Pratesi's 1999 note on Marziano, at http://www.naibi.net/A/70-MARZI-Z.pdf
, does not have a lot to say about how the game would be played. He does comment on the issues we've been discussing, very briefly, in the context of examining how many cards the deck would have in total:
Esaminiamo allora la possibile composizione di questo insolito mazzo, pur riconoscendo che questa discussione è inevitabilmente di carattere speculativo. Al di sopra delle carte numerali (non esplicitamente citate ma necessariamente presenti per rendere possibile la gerarchia discendente e ascendente indicata) ci sono le figure (di cui qui solo i re sono
ricordati in maniera esplicita). Per le carte superiori, si ha un cambiamento di ruolo e qui anche di seme; però a tutti gli effetti è come se si prolungasse ognuno dei 4 semi con altre 4 carte superiori, in maniera in fondo non dissimile da come nel tradizionale mazzo di tarocchi le quattro carte figurate all’interno di ogni seme superano le dieci carte numerali.
Il meccanismo con cui questi trionfi sono stati inseriti nelle carte da gioco corrisponde a un’aggiunta di figure superiori in numero uguale per ogni seme ma probabilmente in modo da poter formare un quinto seme autonomo. Perché un sistema del genere funzioni esattamente, il numero complessivo delle carte deve essere multiplo sia di 4 che di 5, cioè di 20. Limitandosi a numeri plausibili, si può iniziare con semi di nove carte numerali e tre figure, il che ci ricorderebbe mazzi oggi comuni in Spagna; con l’aggiunta di altre tre figure superiori per seme si potrebbe ottenere un quinto seme di dodici trionfi, e un mazzo completo di 60 carte.
Ma più plausibile si presenta l’alternativa successiva, di dieci carte numerali e sei figure, per esempio personaggi sia maschili che femminili, come citati già da Giovanni da Rheinfelden e come sarebbero in parte conservati nel noto mazzo Visconti di Modrone; quattro carte superiori aggiunte per seme, come nel mazzo di Marziano, potrebbero alternativamente costituire il quinto seme dei trionfi per un totale di 80 carte, come già indicato da Michael Dummett (4). Di qui si sarebbe potuto ottenere in seguito il mazzo standard dei tarocchi eliminando un paio di figure e “promuovendone” sei dalle carte superiori dei quattro semi al nuovo seme dei trionfi.
4. M. Dummett, "A Comment on Marziano". The Playing-Card XVIII (1989) 73-75.
And in English
Let us then examine the possible composition of this unusual deck, while recognizing that this debate is inevitably speculative. Above the numeral cards (not explicitly cited but necessarily present to make possible the descending and ascending hierarchy indicated) there are the courts (of which only the kings are explicitly mentioned here). For the higher cards, there is a change of role and here also of suit; however, in all respects it is as if each of the 4 suits were extended with 4 other superior cards, basically not dissimilar to how in the traditional tarot deck the four court cards depicted within each suit exceed the ten numeral cards.
The mechanism by which these triumphs were inserted into the playing cards corresponds to an addition of higher figures in equal numbers for each suit but probably so as to form a fifth autonomous suit. In order for such a system to work exactly, the total number of cards must be multiple of both 4 and 5, that is 20. By confining oneself to plausible numbers, we can start with suits of nine number cards and three courts, which would remind us of decks today common in Spain; with the addition of three more superior figures per suit one could obtain a fifth suit of twelve triumphs, and a complete deck of 60 cards.
But the more plausible alternative is the next alternative, of ten number cards and six figures, for example male and female personages, as already mentioned by John of Rheinfelden and as would be partly preserved in the well known Visconti di Modrone deck; four top cards added per suit, as in Marziano's deck, could alternatively constitute the fifth suit of the triumphs for a total of 80 cards, as already indicated by Michael Dummett 4. From here the standard tarot deck could be obtained by eliminating a couple of figures and "promoting" them from the top cards of the four suits to the new suit of triumphs.
4. M. Dummett, "A Comment on Marziano". The Playing-Card XVIII (1989) 73-75.
Then there is his conclusion. Only the last paragraph is of revelance, but since it is short I will give the whole thing
Le informazioni ricavabili da questa testimonianza sull’origine dei tarocchi hanno un’importanza
considerevole. A differenza di altri casi, qui siamo davvero vicini all’origine dei tarocchi, tanto vicini che oggi qualsiasi indicazione di epoca precedente non può essere considerata che a livello di ipotesi.
L’iconografia dei primi tarocchi Visconti è particolare e, insieme alla selezione dei personaggi “deificati” in questo mazzo straordinario, meriterebbe un’analisi approfondita da parte degli esperti.
