Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

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Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 02 Feb 2012, 08:32

Thierry Depaulis has found a new reference to Tarot from Florence in 1440, two years earlier than the previously known earliest reference, from Ferrara in 1442.

The source is the diary of the Anghiara notary and public official Giusto Giusti
http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/giu ... Biografico)/
which covers the years 1437 to 1482, recently edited for the first time by Nerida Newbigin http://sydney.edu.au/arts/italian/staff ... igin.shtml
, professor emerita of Italian Language and Literature at the University of Sydney.
See Nerida Newbigin, ed., "I "Giornali" di ser Giusto Giusti d'Anghiari (1437-1482)" in Letteratura Italiana Antica, III, 2002, pp. 41-246.
http://www.torrossa.it/resources/an/2193293

An entry for 16 September, 1440, reads (p. 66):

Venerdì a dì 16 settembre donai al magnifico signore messer Gismondo un paio di naibi a trionfi, che io avevo fatto fare a posta a Fiorenza con l’armi sua, belli, che mi costaro ducati quattro e mezzo.

Friday 16 September, I gave to the magnificent lord sir Gismondo, a pack of triumph cards, that I had made expressly in Florence, with his arms, and beautifully done, which cost me four and a half ducats.

"Gismondo" is Sigismondo Malatesta.

Other notable details are the location where the cards were made, Florence; the unique term "naibi a trionfi"; and the price of four and half ducats.

It has been 138 years since Giuseppe Campori published the earliest known reference to Tarot cards - "carte da trionfi" - in the account books of the ruling Este family in Ferrara - and since 1874, research, both accidental and determined, has found many more references to the cards and the game of Triumphs, all of them after this previously earliest documented reference on 10 February, 1442. The picture of the game of Tarot's spread in the 15th and subsequent centuries has been amply filled out - more, perhaps, than for any other 15th century card game - but with this new discovery a little light is beginning to be shed on an earlier time.
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Re: Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby robert on 03 Feb 2012, 12:03

Wow Ross, that's a great find. Florence is getting more and more interesting over the past few years.

I know you used to favour Bologna as a likely birthplace, are you still leaning that way? Should a find like this ask us to consider Florence more seriously?
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Re: Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 03 Feb 2012, 12:28

I think Florence is more likely now.

That's really just a refinemement of my position, rather than a significant change. My nuanced position has always been that the original order is an A type, and that I believe Bologna has preserved it, whether it was invented in Florence or Bologna. This is still my position.

Bologna had a chronological edge over Florence when all we knew was that the Bolognese mercer Marchione Burdochio sold a cheap deck in Ferrara in 1442; it was reasonable to suspect that he brought it from Bologna, then. The earliest Florentine date was 1450.

Then we could place cards there - Charles VI, Catania, Rothschild. We had no evidence of production in Florence, but we put them there based on their similarities to the Rosenwald sheet (compared to the other A type, BAR), and artistic style (this was Cristina Fiorini's argument, which I didn't know - she and Thierry came to attribute them to Florence independently of me).

And then, since 2007 we have known that Florentine merchants sold the game in Rome; now we know dates as early as 1453 for this kind of export. It likely went north as well as south, to places like Bologna if not further.

But more importantly, now we have the earliest date ever, anywhere, from Florence itself.

So the picture of Florence's importance has come into amazing focus in the past 6 years, basically out of nowhere.

I favour Bologna's order because Florence demonstrates change even in the 15th century, and then shifts to Minchiate entirely in the subsequent centuries, and then stops playing/manufacturing any kind of Tarot altogether. Bologna has preserved what it has in the same order and style as long as we can trace it, from the beginning of the 16th century (with three iconographical changes: one imposed from outside, the papi changed to moors in 1725; one seems to be an internal development, the Devil stops eating people, and looks less scary in general (by the 17th century); minor iconographical changes, like those observed in Tarot de Marseille types (losing details or reifying, "inventing", details)), until today.

The main difference between the Bolognese order and the Florentine orders is the position of the Chariot; in Bologna it is like Tarot de Marseille, whereas in Florence we know of it positioned after the Virtues and just under Fortune, and also immediately after Fortune. My hunch is that the order Love-Chariot is unlikely to have been independently invented in both Bologna and France, if the order they received had been different; it is therefore the primitive order, from the first "explosion" of Tarot. I think another echo of that explosion is the existence of Bolognese peculiarities in the rules in Piedmont, impossible to have been independently invented, and therefore testimony to a rapid early adoption of the kind of game emanting from Bologna. If Bologna is less, and Florence more likely now to be the source of Piedmont's style of play, then we can infer that Florence's earliest game was like that preserved in Bologna (the extent of Florentine export of the game being demonstrable, unlike that of Bologna (in the 15th and 16th centuries of course; in the 18th century Bologna made and exported French-style Tarots to Piedmont).
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Re: Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby GirolamoZorli on 03 Feb 2012, 14:29

