Re: The ordering of the trumps

#31
I think the numbering 6/9/7 is just a descriptive analysis, not a statement of potential symbolic significance.

The cards Devil-Angel/World are unbreakable, the only variations being the supremacy of Angel or World, and the B placement of the virtue Justice between Angel and World (for this reason, and the fact that Temperance is placed between the Pope and Love - i.e. obviously a crude moralistic arrangement -, I think most commentators believe B cannot be the original order. One argument would be that God's Justice is presumed in Judgment, so there is no need to make it explicit; a corollary is that if the weighing of souls were intended, the Archangel Michael would have been portrayed, not the conventional image of the cardinal virtue Justice).

The sequence Devil-Fire-Star-Moon-Sun is also invariable (excluding the Minchiate, which is the exception which proves the rule, since all of Minchiate's extra cards are placed in a single chunk between the casa del diavolo and the Star).

The Fool need not be included in the numbering - it could be described as 5/9/7 plus a Fool. The point is descriptive - it just describes how nothing from the first 5 ever goes into the other two sections; nothing from the 9 ever goes into the first or third sections (excluding Justice in B); nothing from the Devil to the World ever goes into the other two sections. There are just three sections, and that happens to be the number of cards in each.
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Re: The ordering of the trumps

#32
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: The Fool need not be included in the numbering - it could be described as 5/9/7 plus a Fool.
I think, allowing for the counting of the exlcusion (justice) in the middle section, that is a little more accurate.
The point is descriptive - it just describes how nothing from the first 5 ever goes into the other two sections; nothing from the 9 ever goes into the first or third sections (excluding Justice in B); nothing from the Devil to the World ever goes into the other two sections. There are just three sections, and that happens to be the number of cards in each.
Allowing for exceptions, then we could also say that with the exception of a virtue, that of Justice in pattern B and of Temperance in pattern C, the sequence traitor to angel/world is invariable, and none from traitor on appear in those below and vice versa; allowing that the virtues are the biggest 'wanderers' perhaps it is legitimate to disregard the virtues as a grouping on their own, then could you not just as legitimately say there are two sections with nothing from the first 9 ever appear in the next 9? Is a split of 6/9/7 'purely descriptive'? It appears to me to be based upon a particular reading of the sequence and hence does have 'symbolic significance' in terms of supporting that reading.

Patterns A-B-C from Andy's Playing card site with virtues removed:

the Trivial Performer
the Popess / empress / four moors of equal rank
the Empress / emperor / four moors of equal rank
the Emperor / popesse /four moors of equal rank
the Pope / Pope / four moors of equal rank
the Lover
the Chariot
the Hermit / Wheel of Fortune / Fortune
the Wheel of Fortune / Old Man / Old Man
the Hanged Man
Death
the Devil
the Tower
the Star
the Moon
the Sun
Judgement / Judgement / World
the World / World / Angel

+ three virtues
+ fool

http://l-pollett.tripod.com/cards26.htm
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

#33
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:My working hypothesis about the Popes and Emperors for a number of years now has been that they are a schematic of the contemporary "state of the world".

If you accept my conclusions about the date of invention of the trump series, then it occurred during a very tumultuous time for the Papacy and the balance of power in Italy. From late 1439 there were in fact two popes, the "antipope" Felix V being supported by Savoy, Milan and Alfonso (in his quest for Naples), the rest (?) of Italy supporting Eugenius IV, and the Empire trying to mediate. It was resolved by 1442 for all intents and purposes, with everyone backing Eugenius - but tarot had been invented by then.

Additionally there was the Council of Ferrara-Florence, which brought the Eastern Emperor, and the Eastern Church, to Italy. During the discussions, the seating was arranged so that the two "popes" (Patriarch of Constantinople and Bishop of Rome) faced each other, with the two chairs for the two Emperors on their respective sides, slightly behind - the western Emperor having just died (Sigismund, died a few weeks before the council began), his throne was empty - but it was placed there nonetheless to indicate the presence of the western Empire.

