Re: The trump labels of France

sandyh wrote:
17 Jan 2019, 19:01
Noblet's labels, take 2. Here is the table with the Viéville column added; thanks to MikeH for telling me where these labels came from.
Well, I thought that was me :( Not that it matters :D

The Lover OR The Lovers?

I think both Lamoureus and Lamoureux are both singular masculine forms meaning 'The Lover', not 'The Lovers'.

"amoureux" in Vieville means 'in love'; and L'Amoureux in Noblet means 'The Lover' [male, singular], not 'The Lovers'.

For example:

L'amoureux est le personnage central. Il est partagé entre deux femmes.
The lover is the central character. He is torn between two women.

Un amoureux des jeunes, un amoureux d'âmes, un amoureux de la poésie:
A lover of youth, a lover of souls, a lover of poetry.

Alors, attendu que Zéphyrin était l'amoureux de Rosalie...
Then, since Zephyrin was the lover of Rosalie...

L'amoureux est celui qui aime sans être aimé...
The lover is one who loves without being loved...

Pour exprimer la nature du sentiment ou le comportement de l'amoureux...
To express the sense of the nature or conduct of the lover...

L'amoureux des onze mille vierges :
The lover of eleven thousand virgins.

(On dit prov. d'Un homme qui prend de l'amour indifferemment pour toutes les femmes qu'Il est amoureux des onze mille Vierges;

(They say proverbially of a man who falls in love indiscriminately with all woman that he is lover of the eleven thousand virgins)
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The trump labels of France

SteveM wrote:
18 Jan 2019, 09:41
The Lover OR The Lovers?

I think both Lamoureus and Lamoureux are both singular masculine forms meaning 'The Lover', not 'The Lovers'.

"amoureux" in Vieville means 'in love'; and L'Amoureux in Noblet means 'The Lover' [male, singular], not 'The Lovers'.

For example:
The AP Lamoureus too may have the meaning of 'The Lover' (male singular), or more generically simply 'Love' (the state of being in love, or act of making love), for example:

L'amoureus sa dame menoit
Dancer quant venoit a son tour,

The lover led his lady
to dance when it came to his turn,

La Belle Dame sans Mercy by Alain Chartier, 15th century.

However it also means simply 'love' in general (love, to be in love, to make love), for example:

Qui le tourmente
Souvent de l'amoureus tourment.

Who torments him
Often love torment.
Loyauté, que point ne delay by Machaut, 15th century

Offrir a l'amoureus santé, est tout en vains;
Car il se plaist au mal, & ne veut estre sant.
[French version of one of Alciato's 'Emblemata']

Maybe translated as either 'To offer the lover health is all in vain, for he loves the sickness, and does not want to be healthy', or, 'To offer love health is all in vain, for it likes evil, and does not want to be healthy'.

Car il n'est femme terrienne
Qui ja peust, l'homme amer,
Mes qu'ele l'oist diffamer
D'estre mauve ouvrier en lit
De fere l'amoureus delit,
Et sus ce point fu ramposnez.

Because there is no woman on earth
who can love a man
without defaming him
for being a lousy worker in bed
when it comes to making love,
and for this he is ridiculed.

So, I don't think either Lamoureus (AP) or Lamoureux (Noblet) has the meaning 'The Lovers'.

sandyh wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 23:35
  • Viéville innovations Lovers has mother-in-law;
I don't see how we can know that one of the figures is the 'mother-in-law'? It is a possibility I suppose, but there is no way I see that we can identify her as such with certainty. The difference between it and typical Tarot de Marseille style is that a couple seem to be standing before an older woman, rather than the lover standing between two women.
SteveM wrote:
13 Jan 2019, 11:53
Michel de Marolles in his "REGLES DV IEV DES TAROTS", 1637 does not name all the trumps unfortunately, but he does name Le Math, Le Bagat & Le Monde, which match with Vieville.
For Bagat we also have from La Gassette de 1609:

L'habit en bagat de tarot :
Apres auoir veu leurs quadriques,
Et leurs jolis festins de figues,
Elle arriue dedans Paris,
Où faifant le chariuaris
De tant de confufes mufiques,
Des pots, des carfours, des boutiques
Cloches, tambours, housse, charroy,
Elle se coule chez le Roy.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The trump labels of France

The third person on the Vieville Amoureux might even be a priest, marrying the two, as more obviously for Etteilla. Is there something to indicate gender?

Sandy wrote
Viéville innovations (not in Geoffrey, nor AP, nor Cary sheet, nor Italy) : Pope has crook. Lovers has mother-in-law; Justice has wing-back throne. Animals on Wheel (shared with Budapest) ;
The crook is with the Budapest Popess, which is what led some people to identify the Cary Sheet's crook as being with the Popess. Noblet also has a crook (with the Pope) and Justice with the wing-like things in back of her. Given the uncertainty about the dates, and also what came before, it's hard to say who influenced who.

Re: The trump labels of France

Part 2: Did the French know the Italian names?
Part 2 of 4, of a posting on the trump labels of France.

French labels for an Italian game: Caitlin Geofroy was the first to print Tareaux cards in France, at Lyon, in 1557. He brought the game from Italy, presumably, and he got the C-order of the trumps mostly right, except for switching IX with XI, and one other change. As far as I've heard, the French played the game by the Italian rules. We have no reason to think that any of Geofroy's images shows a mistake in reading an Italian card. For example, he might have seen an Italian Chariot card, and thought it was a farm wagon (the Rosenwald Chariot could be read that way, and so could Budapest, although the rider in each case carries an orb). Having read the Italian card as farm wagon, Geofroy might then have produced a card that was clearly a farm wagon. But that did not happen; he made what was clearly a triumphal chariot, aligning with Il Carro Triumphante or Quadrigas, the concepts in the Italian poems. Each Geofroy image is like that: consistent with the Italian concept. In sum, Geofroy knew a great deal about Italian Tarocchi. It is not likely that he knew so much, without also knowing the Italian concept of each trump.

Knowing the concepts for each card, Geofroy chose not to print them. This may have been because he could not prevent left/right switches from happening in his workshop. His switch of trumps XI and IX may be a left/right switch. The history of tarot card printing shows that left/right switched were a real problem: 93 years after Geofroy, Viéville had card names, but instead of labeling each card, put the writing on only two cards. When he tried to put writing on a third card, the Sol Fama scroll on Temperance, it came out backwards. Unless he thought gravity would pull traitors upwards, he also got the XII on Hanged man as IIX. Backwards Roman numerals also appear on Madenié's cards and on many later Tarot de Marseille decks, plus on the Rosenwald sheets.

