Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

Phaedad wrote:
Mike wrote:
But can't you accept that an image in Renaissance art, like a text for Augustine, can be intended with more than one meaning at the same time?
Of course, although I'm always on guard for the slippery slope of "polyvalent" meanings where you get to the point where everything is connected to everything - a truism, but the cards here must have had primary meanings (I particulary focus on gestures after having read Baxandall).
"Primary" (and secondary, I assume) meanings sounds a bit too modern. They thought in terms of levels of meaning, deriving from Augustine, and also--once they knew the books--the "divided line" in Plato's Republic, and the ascent through levels of beauty in the Symposium, easily assimilable to the ladders of medieval imagery. The line, or ladder, went from the most material to the most spiritual. That is how I have been reading the CY Chariot card and its imagery, going from the particular to the conceptual to the spiritual. It is Bianca Maria and her dowry on the most particular level, Chastity on a more general level, abstracting from some details and part of a set of six; and the image on the coin in the same way, from dowry, to Visconti wealth and power, to wealth and power generally, to the power and beneficence of God spiritually.

Also, slippery slopes are inevitable in the Renaissance, what with our lack of knowledge and their delight in ambiguity, mystery, and puzzles. In a game, anything goes that helps one remember what cards have been played and serves for distracting and impressing banter as one plays. And for didactic purposes, the more sets of associations to drill your pupils on, the better. (And then the cards serve to help them remember what they've been drilled on.) The way to keep on the slope, and out of the trees, is to base one's interpretations on texts, images, and ways of thinking of that time and place.

Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

Hi Mikeh.
I do not agree with you.
As I said The Moon is in the Sphere of Faith.
It is about Faith and Inconstancy (of Faith)Dante thinks the Moon a Star, but Beatrice tells him it is the Moon.
Dante and Beatrice(Theology) enter at the Moon and the first person he speaks to is Piccarda Donati who was a Poor Clare Nun who was forced to leave the convent to marry.
The second person he talks to is Empress Constance.........The third person I think is Emperor Justinian.
But perhaps we should not talk about Dante here in this thread, as he is very sarcastic about Florence and his tomb is still empty in Florence awaiting his return.... :D
I was giving you an example of the Theologicals been replaced by so called Celestials-Dante's Paradiso is a good example.
Edited to add this extract from Meditations on Dante's Paradise.
They ascend swiftly impelled by desire, Beatrice gazing at the Divine source, and Dante gazing at her: she like a mirror that reflects the light, until they enter the sphere of the Moon. Beatrice, ‘joyful as she was lovely’ tells Dante to turn towards God in gratitude for this marvel. They are absorbed, as light in water, into the pearl-like mass. Though Dante is still in the body, and the interpenetration of solid bodies is inconceivable on Earth, the reality of this gives an inkling of the essential place of Light, where God and Man are unified, as in Christ where human and divine co-existed. This sphere of the Moon is that of faith, and the content of faith, which is taken on trust, in this life, will ultimately be revealed, realised, self-evidently, as truth. Dante will also explore imperfections of faith in this sphere. In Medieval astronomy the Earth threw its shadow, i.e. created imperfection, as far as the third sphere of Venus (in the Copernican system it only throws its shadow on the Moon, Mercury and Venus being in inner orbit round the sun).
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

Lorredan: Well, I was just quoting Wikipedia, which is pretty lame. I do think that the Moon was associated with Faith, if only because of the painting "St. John at Patmos" by Hieronymus Bosch ( ... atmos-1485). When I put the CY "Faith" and the PMB "Moon" card next to each other, I see a definite resemblance in the two ladies' posture, especially the arms.

I also see resemblances between the CY "Hope" and the PMB "Star".

Here it is the up and to our right eye movement. (See, Phaeded, I'm attending to gestures.) And the celestial body sending down rays. It could be the Star of Bethlehem or the "bright morning star" of Revelation.

And likewise the CY "Charity" and the PMB "Sun". Both have a small child; you just have to think of the mother's breast, which the one child touches, as similar to the sun's nourishing warmth and light, which the other touches--not hard to do.