(There are therefore at least two possibilities in my view for the presence of two popes and two emperors, as in the Bolognese pack.)

In my analysis, the "Bagatella" is just a depcition of the idea of "lowest" (bagatella = trifle = magic trick), and doesn't represent a social "type" or rank. The "types" are the rest of the pack, from Kings on down.

The place of invention and person who invented it must therefore have been a place where and a person for whom this kind of depiction of a balance of power would have been appreciated, which I consider to have been Bologna or Milan (which was then under Milanese control anyway), and the person well-apprised of contemporary events.
I find this very interesting Ross, and I appreciate that you share this with us here, I've not heard anyone else making these points.

You know that I favour the Bologna order, and that I also suspect two popes and two emperors, so this is especially compelling to me. One feature about the Bologna order that I find particularly appealing is that the virtues are grouped, while most of the other explanations that we have for the other orders tends to either avoid the virtues altogether or give them, for me, less appealing reasons for their positions.

I like this as a paired way of viewing the last group:
Devil > Hell | Star * Moon * Sun |Heaven < Angel

I also like your explanation of the Bagatella. I just don't see him as a "ranks of man" figure, and I struggle with his inclusion.

Is there any evidence that early players considered two popes and two emperors? It seems that by 1650 Mitelli saw it this way (I'm honestly not sure if he has an empress or not), but is there any mention or assumption that the four Papi were once considered all men?
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

#34
Hi Robert,
robert wrote: I find this very interesting Ross, and I appreciate that you share this with us here, I've not heard anyone else making these points.

You know that I favour the Bologna order, and that I also suspect two popes and two emperors, so this is especially compelling to me. One feature about the Bologna order that I find particularly appealing is that the virtues are grouped, while most of the other explanations that we have for the other orders tends to either avoid the virtues altogether or give them, for me, less appealing reasons for their positions.

I like this as a paired way of viewing the last group:
Devil > Hell | Star * Moon * Sun |Heaven < Angel

I also like your explanation of the Bagatella. I just don't see him as a "ranks of man" figure, and I struggle with his inclusion.

Is there any evidence that early players considered two popes and two emperors? It seems that by 1650 Mitelli saw it this way (I'm honestly not sure if he has an empress or not), but is there any mention or assumption that the four Papi were once considered all men?
It's part of my circumstantial argument about the meaning of the papi and why they are there, and of course for the primacy of the "equal papi" rule.

One of the advantages of the close dating deduced from the plot of the evidence is that I was able to focus more clearly on the five years or so before 1442. I knew about the seating plan of the Council, the schism with Basel, Visconti's taking Bologna in the years 1438-1441, the antipope Felix V etc. before, but it is only when there was a sound reason to insist on these contemporary events that I felt confident to proceed with developing the theory, asking more pointed questions, and seeking answers. The dating argument gave me that reason.

It has borne some fruit - for instance, I wanted to know whether, as Eugene's enemy and supporter of the Council of Basel, Filippo made the Bolognese recognize Felix as Pope. I found the Bolognese Chronicle (in Muratori) for those years, and found that Basel's suspension of Eugene - declaring him a schismatic, heretic, and simonist, and stripped him of all his ecclesiastical dignities, deposing him - was published in Bologna on the doors of San Petronio and San Piero (St. Peter), in 1439. I also found that the Bolognese were very angry with Eugene in 1437, while he was in exile there (he had to escape Rome for other reasons) for raising heavy taxes in Bologna to pay for the Council to unite the Eastern and Western Churches, promising the city that he intended to have it in Bologna. The Bolognese were happy to bear the burden hoping that the Eastern Emperor and his court and the Patriarch of Constantinople, with all their attendants, etc. would bring glory and, of course, commerce to their city and more than pay itself back.

When the Pope absconded with the money for Ferrara (January 1438), they were very disappointed. So there was a lot of anti-papal sentiment in the city about this time.

