Re: Decks of playing-cards... to play cards with.

#11
Hello Michael and sincerely thank you very much for this detailled answer !
mjhurst wrote:My point remains the same: Most people who are interested in Tarot insist on believing it was an occult manifesto of some sort, disguised as a card game.
I wish my dream were the truth but you're right.
Who ever said such a thing? Who are you arguing against? You present this as a rejoinder to my post, which makes it seem as if I said that. If that was your intent, then you being dishonest, lying about me.
Fact is that I clearly misunderstood your point - so yes this reply was directed to your post, as I sincerely believed you meant "tarot is just a game and there's nothing more to it", so your reply is very helpful.
Yes, I resent that. If your intent was that Dummett said such a thing, then again, you are being dishonest about someone not here to defend himself from your insinuations.
Not having read Dummett (a terrible sin I know) I wouldn't dare ! Anyway he has enough supporters to defend him, but then again, why would someone (not insane) attack Dummett ?
1. The Tarot trump cards, in my opinion, were originally and in their most common forms a perfectly intelligible and coherent cycle. That is the opposite of no meaning or "empty". Dummett also admitted they had meaning and suggested an outline of an overall cycle, as well as suggesting that someone might someday decode the meaning.

2. The fact that "at some point" there were other meanings attached to the trumps, by occultists, is also disputed by no one. Dummett is the one who did most of the original research on that question.
Let's make it clear, I'm not attacking neither you nor Dummett : I misunderstood your views and your texts.
Regarding the cycle
I don't know why you are attacking me and/or Dummett -- all I said was, Tarot was a card game and this new evidence supports that. It seems that your post exemplifies the fact-free approach to Tarot: just make stuff up to attack the historians and their defenders.
I'm being quite often criticized for putting this exact detail in evidence in front of "anti tarot history" supporters... and actually I love facts !
Cool -- what did she say about Tarot in that book?
definitely nothing ! In fact I didn't know she wrote about tarot at all.
Have you read her 1981 review of The Game of Tarot and Twelve Tarot Games in the New York Review of Books? You should. You would like it, given your views.

In short, she claimed, "it seems to be the basic aim behind Professor Dummett’s fanatical pursuit of the Tarot game, in all its forms, to prove that throughout its history it was only a game, and nothing else." This is an astonishingly stupid or disingenuous conclusion, given that Dummett chronicled various early extrapolations beyond the game (things like appropriati, the Straparola riddle, Teofilo Folengo, the many variations of the game including decks like Boiardo and Sola Busca, etc.) as well as researching and presenting the history of occult Tarot. That is, Dummett traced the origin and development of occult Tarot, in detail and for the first time. She claimed that he sought "to prove that throughout its history it was only a game, and nothing else."
Thanks a lot again because I didn't know about this review. Could be the same kind of misundersatnding although she doesn't have the excuse of not being a native english speaker !
Yates ignored the second book completely, and dismissed the whole project of Tarot history as worthless. Except, of course, what the occultists had contributed!
definitely not my point.
This review was probably the worst thing that she ever wrote, and it is also, AFAIK, her only significant comment on Tarot. Her basic conclusion was that Dummett was a biased fool, lacking the good sense to worship Antoine Court de Gébelin as the bright light of Tarot history. [P.S. I'm not kidding. Yates talked about occultists and their views in every paragraph, first through last. She mentioned Antoine Court de Gébelin by name several dozen times, punctuating almost every thought with some reference to the old fraud.] That's your authority on the meaning of Tarot?
certainly not on the meaning on Tarot nor on Court de Gebelin, on the other hand I thnik she made pretty good points about the thinking during the renaissance.
mjhurst wrote:I don't understand why are you so upset that someone would say "Tarot was a game"? Why do you feel compelled to make up such nonsense about me, or whomever you are insulting here with your strawman argument about Tarot having no meaning?
Again sorry my point was never to insult anyone at all, and I know just as you do that Tarot was originally just a game plus I have been defending this fact on - this is exactly what my comparison implied.
Perhaps you've never encountered any of my posts before, so let me point out that for the last 12 years I have written over and over and over about the fact that the earliest Tarot DID HAVE A COHERENT MEANING!
I didn't mean to insinuate anything such as this, it was rather a reaction from my misunderstanding. Also my personal beliefs may interfere in my comprehension, since I believe that the "coherent meaning" was plural, and that to the original coherent sequence were added other coherent organization that differ quite from the original - not only a "degradation" of the original.
And btw, if you would quote people, then it would not be necessary to guess whom you are insulting. For example, I didn't just make up that stuff about the Building Blocks thread. You can read it, and see for yourself what kind of anti-historical "enthusiasts" post on this forum. I didn't make up those three arguments I paraphrased, either -- they were from three different posts by one of the more pernicious of the diversionists.
again sorry if you felt personaly attacked here, please attribute this to my sometimes limited understanding of english added to my limited skills to express my ideas in the same language : it is clear that I partly misunderstood your previous post and its purpose as much as I failed in expressing my views which sounded like an attack.