Of course these parallel gestures are not much to go on. It may not even be important to get exact correspondences between CY cards and PMB cards in these instances. It depends on the argument. And something's missing.
But why they went to the celestials, of all the things they could have put in, in a way that could have such different early expressions in the PMB vs. the Charles VI and the BAR, is my question. Maybe they were there already, and Filippo, being pious in his old age (or Cosimo, wanting to be on the Pope's good side), changed them, and Sforza changed them back. Or maybe they had been put into decks elsewhere, and Sforza was just conforming to a standard. But why are they there. of all things? I have a text and image based answer, but it's still not ready to post. And I need to talk about some other cards first.

I think it would be great if Dante had the answer, and if what your quote says is there in the Paradiso. (Who is it by, incidentally.) I see nothing wrong with bringing in Dante. He is one of the "three crowns" of Florence. The quote you gave makes me want to read that part. But it seems to me that whatever the answer is, it should work for all three of the celestials.

Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

First of all: Phaeded, I see your point about the CY World card as Prudence. It comes out of my own analysis. If the scene below the lady is Decembrio's "good state", that means the prudent state. And if it's a Grail Quest, then that's what's needed to get the Grail; at least that's true in the Parsifal stories; the other virtues won't do it. You've got to know what's good, what's bad, and what's neither one, which is my understanding of the Ciceronian concept of Prudence. But the lady on top is Fama; there are no Prudence attributes, only Fama ones. So like the Charles VI, it combines the two. In the Charles VI, the attribute of Prudence is the scepter, where Prudence = Practical Wisdom, the scepter being that of the practical side of Boccaccio's Wisdom. The BAR seems to me straight Fama.

Now I want to move on a little, so I can have something to lean on when I poke at your analysis, Phaeded. In this post I will try to provide a Petrarchan source for the Fool, the Popess, the Pope, and maybe the Hermit, as added to the Empress and the Emperor, assuming they were there first, or if not, then whenever they entered the deck (even at the beginning!).

Here is a manuscript illumination, which I take from Trapp's Studies of Petrarch and his Influence, 2003.The text it illustrates is the opening prologue of Petrarch's De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae.

The row, excluding the seated figure, is somewhat reminiscent of a row of chess pieces laid out on the board, except that there are ten instead of eight. That there are ten suggests the "conditions of man" cards of the "Mantegna", which I assure you I am satisfied were done much later and in a different place.

Of this illumination Trapp says:
Across both columns of text at the top of the page is a miniature of the author, full-face and full-length, dressed in brown clerical robe and hood, and seated in an elaborate gothic arched cathedra. He holds a pen in his right hand while with his left he holds upright and open on his knee a book on whose pages can be seen the incipit of the prologue itself 'Cyum res forunasque...'. To either side of him are brightly-dressed representatives of the various orders of society subject to Fortune, arranged in ascending order of dignity: from the right is a ragged shepherd with his sheep and leaning on a stick; a blonde woman in a long red decolletee dress; a young gentleman with falcon and hounds; a soldier with a crossbow; a crowned king, in a red, ermine trimmed robe, holding orb and sceptre; from the left a jester with a monkey on his shoulder, a red-beaked black bird under his arm and a cage of other birds on the ground at his feet; a minstrel playing a lute; a merchant indicating an open chest of money; a doctor of laws; and a pope wearing the tiara and holding a crozier.
So how many tarot cards do you see in the illustration?

We recognize the Pope of the tarot, of course; and the king here is much like the Emperor. The "ragged shepherd" is reminiscent of the PMB Fool, or the "Mantegna" Beggar. Other Fool cards suggest the jester, on the other side of the illumination. I know that in England the court jester was called "Fool"; I assume that was true in Italy. As for the Bagatella (the earliest word I can find for the Magician), a minstrel was called a "jongleur";he probably could juggle, too, and do tricks on a table--so between the jester and the minstrel, we have the Bagatella, the trifling street entertainer. As for the lady with the red (for lust) dress and a book in her hands, she could be the Popess, as Pope Joan, who Boccaccio said succumbed to lust--or as the Church, portrayed as a whore. That is much the way Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch portrayed the Church, I think, as a fine institution that had degenerated mightily. I don't want to deny the Sister Manfreda connection, but right now I am seeing what comes out of this illustration.

