robert wrote:Hi Huck,
My point is that by the end of the 1440s, experimentation, if there was any at all, is over and in the 1450s, as you point out, the evidence is tenfold for the existence of tarot.
I think, the idea, that experimentation is over with 1450, is a big illusion. And you talk of "Tarot" ... these decks are called "Trionfi". ... .-) ... talking of "Tarot" is another multiplying factor of illusion. It's not justified to talk of Tarot ... just for the honor of research. We (and the quoted people in 15th century) talk about Trionfi and we for our part don't know, what it is in contrast to the 15th century users of the words, they knew, what they mean, they had it in their hands ... that's a usual research viewing point.
Talking of "Tarot" with the premise, that you already know, that this is Tarot as you understand it, is a stupid "make-believe-something" strategy, it has nothing to do with research. It just tells, that you have a favor for a special issue of the research and you're not neutral in the question of research.
I think for the current state of research we've for 15th century between the word "Trionfi" and really surviving deck
identities only two "very strong" examples near to 100% identifications: the Michelino deck and the Boiardo Tarocchi poem, both rather different from the later Tarocchi developments.
Naturally in the given situation (a lot of surviving examples) the suspicion is justified, that surviving 15th century cards with similarities to later Tarocchi cards ALSO belonged to the category Trionfi cards. But one clearly has to see, that experimentation with Trionfi cards took place "early" (Michelino deck) and experimentation took place "late" (Boiardo poem).
In a research with naturally limited information it's justified to conclude from later states to earlier as a "help to build build theories" ... as long, as you've no better information from other research. Otherwise you could easily conclude, that already the old Romans would have had Trionfi cards. If you meet from these other researches the conditions, that the Romans had no paper, the idea of the Romans is skipped, cause playing cards need paper, if there is none evidence for playing cards before "China in 12th century", some further centuries are out of question. Note, that in both conclusions the idea "to conclude from later states to earlier as a help in building theories" is traded as the weaker component.
And so it MUST be, cause it's only a provisional assumption.
Now we meet the justified idea, that the word "Trionfi" might have been used for surviving decks, which definitely belong to 15th century, though the word Taroch in relation to playing cards or similar appears to our eyes only in 1505 and later. This is a situation of contradiction and it had to be bridged with the idea, that possibly another word has been used before 1505. Research in documents has found, that the word "Trionfi" appears quite frequently during 15th century in playing card context and might be the correct solution for the problem of the "older used word". So we have "Michelino deck" definitely and "Boiardo Tarocchi poem" definitely and the most usual "cards with motifs similar to later Tarocchi deck" all in one group, and all members of this group are taken as responsible for the appearance of "Trionfi cards" passages, as we collect them.
Further we cannot overlook, that decks like Sola-Busca (structure similarity), Guildhall and Goldschmidt _(strange motifs) and possibly also Mantegna Tarocchi (though cards are missing, but it was named Tarocchi) and Minchiate belong to the group. Further we cannot overlook the context to the upcoming "Trionfi celebrations" around the same time and the influence of the Petrarca "Trionfi" poem.
And we cannot overlook, that Tarot card development of 18th century and much later generated lots of variants with Animal Tarock, Military Tarock and etc-Tarock, that we, even only with the method "concluding from the later states to the earlier", safely can say, that experimentation was always a feature in the development of Tarot and very likely also in matters of Trionfi cards of 15th century.
A statement, that experimentation was finished in the late 1440s, is apparently absurd.
For the provisional research technique "conclude from later states to earlier as a help to build theories" it has to be repeated, that it only stands in its value, if no earlier factual information appears. There had appeared some additional factual information.
Dummett, Depaulis etc. in their earlier statements can't be quoted in this context as "authorities", if they hadn't the better information available in this time, at least it's without value in the discussion.
Since they continue to play the game into the 50s, 60s and onwards, and additional cities start to also have evidence of playing the game, we have to assume at some point that there was a standard. To me, it makes more sense that it was sooner rather than later. It spreads. Otherwise, you'd have to argue that each town is playing different games with different cards, and then somehow... they all came up with the same cards later and started to play the same game. That seems... as I think Michael would say.. fantastical. There are dozens of decks in the 1450s by your estimation, are you arguing that they were all unique?
Honestly, I just don't understand. I've been listening to you talk about 5x14 for almost 10 years now, and it's never made sense to me, and with each new city, each new deck, each new piece of evidence it just seems increasingly crazy to me.
All, what we can learn, says, that playing card use, and specific games and specific deck forms had a lot of change.
Gebelin could tell you, that Tarot wasn't used in Paris (although at the same time we've Tarot/Tarock use was swapping through half of Europe and although Paris had Tarot earlier). You can nowadays speak to Italians, and tell them, that you work about the history of Tarocchi, and you may find out, that they know nothing about Tarocchi and don't know, what this is. Minchiate disappeared totally during 20th century. It seems, that in Florence (mother city of Minchiate) the production dropped of 10% of the market (1790) to 1% of the market (1840).
Game name changes are quite usual, there's not only "from Trionfi to Tarocchi". Minchiate became possibly Sminchiate, Germini, later Minchiate again, but also Gallerini and Gallenini. Cuccù had various names. Rules of games with same name are quite frequent very different, a good example is Trionfi which knows versions with very few similarities.
The idea, that "real" production numbers of decks called "Trionfi" during 15th century could be presented by a simple increasing graph seems to be quite common between researchers.
I think, that this is likely a naive idea. Likely there were waves, times, when it might have been nearly extinct, and times, when it was "en vogue". A clearer picture is only possible, when we get more data.
Help me to understand; without references to weddings or mathematical formulas or chess or any of the other piles of information that confuse rather than clarify... When do you think 5x14+22 was invented and what are all of the items on Ross' chart talking about if not 5x14+22?
I accept 1487 as a date for a Boiardo Tarochi poem and for the existence of the 4x14+22 structure, but it's no guarantee, that it already was used for decks with iconographic similarity to Tarot cards.
The Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarochi (with 20 trumps) is assumed to have been composed by 1465. There are some other (in itself rather weak) arguments, which make plausible, that in the phase 1465-1487 possibly deck forms with 20/21 special cards dominated, perhaps explainable by influence of Florentine Minchiate decks, which elsewhere possibly were addressed as "Triunfi".
There's a suspicion, that Minchiate decks were formed with 40 special cards in 1463 or short after ... but it easily could be not so.
It is considered as very sure, that the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo was originally only a 5x14 deck. This already rather sure position (estimated at 99% security already in 1989) was additionally confirmed by the document of Ferrara 1457 (and other documents in less secure form). This observation naturally not allows to state, that all other decks of the time also had 5x14 structure with the same probability.
As most competing variant is seen the form with 16 special cards, with a stronger association to chess .. but this can be only stated on the base of surviving decks, so it's somehow related only to the category "court decks" (as all older surviving decks fall in this category).