Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#31
robert wrote:Hi Huck,

I can't say that I really understand where you're coming from with this. I look at Ross' chart, and it's clear that we have a lot of tarot activity happening in the 1440s in Milan, Ferrara and Florence.
There are 4 documents, 2 in Ferrara (1442 twice) and two in Florence (1440 + 1445), another not accepted by Michael and Ross at 1.1.1441 also from ferrara and two decks in Milan (December 1449 can't be hardly counted as 1440s). If you call this a lot of activity ... we likely have documented meanwhile 10-12-fold activity for the 1450s.
As Ross and Michael have pointed out, chances are that there was a lot of activity probably happening in Bologna as well, as it connects two of the other centres, but we just haven't found the evidence for it, which is no surprise if we consider that we're talking about card decks from over 500 year ago.
This are hypotheses.
What strikes me as really surprising is that we have as much as we do!
This didn't come from alone.
You say there's a hole between 1443 and 1448 where we don't have any evidence, only six years! Now, there's a hole in your hole! We've got a hole at 1445, right in between your dates. Do we need to fill in the five remaining years for you to be satisfied that there is a lot of evidence pointing to a game being played in different locations at the same time?

I've already pointed to the condition that 1 of 100 might be a better witness of missing activity than 0 of 25.
I sort of hate to ask these questions, but to even begin to understand where you are coming from I guess I have to... If they weren't playing with a 22 card deck in these different places, what were they playing with? Are you suggesting that in Florence, in the 1440s, they weren't using a tarot deck, they were using a Minchiate? Or, (god forbid this from flowing from my lips), a "Proto-Minchiate"? ("Ur-Minchiate" :ymsick: ) Are you still arguing that these are all different, "experimental" decks being sold?
We don't know, what was there. There are in the documents more indications for decks with 5x14-structure or decks with 16 trumps as hints to the existence of decks with 4x14+22 - structure in the period till 1465.

The observation of the "hole" is of importance, cause it might indicate, that a period of increased card playing prohibition in the 1440s might have blocked the quick expansion of the Trionfi card deck genre. The aim of research is to understand, what has happened ... If there was a prohibition period, then this has to be understood. If there was a large Trionfi card distribution, then this has to be understood.

We've to understand the Biography-writer Vespasiano da Bisticc and what he told about Giannozzo Manetti:

from myself ...
http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t= ... t=bisticci
Giannozzo Manetti (1393-1459)
a person of some interest in more than one way.

1. he was responsible for a sharp attack on gaming in Pistoia in 1446/1447, which adds to our general suspicion, that in the 40's of 15th century the situation for playing cards was difficult.

2. He became a crowned poetus laureatus in 1443 ... this is of interest to the general Trionfi development, for instance to Alberti's literary contest in 1441. And of special interest is Bisticci's "they crowned him with a laurel crown, a custom which had not lately been observed." ... which should mean, that an old custom was revived after a long time.

"He condemned the worthless and the sluggards. Gamblers and gaming he hated as pestiferous abominations."
http://books.google.de/books?id=lyMQTgO ... ng&f=false

"Giannozzo was governor of Pistoia and, as at Pescia, would accept neither gift nor tribute. He kept more servants and horses than the law allowed. The place was given to gaming; indeed the people thought of little else. Hating this vice as he did, he resolved to put an end to it as long as he was there, and to effect this he issued a proclamation that whoever should play any forbidden game should be taken and treated with four strokes with a rope. Moreover, he fixed a fine which every offender would have to pay, wherefore during his time of office gaming ceased."

(Source of possible interest in this matter: Giannozzo Manetti, Chronicon pistoriensis [Historia pistoriensis], in Rerum italicarum scriptores, a cura di L. A. Muratori, vol. XIX, Milano, 1731, coll. 987-1076, probably written 1446 - 1447)

Pistoia had 996 households in 1442, Manetti's work started Oktober 1446.
http://books.google.de/books?id=seDbXV9 ... ti&f=false
"On his return to Florence he was drawn for the Assembly, and about this time Messer Lionardo of Arezzo died (1443). The Signoria decided that his memory should be honoured in every possible way. It was decreed that the custom of delivering a funeral oration should be revived and Giannozzo was charged with this duty and that he should be crowned with laurel after the ancient custom. To these obsequies all the illustrious men of the city came to his coronation. Many prelates attended, as the court of Rome was then in Florence, and Giannozzo delivered an oration worthy of the subject, and they crowned him with a laurel crown, a custom which had not lately been observed."
http://books.google.de/books?id=lyMQTgO ... ng&f=false

********

Generally we have to assume, that Bisticci was against gambling (and likely also against cards). He suffered personally after the attack on Lorenzo de Medici in 1478, cause he had to leave the city. It seems, that his biographies were written after this.

When I wrote this in January 2008, I finished with this ...
Generally we have to assume, that Bisticci was against gambling (and likely also against cards). He suffered personally after the attack on Lorenzo de Medici in 1478, cause he had to leave the city. It seems, that his biographies were written after this.
Lorenzo generally was attacked, that he had a bad influence on the youth - likely the new gambling activities in connection to cards belonged to this category.