Here is a picture of that whole section of the page, with Trapp's caption: ... aeFig3.jpg.

Trapp says of it (p. 128):
The first Italian artists to have attempted to illustrate the content of []De remediis[/i] belong to a time something like a quarter of a century earlier, and in Lombardy. Their work adorns a tall and prepossessing manuscript now in Milan (MS.Biblioteca Nationale Braidense AD XIII 30), written about 1400 by two different pre-humanist hands, double column. Only the first book is on vellum, and illuminated by two different hands; the second is on paper and merely rubricated. The illumination has recently been associated with the workshop of Pietro da Pavia. [Footnote: Ms. Milan, Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, AD XIII 30, fols 1r and 3v; Milvia Bollati in Miklos Boskovits, Miniature a Brera 1100-1422. Manoscritti dalla Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense e da collezioni private (Milan, 1997), 230-233, no. 38, 'Checklist', no. 61; cf. MS. Paris BNF, lat. 6069r, for which see p. 5, n. 13 above.]
This origin and provenance does not prove that the beginning sequence of the tarot originated in Lombardy, of course. I have no idea how diffused this particular group of "orders of society" was. Certainly the Dances of Death that we see pictures of had a similar collection of orders represented, although I can't think of any that fit as precisely. MJ Hurst would know.

There is also the question of which came first, all six of the first cards, or just the two we see on the CY, to which the others were added. Either is possible. However if the tarot is a development out of an earlier game known as Imperatori, about which little else is known except that in 1423 a deck was commissioned in Ferrara to be made in Florence, with the next mention in 1442 Ferrara; see, that might suggest that the Emperor and Empress came first. In any case, this manuscript certainly justifies seeing the first six cards as a group (the Fool as Zero), with particular decks having particular subsets of it, adding to the fewer or subtracting from the greater.

Essentially, the designers of the tarot, if they follow the "social orders" layout exhibited in this illustration, are replicating the court card hierarchy in its first six cards.From Emperor and Empress, assumed from "Imperatori", we include some others in the hierarchy, just as in the court cards we don't have just the King and Queen, but less exalted nobility as well. However the tarot wants to speak to all of society, and in a few cards; so we get the highs and the lows, over more than just nobility.

How does this illustration relate to Petrarch's text? I find nothing specifically about the orders of society in the Prologue (in which he explains how he is expanding on an essay by Seneca). But the whole book deals with one's mental attitude toward one's position in life, not to be puffed up if fortune favors one, or to be discouraged if fortune does not favor one. Book One deals with Good Fortune, Book Two with Bad Fortune. The dialogues in Book One have such titles as "A Good mind", A Prominent, Old Family", "Born Rich," "Luck in Board Games," "Entertainers", "Hunting and Hawking," "Public Office," "Academic Titles," "Military Rank," "Wealth," "A Good Lord," "The Papacy," "Seizing a Lordship," etc. Then in Book Two, we have "Poverty," "Servitude", "Financial Losses," "An Ignorant Teacher," "Difficulties and Hard Work," "Being a King without a Son," "A Foolish and Rash Co-Commander," etc. Generally he addresses the extremes, as in the cards, not the people in the middle. Also, the titles tend not to flatter women: on the "good fortune" side we have "A beautiful wife" (who will be nothing but trouble), "A Large Dowry" (which she will shame you with), "A Fertile and Fair-Spoken Wife" (you want that many kids?); on the "bad fortune" side, we have "An irksome wife," "An adulterous wife," "An immoral daughter," etc. It's like in the illustration, where the only woman is a whore. But to be fair to Petrarch, the titles are good and bad things as seen by his presumably male readers; in his commentary he's as misanthropic as he is misogynist. It's the style he's writing in, to denigrate the things of this world for the sake of focusing on the eternal and what reflects the eternal here.

