The ordering of the trumps

#2
Lemme get this right.

1) The 'trumps' were created purely to enhance the Game, as there is (sadly) no evidence for any other purpose.
2) They wern't numbered - so people at that time/place were so familiar with the images that numbers wern't needed.
3) There is evidence that originally the trumps wern't necessarily 22 in number.

O.K.
So the scoring system probably led to them eventually being numbered.
And from this numbering of the images, we have a 'window-in-time (& place)' of the world/society as it was then. More specifically, of how they rated or experienced their enviroment.

I know that the above is obvious but I need to lay it down, because the 'window-in-time' seems to indicate that the Pope had a lower ranking than the World. Have I got this right???

Bee :)

The ordering of the trumps

#3
Bernice wrote:Lemme get this right.

1) The 'trumps' were created purely to enhance the Game, as there is (sadly) no evidence for any other purpose.
I'm not sure if "enhance the Game" is the right phrase. It's my understanding that "trump taking" games existed before tarot, but (like many of our trump taking games such as Bridge) the trump suit would be one of the four suits used in a typical deck, the other three remaining suits would be used as usual. The "genius" idea of tarot was to create a "permanent trump suit", and it was added on to the existing four suits. I suppose it's sad if you are hoping for something different? I'd love for tarot to have been created as a secret Cather document, or ancient oracle system, or mysterious map to a Templar secret... but it just doesn't seem to have been the case. On the other hand, I think there are still lots of mysteries of Tarot that don't require a mysterious birth of tarot to be fascinated with (Where and when was the Tarot de Marseille created? Why is the Jacques Vieville different from the Tarot de Marseille and why does he have iconography more typical of Florence or Bologna, but not the same as in the Belgain Tarots? Where is the Cary Sheet from, and what is its relationship to the Tarot de Marseille? Which of the orders is older? etc...).
Bernice wrote:2) They wern't numbered - so people at that time/place were so familiar with the images that numbers wern't needed.
It seems so, but I too have issues with this. Why would the Chariot be above the Pope? Why is the Wheel of Fortune below the Traitor? I still struggle with believing that the "hierarchy" of the 22 cards would have "made sense" to someone playing the game. There is evidence that people did struggle with it; our early printed examples see people adding in numbers, just like what is done on the Vieville cards, so that the order is clear and doesn't need to be thought about and/or memorised.
Bernice wrote:3) There is evidence that originally the trumps wern't necessarily 22 in number.
Ross discusses this elsewhere on the forum, but perhaps a new thread needs to be developed to discuss it further. I agree with you that we have examples like the Cary-Yale Visconti which show that there was indeed early experimentation. I also find that part of the 5x14 theory to be "sensible", in that if I was going to add a 5th suit to a tarot deck I think it is logical to imagine that it would have been 14 to match the other 4 suits. However, the "problem" with this is that it crops up as 22 spread all around Italy, so it would be weird if all of these places all came up with 22 on their own. 22 must have been some sort of standard. Anyway, maybe we should discuss this elsewhere, but it is, at least for me, increasingly hard not to imagine that it was originally 22 and that there were variations away from that rather than that the 22 was a variation in itself.
Bernice wrote:O.K.
So the scoring system probably led to them eventually being numbered.
And from this numbering of the images, we have a 'window-in-time (& place)' of the world/society as it was then. More specifically, of how they rated or experienced their enviroment.

I know that the above is obvious but I need to lay it down, because the 'window-in-time' seems to indicate that the Pope had a lower ranking than the World. Have I got this right???

Bee :)
We have at least 3 orders,(see The Hermitage and Andy's Playing Cards ) , and no one knows for sure which is the oldest (I personally favour Bologna!). As I stated above, I too have issues with the idea that the orders were well known and understood, but then again.. obviously they were! As Ross points out elsewhere, in Bologna people played without numbers on their cards for several centuries.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

The ordering of the trumps

#4
robert wrote:As I stated above, I too have issues with the idea that the orders were well known and understood, but then again.. obviously they were! As Ross points out elsewhere, in Bologna people played without numbers on their cards for several centuries.
This is not necessarily evidence that there was any understanding of an underlying narrative in the cards by players (if there was, they do not seem to have left a record of such, so more obviously, there was not), just of an established localised convention amongs players of the game.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

The ordering of the trumps

#5
SteveM: an established localised convention amongs players of the game.
This is what I was getting at. How strange that a local convention would order the images in such a way. They may not have had them numbered, but apparently did have a ranking of sorts.

Which means that we are still struggling to grasp exactly what the images represent. Makes me wonder if it was a geographical one - starting with the local personages and then working up and away....

Bee :)

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#6
robert wrote: The "genius" idea of tarot was to create a "permanent trump suit", and it was added on to the existing four suits. I suppose it's sad if you are hoping for something different?
If the idea is 'just' to add a trump suit, why not simply another suit of 14 emblems (monkeys or parrots or whatever), why a series of 21 allegorical trumps and a fool? The four suits of the deck were also open to allegorical readings, so perhaps the idea is not just to extend the game, but an allegory suggested or 'read into' the existing cards...
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#7
* Just for me of course and I can "prove" it is as follows:

1- Leave aside LE MAT and LE BATELEVR.
2-Then we have II to XXI making a 20 cards sequence.
3- The X card is a minor reflection of XXI.

. The first as an earth wheel and the second as a celestial wheel to arrive for.
The Universe is like a Mamushka.

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#8
To meet the need of play the pictures would have been subjects commonly known by all, and of a hierarchal nature that would have been easy to determine without numbers. 15th century players knew the order, partially by consensus, but mainly because these images were part of popular culture. The 'trionfi' cards illustrate a typical trionfi, a show, an entertainment that people watched and enjoyed. These subjects were known and understood by people then, just as we know and understand Jack Sparrow, or the crew of the Enterprise.

If you have any knowledge of medieval and renaissance popular drama and literature, it would be hard NOT to order the trumps similarly to at least one of the known orderings.
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#9
I'm just not so sure.

Which Virtue comes first? Where do they go?
Why is a Traitor higher than the Pope?
Who is the Popess and where does she go?
What is the Chariot and where does it go?
Why have Time, and where does he go?
Why does the Wheel of Fortune trump Time, but not a Traitor?
What is the Tower?
What are the Star Moon and Sun?

~

-- now, I think we can order them in ways to make sense, but I'm not convinced that the order is all that apparent, to us, or to them.

This isn't a strong point for me, I get that the general sense of order is there in the cards, but I'm just not so sure it was as obvious as we sometimes like to make it... nor as hidden.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#10
R.A. Hendley wrote:[...] 15th century players knew the order, partially by consensus, but mainly because these images were part of popular culture.
I remain unconvinced.

There is no need to have the earliest games assume that trumps were ranked for play. It may just as easily have been that the last trump trumps, with strict rules about when trumps are allowed (as is still the case). Vestiges of this (if correct) may account for the rule that (only with trumps) one MUST trump higher than the highest trump already played (unlike all other suits).
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