Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

mikeh wrote:
15 Jul 2019, 13:08
Thierry Depaulis, Le Tarot Révélé, 2013, p. 21:(This atypical tarot could be a kind of test shot, especially as the presence on two suits - batons (here, in fact, arrows) and swords - of emblems of the Sforza (the fountain and the quince, mela cotogna) , while the other two - coins and cups - bear emblems of the Visconti, seems to be explained by the union of the two families that the card of the Lover could represent. Only one possible date, 1441, when Francesco Sforza married, in Cremona, Bianca Maria Visconti, the only child, natural but legitimated, of Duke Filippo Maria (9). This would be the oldest tarot deck preserved.
Glad to see Depaulis came to the same conclusion based on the exact same evidence: 2 suits Visconti plus 2 suits for Sforza = alliance. There is one alliance/"union" that occurred for the time period 1441-1447 and that was represented by the Bianca wedding and Treaty of Cavriana less than a month later (11/20/41).

9. On the other hand, there is no explanation for the presence of the Savoy arms alternating with the Visconti worm on the dais. An allusion to the (disastrous) marriage of Filippo Maria Visconti with Marie of Savoy in 1428 seems improbable, especially since Bianca Maria was the daughter of a mistress of the Duke.

He is endorsing what Kaplan had already said in 1978, except in the footnote, which seems to me not to negate the sentence it is a note to, but rather to present a problem that still needs explanation. There are various proposals. The problem with Pavia is that Francesco was not Count of Pavia at the time. Putting that flag there, however, might have been meant as a (deliberately misleading) suggestion by Filippo that Francesco was the heir-apparent, since Count of Pavia was a title (then vacant) given to the person in that position.

Bingo (although I'd characterize it as more of an "empty promise"). And I can't heap enough contempt on the Savoy theory: 1. there would be no Sforza devices in a 1428 Savoy-Visconti deck; 2. there would be Bona's fleur-di-lys device in the later GM Sforza wedding (and the latter's torch device) - there isn't.

Let's review the salient facts:
* Pavia acted in the same way as Windsor castle did for the British Crown: Buckingham was the in-city palace in London, but they also have a more rural palace away from the city, Windsor, that was also a royal seat (the castle at Pavia even had attached hunting grounds and the primary ducal library, where the likes of Petrarch studied). Similarly, the Count of Pavia is comparable to the "Prince of Wales" succession position.
* Until 1412 Filippo is Count of Pavia, a de factor crown prince role.
* Pavia is one of the first targets for Sforza in 1447 and has the Ambrosian Republic recognize his claims to it. It was a symbolic stepping stone to Milan itself (and Sforza acted as disingenuously with that Republic as Visconti did with him [or indeed the Republic dealt with Sforza]).
* Finally, however Visconti disingenuously dangled Milan before Sforza, there is no doubt as to how Sforza understood Pavia as a stepping stone to Milan itself:
On Sunday 22nd March [1450; 25th is also given in other sources], all was ready, and Francesco rode to the Porta Ticinese, accompanied by his wife, his brother Alessandro and his six-year-old son Galeazzo Maria….Francesco’s first act as Duke was to create the eldest son Count of Pavia….” (C. Ady, A History of Milan Under the Sforza, 1907: 65)
The Porta Ticinese is the southern gate out of Milan that leads directly to even on Sforza's second, ceremonial ingresso into Milan, the elevation of himself from Pavia to Milan proper is performed in a ritual space linking the two places.

Without the implication of succession - and in Milan that meant a current or future claim on Pavia (for Bianca/Sforza's male issue, hence the Love card's Pavia pennant on the tent with a matrimonial bed waiting for them inside) - Sforza does not marry Bianca.

The symbolism of succession couldn't be clearer throughout the CY deck, and the differentiation between it and the PMB deck bears that out. Sforza acted accordingly, making a bee-line for Pavia in 1447, and when ultimately successful in gaining the duchy issued a new deck with appropriate changes to the Chariot and Lovers trumps, from the initial 1441 CY wedding/condotte deck to the c. 1450/51 Ducal investiture deck:

As of 22 March 1450, Sforza's investiture date as Duke of Milan, Bianca and Francesco have two children, symbolized by two putti holding Milan idealized New Jerusalem in the PMB "World", typical of types in the Visconti Hours (and the first putti pointing at himself represents the heir Galeazzo Maria, that middle name taken from his grandfather and fellow former Count of Pavia, Filippo Maria) :



Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

Well, I have no idea about whether the 1428 marriage is being referred to. It is certainly not that couple for which the deck was made, you have no argument there. Otherwise, It depends in part on whether this design with the two flags was a generic one applying to all triumph decks sponsored by Filippo, such as the Brera-Brambilla) or just this one. Since we don't have the Love card from that deck, we can't say. If the reference included the 1350 marriage of Galeazzo II Visconti to Bianca of Savoy., the design could even be for this deck alone. It is an ambiguity - between Savoy and Pavia - designed to cultivate Francesco's hopes either way, it seems to me.

Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

Phaeded wrote:
31 Jan 2019, 05:02
That leaves the Papi-Ur theory with 18th century rule-playing sources, Piscina and a hypothetical Bologna-Piedmont axis, with no concrete 15th century evidence with which to root this theory anywhere at a specific time…besides Piscina. But let’s allow the Bologna-Piedmont connection in light of Piscina, without the “axis” appendage (which unnecessarily drags Milan into the bargain). What we know: by 1565 the Papi and Papi-rule are in Piedmont. Let‘s also assume Bologna played by those rules first since there is clearly a strong tradition there ...So we are left with a Piedmont/Savoy reliance on Bologna before 1565 – that, I believe, can be stated without controversy, and without recourse to an intermediary. Separated states interacted directly with one another all the time, and certainly there must have been occasions when Savoy dealt with Bologna, and vice versa, sometime before 1565. Was it the novelty of the Papi itself that further prompted Piscina to write about the game he saw ladies playing? Or had the game been around for a least a generation?

In March 1530, Charles V of France’s brother-in-law, Charles III of Savoy, was one of the dozen of rulers included in the peace of the Treaty of Bologna where he was jockeying to have his principality upgraded to a kingdom – a serious and noteworthy endeavor for the Dukes of Savoy. As part of his entourage’s ceremonial entry into Bologna he paid to have wife Beatrice (a Portugese princess) received in Bologna ‘con gran pompa et bella comitiva’ (Kenneth Setton, The Papacy and the Levant (1204-1571, Volume III, the Sixteenth Century, 1976: 338). I believe you have referenced this next work several times, but apparently within it (I’ve not had a chance to look this up yet) you can find an account of Beatrice’s “triumph” in Bonner Mitchell, Italian Civic Pageantry in the High Renaissance: A Descriptive Bibliography of Triumphal Entries and Selected Other Festivals for State Occasions, 1979: 19-25.

A third source that emphasizes Emperor and the pope in Bologna at this time and the significance for Bologna:
The imperial coronation of Charles V in Bologna on 24 February 1530 was one of the most importantly ceremonial events of the sixteenth century. It anointed Charles V as political leader of the Christian world, it formalized the newly established peace and collaboration between the emperor and the pope, and it provided the context for a number of political agreements that were to determine the course of European history for the reminder of the century, if not beyond….The ceremony was carefully observed by the throngs of illustrious invited guests who crowded into the basilica of San Petronio, where the central moments of the coronation were staged, as well as by the large crowd that filled the open-air spaces through which the pope and emperor passed. And it was carefully examined, at a distance, by those interested persons and governments throughout Europe who read the narrative of the event in the printed and manuscript descriptions that were circulated at the time. [perhaps influencing the papi at this time?]
For Bologna and the Bolognese, the coronation of Charles V marked the high point of that extended moment when the two most important leaders of Christendom were concurrently residing in the city.

(Konrad Eisenbichler, “Charles V in Bologna: the self-fashioning of a man and a city”, Renaissance Studies, Vol. 13, No. 4, Special Issue: Civic Self-Fashioning in Renaissance Bologna: historical and scholarly contexts, DECEMBER 1999: 430-439)

