being enforced against triumphs. Why there is no mention before 1444--or after, in the lists of sentencings--is a mystery. Maybe they never intended to prosecute such cases, but either some fanatical enforcer got carried away, or those two men were committing an abomination, such as playing too close to a church and wouldn't move when asked. History is not like natural science, where events happen according to laws by which one can predict the next occurrence, like Halley's comet. There are too many variables. And even in natural science, the regularities that apply after an originating event do not necessarily apply at the time of origin. The principles may be the same, but there are many more variables, and some principles may be more important than others (like quantum physics vs. relativity physics near the "big bang"). Nor is history like a card game in which everyone in the end reveals what was in his or her hand.

Still, it would be strange if there were no legal records at all in Florence mentioning trionfi before 1444. I would have thought that enforcement would be stricter at first, looser later, like today with marijuana. But I don't really know the comprehensiveness of Florentine legal records. It may well be that the production of cheap decks in Florence wasn't until 1440 or after. The only "law"--or guideline-- I know about records is that of the 15-20 year lag, more or less. It does seem that Florence did a better job than most. But even there, legal records would only reflect play with cheap decks, not those for the richer classes whose card-playing the enforcers would surely overlook. I am not sure what Franco has examined, before 1440. I assume he hasn't gotten to the previous decade. I will have to study the matter further.

I realize now that while I started to translate Franco's essay about trionfi in 1444 (not quite a year ago), it seems I never finished. Something pulled me away, probably connected with Christmas. I will go back and work on it. We all need to know what Franco's observations were. He knows Florence better than anyone else.

One more thing. "Humanist" for our purposes might even include notaries such as Giusti himself. It was a movement as well as a profession. Those who consume--i.e. the educated followers of a movement--can also, in certain areas, also produce. Even dukes could count as "humanists" in that sense. But the term would exclude an artisan who simply produced a card deck with various images, chosen and perhaps adapted according to his fancy while thumbing through copy-books and sketches (rather like Robert Place in relation to alchemy, in my opinion) hoping to sell his wares. In the case of the tarot, early as well as late, it isn't excluded that even they played a part.

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