Whow, Ross ! That's a big one ! I have now to re-think the early tarot development... and re-write a good deal of my conjectures. My firts reaction : back in 1440 tarots were produced in Florence and played in Rimini-Cesena court. In 1440 Florence was a wealthy republic, even if dominated by the commoner newcomer and banker Cosimo de' Medici. Tarots were produced out of the courts already. Giusti made a gift to an important person, so he had to offer something special. Was tarot already produced and played in the inns ? possibly.
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Re: Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 03 Feb 2012, 14:42

Hi Girolamo! Yes, it is certainly a big one.

I think the term "naibi" might suggest that the game was "common", since that term is the older and less dignified term for "cards" (like "carticelle", used in the first Este record in 1442). That is, despite these ones being comissioned luxury cards, the name of the type of cards was a common one, and Giusto reproduced it as he heard it.

So it indirectly attests to the existence of a game that was indeed played in the inns.

You are in the best place to try to put Bologna back on the map, though!
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Re: Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby Bertrand on 03 Feb 2012, 19:03

Thanks a lot for sharing that one.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:naibi a trionfi...triumph cards
I wonder about a translation detail here but I'm not sure it'll make sense.
As I see it "naibi a trionfi" should be translated in french as "cartes(naibi) à triomphes", but I don't know how to reflect this nuance in english : "triumph cards" sounds like a prefect translation for "carte da trionfi", but for "naibi a trionfi" wouldn't it be appropriate to say "cards with triumphs" ?
Sorry about my total lack of linguistic skills here - maybe the nuance is totally meaningless and maybe the distinction doesn't make sense in italian.

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Re: Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby Bertrand on 03 Feb 2012, 19:55

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:"Gismondo" is Sigismondo Malatesta.

sorry about the following - it's just me being obsessed... at times with tarot it becomes pretty difficult to not see iconographic coincidences everywhere :
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from http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Rimini034.jpg
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Re: Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby Huck on 04 Feb 2012, 05:25

GirolamoZorli wrote:Whow, Ross ! That's a big one ! I have now to re-think the early tarot development... and re-write a good deal of my conjectures. My firts reaction : back in 1440 tarots were produced in Florence and played in Rimini-Cesena court. In 1440 Florence was a wealthy republic, even if dominated by the commoner newcomer and banker Cosimo de' Medici. Tarots were produced out of the courts already. Giusti made a gift to an important person, so he had to offer something special. Was tarot already produced and played in the inns ? possibly.


.... :-) ... a finding of a 4 1/2 ducats Trionfi game (more than any of the Ferrarese prizes between 1442 and 1463) surely doesn't increase the probability for the existence of cheap decks at the same time.
If I take the ducat as 2.8 lire, then it's totally 12.6 Lire (I think, that this is a Ferrarese evaluation, but a Florentine ducat might have had a higher evaluation). Leonello pays in January 1442 his 20 Lira for 4 decks (so 5 for each, middle class deck in the later evalation) and the boy's deck in July 1442 takes 1/8th of this.
The prize ranges between the fantastic 1500 ducats of Filippo Maria Visconti (before 1425) and 40 ducats of the Gabella deck in Ferrara (1423) and 7 Florins (given as of the value of 14 Lira Bolognini) for "the VIII Imperatori cards" in 1423.

Well, I wrote in the Aeclectic Forum ...
http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=171059
Looks like a great finding ....

The reporting man was born in Anghiari and at Anghiari took place a battle at June 29, 1440, which is 2 1/2 months before the date of 16th September 1440 with the Trionfi cards.
http://www.anghiari.it/new/italiano/battaglia_anghiari.asp

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The battle became VERY famous and actually one doesn't know, why.

Fiorentinipontifici: 8000 uomini. Durata: 4 ore. Scontro tra le opposte cavallerie pesanti; quella fiorentina, divisa in tre schiere, affronta a turno gli avversari. Dei viscontei sono fatti prigionieri 22 capisquadra, 400 connestabili, 1440 uomini di taglia e 3000 cavalli; i morti sono 70 (60 milanesi) ed i feriti 880 (400 fra i ducali). Sono pure catturati 1200 contadini (aspiranti saccheggiatori) che seguono le truppe di Niccolò Piccinino. I prigionieri sono rilasciati quasi subito, secondo i costumi del tempo.

http://www.condottieridiventura.it/tabellestoria/1440.htm

Not many were killed. Condottieridiventura knows of "70", other voices (ironically) of "3" (who dropped from their horse and had a fatal accident)
A great number of prisoners, who were robbed and set free.

