About Huck, I've been wondering, too. I haven't heard from him since the end of May. Well, he's taken breaks before. But it would be nice to know if he's OK. I just emailed him, but all I have for him is the trionfi.com contact email.
The question of whether Cicco and Irio or just Irio signed the letter remains unresolved, at least for me. Andrea is leaving both on, based on his source.
Andrea's essay on "The Prince" has some interesting new additions, which now have been included in the translation, http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=107&lng=ENG
. There are about three new sources. Here I will give the bare bones, ignoring what he already said, and thus in a way misrepresenting Andrea. I urge people to go back and read the essay again, paying particular attention to the new bits that I am highlighting.
First is a quote from Rolando Dondarini, a professor of medieval history at the University of Bologna, pertaining to the fanciful nature of one of the claims in the writing on the painting, that Francesco Fibbia (the claimed originator of our game) married Francesca Bentivoglio, who in fact, at least the only one known, wasn't yet born when Fibbia died. One issue is that it is not certain that there was no such Francesca Bentivoglio in some secondary branch of the Bentivoglio, known then but not now. "The matrimonial stories aren't known with certainty," he says. Another point is made by Dondarini, who says:
“I tentativi di darsi un tono e una discendenza prestigiosa attraverso false unioni e ascendenze fantasiose furono particolarmente frequenti tra il Quattro, Cinque e Seicento, quando molti biografi si avvalevano presso famiglie potenti con le loro ricostruzioni inventate e servili. È nota la polemica che Cherubino Ghiradacci dovette affrontare quando sostenne che i Bentivoglio in origine erano beccai, mentre i loro discendenti millantavano una discendenza da Re Enzo e dal suo rapporto puramente leggendario con Lucia di Viadagola, colei che avrebbe detto a Re Enzo: ‘Ben ti voglio’”
("Attempts to give character and prestigious ancestry through false unions and fanciful ancestors were particularly frequent in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when many biographers took advantage of powerful families with their invented and servile reconstructions. There is the controversy that Cherubino Ghiradacci had to face when he claimed that the Bentivoglio in origin were of low birth, while their descendants boasted of a descent from King Enzo and his purely legendary relationship with Lucia of Viadagola, to whom King Enzo would have said: ‘Indeed I am fond of you’ [Ben ti voglio]".
The point seems to be is that families' making up legendary ancestries was quite common in that period (in fact it still is, in my experience). It was so common that this bit of pretentiousness should not be held against the writer. It is of a different nature than the coincidence of the life of Fibbia in Bologna with the probable time of the invention of tarocchi.
On that point, Andrea argues that most educated people at that time simply did not know when or where the tarocchi was likely to have been invented. He adds some examples that weren't in his essay previously. One is Lollio in his Invective, who talks of "tarocchi" as a word lacking etymology and a game that he imagines was invented by some demented painter desperate for money. So Andrea quotes that whole part of the poem. That part was easy for me to translate: I just copied what Dummett wrote in Game of Tarot
, which he said he did in consultation with an expert philologist.
Then he adds a couple of sources which I think are new to us. The first, published in 1738, is in the author's "remarks", in Italian, accompanying a work in Bolognese dialect L’Dsgrazi d’Bertuldin dalla Zena
(The Misfortunes of Bertuldin of Zena), by Giuseppe Maria Buini (born 1680). A scan of the original is online in Google Books. One line of the work reads
“Dù zugavn’ di stanza a taruchin”
i.e. something like "Two played "di stanza" with tarocchini cards," based on the author's comments below. Andrea then cites the explanatory comment defining "di stanza":
“Specie di gioco pres[s]o noi usitata, che si fa con le carte dei Tarrocchini, gioco inventato dalla studiosa mente dei Bolognesi, del quale Gregor. Tolos. Syntag. Jur. Lib.30. cap.4. num.11 disse trovarvisi dentro semi di buon fine, e di scelta erudizione.”
(“type of game used by us, done with the cards of Tarrochini, a game invented by the studious mind of the Bolognese, of which Gregor. Tolos. Syntag. Jur.Lib. 30 cap. 4 num. 11 said he found himself among suits of good purpose and refined erudition.")