Nelle discussioni in corso fra gli storici delle carte da gioco, questa testimonianza si pone a supporto di un ampliamento del mazzo comune per dar luogo ai tarocchi: i trionfi poterono nascere come estensione verso l’alto di una gerarchia già presente all’interno dei quattro semi tradizionali e che avrebbe finito con il produrre una gerarchia indipendente, valida solo all’interno delle figure superiori aggiunte. Probabilmente fu necessario un certo tempo perché le figure “trionfali” si separassero nettamente, come immagini e come funzioni, dalle figure superiori dei quattro semi.
The information obtained from this testimony on the origin of the tarot is of considerable importance. Unlike other cases, here we are really close to the origin of the tarot, so close that today any indication of the previous era can not be considered that hypothesis level.
The iconography of the first Visconti tarots is particular and, together with the selection of the "deified" personages in this extraordinary deck, deserves in-depth analysis by the experts.
In the discussions underway among historians of playing cards, this testimony stands in support of an expansion of the common deck to give rise to the tarot: the triumphs could be born as an upward extension of a hierarchy already present within the four traditional suits and that would end up producing an independent hierarchy, valid only within the added top figures. Probably it took some time for the "triumphal" figures to clearly separate, as images and functions, from the upper figures of the four suits.
My position relative to this one is that it is, as he says, a speculative interpretation, but I would add that it is only one of at least two possibilities, of which the one Ross and Steve are promoting is the other. So when he says, "however, in all respects it is as if each of the 4 suits were extended with 4 other superior cards, basically not dissimilar to how in the traditional tarot deck the four court cards depicted within each suit exceed the ten numeral cards," that, too, is speculative and does not exclude other possibilities.
It is of interest that he cites Dummett. I had not remembered Dummett's note from the issue after Franco's original article (http://trionfi.com/earliest-tarot-pack
). So I dug it up (the major benefit these days from joining the IPCS is the access to back issues). Here is that note, in its entirety:
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-X6NwL-l3M_s/ ... e-001a.jpg
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-epXMLawrGZw/ ... e-001a.jpg
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UqRoERC_1Us/ ... e-001a.jpg
A Comment on Marziano
Franco Pratesi continues to enthral us with discoveries that frequently dis-lodge what had seemed probable options. His identification of the pack reportedly made for Filippo Maria Visconti by Marziano (detto) da Tortona with that painted for him by Michelino da Besozza (`Italian Cards: New Discoveries, No.10', The Playing Card, Vol.XVIII, 1989, pp.28-38) clears [end of 73] up one notorious mystery, and presents us with further problems. Time is needed to digest this new information, but I should like to make some preliminary comments.
Were the gods trump cards?
This is the most important question: on it depends the validity of Signor Pratesi's use of the pack to push back the invention of the Tarot pack to the second decade of the century. This interpretation is only weakly supported by Marcello's reference to the cards as triumphi (ibid., p.31), since his under-standing of them may have been anachronistic. Their assignment to suits (p.34) suggests that the gods were merely extra court cards, ranking above the Kings. Their ranking in order (p.35) suggests the contrary, that they func-tioned as genuine trumps. Marziano's statement (p.34) that they beat the Kings and pip cards (ranks of birds) could be read either way. If they were trumps, their assignment to the suits is pointless; if they were superior court cards, their ranking among themselves is pointless. Of the two hypotheses, Signor Pratesi's, that they were trumps in our sense, seems the more probable. But' there are other possibilities: for instance, that, when a King or pip card was led, the trick could be won by a god only if it was' of that suit, but that, when a god was led, it could be beaten by any higher god. If this seems complicated, we should remember that evolution sometimes goes in 'the direction 'of simplicity; we should recall also the complicated rules about the trump suit in Kamoffel. This hypothesis would make Marziano's game ancestral to Tarot, but at a considerable remove.
The number of cards
Marziano's remarks about ranking (p.34) surely make it certain that each suit contained several pip cards. The natural hypothesis would be that each contained ten. it is unclear why Signor Pratesi proposes only nine (p.35): there is little evidence for the omission of the lOs from XV-century Italian packs. It is not only Marziano (p.34.) but Marcello (p.31) who mentions only Kings but no other ordinary court figures: it is therefore a real possibility that the pack numbered 16 + 44 = 60 cards. If, as Signor Pratesi conjectures (p.36), other court figures were tacitly presupposed in these accounts, their number would surely be three rather than four, as Pratesi thinks. This would give a total of 16 + 52 = 58 cards. (A third possibility is mentioned below.)