Generally Bisticci should have also suffered by the change of his own business - the new printing industry was his oppnent.

He possibly might be seen "as rather conservative" ... but generally his presentation somehow makes it difficult to believe in a strong playing card development in Florence already in 1450.


... "his presentation somehow makes it difficult to believe in a strong playing card development in Florence already in 1450." Franco Pratesi's research meanwhile has caused, that this part of my opinion (1450) wasn't correct. If there was stronger prohibition in Florence than usually, then this period must have ended earlier.

In the debate is "card playing liberality" since 1447.
As facts we have, that the Francscan San Bernardino had died at 20 May 1444. After this a promotion activity took place to force, that Bernardino should become a saint as soon as possible. This was easy, as the current pope Eugen was a friend of the Franciscans.Egen reached around 1445 the height of his power ... after he had been the longer time of his pontificate a weak pope, who was thrown out of Rom, who was abdicated by some parts of the church and replaced by an antipope. All these difficulties were overcome and Eugen looked splendid in 1445. As the Franciscans and San Bernardino had preached against card playing cards and gambling generally, this political movement might have caused higher card playing prohibition than usual. San Bernardino was made Saint in 1450 (that's very short after his death) and his promotion caused an increased importance for the Franciscan order, and this better position of the order caused, that in 1471 a Franciscan was chosen as pope with Sixtus IV (this hadn't happened since a rather long time before).
In 1447 Pope Eugen died, and the following pope Nicolaus was a lover of books and had quite another view of the world than pope Eugen (more tolerance, more humanistic ideas).

Manetti was governor in Pistoia and seems to have interpreted his mission as an action against gambling with strict methods - since end of 1446. He had the governor position only for a year - this was usual, as I understand it. When he returned to Florence, there are "mockery poems" about Manetti recorded (I wished I knew more details, I don't know the reasons and the content). Six years later (well, that's a period, about which we know now, that playing cards were en vogue in Florence), a reason was found, that Manetti went into exile.
Well, if Manetti went out to fight the dragon of gaming and gambling in Pistoia and found himself after his return in a Florence free of card playing prohibitions , that would have made a lot of lovers of card playing in Florence smile in some hidden corners .., perhaps the background or mockery poems about Manetti.
Leon Battista Alberti, a man, whom one likely has to understand as "progressive" in contrast to Manetti, who likely falls in the category "conservative", had initiated a poetical contest in Florence at October 1441, just 100 years after Petrarca had become poetus laureatus in Rome. He was frustrated by the decisions of the organization committee, and their conservative taste. A little later then Manetti became poetus laureatus.

The "hole in the Trionfi notes" has some relationship to other contemporary developments.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#32
I have loved reading this thread Huck (and thank you Robert for such clear graphs).

The thing that interests me is that the spread of truimphs is the same as the Silk History of what was to be called Italy.
There were three major law adjustments to do with Silk Merchants.(setaioli grossi ) 1404 I think. 1420 and 1440.
If I recall properly (and it can be checked) The gild that covered the silk workers who were the best paid of all the gilds, also covered the goldsmiths and silver trade. They forced a change in statutes to promote Goldbeating and silver thread for the brocade industry, and gave huge tax credits to get artisans from other areas and the made laws so those same artisans could not go to other areas (like the death penalty). The same families that you see involved in Tarot were involved in the lucrative silk trade. D'este is one I remember.
I think it would be rather intersting if the Visconti Cards were with their Goldfoil, silver thread and silk dye colours were an advertisment for the silk trade..........
So Silk started in Lucca 12th century and by the 15th you have Genoa,Venice,Bologna, Ferrara, Florence,Milan,Lyons,Bruges all bankrolled by the Lombardy Bankers.
Maybe Mr Pratesi should follow the Italian Silk Road and thence to France.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#33
Lorredan wrote:I have loved reading this thread Huck (and thank you Robert for such clear graphs).

The thing that interests me is that the spread of truimphs is the same as the Silk History of what was to be called Italy.
....
Maybe Mr Pratesi should follow the Italian Silk Road and thence to France.
~Lorredan
For the moment we have different traders in Florence with different backgrounds. None of them is a typical playing card trader, everyone uses it as additional business, also the silk dealers. Over the relevant 11 years these have bought less than 200 Trionfi decks, as far we can see it. If we would assume an average of 15 soldi and full 200 decks we get 3000 Soldi totally, which would be 150 Lira. If we assume plus 20% on these decks ... we would have 30 Lira profit ... in 11 years. Well, they sold much more playing cards. But likely all, what we know, stays likely a small part of their business.
The monthly income of usual noble man in Ferrara were 20 Lira.

