## Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

### Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#1
A question was posed on this forum recently about where the first tarot was. I took me a while to decide what I thought, and now I can't find that thread. So out of laziness I am starting a new one.

Death at position XIII. In each of the three trump order regions, the Death card is trump number unlucky XIII. Perhaps the very first tarot had Death at XIII, but perhaps not. Each of the three orders has a feature, unique to that order, which allows that order to have the Death card be number XIII. It may mean something that it is a different feature in the three cases. If you look at the cards in common among the three orders, the end of the trump sequence is: Death, Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, Sun, Judgment, World. Since World is 21, that would make Death be 14. So there needs to be a card between Death and World, so that Death will be 13. It is mostly virtues which move about between the orders, and indeed both C order and B order have a card inserted between Death and World, and it is a virtue in both cases, but it is different virtue in the two cases, and in a different place: C order has Temperance at 14, while B order has Justice at 20.

Suppose B was first, with Justice at XX. If the first 21-trump tarot, has survived as the B order as we now have it, we can say the original inventor put Justice in a logical place, next to Judgment, but then both A and C orders moved Justice out of that logical place. Since there is nothing similar about what they did next, we can say that they each independently moved Justice from that logical place. No reason for this move is apparent, and yet they both did it. Having moved Justice from that location, to somewhere much earlier in the trumps, both A and C orders were then left with Death being 14. C order solved the problem by moving a different virtue, Temperance, to just after Death, making Death again number 13. The A-order region took a more extraordinary step, and gave the highest trump of 21 trumps, the number 20. This is managed in a different way by the different A orders. Having the last trump be 20 also gets Death to 13, but it is pretty weird. Thus, if B order was the original, two unlikely things happened:

1) C order moved Justice from its logical position. There is no known reason why they did that, and a good reason not to do it, since it made Death be 14, requiring a fix by moving Temperance after Death.

2) A order moved Justice from its logical position. There is no known reason why they did that, and a good reason not to do it, since it made Death be 14, requiring a really weird fix, so that the 21st trump was numbered 20.

If tarot first divided into B on the one hand, and a common parent of A and C on the other, then we could say that the AC common parent moved Justice from its late position, and therefore that unlikely move happened only once. But we should see some other evidence for such an AC common parent, if one ever existed. Probably none did. Therefore, if tarot started with Justice at 20, both A and C moved it earlier independently, in spite of the trouble it made in both cases. It was an unlikely thing to happen once, but a very unlikely thing to happen twice.

If the B order, with Justice in position 20, was the origin of all tarot, then something very unlikely happened. In contrast, to start with Justice in some early position, and move it to 20, moves it to a logical place, next to Judgment, and it puts a virtue between death and the end of the trumps, so that Death becomes 13. It is thus very much more likely, that B moved Justice to position 20, than that both A and C independently moved it away from 20.

This is not an argument that some B-order city such as Ferrara was not the origin of tarot, only an argument that if it was, that first tarot did not have Justice at position 20. Therefore, the fact that 20 is a really logical place for Justice to be, is not a good argument in favor of B being the original order. It is rather an argument against a B order with Justice at 20, being the original order.

Death at 14? I don't see any strong argument in favor of any of the orders being the original one. There are arguments against C order, with Temperance at position 14, being the original: it is not likely that B and A both independently moved it to somewhere earlier, causing Death to no longer be 13, which they then both had to fix. It is not likely that A order is the original, at least not with the last of 21 trumps bring numbered 20, because that's just weird. So one possibility is that the original tarot had Death at 14, and each of the three orders did something different to fix this. That hypothesis actually explains a great deal, but it leads to the question: Why did the original inventor put Death at 14, when everyone else thought it was so important to have it at 13? There are various possible reasons. The early decks did not have numbers on the trumps, and perhaps the inventor of tarot did not think of the trumps as having a sequence going from 1 to 21. After all no one today thinks of the 52 cards in a standard deck as being numbered 1 to 52. Diamonds is the second suit in the bridge ranking, but no one thinks of the Ace of Diamonds as card number 14 of the 52. The inventor may have thought of his trumps as three groups of seven, and Death was the last card of the group that had to do with human mortal life -- where else would Death be? Then the inventor would not have thought of Death as being card 14, it was rather card 7 of the mortal life group, and no more card 14, than the Ace of Diamonds is card 14.