Felix V never came to Bologna, but there is an indication that Bologna didn't recognize Eugene for those two years (1439-1441) because in 1441 there is a note in the Chronicle that "August 4 - the dispute between Visconti and Venice was settled (a peace treaty). August 14 - the dispute between Eugene and Bologna was settled." So it is reasonable to assume that the city didn't recognize Eugene from the publication of the bans of Basel (July 21 1439) until August 14, 1441. I couldn't find if there were any official recognition of Felix anywhere, but at the very least the Church was running on autopilot in those years, and it must have, as Visconti's possession, officially recognized the decrees of Basel (one way to find out would be to see if, for those years, the prayers for the Pope during the mass were changed from Eugene to Felix in any copies from Bologna - obviously a very difficult question to research).

Another question I had was the Emperor's relation to Basel and Eugene. There are some good sources for this, and I found out that he supported Basel, and mediated between the Council and Eugene in their dispute. The council was ready to depose him, but Sigismund asked for a delay of two months to help solve the crisis (October 16, 1437). Sigismund died on December 9, 1437, just before the deadline was up. So the Council went ahead and began with their trial of Eugene, resulting in his deposition.

What about the next "Emperor"? Well, Albert II, Sigismund's chosen successor, was never officially crowned Emperor and could not use that title officially. But as King of Germany and Bohemia, he pursued Sigismund's policy of mediation. He died in 1439, after Eugene's deposition but before the election of Felix V. The next Emperor, Frederick III, also pursued neutrality, but ultimately recognized Eugene (1442).

It's those kinds of details that I think make a good circumstantial case, as well as pictures like the wrestling Pope and Emperor. I think the Papi are making the same kind of political statement as that picture, except earlier and in a different context.
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Re: The ordering of the trumps

#35
With regards to Bagatella argument, Michael has important differences with me, and has found contemporary support in a picture of a "juggler" as a condition of man in a copy of Petrarch's De Remediis.



Far left. You have this, Robert, in Bandera, page 113.

So it is not unthinkable to consider him a rank of man.

However, given my overall theory, including the papi, I don't see it that way. I have some support in Bologna at least, if you believe that rules of the 16th century can be pushed back that far - the Bagato, like the Fool, is a "wild card", which can substitute for other cards in making sequences (a number of trumps and court cards (in the same suit) in order). He is not an "excuse" like the Fool is, but he is unnumbered, although he has position (the lowest). This is why Love is 5 and not 6 - the Bagato is considered not to have a number.

So he should not impede the allegory, if that is what it is, of the Papi representing the highest human positions/ranks, then Kings, Queens, Knights, Valets, and the professions (the pip cards - already a known allegory, at least in Germany so why not Italy?).

Ross
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Re: The ordering of the trumps

#36
robert wrote: Is there any evidence that early players considered two popes and two emperors? It seems that by 1650 Mitelli saw it this way (I'm honestly not sure if he has an empress or not), but is there any mention or assumption that the four Papi were once considered all men?
I suppose the earliest direct evidence is in the two Discorsi, Piscina and Anonymous, of 1565 and around 1565 respectively. Both mention only male figures - Piscina "Popes and Emperors", and the Anonymous "Two Popes, an Emperor and King". Piscina also, incidentally, indicates that Emperors can win Popes, implying the equal Papi rule. This is not unexpected, since he is writing in Piemonte, where this rule was observed (and still is in some places), but it is the earliest direct attestation of it.

Strangely, neither writer is writing about the A or Bolognese order.

Nevertheless, the earliest lists of cards (like the Steele Sermon) and the surviving earliest cards themselves, show an Empress and Popess. It is a shame that the Beaux-Arts sheet doesn't show these cards, since it dates to around 1500, but I would guess that, since it looks Bolognese, it would show the same kinds of figures as the 17th century Bolognese pack in the BnF.
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Re: The ordering of the trumps

#37
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
...the Papi representing the highest human positions/ranks, then Kings, Queens, Knights, Valets, and the professions (the pip cards - already a known allegory, at least in Germany so why not Italy?).