Lapini family (1415 - 1455 - ...)
http://trionfi.com/lapini-playing-cards

Ser Andrea di Giovanni Bertelli (1429-30) - in Prato, notary and other official occupations, his retailer activities are less known.
In this shop, people acquired first of all foodstuffs of many kinds. We read of wheat meal, barley, broad beans, and as expected olive oil and wine, but always in small quantities.
Together we find however many small items and household goods, such as candles and pins. Playing cards themselves, which might appear out of place here, are not alone in the family of games and toys: balls of various kinds, spinning-tops, dice and board games were also on sale.
http://trionfi.com/naibi-trade-prato

Puri family (1447-1449)
"purchases of poultry, of wine, of Parmesan cheese, and so on"
http://trionfi.com/naibi-on-sale

Giovanni da Pistoia (1453) ... with Trionfi
imports decks to Rome, connected to Milanese trade
http://trionfi.com/triunfi-playing-cards-rome
http://trionfi.com/giovanni-da-pistoia

Bartolomeo di Pagholo Seragli (1453 - 1458) ... with Trionfi
... sells fine art to noble customers
http://trionfi.com/filippo-di-marco

The impression is, that most merchants were flexible in their trading activities.

********
Franco, living in Florence, is interested to study the documents in Florence and nearby.




http://trionfi.com/naibi-trade-prato
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#34
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 guess we need to have Ross' chart spelled out item by item. I look at the chart and, for the 1440s I see at least 7 items of documentary evidence, 2 decks and an item of iconography. That's 10 items that we have from the decade, and I think it's only logical to assume that there were probably more, we just don't have the evidence (yet!). Nevertheless, it seems that the evidence is building that tarot existed during this period, and it is showing increase play, now we have Florence to add when we didn't even know about it last year. Not only that, but the evidence is in three different places, Lombardy, Ferrara and Florence. Do we imagine that they are all creating different types of tarot decks and games?

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.

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?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#35
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).
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Good hunch, bad idea.

#36
Hi, Huck,
Huck wrote:
robert wrote: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 fun to say that we don't really know anything. That claim gives us permission to make up stories about imaginary decks. It's like the occultists' traditional ruse: lost in the mists of time, so let's imagine....

The historical approach is the opposite. Rather than starting with what we don't know and imagining what might have been, they start with what we do know and stay as close to those facts as possible. For example, we have various 15th-century decks. Conclusions about provenance, where and when the decks were created, may change, but the examples we have look like DD&D's "archetypal" decks. Even the oddball, Cary-Yale, looks like an archetypal deck -- exactly what we call "Tarot" -- with the addition of a few suit cards and a few trumps. For another example of factual foundations, we have the explosion of popularity in a short period of time. On the one hand we have very sparse evidence, but on the other hand it is very diverse. Within a decade of the earliest evidence, it seems that Tarot was being played by both nobles and commoners across most of northern Italy.

These extant decks and the documented diaspora have an explanation which is both simple and obvious: A really cool game was invented around 1440; it caught on in popularity and spread very quickly; many (mostly minor) variations were created. That's it. No hypothetical decks and no hypothetical evolutionary scenarios -- a game was created, it caught on, and as it became more popular people tweaked it this way and that.

It's rather like the explosion of regular playing cards in the years after 1377. The scattered references we find are quite diverse, suggesting that it was a game which caught on very rapidly. And there were variations on the basic theme, as documented by Brother John, but they were recognizable as variations from the original Mamluk design.
Huck wrote: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).
"It is considered very sure", BY YOU, one guy, that this hypothesis is true. You find it plausible in part because you have no understanding of the meaning of Tarot. The trumps make no sense to you, and therefore it seems okay to select an arbitrary subset. However, anyone who has any understanding of the design of the trump cycle would consider the 5x14 Theory highly implausible, because the 22-trump hierarchy makes sense as a coherent, unified design.
Huck wrote:This observation naturally not allows to state, that all other decks of the time also had 5x14 structure with the same probability.
Clearly, it does not follow that because one deck had 14 trumps that others did. The decks we know almost all had 22 or more. However, that has been your claim or implication over the years. Piling one speculation (the 1457 "confirmation") on top of another (the 14-trump V-S deck) is not history, it is historical fiction. NONE of your arguments for the 5x14 Theory are clear, direct, fact-based -- they are all speculative. So the idea that they support each other is weak at best. It's like saying that the 5th level of a house of cards is as stable as the first. In this case, your first level has no foundation because the Visconti-Sforza deck was almost certainly just another archetypal deck, so it is not a sound basis and other speculations cannot confirm it. Francesco Clemente might express the concept like this:



The 5x14 Theory was a hunch, a guess, decades ago. The idea that there was an early form of Tarot with 14 trumps, specifically the fourteen Bembo trumps of the Visconti-Sforza deck, was worth serious consideration. It was given serious consideration, many times over. It turned out to be a bad idea -- most hunches turn out to be bad ideas. We explore them and then move on. If we cling to them without good reason, then we become "crackpots" or "eccentrics".

Rom's "code" was an interesting hunch. Bob O'Neill examined it with genuine interest, as did others, and it simply didn't work. It also didn't really explain anything. Filipas' Abecedarium idea was an interesting hunch. James Revak examined it with genuine interest, as did others, and it simply didn't work. It also didn't explain anything. None of these ideas were crazy, as hunches to be checked out. However, after checking them out and finding that they didn't make much sense, and that they added nothing to our understanding of the trump cycle in any known deck, they are best left behind.

