I won't reiterate the 'AS' King of Swords black shield arguments here, but focus on the similarities of motifs in the Fest book and some of the ‘AS’ trumps.
'AS' Temperance and Fest 'Chastity' nymph of Diana
To date I’ve only discussed the common deer-chastity motif, where in the ‘AS’ it has apparently been utilized for the Temperance trump, where a naked male apparently pours a libation from a chalice/cup onto his "lap". In Aquinas' Summa theologica, in his extended discussion of the parts of the virtue of Temperance, Drunkenness (150) immediately precedes his discussion of Chastity (151), the conjoined issues of which the AS appears to address in the same image. I'll not belabor that discussion again except to place images side by side (there is no reason to draw a deer out of Aquinas but the classical allusion to Diana and her deer in the Fest lend itself to the AS trump, thus suggesting the influence in that direction: the Fest program was shared with the 'AS' production): The World
The closest correspondence between a float in the Fest and the ‘AS’ World, is the circular vignette in the Triumph of Fame (of Costanzo), seemingly taking us back to the very first 'World' in which we find the only attribute of Fame - the winged trumpet. The Fest shows more of an aerial plan view of Pesaro, including a part of the Adriatic sea (and naturally another Fest float shows Neptune, and yet another a nymph of Aragon-controlled Sicily with an island of wheat - from where Pesaro could import the all-important grain). The ‘AS’ World deviates significantly from the ‘CVI’ version – the latter showing an even spread of hilltop towns, presumably indicating Tuscany; the ‘AS’ instead shows a much more vertiginous mountain range, some hip-roof structures, but the whole framed by two prominent castle rooks in the encircling band/frame. Arguably the view is of the Pesaro contado from the sea – as in the globe on the culminating Fest triumph of fame – except in the ‘AS’ a more horizontal veduta perspective, with the towers representing the two fortresses that protected it from the north and south.
Clearly rounded rook towers could symbolize the fortresses, per this reverse of a medal of Costanzo (of the main in-town fortress of Pesaro, I believe):
The north fortress of Gradara, where the court would have been, already existed (acquired by Alessandro in 1463/64) while the south fortress was in the planning phases at the time of the marriage, designed by Francesco Laurana for Costanzo in 1474 and finished in 1479. On the left below, the new fortress (it seems to say "castello of monte Ebrei", matching a float of the same name, but the text is quite small) is shown in the upper right in this reconstructed view of Pesaro “in the time of the Sforza”, while on the right below is a map showing the relationship of Gradara to Pesaro:
Preoccupation with these fortresses is shown in a Bellini painting in Gradara. There seems to be no consensus as to which fortress is shown in the background landscape in Bellini’s Coronation of the Virgin (all references from this on-line article: http://www.wikiwand.com/it/Pala_di_Pesaro ), but in the series of lower register predella paintings the patron saint of Pesaro, St. Terenzio, is shown holding a castle with a wall bust of Augustus in the background with text paying homage to Costanzo (the altarpiece is probably dated to the regency of Camilla after Costanzo’s death). At all events the castles – just as they were for Montefeltro and especially Malatesta in their respective contado (indeed, Gradara was in Malatesta’s contado) – were a prime concern of Costanzo’s. Below is the far right predella painting of St. Terenzio holding castle, the landscape behind the crowning of Mary featuring a castle, and the overall altarpiece by Bellini in Gradara:
The relevant point is that the two castle rooks in the ‘AS’ World's encircling frame parallel the reality of Pesaro protected by major castles to the north and south (with mountains behind/west of it), and that the southern one dates to Costanzo’s reign, then the earliest the deck could date to was when he had a design for the southern fortress (1474).
