The Backs of the Cards:
Bertrand wrote, about the Maltese cross design on the backs of the cards
I haven't heard of this pattern outside Paris in the 17th century.
Are you saying that this pattern didn't exist except in 17th century Paris? Kaplan (II p. 294)says, of Group 6 of the Sforza Castle cards ,
6. Five cards have the identification AL SOLIDATO in a panel at the bottom of the black design, which is an encircled Maltese cross in a checkered pattern.
He shows some examples pp. 294-295. Kaplan adds that
AL SOLDATO was likely a Bolognese cardmaker of the eighteenth century.
So apparently Maltese cross designs on the backs had some popularity. That still supports your main point: the pattern was used on more than one occasion, even if we don't know when it started. And as Huck points out, even if we did know when the pattern was introduced, all it would show is the earliest date for that particular manufacture, which could have been a copy of something earlier. The likelihood of that increases when we consider that the words "FAMA SOL" are printed backwards, as are many of the designs relative to their usual orientation. I surmise that the cutter simply traced the designs onto the woodblock from pre-existing cards, without bothering about the reversal-effect of woodcuts. In any case, the pattern on the backs is relatively insignificant in relation to the issues here.
One possibly significant thing is the mere existence of the banner with words on it, in the Vievil Temperance image. Looking in Kaplan, it would appear that banners with words are relatively rare in tarot, after the "A Bon Droit" and "Mio Amor" of the Visconti and Sforza. There are the "I will reign" etc. inscriptions on the von Bartsch Wheel of Fortune, repeated in the printed 16th century sheets of Italian cards (Kaplan I p. 125, II pp. 272, 276). There is a banner on the Tarot de Paris Four of Coins (Kaplan II pp. 310-311): it has "APARIS PAR " written on the banner. The "APARIS" is written backwards, mirror style, while the PAR appears in the regular way. "APARIS" is how we know the deck is Parisian. The writing after "PAR" is rubbed out. (Modern image enhancement techniques might recover it, I don't know.) I also see banners on the backs of the nine partial decks of the "Group 2" Sforza Castle cards, which show classical personages with banners above them labeling who they are (added later: an example is at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=753
): Saturno, Veritas, Marte, Ercule, Proserpina, Pluto, Jove, Mercurio, and Venere (Kaplan II pp. 289-292). "Veritas" is a nice abstraction, like "Temperance," with a suitably female personage otherwise dissimilar. The fronts are all pips and courts. The borders of the backs show a diamond pattern. Kaplan says (p. 289)
The Temperance Allegory in the Tarot de Paris:
Novati dates the cards to sixteenth-century Venice; Michael Dummett feels strongly that the cards should be attributed to Milan, sixteenth or seventeenth century.
The decks using the "sol fama" word are particularly puzzling regarding the temperance allegory - Vieville, Hautot and the Belgians. The Paris deck is close but different with the Atrempance representing a woman pouring water - to temper a fire ? or maybe is she pouring oil ... or maybe is she making a quenching ("trempe" in french).
The "temperance" thread doesn't propose anything close.
I wrote something about Temperance on Aeclectic that might be relevant, http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?p=2002483
. You don't need to read it: I'll repeat the relevant part here.
There is perhaps a connection between what you describe as happening in the Tarot de Paris Temperance and what is happening in the Vieville and the Geoffrey. Those two, at least, are clear enough. They show a lady pouring water with one hand into another container, which she is not holding by a handle. Here are all three, in their probable temporal order:
Catelin Geoffrey (http://www.poker168.com/bwg/bwg_tl6.htm
Tarot de Paris (http://www.poker168.com/bwg/bwg_tl7.htm ... /t7/15.jpg
Vievil (Huck, what is your source? I haven't seen this card in color before):
In my Aeclectic post, I associated the image in the Geoffrey--and now I would add the Vievil and perhaps the Tarot de Paris--with Hebe, cupbearer to the gods before being married off to Hercules and replaced by Ganymede. She gave the gods their periodic dose of nectar, which kept them immortal. Any mortals who were to be elevated to immortality also got this drink. Psyche is an example. An analogy with the Eucharist is evident.
Pagan heroes--Psyche, Hercules--got the drink as their reward. It put them in the Elysian Fields, or better. Hence it is the reward for "fama."
Hebe also was noteworthy for her power to forgive sins. Pausanias wrote:
Of the honours that the Phliasians pay to this goddess the greatest is the pardoning of suppliants. All those who seek sanctuary here receive full forgiveness, and prisoners, when set free, dedicate their fetters on the trees in the grove. (http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Hebe.html
Cartari, 1581 (http://www.uni-mannheim.de/mateo/camena ... /s038.html
), depicts her as in Pausanias, with an account based on him. Again there a pagan parallel to the Eucharist.
In art of the period, the scene of the steward at Cana pouring liquid from one jug to another is the commonest visual equivalent of the Temperance card, from Giotto on. It usually happens in the lower right hand corner. See
For more, search in Google Images for either of these phrases.