In 1439 had been the council of Ferrara ... it's said, that there were at least 3 great festivities. The Florentines learned to "celebrate" ... and this seems to be the begin of the Trionfi genre, which follwed then in great events during 15th century.
The victory of Anghiari a year later might have given another reason for a "great party". Perhaps the Florentines had learned, that one could win with propaganda about a victory more than with the battle itself. This party was so big, that it was still remembered in the time of Leonardo da Vinci (about 70 years later). The battle of Anghiari became a symbol.

When Alfonso of Aragon made his Trionfo in 1443, and a Florentine delegation participated, then the report of this festivity mentioned, that the Florence people had already much experience with triumphal celebrations (more than others).

*********
Sigismondo Malatesta didn't take part at the battle ... but he changed from Milan side to Florentine side.
http://www.condottieridiventura.it/condottieri/m/0955%20%20%20%20%20%20SIGISMONDO%20PANDOLFO%20MALATESTA%20Di%20Brescia.htm

In March 1440 he fought for Milan against Florence. In August 1440 he was engaged for Florence against Milan ... although he isn't in the region of Florence, but in the Romagna ... In September/October (at 16th of September is the Trionfi card action) condottieridiventura reports:
Occupa Bagnacavallo, Massa Lombarda ed altre terre dell’imolese; non può, o non vuole, impedire a Francesco Piccinino l’ingresso in Forlì. Danneggia molti villaggi e tenta di espugnare il capoluogo. Vista l'inanità dell'impresa, si sposta prima a Forlimpopoli con gli altri condottieri. A metà ottobre, i fiorentini prendono la strada di Capodicolle e della val di Savio: il Malatesta si ferma a San Vittore perché trattenuto dai fiumi in piena. Le milizie fiorentine proseguono per la Toscana; egli deve, invece, fermarsi per qualche giorno, in quanto non può trovare riparo a Cesena, dal momento che il fratello milita al soldo del duca di Milano. Rientra a Rimini.


The situation develops into a pause of war. Filippo Maria Visconti sends his daughter to the court of Ferrara in September/October 1440, where Bianca Maria stays till end of March 1441. Bianca Maria gets 14 painted objects at 1.1.1441, likely Trionfi cards, as a present for the guest from the side of Leonello. The painter is the later Trionfi card painter Sagramoro.

Further we have around this time, that a commission is given for illustrations to a Petrarca-Trionfi-edition from the side of Piero di Medici. This is oldest known note of this picture genre, which then was very often used first in Florence (especially for Cassoni) and later also elsewhere.
The commission went to the artist Matteo de Pasti, who in 1441 had been in Venice. The letter exchange 1441 is given as the first sign of Matteo de Pasti ... who had to leave Florence for unknown reason (he begs for an excuse in the letters). In later times Matteo had some relation to Sigismondo Malatesta. He got the commission to paint the Osmanic sultan in the mid 1440s, but was taken prisoner as a spy. Later he worked mainly as an medalist.
http://www.jstor.org/pss/27653140


Further we have about Parisina's daughter Ginevra:
"8./9. Ginevra [by Parisina] *24.3.1419, twin; married 1433 Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, died (possibly killed by her husband) in October 1440; the news should have reached Ferrara in late October 1440 during Bianca Marias visit and should have influenced the mood of all persons present.
It was the 3rd marriage in short time between the houses of Este and Malatesta and all ended in a catastrophe: Parisina - Niccolo (1418), Margherita - Galeotto Roberto (1427 or little later), Ginevra - Sigismondo (1433).
Some art historians, suggesting a date between (1436 - 1438), believe, that she was painted by Pisanello on the famous picture "unknown Este princess".
The death of Ginevra in late 1440 occurred in a familiary situation, where all marriages of the generation of the Niccolo-children had ended in disaster (early death of one of the partners) - and that all after the familiary drama around Ugo and Parisina. Under these conditions Bianca Maria might have viewed on a possible marriage to Leonello with great scepticism. And she would have been right with it - Isotta's first marriage (1444) ended in the same year by murder, Leonello's marriage (1445) ended after 4 years and Beatrice had her first husband for only one year (1448). Isotta's second marriage was the first marriage which endured a longer distance of ca. 10 years.

http://trionfi.com/0/d/42/

It's unclear, if the murder of Ginevra is a true story ... but whatever it was, it happened one month after the Trionfi deck. Malatesta married then Francesco Sforza's daughter Polissena in October 1441 parallel to the marriage Bianca Maria Visconti - Francesco Sforza;the majo interest was then to have a little peace, but this phase didn't endure.

According the later attacks on Malatesta Polissena was also killed by her husband (1449).

Both murder stories might be true or just infamous political propaganda. to get Malatesta controlled.

We have no Trionfi card production note in the years 1443-1449, that's the major phenomenon. We have some dense "Trionfi notes of different character" (cards and others) between 1439-1443, but then at least for the cards a pause with a strong net of productions following after 1450.

We've had had further revolutionary new Trionfi card notes and it's my impression, that, although it was announced, it wasn't registered, and I occasionally ask myself, if things are really perceived, when I write about them.

There's a very dense playing card production after September 1447-1449 of a Puri family in Florence. That's a sensational finding. Between the contributing artists is "Lo Scheggia", an artist, whose works are paid in auctions with 100.000s of Dollars, Pounds and Euro

There's a record of 1453 Trionfi cards from Florence to Rome 1453.

There's a series of Trionfi card productions 1453-1458 involving the artist Filippo di Marco, which is a new important Trionfi card pointer, comparable to Sagramoro in the number of his production.

There's a valuable new position to Minchiate and the Rosenwald Tarocchi

A Tarocchi note at 1630 in Sicily was found.

All this dropped in the last months in the Black Sea of ignorance in current Tarot History Forums and found no reaction.
In reality it will be difficult to take anybody serious, who didn't take up these new information.

All this and some other are found at
http://trionfi.com/es00

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Also I remember a new careful dating for Tarot de Paris in 1559.
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Re: Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 04 Feb 2012, 10:15

Hi Bertrand,

Bertrand wrote:Thanks a lot for sharing that one.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:naibi a trionfi...triumph cards
I wonder about a translation detail here but I'm not sure it'll make sense.
As I see it "naibi a trionfi" should be translated in french as "cartes(naibi) à triomphes", but I don't know how to reflect this nuance in english : "triumph cards" sounds like a prefect translation for "carte da trionfi", but for "naibi a trionfi" wouldn't it be appropriate to say "cards with triumphs" ?
Sorry about my total lack of linguistic skills here - maybe the nuance is totally meaningless and maybe the distinction doesn't make sense in italian.

Bertrand


I translated it as if both terms (naibi a trionfi and carte da trionfi) mean the same thing - i.e., they refer to the exact same object, a pack of triumph cards - so that any distinction in literal sense would convey no information.

Do you think there might be a difference between a pack of naibi a trionfi and a pack of carte da trionfi?

Dummett also translated "carte da trionfi" as "cards with triumphs" a few times, an unusual phrase I have always found unsatisfying (and unjustified, as "da" is just a possessive, and has no "with" connotation). I believe he made it to help emphasize the idea that the theory (out of date and rarely brought up nowadays, but current when Dummett wrote (whatever "current" means in this slow moving and sparse field)), that the Trump sequence was once a separate entity that came only secondarily to be associated with the 56 card pack. "Cards with triumphs" emphasizes both the trumps and the regular pack, while "triumph cards" is more ambiguous, and someone might take it to mean only the trumps (as Moakley, following Steele, did).
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Re: Florence 1440 - New Earliest Reference to Tarot

Postby mmfilesi on 05 Feb 2012, 10:12

Hi dear friends,

GREAT ROSS!!!!!

I am increasingly certain that the tarot was invented in Florence...

...

OK. May be this data is interesting:

Nello stesso anno il Giusti inizia a negoziare il passaggio della condotta del Taglia sotto le bandiere di Sigismondo il quale arriverà persino a favorire la creazione di un piccolo feudo del capitano. Quest’ultimo pochi mesi dopo la battaglia di Anghiari passerà sotto il Malatesta con 300 cavalli e 400 fanti trasferendo anche la sua residenza a Rimini[17]. Sigismondo dona ad Agnolo poderi, case, castelli in mezzadria, il capitano vince per il suo signore più volte ma specialmente sui Montefeltro ( storici nemici dei Malatesta ) a Montelocco nel 1441[18]. Infine il Taglia fa una breve ferma sotto Francesco Sforza fino al 1442, poi più nulla fino alla morte, come racconta il Taglieschi, avvenuta a Rimini all’età di 52 anni[19] con esequie di gran pompa poco frequenti al periodo. Era il 1444 all’incirca l’anno della medaglia del Pisanello.


http://stemmieimprese.it/2011/03/03/%E2 ... malatesta/

This deck could be a Taglia's gift from Malatesta.

----

Nice find, Bertrand. Very interesting.

....

I thinks "naibi a trionfi" thats mean in English: "cards made as 'triunfi'"

REGARDS!
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