BOUGEAREL Alain wrote:
I don't know about this hypothesis of St Roch...
I had noted many years ago some iconographical similarity with Le Mat in the Tarot de Marseille.
However what I find of interest regarding the word TAROT is the relation with the river TARO : Lothar seems to believe that perhaps Tarot comes from the river Taro where the French combine things of all colors.
Could you give more details about this?
I do not think it is absurd ...on the contrary...
Well, we have two observable "French invasions" ....
1. St. Roch invades Italy ... after 1477
2. Military invasion of 1494
We've a battle in France in 1465 ... France against Burgundy. Louis XI bravely survives it. But a little more successful looks Charles the Bold of Burgundy, who in 1467 becomes ruler in Burgundy.
Charles is interested to gain new importance and new territory. He builds strong armies and arranges a lot of alliances, especially with Italian states (more than Louis XI is able to do). Nobody knows, whom he will attack, but it is clear for everybody, that it will be somebody ... some believe, that it will be Milan. Charles is stopped by his adventures at Neuss and then in Switzerland in January 1477.
The winner of the escapades of Charles are Maximilian and Louis, so Habsburg and France.
So after 1477 there starts an orientation of some Italian states (those who earlier had played with Burgundy alliances) towards France. Venice uses the St. Roch cult (not very much known in Italy) for closer political relation to France: A book is written, some bones come to Venice, a church project is started.
A death in Naples causes the reason to arrange a French attack on Naples. The French king has gotten the "Anjou righs" on Naples with the death of Renee d'Anjou in 1480. In 1494 we see a big French army in Italy, somehow in alliance with Milan and Venice (well ... as far Venice is concerned, partly thanks to St. Roch; however, it's difficult to estimate, how important this was in the string of the other activities).
Neither Venice nor Milan had thought, that the French troops would succeed so easy. The political result is, that both turn against France in 1495. Naturally this ends some long care for friendship to France on both sides. In the Venice case, this went back towards c. 1477, in the Milanese case even to c. 1461.
So likely ...
... the building of the St. Roch church in Venice stopped for some time.
The battle at the river Taro takes place, 6th of July 1495 and it's said, that it more or less was only an hour or so, possibly 25.000 for the Liga, and maybe 14000 for France. About 1000 French and maybe 3000 Italian soldiers were dead. But the French lost all their treasures, that they had earned during their escapades and one day after the battle Naples was retaken. All other French holdings in Italy break to pieces with the time (actually this takes really some time) merge to a "big loss for France" for the whole operation.
Now we have a poet Bassano Mantovano making a poem, in which the word "Tarochus" appears ... before 1499.
The poem has nothing to do with any Tarot cards ... at least one can't detect any relationship. He describes a scene, which (really or in his imagination) happens at a bridge across the Sesia river in Vercelli (a natural location, not invented). Vercelli is Savoyan territory, and it is located at the frontier to the Milanese region. The poet writes this poem to his friend Gaspare Visconti, an important man in Milan. The poet writes other poems about Savoy, it seems, that he had some time there. The poem is made in the genre "maccaroni literature", which is a mixed Latin-Italian art form likely used with the intention of some irony, mockery or simple fun. So "Tarochus" might be an invented construction without any preceding use of the word ... but likely chosen in the manner, that others would recognize the meaning.
This recognition of the meaning might be a very contemporary condition, such as a practical joke is often only understandable in a given moment, where a precise action took place and a specific remark describes the current situation ... the same remark wouldn't be understood in any other situation. Later maccaroni understanding was, that tarochus means "imbécile".
Ad magnifiais dominus Gasparus Vescontus ( mort en 1499 ), de una vellania que fuit mihi Bassanus de Mantua ab uno Botigliano Savoyno apud uncellis, et de una piacevoleza que ego Bassanus fecivi sibi Botigliano.
Unam volo tibi, Gaspar, cuntare novellam
Que te forte magno faciet pisare de risu.
Quidam Vercellis stat a la porta Botigliano
Omnes qui Sessiam facit pagare passantes ;
Et si quis ter forte passaret in uno,
Ter pagare facit : quare spesse voltas eunti
Esset opus Medicis intratam habere Lorenzi,
Hic semper datii passegiat ante botegam,
In zach atque in lach culum menando superbe
Quod sibi de Mutina cum vadit Pota videtur,
Qui de cavalo dicitur seminasse fassolos ;
Sed si cercares levantem atque ponentem
Non invenies quisque poltronior illo ;
Non habet hic viduis respectum nec maritatis
Sed neque pedonihus, nec cavalcantibus, omnes
Menat ad ingualum sicut lasagnia natalis ;
Nec pregat (ut ceteri faciunt) pagare, sed ipso
Sforzat, et illius vox est hec unica : Paga.
Iste manegoldus me vidit a longe venire,
Nec mora, corivit ceu mastinacius unus
Et non avertentis prendit per brilia cavallum.
De montilio quidem parlabam ac ipse zenevra ,
Cujus putinam mihi marchesana locavit,
Et brevitas sensus fecit conjungere binos,
Territus at quadrupes sese drizavit in altum ,
In pedibus solum se sustentando duobus.
Crede mihi non est illo Gasparre, cavallo ,
A solis ortu spaurosior usque ad occasum.
Tene manus ad te, dixi , villane cochine.
Ad corpus Christi, faciam cagare budellas,
Si tibi crepabit, respondit, barba pagabis.
Quis tibi pagare negat, poltrone? dicebam :
Quis poltronus ego? Tu. Mi? Si. Deh rufiane.
