There is no more compelling evidence than the CY and 1457 Ferrara record for the ur-tarot being based on a unit of 7 (2x7).
The 1457 decks are evidence, but not compelling evidence, as there were sometimes 48 cards per suit, i.e. 4x12 + 22. About 7x2. On my account the CY is 7 x2, too. But the Empress and the Emperor are a set of 2 besides, for 16 total.
1438-9 is due to the Church Council. I don't subscribe to the theory myself, but as far a compelling event close in time to the earliest known tarot mention in 1440, it is at least plausible (versus the other nonsensical dates broached here).
Thanks. For the Church Council to be relevant, there would have to be some reason for it to be relevant, which have yet to be stated. See my comments to Ross below.
And if the need for the number of court cards to match the trumps were so damn important for Visconti why did he put up with only four court cards but have 16 trumps in the Marziano? The "rule" that court cards match the number of trumps is a straw man's argument that certainly doesn't even apply to the final 22 trump format of tarot.
You aren't following what I am saying, Phaeded. It is not the number of court cards that is critical. It is the number of cards per suit, 16 (CY) and 14 (Florence). The ur-tarot for 14, the CY for 16. 16 cards per suit is evidence for 16 trumps. 14 cards per suit is evidence for 14 trumps. On both of our accounts, the number of trumps expanded after the CY. It's not a hard and fast rule, just a rule at the beginning, then discarded.
But out of curiosity, why do you insist on calling the "World" trump "Fama", when the only card that has an attribute of fama is the CY? No one would read any of the other 15th century "World" trumps as fama without knowing about the CY.
Pesellino has for the Triumph of Fame a lady holding out an orb. Apollonio's birth tray has a lady standing on a globe. The clouds indicate that it is Fama in the heavens that is meant, in the Charles VI and Catania, and also in the PMB, a New Jerusalem beyond this world. So the trumpets are unnecessary and misleading. It is immortal glory, not strictly Petrarchan; the latter pertains more to the Chariot card. The octagonal halo is also characteristic of Fama, although of course the virtues had them, too.
And you don't have to accept whatever you concocted above; again, for me this is the ur-tarot - 14 trumps:
Your exposition of your theory, with the diagram and what you say about it, is nice, and I understand it better now. But there seem to be some things missing, if I look at the details.
Saturn: Temperance yes, but one reference to Semele turning to ashes does not make the sphere of Saturn about Death. And why Death as opposed to an Old Man? In the Seven Ages of Man, the last stage was decrepitude. It's just that there is a Death card in the CY, so it has to be the Death aspect of Saturn that is to be gleaned from those cantos. Temperance's connection with Death would be useful for explaining the CY's placement of Temperance with Death. But that doesn't go very far, since your ur-tarot is in Florence, where Temperance has no apparent relation to Death. It more obviously relates to Love.
Jupiter: Justice yes, but your reference for the Angel of Judgment is to a canto in the sphere of Mars, with no reference to the Angel of Judgment that I can see. It is just about the self-destruction of families and cities. Justice's connection with Judgment does not need Dante.
Mars: Fortitude yes, and a passing reference to the Wheel of Fortune, which no one would fix on unless they were looking for it; how is it a theme of these cantos? Again, Fortitude's connection with bad turns of the Wheel does not need Dante.
Sun: Prudence yes, but the chariot reference is brief, I think referring to Ezekiel's, and not a theme. Nor is prudent princes. It is mostly about saints.
Venus, Love, yes. And as you say, Charity marred.
Mercury: empires does seem to be a theme. The marred hope for justice is a theme. It would take some work to make that into a theological virtue, but I suppose so (hope for justice after death?)
Moon: an Empress is mentioned, but it is not a theme. Marred vows is the issue with her. Marred faith is another theme of this section, I suppose.
Just because the seven virtues are a theme in Dante, and also in the CY, that doesn't make Dante a theme of the CY.