This was the nature of the 5x14 Theory. It was a good hunch that turned out to be a bad idea.

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

Re: Good hunch, bad idea.

#37
It's fun to say that we don't really know anything.

I didn't state that.
...
Within a decade of the earliest evidence, it seems that Tarot was being played by both nobles and commoners across most of northern Italy.
How do you define "commoner"? The cheapest category of Trionfi deck took about 10 Soldi. The normal deck took 1 Soldi (Scempi), and a Doppio too 1 2/3 Soldi. 10 Soldi is a 1/2 Lira.
In the case, that Florentine prices are comparable to Ferrarese prices (actually one might assume, that Florentine mney had more value than Ferrarese), we would have, that a common noble man had 20 Lira in a month, from which he had to pay a horse, 1-2 Servants, noble clothing, a place to live etc. and possibly a family. A servant is said to have gotten 1/2 - 2 Lira. Highest salary (rare high officials) at a court were at the category of 80 Lira. It's a good question, how much "free money" a noble man had in a month, which he could spend for luxury, maybe 5 of 20? Then a cheap Trionfi deck of 10 Soldi would take 1/10 of the free money for a month for his luxury. For a servant with 1 or 2 Lira income the Trionfi deck would be likely "impossible". Even the cheap deck would be expensive.
We note in the silk dealers list, that they buy only few Trionfi decks (the highest number in all Florentine trader deals had been 14), they don't risk to have "too much" of them.

I think, that in the 1450s we cannot expect usual "commoners", but "rich citizens" as the users of these "lowest price Trionfi decks".
"It is considered very sure", BY YOU, one guy, that this hypothesis is true. You find it plausible in part because you have no understanding of the meaning of Tarot. The trumps make no sense to you, and therefore it seems okay to select an arbitrary subset. However, anyone who has any understanding of the design of the trump cycle would consider the 5x14 Theory highly implausible, because the 22-trump hierarchy makes sense as a coherent, unified design.
Do you think, that, if the development took longer than a "one-night-stand", it necessarily would become less coherent or less unified? I would think, that is an argument with no content.
Huck wrote:This observation naturally not allows to state, that all other decks of the time also had 5x14 structure with the same probability.
Clearly, it does not follow that because one deck had 14 trumps that others did. The decks we know almost all had 22 or more. However, that has been your claim or implication over the years. Piling one speculation (the 1457 "confirmation") on top of another (the 14-trump V-S deck) is not history, it is historical fiction.
... :-) ... It's in research definitely necessary to make relations between the different findings. And in the art of "piling one speculation on the speculation on the other" you're using the same mechanism. "This is a deck with 22 special cards" and "this is a deck of 22 special cards" etc. and "all have lost cards". Funny enough, you're attacking your own methods.
NONE of your arguments for the 5x14 Theory are clear, direct, fact-based --
Do you want to state, that the 1457 document didn't spoke of 70 cards, but of 78? Do you want to state, that only one painter made the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi, and not two, from which one made 14 and all pips, and the second only 6? Do you want to state, that Sagramoro didn't paint 14 picture?
If you don't, why do you state, that my arguments are not "fact-based"? The 14 appears 3 times in the circle of persons, who definitely had Trionfi decks, and if I take the 5x14-deck of Master PW I've a later deck using the same game structure.
In contrast the number 22 is missing in all early documents, so there's nothing with facts, beside the weak assumption "cause as it was later so, it must have been earlier so".
... they are all speculative.
Not more than yours.

...
The 5x14 Theory was a hunch, a guess, decades ago. The idea that there was an early form of Tarot with 14 trumps, specifically the fourteen Bembo trumps of the Visconti-Sforza deck, was worth serious consideration. It was given serious consideration, many times over. It turned out to be a bad idea -- most hunches turn out to be bad ideas. We explore them and then move on. If we cling to them without good reason, then we become "crackpots" or "eccentrics".
Hm ... it seems more realistic, that some of the engaged persons in Tarot History found meanwhile more sense in an evolutionary model than in the alternative, as it is defended by you. So the "crackpot" and the "eccentric" comes back to you. The 5x14-model has not much, but at least a few arguments, and the version of an early deck with 22 cards has none.
Well, prove your point. Find the document, which testifies one or two or three 22s in the early documents. I for my part spend a lot of energy to explore this German lot book system, just cause it uses a 22x22x22x22 - structure. I don't fear the early 22-version. I show a greater interest in the documents and we cooperate, that new findings are done.

Your major interest had been, that you took a pause long years. Ross stated, that you've done greater progress in art history. Maybe, would be nice. Earlier you was good with documents, the "Fragments" were a good work in their time.
But for the moment you behave like a male dog at his dog-walk, not very impressive. And you're aggressive as the youths in their puberty. Your arguments are rather empty, much polemic words, no facts. You want to impress as Django with the quickest colts.

