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

#72
Nathaniel wrote:
05 Jul 2020, 04:19

Ross, card games are not manuscripts, and their rules don't work the way language does. This idea of yours seems to imply that we should expect card games to start out full of strange complicated rules, and then become simpler over time, as they spread to other places. I'm not exactly an expert on card games, but I think that's basically the exact opposite of how card games usually evolve, isn't it?
Nathaniel, it's the principle that's important, not the degree to which the analogy with textual criticism is valid. If you don't like the Latin phrase and its connection to manuscripts, just understand me to be saying that it is impossible for both Bolognese players and Piedmont/Savoy players to have independently invented these rules, Therefore they were at the origin of one or both games. Since it is highly implausible that the Bolognese game jumped to Piedmont at some point and took over the whole state, the only plausible conclusion is that this rule was in the common origin of the games played in both places. Since Bologna is on the main road between Florence and Ferrara, and the game is known in Florence in 1440 and Ferrara in 1442, and since a Bolognese merchant had one in 1442, we can say that Bologna knew the game at the same time. Therefore, the rule was present at the beginning of the game. It does not take two years to go from Florence to Bologna.

Was it perhaps not in the original Florentine game, but was a Bolognese invention, and it was the Bolognese form of the game that spread westward? That is one way to speculate about it. But we know that Florence exported their cards northward too, so it seems unnecessary to propose this scenario. Rather, the simplest solution is that the equal-papi rule was in the original Florentine game as well.

By "unstable" I mean "unstable outside of Bologna." I have frequently quoted Dummett and McLeod's observation that in towns just outside of Bologna, many players take to numbering the moors and playing them like normal trumps. E.g. - viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1363&p=20728#p20728
The temptation to number and order the papi is strong. Dummett and McLeod observed it around Bologna itself (HGT p. 264) –

"In some twons outside of Bologna, such as Loiano, Marzabotto, Monterenzio and Sasso Marconi – but not in Porretta Terme or Monzuno – the practice has developed of inscribing the numerals 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the Moors, so as to impose a fixed sequence on them (higher-numbered Moors of course beating lower-numbered ones). This practice, disapproved of in Bologna and contrary to ancient Bolognese tradition, is a fairly recent development. The antiquity of the traditional rule is demonstrated by its adoption in Piedmont."

http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/taro ... ologna.jpg

(I have never mapped these before. Thanks for inspiring me to do it. Notice that all these towns are south of Bologna, in the hills. Monzuno observes equal-mori, while Loiano beside it does not. Most interesting to me is Porretta Terme, which observes the equal-mori rule, much closer as the crow flies to Pistoia and Tuscany than to Bologna. Dummett and McLeod really did a lot fieldwork for their study of Tarot games, this is just a fraction. I wish we knew more than just the rules!
Note also that in Bologna the Bagatto is unnumbered; when the Bolognese came to put numbers on their trumps, they started with Amore at 5; the mori remained unnumbered, but there are four of them. The Bagatto has position and rank (ordinal), but no number (cardinal))

It is also unstable in Piedmont and Savoy. Although the old rulebooks have it, later ones don't, and Dummett and McLeod only observed it played (20 years ago now at least) in Asti. So it did in fact die away over time, although the high Angel, XX beating XXI, has not.
Maybe you don't like my word "unstable." How about "weak"? Or, "liable to be ignored"?

Yes, it is just as unstable as unnumbered cards are. People began numbering cards fairly soon, and cardmakers began printing numbers on them. Titles came later. Bologna of course did not put numbers on any trumps until the end of the 18th century, and still do not write titles on any cards.

The unnumbered cards made the placement of the virtues unstable as well. Players put them in different places, for ad hoc reasons, and the different orderings only became fixed once numbers were put on them. This is another strong argument for the priority of the Bolognese ordering (which I hold to have been invented in Florence), since they played with unnumbered cards for over 300 years, without rulebooks, so they committed the order to memory at the table. Numbers remove the necessity of memorizing the order.