Uniquely among tarot trumps the ‘AS’ (and ‘CVI’ which is a close copy in the case of this card, which I think is additional proof the 'AS' predates the 'CVI') the ‘hermit’ is shown lifting his hourglass up towards a mountain. The hermit-as-Time is not in the traditional Petrarchan tradition of Time in rags or on a crutch, but well-dressed, so its hard to see him as the ‘time, destroyer of all things’ as if suggesting the mountain will crumble to dust. Just the opposite sentiment has been shown to be the case of Costanzo, where mountain fortresses safeguard the polity. The closest parallel is instead the Time-with-hourglass on the banner of the Apolloio di Giovanni cassone with Sforzan dog imprese on the standard bearer (Galeazzo was visiting in 1459 and thus this flattering gesture), triumphantly holding his hourglass to a sun in the corner of the banner. Lurati (https://www.academia.edu/2938043/_In_Fi ... rt_Gallery, on whom I rely for the details and new dating of this cassone, says this is definitely not a Petrarchan Time, but does not explain its significance. I’ll go into the banners of that cassone in more detail another time, but the ‘time’ indicated on this banner is that of Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue, the Cumean Sibyl’s proclamation of a Golden Age when Saturn reigned (‘returns the reign of Saturn [redeunt Saturnia regna];…And the golden age to arise over all the world’), a subject amply testified to as popular under Cosimo by this point. The relevance for Costanzo (known via his stay in Milan under his cousin Galeazzo), is of course a golden age for Pesaro with his marriage to a daughter of the King of Naples. There is also the possibility of Golden Age Saturn's nod to the fortress to be built on that mountaintop (why else is that mountain there?) which will ensure protection for the forthcoming golden age of Pesaro. The planetary Saturnus in the Fest book has the traditional attributes found in, for instance, the Baldini cycle of the planets – dragon (as seat) and scythe – but has similarly richly hemmed robe as on the ‘hermit’ in the ‘AS’ (not the rags of the Petrarchan triumph of time, although the attribute of the scythe is the same).
There are two mountain floats in the Fest book – one featuring a hermit; note the close resemblance of the right leaning crags in both the ‘AS’ and Fest. While I’d propose no more than a humanist’s texts shared between the artist studios for most of the shared attributes between the ‘AS’ and Fest (or even an ambassador’s account of the Fest plans), in this case it's almost as if preparatory drawings had been shared, perhaps due to the importance Costanzo placed on building the southern castle. Below is the 1459 banner of Goden Age Time/Saturn from the Florentine joust in the Santa Croce piazza attended by Galeazzo Sforza (not shown is the Sforzan dog imprese on that banner bearer's livery), the 'AS' hermit/time, and one of the mounts from the Fest, crowned with a castle:
Relationship to other contemporary decks
While we would no longer call the ‘CVI’, ‘AS’ and ‘EE’ all Ferrarese, the last is most definitely associated with Ferrara and maybe the only one we can positively date, given the sharing of shield space of the court cards with the arms of Aragon, presumably for a wedding. The circumstances of the one example, the EE, need not apply to the others, but given the much earlier ‘CY’ was likely produced for similar circumstances, I am hazarding that expensive hand-painted decks were especially produced on these occasions, but not always (I do not of course hold a marriage for the ‘CVI’ but as a piece of post-Pazzi Conspiracy propaganda). So my proposed dating for the three decks, all appearing relatively close in time which explains their similarities, is this chronological order:
‘EE’: Ercole d’Este marriage to Eleonora d'Aragona, 1473.
‘AS’: Costanzo Sforza marriage to Camilla d’Aragona, 1475
‘CVI’: Lorenzo de Medici, Pazzi War with Pope and Aragon/Naples, c. 1478
The common denominator? Aragon/Naples. Lorenzo famously sailed to Naples to talk King Ferrante out of attacking Florence after the assassination attempt and Sixtus IV's subsequent call for all out war on Florence. Perhaps a ‘CVI’ deck even made its way to Naples with Lorenzo as a gift, to demonstrate he was still firmly in control of Florence - and it would have been a gift the Neapolitan King must have been familiar with since two daughters, Eleonora (confirmed via Aragonese imprese on the 'EE')and Camilla (my proposal), had already received these as gifts.