Overall I may fall sometimes in the binary vision you point out, so your reply was very instructive, and I thank you for that again.

Bertrand

Re: Trionfi.com: News and Updates

#12
Here's an updated chronological chart, with the new Roman entries (from Esch) and, as best as can be approximated given the level of detail, those from Florence (Pratesi).


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/chart/Italy15C_2012.jpg

It is arranged geographically, with Naples in the south (bottom) and Lombardy in the north. I find this arrangement to be more informative than putting them in chronological order of appearance.

Of course we know now, from Franco's article "Naibi Sold by Silk Dealers" -
http://trionfi.com/naibi-silk-dealers -
that Florentine Triumph cards were exported to Venice as well in 1451 (this despite the prohibition of October 1441, of foreign cards), so instead of "Padua" we might say "The Veneto".

The places from Naples to Padua (excluding the region of "the Marches" (Italian Le Marche)), the cities on the Adriatic coast) can be considered a straight line; Mantua and Lombardy are off the line. The straight line makes it apparent that Bologna, which lies directly between Florence and Ferrara (respectively the earliest and second earliest cities with documentary references to the game, as well as having the most references), should have more evidence. I presume that more determined study in that city, like that which Franco has done for Florence, will turn up additional references. Another explanation for the dearth of references in Bologna may be that the game was of such popular character, with no luxury cards produced, that, like with most common card games, it escaped historical notice for the most part. Whatever the reason, there should be more in this, the only major city on the direct route between Florence and Ferrara.

For some of the numbered references, which Thierry Depaulis added, I don't have a citation. Domodossola, for instance.

I attribute the three packs of cards Charles VI, Catania, and Rothschild, to Florence circa 1460, which I think is a dating, give or take 5 years, that satisfies everybody.
Image

Re: Trionfi.com: News and Updates

#13
Hi, Ross,
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Here's an updated chronological chart, with the new Roman entries (from Esch) and, as best as can be approximated given the level of detail, those from Florence (Pratesi).
Wonderful updated summary -- thank you!

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Decks of playing-cards... to play cards with.