When Andrea tracked down Buini's reference, the noted French jurist Pierre Gregoire, known as Tolosano (1540-1597), he found this:
"Inventi tamen ludi sunt foliorum, in quibus dum luditur, vestigia quoque quaedam eruditionis apparent, ut in Tarotiis, & ijs cum quibus excusae sunt unà sententiae sacrae paginae & philosophorum, apud Vuechellum Lutetix typographum"
("However, card games were invented in which, while it is played, there are also traces of a certain erudition, such as in Tarot, and in those in company with the highest sacred and philosophical writers, at the Vuechello typographer in Paris")
When Gregoire writes "Tarotiis", Buini understands him to mean the same game as that which the Bolognese call tarocchini. This exemplifies Dummett's point, in Il Mondo e l'Angelo,
p. 224 (quoted by Andrea), that the Bolognese simply forgot the old name and that the deck had been different.
It seems to me that the Gregoire quote and Buini's paraphrase also indicate how the game was seen in those days. as "in company with the highest sacred and philosophical writers", simplified by Buini to "good purpose and refined erudition". In other words, part of the charm of the game was the depth of its allegories, as reflecting "the highest sacred and philosophical writers". That was part of its appeal to its educated players, of which even the average person might have a glimmer. I do not know what deck Gregoire would have seen, made in Paris of 1580, when he himself was in Toulouse.
Andrea goes on to quote more of Buini, continuing where he left off.
il Ginerlberti ne scrisse la Storia, ed origine facendo vedere, che i Tarrocchini non sono altro, se non se la tragica faccenda de’ Geremei Guelfi, e Lambertazzi Ghibellini, così il Valdemusi da Prusilio ne distese la varia fortuna.”
("Ginerlberti wrote the History, making the origin visible, that the Tarrocchini is nothing but the tragic events of the Geremei Guelfs and Lambertazzi Ghibellines, so Valdemusi da Prusilio laid out their different fortunes.")
Andrea argues that if a historian thought that the cards described the Guelf/Ghibelline conflict of the 13th century, he must have thought that the game arose shortly after, within a few decades, when in fact it did not originate for another 150 years.
It seems to me that all that is clear is that the historian does not say in this quote when he thinks the game was invented. Perhaps he had no idea, or a wrong idea. But it might also be that he did have an idea that is approximately correct. 150 years after the fact does not seem to me very long. After all, the Romeo and Juliet story was written even later, and has as its backdrop the same opposition, between those loyal to the Emperor and those loyal to the Pope. To make it into a card game would merely be to take a familiar story and put it in a new medium, as is done today turning classic books into movies.
Here it strikes me that Ginerlberti probably was thinking in terms of a deck with both the Emperor and the Pope as distinct subjects, since these define the two sides in the 13th century struggle. There might also be the theme Cathar tolerators vs. Cathar haters. This Ginerlberti might be interesting to read. My Google comes up with nothing for that word, however.
To get back to Andrea's topic, here is what I think: It seems to me likely that educated people, some of them, would have had a fairly precise idea of when the game was created, based on the 1472 biography of Saint Bernardino that described how he burned tarocchi cards in Bologna of 1423 (see Andrea's "Saint Bernardino and the Cards", http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=227&lng=ENG
). Being an official biography endorsed by the Church, that would count as an authoritative source, even if it was wrong (based on a misinterpretation of earlier accounts that just mentioned cards). If so, it would not be hard for whoever paid for the Fibbia and Bentivoglio arms on the cards also to promote the Fibbia family in another way, by attributing the invention of the game burned by St. Bernardino in 1423 to the Fibbia ancestor who had died a few years before.
So I remain unconvinced by Andrea's new material. There may well have been a tradition in Bologna, at least among some, that the game was invented there a little before 1420, quite independently of any beliefs about Francesco Fibbia, based rather on the 1472 biography of St. Bernardino. Then once Fibbia's dates are established, it is no great feat to attach his name to the invention of the game, regardless of whether he did or didn't. All the same, both the writing on the painting and the 1472 biography of St. Bernardino are evidence, in a weak sense and by no means conclusive, for the game's Bolognese origin.