In any case, Geofroy did not print the card names, which he probably knew, on his cards. The question is then how the rules, the trump order, and the trump meanings, got to the players who bought his cards. From the hundreds of editions of regular cards made in France before 1800, we can be pretty sure that no "cheat sheet" with game rules was sold with decks of cards. Some process of word of mouth spread the rules. Did the name or meaning for each trump, spread also, so that French players got the Italian names? Or did the French name each trump, according to the image they saw on it? If the French did get the name from the Italians, it may have been through Geofroy, or it may have been by some other route, such as French soldiers returning from Milan.

For some cards, the label is pretty obvious from the card's iconography; for example, a man with a triple crown and the keys of St. Peter, gets the label "The Pope." The card has that iconography because it is the pope; it has that meaning in Italy. So the name that the French gave this card, was bound to agree with Italian name, because the iconography of this card is so clear. The French may have known the Italian name, and called the card The Pope because the Italians did, but they did not need to know it. Perhaps for some cards, the image isn't so clear. In that case, if the French call it the same thing as the Italians, we can say the French probably knew the Italian name, because they didn't get the Italian name just by looking at the card.. The earliest French names we have, to compare with the Italian C-order poems, are the AP's labels, and later French labels are largely the same as the AP's. If the French name for a card is different than the Italian one, we can say that the French most likely did not know the Italian name. So we can consider each card in turn, and ask the question: Did the French likely know the Italian name or concept for this card?

The possible answers are:
"No," -- The French name is not quite the same as the Italian name, and if the French had known the Italian concept, they would have gone along with it. Therefore the French most likely did not know the Italian name.
"No!" -- When the argument that the French did not know the Italian name is especially strong, we add a bang.
"Neutral," -- the French have the same name as the Italians, but they could have come up with the same name, from just the card image, because the iconography is clear. But this does not rule out that they knew the Italian name.
"Yes," -- the French must have known the Italian name for the card, because the French use the same name as the Italian one, and yet the iconography alone would not have led them to that result.

For most cards the answer is "Neutral." That means we can neither claim that the French must have known the Italian name, nor can we rule out that they knew it.

The trumps for which I gave an answer other than "Neutral" are these:

Bagato: The first case is the Italian Bagatella/Bagato card (Susio name/Piscina name). Since the French images, including Geofroy's, are rather like the Visconti-Sforza card, we can say that the French image derived ultimately from an Italian image source. But when the French came up with a label to match that image, I think "conjurer" is a more natural name than "Le Bateleur," which means trivial performer, like Bagatella. So in this case I suspect that the Frenchman who called this conjurer a bateleur, must have known the way the Italians thought about the card. So this card gets a "Yes." It is the only "Yes."

Lamoureus: In the case of the card that Susio and Piscina call L'Amore, the AP's label is not L'Amour, but Lamoureus, which Noblet made into Lamovreux. If the Italian name, translated to L'Amour, had been known to the French, I think they would have called the card that. From the card image, not knowing the Italian name, they could have gone with "Love" or with "The Lovers," but they chose the latter. So I give this card a "No!" I think the name was from the image: the Frenchmen who called it "The Lovers," did not know that the Italians called it "Love.".

Force: The next "No" is La Fortezza of the Italians becoming the AP's Force. The AP would certainly have recognized that the virtue cards were three of the four classical virtues. Strength is a minor attribute of that particular virtue, which goes by the name of Fortitude or Courage. Other French words would have matched the virtue well, such as "Courage." But the image of a woman holding a lion's mouth open tends toward Strength, among all the ways to think about this virtue. The lion is on the CYV card, so the French brought the lion from Italy. So I think this is a case of the Italian image, rather than knowledge of the Italian name, being the most influential. It gets a "No."

La Rove de Fortune: The Wheel was La Ruota to one Italian, and La Fortuna to the other. I think the AP might have gone for La Fortuna if he had known that label, and might have gone for La Rove if he had known the Italian La Ruota. La Rove de Fortune is the name that comes directly from looking at the card. This card gets a weak "No."

Il vecchio gobbo => L'ermite: The next card is perhaps the strongest case. The AP's label is Lermite, while the Italian ideas are about age and time. The Visconti-Sforza card has an hourglass. Hermits don't carry hourglasses. Part of the process of seeing this card as a hermit was to transform an hourglass into a lantern, which I assume was a misreading of a badly drawn hourglass. If the names known to Susio or Piscina were known to the French, then an old man with a badly drawn hourglass would still have been an old man: a reference to time. With a lantern he looks not so much old, as alone. In this case, the French had only the picture, and did not know the Italian concept of the card. It gets a "No!"

La Traditore / LImpeccato => Le Pandut: I think if the French understood this to be the execution of a traitor, as both La Traditore and LImpeccato suggest is the case, then the French would have called the card something else, perhaps "une pendaison" which I think is used in modern French for execution hangings, and not used when you hang a picture on the wall. If the French had known the Italian thinking, I think they would have called the card The Traitor. It gets a "No."

Weak conclusion: It could go either way, there is not a strong case that the French knew the Italian names, nor that they did not know them. I think the balance is, weakly, that they did not know. I think the French players read the concepts of the cards from the cards themselves, and then the AP gave his cards the names that the players already called them.

Tarot cards have strong and simple iconography. I think it is worth noting that most cards got "Neutral." A card can only get a "Neutral" rating if the French name matches Italian name, but the iconography is so clear that we can't tell if the French took the name from the Italian name, or came up with the same name from the clear iconography. All these "Neutral" ratings mean that almost all the cards have clear iconography. It is not an automatic thing that a set of images will be comprehensible without any text. I am looking at illuminations in manuscripts, and sometimes the iconography is clear: for example, if there is a bishop and three naked boys in a tub, I know it's St. Nick. The painters on church walls needed clear iconography for each saint, because the peasants could not read. But the illuminators of these gorgeous manuscripts did not have that problem: they were painting for a highly literate audience who could afford such precious objects. These readers could take the picture meaning from the surrounding text. I am like the peasants: I can't read that text. Usually I can't even decipher the handwriting. I don't know what half the pictures are. The 21 trumps can be identified, by someone with only a passing knowledge of XV century visual concepts. This is in itself is a remarkable fact about the tarot.

