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.
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???
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