So now to the “captives of love”.
[start p. 70]
II L’IMPERATRICE (The Empress)
In modern tarocchi packs the second trump is known as the Popess, but in the fifteenth-century lists it is the Empress.
She is pictured as a German lady holding her husband's jousting shield, as was the custom for German ladies, and carrying the same kind of rod as the Carnival King.
Francesco Sforza's device of three interlaced diamond rings and the ducal crown of Milan with its palm and laurel are embroidered on her robe. The ring device was also used by Francesco's good friend and adviser, Cosimo de' Medici, and later appears as a Medici device in Botticelli's painting, "Pallas and the Centaur." This painting may have been in honor of Lorenzo de' Medici's daring and successful visit to Naples to make peace, in 1480. In it the setting of each diamond is a flower. In Sforza's form of the device the settings are plainer.
As previously stated, the diamond ring and a dragon are part of the Sforza family crest. The ring symbolizes eternity, and the diamond invincibility. The Trivulzio family, who ousted the Sforza from Milan, commented on this in their own crest, where a siren holds a diamond and a diamond-cutter.
For the jousting shield and the German lady as its guardian see Joan Evans, Pattern
(Oxford, Clarendon Press 1931) 191-92; also Diirer's etching "The Coat of Arms of Death," which I find in Wild Men in the Middle Ages
, by Richard Bemheimer (Cambridge, Harvard Univ Press 1952) pl 50, facing p 49. For the custom of having clothes embroidered with the wearer's armorial bearings see Evans p 85.
For the Visconti heraldry see Litta (Famiglie
) vol II pt 2 for the Sforza, vol I pt 1. The most lively and charming source for various forms of the Visconti devices is the Ufiziolo illuminated for Filippo Maria Visconti, much of which has been published in black-and-white facsimile. In Malaguzzi-Valeri (Corte
) there are several illustrations showing Sforza devices, esp p 125 and 254; IV 107
[start p. 71]
III L'IMPERADORE (The Emperor)
The Emperor, at the time these cards were painted, was Frederick III, who reigned from 1440 to 1493. He was a cousin by marriage of Francesco Sforza, being the grandson of Virida Visconti, a great-aunt of Francesco's wife, Bianca Maria. In 1431, when the Iron Crown of Lombardy had been placed on the head of an earlier Emperor, Sigismund, Francesco Sforza had been his sword-bearer at the command of Duke Filippo Maria Visconti.
In this card, Frederick is shown wearing a robe with the same devices as on the robe of the Empress. In his left hand is the imperial orb. The imperial eagle, in its single-headed form, is on the front of the large hat which he wears under his crown. The hat is a protection against the chilly weather of northern Italy where the procession is held.
The Visconti quartered this imperial eagle with the serpent in their coat of arms, as a sign that they ruled Milan as vicars of the Emperor. The serpent itself is a symbolic reference to the serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness to heal his stricken people. This brazen serpent of Moses was believed to have been brought back from Constantinople in 1002 by Arnolfo, Archbishop of Milan, and placed in the Basilica of St Ambrose. It was greatly venerated by the Milanese, and when they joined the Crusade which liberated the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, they took with them a blessed standard on which the serpent was emblazoned in blue. After their victory a Saracen was added to the device. He was shown protruding from the mouth of the serpent, which is about to swallow him. The serpent remained in the ducal coat of arms until Filippo Maria Visconti died. The Golden Ambrosian Republic dropped it during its brief existence, but Francesco Sforza adopted it again when he became Duke of Milan. It was not until 1535, when the duchy lost its independence, that it became merely the private device of the Visconti-Sforza family.
[start p. 72]
For historical material throughout I have relied on William L. Langer. An Encyclopedia of World History
(Boston, Houghton 1948) except where otherwise noted. Here the geneal. table, p 300.
For Sforza as sword-bearer in 1431, see Assum (Francesco
) p 122. The sources for the Visconti arms are noted under L'Imperatrice.
For the serpent as Moses' serpent and its cult in Milan see Assum p 579, which I have followed for this whole paragraph. The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature
, by John McClintock and James Strong IX (New York, Harper 1894) p 585, says: "The Church of St. Ambrose at Milan has boasted for centuries of possessing the brazen serpent which Moses set up in the wilderness." This source sets the date of its acquisition earlier (AD 971). An envoy was sent in that year to the court of the emperor John Zimisces at Constantinople. He was invited to make his choice from among the relics on hand there, and he chose this, "which, the Greeks assured him, was made of the same metal as the original serpent (Sigonius, Hist. Regna. Ital.
bk. vii). . . On his return it was placed in the Church of St. Ambrose, and popularly identified with that which it professed to represent."
