Al Craig wrote:
Thanks, Huck, that's a nice exposition of your thoughts on the origins of Karnöffel and the relation of the Tarot to normal cards.
Karnöffel/Imperatori - game is the father of the later Tarot cards
That's what I've been implying here.
... Yes, that's really an advantage, that you're not blinded by the many iconographic possibilities, but have some sense for the idea, that it is a game.
Tarot developed from the usual card deck
Karnöffel ... there was a devil in this game ... there is a devil in Tarot ... was it the same devil?
It's odd that a German game should be represented in an Italian pack of cards. The suggested scheme of four cards doesn't match perfectly with the later descriptions of the game. I'd assume that it was an earlier, simpler version of the game and a variation of Kaiserspiel.
I think, the mystery of the parallel development of German Karnöffel and Italian Imperatori cards (which is, as far we can observe it, possibly a Florentine/Ferrarese speciality) is possibly the council of Constance. This had been, at least occasionally, a festivity in gigantic dimensions, something, which the West European world hadn't seen for decades, possibly the largest public event in Europe since the great plague. Generally the plague and its various reappearances had with some security reduced traffic, trade and tourism. The general calculation says, that since ca. 1450 the general population number started to increase again ... till then we have likely only reduced development. In Northern Italy we've a successful development in Milan since 1350, cause Milan could protect itself against the first big wave of the plague. The result of the protection was the expansion of Milanese territory and around 1400 we've Giangaleazzo thinking about the idea to become an Italian king, a plan, which is disrupted by Giangaleazzo's death 1402 (a similar successful development and expansion we've in Bohemia for some time cause the same reason ... also Bohemia weren't too much effected by the first wave). Giangaleazzo's death is followed by chaos in Milan and this dukedom begins to redevelop with Filippo Maria's ascension 1412. Similar the question of the German Empire in a positive manner since 1411: Sigismondo established himself as a man able to satisfy the general hopes. King Wenzel had disappointed ... he never overcame his start difficulties and he was abdicated in 1400. The following Ruprecht couldn't really establish himself.
Sigismund was the first, who reflected the "good old time", when "older kings reigned" ... there had been a radical change in the North European around 1378: The old Emperor died, the old French king died, the old English king died and the Pope died, creating by his death the schism, which still lasted in 1411. From the young followers, partly still not-grown-up, when they started to reign, the German empire king was abdicated 1400, the English king was abdicated and killed 1399/1400 and the French king became insane. The replacement kings didn't satisfy completely.
Now Sigismund, an experienced monarch, started to reign, and in 1413 the old (also) sick English king died and a new one appeared with fresh energies.
So there was a general optimism after a deep depression and Sigismondo attacked the schism. A new time seemed to start. In Constance occasionally had been 100.000 visitors, a lot from foreign countries and from these the most came from Italy.
In Italy card playing had been - as far we can know it - more often prohibited than in Germany. Italians learned in 1415 about the contrast. Also Italians learned, that in Northern countries were considerable improvements in matters of music, likely they learned about new fascinating colors for painting, they learned about unknown old texts in German libraries, they learned that elsewhere in Europe were other customs in matters of sexual freedom.
Possibly they learned also about woodcut pictures.
It seems evident, that at least some Italians became enthusiastic about it. They loved this tourism, and they responded to their impression, when they returned back. Those, who had stayed at home, didn't necessarily reply with the same enthusiasm, and San Bernardino started to preach in 1417 against their new ideas and the general change of time. But Bernardino had learned from the council of Constance ... his preachings are said to have been attended occasionally by 100.000 ... perhaps these numbers were partly only marketing strategy, but actually Bernardino imitated the system of "the many people at one place" to create religious hysteria and to use it for his aims.
We generally see from this development only, that the number of playing cards use documents increase in number in the 1420's. We also have two high-prize-card-decks notes, one 1423 in Ferrara and one possibly of Milan 1425 (if our preferred dating for the Michelino deck is correct, otherwise at least 1418 - 1425 as a plausible date). "High prizes" seem to indicate special movement, possibly in context to a general change, for instance introduction of far spread use of woodcut technique. The first surviving woodcut is the St. Christopherus from 1423 ... the experts in this research differ very much in their opinion. Some assume 1370, others are even earlier and some propose "late". In the recent years there were reports, that in Spain woodcut playing cards had appeared from around 1400.
Well, if I consider the plausible suggestion, that playing cards were in Bohemia in 1340, but needed 35 long years to explode with might around 1377 in Europe, then it's not impossible, that Spain had playing cards with woodcut printing "around 1400", but that mass market was reached in its beginning maybe ca. 1420-1440. The Venetian document of 1441 speaks of the condition, that Venetian card makers earlier had the mystery, but that now the technological advantage was gone. It's a good question, what "earlier" means in this statement ... perhaps 1420?
Generally in the Islamic world the woodcut use had been much earlier, naturally also in China. Generally the use of woodcuts in textile printing happened much earlier than the use for paper printing.
Generally it's a factor of the development, that cities and producers with envy protected their technological advances, not interested to show them anybody else. So we have also have this very slow development for the paper mills. Spain had it early, Italy around 1264. Officially Germany has the 1390 in Nurremberg, however, taking a look in the modern research, there seems to have been many other attempts before here, though they missed to become successful.
So, inside this all we have the reported deal, that Parisina had her servant buy "VIII Imperatori cards" in Florence in 1423. In the follow-up the word "Imperatori" in context to playing cards reappears only in Ferrara and once in Germany ... not in Florence. From this it appears, as if the product "Imperatori cards" never became a big success in Florence, but got some life in Ferrara, a court with many children, from which finally a lot of girls were married to many other courts, and of which some of boys became rather influential. And a court, at which the name "Trionfi cards" appears for the first time.