So what city was first? If the original tarot did not have the cards in a numbered sequence from 1 to 21 with Death at 13, that still does not tell us where that original was. I think we need to think about both printed tarot and handmade tarot. Without printed tarot in the 15th century, we wouldn't have this forum in the 21st. Printed tarot most likely came from a city with a major printing industry, of which Florence was the first. Milan and also Bologna were also important; Venice was certainly important, Ferrara, I think not (others may know). If tarot had been first printed in Florence (where it was legalized in 1450), I think we would know that. It is a weak argument, but Milan is notable for being very important in early handmade tarot, and also a plausible location for the first printed tarot.

### Re: Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#2
My answer is Florence-A-Standard 22 trump subjects.

The argument is the perponderance of evidence, not just quantity (of documentation), but quality (i.e. analyzed and weighed against the evidence from other places).

### Re: Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#3
My answer is Florence-A-Standard 22 trump subjects.

The argument is the perponderance of evidence, not just quantity (of documentation), but quality (i.e. analyzed and weighed against the evidence from other places).
Do you think the first printed deck was made in Florence, and if so, when? 1435? 1445? I certainly agree that Florence was the printing center of Italy.

If the question being asked is not when the first printed deck was made, but some question about the first handmade deck, then what are we saying when we say it happened first in Florence?

As for the standard 21 subjects from the start, I don't know if it's true, but I certainly hope it is, because if it isn't the subject is too complicated for me to think about. The simplest answer quite often turns out to be the right one.

About when the Fool came along, I have no idea. There is the argument that all three regions have him, but that seems a weaker argument in this case, than if someone proposed that some other trump was not there from the start. I wouldn't believe that the Empress was not part of the original deck, but when she was added, all three regions adopted her, but I can imagine that the Fool came along later and all three regions adopted the new concept of having an excuse card. What evidence do you see that the Fool is early?

### Re: Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#4
sandyh wrote:
20 Dec 2018, 21:38
Do you think the first printed deck was made in Florence, and if so, when? 1435? 1445? I certainly agree that Florence was the printing center of Italy.

If the question being asked is not when the first printed deck was made, but some question about the first handmade deck, then what are we saying when we say it happened first in Florence?

As for the standard 21 subjects from the start, I don't know if it's true, but I certainly hope it is, because if it isn't the subject is too complicated for me to think about. The simplest answer quite often turns out to be the right one.

About when the Fool came along, I have no idea. There is the argument that all three regions have him, but that seems a weaker argument in this case, than if someone proposed that some other trump was not there from the start. I wouldn't believe that the Empress was not part of the original deck, but when she was added, all three regions adopted her, but I can imagine that the Fool came along later and all three regions adopted the new concept of having an excuse card. What evidence do you see that the Fool is early?
My working theory is that the game was intended to be printed from the outset. This is consistent with the wide and rapid diffusion of the standard sequence of trump subjects and the archetypal game played with it. I suppose this deck was designed and printed in the late 1430s, thus between 1437 and very early 1440.

The original cards had no titles or numbering, hence the variety of orders that took hold in different regions, attested in surviving numbered cards and lists from later in the century. Bologna maintained this unnumbered sequence and iconography for about 350 years. Clearly it was not so simple to learn the unnumbered trump sequence, since everywhere outside of Bologna had numbered cards within a decade or so. The Florentines themselves altered the standard sequence, moving the position of the Chariot up twice, and dropping one of the Papi by the end of the 15th century. Both of these changes are preserved in Minchiate, whose trumps are of course numbered. So, in my view, the closest we can come to the original game rules and trump iconography is Bologna, and only secondarily in the game’s birthplace, Florence.

I don’t consider the iconography crucial to understanding the designer’s intentions, since the standard subjects remain the same in all variants, whatever the ordering or iconography. We know the subjects, and from Bologna we know the order – it only differs from the later Florentine order in retaining all four Papi and placing the Chariot just above Love, after the Papi.