IV LA PAPESSA (The Popess)
It is only in the tarocchi that we have a Pope with a wife, here called the Popess. Both accompany the Emperor and Empress as captives of Cupid. Other forms of the game of triumphs decorously avoided this Ghibelline gibe at the corruption of the Papacy. At first sight the Popess seems to be the legendary Pope Joan, the woman who was said to have masqueraded as a priest until she finally succeeded in being elected Pope. This legend was a mock at feminine ambition, like the tale of the Flounder in the Sea, who granted all but one of the ambitious wishes of a fisherman's wife, even her wish to be Pope: When she wished to be God, she found herself returned to the poor cottage whence she had come. The Popess in the Visconti-Sforza tarocchi is not one of these legendary women. Her religious habit shows that she is of the Umiliata order, probably Sister Manfreda, a relative of the Visconti family who was actually elected Pope by the small Lombard sect of the Guglielmites. Their leader, Gug-
[start p. 73]
lielma of Bohemia, had died in Milan in 1281. The most enthusiastic of her followers believed that she was the incarnation of the Holy Spirit, sent to inaugurate the new age of the Spirit prophesied by Joachim of Flora. They believed that Guglielma would return to earth on the Feast of Pentecost in the year 1300, and that the male dominated Papacy would then pass away, yielding to a line of female Popes. In preparation for this event they elected Sister Manfreda the first of the Popesses, and several wealthy families of Lombardy provided at great cost the sacred vessels they expected her to use when she said Mass in Rome at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Naturally, the Inquisition exterminated this new sect, and the "Popess" was burned at the stake in the autumn of 1300. Later the Inquisition proceeded against Matteo Visconti, the first Duke of Milan, for his very slight connections with the sect. .
V IL PAPA (The Pope)
In the modern tarot of southern France the Pope is replaced by Jupiter, and the Popess by Juno. The seventeenth-century Swiss tarots which had the Spanish Captain instead of the Popess also had Bacchus instead of the Pope. Bacchus was shown astride a barrel, holding a bottle in his hand. This is the beginning of the development which made the trumps of the Austrian Tarock so different from those of the tarot and tarocchi. There were a Jupiter and a Juno in the fourteenth-century set painted for Filippo Maria Visconti. This set is now lost, and we know only which figures were represented; nothing about the details. Jupiter and Juno may have been dressed in ecclesiastical costume, in accordance with the old rules of planetary magic. In this later set, where they appear as Cupid's captives, their resemblance to the Pope and Popess may have been accentuated just for the fun of it. Then too, the Pope and Popess would be thought of as natural enemies of the Emperor since there was constant conflict between Popes and Emperors. Occasionally political cartoons of the time show this in caricature. One cartoon shows a snake marked "Duke of Milan" on the back of the Pope's head, while the Pope is wrestling with the Emperor.
[start p. 74]
NOTES LA PAPESSA
No references are needed for the notorious Ghibelline tendencies of the Dukes of Milan, at least until 1450. Legend of Pope Joan and the Flounder story arc easily found, Flounder in many collections of children's fairy tales.
For Sister Manfreda (spelled Maifreda by Lea and Tocco) see: Henry Lea, A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages
(New York, Harbor Press 1955; reprint of an edition first published in 19th century) III 90-102; F. Tocco (in Memorie R Accademia Lincei
, sc. mor., VIII (1900) 3-32); Enciclopedia italiana
, art. "Guglielmiti" (spells name Manfreda) Storia di Milano
(Milano, Fondazione Treccani degli Alfieri; 1953 — ) 1V 384 (for Umiliati), 637; v 149 et circa (little mention of the sect except passing reference to "l'eretica Manfreda"). The reference given by Enciclopedia italiana
to C. Molinier in Revue historique
is of no use for our purposes; it is simply a review of Tocco's article.
NOTES IL PAPA
For the Swiss tarots see British Museum (Descriptive
) p 107, 179-181.
For Filippo Maria's early sixteen-card set for the ludus triumphorum see Durrieu ("Michelino"). For Jupiter as a planetary god in ecclesiastical costume see illustrations in Seznec (Survival
), p 110 (fig 33), 157, 161, and 165. In one of these Jupiter wears the triple crown and carries a sort of crozier. He appears as one of Cupid's captives in several illustrations of Petrarch's Trionfi
, often wearing a sort of miter. For these see Massena (Petrarque
) p 159, and the illustration for the triumph of Cupid in a ms of Petrarch's Trionfi
owned by The New York Public Library, reproduced in its Bulletin
, LX (Feb 1956) frontispiece. A wall painting by Niccolo Miretto, dated by Marie (Development
) viz 398, as after 1420, shows Jupiter with a kind of combination crown-and-miter, in alb and cope, with a rod in his right hand and a globe in his left. Toesca's facsimile of Filippo Maria's Ufiziolo
, fol 37v, shows the personifications of the planets, with Jupiter in quasi-ecclesiastical dress and holding crozier, and fleur-de-lis sceptre. The political cartoon is reproduced in Hind (Early
) IV p1 399 (a Venetian cartoon of about 1470). Pope and Emperor are naked wrestlers, standing on the mast of a ship marked "Duces Austrie."
[Scan of pp. 70-71 (Imperatrice, Imperatrice notes, Emperador): https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-EUtLA343JCY/ ... ge-003.jpg
Scan of pp. 774-75 (Papessa and Papa notes, Temperanza notes: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UE9uEvqTEB8/ ... ge-004.jpg
Note: I omitted scanning the page with the note on Cups, because it was so brief. In later posts I will omit scanning the notes for the other suits, which are also brief, unless they happen to be on a page I am already scanning for some reason.