How did Florence come to the Imperatori cards? Florence had made a decision for Pope Giovanni XXIII and a big Flrentine delegation, between them Cosimo di Medici, accompanied him to the Council of Constance. It happened, what happened, and Giovanni attempted to escape the disaster, but was captured. The Florentine delegation made itself a quick escape under difficult conditions. Giovanni found a prison.
There he stayed till 1419.http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08434a.htm
In conformity with a resolution passed at the Council of Pisa, John had summoned a new council to meet at Rome on 29 April, 1412, for the purpose of carrying out ecclesiastical reforms. ... From the beginning of 1412 conferences and meetings of the clergy had been held throughout France in preparation for this council ... But, when the council was opened in April, there were so very few participants that it had to be prorogued several times. When the sessions finally began, the only thing accomplished was the condemnation of the writings of Wycliff, the council being dissolved in March, 1413.
John's regrettable weakness in dealing with Ladislaus of Naples soon led to another attack by the latter upon papal territory. In May, 1413, he invaded the Roman province, and John was compelled to fly with his cardinals. He escaped to Florence, where he sought the protection of Sigismund, King of Germany, then labouring in Northern Italy for the convocation of a general council to put an end to the unfortunate schism. John's legates were authorized to come to an understanding with Sigismund on this matter, and Sigismund took advantage of the pope's predicament to insist on the selection of Constance as the meeting-place of the council. On 30 October, 1413, Sigismund invited Popes Gregory XII and Benedict XIII and all Christendom to attend, and prevailed on John XXIII, with whom he had a meeting at Lodi towards the end of November, to issue the Convocation Bull (9 December, 1413) of the general council to be opened at Constance on 1 November, 1414.
... On 1 October, 1414, John set out for Constance with a large following and supplied with ample means, but with heavy heart and anxious forebodings. Timidity and suspicion had replaced the warlike spirit he had shown as cardinal. On his way through the Tyrol he formed an alliance with Frederick of Austria, who was on terms of enmity with Sigismund. John and his nine cardinals made their entry into Constance on 29 October, 1414, and on 5 November the council was opened.
The prospects of the Pisan pope became daily more hopeless. The emperor had not bound himself by any permanent obligation towards John. He had needed this pope, as possessing ;the largest obedience, to bring about the council, but, from the summer of 1413, he had come to the conclusion that unity could be promoted only by the abdication or the deposal of all three claimants of the papacy. John at first dominated the council, while he endeavoured to increase his adherents by presents, and, by the aid of spies, to learn the temper of the members. However, the hostility of the council towards him became ever more apparent. ...
In the second session of the council, John was persuaded to read aloud a formal promise of voluntary abdication of the papacy (2 March, 1415), and to repeat this promise in a Bull of 8 March. But on 20 March he fled secretly from Constance to Schaffhausen in the territory of Duke Frederick of Austria, and thence to Freiburg im Breisgau, which belonged to the Duke of Burgundy, also his adherent. John's flight, in consequence of the great difficulties it caused the council, only increased the hostility towards him, and, while he himself tried to negotiate further concerning his abdication, his supporters were obliged to submit to Sigismund. Formally deposed in the twelfth session (29 May, 1415), John made his submission and commended himself to the mercy of the council. John was accused of the gravest offences in several inimical writings as well as in the formal charges of the council. Undeniably secular and ambitious, his moral life was not above reproach, and his unscrupulous methods in no wise accorded with the requirements of his high office. On the other hand, the heinous crimes of which his opponents in the council accused him were certainly gravely exaggerated. After his abdication he was again known as Baldassare Cossa, and was given into the custody of the Palatine Louis, who had always been his enemy. The latter kept him confined in different places (Rudolfzell, Gottlieben, Heidelberg, and Mannheim). At the forty-second session of the council, 28 Dec., 1417, after Martin V had been elected, the release of Cossa was decreed. It was not, however, till the following year that he recovered his liberty. He then set out for Florence, where Martin V was staying, and did homage to him as the Head of the Church. ...
The Medicis had supported Cossa in his campaign to become cardinal and pope. Once in office, John XXIII made the Medici Bank the bank of the papacy, contributing considerably to the family's wealth and prestige. ...
The Medicis oversaw the construction of his magnificent tomb by Donatello and Michelozzo in the Battistero di San Giovanni in Florence. Pope Martin V protested in vain against the inscription on the sarcophagus: "John the former pope".
During his time in the prison, an attempt was made to free him illegally ... likely it was a Florentine attempt. He was only released after a payment was done (likely paid by Florentine friends) . And he got a magnifient tomb, after he had died in 1419 (paid by the Medici).
In the time which followed the Medici focused on money-business with the popes - till the point, that the Medicis themselves had popes in their family.
And we have "Imperatori cards" produced in Florence in 1423, from which we may assume, that between the VIII cards were at least "one emperor and one pope".
From this it seems apparent, that one cannot cut off the "Imperatori deck" from some rather concrete matters, which happened before ... one has to place its appearance in the real situation. Perhaps a game developed in Germany, which made some satirical jokes about that, what had happened before in Constance. Perhaps Giovanni himself brought knowledge about it to Florence. Perhaps a Florentine artist modified the German invention to a manner, where the Italian pope looked better than the Emperor and it was such a deck, which was bought by Parisina.