Viéville's labels: As noted above (in Part 1, take 2) Viéville is more Italian than the other Parisians for three trump labels: 1) Vielart for the Gobbo/Hermit card has the Italian meaning of old (at least "veillart" does) rather than hermit. 2) Baga recalls the Italian Bagato rather than French Bateleur. 3) Same for Ma recalling Italian Matto. So to say that the French in general did not know the Italian names, but used the iconography to read the cards themselves, does not apply to Viéville. Viéville is what the French labels would have looked like, if the French had known the Italian names.

End of part 2 of 4, of a posting on the trump labels of France.
Part 3 will be called "Noblet's choice of 'Le Maison Dieu' as the label for his trump XVI."

Re: The trump labels of France

sandyh wrote:
24 Jan 2019, 19:00

Caitlin Geofroy was the first to print Tareaux cards in France, at Lyon, in 1557. He brought the game from Italy, presumably, and he got the C-order of the trumps mostly right, except for switching IX with XI, and one other change.
We do not know that Gefroy was the first to print Tarot cards in France, his is just the earliest extent example. We know other cardmakers were making tarot cards in France in the 16th century as there are rules and regulations concerning makers of card games, tarot and dice. Also we have some molds for Latin suits (but not of any trumps), for example those of Guymier. Latin suited decks made in France were used primarily for either Aluette (the cow game, Vache), or tarot. Aluette decks though were of Spanish style rather than Italian, however some of the early tarot decks also show a Spanish style influence in the Latin suits. Also in 1588 the Inquisitor of Mallorca denounced cards printed in France that had depictions of a Popesse, the Four Evangelists, etc. The mention of the Four Evangelists in particular suggests then French card-makers were exporting something akin to the Tarot de Marseille style in the 16th century too.
sandyh wrote:
24 Jan 2019, 19:00
Bagato: The first case is the Italian Bagatella/Bagato card (Susio name/Piscina name). Since the French images, including Geofroy's, are rather like the Visconti-Sforza card, we can say that the French image derived ultimately from an Italian image source. But when the French came up with a label to match that image, I think "conjurer" is a more natural name than "Le Bateleur," which means trivial performer, like Bagatella. So in this case I suspect that the Frenchman who called this conjurer a bateleur, must have known the way the Italians thought about the card. So this card gets a "Yes." It is the only "Yes."

We know the French associated 'Bagat'with bagatelle through Marolle's ballet, in which he say that the Mat is dressed like a fool (fou) and the Bagat like a Bagatelle merchant (a seller of toys and games). I don't think the French would look at the card and think 'conjurer', it is a depiction of a bateleur, street performers of legedermain, games of passe passe (hand tricks), the cup and ball game, sometimes also mountebanks who sold 'snake oil' potions for ailments and performed some medical services such as teeth pulling. As performers of legedermain they were also often accompanied by performing animals such as dogs and monkeys, which we see on some Italian cards but not French (bears were also popular, but are not shown on any cards that I am aware). Not only does the trump depict a Bateleur, but Bateleur is also simply a translation of one of the meanings of the Italian Bagatella. [For a further extention of the meaning, we may note that Jesuits in South America and Africa also described native healers / witch doctors and fakir like performers as bateleur - associating their claims to healing powers with trickery.]
Lamoureus: In the case of the card that Susio and Piscina call L'Amore, the AP's label is not L'Amour, but Lamoureus, which Noblet made into Lamovreux. If the Italian name, translated to L'Amour, had been known to the French, I think they would have called the card that. From the card image, not knowing the Italian name, they could have gone with "Love" or with "The Lovers," but they chose the latter. So I give this card a "No!" I think the name was from the image: the Frenchmen who called it "The Lovers," did not know that the Italians called it "Love.".

The French did not call it 'The Lovers'. See my previous post - L'amoureus may mean either 'Love' or 'The Lover', depending on context; L'amoureux means 'The Lover' (singular, masculine); neither means 'The Lovers'.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The trump labels of France

Thanks for bringing up this subject, Sandy. I haven't thought about it much, except when doing translations from Italian or French, and I've had no one to bounce ideas off of, except occasionally Andrea. So here is what I think. But I am not an expert in either language.

The French surely knew the name "Matto" for the Fool, for their "Mat". The idea that "Mat" came from "mate" as in checkmate seems to me far-fetched, and I don't know where else it would have come from. "Matto" in Italian predates the tarot.

"Impicato" means "hanged, choked," etc. There is an implication of punishment, but not of being a traitor. "Pendu" is a straightforward translation of "impicato".

"Force" in French doesn't mean the same as "force" in English, which usually, unless context clearly indicates otherwise, means physical force. It equals "Strength." It is also a direct cognate to "Forza", which was the name of the card for the Lollio/Imperiali poem. "Fortitudo" in Latin means either physical or moral strength. Aquinas had to say which he was talking about, for example, in his discussion of the cardinal virtue. By itself the Latin "fortitudo" equals the English "strength." It is not equivalent to the English word "fortitude", which indeed normally means "courage". "Fortezza" in modern Italian means "Moral strength", i.e. courage, but I suspect that this is not 16th century, because it has the other meaning of "fortress".also . "La force" is a translation of "la Fortitudo," "la fortezza" and "la forza". The card shows physical strength as an image of moral strength. Hence the appropriateness of all the words that can refer to both.

Vieville seems to have known that the Italian name for the Tower card was the Italian for "Foudre", i.e. "Saetta". And if "Maison-Dieu" comes from a misreading of "Maison de Feu", as first Moakley and more recently Depaulis have said, then that person knew the Italian terms, "maison di diavolo" "maison di damnatta," "fuoco", etc. Why it became "Maison-Dieu" I don't know. According to the Grand Robert, it had particular reference to the Temple of Jerusalem ( I think probably in an anti-Semitic context). But of course church steeples were a frequent target of lightning and shown being hit by lightning in the Last Days, a weak reason but perhaps enough that they didn't bother correcting themselves.

L'Amoureux" makes the focus of the card onto the guy, who by Noblet is in the middle. The focus was there in some Itlian versions already, even if they kept the name "L'Amore."