Perhaps you get better ideas than that.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

95%

#38
There is a standard series of trump subjects. This is a statistical fact. For the period for which you claim non-standardization, the packs show 95% standard trumps, and nothing else. Of the 13 uncontested, authentic packs that are both Triumphs AND 15th century packs, or single cards -

PMB - 20 standard trumps
Cary Yale - 8 standard, 3 non-standard
Brambilla - 2 standard trumps
Von Bartsch - 5 standard
Victoria and Albert - 2 standard
Fournier - 2 standard
Issy Chariot - standard
Rothschild Emperor - standard
"Charles VI" - 16 standard
Catania - 3 standard, 1 non standard
Este - 8 standard
Guildhall World - standard
Bonomi - 2 standard

71 standard trumps, 4 non-standard trumps = 5.63% non-standard. That is a very small percentage, and it is not a representative number when the content of the statistic is studied.

94.37% of anything is a standard, or a very high average; or, 5.63% is a very narrow percentile over a large sample group.

The content of the non-standard subjects is limited to two packs - Cary Yale and Catania. In Cary Yale, the subjects that are non-standard are a coherent, single group - the three Theological Virtues - and they are in the context of a pack that also has non-standard suit cards - two extra court cards per suit. It is an exception, an expanded pack.

In the Catania pack, the single non-standard card - the nude with a stag - may be convincingly interpreted as the Cardinal Virtue Temperance because she/he is pouring from one cup into another (or a vase). The representation may be uncharacteristic, or the subject may be unique, but it is a rarity. It is not, in any way, proof that there was no standardization of subjects.

71 uncontested Trump card subjects, 4 unusual, of which 3 are a coherent single group and 1 is plausibly a standard subject.

These are all luxurious productions, most of which were probably commissioned, so we should expect unique elements. In the case of the Catania and Cary Yale, this is certainly so (arms of their owners), which reduces the occurence of exceptions to the standard to zero.

Or, in other words, where we reasonably expect there to be exceptions, there are. The tiny fraction of exceptions excepted by reason of their easy explicability as individual commissioner's taste or artistic style, their divergence from the standard series of trumps is nil. What is perhaps surprising is how closely such personal tastes kept to the standard format. Or, perhaps it isn't surprising, since it was just a card game and it had to be playable, comprehensible as the game everyone knew as "Trionfi", even if it were made just to show off or give as a gift to someone.

If we add in the packs with uncertain subjects or those of contested authenticity, the concurrence with the standard grows.

Rosenthal - 5 standard
Lombardy II - 2 standard
Goldschmidt - 3, 4 or 5 standard
Guildhall "Sun" - 1 standard
Orphan "Ship" card - non standard

81-84 standard
1 non-standard (+ 4 previous non-standard)
= 6.17-5.88% non-standard


If we add the printed sheets that are plausibly 15th century:

Rosenwald - 21 standard
Cary Sheet - 18 standard

With the uncontested cards (the first group of luxury cards), this makes 71+39=110 standard cards, with 4 non-standard cards (again subject to the caveats above, namely, three belong to a single coherent group, and one is likely a non-standard representation of a standard subject). Thus, 3.63% non-standard cards.

96.7% is a high standard.

With the packs of disputed authenticity or identity (Rosenthal, Lombardy II, Goldschmidt, Guildhall and the Ship) -
(81 to 85) +5 non-standard+above=120-124. Percentage of non-standard cards = 4.16%-5.85%.

THE STANDARD TRUMP SUBJECTS ARE OVERWHELMINGLY REPRESENTED, IN A RANDOM STATISTICAL SAMPLE, OVER BOTH TIME AND PLACE.

THE NON-STANDARD SUBJECTS REPRESENTED ARE LIMITED TO TWO SETS OF INCIDENCES, EACH OF WHICH HAS A CLEAR SOLUTION FOR INCLUSION.


There is no way that these choices of the same subjects, over a large part of Italy, by so many designers, could have been made independently. There is no way that these same subjects, gathered together with the standard 56 card pack, could have coalesced over time by chance or even design.

THEREFORE, THERE WAS A MODEL STANDARD OF SUBJECTS AND NUMBER THAT ALL PACKS FOLLOWED. ALL VARIANTS ARE DELIBERATE, ACCORDING TO THE WHIMS OF THOSE WHO COMMISSIONED THEM.

THE EXCEPTIONS PROVE THE RULE.

The absolutely overwhelming weight of the evidence is with those who see an early and a widespread standard series of subjects. The burden of proof is on those who would contest this.

This burden has not been met, and there is no reason to think it might be. There is no reason at all to think that there was not an early standard series of trump subjects.

You can't set up an arbitrary level of proof ("a document that says '22 trumps'") that you expect history to meet for you to accept something as a fact. You have to accept what history has left for us to interpret, what the preponderance of surviving evidence says. In this case, the surviving evidence is unambiguous - it says that there was a standard and limited series of trump subjects by the 1450s.
Image

Re: Good hunch, bad idea.

#39
Hi, Huck,
Huck wrote:
It's fun to say that we don't really know anything.

I didn't state that.
Your wrote:
Huck wrote: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 ...
That appears to mean that we don't even know whether or not we're talking about Tarot.