Ross, are you saying there is a German tradition that equates the pips with different professions, as in the Ace is a peasant, the 2 is a soldier, the 3 is a blacksmith, etc., or something along those lines ?!?
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#38
R.A. Hendley wrote:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
...the Papi representing the highest human positions/ranks, then Kings, Queens, Knights, Valets, and the professions (the pip cards - already a known allegory, at least in Germany so why not Italy?).
Ross, are you saying there is a German tradition that equates the pips with different professions, as in the Ace is a peasant, the 2 is a soldier, the 3 is a blacksmith, etc., or something along those lines ?!?
Yes, it started with the very first moralization of the card pack, by John of Rheinfelden, in 1377 (Franciscan). John got the idea from Jacob of Cessolis, who a century before had moralized the Chess game, where he gave the pawns to different professions.

Meister Ingold, writing a morality on cards in Strassburg (?) in 1432, characterized the pips as well -
http://trionfi.com/0/mi/00/

Ingold talks about 2 kinds of cards, and the second is given a moralizing play -

"Deck 2 presents totally 8 figures with "professions" (professions appear as card motifs already in the Johannes deck with 60 cards and they reappear later in the socalled Hofämterspiel as playing card motifs, but in both examples they are connected to number cards, not to the courts). The passage is a little troublesome, as Ingold (or the transfered text, which not necessarily must be identical to Ingold's original; acually the text seems to have some corruptions) writes careless: One of the 2 above presented rows presents 7 figures only and the repeatment has 8 and both are not totally identical in expressions and row:

Row 1 (7 figures):

* ackerman
* edelman
* wuchrer
* pfaffen
* toypel (female)
* riffian
* wirt

Row 2 (8 figures, the missing weinman is added)

* edelman
* wuchrer
* pfaff
* täppelweib (female)
* riffian
* wirt
* weinman
* pauman der den wein pauwen soll

It must be necessarily identifed, that "toypel" and "täppelweib" mean the same object, and also the "ackerman" and the "pauman der den wein pauwen soll" are refering to the same card.

English Translation of the figure names:

* edelman = noble man
* wuchrer = man who lends money
* Pfaff = name for a priest with a "negative touch" in German language
* "toypel" and "täppelweib" = likely a woman who sells sex for money
* riffian = the male protector of the Toypel, who takes money from her
* wirt = innhouse-keeper
* weinman = man, who sells vine
* "ackerman" = farmer
* identical to "pauman der den wein pauwen soll" = "Bauer = farmer", who shall plant the vine"

(Lothar's commentary at trionfi)

A more conventional idea is expressed in a surviving deck of the 1450s, the Hofämterspiel (Householder's deck).
http://it.geocities.com/a_pollett/cards23.htm

In Italy, Bernardino of Siena was moralizing the courts and suits in a negative way (naturally) in the 1420s. He was trying to get his listeners to see how the Devil invented cards, so that they would destroy them, so the Kings, Queens, Upper and Lower soldiers represent sinners and sodomites (he knows to know a 56-card pack and strangely German names for the Knight and Valet), and the suits represent avarice (coins), violence (swords), stupidity (batons) and drunkenness (cups).

Marziano da Tortona designed a moral system for the suits in general, with birds representing two virtues and two vices, although he did not give each card in the suit a specific meaning.

Later Boiardo attributed characters to all the pips (in his unique system), and the Sola Busca seems to indicate a "story" in the pips, but nobody has figured it out yet.

In any case, I think it is safe to say that people all over could moralize the cards, and that what we have is just the tip of the iceberg of what was done.

My thesis is that this background in a moralized card pack is a necessary precondition for the idea of the permanent set of trumps. That is, just as in John of Rheinfelden, the cards could be seen as representing the "state of the world", but it occurred to somebody that that state of the world was incomplete - it only went up to Kings. What about the higher things? And so the germ of the idea of the trump series lies in a pre-existing moralization of the regular card pack.