#14
Hi, Bertrand,
Bertrand wrote:
Michael wrote:Who ever said such a thing? Who are you arguing against? You present this as a rejoinder to my post, which makes it seem as if I said that. If that was your intent, then you being dishonest, lying about me.
Fact is that I clearly misunderstood your point - so yes this reply was directed to your post, as I sincerely believed you meant "tarot is just a game and there's nothing more to it", so your reply is very helpful.
I appreciate very much the fact that you read it and considered it thoughtfully.
Bertrand wrote:
Michael wrote:Yes, I resent that. If your intent was that Dummett said such a thing, then again, you are being dishonest about someone not here to defend himself from your insinuations.
Not having read Dummett (a terrible sin I know) I wouldn't dare !
The strawman argument of "no meaning" is and has been for years a standard attack on Dummett. (Even Robert O'Neill, who certainly knew better and who has great respect for the late Logician, used that "no meaning" strawman against him.) When you combine the "no meaning" slur with an invocation of Yates, who originated it, you are attacking Dummett.
Bertrand wrote:Anyway he has enough supporters to defend him, but then again, why would someone (not insane) attack Dummett ?
This is another claim that, judging from my experience, seems to be the exact opposite of the truth. As an example from this very forum, if you were correct then those alleged supporters should have no difficulty putting together a very detailed list of Building Blocks, creating a baseline for serious discussion of Tarot history. The Game of Tarot is, in fact, such a baseline.
Bertrand wrote:Let's make it clear, I'm not attacking neither you nor Dummett : I misunderstood your views and your texts... I'm being quite often criticized for putting this exact detail in evidence in front of "anti tarot history" supporters... and actually I love facts !
Of course... but everyone says that. And everyone gives a grudging salute to Dummett, before pointing out that in their view his conclusions were all wrong. And if you ask about those conclusions, you get the kind of thing that was presented by Yates three decades ago -- outrageous misrepresentation of Dummett combined with occult apologetics.

Here's the problem, Bertrand: When you misrepresent what someone said, turning it 180 degrees, and then "correct" them based on that strawman argument, you ARE attacking them. The cure for this is pretty simple: quote them. If you can't find a quote that says what you think they said, then they probably didn't say it, and they probably don't want to be criticized for saying it. I say enough crap that deserves to be criticized, and that's the kind of discussion I appreciate. But when I'm attacked -- and that's what misrepresentation is -- for the exact opposite of my views, then I am twice injured. And because Dummett has many critics and few defenders, and because he contributed more to this field than anyone else -- he created the serious study of Tarot history -- I am inclined to stand up for him as well.
Bertrand wrote:
Michael wrote:This review was probably the worst thing that she ever wrote, and it is also, AFAIK, her only significant comment on Tarot. Her basic conclusion was that Dummett was a biased fool, lacking the good sense to worship Antoine Court de Gébelin as the bright light of Tarot history. [P.S. I'm not kidding. Yates talked about occultists and their views in every paragraph, first through last. She mentioned Antoine Court de Gébelin by name several dozen times, punctuating almost every thought with some reference to the old fraud.] That's your authority on the meaning of Tarot?
certainly not on the meaning on Tarot nor on Court de Gebelin, on the other hand I thnik she made pretty good points about the thinking during the renaissance.
But you did in fact cite her as your authority, using the prestige of her name without bothering to mention any specifics whatsoever. You offered no quote from those with whom you were disagreeing, so it is impossible to know what you might mean. You offered no explanation, quote, or citation from Yates that might make your own meaning clear. You just used her name as a weapon -- YATES! Most of the more sophisticated Tarot enthusiasts, "occultists" whether they like that title or not, bow down before that name. Because you offered no specifics, I did. That review is the only Tarot-related writing that I know of from Dame Frances, the only place she talked about Tarot. She talked occult nonsense about it.

In contrast, when I summon the demon Dummett as authority there is always a stated or implied factual finding and conclusion related to the specific question of Tarot history. I'm using the name as a shorthand reference to those findings and conclusions, as should be clear, and will provide details if requested.

Again, I appreciate your thoughtful reply.

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Trionfi.com: News and Updates

#16
Huck, do you know if by "Doppio" - double - Franco knows whether this is two packs of cards or something else?

So if it says "10 PIC DOP" does it mean 20 small packs of cards? I seem to remember that he wasn't sure, but I can't find the passage at the moment. It seems to make sense to interpret it in the most literal sense, anyway. Cards are often sold today by packs of two - usually of different coloured backs. Remember that the February 10 1442 Sagramoro trionfi also had different coloured backs.