I came across the below engraving that reminded me of this old post that begged for a print or manuscript description that might underscore the theory that the "four Papi" were invented in 1530. The image is one plate, 10, from a series of 38 etchings that form the complete frieze of the procession of Emperor Charles V into Bologna for his coronation by Pope Clement VII on 24 February 1530, engraved by Nicolaas Hogenberg and published by Hendrik Hondius II in the same year (viewable on-line here: ... -60&page=1 ). The key detail are the four papal hats held aloft, the relevance of which is described in regard to triumphs in general:
If the spolia recalled past victories, the regalia, carried directly in front of the king in all coronation processions, could be compared with relics. It visually recalled the power possessed by the monarch and the essential elements of his sovereignty: the crown, the sword (sometimes doubled and tripled in appearance to emphasize still more its importance, but also to requite the desire of several officials of the court to participate in the ceremony), the globe, the scepter, the main de justice (for French kings), the oriflamme, the several caps of the pope (Fig. 27 [same plate below, described in this work as "the four pope's hats" or Quatuor Pontificis Capella per the Latin on the engraving itself]) (which had the same significance as the several swords).
Sergio Bertelli, The King’s Body: Sacred Rituals of Power in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Tr. R. Burr Litchfield, 1990, 2001: 95-96)
Sure, this is just one detail from a joint Imperial/Papal procession in 1530, but it is another reason for positing "Pope" in a fourfold manner in that year, significantly in Bologna with Charles III of Savoy present, before the 1565 Papi and Papi-rule are evidenced in Piedmont. And hats have certainly not been minor sources of discussion on this board - from the crown held by Fama in the CY "World". to the Franciscan habit of the PMB "Popess."


Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

In addition to my last post above regarding the 1530 papal coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in Bologna, some related context, and perhaps even an explanation for how the idea of a "Moor" would have ever been associated with the "Papi." The theory here is that - pressure to get rid of papal references in tarot notwithstanding - was there a possible reference to "Moors" in a 16th century deck, now lost (like so many other decks)? The opening for a replacement of one of the four "Papi" might have been the Empress, as Charles V's wife, Isabella of Portugal, died in 1539, with Charles so devastated that he locked himself up in a monastery for two months, never recovered from her death nor remarried, and dressed in black for the rest of his life. Thus the lack of an empress after 1539 was very much a public matter.

But why add a "Moor" as a replacement?

The Siege of Vienna in 1529 was the first attempt by the Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, to capture the city; Charles V's imperial troops could take some of the credit for the defense, and it was that "victory" that led to the rapprochement between Charles V and Pope Clement VII, and the ensuing Pope's coronation of Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor on February 24, 1530 (the post above of the engravings of the triumphal "ingresso" into Bologna actually happened on 5 November 1529).

In the very same year of the Turkish invasion the rebelling protestant leader was equating the Turks to the Papacy:
“...Luther was ready to give the Antichrist pope a “companion” and in a letter written the same year (1529) to Wencelaus Linck, he paired the pope with the Turkish ruler as the “final Gog and Magog.” Comparison’s between the papacy and the Turkish emperor and their tyrannies became favorites." (Carina Johnson, Cultural Hierarchy in Sixteenth-Century Europe: The Ottomans and Mexicans, 2011: 65)
Quite obviously in Catholic Italy such equivalences would not have been made, but the point is the Ottoman Emperor was elevated in status as a subject of discourse to that of other "Papi" trumps. Before the 1454 fall of Constantinople the Ottomans would have been further off of Europe's "radar"; but after 1529 and the Ottoman's incursions into Hungary they would have received renewed currency, being very much the talk of the day.

For Charles V's part, he inherited the Order of the Golden Fleece and used it as a means of rallying support for crusades against the Turks, convening the order en masse as well as local chapter meetings on numerous occasions. Charles high point against the Ottomans was his conquest of Tunis in 1535, celebrated with triumphal pomp in several cities back in Europe. The Ottoman emperor continued to elevated in status in Europe however as the next year In 1536 Francis I of France allied himself with Suleiman against Charles. While Francis was persuaded to sign a peace treaty in 1538, he again allied himself with the Ottomans in 1542 in a Franco-Ottoman alliance. During that period the Ottomans won a great victory: The naval battle of Preveza, where the fleet of the Holy Alliance organized under the next pope (including Spanish ships sent by Charles) was defeated in Ionian Sea, ominously , symbolically speaking, in the same area as the Battle of Actium that allowed Augustus to essentially create the very office of the Roman Emperor in the first place, now occupied (in the minds of Europeans) by Charles V. Significantly this battle occurred the year before Isabella's death, in 1538.

So after 1539 we have no empress, but a Turkish Emperor in the forefront of European consciousness. One might envision a tarot deck that wished to reflect that European state of affairs: Pope, (Holy Roman) Emperor, and Church ("Popess") aligned against the Turkish Emperor, in place of an Empress that had ceased to exist and had not been replaced. Especially in a place like Bologna that had seen the birth of the Charles V/Papal alliance in 1530.