The only handmade decks I see that need to be explained are the customized, luxury types. These are based on the common printed pack, and the earliest one we know about is of course Giusto Giusti’s commission in 1440. I would imagine that the luxury commissions were being made very shortly after the invention of the game, so possibly as early as 1437 (going by my chronological model). We can arguably observe this view of the process from standard printed to luxury commission in Ferrara in 1442, where the standard game may have arrived with the Bolognese fabric dealer Marchione Burdochio in January, and by February the court artist Jacopo Sagramoro had painted four luxury decks for the court. In July of 1442, you will recall, the court bought a deck from Burdochio, probably one of the standards whose type we know much better from Florentine sources now.

I haven’t mentioned the Fool (or Empress), so I don’t know to whom or what you are addressing your speculations here. For convenience, I refer to 22 subjects, as if a wild card or “excuse” card like the Fool were part of the whole invention. The picture is obviously more nuanced and incremental than that, since the concept of an ordered sequence of permanent trumps was already invented before Tarot (Marziano da Tortona), which I take to be an independent invention with no relation to the later game we know. I have yet to see any suggestive connection, let alone convincing evidence of it, between Marziano’s game in Milan in the teens or early 20s, and the game in Florence of the late 1430s. So for the moment I am content with the independent invention scenario for both.

Whatever sorts of strange additional cards that certain rare games may have used, I don’t see any room for the notion of gradual evolution of the standard trump sequence. Hence my use of “22 standard subjects” as a shorthand way of saying that, like Marziano’s game, the whole sequence was invented at once. It is likely that, like the later Joker we are familiar with, wild cards and cards with special functions, and using iconography like Emperors, existed in isolated cases. I simply take these as natural ludic tendencies latent in all games. But none of these experiments adds up to, or evolved into, the standard trump sequence of the Game of Triumphs.

Your logic about the unlikelihood of all the different regions coalescing and adding the same cards to different sequences over time, resulting in the final standard sequence, is correct. It is unlikely. Thus the Fool with his function as excuse was an original aspect of the game.

My view of the Papi cards, including the Empress, is another subject. Briefly, I take it that the original name of these cards was “Papi”, that they did not have individual names, and that they had a special rule of being equal, with the one played last to a trick with one or two others, taking the trick (unless a higher non-papi trump is played to the same trick, of course). The iconography of these four cards is often ambiguous in woodcut, so it can be four males – two emperors and two popes – or two female equivalents to the male counterparts. I take it that the Tarot Empress and Popess are therefore artifacts of Tarot design, and do not refer to any historical persons or concepts. The Tarot Popess is the the Popess of the Tarot – that’s all. Clearly someone like Bonifacio Bembo, in keeping with the strong presence of females in the Visconti and Sforza deck iconography, brought out the Popess and Empress features with unmistakeable clarity.

But I do not think that having a Popess and an Empress was the designer’s intent. He just had four equal “Papi” cards. It was artists who invented the Popess and Empress.

### Re: Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#5
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
21 Dec 2018, 09:11
sandyh wrote:
20 Dec 2018, 21:38
Do you think the first printed deck was made in Florence, and if so, when? 1435? 1445? I certainly agree that Florence was the printing center of Italy.

If the question being asked is not when the first printed deck was made, but some question about the first handmade deck, then what are we saying when we say it happened first in Florence?

As for the standard 21 subjects from the start, I don't know if it's true, but I certainly hope it is, because if it isn't the subject is too complicated for me to think about. The simplest answer quite often turns out to be the right one.

About when the Fool came along, I have no idea. There is the argument that all three regions have him, but that seems a weaker argument in this case, than if someone proposed that some other trump was not there from the start. I wouldn't believe that the Empress was not part of the original deck, but when she was added, all three regions adopted her, but I can imagine that the Fool came along later and all three regions adopted the new concept of having an excuse card. What evidence do you see that the Fool is early?
My working theory is that the game was intended to be printed from the outset. This is consistent with the wide and rapid diffusion of the standard sequence of trump subjects and the archetypal game played with it. I suppose this deck was designed and printed in the late 1430s, thus between 1437 and very early 1440.