The equal-papi rule is not complicated, so your criticism on the implausibility of complexity being simplified is misplaced. It is the tendency to number cards that ultimately undermined the rule, along with its inherent quirkiness, which makes it liable to be ignored (it's the same as the "en passant" rule in chess, which many casual players are ignorant of). Of course we can also believe that it was natural to want to fix the order so that the Pope was at the highest place, too. Another example is the reversed ranking of two suits, e.g. Ace low Ten high in Batons and Swords, Ten low Ace high in Cups and Coins. This rule was original to the game (and also present in Marziano), but was lost everywhere but in Bologna and (I have recently read) Austria.

I confess I don't see how your proposal is any simpler than mine. If they had a fixed rank, even if not numbered, why unrank them? What sort of "argument" do you envisage the Bolognese having had about it? You must invoke even more hypothetical situations than I do. I simply propose that the original rule was the equal-papi rule. People that didn't like it just put them into a fixed hierarchy, and put numbers on them, and that was that. It happened everywhere but in Bologna itself.

And of course in Piedmont, we don't know what their earliest cards looked like, but when they came to adopt numbered cards, the rule was so well-established that the numbers didn't matter for the traditional account of the game, even though over time it disappeared, until it was only observed in Asti recently (I'm sure they didn't visit every little village, so maybe it survives elsewhere as well).
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Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

#73
Nathaniel wrote:
05 Jul 2020, 04:19
Ross, card games are not manuscripts, and their rules don't work the way language does. This idea of yours seems to imply that we should expect card games to start out full of strange complicated rules, and then become simpler over time, as they spread to other places. I'm not exactly an expert on card games, but I think that's basically the exact opposite of how card games usually evolve, isn't it?
It's a possible game development direction, that games start "too complicated" and are improved by inventing easier rules (and leaving old details aside). For instance we have at the start of Trionfi decks and other games the rule, that 2 of the suits rank the number cards according 1-2-3- etc. and the remaining 2 number suits are ranked from 10-9-8-7- etc.. This is for instance clear in the text of Martiano da Tortona ( -1425) ...
However, the order of these Birds is, although none of their type has right over another, yet this arrangement they have alternately – Eagles and Turtledoves lead from many to few: that is to say it goes better for us when many cultivate virtue and continence; but for Phoenices and Doves, the few rule over the many, which is to say that, the more the followers of riches and pleasure are visible, the more they lead to the deterioration of our station.

http://trionfi.com/martiano-da-tortona- ... -16-heroum .... (translated by Ross)

From the perspective of the practical player this is an ideological based complicating rule, which has the disadvantage, that the player needs concentration to avoid an error and that more details have to be explained, when the game is learned. Modern Tarot rules have lost this detail, most other trick-taking games never knew it.
Similar there is a Tarot rule, that you must trump, if you cannot serve the suit, and that you must overtrump inside the trick, if you can. These rules reduce the game possibilities in the practical play and are not a standard in modern trick-taking games.

The suggestion of Ross has some value. Early games rules are an open field, cause there is not much material.
I personally think it of interest, that the considered Bolognese special rule has a focus on the trumps 2, 3, 4 and 5 and I observe in the rules of Karnöffel also a focus on the numbers 2, 3, 4 or 5 (they are the 4 emperors) , although there is the condition, that Karnöffel didn't use Trocchi trumps.
Bologna was a place for German students ... and also for German playing card producers.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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

#74
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
05 Jul 2020, 09:30
But the crowns were what mattered (with cross and keys, orb and scepter), since they distinguish the papi. Everything else is artistic embellishment.

And yet Piscina, the oldest reference to Papi, distinguishes his two popes by noting one wears no crown.


Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
05 Jul 2020, 09:30
Added: some dictionaries of Provençal-Français give "papo" and "papou" as the singular form of "pape.". So far I haven't found the plural.

Which begs the question: why would the term Papi not be considered a pejorative? Apparently that was the case in Provençal-Français which avoided the term altogether.

Phaeded

PS still working on my timeline for the emergence of the Papi in the 16th century

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

#75
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
05 Jul 2020, 11:54

... it is impossible for both Bolognese players and Piedmont/Savoy players to have independently invented these rules, Therefore they were at the origin of one or both games. ... the only plausible conclusion is that this rule was in the common origin of the games played in both places. Since Bologna is on the main road between Florence and Ferrara, and the game is known in Florence in 1440 and Ferrara in 1442, and since a Bolognese merchant had one in 1442, we can say that Bologna knew the game at the same time.
Let me clarify: I don't disagree with you on anything in the (edited!) lines I quote above. Yes, it seems obvious that the rule must have a common origin, and that it would have been present very early. My view is that it emerged very shortly after the game arrived in Bologna, when the game was still in that novel stage where changes to the trump order are most likely to be made, before it becomes established. This is what seems to have happened all over Italy: There seems to have been an early stage when the trump order was malleable to some degree and subject to change, and then after that it became established and was very resistant to change from that point on. That's what we seem to see in every region. So we should naturally assume the Bolognese made their alteration to the papi ranking very early, when they were still in the stage of adopting the game. This could very easily have occurred before 1440.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
05 Jul 2020, 11:54

Was it perhaps not in the original Florentine game, but was a Bolognese invention, and it was the Bolognese form of the game that spread westward? That is one way to speculate about it. But we know that Florence exported their cards northward too, so it seems unnecessary to propose this scenario. Rather, the simplest solution is that the equal-papi rule was in the original Florentine game as well.
I am glad you are willing to at least concede the theoretical possibility that the rule was a Bolognese invention and that it was the Bolognese form of the game that spread westward. But it is certainly not the "simplest solution" to suggest that it was in the original Florentine game, for the several reasons I have stated previously, most egregiously the total lack of any trace of the rule anywhere outside the regions of Piedmont/Savoy and Bologna. If traces of it managed to remain in Piedmont even after centuries of them playing with numbered papi cards, then you would expect to see at least some small hint of it appearing in the historical record somewhere, anywhere, other than just those two areas. But there is absolutely nothing, and that makes your solution anything but simple.

The only difficulty I can see with the alternative, namely that it spread west from Bologna, is that there is no trace of the rule in Lombardy. But this is not a real difficulty at all. Bologna was a major trading center. The main overland route for trade between Italy and France went through Piedmont and Savoy. The trade route from Bologna to Lyon, which was a major route with an enormous amount of traffic, went through Asti and Chambéry, bypassing Milan and the heart of Lombardy. Not that I am suggesting that the passage of the tarot game from Bologna to Piedmont had to involve it being adopted in every place along the way, of course. With so many Bolognese merchants constantly passing through the heart of Piedmont and Savoy, they could naturally have brought their game directly to the latter, without first having to get it adopted in every other town along the way too. So I am not suggesting that Modena, for example, would necessarily ever have played tarot with a trump order other than Type B. And if people in the southern Lombard towns like Piacenza were already playing tarot with a Type C order, they are very unlikely to have ditched it for the Bolognese game. But it is very possible that the first experiences of tarot that anyone in Piedmont had included watching many Bolognese merchants play it in taverns in towns like Asti, sometime around 1440. And I don't doubt for a second that those Bolognese merchants would have been more than willing to foster their interest by offering to supply them with decks. Does that not seem like an entirely plausible scenario to you?

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

#76
Thanks for the clarifications, Ross and Nathaniel. Two questions, one for each of you:

Ross wrote (my highlighting, to pick out what I want to question):
For the iconography, obviously I can't say what the original Florentine or Bolognese papi looked like. The artist, or engraver, could have decided to distinguish two of them as feminine, and two as males. In my view, though, the designer did not specify the iconography beyond "two popes and two emperors." If you stick an imperial crown on a woman, you can call her an empress; if you stick a papal crown on a woman, you can call her a popess. But the crowns were what mattered (with cross and keys, orb and scepter), since they distinguish the papi. Everything else is artistic embellishment.
Why do you insist that the designer just specified "two popes and two emperors"? I subscribe to the "fossil" theory, as you call it, specifically one with 8 Imperatori, of which 4 would have been emperors and 4 empresses, with the females of lesser power than the males, if they were in the same trick, just as queens were of lesser power than kings. "VIII Imperadori" was the recorded name of a game in Ferrara and presumably Florence, where the deck was made. To reduce 8 to 4 there are two ways of doing it: take 4 males or 2 of each gender, with males and females now equal. How can you be sure the designer didn't specify which way to do it? The term "papi" might then simply have been the collective term, just as "imperadori" had been, and "papa" adopted in the singular as a convenience, in consequence of their equality, just as queens ruling alone were considered kings in relation to the laws concerning monarchs, which would have used the term "king" in a way that it was understood applied to female monarchs as well.

For Nathaniel: why is it not just as likely that the disorder among dignitaries, rather than as a cause of the "equal papi" rule, occurred as a result of it, the later ranking of dignitaries everywhere except in Bologna and Piedmont done differently in different places because earlier there was no specific order?

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

#77
mikeh wrote:
06 Jul 2020, 00:48

For Nathaniel: why is it not just as likely that the disorder among dignitaries, rather than as a cause of the "equal papi" rule, occurred as a result of it, the later ranking of dignitaries everywhere except in Bologna and Piedmont done differently in different places because earlier there was no specific order?
For reasons I have already stated: The rule seems to have been extremely stable in Bologna and Piedmont, so it is extremely unlikely for it to have been removed everywhere else within a relatively short space of time in this way (as I said before: why would anyone want to make the trump order harder to remember?) and even less likely for it to have left no trace at all anywhere; and it would be extremely strange to invent a sequence of 21 cards in a precise hierarchical order except for four, which are all on one rank. Thinking about it again now, this would be especially unlikely to occur to the late medieval-early Renaissance mind, which tended to love putting everything into ordered hierarchies. So it really is very hard to believe that someone would invent a game at that time with such a weirdly interrupted hierarchy as a central feature. But it is considerably easier to imagine it being a modification of an existing hierarchy, introduced to solve a tricky problem.

I'm also thinking further now about the idea that merchants could have taken the game quite rapidly from Bologna to Piedmont, not long after it became established in the former. Trade routes were probably important in the early spread of tarot generally, rather than it simply spreading from town to neighbouring town. Has anyone done much research into this? Rapid distribution via trade routes could have taken tarot relatively quickly from Ferrara to Venice, from Venice to Trento, from Florence to Genoa, Umbria and Rome, and of course into France at a fairly early stage as well. It would also have implications for where tarot was first played: For instance, if it went from Ferrara to Venice and from Venice to Trento but not from Venice to Milan, that was presumably because it was already established in Milan, in much the same way as my hypothetical scenario above sees it going from Bologna to Piedmont but not necessarily to Piacenza or Modena. For those of us who favor the idea that tarot was invented at the Visconti court, it could have gone from Milan to Florence very early on, in that case probably not by trade but rather by the Milanese elite commissioning decks from Florentine cardmakers. But the trade routes could then have taken the Type A game (developed in Florence) rapidly north to Bologna—but not further north to Ferrara, because Ferrara had already gotten tarot from Milan while the game was taking root in Florence.

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

#78
Phaeded wrote:
05 Jul 2020, 21:45
And yet Piscina, the oldest reference to Papi, distinguishes his two popes by noting one wears no crown.
I don't see Piscina mentioning this. Are you confusing him with Anonymous? If so, the text says "due papi, uno col Regno, e l'altro senza", "two popes, one with the Reign, and the other without," We decided to interpret the "Regno" as if it meant "triregno," the papal crown, and put that gloss in brackets, but I would not base a strong iconographic argument on it. It could be that one was seated, to indicate being "seated," i.e. in power, and the other standing, or otherwise clearly not in power.

Anonymous is not in Piedmont anyway, and his order and descriptions put the two popes lower than an emperor and king. Make of it what you will, but Anonymous doesn't seem particularly relevant here.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
05 Jul 2020, 09:30
Added: some dictionaries of Provençal-Français give "papo" and "papou" as the singular form of "pape.". So far I haven't found the plural.
Which begs the question: why would the term Papi not be considered a pejorative? Apparently that was the case in Provençal-Français which avoided the term altogether.
I don't know if "pejorative," but maybe "diminutive," or familiar and cute, at least in the French and Provençal Savoy-Piedmontese term.

What insight might you derive from this?
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Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

#79
mikeh wrote:
06 Jul 2020, 00:48

Ross wrote (my highlighting, to pick out what I want to question):
For the iconography, obviously I can't say what the original Florentine or Bolognese papi looked like. The artist, or engraver, could have decided to distinguish two of them as feminine, and two as males. In my view, though, the designer did not specify the iconography beyond "two popes and two emperors." If you stick an imperial crown on a woman, you can call her an empress; if you stick a papal crown on a woman, you can call her a popess. But the crowns were what mattered (with cross and keys, orb and scepter), since they distinguish the papi. Everything else is artistic embellishment.
Why do you insist that the designer just specified "two popes and two emperors"?
It's just my view, I won't insist on it (i.e. as if it's the best view, or the most common-sense view, or whatever. I can't insist that people see it this way, unlike some other conclusions like the dating in the late 1430s for the invention, which I do insist on).

The reasons why I have this view. In the first place, I think it was originally two popes and two emperors, and that the gender - male - is implicit. So I am actually saying that the designer envisaged, maybe sketched, two clearly male popes and emperors. Other artists and engravers embellished them, and invented the Tarot Popess and Empress.

So I think that by saying "two popes and two emperors," it was explicitly male.

Further, it seems to me that a "popess" has no meaning, certainly no symbolic or allegorical sense in the group, so the designer could not have instructed the first draft to include "a popess."

What would he have said? "Make a popess, but not Pope Joan. A popess, but not the Virgin Mary. Just a popess, a woman with the papal tiara. That's what we need."

I see the evolution as a beardless pope and bearded one, and artists began to embellish the beardless one as more and more feminine. At the same time, for balance, they made the beardless male emperor into an empress. On the other hand, it could have been the empress that created the popess, for balance. The emperor has a female companion, so the pope should have one too, in the deck.

Remember that my position is that the first deck was sketched, then made into cards to experiment with the game and perfect it before having it professionally engraved, printed, and sold to the public. I can't make an informed speculation about how long this preliminary stage took, but a simple guess is at least a month. The standard cards already existed, so they only had to draw trumps to add to it, and begin playing and hammering out the rules.

Now that I think of it, since my scenario envisages the Arte de'Mercatanti as the group that invented it (since they were responsible for at least part of the annual John the Baptist pageants, and the main sponsors of Alfonso's triumph in Naples in 1443), it might be possible to find an ideal time in the year which would have been best for inventing this leisure pursuit. High summer? Lent? If they were responsible for the pageant in June of 1439, maybe they had been preparing to release the game for a couple of months earlier.

Anyway, this is the kind of line I'm speculating along.
I subscribe to the "fossil" theory, as you call it, specifically one with 8 Imperatori, of which 4 would have been emperors and 4 empresses, with the females of lesser power than the males, if they were in the same trick, just as queens were of lesser power than kings. "VIII Imperadori" was the recorded name of a game in Ferrara and presumably Florence, where the deck was made. To reduce 8 to 4 there are two ways of doing it: take 4 males or 2 of each gender, with males and females now equal. How can you be sure the designer didn't specify which way to do it? The term "papi" might then simply have been the collective term, just as "imperadori" had been, and "papa" adopted in the singular as a convenience, in consequence of their equality, just as queens ruling alone were considered kings in relation to the laws concerning monarchs, which would have used the term "king" in a way that it was understood applied to female monarchs as well.
I think "papi" and "imperadori" were collective terms that did not necessarily exclude females, yes. But for the reasons above, and because in Bologna, which is the closest thing to the original design in my view, they were all male, at least judging by Mitelli (Alla Torre a century later has both popes looking female, because unbearded; I think this demonstrates my contention that the ambiguity of woodcut led to the invention of the explicitly female versions), I think that the designer imagined and intended all men in these places, and to illustrate the equal-papi rule.
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Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

#80
Thanks, Ross. very clear and explicit. I will mull over your reasons, to see whether I think they overpower the reasons on the other side.

And thanks also to Nathaniel, although I still have a hard time understanding. He wrote:
So it really is very hard to believe that someone would invent a game at that time with such a weirdly interrupted hierarchy as a central feature. But it is considerably easier to imagine it being a modification of an existing hierarchy, introduced to solve a tricky problem.
But if the four cards are already part of a hierarchy in Bologna, there is no "tricky problem." It's already been solved. There is no reason to invent an elliptical, or otherwise noncircular wheel if you've already got a circular one that is doing the job.

There are two factors I want to emphasize. First, the "equal papi" rule not only violates the natural tendency to think in terms of hierarchy, in the sense that if there is just one hierarchy, things need to be placed in it, but is also politically suspect. That the rules allow an emperor to defeat a pope and be rewarded thereby with permanent points, perhaps even ensnaring a court card in the process, smacks of Ghibellinism. And this in a papal state. A hierarchy with the pope above the emperor prevents that from happening, in accord with Guelf and papal ideas.

The other factor is the verified existence of a game called "VIII Imperadori", which sounds very much like a game with Emperor cards, or cards that can legitimately go outside a particular pre-existing kingdom, added onto the usual ones. (I am sorry if the facts are not as simple or clearly known as they could be, but facts are like that.) If such a game was accepted as normal, that would justify a game with an "equal papi" rule as normal, too. You just ignore the hats they are wearing. It may also have been that they all wore imperial crowns at first and carried suit-signs (the "fossil" aspect, i.e. the papa's suit, playing a role in the game, too, the later "equal papi" rule being a simplification of something earlier that also had to do with the suit the imperador belonged to).

These two factors support each other. Under the Bentivoglio the papacy was none too popular, even among clerics. For instance, when the Augustinians allowed a Bentivoglio marriage with the usual finery, Bessarion, the papal legate, excommunicated them all (the Augustinians) for violating the sumptuary laws. (This is in Ady's book; the reference is in an old post here somewhere.) And Bessarion was one of the more enlightened ones. The "equal papi" rule is then a subtle undermining of papal privilege. There must have been quite a bit of anti-clerical feeling, if the city's rulers felt obliged to burn the Inquisition records for the region in 1787, to protect the families named in them. And if a tarocchi appropriati pre-1725 could jokingly associate the four papi with people "full of nonsense".

There was also anti-papal feeling in Visconti Milan, of course. As for Piedmont, it was ruled by Savoy, which had its very own Visconti-supported antipope, Felix V. And without numbers on the cards, you could play the game however you liked.

In that context the only thing dangerous was a female wearing a papal crown, because of Pope Joan or the intimation that the pope might be ruled by his mistress. But for such a figure one could simply insist that it was symbolically the Church. Church councils were known for occasionally being higher in authority than the popes they served, at least in theory. Not just the one in Florence, but also Constance and Basel. Fortunately there were more than enough females in papal-style hats to fit the cards.

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