Iconographically, Charles V'would have sported a crown that was vertically elongated and thus similar to the tiaras worn by Pope and "Popess"/Church:


Compare his crown to the emperors of the the "Papi":


We are now quite close to an equivalent look of four "Papi," save for the Ottoman Sultan/Emperor....and yet he too sported a famous crown that equally looked "Pope-ish." I draw your attention to Exhibit A, Süleyman the Magnificent's Venetian Helmet
Süleyman the Magnificent's Venetian helmet was an elaborate headpiece designed to project the sultan's power in the context of the Ottoman–Habsburg rivalry. It was acquired by the sultan in 1532.[1] The rivalry with the Habsburg Monarchy was one of the most significant political and military relationships addressed by the sultan during his reign....After the 16th century, the helmet was long known only from the closely similar prints by Agostino Veneziano and others (it is not entirely clear which of these first created the image). These appear to combine the features of Süleyman lifted from other portraits available in Venice, while the helmet itself was recorded when it was exhibited in Venice, before it reached the sultan. The helmet was widely thought to be a fanciful invention of the printmakers, until 20th-century scholars rediscovered the records of the real object.....The helmet-crown consisted of four crowns set inside an Austrian-style helmet, and was topped by "a plumed aigrette with a crescent-shaped mount".[3] ...The helmet was probably conceived as a response to the coronation of the Habsburg ruler Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor two years previously by Pope Clement VII.[7] The helmet’s design suggests it was a direct rebuke to both Charles’s crown and the three-tiered tiara worn by the Pope.[8] The four tiers of the helmet trumped the Pope and advertised Sultan Süleyman’s claim to world domination. The helmet was delivered on May 12, 1532 to Ibrahim Pasha from Venice.[9]....The helmet played a role during Süleyman’s campaign against the Habsburg capital, Vienna, in 1532. As part of a larger set of objects, including a bejeweled saddle and throne, the helmet was meant to advertise to a European audience not only the Ottoman sultan’s vast wealth, but also his claims to the title of Emperor and universal sovereignty. Contemporary accounts state "an enormous fortune was spent to exhibit the sultan’s magnificence" as the helmet and other regalia were paraded from Istanbul towards Vienna. In Belgrade, streets were decorated with triumphal arches in the style of the Roman Empire as Süleyman marched through along with a retinue of pages dressed in finery, including one that likely wore the helmet. In the city of Nish, Habsburg envoys were made to watch a similar procession from the top of a minaret. Later, those same envoys appeared before the sultan. The carefully choreographed audience left the envoys "speechless corpses" as they gazed on the helmet, together with an associated collection of gold and jeweled items laid out in the Sultan’s reception tent. The impact of this parade lasted long after the campaign of 1532. Woodcuts of the crown were partly responsible for Süleyman’s title of "Magnificent" in the West. The image of the crown also seeped into European plays and operas of the time. ... ian_Helmet
Agostino Veneziano's 1535 engraving (that would have furthered the dissemination of this crown):

A good article here on this tiara, with reproductions of other engravings of this crown that persisted into the mid-17th century (with a later example below): ... power.html
Sultan with tiara.JPG
Sultan with tiara.JPG (49.45 KiB) Viewed 322 times

So was the replacement of "Papi" by "Moors" In 1724 in the Bolognese Tarocchino completely random, or was a hypothetical deck already featuring the Ottoman Emperor in existence? Again, the Empress ceased to exist from 1539 until Charles V's death in 1558 (an Emperor dedicated to crusades against the Ottomans, yet the latter were allied to France), so a pre-Moors hypothetical deck showing an Ottoman Emperor, with a papal-like tiara (that in fact famously existed), would have dated to that period. Failing that conjecture, perhaps the mere renown of Süleyman's tiara was suggestive enough of a pope to have allowed that leap in changing the iconography to "Moors", albeit in traditional garb, at a later date.


Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

I have been re-reading the thread to try to figure out better what Ross's argument is, so I can examine it critically. I am going to say some things that probably will sound crazy and belong in the Unicorn Terrace, but if so, I would like to know why they are crazy, or more importantly, wrong-headed.

Ross 31 January 2019
Found this argumentation from 2009, which summarizes the arguments and points for a topical interpretation of the papi as a Bolognese invention. Note the explicit mention of there being "dui papi" in November 1439 (Felix and Eugene).


Cronaca B (late 15th century)
“Sì che in questo tempo erano dui papi” (bottom right of page 97) ... rd/page/96
Nobody wanted there to be two popes. Having two popes was offensive in itself. Putting that in a game would be to satirize the Church. However as a "pope without reign". as Anonymous has it, calling him "pope" in that sense is a credit to the Church. Felix, the "pope without reign", became a Cardinal, another word Anonymous applies . The same would apply to rival claimants to be emperor. The loser would only be a king, wherever he ruled before being elected Emperor, and "king" is what Anonymous calls the secular leader not an Emperor.