The original cards had no titles or numbering, hence the variety of orders that took hold in different regions, attested in surviving numbered cards and lists from later in the century. Bologna maintained this unnumbered sequence and iconography for about 350 years. Clearly it was not so simple to learn the unnumbered trump sequence, since everywhere outside of Bologna had numbered cards within a decade or so. The Florentines themselves altered the standard sequence, moving the position of the Chariot up twice, and dropping one of the Papi by the end of the 15th century. Both of these changes are preserved in Minchiate, whose trumps are of course numbered. So, in my view, the closest we can come to the original game rules and trump iconography is Bologna, and only secondarily in the game’s birthplace, Florence.

I don’t consider the iconography crucial to understanding the designer’s intentions, since the standard subjects remain the same in all variants, whatever the ordering or iconography. We know the subjects, and from Bologna we know the order – it only differs from the later Florentine order in retaining all four Papi and placing the Chariot just above Love, after the Papi.

The only handmade decks I see that need to be explained are the customized, luxury types. These are based on the common printed pack, and the earliest one we know about is of course Giusto Giusti’s commission in 1440. I would imagine that the luxury commissions were being made very shortly after the invention of the game, so possibly as early as 1437 (going by my chronological model). We can arguably observe this view of the process from standard printed to luxury commission in Ferrara in 1442, where the standard game may have arrived with the Bolognese fabric dealer Marchione Burdochio in January, and by February the court artist Jacopo Sagramoro had painted four luxury decks for the court. In July of 1442, you will recall, the court bought a deck from Burdochio, probably one of the standards whose type we know much better from Florentine sources now.

I haven’t mentioned the Fool (or Empress), so I don’t know to whom or what you are addressing your speculations here. For convenience, I refer to 22 subjects, as if a wild card or “excuse” card like the Fool were part of the whole invention. The picture is obviously more nuanced and incremental than that, since the concept of an ordered sequence of permanent trumps was already invented before Tarot (Marziano da Tortona), which I take to be an independent invention with no relation to the later game we know. I have yet to see any suggestive connection, let alone convincing evidence of it, between Marziano’s game in Milan in the teens or early 20s, and the game in Florence of the late 1430s. So for the moment I am content with the independent invention scenario for both.

Whatever sorts of strange additional cards that certain rare games may have used, I don’t see any room for the notion of gradual evolution of the standard trump sequence. Hence my use of “22 standard subjects” as a shorthand way of saying that, like Marziano’s game, the whole sequence was invented at once. It is likely that, like the later Joker we are familiar with, wild cards and cards with special functions, and using iconography like Emperors, existed in isolated cases. I simply take these as natural ludic tendencies latent in all games. But none of these experiments adds up to, or evolved into, the standard trump sequence of the Game of Triumphs.

Your logic about the unlikelihood of all the different regions coalescing and adding the same cards to different sequences over time, resulting in the final standard sequence, is correct. It is unlikely. Thus the Fool with his function as excuse was an original aspect of the game.

My view of the Papi cards, including the Empress, is another subject. Briefly, I take it that the original name of these cards was “Papi”, that they did not have individual names, and that they had a special rule of being equal, with the one played last to a trick with one or two others, taking the trick (unless a higher non-papi trump is played to the same trick, of course). The iconography of these four cards is often ambiguous in woodcut, so it can be four males – two emperors and two popes – or two female equivalents to the male counterparts. I take it that the Tarot Empress and Popess are therefore artifacts of Tarot design, and do not refer to any historical persons or concepts. The Tarot Popess is the the Popess of the Tarot – that’s all. Clearly someone like Bonifacio Bembo, in keeping with the strong presence of females in the Visconti and Sforza deck iconography, brought out the Popess and Empress features with unmistakeable clarity.

