Re: News and Updates

Franco Pratesi has opened a new web page (still in an experimental page, I would assume).

It offers a lot of Franco Pratesi's old articles, the articles of the last 2 years, and 4 new articles:

301. 1796: Florence - Clergy and Playing Cards at Cocomero. (03.11.2013)
302. 1829-1840: Florence − Playing Cards at Cocomero. (10.11.2013)
303. Libri italiani di poker – Il primo secolo. (17.11.2013)
304. 1819-1859: Florence − Playing-Cards at Casino dei Nobili. (05.12.2013)

The presentation happens via Docx-files.

Re: News and Updates

An "Author Spotlight": Glenn F. Wright/aka Jess Karlin


Another author of the good old times at alt.tarot (a very old internet place for Tarot history discussion): Nagasiva (Tyagi) ... press.html

Luckymojo had collected a lot of Tarot History material from time to time, between it the "Fragments" of Michael J. Hurst.


K.Frank Jensen, a long time member of the IPCS (publishing a lot of Tarot observations in the IPCS journal), and also known as contributor to Internet Tarot projects searched a place for his big Tarot collection ...
After having refused proposals of handing over the collection to private museum enterprises and to offers from more or less commercial bodies, who would not even allow me any influence on the board, they had prepared to `care for the collection', I had almost given up to find a gratifying solution, when one day in June 2011, the solution just arrived right at my front door. A visitor, Camelia Elias, who titulated herself as `associate professor in American studies and tarot reader' had heard about the collection, and would like to see it. To make a long story short: on December 21st 2012 - the day the Mayan calendar ended - I signed a mutual agreement with our nearby Roskilde University Center's Library and `Culture and Identity'-faculty, that they took over, cared for and made available the collection (now called `The K. Frank Jensen Collection'). Sometimes solutions are not that far away as one might believe...


Guido Gillabel's Tarot Museum in Belgium

Mary Greer had been there: ... ot-museum/

Re: News and Updates

Frano Pratesi at ...
... presents in Link 02 ...

02. An Early Praise of Italian Tarot in the 16th Century. The Playing-Card, 15 No. 3 (1987) 80-87.
(old article, actually his second to playing cards)

.... a special Bolognese source by an anonymous (maybe later 16th century). I saw, that Andrea Vitali used it. The text has curious details ... I don't remember to have seen them discussed here.
The order of the suits is here Coins, Swords, Staves and Cups. And this is already something unusual since the author divides the two round to feminine suits of the traditional interpretations, inserting the two long or masculine ones between them. The obvious interpretation of the Coins’ king and family is of any activity aimed at accumulating money and wealth in general. There follows Swords, which is naturally connected to war, military occupations and careers. The interpretation of Staves is perhaps more interesting since it appears strictly correlated with the ancient shape of this Italian suit, and neither with the Spanish nor with the majority of the modern Italian Bastoni. Here the symbol is a Mazza, a Baton, indicating the power of magistrates and public officials up to the kings. In other words, something analogous to those Fasces of ancient Rome which the author mentions without obviously knowing their later unhappy utilisation. Cups mean generally pleasure and with this suit the four human instincts are exhausted, but only for the moment. In fact, the originality of this particular allegory is that no sharp division exists between cards and triumphs.
Coins as highest suits is rare, I think. Somehow it is used in Doppelkopf, where Careaux/Diamonds is an additional trump row.

It also connects to an old debate, if Swords are spades and Staves are clubs (what many believe), or vice versa Swords are clubs and Staves are spades (what at least is believed by me).

For the latter the above used row coins-swords-staves-cups would be one of the "4 normal rows" (those, which are most often used in games), for the other, first suggestion, coins-swords-staves-cups would belong to the 20 other rows,(which are very seldom used).
Then follow the four “popes”. I admit I was very curious to know how the author would solve the Popess problem in a convincing and favourable manner. It is not clear to me how this card originated, but I am persuaded that it is hard to admit its presence in a pack of which one is trying precisely to demonstrate the pedagogical if not the theological value. That may be due to the fact that I am not sufficiently acquainted with the popular culture of that period, since, for instance, Rosenfeld in the quoted article indicates that the Popess was considered a common personage among people. In any case, I must acknowledge that here the problem is well solved, although I have some doubt about the actual historical value of such a favourable interpretation. The four connected personages have become here CARDINALE, PAPA, RE and IMPERATORE.
A card with a Cardinale ....
There follow a pair of virtues, PRUDENZA (instead of the usually present Temperance) and FORZA.
A Prudenza card ....

For more see the article.

Re: News and Updates

Huck wrote:Frano Pratesi at ...
... presents in Link 02 ...

02. An Early Praise of Italian Tarot in the 16th Century. The Playing-Card, 15 No. 3 (1987) 80-87.
(old article, actually his second to playing cards)

.... a special Bolognese source by an anonymous (maybe later 16th century). I saw, that Andrea Vitali used it. The text has curious details ... I don't remember to have seen them discussed here.
It's strange you don't recognize it. This is the Anonymous Discorso, which was edited and published with a translation for the first time in 2010, in a book called Explaining the Tarot:Two Italian Renaissance Essays on the Meaning of the Tarot Pack.

Some of the points Franco raised are explicitly discussed in the introduction and notes to this edition.

Haven't you heard of it?

Re: News and Updates

The page ..

... presents some publication activities around the work of Maria Matteo Boiardo, which includes also this project:

a cura di Antonia Tissoni Benvenuti

Le egloghe volgari, ricchissime di allusioni storico-politiche sotto il velame pastorale, e i cosiddetti Tarocchi, notevole esempio di letteratura d’intrattenimento di alto livello, pur editi di recente, offrono molti spunti per una nuova lettura e riproposizione al pubblico. Se ne occupa Antonia Tissoni Benvenuti.
The page was set up in 2010 (found at, but a recent movie appeared in March 2014 ...


Re: News and Updates

Franco Pratesi has published at in the usual provisional state (this is a working station, not the final product) ...

1477: Bologna – Aritmetica per carte e trionfi ... 09.06.2014

It's a number analysis of the Bolognese card production contract reported by Orioli in 1908 and presented by Andrea Vitali in "Il Tarocchino di Bologna", 2005, p. 16.
The text of Franco is in Italian and my poor Italian is too stupid to understand it completely. Nonetheless it seems, that Franco comes to the conclusion, that - most probably - the considered decks in the contract (Bologna 1477) had either 56 cards (carte) or 70 Trionfi cards (trionfi).

Which would be - if true - a confirmation for the much discussed 5x14-theory. And that as late as 1477 and specifically for Bologna.

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