Ross 31 January 2019
Why four? That's the kind of question you'd need to have the inventor in front of you, to pick his brain. Why are there four suits in a deck of cards? Why four court cards? Why are there ten pips? Those kinds of questions don't have a real answer. We can just speculate, or, essentially, moralize.

My speculation would be that they reflect the fact of four suits, of which two are often considered feminine and ranked from Ace high to Ten low, and two masculine, ranked naturally. Two spiritual, and two physical. Perhaps the "feminine" suits inspired the idea of two female papi. Perhaps also that the game was conceived for four players, in two partnerships, so they have a way to work together. But all that is just speculation. The fact is, there are four papi.

Your question shows me that you really haven't understood what I have been arguing since December 2013. Go back to that first post, the explanation is there, with parallels.

Essentially -

The game is learned at the table.
The trump sequence is learned visually, by groups.There are no numbers or names on the cards.
Papi are a group; Virtues are a group; fateful things are a group; the heavens are a group; the set of counting cards, the two lowest and two highest, is a group.
The bare subjects are all that is necessary to understand the ranking. Everything else is decoration, whether simple or elaborate.
"Why four?" is precisely the right question to ask, because there are groups of two, three, five and six, too. You answer it, too, in terms of both symbolism (standing for popes and emperors) and ludic precedent. Feminine suits for feminine papi. Four suits altogether.

I would add a couple of things, two card games that probably had trumps: the game of "VIII Imperadori" had 4x2 imperadori, whoever they were, is easy to reduce to four, one for each suit instead of two. The application of "VIII Imperadori" to Bolognese "papi" is straightforward enough: 8 reduced to 4, to reflect the Christian world of that time.

There was also the game of "Karnöffel", which introduces some wrinkles. It had four trumps capable of triumphing over the Kings: the Karnöffel beat anything, the Devil everything but the Karnöffel, but only when led, the Pope next, and then the Emperor. They had a name as a group: Kingstreiter (King-beater, although I would have thought "Königstreiter")

It strikes me tha the Bagatella is a kind of devil, deceiving people, and the Matto a kind of Karnöffel, as David Parlett explains the term (
In fact its primary meaning is a scrotal hernia and, by extension in some contexts, the testicles. By further extension it also came to mean a rough, uncouth and violent rogue, thence a Landsknecht or lansquenet, and, later still, satirically, a cardinal of the church.
Isn't the PMB Matto wearing a truss, perhaps suggesting a hernia? By some accounts, the Matto and Bagatello are also part of the same group of trumps, the low end of it (I recall a thread called "the first six trumps"). In that case they, and not only the Pope and the Emperor, could be considered "papi". The Fool isn't a "papa" except in some ironic sense, but who is to say there wasn't irony in the early tarot? True, there is no suggestion of such a sequence anywhere. But Minchiate comes close: Its Bagatella card is rather similar to some early Empress, Emperor and Pope cards. He even looks like a papa with his children.
(Unfortunately I do not know how to make an attachment show up on the page, so I keep having to link to a special blog with images. In my file title, "Ganellino" seems to be an early name in Minchiate for the Bagatella, if in Florence or Bologna I don't know. I don't know its etymology either. Addition: "Ganellino" only dates to 1716, in Rome ( An earlier account, written before the Tuscan author's death i(who lived 1606-1665) has "bagattino" (, which is the same as the Bolognese term.

I am not sure where to find that "first post", presumably of December 2013.

Ross wrote, 3 Feb 2019
So to get back to my point about having a light touch. The argument from ignorance only has weight when we have a right to expect evidence, and there is none. Otherwise we assume that things carried on in the trend that they display once they are known. That is, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence unless we can reasonably expect evidence and it is not there. This is the case with Fiorini’s dating of Rothschild to 1420, since we can reasonably expect that for 20 years, all over northern Italy, that some other evidence would exist. There was no great flood that destroyed all the documents and cards between 1420 and 1440. Plenty of documents, but no mention of carte (or naibi) da trionfi until 1440. Therefore that dating is improbable on the face of it. Now we know of course that some of the stiffener in the Rothschild cards is dated to the 1430s – if I remember correctly. So the cards must be later than that. But we didn’t need that proof, since a rational methodology already gave the correct answer. Proof is just consistent with the argumentation, which shows that we are using a good methodology, just as with the 3 to 5 years before 1442 methodology.