But I do not think that having a Popess and an Empress was the designer’s intent. He just had four equal “Papi” cards. It was artists who invented the Popess and Empress.
Ariithmological aparte
Well...
Stricto sensu, from an arithmological point of view, clearly the 22 allegorical subjects must have been a whole.
22 as 1+4+7+10 was known since Boethius for Latin scholars and of course of Greek Byzantins (Cf Congress of Ferrare Firenze 1439)
http://www.sgdl-auteurs.org/alain-bouge ... Biographie

### Re: Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#6
Ross wrote,
Clearly it was not so simple to learn the unnumbered trump sequence, since everywhere outside of Bologna had numbered cards within a decade or so. The Florentines themselves altered the standard sequence, moving the position of the Chariot up twice
By "within a decade or so" do you mean a decade from its invention, i.e. before 1450? What is your source? The Cary Sheet is unnumbered, and it presumably is around 1500. Is there some printed sheet with numbers on it that goes back to 1450 or so?
As far as the Florentines moving the position up twice. The Charles VI has it after Fortune. The Strambotto, c. 1500, and Rosenwald have it just before Fortune.

Since we don't know when the numbers were put on the Charles VI, how can we say which came first? It seems to me reasonably possible that the numbers were put on the "Charles VI" in or before 1494, when Charles VIII was given booty seized from the Medici by Savonarola (or "given" to S. in return for their safety), in particular a very luxurious 1476 illuminated edition of Petrarch's I Trionfi. viewtopic.php?p=16250#p16250. If Charles was interested in that, surely he would have been interested in a luxurious triumph deck as well. They seem to have ended up in the same place, in the BnF.

And nobody knows how old the Bolognese order is. Even Dummett, who insisted on the extreme conservatism of the players in that region in his 1993 book, did not put it with certainty before the beginning of the 16th century,, i.e. when the Bentivoglio lost to the Papacy, which usually had something to say about card games, e.g. p. 219 of Il Mondo e l"Angelo:
Nonostante l’incertezza sulla loro origine, la storia dei tarocchi a Bologna può essere ripercorsa senza difficoltà dalla fine del XV secolo ai giorni nostri.

(Despite the uncertainty about their origin, the history of tarot cards in Bologna can be traced without difficulty from the end of the fifteenth century to the present day.)
It seems to me that anything about the tarot before around 1438 is speculation. Not that I am against speculation/ Even "working hypotheses" are ok as long as they allow for other hypotheses. In the current state of ignorance, how anyone can assign probabilities to one hypothesis or another is beyond me. We can assign probabilities based on generalizations with some confirming instances. But what generalizations are applicable here? It's about games. Can we say that inventions generally have the same variability in their early period as later? Surely not. It can take decades to work out a good game, and the right equipment. Or that it is true of games, in general? Can we say even that the number of cards in a deck or suit remains the same, or mostly the same during its early period of introduction? Surely not. Then why the number of triumphs?

I can agree that something happened, probably in Florence, to cause a burst in popularity of a particular game sufficient for a few records to survive until today, somewhat randomly among what must have been more. Since the subjects by 1460 or so (the presumed date of the "Charles VI") are all the same, probably one center's innovations became so popular that they overwhelmed everything else. Rather like what would have happened when the IBM/Microsoft combination dominated the computer market, if Apple's system hadn't been a lot more user-friendly and overall better. What caused the popularity of one center's game is unclear. As for the differences being due to poor communication, I am dubious. Communication was adequate enough. If they can print the cards, surely they could include a page with the order. And if they could know what game was being played, surely they could also know the order of triumphs. So Sandy's ruminations are relevant. The variations were most likely deliberate.

I would think that some reasons for local variations would be: (a) to give local players an advantage over visitors who fancy themselves card players; (b) a prior order of triumphs in that center, with a smaller number of cards, a few of which might even have been different cards, in which new cards that have become popular are being fit into, keeping the prior order as much as possible; (c) someone's different conception of what is logically the right order, the one that makes the most sense.

Sandy: About 13 we have no idea when 13 came to be considered suitable for Death, or even unlucky. As Ross once suggested, it may have gotten its prominence as unlucky because of its position in the tarot. And as far as the placement of Justice, we have to consider that where it occurs in the sequence affects the meaning. Immediately after Temperance and Fortitude, I would think that Justice is an ideal which humans strive to attain. Immediately after Judgment, I would think it means God's justice, the result of the Last Judgment. In that case I would invite you to consider what the Strambotto calls justice when it is in the former place: "giusticia di Dio". It is like a memory of when it was number 20.