With "Angelo," they probably thought that was not as good a title as "Jugement". Likewise, by the time of Geoffroy the old man looks like a hermit, ringing a bell. Imperiali calls him the "vecchio sagio", wise old man. That is pretty close.

For the celestials, the subject is obvious only if you understand the principle that the title refers to what is on top. I doubt if they did. In these cases, the French simply translated the Italian. Likewise who would think "World" looking at the French "world" card? It has to be from the Italian, which in old cards did have a world on it.

"Bateleur" is a translation of an old meaning of the Italian "Bagatella"

My rather offhand thinking (I admit I haven't thought a lot about it, except when translating from Italian or French, is that I can't think of any names that show that the French didn't at one time know the names of the cards in Italian and consider that they were just adapting them to France, even if in some cases the title is obvious anyway, and in at least one case (Jugement) totally different.

Re: The trump labels of France

I think you also need to take into account that cardmaking in France was a Guilded trade - card-makers did not work in isolation. Vieville and Noblet would have been members of the same Paris guild, and as near contemporaries possibly even knew each other (both Vieville and Noblet are recorded as card-makers in 1664 - and as both would have been members of the same Paris Guild most probably did know each other). Master card-makers of the Guild would be elected on a rotating basis as Jurers of the Guild which post they would hold for two years at a time, with two members as Jurers at a time on a staggered basis (that is, no two Jurer would hold the post for the same two years, for example Jurer A would be in post 1640to 1642, Jurer B for 1641 to 1643, with one new Jurer elected each year so there was always two in post at a time).* The Jurer ensured that the Guild's regulations and standards were met by all members, would arrange and approve contracts between master card-makers and their apprentices, monitor the progress of apprentices and exam them and approve their promotion to companion card-makers (which exam involved the apprentice presenting a deck of their own), deal with contracts and disputes between master-cardmakers and their apprentices and companions, be the point of contact between members of the Guild and holder of the Tax farming license, etc. Members would also share resources in things such as purchasing of paper and other supplies, for which their were Royal approved sources (in reference to which we may note the backs of the AP, Vieville and Noblet are all the same). We know that Vieville was a Jurer of the Guild for at least one two year period, possibly more. Not all card-makers made tarot cards, but quite a few of the Paris Guild did, beside Vieville and Noblet.** On top of that, there was a lot of inter-marriage between family members of the different workshops - so it seems highly likely to me that members of the Guild would have been well aware of each others work.

‎‎* For an actual example: March 6, 1592. -Pierre Marolle and Laurens Taupin are elected ‎as ‎jury card-makers instead of Jean Guymier and Pierre ‎‎Marolle; Jean Mérieùx, Martin Villart and Denys Merieu, masters card-makers, take part in the vote. (Arch. NAT., Y 9306 bis.)

**On 1 March 1586. -Pierre Marolle and Jean Guymier are received ‎as ‎masters-card-makers of cards and tarots. (Arch. NAT., Y 9306.) ‎While we do not have any tarot decks made by them, we do have some of Guymier family Latin suited moulds.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The trump labels of France

(14.15 MiB) Not downloaded yet
The backs also bring in the (possibly mid-17th century or earlier?) Nicolas Rolichon of Lyon:
Backs of the Vieville, Noblet, AP & Rolichon.
[source: Vieville, Noblet & AP = BnF; Rolichon = Larousse. Images do not reflect relative sizes of the actual cards.]

Rolichon's labels are:

LE.FOL (The more typical (and earliest example?) Tarot de Marseille type I label, as opposed to the unique Noblet label 'Le Fou'* or Tarot de Marseille Type II Le Mat)
LECHARIOR. (This unusual spelling is also found for example on the Schar and Burdel, both of Switzerland c.1750/51, the Payen of Avignon, 1713, Dodal of Lyon, 1701, Dubesset of Lyon, 17??)
(Note: the dots appear in the centre of the line on the reproduction of the cards in Larousse)

* In regards to the Noblets unique label 'le fou' we may note that Marolle describes Le Mat as being dressed like 'le fou' (in his ballet).

** None of the virtues has definite article - later decks commonly have LA force, some also have [and/or] LA Justice, temperance commonly does not have article. [In this instance IMPERATRIS has no definite article either. The space between temperance indicated by the dot TEMPE.RANCE is strange, rather a 'rancid temple' than moderation!? Probably no intention behind it, but protestant anti-Catholic polemics sometimes referred to the 'miraculous' "rancid oil" of Catholic belief being a mere superstition.]
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The trump labels of France

Noblet's choice of “Le Maison Dieu” as the label for his trump XVI :
Part 3 of 4, of a posting on the trump labels of France.

My thesis is that Noblet resorted to the Cary sheet as an image source, only because for five consecutive trumps, Devil through Sun, he did not have Viéville's images to copy. This would include Tower, to which Noblet gave the label “La Maison Dieu.” Noblet copied his labels from the AP, but he shows no sign of being influenced by the AP's images. Perhaps he did not have the AP's cards, but only a list of his labels. Thus, when Noblet had to come up with both a name and an image for the trump after Devil, he may have had before him only the AP's label, “LaFouldre,” and the image from the Cary sheet, showing a tower. I have shown that image reversed because Noblet usually reversed what he copied; the tan space around the card accurately shows the area of the card we don't have, based on the size of the complete cards on the sheet. The card Noblet made is on the right. Although much later cards in the Tarot de Marseille tradition put in lightning bolts, to me it seems clear than on Noblet's card at least, there are only flames going up from the broken tower, and no lightning bolt coming down. Note the rain, on both cards. On Noblet's card, the sun is brightly shining, while it rains.
Cary Noblet tower.PNG
Cary Noblet tower.PNG (527 KiB) Viewed 7984 times
Cary sheet (highest res on Wikimedia) : ... c1500..jpg
Jean Noblet (c.1659), Paris BnF :

Noblet would have had the full image from the maker of the Cary sheet. Those may be flames coming from the window of the Cary card, just visible at the torn edge; I think they are, because Noblet would not have shown flames otherwise. There could have been a lightning bolt in the lost part of the Cary sheet card, but I think not, since Noblet does not show a lightning bolt, and Noblet would have copied the lightning bolt if there had been one.