That is, we don't really know ANYTHING!
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote:Within a decade of the earliest evidence, it seems that Tarot was being played by both nobles and commoners across most of northern Italy.
How do you define "commoner"?
"Commoner" means people other than nobles, other than those folks who commissioned hand-painted luxury decks.
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote:"It is considered very sure", BY YOU, one guy, that this hypothesis is true. You find it plausible in part because you have no understanding of the meaning of Tarot. The trumps make no sense to you, and therefore it seems okay to select an arbitrary subset. However, anyone who has any understanding of the design of the trump cycle would consider the 5x14 Theory highly implausible, because the 22-trump hierarchy makes sense as a coherent, unified design.
Do you think, that, if the development took longer than a "one-night-stand", it necessarily would become less coherent or less unified? I would think, that is an argument with no content.
There is, of course, a theoretical possibility of most of your speculations; these things are conceivable, including the possibility that a coherent design could be built on top of another coherent design. If your point here is that I cannot prove you are wrong, then you are both correct, (in the technical sense that I also can't disprove Russell's Teapot), and you are relying on a double standard. You can't prove the playing-card historians wrong, either.

The problem is, you insist on ignoring alternatives, alternatives which in many cases are far more plausible. We have an historical example of a deck which added a number of trumps: Minchiate. They did NOT create, nor even attempt to create, a unified design. They just added a block of commonplace subjects beneath the highest trumps. That is what we would expect, and that is exactly what we find in the actual historical example of an evolutionary accretion of trumps.

Can I PROVE your thesis is wrong? No. But it is not very believable in comparison with the historians' alternative, even when looked at in isolation. Moreover, it is counter-productive to look at any of these questions in isolation. All of the evidence is consistent with a version of the archetypal Tarot pattern being the Ur Tarot.
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote:The decks we know almost all had 22 or more. However, that has been your claim or implication over the years. Piling one speculation (the 1457 "confirmation") on top of another (the 14-trump V-S deck) is not history, it is historical fiction.
... :-) ... It's in research definitely necessary to make relations between the different findings. And in the art of "piling one speculation on the speculation on the other" you're using the same mechanism. "This is a deck with 22 special cards" and "this is a deck of 22 special cards" etc. and "all have lost cards". Funny enough, you're attacking your own methods.
Not quite. You are claiming that "lost cards" is speculation. It is not. It is a perfectly reasonable conclusion based on the entirety of the early evidence as well as rational expectations. We know that these decks have lost cards, and you accept that in many cases. You selectively choose a few cases to reject this simple, obvious, and almost certainly correct conclusion because you want to tell a story which has become dear to you.

We don't know of any 14-trump decks, so the conclusion that V-S originally had 14 trumps is extremely far-fetched, and as such cannot be legitimately used as the basis for further speculation, such as claiming that the 1457 grande decks "confirm" anything.

The vast majority of known Tarot decks had 22 trumps (or more), so the conclusion that V-S originally had 22 trumps is extremely well grounded in fact. It assumes nothing novel, but only the commonplace and well-documented.
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote:NONE of your arguments for the 5x14 Theory are clear, direct, fact-based --
Do you want to state, that the 1457 document didn't spoke of 70 cards, but of 78?
We've been over this stuff for eight years now, and yet you pretend this is new and you have to guess at my views? You know I've NEVER suggested any such thing, and a few days ago you even mentioned one of the several alternatives I've offered, so why create such a silly strawman?

I recently posted links to some earlier threads. In terms of this particular question, I also posted on this forum a number of alternative explanations for the grande decks. Several of them assume nothing that is not documented in other cases. Your speculation is just one of many possible explanations, but you INSIST on it, and proceed to call it confirmation.
Huck wrote:In contrast the number 22 is missing in all early documents, so there's nothing with facts, beside the weak assumption "cause as it was later so, it must have been earlier so".
Not quite. Because we know that the later design had 22 trumps, you must produce some GOOD EVIDENCE that it was different earlier.

No special evidence or proof is needed for the 22-trump decks, because we KNOW it existed, it was popular, it spread over much of Europe, etc. We don't know anything about a 5x14 deck, EVER! It's purely speculative, which is why you need to find some good evidence. Otherwise, Sir Wm. of Ockham with his vorpel sword of parsimony, has your head.
Huck wrote:Well, prove your point. Find the document, which testifies one or two or three 22s in the early documents.
There is no early document spelling out the design of Tarot. None for you, none for the playing-card historians.

Score: Huck=0, playing-card historians=0

There is, however, the fact that in every place where Tarot spread in the 1440s and 1450s, when evidence does appear the evidence is the same -- Tarot had 22 trumps, or more in the case of Minchiate. Each one of those is evidence that early Tarot had 22 trumps, because that is the simplest explanation of how later Tarot had 22 trumps. Taken together, the existence of 22 trumps in all those places and the existence of 14 trumps in none of them is conclusive evidence.

Score: Huck=0, playing-card historians=ALL!

Best regards,
Michael

P.S. What Ross said... ditto.
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Good hunch, bad idea.

#40
hi Michael,
Huck wrote: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 ...
That appears to mean that we don't even know whether or not we're talking about Tarot.

