Re: Good hunch, bad idea.

#41
Hi, Huck,
Huck wrote: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 answer you have created is very elaborate and involves all sorts of speculation about hypothetical decks and evolutionary scenarios. It attaches great significance to cherry-picked details, taken out of context, woven into complex stories. It is arbitrary, in that other complicated narratives could be created. Many have been, but no one other than you has promoted their imaginative fictional world this relentlessly, for this long.

Alternatively, there is a simple and obvious answer which remains close to the known facts.
Huck wrote: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 great thing about Dummett's work is that he took the opposite approach from yours. Instead of using a few facts and a lot of imagination, he took all the facts that were at hand and used a rationalist approach.

This gets back to Descartes' four rules for problem solving. His first rule was skepticism, the basis for the rest. Conclusions need to be clearly based on the evidence. The second, (to divide the question into smaller, more tractable pieces), and the fourth, ("to make enumerations so complete, and reviews so general, that I might be assured that nothing was omitted"), sound very much like a rebuttal to Yates review of The Game of Tarot. She could not imagine why anyone would take a subject like Tarot -- interesting only because of the occultists -- and divide it so minutely into different games from different times and places, searching out every knowable fact, organizing and evaluating so analytically, etc. Dummett was following the most basic set of rules for understanding a subject. The key rule of Descartes might be #3, working from the known to the unknown. Finally, connecting this rule back to rule #1, we can conclude that when working from the known to the unknown, we should stay as close to the known as possible, remaining skeptical.

That's the relationship between skepticism, logic, empiricism, and parsimony.

The reason why Dummett's conclusions in The Game of Tarot have generally held up so well is that he stayed true to that method, which means that he gathered and considered all the available facts, he analyzed them rationally, and his conclusions stayed very close to the facts. The conclusion about archetypal Tarot in DD&D is a perfect example: nothing has arisen to contradict it. In fact, the kinds of information about early commerce in Tarot, coming from Pratesi's research, make that conclusion a virtual certainty.

For you to call that method, as exemplified in The Game of Tarot, blind guesswork from someone who didn't have enough information, who didn't really know what he was talking about, is fucking rude. Your arrogance is stunning, and we all look forward to the day when you produce a work even remotely comparable.
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote:You are claiming that "lost cards" is speculation. It is not.
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.
Bullshit. It has nothing to do with getting "real new information". That's not what you are doing. It's not what you have done for decades. You are making up stories. It's certainly true that you would love to find some new information, but that's not what you do. You cherry-pick from existing information, distort and speculate and invent new stories. That's called historical fiction. If and when some researcher discovers new information, then it can be taken into account. If and when.
Huck wrote: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.
No one has overlooked that possibility, and if anyone is blind to alternatives, Huck, it is certainly you.

You and I have been talking about that possibility for eight years, Huck! REMEMBER? It isn't that the idea hasn't been considered, it is that it hasn't been accepted. It has been considered, in painfully elaborate detail, time and time again, and ultimately rejected.

You keep pretending that this is a new idea that no one has considered. That's not true. It's an old idea, it's been around for a long time, and it has been the single most heavily promoted idea in the area of Tarot history for the last decade. It has NOT been overlooked by "blind" people.

The problems are that it is inconsistent with the evidence about known decks, it is inconsistent with the evidence about Tarot being widespread at an early date, and it doesn't explain anything that isn't more plausibly explained in some other way.
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote: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.
There are no Tarot decks with 14 trumps known, except in your imagination. There are no Tarot decks with 16 trumps known, except in your imagination.
Huck wrote: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.
First, I don't have a "side" in the sense of "my theory" or anything like that. I don't have a theory of my own, and "my side" is whatever side the historians come up with. As I keep pointing out, the debate isn't you versus me, Huck. It's you versus playing-card history. For the most part, I just agree with the historians as best I can understand their findings and conclusions. If better evidence and/or arguments come along, I'll change "sides", but until then I'm on the "other side" of most historical arguments from you as well as the occult apologists.

Second, I did not claim anything about all playing-card historians. What I stated was 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." That is not a statement about historians but about historical facts. I can see why you would want to ignore that fact -- you want the question to be a difference of opinion rather than a matter of facts.

Third, you sound exactly like a Creationist, or a global-warming denier. Not all evolutionary biologists agree on every point; not all climate scientists use exactly the same data sets or analytic methods, or arrive at exactly the same conclusions. The fact that some people have considered various positions on various details is taken as a blanket rejection of "my side" and automatic support for your position. This sort of double standard is rhetorical gamesmanship. Most people, including both historians and those like me who simply read stuff, have considered various ideas. Historians sometimes even publish "possibilities" to generate some debate and see what other evidence and arguments can be brought to the question. Depending on how loosely (and misleadingly) you define "evolutionary model", even Dummett can be claimed as a supporter of an undefined "evolutionary model". He certainly admitted the possibility.

The problem is that the field of ignorance, that "lost in the mists" area where you play your speculative games, is getting smaller. Your theories are like those of Christians who preach a "God of the gaps". Science keeps growing, and their god keeps shrinking. With this new article by Pratesi, the window seems to have closed down to the early 1440s. Of course, that seemed likely before, but now it seems inescapable.

Thinking that I was talking about numbers of historians rather than numbers of facts, ignores the evidence that I was talking about and reduces the question to a difference of opinion. It is in that way typical of your arguments, so I'll try to explain the point again:
Huck wrote:
Michael wrote: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".
You need to read the words, and stop using your imagination so much.

"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... taken together... all those places..."

The score is about facts, evidence.

In no case ("no case" = 0) is there any solid evidence of a 14-trump Tarot deck.
That is what the score, Huck=0, means.

In every case (every = all) where there is solid evidence, the evidence is of 22 or more trumps.
That is what the score, historians=all, means.

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

Re: Good hunch, bad idea.

#42
mjhurst wrote: With this new article by Pratesi, the window seems to have closed down to the early 1440s. Of course, that seemed likely before, but now it seems inescapable.
This is pretty much what I meant when I said that if there had been experimentation, the evidence increasingly shows that it must have been standardised by the end of the 1440s.

Huck, I've never agreed with you on the Sforza-Visconti cards, I don't believe that was a 14 card deck, like others here, it is more logical to me that cards were lost and replaced.

However, I think you've got two arguements for experiementation: the Cary-Yale deck clearly shows somebody playing with the structure of tarot cards, although I do agree with Ross that it seems to be an expanded deck as shown not only by the addition of the virtues but also the courts. The other point is the reference to 70 cards, that's a mystery.

It seems sensible to me that all of the other decks being produced, even just the dozens in Florence, show some sort of standard; they can't all be original decks. Add to that that they were being produced over a large area of Northern Italy and it just doesn't make sense to me to consider that they weren't a "standard" tarot deck. As Michael says, the window for experiementation has closed considerably with the Florintine discovery, and I guess I thought you realised that too.

To place the date for standardisation as late as you do seems completely unrealistic to me, the evidence of all of these decks is considerable, and the simpliest explanation is that they were tarot decks, and that they were popular.

Are you implying that the Minchiate is older than the standard pattern??? What was being produced in Florence????
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

#43
Huck, I think you've ignored two very important passages in Michael's post "Good Hunch, Bad Idea".
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.
The parts I've highlighted state what is, to me, the most succinct expression of the consensus - and commonsense - view of Tarot's origin; and, for the second highlighted part, the most succinct explanation for why people, including you, are happy to consider that all the extant Tarots are corrupt and unintelligible. Unlike the sensible groups of the later Minchiate - the Four Elements, Three Theological Virtues, "missing Virtue" Prudence, and the twelve signs of the Zodiac - the standard Tarot just doesn't jump out as a story that is clear as a bell to everyone. So they are willing to see a hidden period of evolution, longer or shorter, during which the original, meaningful design, became lost. For instance, there was a Prudence, but she got changed into a Popess; or, there were more cards, and those that would explain the not-so-apparent surviving order got lost, etc. One favoured idea is the evolutionary idea, that some group of the surviving 22 series was once alone, a meaningful "core", and then all the nonsense was added, accreted, later. This is why it is unintelligible.

The problem is, of course, WHY? Why would something with clear meaning, fall into a meaningless jumble, within a decade or so of its invention, and leave no trace? Don't people PREFER meaning? If the meaning is clear, why would somebody - or everybody in this case - mess it up?

It doesn't make sense - what makes sense is that the Tarot trump sequence has a meaning, but it is unique to the Tarot - we just have to have the discipline to figure it out. It isn't borrowed from another work, or standard sequence of known subjects, like all the Virtues, the Vices, the Zodiac, the Planets, all the Ranks of Man, etc. It is unique, and it is clever - this is what makes it so fascinating, and difficult.

And its uniqueness and cleverness is what makes it so tempting to give up trying to develop a methodology to interpret it, to learn how art historians who become iconographers or iconologists approach old works that are obscure. Part of the difficulty is that the images are not obscure in themselves - they could hardly be more conventional (I often remark to anyone who will listen that it is highly likely that, at many times in the course of the 15th century - and even the late 14th - if you were standing in the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, and just looked around, you would very likely have seen every single trump image, somewhere. This applies to some other towns as well) - but the sequence and the precise choices of images in that ordering IS obscure, beyond the vague tripartite grouping (as Dummett long ago suggested). It's the precise choice and order of subjects IN those three groups that presents the hermeneutic challenge.

There really can't be any doubt that the pack of cards called "trionfi" had 22 trumps, in a specific order (I think it was Bologna's A type of order), by the 1450s. I'm confident there is not much doubt in the assertion that this was true of the 1440s as well (since already in 1442 different price levels - levels of quality - existed, meaning it was a standard product, sold "retail", as Ortalli says). It is not far at all from there to assert that the original game had just this number and just these subjects.

And that is where the effort to comprehend the designer's intention comes in.
Image

Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#44
......- what makes sense is that the Tarot trump sequence has a meaning, but it is unique to the Tarot - we just have to have the discipline to figure it out. It isn't borrowed from another work, or standard sequence of known subjects, like all the Virtues, the Vices, the Zodiac, the Planets, all the Ranks of Man, etc. It is unique, and it is clever - this is what makes it so fascinating, and difficult.
And its uniqueness and cleverness is what makes it so tempting to give up trying to develop a methodology to It's the precise choice and order of subjects IN those three groups that presents the hermeneutic challenge.
Firstly Ross, it was a pleasure to read a clear and peaceful rebuttal of an idea, and the same approach to the explanation of your views.

I am curious as to who you might suggest as the type of person who is cabable of the clear and unbiased science in the interpretation of this sequence?
(I am not at all suggesting you are not capable #-o )
For your percentage figures make things clear for me, I can see how that might not appeal to others- but would that be a Mathmetician? Art Historian? Investigative journalist?
It seems we have been running around the tree, turning ourselves into ghee-I mean everyone involved in the enthusiastic interest of the subject. It seems that no one has an objective outlook. Some people can't do it, because they reputation to protect- or islands to defend. Where do you expect the understanding to come from and what type of discipline is needed?

~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#45
In summary:

This thread is about "Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries", earlier titled "News from Trionfi.com".
and it was part of this thread before

It started, after Ross has parted it, with this sentence: "There's a counting problem."

I remember, that I counted a lot of things. I also saw, that Robert started to count, and that's good. This led to the thread:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=817
I gave a few hints, how this might be improved.

Last time, when I saw something of the counting problem, was here:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=815&start=36
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"? 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".
Michael avoided to prolong this nasty problem, he preferred to further tirades against that what he perceives as ...
Michael wrote:Bullshit
Further I remember to have used counting methods here in evaluation of the single early new document in 1445 ...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=815&start=25
... in exchange with Ross.

In reply to Lorredan ...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=815&start=31
... I reflected also the counting problem again.
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.
Counting and evaluations problem of the many new lists are still unsolved. I miss any reflection on ...
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
I see more the appearance of personal interests to claim the new documents as evidence for pet theories. Actually that's premature: Franco Pratesi will likely present more new material and also the Roman customs archive promise to be a source of unknown depth with a lot of numbers.

**************

hi Robert,
robert wrote: Are you implying that the Minchiate is older than the standard pattern??? What was being produced in Florence????
I don't know. what you identify with "standard Tarot". As the documents tell us, there were produced in Florence "Trionfi decks", and I repeatedly pointed out, that we don't know with security, what Trionfi decks at specific times had been, especially not in the 1450s.
For Minchiate it appears, that the word was in use in 1466 (Luigi Pulci letter) and that we don't know with security, how much trumps it might have had at this time. One speculation assumes, that it might have had early 40 trumps (possibly 1463/64).
http://trionfi.com/rosenwald-tarocchi-sheet
This was discussed recently:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=693

As the 5x14-theory assumes, that the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo additional 6 cards were added in 1465 (raising a 5x14-deck to 20 trumps, it develops from this side the view, that there were decks with 14 or 16 special cards (with some evidence) and possibly also decks with 22 special decks (with no evidence) and possibly also decks with 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24 etc. special cards (also with no evidence) before this date - whatever was there, that was that, what was there, but actually we can in only research deal with things, which "somehow" are indicated by documents till a chosen time (in this case 1465). As far the pet theory with 4x14+22 is concerned, there's only obvious evidence for the time "after the Boiardo poem".

If you assume, that the Florentine Trionfi decks noted in Franco Pratesi's documents had the character of that, that you understand as "standard Tarot", you can answer your question yourself. If you assume, that the 5x14 theory and the noted addition of 6 cards in 1465 (with some reduction to that, what is really given with evidence) is correct, then the (only assumed) Minchiate version of 1463/64 preceded the standard deck version with 4x14+22 cards. That's not really a new thesis.

Well, there's no interest to persuade somebody from the value of the 5x14-theory. Everybody has to check the documents for himself and find his own opinion.

************

Ross wrote recently:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: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.
This is a sort of statistic, which has deleted not fitting elements in the selection of the objects ... reaching then 95% is like visiting the festivity of a political party "xy", and then sending them somebody around, who gathers the opinion of the participants, and when he proudly turns back and tells, that 95% of all population would be PRO-party "xy", all are enthusiastic that they surely will win in the next election.
I miss objects like Michelino deck, Boiardo Tarocchi poem, Sola-Busca Tarot, Rosenthal Tarocchi, Goldschmidt cards and even when I look at details like von Bartsch [5 standard Tarot] I wonder, that the Visconti Viper isn't counted and I also learn, that the "Fame card" of Cary-Yale (really good recognizable as Fame cause the used winged trumpet) mutated to the old Kaplan "World" identification.

I think, that this isn't a fair method

*******
mjhurst wrote: With these researches in the last year or so, Pratesi has found a wonderful little gold strike and is mining it very productively. Thank you for presenting it.

Pen wrote:Wonderful! - many thanks to Franco Pratesi and Huck, and Ross and Robert for the visual help in understanding the original information.
Lorredan wrote:I have loved reading this thread Huck (and thank you Robert for such clear graphs).
Bertrand wrote:By the way big thank to Huck for the raw data !
Bertrand
Thanks to all. The major merit for the whole enterprise is in this case at the side of Franco Pratesi. It's the result of a half year library and archive work inclusive now 24 new articles to this and other themes ... made with the many talents of somebody, who already was successful in a lot of similar projects, and who started in this case against the prophesy of people with some understanding, that this would be an attempt to find the needle in a hay-stack.
Franco Pratesi - perhaps not everybody knows this - has already researched and published in the field of Checkers, Chess, Go and other games. For Go I can say, that he contributed the best History of European Go (3 books) known ... as far there was anything else, which deserved the name.
He had engaged for playing cards already in the period 1988-1998, contributing the first better knowledge about the Michelino, the first Minchiate notes, the first two Trionfi notes in Florence and a lot of other stuff. In the IPCS journal he was one of few authors near to our topics, and his researches researches got once the Modiano price.

Actually he gives us all a lesson about "how to research" and "working with libraries". Well, the most of us don't live in Italy, so there's a first difficulty, which is hard to overcome. Then there's the foreign language, and some of us are happy enough, to understand a little bit of Italian, if it is written (some are better, of course, but I'm not). Then there are general difficulties of old manuscripts etc.. In summary there are too much difficulties for most of us.
Franco told, that's even difficult to get allowance to visit specific parts of an archive without an higher academic title. Franco thinks, that it is possibly a way to interest a related professor, who distributes related works to his students.

Well, that what we can do, is just study the text, and it is especially of interest, that somebody adapts the many numbers and dates to get a base for real discussion.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#46
Lorredan wrote:
......- what makes sense is that the Tarot trump sequence has a meaning, but it is unique to the Tarot - we just have to have the discipline to figure it out. It isn't borrowed from another work, or standard sequence of known subjects, like all the Virtues, the Vices, the Zodiac, the Planets, all the Ranks of Man, etc. It is unique, and it is clever - this is what makes it so fascinating, and difficult.
And its uniqueness and cleverness is what makes it so tempting to give up trying to develop a methodology to It's the precise choice and order of subjects IN those three groups that presents the hermeneutic challenge.
Firstly Ross, it was a pleasure to read a clear and peaceful rebuttal of an idea, and the same approach to the explanation of your views.
Whether the response is mild and inoffensive, or cantankerous and provocative, or somewhere in between, depends often on my mood, the mood, as I perceive it, of the poster I'm responding to, or both of those things, or neither.

Whatever the style or tone of a post, all I'm really interested in is the facts. Continual reminders of the facts tends to elevate the discussion and keep it on topic, while the emotional reaction to a post tends to disappear after a day or two, in the same way that the flesh of a dead horse in the desert will slowly shrink under the sun, gradually revealing the skeleton underneath, until nothing remains but the skeleton. I like to focus on the skeleton.
I am curious as to who you might suggest as the type of person who is cabable of the clear and unbiased science in the interpretation of this sequence?
(I am not at all suggesting you are not capable #-o )
For your percentage figures make things clear for me, I can see how that might not appeal to others- but would that be a Mathmetician? Art Historian? Investigative journalist?
It seems we have been running around the tree, turning ourselves into ghee-I mean everyone involved in the enthusiastic interest of the subject. It seems that no one has an objective outlook. Some people can't do it, because they reputation to protect- or islands to defend.
It's not the type of person I'm interested in, it's the type of thinking. I couldn't care less if a person comes across as gentle and kind or as a mean ass mofo, as long as the thinking going on actually contributes to advancing the subject. People are different, and styles are different, but thinking can be more or less objective and profound or more or less fluffy and superficial. Those concerned by the fluff of "tone" in posts more than the content of what is said, I have no time for. To really learn, you have to be able to cut out the noise and hear the signal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal-to-noise_ratio

It's also okay in my view to defend your "island" if that is what you really believe. Huck is a clear defender of his island, even though I think it is a defenceless position. He isn't lying, and he isn't bullshitting. I think he's just wrong. It's the bullshitters, who don't really care about truth or what they or anyone else believes, as long as it sounds good, that I have a problem with.

I guess "type of person" is what you meant with these examples, which are really types of methodologies for discovering and interpreting information rather than types of people per se.

Mathematician - only statistics (including probability) is useful in history, and only then when a large enough sample is available.
Art Historian - yes, see below.
Investigative Journalist - insofar as the methodology is "only the facts, Ma'am", and then a coherent chronological reconstruction of events based on sound application of causality and probability, and then a narrative architecture based on establishing the truth as reflected in the previous two steps, then yes, it's a good methodology or type of person to be (facts aren't "the truth" in themselves; they have to be interpreted (i.e. facts are "real", not "true", in the same way that we say "that tree is real", not "that tree is true" (we might say "that tree is truly there", but again, the tree isn't "the truth", it's just a fact, something real, that needs explaining, in the latter instance by saying "it is there")); the truth is how the facts are explained as a whole).
Where do you expect the understanding to come from and what type of discipline is needed?

~Lorredan
That discipline - the application of principles to action, a "methodology" in scholarship - isn't new, it's been around for about a century. It's called both "Iconography" and "Iconology". It's an intellectual movement begun by Aby Warburg in the early 20th century and developed more famously in England and the United States by Erwin Panofsky and Ernst Gombrich. The movement is called the "Warburg School", and it has a headquarters in London at the Warburg Institute .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warburg_Institute

Michael Hurst is the only living person I know who is really applying the methodology of iconology to the interpretation of Tarot iconography in a systematic way (I'm trying to emulate his example). He posts on it frequently in his blog. There are too many posts to mention, since they occupy about 90 percent of what he writes (not all about Tarot either, but everything he writes about art interpretation is a lesson in these principles).
The latest post on the subject is for Erwin Panofsky's birthday, quoting from one of his foundational essays, the "Introductory" to Studies in Iconology (1939)
http://pre-gebelin.blogspot.fr/2012/03/ ... raphy.html

Before Michael, only Gertrude Moakley made any effort in this direction with this methodolgy. It is half common sense (duh!), and half example - learning from better thinkers. It's the "learning from better thinkers" that most Tarotists have a problem with. That's work, and it's humility. But it's the only way you're going to be that investigative journalist that's going to get the real scoop.

Here's a brief history of the methodology of iconology, showing how recent, unique and important it is in the discipline of art history. It's from Roelof van Straten, An Introduction to Iconography (1994/2000).


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/book ... ten/19.jpg

http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/book ... ten/20.jpg

http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/book ... ten/21.jpg

http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/book ... ten/22.jpg

http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/book ... ten/23.jpg
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Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#47
Huck wrote: Ross wrote recently:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: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.
This is a sort of statistic, which has deleted not fitting elements in the selection of the objects ... reaching then 95% is like visiting the festivity of a political party "xy", and then sending them somebody around, who gathers the opinion of the participants, and when he proudly turns back and tells, that 95% of all population would be PRO-party "xy", all are enthusiastic that they surely will win in the next election.
I miss objects like Michelino deck, Boiardo Tarocchi poem, Sola-Busca Tarot, Rosenthal Tarocchi, Goldschmidt cards and even when I look at details like von Bartsch [5 standard Tarot] I wonder, that the Visconti Viper isn't counted and I also learn, that the "Fame card" of Cary-Yale (really good recognizable as Fame cause the used winged trumpet) mutated to the old Kaplan "World" identification.

I think, that this isn't a fair method
The Rosenthal, if genuine, only increases the occurrences of the standard subjects. We discussed it already.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=500&p=10667&hilit=rosenthal#p10667

I put it in the second group of "uncertain" precisely to raise the incidence of non-standard subjects in the first group, and yet STILL show how overwhelming the standard subjects are. Including the dubious cards and the printed sheets just makes the standard case stronger.

All of them only increase the occurrences of the standard subjects. There is no reason to think that the Viper is a trump - it could just as easily be an Ace (of Batons, probably - remember that Aaron's rod became a serpent, swallowing up the rods of Pharaoh's magicians (Exodus 7:8-12)
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.

And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.

Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.

For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.
In either case, even if it is the Devil or some other trump, it is still a STANDARD subject, and it does not affect the statistic of the overwhelming occurrences of standard subjects. The style of their depiction doesn't matter.

Boiardo and Sola Busca derive their structure from the standard Tarot - 4 suits with 56 cards total, with 22 trumps. Both packs are variations, "fantasy" packs, following their own iconographic program, no less than the Bavarian Animal Taroks, the French scenes of daily life in the 19th century, or all the thousands of modern themed Tarots, made by artists and occultists alike. You might as well add all of those in as well if you think that Boiardo and Sola Busca prove that there was no standard Tarot in the 15th century.

Marziano's game is at the most an independent invention of the idea of permanent trumps, but it is not Tarot and only existed in a single exemplar. Therefore it had no influence on the development of Tarot. The only way it might be related to Tarot is if you speculate that Tarot was invented in the Visconti court, by someone who knew Marziano's game, and took the idea of permanent trumps from it but nothing else. There is no evidence for this however, since the subjects are completely different (with the possible exception of Cupid, a conventional enough subject). It is better to assume independent invention, ESPECIALLY since the weight of the evidence favours the theory that Tarot was invented in Florence.

So Marziano is irrelevant, and the later packs showing fantasy subjects are derivative of standard Tarot. Your accusation of cherry-picking has no merit.

The claim that Triumph cards weren't standardized in any way has no merit anyway, since all the cards that might be considered Triumph cards show massive uniformity - 95% at least - which is simply impossible to ascribe to chance. If people could pick any subjects and numbers they wanted, then the idea that across Italy they would pick 95% the same subjects, defies belief. It is incredible, unbelievable, miraculous. In reality, it is none of those things - it is PROOF of the standardization of the subjects and the sequence by 1450, and in all probability from the beginning (since the Cary Yale exhibits only standard subjects, apart from the variations in both trumps (a single coherent group, not a random selection of different subjects) and suits that are explicable as a privately commissioned variation).

I forgot to mention the NYB sheets in my statistical account (NY-Metropolitan Museum in New York; B-Fine Arts Museum, Budapest), which add another 21 standard trumps to the count.
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Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#48
Ross, your assessment elegantly demonstrates what my common sense keeps saying about the unlikely 5x14 theory... It is unreasonably complicated, I have to perform extreme mental gymnastics and contortions for it to even begin to make vague sense, and the evidence, now LOTS of it, increasingly indicates that the 5x14 is a dead theory that, as Michael has said, was a good hunch to explore, but when tried against the evidence, the idea failed. I thought that with the evidence in Florence, Huck would see this and apply his incredible knowledge and resources elsewhere in the research.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like any point of reasoning is going to get Huck to let it go. You've stated the facts over and over, Michael has stated the facts over and over, I've tried to understand how Huck can keep on talking about it as if it were an accepted theory while it increasingly seems unimaginable... but nothing will change this. You could add dozens of more decks from the 1440s and 1450s, countless documents... it wouldn't matter. Huck would simply say that we don't know what they are because he needs the uncertainty and doubt to keep his dead theory in a zombielike state of animation. We've tried stakes of evidence with garlic scented documents and cruciform reasoning, but 5x14 continues to come back again and again.

"When a man loves a theory..."
Indeed.
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

#49
From what I can see--Huck is lately devoted to exploring the question of the evolution of the trumps to 22. Although he mentions 5x14 on occasion, I haven't seen him insisting on it in quite a while. In other words, Huck does not seem to be focused on proving the 5x14 idea so much as amassing evidence of various sorts about card history. So I don't understand the point of insisting he is misguided. At any rate, it is his exploration and we are all free to take from his research what we find useful, or nothing.

Huck, I hope you will correct me if I misunderstand your work.

To Rosanne's question--It seems to me (me, personally) that an attitude of curious open-mindedness is more useful and gives greater potential for learning and inspiration. It's fine with me if people want to take a different approach and treat some aspect of tarot history as a narrow hypothesis to be defended. I'm not so interested in the details of the ordering of the trumps, for example, but for those who are, great, no problem, stay with it.

What tries my patience is when people deliberately and persistently misrepresent others' views--to mock them, to "prove" one's own intellect is superior, to attribute inferior motives to their inquiries compared with one's own, for the sake of a clever put-down--whatever the reason. There's different styles of investigation and I don't see why there can't be room for all of them--as I said, take what makes sense, keep an open mind.

Re: Franco Pratesi's Florentine discoveries

#50
debra wrote:From what I can see--Huck is lately devoted to exploring the question of the evolution of the trumps to 22. Although he mentions 5x14 on occasion, I haven't seen him insisting on it in quite a while. In other words, Huck does not seem to be focused on proving the 5x14 idea so much as amassing evidence of various sorts about card history. So I don't understand the point of insisting he is misguided. At any rate, it is his exploration and we are all free to take from his research what we find useful, or nothing.

Huck, I hope you will correct me if I misunderstand your work.
... :-) ... good observed, debra.

It was stated in this thread, that the 5x14-theory has a defenseless position.
Ross wrote:It's also okay in my view to defend your "island" if that is what you really believe. Huck is a clear defender of his island, even though I think it is a defenceless position.


The opposite is true. The 5x14-theory defends itself - it indeed doesn't need my constant engagement to defend it.

The 5x14-theory is essentially based on the conditions of the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi and nothing else. The 70-cards note from Ferrara came later - this wasn't essential. The Marcello note, that the Michelino deck was considered a Trionfi deck, came later. The 14 objects from the 1.1.1441 document came later. The Chess Theory and its various observations came later. The 5x14-deck, which was produced by Master P.W, came later.
All these later results were just confirmations for the 5x14-theory, which in essence simply says, that likely NOT all early Trionfi decks were decks in the 4x14+22 style. The personal knowledge, that others already had made some engagement for a 5x14 deck also came later. The observation, that the Boiardo Tarocchi poem was produced likely very late (1487) came later. The observation, that indeed nothing else before this late date could confirm anything about a "22" in connection to playing cards, also came later.

As there are not much documents, which preceded the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo deck, there was only the Cary-Yale deck, which was relevant for the time before. And the Cary-Yale hardly could prove the 22-special-cards standard deck.

So, what makes the 5x14-theory? Just the condition, that 2 special cards are missing, that 6 cards are painted by a second painter and that 14 cards seems to have been from the first and original painter. And the condition, that one can precisely say, which of the 22 cards belonged to which group, either 2 cards (lost) or 6 cards (second painter) or 14 cards (first painter).
It was (by others) suspected, that the situation was based on a loss or a damage of some cards. This would have demanded an accidental loss of cards.
So it's natural to observe the details of the document Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo deck.

A group of 2 (two bad cards)
A group of 6 (2 1/2 cardinal virtues + 3 bodies of heaven, in short two triads)
A group of 14 (from which 13 belong to the 14 first cards)

These details, just as they are, don't indicate an accidental composition of the deck - somehow in a dramatic manner, which I would interpret as 99:1 chance for the 5x14-theory and against "the origin was the 4x14+22 deck.
And that's all. And that's really not so complicated. Just to quote a German mathematician and his didactic joke: it doesn't need more more attention, "als ein Frauenzimmer braucht das Taroc spielet"
I've tried to understand how Huck can keep on talking about it as if it were an accepted theory while it increasingly seems unimaginable... but nothing will change this.
Yes indeed, the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi is safely guarded in its museums and it will not run away. Nobody can discuss the contradiction out of the world.
And debra is right. I actually don't talk very much about the 5x14-theory. But when I'm asked, as I was in this case by you, Robert, I do.

The situation of the deck is so, that, if one is interested to find the true origin of the Tarot deck, one should very likely look "after the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo deck" and not "before the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo deck". This was the whole message of the 5x14-theory.

But the engagement, hectic and apprehension especially in the English discussion about the object is so,that it's really difficult to get this simple observation in a neutral manner to the mind of the participating researchers. This communicative problem is so difficult, that it is indeed unbelievable ... if I hadn't experienced it, I wouldn't have believed it. Meanwhile I'm accustomed to the situation ... even Michael only seldom can provoke me to waste my energy.

Well, the opposition started - long years ago - with the argument, that there was not enough background knowledge ... alright, this is likely overcome and this will probably not return. The more intensive research on the background created more confirmation for the 5x14-theory. The counter position looks like a Swiss cheese, which has more holes than cheese.
So let's proceed the research. What's true or not true will possibly get to the light even for those with difficulties to read the not so difficult numbers, if more data will appear.

And so we are back at the discoveries of Franco Pratesi. There's real progress in research and it's very welcome. And these new facts should be adapted with a careful mind.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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