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### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 11 Jun 2018, 02:37
mathematically speaking, you can also 52 cards in a regular deck, and a ratio of 4/5, for 65 in a triumph deck, 52 regular cards plus 12 triumphs plus the fool? You can't assume that a triumph deck always has 56 regular cards? It didn't in Bologna later on. By 1477 it is hard to imagine only 12 triumphs, however, even in Bologna.

But according to Pratesi, playing with truncated regular decks was common,. That is how he argues against the 1457 Ferrara decks of 70 cards being 14 + 56: they could be 22 + 48. We know from the example of tarocchini that Bologna played tarocchi with a truncated deck, using 40 regular cards. So with 40 cards in a regular deck and a ratio of 2/3, and , there would be a total of 60 cards in a triumph deck, or, assuming the same truncation in the triumph deck, 19 triumphs plus the fool, not unreasonable if Bologna had chosen not to add a few triumphs added elsewhere, from an original smaller number. With 36 per regular deck, there would be a total of 54, or 17 plus the fool. With 32, there would be a total of 48 in a triumph deck, or 15 plus the fool. With 44 cards per regular deck, there wold be 66 cards in a triumph deck, or 21 triumphs plus the fool. Why not any of those?

Your argument does show that 78 cards in a trumph deck, and a regular deck of 52 cards, is the most flexible distribution, for a specified total number of cards as a multiple of the number in a regular deck, consistent with verified later practice, everywhere except Bologna. Given that in 1477 Bologna was not, as it became after 1507, a kind of island connected only to the Vatican, and that strongly, perhaps such an argument is strong enough.

### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 11 Jun 2018, 19:27
I thought of the 52:65 solution, but I was thinking 40+12+8+1, that is 4 face cards per suit and 8 trumps, as the old VIII Emperors may have had. After 52:78, this was the closest to being plausible I could find, with a small integer ratio between regular and tarocchi decks. I did not know about the later Bologna 12-face-card tarocchi.

I have heard about the truncated decks. Were they sold truncated or did people just put some of the cards aside? The 1457 Ferrara order was a specially ordered deck, so someone who was in the habit of dropping the Queens and Tens, could have chosen not to pay for them, in the special expensive hand-made deck she ordered for herself.

If we may take an example from modern times, you can play pinochle, (I think) by taking two poker decks with the same backs and combining them and then discarding most of the cards. But you can also buy pinochle decks (I still see them for sale although as far as I know I have never met a person who plays pinochle.) What you can't do is buy a deck of cards hoping to play poker and find that it is a pinochle deck because the retailer doesn't care. Pinochle decks need to be a different stock keeping unit from the poker decks. With the meticulous record keeping that Pratesi has found in the shop ledgers, it's hard to believe they just stopped including eight of the cards at some point, and didn't write "Full" and "Short" for the decks which did or did not have the full number.

Until there are zero customers who still want all four face cards, it will be less trouble to just always include them, and let the players who don't want the Queens put them aside, rather than maintaining a stock of two different kinds of deck.

But this is a question that may be answerable by more data.

### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 11 Jun 2018, 20:53
Sorry, I didn't figure it out until later. Is your mention of the 40 and 60 card decks because of the 40 and 60 that occur in the 1908 report? Didn't Pratesi say that he found the original and it didn't say anything about 40 and 60? But I didn't read that part too carefully. If the mention of 40 and 60 in 1908, is evidence that the numbers 40 and 60 were in the 1477 contract, that is very strong evidence indeed.

If not, then we would have to think not only that tarocchini was played in Bologna, but that it was universal, so much so that any other game was impossible or even unimaginable. A game with 40 cards might have been played, but was it the only game anyone ever played (except the 60 card one)? If not, then two kinds of non-tarocchi decks would be needed, in which case no one would sign a contract to supply playing card decks and not say which kind they were committed to supply. Or perhaps, even though the 40 card game was popular, anyone who wanted to play it bought a 52 card deck. Playing one particular game with truncated decks is quite possible, but no longer selling decks to play any other game is not. And if even a few 52 card decks were sold, a contract couldn't say, a deck of cards, and have it mean 40 cards without any need to spell it out.