I should perhaps say something about the popularity of this work. Here is Trapp, after saying that the work is not as inherently attractive as that of Boethius, many centuries earlier (p. 119):
Nevertheless, more manuscripts of De remediis were written and more editions printed, in the original and in translation, than of any other of Petrarch's Latin works. At least 150 codices of the who9le, almost a further 100 abridgements, excerpts and translations, besides some 70 which once existed, have been counted. Between 1474 and 1758 there were 33 printed editions of Petrarch's Latin entire, together with 20 partial and 45 vernacular printings. (2) After the first quarter of the fifteenth century, it seems, De Remediis was better known in Petrarch's native country through the Italian version, made about 1426, than in its original Latin. Of the fifteen manuscripts illuminated in Italy that I know, however, eleven--six of them earlier than about 1430--contain the Latin text.
Footnote 2. Mann 'Checklist', [N Mann, Manuscripts of Petrarch's De remediis: a Checklist,'," Italia medioevale e umanistica XIV (1971) 57-90)], Footnote 3.
Footnote 3. For Italian versions, see R. Bessi, 'Note sul volgarizzamento del De remediis utriusque fortunae', Quaderni Petararcheschi X-X (1992-3) 91996)), 629-39.

Trapp then goes on to talk about its popularity in France: "The first translation into any modern vernacular was the French version completed in 1377 by Jean Daudin" (p. 119f). Another followed in 1503. The work itself was begun "in Milan, at latest before the end of May of 1353" and completed "a dozen years later, in Pavia" (p. 118).

Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

Now I want to compare my position on the Pope and Popess with Phaeded's. (So far, of the 6 first cards, that's all Phaeded has talked about, except for the Emperor and Empress, which we both agree were there from the start. My explanation for them is that they come from Imperatori. And we know they're there in the CY.)

Phaeded derives the Popess from the virtue of Faith, as an exemplar. I'm not sure he also derives it from Giotto. For myself, I see Giotto's Faith as an important influence on the design of the CY Popess card. They look similar. I don't know yet if I go for the "exemplar" pattern as how non-virtue cards in the PMB were generated, but in this case it fits. Pope Joan had faith, although not so much as to support the Church's refusal to grant education, professorships, or priesthood to women. As Boccaccio tells the tale, God didn't intervene until she became Pope. That was going too far even for God (who apparently is not as strict as the Church, although less consistent). And Sister Manfreda had faith, too, of the same sort--faith that God wouldn't deny women the same opportunities in His Church as men, even at the risk of being burned at the stake for exercising that faith. To me Giotto's Justice also bears some resemblance to the PMB Popess, in her posture and facial expression, as though someone wants to say that how Sister Manfreda lived was just, even though she was condemned by the Church.

So if you're Bianca Maria Sforza and you want to say something about Faith and Justice in relation to women, Sister Manfreda, of an order that believed in Female Popes, would be a good choice--a bit provocative, but she could always tell the Inquisitors, if they dared make inquiries, that the Popess represents the Church, which typically was represented as the Bride of Christ, even the Bride of the Pope, and leave it at that.

Now for the Pope. In this case, I don't see a resemblance between the Giotto Charity card and the PMB Pope card (ignore the d'Este card, and also the wrong dating; the PMB should be 1452-1462, and the d'Este,c. 1473).