The number of trumps
If the gods were trumps, then it is certain that there were sixteen trumps in Marziano's pack. Pratesi regards this as supporting conjectures by Ron [end of 74] Decker and John Berry that certain surviving hand-painted packs originally had fewer than twenty-one trumps (p37). That theory is not intrinsically implausible; but it was linked by its proponents with the suggestion that the subjects depicted by the secondary artist (Temperance, Fortitude, Star, Moon, Sun and World) in the `Visconti-Sforza' pack were not originally meant to be included. This is hard to sustain; whatever doubts may be raised about the identification of the World in the Visconti di Modrone pack, it unquestionably included Fortitude, together with the three theological virtues; and it cannot be that all the virtues were dropped when the Visconti-Sforza pack was first designed, since Justice is by the primary artist. That version of the theory therefore remains, to my mind, as implausible as ever. We know, however, that the composition of the Visconti di Modrone pack did not conform to what later came to be standard: the hypothesis that it contained only sixteen trumps is accordingly a real possibility. If so, then the trump sequence was of the same length as each of the suits; and this would give a simple reason why sixteen was chosen as the number of trumps. This suggests the faint possibility that, in Marziano's pack, too, each suit had both male and female court figures for each of the three ranks, making a total of 16 + 64 = 80 cards altogether.
Signor Pratesi has certainly pushed the probable date of the invention of the Tarot pack considerably further back; but he oversimplifies when he says (p.37) of Prince Fibbia that 'he was generally discarded as a candidate [for having invented the game] for being too early'. I do not recall anyone but myself who has rejected his claim on any but the false ground of the non-existence of his portrait. Part of my ground was that the evidence is so late: a portrait dating, I suppose, from the later XVII century is hardly strong ground for an event of the early XV century. It testifies to a family tradition; but a conjecture, intended to explain the presence of the Fibbia arms on some Bolognese cards, might have solidified into certainty. My original objection, in The Game of Tarot, was that Prince Fibbia was too early to have invented the game of tarocchini, as the inscription states. I have for long abandoned this view: if he had been the inventor of tarocchi in general, the word tarocchini, still in use for the only form of the game then known in Bologna (Minchiate excepted), might well have been employed in a XVII-century Bolognese inscription. It therefore already seemed to me possible, before Signor Pratesi's exciting discovery, that Prince Fibbia might really have been the inventor; but the evidence remains exceedingly flimsy.
Michael Dummett [end of 75]
It seems to me that Franco in 1999 is clarifying what he wrote in 1989, in consideration of Dummett's remark that "Marziano's statement (p.34) that they beat the Kings and pip cards (ranks of birds) could be read either way. If they were trumps, their assignment to the suits is pointless; if they were superior court cards, their ranking among themselves is pointless." He is saying that both of these eventualities might be true. The other possibility that Dummett raises, "when a King or pip card was led, the trick could be won by a god only if it was of that suit, but that, when a god was led, it could be beaten by any higher god", is indeed another possible rule, one I had not thought of. In that it allows for both of the alternatives he saw as exclusive earlier, it seems to contradict what he said earlier.
The question of the number of cards is relevant to the rules of play only insofar as it raises the question of what is to be done with the remainder after all the cards have been dealt equally. A 48 card deck does not divide evenly by 5, and an 80 card deck does not divide evenly by 3. The advantage of 60 cards, as in Dummett's suggestion of 10 number cards per suit, plus 4 kings, plus the 16, is that it allows for the game to be played by any number of players up to 6, with no remainder. But I suppose the remainder could have just sat on the table, unobserved by any player.
The part about Prince Fibbia reminds us that we cannot totally exclude the possibility that Marziano was led to devise his game by knowing or hearing about another game with a permanent trump suit. Also, if Marziano's game led to other games played by similar rules but with different subjects, existing games with trumps may have influenced the choices. But the chances are, as he says, remote. No matter how many testimonies can be produced of a tradition in Bologna of the game's being invented there, if they are after the biography of St. Bernardino that mentions them (unlike earlier biographies), such testimonies are most likely inferences from that one mention. Likewise, Prince Fibbia may have introduced a card game, even the
game, into Bologna, but not invented it. Families want to have ancestors famous for something.
Among Pratesi's essays and notes on the Marziano, there is one more, dated 2013, in English at http://trionfi.com/evx-reflection-on-ma ... k-of-cards
. It contains more speculations, but nothing new regarding the rules of play that I could see. One point of interest is that he introduces more uncertainty as to the date and place of Marziano's invention. On the one hand, Michelino was not in Milan until 1418. On the other hand, the descriptions of the gods indicate a wide range of sources, and Florence, where Marziano was until 1414, had the most, so perhaps even before 1414, in Florence, is a possibility. However it seems to me that the Visconti library in Pavia also had quite a few, including everything in Petrarch's library except his own works. It is a matter of tracking down odd details in Marziano's descriptions, a thankless task.
I myself would wonder where the detail of Mercury's "galero" comes from. And is it a wide-brimmed hat or just a cap, or else a helmet made of skins, as Wiktionary says for the meaning of "galerus" in Latin? If nothing else, Seznec in Survival of the Pagan Gods
, shows a Hellenistic relief of Mercury in a wide-brimmed hat (with wings); he says that such a design was in a widely circulating (and no doubt copied) drawing by Ciriaco d'Ancona, from something from the eastern Mediterranean. The earliest date for that drawing would have been 1422, when Ciriaco returned from a two to three year stay in Constantinople.