Just because there are mentions of an empress, an emperor, a chariot, a wheel of fortune, destruction, and someone's death, among many other things in Dante, and those same things are in the CY, that doesn't make the CY about Dante either. There has to be some structural relationship in Dante that is reflected in the CY. Part of it is there (I grant you Emperor and Love, maybe Empress, in the right places in the order), but not enough.
Planetary spheres might suggest an order: Empress with Moon, Emperor with Mercury, Venus with Love. But then the virtues are supposed to be inserted, in an order that doesn't correspond to Dante's. Nor is it clear from Dante how they are to be inserted, How do you get from Dante to the A, B, and C orders, any of them, much less all? Your layout is more like the starting position of a chess game. So far, it's a set of associations that at most might be ok for connecting the cards to Dante once they have been selected, out of the many images in the cantos corresponding to each sphere, and ordered somehow, by other criteria. But those other criteria have yet to be articulated. Perhaps Dante will work, I'm not saying he doesn't. But the connections in Dante between planetary spheres and your ur-subjects,, to just those and not others, and to an order that leads to the orders we know. have not been explained. It seems to me that these issues cannot be dismissed.
I think doubling it, to 10 years, would add the presumption that it was a local thing played by only a handful of people in Florence, and that some unknown event helped open it up. But why suspect that? I can't see a reason. 1437-1440 is good enough for the evidence, and therefore good enough for me.
Well, the Church Council is one event. an event with lots of empty time; Anghieri is another. When important people start playing a game, or at least having expensive decks made to play it, it becomes noteworthy. before that it isn't. I can't think of anything comparable to the Church Council in the previous ten years in Florence, I mean that would have attracted prestigious secular or near-secular (i.e. clerics serving civic institutions) visitors. So for me the Church Council is quite relevant.
Another thing is that allegorical card games with trumps existed in the early 1420s in three particular cities: Marziano's game in Milan, probably "VIII Imperadori" in Ferrara and Florence. And probably Karnoffel in all three places (with its four trumps above the kings), although we don't hear about it because it didn't require a special deck. Then nothing for 20 years, then, all of a sudden, another game with trumps in the same three places. Surely that is reason to suspect that allegorical card games with trumps continued to exist in the same three places, successors to the ones in the 1420s and precursors to the ones in the 1440s. They just weren't noteworthy enough to survive in the record books.
Also, there is something that Huck has brought to our attention in years past (http://trionfi.com/0/p/12
), that in some form it was a children's game, something for 9 and 11 year olds at least (http://trionfi.com/0/e/02/
), and maybe 5 year olds (for when they got a little older, perhaps). It was something that girls played with their mothers and other women of the family, judging by the fresco program for the Sforza palace at Pavia. Children's games don't get noticed. Probably there were lots of card games for children, or children and their parents. The games that Johannes writes about, that Morelli writes about as suitable for children, as opposed to dice, also "VIII Imperadori", and Marziano's game, which I have trouble believing was for Filippo's own edification alone. In general, allegorical games tended to be for educational purposes, thus aimed at young people. Then around 1440 adults are interested in one game with allegorical cards in particular, adults who commission Trionfi illustrations, cassoni, birthtrays and triumph decks, all with similar imagery, also some adults who don't care at all about the allegories and get themselves arrested for playing it. That is reason enough to suspect a former children's game had developed, as one of its forms, with rules and a sufficient number of trumps that made it more attractive to adults, less about education and more about strategy, starting again in Florence.
There is another reason for suspicion, if more obscure, the patterns in the orders: virtue cards that have a quite consistent order within a region but vary radically, albeit according to a definite pattern among regions, that of increasing uniform distance between virtues (no cards between, one card between, two cards between, and the requirements of a certain type of matrix), once the five cards that don't vary at all are removed from consideration and the Hanged Man is returned to Prudence. This pattern, too, suggests an educational children's game, as I have indicated elsewhere (https://marzianotoludus.blogspot.com/
), one that changed or expanded its character over time toward one more attractive to adults.
Note: a few hours after posting, I rewrote the section replying to Phaeded's chart, trying to make what I was trying to say clearer.