So what Noblet had to work with was, for an image, a round tower with flames coming out of a high window, and for a label, "La Fouldre," lightning bolt. His image source did not show a lightning bolt. What was Noblet to do? He couldn't put on his card a tower on fire, copying his only image source, and label it “Lightning” from his only label source, because that label would make no sense for that image.

Noblet had a mystery. Perhaps he could look at the adjacent cards for a clue. Here is a table of the last seven trumps, showing what sources Noblet had for a label and an image for each card, and what he chose to do:
Noblet labels seven trump table.PNG
Noblet labels seven trump table.PNG (22.86 KiB) Viewed 7984 times

The Devil, the dead rising, Christ in glory as the Salvator Mundi (this is the meaning of the tetramporph) -- these are concepts related to the world above and the world below, the world which is beyond our mundane world. Here is the AP's XX Le Ivgement, which I suppose Noblet never saw, and Viéville's XX, which Noblet must have seen.
AP Vieville Jugement.PNG
AP Vieville Jugement.PNG (680.41 KiB) Viewed 7984 times
anon. (1600-1650) Paris “tarot parisien anonyme” BnF :
Jacques Viéville (1650), Paris BnF :

The dead rising from graves can only be the Last Judgment. The Last Judgment was a ubiquitous image, found in almost every prayer book: I have looked at over a hundred of them. Here is one, from a book of hours in the Dutch Koninklijke Bibliotheek:
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Book of Hours (use of Utrecht), Northern Netherlands, c.1495, KB 135 G 19, f.81v

All the Last Judgments I've seen show the same parts, found in every Last Judgment: (1) the dead rising, (2) Christ in glory judging, sitting on a rainbow with his feet on a (3) globe, usually tripartite, sometimes topped by a cross. The praying figures are his mother and his cousin John, sometimes but not always present. There are almost always (4) angels (usually 2 of them) blowing (5) trumpets, often with flags showing a cross. Present about half the time, there is a lower half of the picture, with (6) Hell with devils, and (7) Heaven with St. Peter at the door. Heaven is often a castle; the above picture is rare in also showing Hell as a castle. It is more usually shown as a gaping mouth; the open end of a passage down to the fires under the Earth, as in this picture:
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From the same prayer book as above (folio 112v) only lower half shown.

Printed playing cards are objects for the common artisan to buy, while these illuminated manuscripts were the property of the extremely rich. But the Last Judgment was also painted on church walls (the Sistine Chapel, for example) : everyone knew it (see book by Kline). One class of artisan certainly knew what a standard Last Judgment image looked like, the printers, and Noblet was a printer. The Viéville's XX card evokes the Last Judgment beyond question, but it does not have what every Last Judgment must have, Christ in Glory. But on the very next one of Viéville cards, we see a male figure surrounded by the Tetramorph: angel. eagle, lion, ox.
[ Book by Kine: Maps of Medieval Thought: The Hereford Paradigm By Naomi Reed Kline, 2001: ]

Here is that card by Viéville, and a tetramorph from a psalter, the “Hamburger” psalter. (It is in a library in Hamburg).
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Jacques Viéville (1650), Paris BnF :
Hamburger psalter, 1220, UB Hamburg Cod. 85, f.209

(On Viéville's card, note incidentally the similarity of the cloak straps going to a pectoral fob, with the cloaks as reconstructed on the Cary sheet Sun card. It says, somewhere, that Christ had at his crucifixion a “seamless” garment. This may be it.)

Only Jesus Christ (or the Lamb of God, which is the same) is ever shown surrounded by the tetramorph. It is a fairly common image, often called “Salvator Mundi,” which is connected with the “World” name for this trump. Here is the AP's trump XXI, “Le Monde,” although I suppose Noblet never saw it, and a Salvator Mundi from a book of hours.
AP Hague Salvator.PNG
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anon. (1600-1650) Paris “tarot parisien anonyme” BnF :
Salvator Mundi from a Book of Hours, c.1470-1490, The Hague KB 133 H 31, f.97v ... k/133+H+31

In Last Judgments, Christ's robes often cover the top of the orb, so you can't see if there's a cross or not, but sometimes you see one. Even without the cross, no one else ever stands on a tri-partite globe. The AP's orb shows sun, moon, and stars on the top half, and a terrestrial scene, suggestive of the elements, below, confirming that this is the world. I don't know why he's holding a shower curtain, but the figure on the AP's card is definitely Jesus Christ.

The AP's card has the four winds blowing; The winds are another symbol in some manuscripts, for a world tossed about by chance. This card shows our mundane, unpredictable world, tossed by the winds, under the firmament, the sun moon and stars, and above that, Christ in glory. This is the way pictures of the whole world are made, in the age of manuscripts: a sublunar world, subject to decay, death, and capricious chance, and shown above it, the firmament, and above or beyond that sphere, the eternal. "Mundi" was the name of whole, not just the sublunar part. The AP's card shows them all, and thus it is well named. Whenever there is a picture of our chance-governed world of decay and death, whether it is a mappa mundi, or symbolic representation such as the seven ages of man, or a wheel of fortune, or the four winds, that picture of our mortal round is accompanied by the eternal: above it, or all around it, or on the facing page in the book, or on the opposite wall of the church (see book by Kline). That's the way it was, in the XV century, but with these cards we are in a century when things were changing.

The tarot decks of Flanders : In connection with the AP's Le Monde, we should consider the Flemish decks. Here is Vandenborre's Le Monde:
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F. I. Vandenborre (1700s), Brussels BM Flemish ... 2&partId=1
Jean Gisaine (1700s), Dinant, Flanders, Belgium BM ... 5&partId=1
(I have only a low res of the Gisaine card, due to a persistent problem with downloading from the BM.)

The Belgian decks are normally copies of Viéville, but for this one card they have copied the AP, which shows that this one of the AP's cards, at least, was still around late enough for them to copy it, and thus could have been seen by Noblet, whether or not he did see it. The AP's four winds have become two faces, not blowing, on the Vandenborre card.

The World card figure as male or female, winged or not: At various times and in various places, the figure on the World card has been female. It was also sometimes winged. In early C-order Milan, there are no wings. The figure is of unclear gender on the CYV card (I incline towards female), and male, but there are two of them, on the VS card (a replacement card). There is a card in the Guildhall in London which also shows the two boys. It was in general not winged later in France, but it is winged in Belgium, as we see in this Vandenborre. In B and A order regions, the figure is mostly female (when not ambiguous), and almost always winged (but not in “Dit de Charles VI“ ). But in the two oldest World cards in France, the AP's and Viéville's, the figure is male, and like on most World cards in France, there are no wings. We can say that overall, C-order World figures are wingless and male (or ambiguous) to begin with, becoming female with Noblet and thus all his copiers to the south, and becoming winged in Viéville's copiers to the north..

It is hard to see how Viéville could have indicated any more clearly than he did, that this is Christ in Glory, than to show him in a halo, and a mandorla, surrounded by the tetramorph. The only way I can think of that would be equally clear, would be to show him in the pose of the Salvator Mundi, which is what the AP did. Since two card makers both show unambiguously that this is Jesus Christ, but do so in two different ways, that rules out any accident. This is 100%: no one else (except the Lamb of God, which is him) is ever shown surrounded by the tetramorph. The mandorla just emphasizes the point. No one else is ever shown with his feet on a tripartite globe. Christ in Glory is nearly always shown that way, in almost every Last Judgment, and every prayer book has a Last Judgment, Christ is shown with his wounded feet on a globe, usually tripartite.

Noblet's choice: So what did Noblet see, in the trumps that surrounded his mystery trump? Even if he never saw the AP's XXI Le Monde, he saw Viéville's XXI with the tetramorph. He saw someone's XX, probably Viéville's, with an angel and a trumpet and the dead rising from their graves, because he put all that on his own XX. He knew that trump XV was the Devil. So among the last seven trumps he saw three of the components of the standard Last Judgment picture: 1) The angel with a flagged trumpet blaring over dead rising from their graves, 2) Christ in Glory, and 3) The Devil. If his mystery XVI card was also a component of a standard Last Judgment picture, what component could it be? What was left? Only: 1) Mary. 2) John the Baptist; 3) Hell, 4) Heaven.

The tower on the Cary sheet card was clearly not John or Mary. So was it Hell, or Heaven. The comparison were:

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The best of two bad options: There are lots of reasons why the Cary Sheet tower is not Heaven. Heaven may be shown as a realm surrounded by a wall with battlements and towers, but it should not be a narrow isolated tower. If it is a tower, it should not be on fire. That is one ugly St. Peter. But of the two, assuming it had to be either Heaven or Hell, the Cary sheet Tower card looks a lot more like a standard Heaven, that is, a castle, than it looks like a standard mouth of Hell, a living, giant, gaping mouth. If he had to pick one or the other, the Cary tower had to be Heaven.

So if he had to pick one or the other, he would pick Heaven. Having picked Heaven as the meaning of the image he took from Cary, he could not then label his card “Lightning” which would make no sense, but had to name it something that indicated Heaven. Heaven can be depicted in many ways, but if it is shown as a building, a good label for that depiction of Heaven is “The House of God.” But why was Noblet choosing between Hell and Heaven for this card? What led him, from his initial conundrum of his image source showing a tower, while his label source was “La Fouldre,” to a choice between Heaven and Hell? Only one route I can think of, that he saw the last group of trumps as a picture of the Last Judgment, spread across many cards. That meant that his mystery card had to be some component of the Last Judgment picture, and of those comments, only Heaven, Hell, Mary, and John were not shown on other cards. It wasn't Mary or John, and while it wasn't a good picture of Heaven, it was more like Heaven than it was like Hell. No other route, that I can see, could have led Noblet to a forced choice between Heaven and Hell, and it was only because he had to choose between them, the he could he label an isolated tower, on fire, with the dead sprawled on the ground, as "The House of God."

The trumps as a group, showing a united picture: Is there anything else that would have led Noblet to see these trumps, as a group, as the Last Judgment picture spread across several cards? Yes there is. Noblet knew Viéville's cards, he copied them. Therefore he would have seen Viéville's two pip cards containing the poem, which manages to mention almost all the trumps. That poem is about the Last Judgment, and from a “death of princes” or Michael J. Hurst, point of view: the geezer, the idiot, and the carnival quack, who are not doing so well in our world of chance and decay, will receive justice. It is the end for the Pope and the Emperor, The Lovers have been tricked by stumbling Fortune, as the last trump sounds before they make it to the altar.

Why was Noblet left to choose between the label “lightning” and an image showing a tower on fire? : Somewhere and some when in XV Century Italy, there was a first Trionfi: the original source of all the images, labels, and order that came later. That first Trionfi must have had some concept of this trump, and that led by some series of steps to AP's label "LaFouldre," and by a different route, to the Cary picture of an isolated tower on fire. How did that one original concept split and reach Noblet's desk as a label and an image that didn't match? First, what was that first trump concept? The door to Hell on the day of the Last Judgment, is a concept for that card, which makes sense as an origin for all the varying images that came later. In illuminated manuscripts, the door to Hell could be the arched doorway of a stone castle that had fire inside of it, or it could be a huge gaping, living mouth. The two oldest French cards we have show one each: Geofroy shows the castle, and the AP shows the mouth. But the AP's gaping mouth is the only gaping mouth of Hell in all of tarot. By Noblet's day both images were old-fashioned, and unsophisticated. A more scholarly and sophisticated view did not picture Hell this way, not even as early as 1310. Dante's gate of Hell was certainly not a living mouth with teeth; it was a door or a gate, but not, as far as I can tell, the gate of a castle with battlements. Of course John Milton, Noblet's contemporary, did not have a huge living mouth for his Hell.
William Blake' illustrations of the Inferno in the Tate: ... ions-dante

Thunderbolt of Judgment: Another way to think about the Day of Judgment, is that it comes as a bolt from the blue; it is sudden and very loud. For sinners, the unexpected thunderbolt means it is too late to repent. The AP's card, with the label, “La Fovldre,” does not show any lightning but shows a devil pounding a drum, a representation of thunderous noise. The loud and sudden thunderbolt is always a part of the concept of going to Hell at the Last Judgment. Lightning is associated with this trump, from the earliest evidence we have.

Many tarot images for this trump show buildings and fire, but they are of two kinds: Geofroy's Hell has fire in it, but is in no danger from that fire. But many of the tarot images for this trump show a building that is being destroyed by fire or lightning. The towers are toppled, and corpses litter the ground. Example are:
Rothschild Al Mondo.PNG
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Rothschild sheet (in the Louvre) ... tarots-max
Tarocchino “Al Mondo” British Museum :

Note the small tower, above the battlements, on both cards. Also both show a door.

Note the double suns: clear on the Al Mondo, and once you know what to look for, the upper corners of the Rothschild can't be anything else. In the Al Mondo deck, the double suns are on the Tower, Temperance, Moon, Sun, and (possibly) Wheel.

The “Tarot dit de Charles VI” also has that small upper tower, and a door. It has no corpses on the ground, but there is a huge black rounded object above the tower, from which comes, perhaps, lightning. The image on the right shows that spot. This is an example of the fantastically high resolution which the Bibliothèque nationale de France can provide.
Charles they say.PNG
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dit di Charles VI deck BnF ... 2s/f1.item

These Minchiate towers, by contrast, show the Orfeo and Eurydice image of a woman snatched back while going out the door, but the building is not about to fall down. At most a few bricks fall off. The Sun is not double, but it looks more like flames than most Sun images do.
Minchiate Early Late.PNG
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Orfeo Minchiate:
Baragioli All Sorte 1860 :

Here on the left is an image from Mitelli's "Trombetta" tarocchino, showing only a lightning bolt. On the right, we see a tower on fire, half fallen down, from the Rosenwald sheets. Note that it has the small upper tower, and a door, but no fallen bodies.
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Mitelli's Tarocchino :
Rosenwald sheet : ... 41321.html

Viéville's image shows rain falling from a sky in which, although there are clouds, the sun is shining. The figure is a shepherd or goatherd. He looks up, startled.
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clear blue sky.PNG (307.25 KiB) Viewed 7984 times ... k/f31.item
The rain is also in the Cary sheet Tower, and rain while the sun shines is also in Noblet. This is a lightning storm that comes out of the blue, on a sunny day.

So the images for this trump fall into four classes, one of which has two subclasses.
  • Class 1) : A building is full of fire but is not falling down, as in Geofroy and Minchiate. All of these may be “Orfeo and Eurydice” images. The small upper tower is never shown in this class.
  • Class 2) : Towers are toppling, either
  • Subclass 2a), with bodies on the ground, as in Noblet, Rothschild sheets, and most Tarocchino.
  • Subclass 2b), with no fallen bodies. Charles VI is in this subclass, and so is the Rosenwald sheet and Budapest
    All class 2) , with or without bodies, shows the small tower, except Noblet and Budapest.
  • Class 3) A thunderbolt strikes without warning, as in Viéville's deck and Mitelli's Trombetta tarocchino, and we may include also the cards labeled “Lightning,” plus the poems that call the card lightning, or arrow. The poems that call the trump "il Fuoco," fire, could be in class 1), 2), or 3).
  • Class 4) The gaping living mouth of Hell, which is only in the AP.

How can the towers of Hell be toppled by their own fires? The images of class 3), show the first thing that happens on Judgment Day, the lightning that comes as a crashing thunderbolt from the blue, telling sinners it is now too late to repent, and for them it is the fires of Hell. We can call this the "Thunderbolt of Judgment." Then the images in class 1) show Hell, with those fires. So class 1) and class 3) don't disagree; they are the same story seen at different times. But the images in class 2) are different. In the Last Times, the last 15 days, all the towers on Earth fall down; the Sun goes black; fire rains from the sky. But the one thing that is not destroyed in the general destruction of the Last Days, is Hell. Hell suffers no towers falling, and no loss of life, as the inhabitants have none to lose. So class 2) shows something which is not Hell, or is not correct for Hell. Why would some images for this card not show Hell, but some other building which unlike Hell, is destroyed by fire, or by fire from the sky?

The oldest images of this trump, if we accept the dates given by the holding museums, are tbe "dit de Charles VI" and the Rosenwald sheets, both called XV century by the BnF and the NGA respectively. The Rosenwald sheets show signs of being Minchiate, as Huck says. as they have centaurs as Knights, so XV century may be too early, although I tend to quite an early date for Minchiate. For this trump, however, Rosenwald is class 2b), a destroyed tower, while later minchiate is class 1), an Orfeo and Eurydice image. But let's take Rosenwald as XV century for now.

Building, and lightning bolt, are both present, from our earliest evidence. If building and lightning bolt are combined in an image, it is natural to show the building as shattered. So could the original concept of this trump be simply a building toppled by lightning, nothing to do with Hell or the Devil? I think there are several reasons to think that the fiery building is Hell, and the bolt from the blue is the one that comes for sinners on Judgment Day.

1) All early French evidence about this trump supports a devilish interpretation. Catelin Geofroy and the AP have devils on their cards. Viéville has a poem of which the last line is: "L'a foudre prins a force qui soit pendue trannay au dyable." However bad my translation, this is not a poem about the danger to tall structures during foul weather.

2) Of the Italian decks, Tarocchino (except Mitelli's) has a building tumbling down, with bodies on the ground, but the other main late source of decks, the Minchiate, has the Orfeo and Eurydice image, associated with Hades. Furthermore it is called "La Casa del Diavolo."

3) This trump, along with it's neighbor the Devil, is about the least likely trump to be preserved from the early handmade decks; really only in Charles VI. Devil and Tower are even more rare than Death, although that is also rare. If it was just a building on fire, or a building hit by lightning, that should not have been a bad omen, even worse than the Devil and Death cards..

Since the evidence for a devilish meaning for this card, is in both countries, and in A decks and C decks, it seems unlikely that a Hell as a concept arose from a tower hit by lightning, independently in two places. It is more likely the origin included Hell, and was copied in several places, in one place the building was shown falling down, either because the Hell concept was lost, or they saw no contradiction with the House of the Devil getting it's fair share of destruction. Since the AP is the only living gaping mouth in all of tarot, it is more likely the original mouth of hell was some sort of door in a wall. The lightning part of the concept, was the bolt from the blue, announcing to sinners they left it too late to repent. So Thunderbolt of Judgment and Hell mouth as door, are the origin. Here is a tree iconograph of the way that concept spread and changed:
Tower icograf RW595.jpg
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The first branch, in B order, goes from the origin to the Budapest tower on fire. This tower may or may not be falling down, but there is no small upper tower, and no bodies on the ground. The Steele sermon calls this trump "Sagitta" so Lightning was part of the concept in the B-order region.