The problem with these speculations is that we don't know what the original conception of the deck was. Maybe it was random, but it doesn't look random from our vantage point. And all we know is what became popular decades later Also, even if the C order is later than the others, that doesn't mean the tarot wasn't invented in Milan (not that I say it was: how anyone can say where it was invented?). The first confirmed date for the C order is 1544, or maybe c. 1500 if the Cary Sheet is that early and from there and your interpretation of the order is correct. That is several regime changes after the invention of the tarot. And p.s. , even if a sheet is in the correct order for most of what you see, you can't be sure iall of it is correct. The Rosenwald is mostly correct, but if Depaulis's interpretation of the order is correct, the Wheel is out of order.

### Re: Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#7
Ross wrote,
My view of the Papi cards, including the Empress, is another subject. Briefly, I take it that the original name of these cards was “Papi”, that they did not have individual names, and that they had a special rule of being equal, with the one played last to a trick with one or two others, taking the trick (unless a higher non-papi trump is played to the same trick, of course).
It makes no sense to me why someone would invent a game with four cards of the same name. I can see the cards as a development out of "VIII Imperatori", but in that case there would be 8 and not 4. Or else (more likely) 2 (2 Imperatori per suit, an Empress and an Emperor above the Queen and King). 1 Empress and 1 Emperor. If the Emperor and Empress had already been introduced in "VIII Imperatori", that would also answer Sandy's question of why an Empress. That the tarot took these cards from "VIII Imperatori" also would explain why these cards are so low in the order: they are transitional between the four suits and the triumphal cards as a whole. If you ask, what about the Bagatto and the Popess? , I say that these cards weren't there yet.

As to the rule about the papa played last winning the trick, it seems to me that such a rule probably already existed in Milan, as shown by the 6 court cards per suit. Assuming that the female pages and knights were introduced to please female players, it would not please them to have the male of the rank always defeat the female. Having the trick won by the card of that rank played last resolves the issue, both in the four suits and in the suit of triumphs.

In support of that idea, I would also observe that the same rule was observed in Piedmont. It is more logical that the Piedmont game was derived from nearby Lombardy, with its marriage alliances to Savoy, than Bologna, which had no known connection to Piedmont. It is also likely that the Angel was the last card in the Cary-Yale, as it was in Piedmont, given that the subject of the CY World card is the pursuit of Fame. Judgment/ Eternity comes after Fame.

The name "four papi" can easily be explained by the heavy hand of the Church after 1507. It always opposed especially the Popess as a subject, an to a lesser extent also pope. "Papi" is just "fathers". However they were not so heavy handed as to make it impossible to identify the former subject under the new name, as can be seen by comparing the Bolognese cards with their Rosenwald counterparts.

About when printed cards came into being, besides the purchase in Ferrara in 1442 there is the arrest in Florence of two people playing triumphs in a poor section of town, near the jail, in 1443. It is true that they might have been employees of the jail, and so of a higher class than the people living in the neighborhood. But such status would not seem to be high enough for them to afford hand-painted cards in such a setting. That Ferrara bought printed cards - or printed cards with painting added, since they are middle-grade expensive - does not show that they didn't have hand-painted cards earlier, but only that they probably could get printed cards more cheaply from Florence or Bologna than in Ferrara. Both facts - the arrest in 1443 and the purchase in 1442 - are evidence in favor of Florence being the main source of printed cards. But that is quite weak evidence for Florence being the place of invention. It still needs to be explained why the orders have different placements of the virtues, as Dummett finally recognized in his 2004 article "Where do the virtues go?" (for which see viewtopic.php?t=1073), but with an unsatisfactory answer. If cards are exported to other cities, surely the rules and order of triumphs can be exported just as easily. That the game already existed in some form, varying in its placement of virtues and perhaps with fewer triumphs, in those cities before the mass production of decks, would answer that question.