That is, we don't really know ANYTHING!
We apparently know a lot, especially we know, that objects called Trionfi cards were produced in the 1440s and 1450s. We don't know, that these objects are called "Tarot" and if you know anything about it, please give your reference.
Your analysis of my two sentences is otherwise apparently humbug or a deep misunderstanding.
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote:Within a decade of the earliest evidence, it seems that Tarot was being played by both nobles and commoners across most of northern Italy.
How do you define "commoner"?
"Commoner" means people other than nobles, other than those folks who commissioned hand-painted luxury decks.
Alright, if you define "commoner" as those persons, who really bought and played with cheaper Trionfi cards (10 soldi the pack), you're naturally right.
But I don't think, that "common people of the usual kind" (not these "specific commoners", who really bought and played with Trionfi cards) could spend 10 soldi in the 1440s and 1450s for one playing card deck. Nowadays "common persons" buy new Mercedes Benz cars. But they need a rather good income for this, and not all "commoners" have it.
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote:"It is considered very sure", BY YOU, one guy, that this hypothesis is true. You find it plausible in part because you have no understanding of the meaning of Tarot. The trumps make no sense to you, and therefore it seems okay to select an arbitrary subset. However, anyone who has any understanding of the design of the trump cycle would consider the 5x14 Theory highly implausible, because the 22-trump hierarchy makes sense as a coherent, unified design.
Do you think, that, if the development took longer than a "one-night-stand", it necessarily would become less coherent or less unified? I would think, that is an argument with no content.
There is, of course, a theoretical possibility of most of your speculations; these things are conceivable, including the possibility that a coherent design could be built on top of another coherent design. If your point here is that I cannot prove you are wrong, then you are both correct, (in the technical sense that I also can't disprove Russell's Teapot), and you are relying on a double standard. You can't prove the playing-card historians wrong, either.
Of course, both interpretations (5x14-theory and older theory "standard Trionfi deck with later Tarot qualities existed c. 1450") are just theoretical possibilities. And it is true, that none of both could prove the other wrong. And it's naturally also a theoretical possibility, that Caesar played Trionfi cards with Cleopatra and it's also true, that you can't prove the contrary.
But it's a natural practice in research to take closer observation on the researched objects and to evaluate the theoretical possibilities against each other. By this the story of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar gets bad cards - I think we agree on this. And I think, that the older theory "standard Trionfi deck with later Tarot qualities existed c. 1450" also gets bad cards: No "22" mentioned in context of Tarocchi cards till Boiardo Tarocchi poem. A "14" appears three times. A 5x14-deck is a logical development, considering, that nearly all other known old decks beside Tarot preferred Matrix decks: 4x12, 4x13, 4x14 and variants with 5 suits, 6 suits and even more, between them also another deck type with 5x14 structure (Master P.W.).
Considering, that Tarot cards more or less definitely developed from playing cards (the theoretic possibility, that Tarot cards were the mother of all playing cards was discarded) asks the natural question, how this development might have happened. If it happened not after 1450, it must have happened before.

Our research is just about this question - when and how did it happen? So the 5x14theory gives an answer and an intensive discussion of the details. The "standard Trionfi deck with later Tarot qualities existed c. 1450" theory in contrast makes a sort of "blub", throws the cards on the table and declares, "and the rest is all mine" - something which happens in actual playing card games often. But occasionally the other players demand, that the tricks are played in detail. And if then a contradiction appears, all the cards thrown on the table with "the rest are all mine" go to the controlling opponents.
Well, that's just a metaphor.

The development of Trionfi/Tarot cards stretches about more than 570 years. The theory "standard Trionfi deck with later Tarot qualities existed c. 1450" was just a "blind shot" of a few card historians, who were gathering information about the game 30 years before - their work was great, no doubt, but naturally it wasn't finished, and these early conditions were not their favored topic. Meanwhile a lot of additional information has appeared. It's definitely the merit of the 5x14-theory, that it provoked a discussion and further intensive research, and the result is the progress, which now occurs.

The problem is, you insist on ignoring alternatives, alternatives which in many cases are far more plausible. We have an historical example of a deck which added a number of trumps: Minchiate. They did NOT create, nor even attempt to create, a unified design. They just added a block of commonplace subjects beneath the highest trumps. That is what we would expect, and that is exactly what we find in the actual historical example of an evolutionary accretion of trumps.