This will affect the total count, that's all.
Image

Re: Trionfi.com: News and Updates

#17
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Huck, do you know if by "Doppio" - double - Franco knows whether this is two packs of cards or something else?

So if it says "10 PIC DOP" does it mean 20 small packs of cards? I seem to remember that he wasn't sure, but I can't find the passage at the moment. It seems to make sense to interpret it in the most literal sense, anyway. Cards are often sold today by packs of two - usually of different coloured backs. Remember that the February 10 1442 Sagramoro trionfi also had different coloured backs.

This will affect the total count, that's all.
Yes, he wasn't sure ...

http://trionfi.com/naibi-doppi-scempi

... in internal discussion appeared 3 ideas:

Doppio means "stronger paper" (from Depaulis, according Franco)
Doppio = 96 cards instead of 48 = Scempi ... (Franco)

Trionfi.com's position: possibly in an older time of playing cards decks existed with 20, 24 or 28 cards just for poor people with less money ... possibly with only 2 suits. Theses simple decks were addressed with scempi, whereas normal full decks (only in the assumption) were addressed with "doppi". The assumption is in some natural harmony with the existence of the later Cuccu game (20 cards) and the general Italian preference for 40 cards.

In the given situation naturally all 3 suggestions were just blind shots and there's no way for a fixed conclusion. That's the last, what I know to this point. It has to be observed, that "Doppi" in the documents of the 1440s present the normal state, and Scempi are "unusual" or "rare".
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Trionfi.com: News and Updates

#18
Huck wrote:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Huck, do you know if by "Doppio" - double - Franco knows whether this is two packs of cards or something else?

So if it says "10 PIC DOP" does it mean 20 small packs of cards? I seem to remember that he wasn't sure, but I can't find the passage at the moment. It seems to make sense to interpret it in the most literal sense, anyway. Cards are often sold today by packs of two - usually of different coloured backs. Remember that the February 10 1442 Sagramoro trionfi also had different coloured backs.

This will affect the total count, that's all.
Yes, he wasn't sure ...

http://trionfi.com/naibi-doppi-scempi

... in internal discussion appeared 3 ideas:

Doppio means "stronger paper" (from Depaulis, according Franco)
Doppio = 96 cards instead of 48 = Scempi ... (Franco)

Trionfi.com's position: possibly in an older time of playing cards decks existed with 20, 24 or 28 cards just for poor people with less money ... possibly with only 2 suits. Theses simple decks were addressed with scempi, whereas normal full decks (only in the assumption) were addressed with "doppi". The assumption is in some natural harmony with the existence of the later Cuccu game (20 cards) and the general Italian preference for 40 cards.

In the given situation naturally all 3 suggestions were just blind shots and there's no way for a fixed conclusion. That's the last, what I know to this point. It has to be observed, that "Doppi" in the documents of the 1440s present the normal state, and Scempi are "unusual" or "rare".
Thanks for reminding me which article it was. Yes, the issue is one for speculation... I imagine that Thierry has some proofs for his explanation, based on a knowledge of papermaking, perhaps.

I agree with the insight of this passage:
Dozzinale simply means sold by the dozen and it may be interpreted as low-quality, mass produced... The great lesson of Sylvia Mann, still far from widespreadly recognised among collectors, was that precisely packs of this kind are the most interesting for the history of playing cards. Unfortunately, when we reach the bottom level of the production, we obtain objects that more than extraordinary products are predestined to be wasted in a little while. No surprise that thousands of pages have been written on Visconti tarots. The weakness is that anything deducted from those unique items can be misleading with respect to the ordinary channels of trionfi production and trade.
The only two surviving packs of Triumph cards made before the common trade is first noted in Florence - 1449 - are the Cary Yale and Brambilla.