One proof of that sense of "incompleteness" is the addition of the Queen to the court cards, and even female Valets. It shows that people felt the need for the pack to be more representative of the real state of the world. This kind of changableness even occurred in traditionally male dominated packs like in Spain, where you get periods where the Valets are changed into females (the Spanish standard, like the Italian, usually only has three male figures, King, Knight and Valet).
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Re: The ordering of the trumps

#39
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:My thesis is that ... the germ of the idea of the trump series lies in a pre-existing moralization of the regular card pack.
This is what makes most sense to me and how I imagine the idea for the allegorical series of the tarot coming about, as I suggested in a previous post above :
SteveM wrote: ... 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

#40
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: One observation Dummett and others made was that the series - whatever series - falls into three classes of subjects. The first class, the human ranks or types, is easy to see. Then you have the Devil and above him the order is fixed in every series - Devil, Fire, Star, Moon, Sun. There can be no doubt this was the original and intended order of these five cards. The subject matter has been variously categorized, as celestial or eschatological.

This leaves the "middle section", which has been characterized as "moral", since it includes the virtues and Fortune, as well as rise and downfall, and finally Death.

For the last 7 cards, the sequence was pretty easy to grasp too. But in the middle part is where most of the shuffling goes on, although Fortune is always more or less central, and it always ends in Death.

There must have been an easy way that these basic parts were taught in the earliest period as the game passed from one locale to another, since they are broadly similar.

Hi Ross,

What about the feasibility of a triangular arrangement of the Trumps and Fool? This would seem to be a simple way to remember the order; six levels on analogy with the six sides of a gambling die.

Image


These six levels break up into three sections, as noted, leaving only the World-21 card outside the structure. But since this would be the highest card of all, and its numbering would represent the triangle of 21 cards, it would not be difficult to remember its position in the hierarchy.

The reason this starts with the Fool rather than the Bagatto, is partly due to the numerical characteristics. In this scheme, the numbers on the 21 cards sum to 210, a triangular number that has the distinction of being twice the value of another triangular number, 105.

105 = the value of the lower half, or first three rows of the triangle.
105 = the value of the upper half, or top three rows of the triangle.

What I like about this arrangement is that it gives some sense to why the Virtues would have these particular places, instead of being all in a group together as in the Southern tradition. With Justice in a more or less centralized position, it can balance Fortitude and Temperance. Also, as the XIV card, Temperance plays an important role as the threshold between the two halves. The sum of 0-14 = 105, the triangular number that represents the two 'halves' of this triangle, perhaps symbolized in the two vessels used by Temperance.

Another interesting feature is that you have the Sun and Moon cards directly under the Judgement, as if to say that these symbols of the light and darkness are also the right and left hand of the Judge who allows them into heaven or condemns them to hell; in which case the row just below them, with Devil, Fire and Star would show the three levels of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

Just to be clear, I am not claiming that this was the template used for the original creation of the Tarot sequence. But at some point when a designer or player sat down to standardize an order, perhaps they used a triangle to arrange the cards? And the natural thing to do would be to leave the Fool aside, and place the cards in a triangle from 1 to 21, finishing with the world. But then they might do exactly as I did and look at the number and/or symbol patterns and see how much more balanced everything is if you start with the Fool. And then, if the World card is indeed 'Christ Triumphant', then how appropriate to leave it outside the sequence, as being clearly superior to all the other cards.

What's also interesting in the arrangement is that the numerical characteristics can be dealt with separately from the symbolism of the cards. Even with no numbers on the cards, this layout has a certain symmetry to it that is only enhanced, but not dictated by, the addition of numerals to order the sequence. So a developer could have arranged them in a triangle before the cards were numbered. I don't know enough tarot history to say when and where all the numbering began, but I'm sure others here can fill in the blanks.

So this is my triangular supporting evidence for the 'three classes theory' of the Trumps. I'd be interested in any critique the other members have. Is this just a convenient way to order the Fool and Trumps after the fact, or is it possible some early designer may have had something like this in mind when ordering the Trumps?

RLG

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