### Re: Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#8
I like the idea of the eight emperors being an emperor and empress for each suit. (And a lot of other great stuff in this post (mikeh's), such as the arrest for playing triumphs in a poor section of town). In this passage
The name "four papi" can easily be explained by the heavy hand of the Church after 1507. It always opposed especially the Popess as a subject, an to a lesser extent also pope. "Papi" is just "fathers". However they were not so heavy handed as to make it impossible to identify the former subject under the new name, as can be seen by comparing the Bolognese cards with their Rosenwald counterparts.
What am I supposed to be looking for? Which Bolognese deck, and in that deck, what comparisons do I look for, and to which Rosenwald sheet trumps?

As for Papi being just fathers, I think at least the modern colloquial Italian is to call your daddy "pappa" rather than "papa." I have never gotten any notion that the papi were understood to be the four fathers.

The church did not always get its way. A card maker can get into trouble, but there is not much to stop the players from calling the cards whatever they like, according to the concepts they are already used to. Then the next card maker may be less worried about the church, and print his deck to match what the players call the cards. In the manuscript illuminations I am looking at, among the sinners dragged to Hell there is usually one with a tonsure, and you see also bishops' miters and triple crowns. I am not seeing a change as early as 1507, although I do in the very last manuscripts at the end of the 1500s. The hand of the church was met with a curmudgeonly resistance.

### Re: Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#9
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
21 Dec 2018, 09:11
My view of the Papi cards, including the Empress, is another subject. Briefly, I take it that the original name of these cards was “Papi”, that they did not have individual names, and that they had a special rule of being equal, with the one played last to a trick with one or two others, taking the trick (unless a higher non-papi trump is played to the same trick, of course). The iconography of these four cards is often ambiguous in woodcut, so it can be four males – two emperors and two popes – or two female equivalents to the male counterparts. I take it that the Tarot Empress and Popess are therefore artifacts of Tarot design, and do not refer to any historical persons or concepts. The Tarot Popess is the the Popess of the Tarot – that’s all. Clearly someone like Bonifacio Bembo, in keeping with the strong presence of females in the Visconti and Sforza deck iconography, brought out the Popess and Empress features with unmistakeable clarity.

But I do not think that having a Popess and an Empress was the designer’s intent. He just had four equal “Papi” cards. It was artists who invented the Popess and Empress.

Bold are my emphases. Your original musings on Bologna and the Papi here (in case Sandy or whomever wants to see the full context for your rationale): viewtopic.php?t=178

Just so I understand your positions:
1. When you say "original name of these cards was 'Papi'" you mean in the ur-tarot? So three of the four trumps that are not popes (as in the PMB) were nonetheless called "pope" for reasons obscure to us?
2. "The Tarot Popess is the the Popess of the Tarot" - since neither of us believe a Pope Joan or an Umiliati popess is present in tarot or relevant in mid-15th century northern Italy (and 9th century coins would hardly have mattered, Re. your 9/2018 post on Joan; your blasting of the Joan theory in general here: http://www.angelfire.com/space/tarot/papessa.html - and I understand you've since retracted your speculations about Guglielma, as have i), then the notion of a "popess" in general is nonsensical, as well as its presence in the deck as the "popess of Tarot", no?

Furthermore, I thought you understood the "popess" as a Faith-like virtue representing Ecclesia/Catholic Church (several iconographic parallel allegories were provided by yourself in other threads, perhaps on Acletic)? To quote you from this Stendhal, "papesse Jeanne", and the "cojononon" thread: "So our Popess grows out of the representation of the Theological Virtue, because they were the same thing for so long and there was no need to make a distinction.....There was just no difference between 'Fides' and 'Ecclesia'.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=963&start=10

My own opinion is that the allegory of Church (which naturally replaced the theological virtue of Faith from the CY) was misunderstood as "Popess" decades after its invention (perhaps in papal Bologna and its canon law-centric university), just as the original aspects of the "Chariot" as an allegorical chaste female were re/mis-interpreted at a later date into a male ruler.