But for the equal papi rule and the Bolognese triumphal iconography, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, because we do not have a reasonable expectation of positive evidence. No rulebooks for any form of the game exist until the early 17th century. And the only rules we know from the 15th century are from Trotti, who remarks offhandedly that the best way to play triumphs is four people in two partnerships. We don’t even have proof, or a hint, of the Fool as “excuse” until the Steele Sermon. We cannot expect there to be a mention of the equal-papi rule, since the rules we do know are so few and so unsystematic.

So, since everything we know about Bolognese cards and the equal papi rule is consistent from the first time we hear about until now, we have every right to assume that when the lights go off and the trail goes dark, the same situation prevailed. If the path is straight when you can see, the only reasonable course is to assume it is still straight when it is dark. It is metholodogically unsound to assume that all hell breaks loose as soon as the evidence stops.
That seems a key argument. I of course would like very much to know where that information about the stiffener can be found, as the 1430s does not seem outlandish for the Rothschild, and it is a rather long period, if it starts in 1430. Dal Ponte was still active, at least til 1435,, (he died in 1438) and Bellosi's arguments still make sense to me (see my blog at The Rothschild Emperor card looks primitive, as does the Catania Empress card. The style of having little figures below one big figure - used mostly in Madonnas, coronata or con bambino - was going out of fashion in preference for a single picture frame where the size of foreground figures was dictated by perspective. Even Bembo did so. So adults turn into children.

Your argument for four "papi" works better for Bologna than for Florence. In Florence the evidence for a Popess is 1 in favor, 2 against, and 1 leaning against The Minchiate order (against a Popess) mimics the Charles VI numbers precisely for the trumps they have in common, except that the beginning isn't clear: if the Emperor is 3, then either there is no Popess or the Bagatella was unnumbered. The close correspondence of the order to Minchiate's in that part suggests her absence (leaning against). In Bologna, it is true, the Bagattino is unnumbered, but that might just be to make the numbers consistent with Minchiate, which was played there, at least after the 1530s.

Then there is the strambotto, also against, There is also the Bronzino poem of the 1530s (for Minchiate) which mentions empress, emperor, pope, amore, but no popess. "Papa 1", "Papa 2", etc., seem not to have been invented yet (Nazario Renzoni, 2012. “Some remarks on Germini in Bronzino's Capitolo in lode della Zanzara” The Playing Card 41:2, pp. 85-86).

The Rosenwald does have a Popess (the only favorable evidence for her Florentine presence), but its other copy in Leinfelden has pages glued to it from a book published in 1501-1502 Perugia (Pratesi, “1501-1521: Carte da Perugia e città vicine",, trans. at ... rugia.html). So it was done no earlier than then, about there. Perugia is rather distant from Florence; its trumps could easily be contaminated, as it were, by ideas from other places, suggesting there should be a Popess. Was the Rosenwald Popess a survival from pre-"suppression" days or a late addition to the Florentine? Later evidence goes both ways. In which case when it goes dark, so to speak, we are left in the dark. It is also possible that there were two types of deck by then in Florence, one called "trionfi" or "tarocchi" and the other "Germini" or "Minchiate" (i.e. 24 trumps plus the Fool, with the other 16 added sometime after the return of the Medici, since the first record of them is 1526).

You go on to talk about the Piedmont rules, which show continuity from Piscina to today, and also Bologna, by inference, since Bologna had the "equal papi" rule in the late 16th century and keeps it today. That argument does not work for Florence. It was a hotbed of innovation, especially in the 15th century. Also, it didn't have the "equal papi" rule, at least later, and all hell didn't break loose in the meantime.

Whether your principle works for Bologna during the 15th century seems to me open to doubt, even if I am not a doubter. It is not a question of all hell breaking loose, but only of a card or two. Starting with Sante in the 1440s, It got many craftsmen from Florence and was closely allied with it politically. Then all hell did break loose, politically, followed by direct rule by the papacy, under which it is no wonder that nothing changed for almost 300 years.

But at least in Bologna there is no counter-evidence. And there is the argument from "ludic fours", which I support, especially considering the masculine gender of "papa" in Bologna. When you get to Florence, the papi had both genders, and a female pope creates problems. Not insurmountable ones, but perhaps ones one would prefer to avoid during the time the game is officially illegal. After that, there is room for two decks, including one with the theologicals and Prudence but no Popess. In short, it seems to me that you are not entitled to blur this issue by saying that gender doesn't matter: "papa" in Bologna is masculine all four times, but there is no such thing in Florence.