The second branch in A order, has Charles VI and Rosenwald. Both are class 2) tower is breaking, and both show the small tower. They are subclass 2b) no bodies; a further change adds the bodies, which leads to Tarocchino, except Mitelli's. Mitelli's Tarocchino has only lightning. A fourth branch from the original concept classicalizes Hell to Hades, and shows Orfeo and Eurydice, leading to the Minchiate. The only Thunderbolt is what Eurydice feels when her idiot husband turns around to look.

A fifth branch, in the C-order region, splits in three: Catelin Geofroy is the first fork: alone in C-region he has Orfeo and Eurydice. The AP alone shows Hellmouth as giant gaping living mouth; his devil drummer and the label LaFovldre show that both Hellmouth and Thunderbolt are part of his concept for card. The third fork emphasizes Lightning, and depicts rain: in Viéville there is rain, and a sun which is both shining and half-covered by clouds: showing a lightning storm that comes unexpectedly out of the blue, surprising the shepherd. In Cary sheet we see the rain also. There may have been a sun in the corner of the Cary card that is lost: it is hard to see why there would be rain except to make the same point that Viéville makes, that the lightning strike comes in a sudden storm out of a blue sky. Further, Noblet has a bright sun on his card, and he copied the Cary card, and he had the whole card to copy. So we may say Viéville and Cary are both showing sudden lightning, Viéville with a tree, and the Cary sheet with a tower.

Orfeo and Eurydice show up both in A-order Minchiate, and C-order Geofroy. This is a homoplasy, a similarity not explained by the common origin having that property. Some homoplasies are to be expected. There may have been influence one direction or the other, or they both may have made a classicalizing move from Hell to Hades, and both hit on the same story. Eurydice finds out very suddenly that she is going to stay in Hades. It is a kind of thunderbolt. The story of Theseus rescued from Hades by Hercules wouldn't do, as it has a happy ending.

So the Cary sheet card may have been like Viéville's card, a sudden lightning storm, only the blast hits a tower instead of a tree. But why then didn't Noblet simply copy that picture, and apply to it the label "La Foudre" he got from the AP? I can only guess that the Cary sheet card did not show lightning clearly. This is true of Viéville also. There are clouds over the sun, although it still has rays, and the shepherd looks up, startled, but there is no lightning bolt. The one face we see on the Cary sheet, looks like a cow, but it may be a devil. It's hard to explain why there would be a cow. If it is a devil, that would mean that Cary sheet is showing both parts of the original concept: the building is Hell, as a building on fire, and there is also a sudden thunderstorm. There would be figures, the souls of sinners, being dragged by devils into the mouth of Hell. Then Noblet did not understand that rain and sun meant a sudden thunderstorm. He saw the figures at the base of the tower as victims of the fire. He showed the top of the burning tower as falling, because in fact stone buildings (except domes) have wood in them and they fall down when they burn up.

For whatever reason, in the end Noblet showed bodies on the ground at the foot of a tower, which is thus a common feature with the Tarocchino (except Mitelli). It is hard to see how the common origin could have had bodies on the ground: because so many branches of the iconograph don't have them, and anyway souls in Hell don't jump from the roof of Hell and end up dead on the ground, because they cannot die. So Noblet's bodies on the ground, and the bodies in the Tarocchino, would have to be a homoplasy. (Note that this result does not come from the assumptions I made about the Cary sheet. Whatever the Cary sheet shows, Noblet's Tower has bodies, and the Tarocchino Tower cards have bodies, and the common origin probably did not have bodies.) So we must accept another homoplasy. Influence is a possibility, in either direction. I don't know of an Tarocchino showing the bodies that is especially early.

Summary: Noblet was forced to label an image of an isolated tower. Because of the surrounding cards, he saw a standard Last Judgment picture recreated on four cards (I will get to the 3 celestials in a bit). In order to complete the picture, this card had to be either the Heaven (as on a Last Judgement picture) or the mouth of Hell (as on a Last Judgement picture) . Given that choice, the tower had to be Heaven, although it was unlike Heaven in many ways. So he called it the House of God.

It was basically a series of accidents that left Noblet with a label and an image that didn't match.
this has been part three of a posting on the tarot labels of France.
part 4 will be called "The three celestials"

Re: The trump labels of France

Tower cards with globes falling down (indicating hail or, if colored red or yellow, fire) are clearly apocalyptic in theme, which would also include prefigurations of the Apocalypse, such as God's destruction of the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the falling of the idols as recounted in the Golden Legend, on the occasion of the Holy Family's journey to Egypt. In that context we have such scenes as this:

Also, one of the card's earlier name was "Fuoco", Fire. For sources see my post at ... tower.html. They are mostly French, and of course pre-Noblet.

So how did "House of the Devil" become "House of God". Here are two possibilities, assuming that the cards before Noblet had the name of the subject on them, but often hard to read. So "Maison de Feu" could become "Maison Dieu", as Moakley and Depaulis have suggested. Or "Maison de Devil" (Deuil, Grief) could become "Maison de Diev", by transposition. Noblet could accept that because "house of god" included pagan temples,as in the toppling idols of Egypt, and the temple of Jerusalem (rent at Christ's death and then destroyed by the Romans, according to the Grand Robert a "Maison-Dieu"), as well as churches hit by fire during the Apocalypse. Churches would be no refuge from God's judgment.

Also a Maison-Dieu was a hospice, a place where people went to die, unless they got better on their own, in other words a place of death that was also, since run by nuns and monks, a place of God. This is indicated in the last line of the above, expounded further in the below. These considerations also work even if Noblet did not have access to cards with their titles underneath.

Another possibility is the Mount of Purgatory in Dante, which had a ring of fire on top , and after penetrating it and drinking from two streams there (i.e. the "Star" card), Dante ascends to the the Heaven of the Moon.

Also, he might have been a Protestant - many artisans were, secretly - and considered such structures as St. Peter's in Rome an abomination that surely would be destroyed in the Last Days if not earlier.

There was also a house of God as the New Jerusalem, but the card comes too early in the sequence for that. It is implied by the last card, but to my knowledge only explicit in the "second artist" PMB and perhaps the Sermones de Ludo's "that is, the Father (God)". And the Vieville's Jesus is close enough.

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