Temperance, Alchemy, and Cooking
As a side note, regarding the "sol fama" in Vieville, an hypothesis that might interest in particular Mike H. (and might irritate some other fellows here) is that it is a reference to the FAMA from the Rose-Croix - this is developped in Charly Alverda's book "trois figures hiéroglyphiques" which proposes an alchemical lecture of the Vieville's deck.
Thanks for the reference; I will try to locate the book.
In relation to alchemy, O'Neill discusses a possible connection, not to the "fama" part, just to the liquid being poured from one vessel to another. He relates it to the alchemical process of distillation. He writes (Tarot Symbolism
The stone volatilizes and rises in the retort. When it strikes the cooler upper portions, it condenses and falls. The pouring of water between the two ewers on the Temperance card suggests the same process. One alchemical image shows a woman, like the Tarot angel, presiding over the distillation represented as water flowing up and down between two vessels. (Footnote: Fabricius, Alchemy, fig. 105).
The image in Fabricius turns out to be one from Michael Maier's Symbolae aurae mensae
of 1617, identified there as "Maria Prophetess."
Zozimos of Panapolis in the fourth century had identified her as Maria or Miriam, the sister of Moses. That is not credible, but she could be the possibly real female alchemist, Maria the Jewess, 1st-3rd century Alexandria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_the_Jewess
), said to have invented a method for heating alchemical material with a constant gentle heat. De Rola says of Maier's image (Golden Game
The Mountain, in alchemical symbolism, is the Materia Prima, which must first be reincrudated, "made green again," in order to produce the desired results. The fumes rising and falling between the vessels symbolize the circular process of Dissolution and Fixation (Solve et Coagula), preceding the birth of the Quintessence--five flowers on a single stem.
Maier's symbolism of the five flowers representing the Quintessence again relates the image to the Eucharist: the Elixir grants eternal life to those who drink it often enough. The next two cards, Devil and Tower, as represented in the Marseille, might represent other stages in the purification process, down with the fire (as in Dante's Inferno
) and then out the top (as in Purgatorio
), finally entering Paradiso with the waters of the Star card (as in the two streams from which Dante drinks at the end of Purgatorio
). Perhaps it is the people with "fama"--as opposed to "infamy"--that are included in Dante's Paradiso
Today in France, as de Rola points out, the particular apparatus that Maria was said to have invented is known as a "bain marie." Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bain-marie
) notes that
Bains-marie were originally developed for use in the practice of alchemy
. Wikipedia cites a French culinary source plus the 4th century Zosimos text.
Interestingly for our purposes, Wikipedia adds:
According to culinary writer Giuliano Bugialli, the term comes from the Italian bagno maria, named after Maria de'Cleofa, who developed the technique in Florence in the sixteenth century.
Another source adds that the apparatus was introduced into France at the wedding of Catherine de'Medici in 1533 (http://www.answers.com/topic/1533
The double boiler introduced to the French court by the cooks of Catherine de' Medici is known to Italians as a bagno maria after a legendary medieval alchemist named Maria de Cleofa, reputed author of Tradtor della Distillazone (about medicine, magic, and cookery); the French will call it a bain marie.
Another book, the Encyclopedia of Kitchen History, repeats the Catherine de'Medici story but says that this Maria was a Spanish alchemist (http://books.google.com/books?id=D7IhN7 ... fa&f=false). It adds that the derivation from Maria sister of Moses is in the works of Arnold of Villaneuve (calling this alchemist a "13th century physician"). I know from other sources that manuscripts allegedly by him were numerous in early 15th century Europe.
As a cooking implement, the Encyclopedia adds, the device was described by Caelius Apicius in "the world's oldest cookbook," from 4th century Rome. This "Apicius" had its first printed edition in 1498 Milan and 1500 Venice, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apicius). In WorldCat (http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=au%3AA ... first_page), I see the 1498 and 1500 data; there seems also to have been one in 1503 Venice. Then nothing is listed until 1541, in Basel and Lyon-- by the same publishers as Alciato had, in fact.
I also see on-line a recipe from Apicius for soft-boiled eggs using a bain-marie (http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/233472.html); but the recipe itself doesn't specify the apparatus, just that the heat be "temprabis." More digging is needed, but need we be so picky?
So perhaps it was in the late 15th and the 16th century that the apparatus became well known, probably more due to to the publication of Apicius than of Zosimos or Arnold. Still, it would be of interest to know when the passage in Zosimos describing the technique was known in the West, and where in Arnold the apparatus is described. Perhaps Berthelot's translation of Zosimox has the answer (http://remacle.org/bloodwolf/alchimie/intro.htm), but if so I haven't found it.
In the Tarot de Paris, as Bertrand observes, there might be flames shooting up around the bottom of the stream. So perhaps the lady there is getting a bain marie ready, for alchemical purposes or just to whip up some nice Hollandaise.
Huck, I would be interested in knowing more about how the coins on the Tarot de Paris relate to the Catelin Geoffrey.