We can't generalize from these two packs what the general commerce of Tarot was like, but we can get some idea of what standard "naibi a trionfi" looked like. Note that the Brambilla, although only two trumps survive, has standard trumps (Emperor and Wheel (of Fortune)), and that the Cary Yale has standard trumps PLUS two extra court cards in each suit and the three Theological Virtues - i.e. both coherent additions to the standard pack, making it a non-standard pack.

I can interpret Giusto Giusti's name for his commissioned luxury pack as "naibi a trionfi" to indicate that already in 1440, the kind of cards his luxury pack was based on were already common, like the name "naibi", as Franco says -
"Naibi a trionfi exactly explains that trionfi only were a particular kind of playing cards, a version of naibi, to be similarly used by common card players."
Giusti didn't invent the name - this was the common name for Tarot cards at the time.

From Ferrara in 1442, we know that both a retail trade and a luxury market already existed; and 1449 (or late 1448) is the year that Marcello received his first pack of triumph cards, those which were "unworthy for royalty", suggesting clearly that they were of the "dozzenali" variety.

The standard retail variety definitely existed by 1448, and Marchione Burdochio's implies it existed by 1442. The compositon of the earliest surviving cards allows us to assume that the standard subjects of this common retail variety were already fixed, at least for what goes under the name "TRI"(ONFI) in the columns of the silk merchants (of which Marchione was one).

The ratio of Triumphs to regular cards was possibly 1:100, or more (less than 1% of all cards made in Italy in the 15th century), yet surviving Triumph cards hugely outnumber anything suspected to be normal Italian cards of the 15th century. The Triumph cards are of the luxury variety, which just underlines Franco's point - we can't use them as the basis for a model of the trade in the game - its popularity - just as we can't use the absence of surviving REGULAR cards in this century to assert that few people played cards in Italy in the 15th century, or that everybody played luxury Tarot.
Image

Re: Trionfi.com: News and Updates

#19
On Franco's speculations about "VIII Imperatori" in the same article, don't forget the later example of a German name for Tarot, "Siebenkönigsspiel" - Seven Kings Game. The "seven kings" are the three counting trumps - World, Bagatto and Matto, and the four actual Kings. All value the same and have the highest point score per card in the game.

The name comes up in many German sources, so it seems to have been well known until the 19th century anyway. I don't know the earliest example.

This explanation for "VIII Imperatori" leads to the thought that Imperatori was the earlier name for Triumphs. But the fact that the name coexists with Trionfi in Ferrara suggests that they were different games entirely.

So the other explanation, that it was a term for Kaiserspiel, Karnöffel, makes more sense. The only speculation we have to make here is that the rules of this form of "Karnöffel" had eight "trumps", rather than the known seven.
Image

Re: Trionfi.com: News and Updates

#20
I think, we've a fashion of Trionfi cards in 1440-1442 and then a pause for unknown reasons. Inside the fashion period the existence of relative cheap decks is proven (July 1442), though the cheap price (9-10 Soldi) is about 10 times the really cheap playing card decks. The price for cheap Trionfi decks in c. 1450 is similar to the price in 1442. That's true.
But it doesn't confirm an identical game structure and it doesn't confirm similar motifs between the development period 1440 - 1450.
We've 1000s of decks (we should count them) between 1441 and December 1449, and only a single Trionfi deck sold in 1445 in the silk dealers documents, though the profession "silk-dealer" might promise wealthy customers. That's at least less than 0.1 %.
If each person in Florence had 1 playing card deck, it would mean, that 60 of them had Trionfi cards then. But likely it's too optimistic to assume, that everybody had a playing card deck.

Well, we've chances, that we will get better documents soon.
Actually it would be good to know about the ups and downs in the business of the silk dealers, perhaps one gets some insights, if the sales really mirror the general interest of the time.

***********

I've a number problem, a mistake of 3 sales and I don't find it (one calculation says, there were 521 sales and the other has 518). I must have a blind spot somewhere.
I think, I've corrected all other errors, there were some.

http://trionfi.com/naibi-aquired
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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