(I don't know, as you can probably tell, what games other than tarocchi were popular in XV cent. Italy)

### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 12 Jun 2018, 05:07
Sandy wrote:
The regular deck was 52 (although four different face cards are used in Italy, any given region uses only 3) This is true as far back as the evidence goes, as far as I know.
This isn't true for the situation of 15th century. Compare http://trionfi.com/0/p/25/

Master PW made a 5x14 deck (round cards, 5 suits - 3 kind of flowers and parrot and hare -, 4 courts for each suit.

Hofämterspiel .. somehow 4x6 courts in 48 cards (Kings and Queens not numbered, 10 Hofmeister, 9 Marschalk, 6 Junckfrawe, 1 Narr+Nerryn)

Ambras - 4x14, 56 cards, 4 courts

Stuttgart - 52 cards, but 4 courts and numbers 1-9

Spielkartenmeister .... 60 cards, 60 cards, 5x12, King, Queen (both sitting), Ober, Unter (both male and both standing), 9-2

Already John of Rheinfelden knew variants to 4x13.

There's a suspicion, that the Rosenwald Tarocchi was based on a 48-cards-deck. Such a deck was found in Assisi
http://www.naibi.net/A/526-ASSISI-Z.pdf

Spain had also a preference for 48 cards.

### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 12 Jun 2018, 23:18
Sandy wrote:
The 1457 Ferrara order was a specially ordered deck, so someone who was in the habit of dropping the Queens and Tens, could have chosen not to pay for them, in the special expensive hand-made deck she ordered for herself.
Yes, and the same could be said for the cheaper versions: that is, people who were in the habit of playing with a 48 card deck could save a little money by buying a deck with fewer cards. And the nobles could have played the same game as everyone else. Or it was a 56 card regular deck and 14 special cards (including the fool if there was one). We can only talk about reasonable possibilities here, and there are several.

Sandy wrote,
Is your mention of the 40 and 60 card decks because of the 40 and 60 that occur in the 1908 report? Didn't Pratesi say that he found the original and it didn't say anything about 40 and 60? But I didn't read that part too carefully. If the mention of 40 and 60 in 1908, is evidence that the numbers 40 and 60 were in the 1477 contract, that is very strong evidence indeed.
My only reason for considering a 40 card regular deck as a reasonable possibility is that tarocchini used a deck with 40 regular cards. Perhaps in Bologna and elsewhere there were choices in regular decks one could buy, e.g. 40 and 52, with the 40 card one being 24% cheaper. My only reason for thinking 20 special cards is that the tarocchi deck may not have been fully standardized everywhere, and Bologna still kept an older version, or, to accommodate the Church's objections, removed the Popess and the Devil, or some other two cards. We know that Florence removed the Popess, or never had one, from the numbers on the Charles VI and the strambotto poem that omitted the Popess. And there is no clearly pre-1477 deck with a Devil card. The earliest indication is the Steele Sermon, and we don't know when before 1500 it was given.

### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 13 Jun 2018, 03:29
I am extremely interested in early German decks (non-tarot ones) and even more so in German exports. Thank you for this data and everything you posted in the trionfi.com article. I am trying to locate pictures of all of those decks. But all the regular decks on the list do seem to be German. So it seems we may know less about regular decks even than the little we know naibi di trionfi, for XV cent Italy. Anything might be true, for all we know, but I don't agree that everything is true, all at the same time. Any given city was such that a retailer would write naibi in his cashbook, and carefully note the size and fineness of the deck, and many details, but didn't feel the need to say full deck or truncated Deck. Saying naibi was enough to specify the number of cards, whatever that number was.

### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 13 Jun 2018, 21:12
When I buy a bottle of wine, I often wish the same wine came in a liter bottle, as 750ml is too little and a second bottle, once uncorked, tends to get drained. Milk in the USA comes in gallons, and if you want less, the next size down is the half gallon. So retailers accommodate our desire to pay less and get less, to the tune of a 1:2 ratio, but no finer. Certainly a 20 card deck could be kept in stock and sold, but 48 card decks, in a 52 card world, I don't think so. When I fill my own bottles I can put in them however much I like, so I think a privately made 48 card deck is no problem, just not a mass-produced one. 40 card decks might be sold. So the 40:60 option remains in play, as far as retail stocks are concerned. One can imagine a 40 card deck, a 52 card deck, a 60 card trionfi deck, and a 78 card trionfi deck, all on a mercer's shelf at the same time. 40 is enough smaller than 52 that the mercer might be willing to go to that trouble, for the customers who wanted that. He would write "full" and "short" in his cash book, but we haven't seen any Bolognese cash books.

I myself thought the regular decks were 56 cards in Italy for most of the XV century, since that was the simplest explanation for trionfi decks having four face cards. But for the 1477 contract, that would be 84 card trionfi at 2:3 or 70 at 4:5. 84 card trionfi can be dismissed, I think. But shall we say that all regular decks in Bologna as late as 1477 were 56, and all trionfi decks were 70? I await more data. It must be possible to find out the size of regular decks in Italy in the XVI century! The four-face-card regular decks got shortened at some point, and I want to know the date for which we can say, they were definitely 52 by such-and-such a date.

Shall we say that all trionfi decks in the whole of Italy were 70 cards as late as 1477? I would find that hard to believe. But perhaps just in Bologna, the deck-shortening capital of the world? Yes, but 70 only works if the regular decks in Bologna were 56.

Now we come to the point that two businessmen made a contract for the supply of decks of cards, and didn't think they needed to specify the size of the decks. That I think is the end of the story that 40, 52, 60, and 78 card decks sat in a row on a Bologna mercer's shelf in 1477.

But it is just possible, as far as this contract is concerned, that Bologna in 1477 was a 70 card trionfi island in (what I think was by 1477) a sea of larger trionfi decks, but only if Bologna regular decks were 56.

It would have to be the case that 56 card and 70 card decks were so standard in Bologna, that you could say "cartes" and "trionfi" in Bologna and have no doubt of the size.
---
For some the site is not letting me place the image I uploaded inline. It is a knave of collars from a 1477 (or within a year or two) hand-made Burgundy deck.

### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 14 Jun 2018, 15:12
The article of Franco had some interest, as it could give some argument for the 5x14-theory.
After some closer examination all (inclusive Franco) got doubts about the value of the article.

### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 14 Jun 2018, 15:29
sandyh wrote:
13 Jun 2018, 03:29
I am extremely interested in early German decks (non-tarot ones) and even more so in German exports. Thank you for this data and everything you posted in the trionfi.com article. I am trying to locate pictures of all of those decks. But all the regular decks on the list do seem to be German. So it seems we may know less about regular decks even than the little we know naibi di trionfi, for XV cent Italy. Anything might be true, for all we know, but I don't agree that everything is true, all at the same time. Any given city was such that a retailer would write naibi in his cashbook, and carefully note the size and fineness of the deck, and many details, but didn't feel the need to say full deck or truncated Deck. Saying naibi was enough to specify the number of cards, whatever that number was.
The number of extant playing cards from 15th century is generally not high. Germany has the most. A good part is in the WWPCM ...
http://a.trionfi.eu
http://a.trionfi.eu/WWPCM/WWPCM/germany/histor.htm

This once had been a useful arrangement, but somehow it got some chaos later
http://trionfi.com/0/j/

### Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Posted: 18 Jun 2018, 21:23
I have just found a trove of great images at the Austrian national art gallery website. Go here
http://www.khm.at/objektdb/#object-91099
and search for Hofämterspiel, for example. Then just search for spielkarte or spielkarten and find many other great decks.

I have not found any trove of online images at any German site yet, nor any Swiss, Italian, nor Spanish one. Not just no trove of playing card images; these countries have far less in general of their massive collections of art online, than do England, France, USA, and Austria. Hungary is not bad. Holland is in the middle.

At least, if all that art in German and Italian hands is online, I haven't found it yet.