Erat mecum mea socrus unde putana
Quod foret una sibi pensebat ille tarochus,
Et cito ni solvam mihi menazare comenzat.
Tune ego fotentis animosus imagine mulli,
Gaspar, eum certe volui amazare : sed ego
Squarcinam nunquam potui cavare de foras.
Ille manum cazare videns ad arma : comenzat
Fugere tam forum quod apena diceres amen,
Parebatque anima de purgatorio cridans :
Altorium , altorium , misericordia Jesus !
Et sic cridando sese in botheca ficavit,
Tam plane quod nasum sboravit contra pilastrum.
Ille sibi videns sanguem uscire de naso,
Me ratus est illam stultus fecisse feritam ,
Et qui debueram strictus stare sicut agnellus;
Non ego negabam unus fecisse ribaldo :
Talia sed tantum dedi sibi vulnera quantum
Que sibi prima fuit dosso vestita camissa.
Inde valenthomus volens cum spata parere
Andavi Sesiam versus bravosando cavallum ,
Atque ego dicebam mecum passando riveram,
Pro quaranta tribus vadat rumor iste quatrinis,
Vos mihi vicino fecit pro ponte pagare,
Et nunquam pontem, neque ponticella passavi.
Ad eundem disticon cordat :
Sobrius hec oro ne legeris, optime Gaspar,
Carmina ; cenato scripsimus ista tibi.
In Vercelli the peace negotiations took place in September 1495 between Milan and France (a special peace - this was not the peace between France and other Italian states). Concrete this meant, that a lot of VIP's (very important persons) suddenly appeared in Vercelli. And with them a lot of soldiers. Especially these in Novara, which was still taken by the French (Novara = Milanese territory):
"The siege of Novara, where the Duke of Orleans had been beleagured since the middle of June , was now the centre of interest in Lombardy. Immediately after Fornovo, the Count of Caiazzo's cavalry had joined his brother Galeazzo's force before Novara, and on the 19th of July the Marquis of Mantua encamped under the walls with the Venetian army. The garrison of the besieged city was six or seven thousand strong, and well provided with arms and ammunition, but already supplies of food were scarce, and men and horses were dying of sickness and hunger. "
.... some time was spend by negotiations, the soldiers still in Novara
"The evacuation of Novara, however, was unanimously agreed upon, and on the 26th of September, Orleans and his garrison marched out with the honours of war, and were escorted by Messer Galeaz and the Marquis of Mantua to the French outposts. More than two thousand men had already died of sickness and starvation. Almost all their horses had been eaten, and the survivors were in a miserable plight. Many perished by the roadside, and Commines found fifty troopers in a fainting condition in a garden at Cameriano, and saved their lives by feeding them with soup. Even then one man died on the spot, and four others never reached the camp. Three hundred more died at Vercelli, some of sickness, others from over-eating themselves after the prolonged starvation which they had endured, and the dung-hills of the town were strewn with dead corpses.
Yet still Orleans, who, as Commines remarks, had caused all this mischief, was eager for war, and entreated the king to make no terms with Signor Lodovico. "
Novara - Vercelli ... this are 25 km, for an exhausted and very hungry man without horse (and possibly it was a rather hot day, September in Italy) it might have been too much. And help of the population for the suffering soldiers likely wasn't allowed or wouldn't have been easily given ... the French had stimulated a lot of hate by some rather brutal actions during their enterprise.
This scene somehow accompanies the "funny" poem. We can't fix the poem in time precisely. Bassano might have been in Vercelli cause of the negotiations.
Somebody (the "tarochus") seems to have demanded money for crossing the bridge from Bassano and his "mother-in-law". But before Bassano can draw his sword against this attempt, the tarochus in expectation of some heavy resistance flees in wild escape and runs against a Pilastrum, getting a bloody nose.
The poem might be "a real event" from the life of the poet or "a political allegory" on the result of the negotiations. In the second case the word "Tarochus" would stand for the whole Italian enterprise of the French, which simply connects two other words: "Taro" for the location of the deciding battle, and "Roch" as the already known poor experience of a French pilgrim in Italy, who comes back with a "Plague" ... in the case of the French soldiers the plague has a new variant: Syphilis.
Well, this association would have been only understood in 1495 and possibly a few years later. Berni don't understand it and Alciato don't understand it. They're too late, many other battles and more cruel ones had hidden the earlier situation and the meaning of the word.
And anyway, it was forgotten, when the word was used for a card game and a card deck. But this ... as far we know it ... happened in 1505 by Alfonso d'Este in Ferrara.
Well, part of he negotiations of Vercelli it is, that Genova gets a "neutral" Ferrarese observation
http://www.third-millennium-library.com ... TE/24.html
Accordingly, on the 9th of October a separate convention was concluded between the King of France and the Duke of Milan, leaving the other Powers to settle their differences among themselves. Novara was restored to Lodovico, and his title to Genoa and Savona recognized, while Charles renounced the support of his cousin Louis of Orleans' claims upon Milan. In return the duke promised not to assist Ferrante with troops or ships, to give free passage to French armies, and assist the king with Milanese troops if he returned to Naples in person. He further renounced his claim on Asti, and agreed to pay the Duke of Orleans 50,000 ducats as a war indemnity, and lend the king two ships as transports for his soldiers from Genoa to Naples. A debt of 80,000 ducats, that was still owing to Lodovico, was cancelled, and the Castelletto of the port of Genoa was placed in the Duke of Ferrara's hands, as a security that these engagements would be kept on both sides.
So Ferrara had its role ... already then. Alfonso and his brother Ferrante were involved in the French invasion. The meaning "Tarochus" might have been forgotten by others, but likely not by Alfonso.