Regarding the Franciscan tertiary habit worn by the earliest known "popess" (the PMB), I won't regurgitate my research here on the significance of Franciscan tertiaries in Milan precisely in the decades leading up to and after the emergence of the PMB, but that social significance is a more logical reason for that figure's iconography than the whims of a painter in Cremona. We shall continue to disagree on the likely impetus behind the idiosyncrasies of each luxury deck - my theory being a specific regime's particular interests and utilization of a humanist in customizing tarot for its propaganda needs, versus your view of tarot emerging primarily out of the card-playing milieu and the artist workshops that produced it.

Ultimately for the question at hand, it seems to me that your abiding preference for Bologna as the birthplace of the ur-tarot has you retro-dating the later development there of the Papi onto some imagined earlier version of the Papi that appropriates other trumps that are clearly not Papi.

Phaeded

### Re: Which of the three regional trump orders, was the original?

#10
Don’t get hung up on the term itself, “papi”. “Papa” just has the meaning of “dad”, exactly like our “papa”. I could suggest it was a colloquial term for “grand men”, “head honchos”, “big guys”, etc. or maybe even more slangy, like “poobahs”. Historically, a more serious argument is that the term is short form of “papi ed imperatori”, so just “papi” as a catch-all.

But really, it doesn’t matter what is depicted for players to use the name.

Thus, check your Minchiate rules from historic sources. They never name the first five cards with descriptive terms either, they are all just “papi”. Dummett notes that a diminutive form “papetti” is even found in some accounts of the rules (similar to how the Bolognese mori are now called “moretti”), for more of the cards. “Papa Uno” is the Bagatto. “Papa Cinque” is Love. The three princely figures are Papi two to four. All of them are called “papi”, but none of them depicts a pope. In this game the term has become ludic jargon, its literal etymological meaning has no relationship to the figures on the cards.

The Savoy game calls them “papots”, another ludic word rather than a term applied to real popes or emperors or both (and of course historically observed the "equal papi" rule, as well as the high Angel, despite using French cards numbered like the Tarot de Marseille, so "II" to "IIII" or "IV" were equal, and "XX" was higher than "XXI". The latter rule persists, but the equal papi rule survives, as far as Dummett and McLeod could discover, only in Asti).

They have the collective name because they are a group, not important as individual subjects. And they are called by a generic group name because that’s the way players learned it when they picked it up at the table.

It is important to distinguish them iconographically so that, in play, confusion doesn’t arise about who played which when tossing a card down. Even after 1725, the Bolognese mori have individual characteristics. If they were absolutely identical, fights over who played the winning papa might ensue.

I assume that the differences among the original papi were made for precisely this reason. So you can have a young pope and an old pope, a seated pope and a standing pope, a young emperor and an old emperor, a seated emperor and a standing emperor. Or, you have a male pope and a female pope, a male emperor and a female emperor. What mattered was to distinguish them in some way, large or small, for the convenience of the players.

In small woodcut images it is often easy to mistake gender, unless specific features are exaggerated, or typically gendered clothing is worn. Even when the figure is large, central, and nude, like in our recent discussion of Noblet’s Star, it is sometimes difficult to know what sex is meant, or if it mattered at all.

I think that the original game, or first edition of the game, as it were, was designed on paper and traced onto wood to be printed. I assume it had two male popes and two male emperors, distinguished among themselves by sitting or standing, or youth and age, beared and unbearded. When these designs were copied by other cardmakers and recarved, the quality of the woodcut determined which features were obscure and liable to be misread, or the carver brought out deliberately, sometimes choosing to make female versions of the pope and emperor instead of sitting or standing, or bearded and unbearded men.

With the luxury decks, artists had to make an explicit choice about which gender these figures would be. Bembo obviously had a “popess” and an empress in front of him when he painted his decks for Visconti and Sforza. I imagine that he recoiled at the thought of painting a real Popess, an exact female counterpart of the Pope, so he garbed her simply, so she could not be taken as depicting Pope Joan or another slur on the papacy. He did not have to intend an allegory.

This is what I mean by “Tarot Popess”. As a subject, she is a figure that was born inside the Tarot game. She is not a referent to anything outside of it, either real or legendary, or symbolic.

So what I wrote in August of 2013 still stands for the most part. I would simply amend it to remove any symbolic rationale behind her. She is just a ludic creation.

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