An example of possible contamination (of B with Bologna), it seems to me, is the Anonymous Discorso. Anonymous describes four: Pope, then Cardinal, also described as "Pope without rule", then Emperor, then King. Where does this "Cardinal/pope without rule" come from? Well, there was Felix, who became a cardinal. Then there was Bessarion, both Cardinal and Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, as Phaeded says (which, however, says nothing about when people might have started interpreting one papa as a "pope without reign"). For the second Emperor, any claimant to the throne of Constantinople would in Anonymous's time be an emperor without reign. But Anonymous calls the second Emperor "king". Well, there were sometimes rival claimants to the position of Emperor. Eventually one would be pronounced illegitimate. But both were also rulers of their own small part of the empire, king of Hungary, etc. "King" is parallel to "Cardinal": it's what the losing claimant has left. The last Emperor standing wins.

But this doesn't work if there are two genders involved. Piscina didn't say that Empresses sometimes won over Emperors, and Popesses over Popes (although in the Byzantine Empire something like that actually happened, in that the Emperor and Patriarch said one thing and the rank and file another, about unification with the Roman church, and pretty soon the both were left "without reign'; in this case the rival emperor was the Turk, and the rival patriarch someone who would accept Turkish rule. ). So when two genders are involved, the "equal papi" rule isn't supposed to apply The one possible exception to this is the Cary-Yale, because of its proliferation of feminine figures. In the feminine suits (with Visconti emblems on the courts) I suspect that they beat the males , including Queens over Kings, If so, it would be consistent to include the Imperatori or Papi (whoever, and how many, they were) in that same practice, via some such thing as the "equal papi" rule. This would allow the custom to migrate to Piedmont long before 1500, and even arise independently of it. And if piedmont followed such a custom, too, then indeed Popesses could win against Popes. I do not know: does the "equal papi" rule work in Piedmont, and if so, how, in a deck with both genders?

Note: I rewrote the previous two paragraphs a few hours later.

So I am willing to accept "four papi" for Bologna, from the earliest time there, but I remain in the dark when it comes to Florence. PerhapsBagatella counts; it could be "Papa 1" later, why not earlier, when the cards at least might have looked similar? I am not saying it was, just that it seems as reasonable, or crazy, as anything else.

Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

mikeh wrote:
08 Dec 2019, 03:50
So I am willing to accept "four papi" for Bologna, from the earliest time there, but I remain in the dark when it comes to Florence.
And that's where I'm at, but not "in the dark" but rather find the idea of a "Papi" in the ur-tarot as just too speculative. I see later Bolognese evidence, especially in connection with the papal coronation of Emperor Charles V, for why the standard tarot got modified into "Papi" (and yet again, later, into Moors). It just seems extremely unlikely to me that the ur-tarot included the Papi, then differentiated two of them into females, Eccelsia/"Papess" and Empress, then reverted back to the original four similar Papi format (the need for cardplayers to differentiate the 4 Papi was only acute for a certain period? That rationale makes no sense).

Ecclesia is problematic no matter what. The use of Ecclesia (and Synagoga) reached the height of its popularity in Romanesque art and then during the 14th century became much rarer ( 15th century examples even rarer - hence the historical befuddlement over the "papess" and the attractiveness of Moakley's Guglielma theory to explain the emergence of this oddity. But the PMB "Popess" clearly wears the habit of a Franciscan tertiary nun, not an Umiliati. The question then is why did a Franciscan Ecclesia emerge c. 1451 in Milan? The idea that "Ecclesia" previously existed in tarot is entirely theoretical. All we have is the CY Faith, a visual cognate of Ecclesia...and if the similarity of supposed Papi was a problem during this time period, how would that rationale not apply to Faith and Ecclesia in the same deck (supposedly both in the CY), both holding a cross-staff/ferula?

Why a Franciscan Ecclesia in Milan c. 1451 (no evidence it predates that deck) is due to the new Pope Nicholas V's reformation of the Franciscan order when he took over 1447 (i.e., it was topical and the pope's support was sought after), and, prominent Milanese elites associated themselves with the Franciscans at this time, being buried in Franciscan tertiary habits and behind the push for the major new Milanese charity of the hospital built under Sforza (the so-called Ca' Grande). It was a means for Sforza to identify himself with local religious sentiments without infringing on the prerogatives of the new pope (in regard to which, naturally the theologicals disappear in the PMB, or, rather, are replaced - Faith being replaced by Ecclesia). It was that unique set of circumstances that produced the oddity of a Franciscan Ecclesia in Milan in the mid-15th century, after Sforza took the city. Elsewhere in northern Italy this allegory is largely of no significance to ruling regimes. Details for what is summarized in this last paragraph in this previous post of mine:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1168&p=19148&hilit ... rza#p19148


Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

Phaeded wrote
It just seems extremely unlikely to me that the ur-tarot included the Papi, then differentiated two of them into females, Eccelsia/"Papess" and Empress, then reverted back to the original four similar Papi format (the need for cardplayers to differentiate the 4 Papi was only acute for a certain period? That rationale makes no sense).
It doesn't have to have gone as you describe. Bologna and Florence are two different cities with their own players. It starts with Bologna and its four "papi". Then Florence feminizes one or two of them. Then Bologna doesn't follow Florence's , it just keeps to what it started with. It seems to me that either could be the ur-tarot, after which the other center makes its version, and with or without a Popess at the beginning in Florence. All I can see is that Florence and Bologna are different in how they identify their dignitaries: in Bologna it's just spiritual and secular; in Florence there are gender differences as well.

It could also be as Ross describes, the four Bolognese-type "papi" originating in Florence, being transmitted to Bologna, where they remain as transmitted, while in Florence they get further differentiation. But the differentiation could have already been there, following the example of Karnoffel, and decreased by Bologna, bothered by some aspect of Florence's depictions.

It seems to me that it is also not a problem if Florence at first omits the Popess, then after legalization in 1450 puts her in, at least in some versions, then, under religious pressure, takes her out, so that around 1500 she is both in (Rosenwald, in Perugia) and out (Strambotto in Florence). Perugia is a different place from Florence, not subject to the same religious pressures that would have required removing the Popess and not publishing a poem or song with the Popess in it. But even in Florence, c. 1500, why assume that there was only the non-Popess deck then? I would imagine that in taverns, Popess decks wouldn't be allowed (that is accomplished by requiring that players use the house decks), because she could be an occasion for snide comments and even fights. But you could still buy Popess decks for use in your own home. We don't need to make an assumption either way.

Phaeded wrote
and if the similarity of supposed Papi was a problem during this time period, how would that rationale not apply to Faith and Ecclesia in the same deck (supposedly both in the CY), both holding a cross-staff/ferula?
I'm not sure I follow. The similarity of Papi, as we see in Bologna, is not a problem, if they have equal value in a trick. if not, then yes, they need to be differentiated. In the CY we cannot assume such a rule. So differentiation has to be possible. It seems to me that all that had to happen is that she wasn't portrayed as holding a cross. She'd just have her book and papal crown, and perhaps a crozier or "shephard's staff", like on the Metropolitan sheets. And wear a different colored outfit: brown vs. blue, red, and gold. And Faith would have her communion cup and staff. That is plenty of differentiation. I don't see the problem. A Popess in the CY doesn't have to look precisely like the one in the PMB. The presence of Faith is reason enough for it to look different. There are many differences between CY versions and their counterparts in the PMB: the removal of the four attendants to the Emperor and Empress, Death loses his horse. for exmaple.

Mind you, I don't assume that he CY had a Popess either, but for quite different reasons than those you advance. I just think that it is as likely as not that there were 16 trumps (including Time as one and Prudence separate from Fame as the other), for 16 cards per regular suit: 6 Petrarchans, the Wheel, and 7 virtues leaves only 2 for the dignitaries, the 2 that are among the surviving cards. Then, after no Popess in the CY, all hell breaks loose in Milan, including two regime changes (like in Bologna 60 years later), as we see in the extant PMB compared to the extant CY. Why assume otherwise? Why assume that the ratio of 3:2 of trumps to non-trumps dictates 24 trumps (with the whole 5 card sequence from Devil to Sun conveniently missing), when the ratio could with better justification have been 1:1? I offer my matrix idea as a rationale (for the CY at 16), but I do not insist on it, if there is some other rationale based on better evidence (mine is the later orders, consistent with the extant cards and documents). I say "better evidence" as opposed to dismissing evidence because it isn't decisive about the earliest period (e.g. the orders of trumps, or 70 card triumph decks, which might be 22 + 4x12).

I am still waiting for your promised reply to my post at viewtopic.php?p=21364#p21364. When you start your new thread, be sure to start with a link to that post, so it can be seen within the context there -- and also to the new thread in your last post on the old one, so people will know where to keep reading. It seems to me we were getting somewhere, with the discussion of Aquinas.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests