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

#51
mikeh wrote:
02 Jul 2020, 03:27
My only quarrel with Nathaniel and Phaeded is about whether the evidence is decisive one way or the other.
I find the inconceivability of anyone in Italy acknowledging two popes at the Church Union - which declared the Pope the one head of the Universal Church - beyond decisive. No one at the Union hailed the emergence of two popes - rather there was a hierarchy of patriarchs following the Papal head of the Church. To quote from the Union's bull again, Laetentur Caeli:

Also, renewing the order of the other patriarchs which has been handed down in the canons, the patriarch of Constantinople should be second after the most holy Roman pontiff, third should be the patriarch of Alexandria, fourth the patriarch of Antioch, and fifth the patriarch of Jerusalem, without prejudice to all their privileges and rights.

English text here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laetentur_Caeli

As for the Anti-pope as the second pope, Amadeus/Felix, it all seems to rely on the seemingly neutral chronicle in Bologna. Naturally the imposition of Visconti's (anti)papal favorite on 21 July 1439 - i.e., right after the Union bull of 6 July 1439 and thus a reaction to it - onto a university town with a major canon law school was going to be noted (no doubt as problematic), but that chronicle's characterization of Visconti's decree (due papi) in no way speaks to an ambient culture in Italy that acknowledged two popes - the Schism, to state the obvious again, was anathema to all .

Finally, I find the speculation that the ur-tarot featured 4 male Papi in 1439 (again, without basis) and were almost immediately transformed into Empress and Faith/Ecclesia (and then reverted back to in the 16th century, which is in fact the only evidence for them) an especially specious argument.

Phaeded

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

#52
Phaeded wrote:
mikeh wrote:
I find the inconceivability of anyone in Italy acknowledging two popes at the Church Union - which declared the Pope the one head of the Universal Church - beyond decisive. No one at the Union hailed the emergence of two popes - rather there was a hierarchy of patriarchs following the Papal head of the Church.
I find the inconceivability of anyone in Italy acknowledging two popes at the Church Union - which declared the Pope the one head of the Universal Church - beyond decisive. No one at the Union hailed the emergence of two popes - rather there was a hierarchy of patriarchs following the Papal head of the Church.
I don't disagree here, even if you are ignoring some of the facts, one of which being that there was a process. The two emperors and the two spiritual heads (the various patriarchs counting as one) were in fact considered equal at the start of the council, and that the eastern would submit to the western was an agreement among equals to be taken back to Constantinople. And yes, for Italians, they couldn't remain two, just as in the game if two are played one beats the other. However it is a rather weak analogy, since the goal was unity, not one defeating the other, even if that was what happened. That's why I say the most the Unity Council could have done was help popularize two imperials and two spirituals, not give a basis for them as equals, because it was apparent from the start that they weren't equal in power, and in the eyes of those playing the game that they weren't equal in right either.

In your arguments you consistently ignore the "equal papi" rule as if it does not need explaining, which for me is the main task, and in two places. How is it to be accounted for? The only thing I can think of is that tarocchi had as a predecessor game a game with emperor cards attached to the four suits, all equal, in equal number. There is then the question of what they would have meant in the earliest version of tarocchi. Since we never see anything other than people in spiritual or secular crowns, it is likely that they were two figures with one type of crown and two with the other. I can include the ducal or kingly crown of Minchiate as a possibility for one of the seculars; there is also the Anonymous Discourse, which has a cardinal and a king: these could in life unseat popes and emperors. That's as far as I comfortably go.

Then there is the question of how these figures would have been filled out. Were they two males and two females, or four males? That the earliest surviving cards have males and females is an argument in favor of their being male and female, among other arguments that I gave. But these decks are incomplete and may well, without further argument, not be the earliest. That there were two males in papal gear and two emperors (albeit not with that title at the same time) who contended in the 13th century, and various other such contensions at other times during the Guelf vs. Ghibbeline era, and that there was a Bolognese tradition associating the cards with such personages, speaks in favor of the other alternative. There are also tarocchi appropriati from Bologna associating phrases like "full of nonsense" and "insufficient, and buffoons", a kind of equal denigration of all four, consistent with a disillusioned attitude as part of the frame.

I will repeat: my position is that the main thing about the "papi" is the "equal papi" rule, including the part about the last one played having priority. I would be interested in your thoughts about how that rule might have arisen. I cannot imagine it being imposed by a papal legate getting rid of a a popess, because that would imply that two popes were equal, which goes against church dogma. Nor can I imagine it only being imposed in the 16th century, because it goes too much against the grain to have such equality among just four, with one below and 16 above in a rigid hierarchy, as well as flying in the face of orthodoxy. Changing to equality in Bologna would be difficult; changing gender is much easier. The rule had to have been there early on, before a practice was established, and not only there but other places, even where they clearly were male and female, in order for it to get to Piedmont.

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

#53
I don't think anybody is arguing that the Council created the Tarot. I wouldn't even argue that for the sake of argument, which is otherwise what I'm doing above. Doctrinal statements from the Latin side are irrelevant.

My only real belief is in the priority of the equal-papi rule. Following on that, on the assumption that the game were invented by some of the intelligentsia of, perhaps, the Merchant's guild (Mercatanti), that it was made for reproduction and sale. This implies woodcut. Woodcuts can be ambiguous.

Even accepting this scenario, the obvious objection is that the designers knew what they wanted to portray, however ambiguous the execution in woodcut. So, how did they want their papi portrayed? If it's two popes and two emperors, were those pairs distinguished somehow? I think they were, and that the variations in the surviving kinds of cards imply it. So, how were they distinguished in the designers' Ur-Tarot? Sitting and standing popes and emperors, old and young, or even male and female? It's pure speculation, but if I had to bet, I'd say sitting and standing, with the sitting ones old, and the standing ones young - not yet seated. The old might have a beard, the young might be beardless.

I would say that it is beardlessness that led artists who painted cards (with much more detail and in larger format, where there could be no gender ambiguity) to reify the images into what we know as a Popess and Empress. This is what we have in Visconti di Modrone, Visconti-Sforza, and the Palermo Empress. I think that the luxury tastes tended towards including female figures in their cards. This in turn influenced popular cardmakers when they came to make new woodcuts. So in the Rosenwald you have a beardless pope and a long-haired popess, and in the Alla Torre Bolognese, the only surviving pre-mori Bolognese popular Tarot to show the papi, you have what could taken as two popesses, although I think most people would try to say at least one of them is a pope. Mitelli clearly thought they should all be unambiguously male, though.

My argument is that the rule is original to the game. How the figures are distinguished is beside the point. The rule is unstable and liable to be ignored. It survived only in Bologna (even just outside of the city some players want to number the cards by hand and ignore the rule), and in PIedmont. Dummett and McLeod only observed it in Asti today, although in the 18th century it was the rule in Annecy, and in 1930 in Nice. Nice and Annecy are the south and northernmost limits of old Savoy, of course. The other "Bolognese" feature observed continously in PIedmont and Savoy games, from the earliest notices until today, everywhere the game is played, is the high Angel. This despite all known Piedmontese cards being numbered as the Tarot "de Marseille." Dummett and McLeod conclude the obvious about the equal-papi rule: that is was once universal in Piedmont-Savoy, just like the high Angel rule is. Another piece of evidence for the Bolognese derivation of the Piedmontese game is the name for the papi, when they follow the rule - papots, which you might translate "popies" or something similarly goofy. This despite, of course, the cards being numbered II, III, IIII, and V, and bearing images of a Popess, Empress, Emperor, and Pope, like a Tarot de Marseille.

Here are the old rules described by François Cason in "Les Jeux de Cartes à Nice," in Armanac Nissart, 1930, pp. 277-290.


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/games/1930a ... 76-277.jpg

http://www.rosscaldwell.com/games/1930a ... 78-279.jpg
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Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

#54
To the equal papi rule ...
card game rules have practical aspects.

In Doppelkopf the game is played with 2 reduced card decks ... there are two versions, one is played 2x20 = 40 cards and the other with 2x24 = 48 cards.
Used cards are ...
Queens-Jacks-Aces-10s-Kings-9s (with 9s)
... for the 48 cards versions, and ...
Queens-Jacks-Aces-10s-Kings (without 9s)

Doppelkopf is a trick-taking game, in which 120x2 = 240 card points decide the outcome. A Queen counts 3, a Jack counts 2, an Ace counts 11, a 10 counts 10, a King counts 4, and a 9 counts nothing. 3+2+11+10+4 = 30 and 8x30 is 240, and the value 30 is multiplied with 8, cause there are 8 Queens, 8 Jacks, 8 Aces, 8 10s and 8 Kings.
As each card is twice in the Doppelkopf deck and all cards are distributed, it is a very common situation, that two identical cards can appear in a trick (which is then identical to the problem of the 4 papi ... what happens, when 2 or more papi appear in the same trick? ). For Doppelkopf it is the standard solution, that the first card in the trick dominates the other identical card, which vcomes later. One exception of the rule is used in some player communities for the 10 of hearts, which is used generally as the highest trump. Then the second 10 of hearts captures the first, because the players find it more interesting, that the 10 of hearts cannot be played in a straight way and without risk.
The deciding factor is the taste of the players and what they decide to be an interesting variant. An ideological interpretation with excommunicated imperators etc. has more the value of an additional intellectual joke.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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

#55
mikeh wrote:
03 Jul 2020, 10:11
I don't disagree here, even if you are ignoring some of the facts, one of which being that there was a process. The two emperors and the two spiritual heads (the various patriarchs counting as one) were in fact considered equal at the start of the council, and that the eastern would submit to the western was an agreement among equals to be taken back to Constantinople. And yes, for Italians, they couldn't remain two, just as in the game if two are played one beats the other.

And if for Italians two popes were offensive, who would have been attracted to this game with the iconographically explicit sacrilege of two popes? And in this vein of sacrilege, Ross also insists on the cards coming from woodcuts, a medium otherwise overwhelmingly marked out for the production of devotional imagery of the saints (see for instance, DavidS. Areford, The Viewer and the Printed Image in Late Medieval Europe, 2010), thus making the representations of two popes even more fraught with inquisitional problems…especially with Pope Eugene resident in Florence.

And if the “process” you refer to was a motivation for the creation of tarot, where is a vestige of that which was at the center of the argumentative process between East and West, the Filioque controversy? In addition to the Judgement card (or even within it) why not show the Latin preference for the Holy Spirit proceeding from both the Father and Son, versus the Greek preference for it proceeding from God directly (and notably the Greeks caved into the West on this point)? This is not an idle speculation of mine but something one can find evidence of in the Visconti Hours, for instance. St. Ambrose, patriarch and patron saint of Milan, who features in both the Giangaleazzo and Filippo sections of the Hours, was quite clear in asserting that the Spirit "proceeds from (procedit a) the Father and the Son", without ever being separated from either (On the Holy Spirit 1.11.20). One can see this reflected in the Hour leaves BR104v/Annunciation and BR105/Trinity with Giangaleazzo; of the latter Meiss/Kirsch note:

Within the D (Dixit) Father and Son, clothed identically, and both bearded, cross-nimbed, and holding books, sit beside one another on a large throne surrounded by angels. The dove of the Holy Spirit, however, appears not in the miniature but rather in the upper border. Here, complementing the portrait of the Count of Virtues below, the bird refers not only to the Holy Ghost but also to the emblem of Giangaleazzo….this representation [of Giangalazzo] is the first of three surviving in the manuscript.”

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VH BR104v and BR105.JPG
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These two leaves are arguably the key to the Giangaleazzo portion of the Hours. The Count famously named both of his sons after the Virgin after the first was born on Mary's feast day – Giovanni Maria and Filippo Maria – hence the Annunciation with Jesus as halo'd baby actually following/descending the dove of the Holy Spirit among the the golden rays to Mary. The (almost illegible) two hawks flanking the Father and Son must represent the same – both of Visconti's sons - as they perch on Oak Trees: the genealogy of the family being indicated by oak leaves and acorns; in fact two hawks can also be found earlier in the Hours flanking the birth of the Virgin herself in leaf BR48:
VH BR 48.JPG
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What is more extraordinary, other than remaining true to the Ambrosian belief in the Holy Spirit proceeding equally through the Father and Son (hence seated horizontally together with the dove above), is that the Holy Spirit - here in gold outline that is also barely discernible - proceeds through Father and Son down to the image of Giangaleazzo, vertically flanking the Father and Son with both the bust and dove in the bottom/top margins, with an implicit notion that his sons have this divine origin (no wonder Filippo jumps to notions of ‘Semideus’). The impresa of the radiant dove has to imply this direct connection between dynasty and heaven, something made even more explicit in the Eulogy manuscript. But I digress…the point here is the Filioque controversy was worthy of being made explicit generally, and at the time it was most talked about in Florence....but not found at all in a series of images created at that very time and place?

mikeh wrote:
03 Jul 2020, 10:11
Changing to equality in Bologna would be difficult; changing gender is much easier. The rule had to have been there early on, before a practice was established, and not only there but other places, even where they clearly were male and female, in order for it to get to Piedmont.

Changing Faith/Ecclesia into a second pope whereby the meaning is completely changed was less difficult than a mere card-playing rule?

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
03 Jul 2020, 10:19
Ross
My only real belief is in the priority of the equal-papi rule.

My argument is that the rule is original to the game. How the figures are distinguished is beside the point. The rule is unstable and liable to be ignored. It survived only in Bologna (even just outside of the city some players want to number the cards by hand and ignore the rule), and in Piedmont.

Restating your assumptions is not persuasive. Someone didn’t make up the rules without the four cards – they came hand in hand. And by insisting on the primacy of the rules you conveniently avoid the problem that there are no “Papi” cards in the 15th century – not a single second pope or second emperor in the same deck.

You're both placing an undue emphasis on Mamellini’s chronicle (c. 1542 and 1543) which post-dates the 1530 creation of the Papi in Bologna per my view. Yes, he refers to earlier events as an explanation for what he knew, but we’ve seen late medieval authors posit bogus origins time and again (e.g., Visconti’s ‘Anglus’). It was almost a “prime directive” for chroniclers to trace origins back as far as possible, with not a few chroniclers beginning their sagas in the Garden of Eden and seamlessly connecting from there to history proper. Mamellini begs for corroborating evidence that no one has found.

But again, prima facie, why would any Italian living c. 1439 be interested in a series of images that promoted two popes? Here is the contemporary observation from one of the card playing public, who actually commissioned a tarot deck a year later:

Lunedì a dì 6 di luglio si fece in Fiorenza nella chiesa di Santa Maria del Fiore l’unione della fede de’ Greci con la fede nostra, e papa Eugenio disse la messa e tutti e cardinali e vescovi e lo ’mperadore de’ Greci e ’ prelati greci v’intervennero e feciaro gran festa e gran solennità. (I GIORNALI DI SER GIUSTO GIUSTI D’ANGHIARI (1437-1482) – 1439, ed. N. Newbigin, 2002: 58)
"Monday on July 6 in Florence in the church of Santa Maria del Fiore the union of the faith of the Greeks was made with our faith, and Pope Eugene said the Mass with all the cardinals and bishops, as agreed [‘intervened’ seems like the wrong word here] with the Emperor of the Greeks and Greek prelates, and made a great celebration with great solemnity" (my corrections of a machine translation to try to make this read a little more coherently in English).

Greek prelates. No Patriarch. No 2nd anti-pope. The "papi", as they pertain to the ur-tarot, is a backwards-looking gloss from the 16th century.

Phaeded

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

#56
i'm not sure we can communicate on these questions, Phaeded. It's not that we're not reading the same page, we're not reading the same chapter. Probably not even the same book.

For me there's no point in getting dragged into speculative arguments unless there is a way forward, towards some possible research that corroborates, or denies, an avenue of speculation. The only way here would be early enough cards, or early enough description of the rules. Neither of these can be anticipated.

To me it seems that the coincidence of the equal-papi rule - and name "papots" - and the high Angel (and the name "Angel") in Bologna and Piedmont at the same time - or at all, in fact -, is alone sufficient proof of the antiquity of the rule. Not its priority, by any means - that is just my opinion. But the iconography has nothing to do with it. The papi only had to be an identifiable group of similar figures, since that was their role in the game, and their collective place in the hierarchy of subjects. Their iconographic details, like apparent gender, don't matter for the rule. Even their explicit numbering doesn't matter for the rule, if the older practice was deeply enough established.
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Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

#57
Basically I'm arguing an obvious point - that Bologna and Piedmont-Savoy did not invent these rules independently. It's not actually even an argument, more like an observation of something self-evident.
If you dispute that point, we can't go any further.

The next obvious point is that the game came TO Piedmont-Savoy, it did not get invented there.
Hopefully you don't dispute that point either.

So the question is - when? And this is where speculation, or educated guessing, begins. Unless we can agree on some assumptions of what the picture should look like, there is no point in painting it.

But I'll start. If the game were known in Ferrara and Milan in 1442, between two courts with intimate political relations, then it is safe to believe that it was known also in the Savoyan court in 1442, with which Milan also had dynastic relations. These princes didn't travel alone, they had retinues, and their retinues picked things up. So my picture includes the game of Triumphs in Savoy already during the 1440s, in both its courtly and popular forms. And this is the game that became established from Asti and Pinerolo to Chambéry and Annecy, and in villages in between. And they soon enough ran out of cards and started making their own, as well as importing from the nearest big cardmakers - Avignon and Lyon. We can put at least the date of 1505 on it.
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Re: Problems with positing the Papi in the ur-Tarot

#58
First of all, I of course do not misunderstand your premise that tarot was invented elsewhere and came to Piedmont-Savoy, but rather you are assuming that a card playing rule existing in two different places (the other being Bologna) somehow proves the universality and antiquity of that (Papi) rule, where all I see is one region influencing the other in the 16th century, based on all evidence for said rule being in the 16th century. The recognition of A,B, C orders in tarot means of course regional variations (the problem for the non-contiguous diffusion between Piedmont-Savoy/Bologna is when and why).

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
03 Jul 2020, 21:30
The only way here would be early enough cards, or early enough description of the rules.The only way here would be early enough cards, or early enough description of the rules.



And why is the CY (plus fragments of the Brambilla), PMB, Ercole I d'Este, "CVI", Alessandro Sforza/Catania, and to close out the 15th century, the Dick sheet, all not early enough nor representative enough of a sample size of tarot cards in the 15th century? The CY and PMB both date within a decade or so of even your date for the ur-tarot so I don't see how they are not early enough. So are you saying the only decks in the entirety of the 15th century that had the four male Papi were the first ones in c. 1439, inexplicably never replicated again until the 16th century? Or are you jettisoning the all male papi and only insisting on the papi rule for Faith/Ecclesia, Empress, Emperor, Pope in the 15th century? Does it not seem at all odd to you that none of the surviving 15th century decks have two popes? That's what I don't understand - there is nothing in the 15th century that warrants the Papi speculation, just the assumption that a card-playing rule from the 16th century existed 100 plus years prior.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
03 Jul 2020, 21:30
To me it seems that the coincidence of the equal-papi rule - and name "papots" - and the high Angel (and the name "Angel") in Bologna and Piedmont at the same time, is alone sufficient proof of the antiquity of the rule. Not its priority, by any means - that is just my opinion. But the iconography has nothing to do with it. The papi only had to be an identifiable group of similar figures, since that was their role in the game, and their collective place in the hierarchy of subjects. Their iconographic details, like apparent gender, don't matter for the rule. Even their explicit numbering doesn't matter for the rule, if the older practice was deeply enough established.

I'll also point out the obvious that the use of the same card-playing rule variation of the game happening at the "same time" happened in the 16th century. And the Bologna-Piedmont influence can be adequately explained by events in the 16th century, that in turn undecuts the notion that such an influence is "sufficient proof of the antiquity of the rule" (how is earlier "antiquity" proved with 16th century evidence? Neither Bologna nor Savoy-Piedmont provide that).

How Bologna specifically influenced Piedmont Savoy in the 16th century (reposted but edited down from earlier in this thread):
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 [coincident with the imperial coronation of Charles V in Bologna on 24 February 1530] 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 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.

The below 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: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collectio ... -1209-1996 ). The key detail are the four papal hats held aloft, the relevance of which is described in regard to triumphs in general:


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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 above, 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 (and the galero would be replaced by papal tiara), but it is another reason for positing "Pope" in a fourfold manner in that year that could have given rise to the term "Papi", 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 subject.

The above is concrete and allows credible speculation. So where is there 15th century evidence of a Bologna influence on Savoy/Piedmont in the context of papal/imperial relations lending itself to the notion of "papi"?

Phaeded

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

#59
mikeh wrote:
02 Jul 2020, 03:27
Added later: as far as the second emperor looking like a morphed empress, Nathaniel, if you look at the kings, you will see that there are two types: young, beardless, with the head cocked to one side, and older and bearded. The two emperors might simply reflect the two types.
Sorry for the late reply—it often takes me a while to reply to things on this forum, partly because I don't have as much time as I would like, and partly because I am still fairly new to this and so my ideas are still very much in flux...

It really doesn't help that the pairs of kings show two similarly contrasting types. The influence could have gone the other way (from the emperors to the kings), or it could have evolved independently. The crucial point is that it doesn't seem odd for the kings to contrast like this, but it does seem odd for the emperors. It's not odd for the kings because the kings of Coins and Cups are one type, and the kings of Swords and Batons are the other, and this feels fitting because the four suits have always been thought of as being divided into two pairs in that way. People have always seen an affinity between the suits of Coins and Cups on the one hand, and Swords and Batons on the other. It was even reflected in the orderings of the numeral cards. So the contrast between the pairs of kings feels right. But it does not look right for the two emperors to contrast like this when the two popes are identical. There is no obvious and immediately satisfying explanation for that. Except, of course, the one that is obvious if you bring to mind the history of the Minchiate deck, namely that one of them used to be an Empress.

What happened with the Minchiate deck is quite clear: We know from the strambotto that the Florentine deck before Minchiate had a Pope, an Emperor, and an Empress. In the earliest literary sources for Minchiate, there is mention of a Pope, an Emperor, and a Queen (Aretino's Carte Parlanti mentions all three, Bronzino mentions the Pope and Emperor, and the Meretrice poem mentions the Queen). In the earliest surviving Minchiate cards, we see two emperors plus a female ruler with a less impressive crown than theirs, who was presumably this Queen. As Dummett observed in Il Mondo e l'Angelo (p. 249), the Minchiate Queen and lower emperor are practically identical to the Empress and Emperor in the earlier Rosenwald deck, and the higher emperor is very similar to the earlier Rosenwald pope.
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(photo credits: Mike)

In later years, the Minchiate "Queen" was reinterpreted by some card designers as a male figure, while still retaining a few characteristics of her former self which distinguished her from the emperor figures. This appears to have been an unconscious development, not a deliberate change, a result of shifting interpretation of the card over time, just as the earlier Empress had been reinterpreted as a Queen many years before. The transformation of the Pope into the higher emperor, however, would no doubt have been a deliberate act, in response to offended religious sensibilities.

For present purposes, the important point to note in all this is that all these changes were minimal. This is the usual way for playing card designs to change: in minimal increments, because players like to be able to easily recognize a card based on the cards they knew previously. So the Minchiate Pope card was changed into an Emperor, but only as much as absolutely necessary. The robes remained largely the same, the hair, the lack of beard—even his crown retained something of its original papal shape.

My views (fluxing as they do) have changed slightly since my previous post: I'm now inclined to think that in Bologna, the transformation of the female figures into males was deliberate in the case of both the Empress and the Popess (for reasons I will explain below). But in both cases, the changes made would have been minimal, just as with the Minchiate pope. In many of the early decks (the Rosenwald above being a superb example), the Pope and Popess looked very similar, so a minimal change to make the latter male would have caused the two to look virtually identical except for the objects they were holding. And that is exactly what we see on the early Bolognese pope cards. The difference in appearance between the Emperor and the Empress, however, was greater (and again Rosenwald is a good example, and the best one possible, as both it and the Bolognese deck presumably derived from a common Type A ancestor). So the minimal change required to make the Empress male was not enough to make her look identical to the Emperor: the face, hair, and even the clothing still looked different.
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So the Minchiate deck provides us with the obvious explanation for something which is otherwise quite hard to explain.

The other thing that is hard to explain about the "equal papi" is the rule itself. I fully agree with Mike when he says "you consistently ignore the "equal papi" rule as if it does not need explaining, which for me is the main task ... How is it to be accounted for?" I disagree with Mike's explanation, but he's right that the rule does need explaining. It is an extremely odd rule. We have 21 trumps, all of them in a precise sequential ranking, except for four, who all share one identical rank. And they are not even the lowest four or the highest four, which would surely have been slightly more natural, although still very odd.

This oddness is in itself one of the strongest reasons for believing that this rule would not have been original. It looks inherently like a later modification. So it is definitely something Ross would need to explain to convince us of his argument. Another big difficulty he has is the one that Phaeded repeatedly points out: "Does it not seem at all odd to you that none of the surviving 15th century decks have two popes?" Indeed. The early decks and early documentary sources all suggest an ur-tarot that featured an Empress, Emperor, Popess, and Pope (the "Imperatori e Papi" in Piscina's words); there is nothing anywhere in those early sources to contradict this. The third major difficulty Ross has is that Piedmont and Bologna are the only places we know of where this rule appeared. There is simply no evidence that it ever existed anywhere else; on the contrary, as I just said, all the evidence suggests that the other orders all derive from a common ancestor that had those four unique trumps, ranked in the same sequential way as all the others.

I think Ross is right to say that the symbolism of the figures is not hugely important, and that it would not necessarily have had much effect on the gameplay. But the question of whether or not the four cards each showed a unique figure, clearly differentiated from the others, is hugely important. If the four cards all looked identical in the ur-tarot, then the rule would have had to have existed. If they were all unique, then it's very likely the rule did not exist. And the evidence overwhelmingly suggests the latter.

Nevertheless, I agree with Ross that the equal papi rule probably goes back a long way, for the reasons he cites: "To me it seems that the coincidence of the equal-papi rule - and name "papots" - and the high Angel (and the name "Angel") in Bologna and Piedmont at the same time, is alone sufficient proof of the antiquity of the rule." Moreover, the rule must surely have taken root in Piedmont before the Type C order exerted its influence on the Piedmontese (which may have come about even before the Tarot de Marseilles; possbily it was because the Lombard deck took over the Piedmontese market and that deck was numbered, like the World card from the Castello Sforzesco). So the rule probably goes back to the 15th century. I disagree with Ross about how the Bolognese game reached Piedmont—I incline more to the view of Dummett/McLeod that it bypassed Lombardy, or at least bypassed most of Lombardy—but that is a side issue.

Another major reason why I have to disagree with Ross's viewpoint is because of why I think the equal papi rule was invented.

While I agree with Huck and Mike that it is essential to consider the practicalities of gameplay when addressing this question, I disagree with the answer Mike came up with (involving Karnöffel). To my mind, there is a much simpler and much more likely answer.

Let me start by recalling that there are two groups of trumps whose ranking varied a great deal in the earliest trump orders, in the days before the cards were numbered: the three Virtues and the four papi e imperatori. As Dummett observed in GoT, the rest of the trump sequence barely changed from one locale to another, but the ordering of these two groups changed enormously. I believe the basic reason was the same in both cases, namely because both groups were made up of very similar figures with no obvious, well-established ranking (among themselves). So players found it hard to remember and agree on what order they should have.

I think exactly this is the main reason why the virtues were moved in Type B from their original positions (which I think were probably where they were in Type A): because the new positions seemed more meaningful and were therefore easier to remember and harder to argue with. In this sense, I disagree with Ross when he suggests that the Type B ordering of virtues had nothing to do with "ludic evolution"—but at the same time I agree with him that it "suggests a thoughtful re-ordering, based on theological or moral considerations." It seems to me most likely that it was both, simultaneously.

You can probably guess where I'm going with this. The papal and imperial cards brought much the same problem: While just about everyone could agree that the pope had to be the highest ranking of the four, there seems to have been no end of disagreement about the order of the other three. The Bolognese solution (to the arguments that must have raged) was as simple as it was ingenious: Make all four equal in rank, and if more than one is played to a trick, the last one wins. No more reason to argue, and it would have made the whole trump order significantly easier to remember too. Problem solved.

Except for one small difficulty: patriarchy. A lot of players—well, a lot of male players, at least—would no doubt have felt it wrong for the Empress and Popess to be able to beat their male counterparts in a trick. So the decision was made to change the card designs ever so slightly to make the ladies into men. The result was the Bolognese trump sequence that remained unchanged until 1725.

I'm sure the Bolognese would have applied a similar kind of rationalization to the new order to that which was applied in the case of the Type B virtues, by which I mean that they would have easily found a symbolic justification for a change that was primarily motivated by the practicalities of gameplay. In the case of the Type B virtues, it was Justice representing the Last Judgment, and Fortitude being associated with the martial triumph of the Chariot (or whatever they managed to come up with in the case of Fortitude). In the case of the now all-male papi e imperatori, the most obvious interpretation would probably have been to see them as the Western and Eastern Emperors and a pair of schismatic popes. Or alternatively, if you felt uncomfortable about schismatic popes, you could see those two as the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople, or just view all four as popes and emperors from different times in history. You know, whatever makes you happy. It wouldn't have been terribly important; what would have been important was the practical benefit of making the trump order simpler, clearer, and less contentious.

As Ross has repeatedly pointed out, the equal papi rule went hand in hand with unnumbered trumps. The Bolognese order stayed unnumbered for much longer than the others, no doubt partly because the equal papi rule made it easier for the Bolognese players to remember the order without numbered cards. Moreover, it seems that once numbering was introduced, it began to weaken the equal papi rule. In Piedmont, where the papi themselves were numbered, the rule died out almost completely; in Bologna, where only the trumps from Love to Star were numbered, the rule held on, but even there it seems the presence of numbers on most other trumps eventually gave people the idea of putting them on the papi as well. The staunch endurance of the rule in Bologna, even in the face of the temptation of numbering on most trumps, suggests that Ross is absolutely wrong when he says that "the equal-papi rule is unstable." It seems Ross was compelled to believe that because there is no trace of the rule anywhere except for Bologna and Piedmont; he has to conclude the rule is inherently "unstable" to explain its disappearance elsewhere. But this assertion does not fit the reality, which is that the equal papi rule, like most aspects of the Bolognese game (including unnumbered trump cards), remained remarkably stable and resilient in that city for an extremely long time.

In other words, the trumps being unnumbered was fundamental to the rule's existence. If the trumps are unnumbered, it is a significant practical benefit for four of them to all have the same rank, quite apart from the arguments about their order that would have bedeviled the earliest players. Under such circumstances, there would be no temptation at all to give each of the papi a ranking—why would anyone want to make the order harder to remember? But once you start putting numbers on the cards, that objection disappears, and with it goes the whole foundation of the equal papi rule. In that situation, it is entirely understandable that players would be tempted to ditch the rule, because it doesn't seem to have a lot of practical appeal otherwise.

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

#60
Phaeded wrote:
03 Jul 2020, 22:42

The above is concrete and allows credible speculation. So where is there 15th century evidence of a Bologna influence on Savoy/Piedmont in the context of papal/imperial relations lending itself to the notion of "papi"?
My scenario is not, and never has been, that Bologna directly influenced Piedmont's game. My scenario is that the original game, the one that was all over Italy within 20 years of its invention, had the equal-papi rule and the high Angel (i.e. it was A type). Because the trumps were unnumbered, different places began ordering the trumps differently for various reasons, which is a different topic. But the original game reached the duchy of Savoy soon after it reached Milan, and they kept those rules, just like Bologna did.

In other words, in the 1440s and 1450s in Florence, Bologna, Lombardy, and Savoy, the same game was being played.

In Bologna and Savoy the game became deeply rooted among the population. But In Milan it appears that, like in Ferrara, the game was too elite to survive the end of the ruling dynasty. There was, somehow, a close association between the Sforzas and the Estes and the class of people who played the game. The end of the House of Este in 1597 coincides with the disappearance of the Ferrarese form of the game (any kind played with the B order). For Milan the evidence is far sparser; we have no evidence whatsoever about the popular form of the game in the Milanese until Alciato in 1547.

But already in 1505, in Pinerolo, near Turin, they were importing Tarots from Avignon and cards from Lyon. Why were they doing this if the nearer and easier Milan was supplying their cards and dominating their style of play? The implication is that Milan was not such a great center of playing card manufacturing at the time. What had recently happened that might have changed Milan's card-playing habits and card-making industry? Rhetorical question.

So my scenario is that the popular game of Tarot had never been too deeply rooted in Milan. Thus, when Louis XII took control of the city in October 1499, and attempted to transform the city into an Italian manufacturing hub on a par with Lyon in France, whatever cardmakers there were in Milan were suddenly overwhelmed by the same kinds of cards that Pinerolo was importing a few years later. The Milanese Tarot game became the French Tarot game, whereas in Savoy the game remained the same as the original, although the cards became French. Thus it has remained in Savoy and PIedmont until today.

The link with Bologna is not direct; it is just that both remained dedicated to the earliest form of the game that came to them. In Bologna, the cards themselves didn't change, but in Savoy they did. The collapse of the geographic link between Bologna and Piedmont - Lombardy - is due to the French rule of 1499-1525.
In March 1530, Charles V of France’s brother-in-law, Charles III of Savoy,
Charles V of France died in 1380; you mean Emperor Charles V.

I can't take your proposal seriously, because how a ceremony where a pope crowns an emperor, canonically and with all due decorum of rank and strict respect for hierarchy, could inspire the whole population of Bologna and Piedmont to suddenly adopt a strange new rule for their Tarot game that they had been playing with ordered and ranked cards for 90 years, whereby there are two popes and two emperors who can beat one another, makes absolutely no sense.

I can't actually figure out the causal process you believe you have demonstrated with this history and picture. Please lay it out, step by step. I can't do it without appearing to mock it.

Start with four cards, a Popess, Empress, Emperor, and Pope, presumably ranked in that order and played like that for almost a century, and tell me why this event would cause them to invent the equal-papi rule, and why Savoy adopted it so eagerly as well (and also, so it doesn't get forgotten, why Savoy kept (universally to this day even with numbered cards) the high Angel, despite importing French cards already for 25 years, which never have any other order than the World as the highest).
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