Can I PROVE your thesis is wrong? No. But it is not very believable in comparison with the historians' alternative, even when looked at in isolation. Moreover, it is counter-productive to look at any of these questions in isolation. All of the evidence is consistent with a version of the archetypal Tarot pattern being the Ur Tarot.
As Franco has stated:
For many experts, trionfi represent a very special field for study, much more interesting than ordinary playing cards, as if the two articles had little – nearly nothing - in common. Actually, the situation can appear to be worse: lots of experts are not even interested in the whole family of trionfi packs, but just in one and only one of them, which had 78 cards exactly. (By the way, the most important trionfi packs that have been used widely, and for centuries, in the Central-Italian regions of my focal interest had either 97 or 62 cards.)
The later success of the Tarot model make some researcher perceive the situation of 15th century, as if the people already would know about the later success.
It wasn't known before 1492, that America was detected at the end of the century, right?
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote:The decks we know almost all had 22 or more. However, that has been your claim or implication over the years. Piling one speculation (the 1457 "confirmation") on top of another (the 14-trump V-S deck) is not history, it is historical fiction.
... :-) ... It's in research definitely necessary to make relations between the different findings. And in the art of "piling one speculation on the speculation on the other" you're using the same mechanism. "This is a deck with 22 special cards" and "this is a deck of 22 special cards" etc. and "all have lost cards". Funny enough, you're attacking your own methods.
Not quite. You are claiming that "lost cards" is speculation. It is not.
No, I don't claim, that "lost cards" is speculation. I used in my description "all have lost cards" and addressed an older thesis "all have lost cards", which Ross used as an explanation once. I think, that this "all have lost cards" is critical in the cases of the trumps in Cary-Yale (which cards were lost and how many?), 14 Bembo trumps (possibly no cards are lost) and 16 trumps in Charles VI (possibly no cards are lost) and since recently also the Rosenwald Tarocchi (is the Fool really missing?). In other cases the "which cards are lost" question might be critical, too, but anyway, we have often no chance to get real new information, if we put the focus on it.
It is a perfectly reasonable conclusion based on the entirety of the early evidence as well as rational expectations. We know that these decks have lost cards, and you accept that in many cases. You selectively choose a few cases to reject this simple, obvious, and almost certainly correct conclusion because you want to tell a story which has become dear to you.
... :-) ... I didn't select the related decks "just for fun", but cause the "all cards are lost"-thesis wasn't conclusive in these cases.
We don't know of any 14-trump decks, so the conclusion that V-S originally had 14 trumps is extremely far-fetched, and as such cannot be legitimately used as the basis for further speculation, such as claiming that the 1457 grande decks "confirm" anything.
You only know not of the 14 Bembo trumps, if you overlook the possibility, that these might be part of a 5x14-deck. You naturally don't see them, if you blindly believe, that "standard Trionfi deck with later Tarot qualities existed c. 1450" and take this viewing point as ultimately given.
The vast majority of known Tarot decks had 22 trumps (or more), so the conclusion that V-S originally had 22 trumps is extremely well grounded in fact. It assumes nothing novel, but only the commonplace and well-documented.
If you take the situation according the viewings points"standard Trionfi deck with later Tarot qualities existed c. 1450" and "all have lost cards" and avoid carefully all other contradictions, you might easily think so.
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote:NONE of your arguments for the 5x14 Theory are clear, direct, fact-based --
Do you want to state, that the 1457 document didn't spoke of 70 cards, but of 78?
We've been over this stuff for eight years now, and yet you pretend this is new and you have to guess at my views? You know I've NEVER suggested any such thing, and a few days ago you even mentioned one of the several alternatives I've offered, so why create such a silly strawman?
It was you, who declared "None of your arguments for the 5x14 Theory are ... fact-based. I just remembered you, what you actually has stated in your sentence before.

..
Huck wrote:In contrast the number 22 is missing in all early documents, so there's nothing with facts, beside the weak assumption "cause as it was later so, it must have been earlier so".
Not quite. Because we know that the later design had 22 trumps, you must produce some GOOD EVIDENCE that it was different earlier.

No special evidence or proof is needed for the 22-trump decks, because we KNOW it existed, it was popular, it spread over much of Europe, etc. We don't know anything about a 5x14 deck, EVER! It's purely speculative, which is why you need to find some good evidence. Otherwise, Sir Wm. of Ockham with his vorpel sword of parsimony, has your head.
Yes, there is missing evidence for the number "22" and other numbers appear instead (14, 16). I think, this are good arguments.
Huck wrote:Well, prove your point. Find the document, which testifies one or two or three 22s in the early documents.
There is no early document spelling out the design of Tarot. None for you, none for the playing-card historians.
There's a "14" appearing 3 times, there's a 16 appearing 3 times. There's no 22 in the same period.
Score: Huck=0, playing-card historians=0
Huck=6, "22"-assumption=0
You can't claim all playing card historians for the "22"-assumption. Ron Decker had his doubts about this point earlier, and John Berry, too, and there are meanwhile other more recent playing card historians, who have adapted parts of the evolutionary model. You can't claim "playing cards historians" per se as an your side.
There is, however, the fact that in every place where Tarot spread in the 1440s and 1450s, when evidence does appear the evidence is the same -- Tarot had 22 trumps, or more in the case of Minchiate. Each one of those is evidence that early Tarot had 22 trumps, because that is the simplest explanation of how later Tarot had 22 trumps. Taken together, the existence of 22 trumps in all those places and the existence of 14 trumps in none of them is conclusive evidence.

Score: Huck=0, playing-card historians=ALL!
... :-) ... Hopeless optimism at your side, I would guess. Facts count in Tarot history, not persons with the "same opinion" - especially when the group of playing card historians is here mishandled by you in the manner "only those playing card historians are real playing card historians, if they have my opinion".
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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