Although the Pope was supposed to administer funds for charity, he himself didn't actually make the charitable contributions out of his own pocket. He wasn't the one actually practicing charity. In fact, he did just the opposite, according to Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch. He took money that should have gone to charity for his own ends. Here is Petrarch, from De Remediis, in an imaginary dialogue with someone who has just been made Pope and is happy about it:
JOY. I rule the papal stronghold.
REASON. The earliest of its rulers aspired to martyrdom. Today, they think that thay are called to pleasures and vie for the office which nearly everyone covets. For what reason other than to be more powerful and rich does anyone want the bishopric of Rome or of any other city? Against all precepts of justice, men seek to rule, not to serve others, and--which is sacrilegious and shameful to talk about--great benefices, preferments, and prebends are often bought with large gifts in hope of a fatter appointment.
Alas for the dreadful perversion of values!...
And Dante:
"Your city, which was planted by that one
who was the first to turn against his Maker,
the one whose envy cost us many tears

produces and distributes the damned flower
that turns both sheep and lambs from the true course,
for of the shepherd it has made a wolf.

For this the Gospel and the great Church Fathers
are set aside and only the Decretals
are studied as their margins clearly show.

On these the pope and cardinals are intent.
Their thoughts are never bent on Nazareth,
where Gabriel's open wings were reverent.

For which there is that great illustration (from Siena) of the Devil sitting on top of some bell tower, the red lily Florentine Guelf colors displayed, pouring florins into the Pope's outstretched hands: ... _paolo.jpg. Dante's "shepherd" turned "wolf" is of course the Pope.

This was the general humanist conception of the Pope, I think. And if the early tarot was by and for any part of society, it was the humanists. All the rulers of the cities associated with the tarot surrounded themselves with humanists and had them teach their children. In Milan, in particular, the Pope would not have been thought charitable. Sforza had been excommunicated for years, not for some moral lapse, but for refusing to yield up a city that the Pope thought was his--excuse me, the Papacy's. One of the things Franco turned up is that the two earliest recorded sales in Florence, in 1440 and 1453, were to notaries. Notaries were the rank and file of humanism. And I'm sure it wasn't just the humanists and their friends, but something that extended to ordinary people. To say that the Pope was a symbol of charity would have evoked a grin at least. In the U.S., the majority of the charitable funds are administered by the national government, whose head is the President. Imagine a deck of cards with one, called "the President" showing someone being inaugurated into office with the national flag in the background. And then you say that this card symbolizes charity, or helping the unfortunate, because he's the head of the welfare state. Some might agree if you said he symbolized Justice; but even then, if you said that seriously in a card game, you might start a fight.

I think my analysis is better, because it doesn't make an obvious political statement that could cause trouble, yet would be pleasing to humanists and much of the population, and to Sforza in particular. Officially, the card just shows the head of one part of the social order, albeit a rather stern-looking (and uncharitable) one.

The Popess, understood as the Church, is simply another part of the social order. If she's taken as a person, real or legendary, then it's different, because she's precisely not part of the social order. But you can still treat her as such, and make comments about her as you play, depending in part on who you're with. Either, "what's wrong with having a lady Pope?" or "See what happens when you put a woman in charge" or "She represents the Church, the faithful" or "She doesn't look like a whore," etc.

The writer Aretino actually did make jokes about the Popess. In .Le Carte Parlante (The Talking Cards), he has this interchange ( ... 63&lng=ITA, ... 63&lng=ENG. My quote is from an essay by Andrea Vitale; Andrea and I worked out the translation together; corrections are welcome):
CARTE: La papessa è per l’astuzia di quegli che defraudano il nostro essere con le falsità che ci falsificano.
PADOVANO: Forse che trasandate.

(CARDS: The Popess means the shrewdness of those who defraud our being with falsehoods that falsify us.
PADUAN: Maybe they’re neglected.)
I.e. women are neglected. Andrea states that the reference is to Pope Joan. I agree with him--and specifically, to Boccaccio's version, which is not without irony.

Incidentally, just before this, they talk about the Pope card:
CAR: Il papa rappresenta la fedeltà nel giuoco, e la sincerità di chi giuoca come si dee.
PAD: Buono per chi è tale.

(CAR: The Pope represents faithfulness in the game, and the sincerity of one who plays as he should.
PAD: Good for him.)
Faithfulness, as applied to the Pope, makes more sense (although it is probably ironic: sincerity is not the point in a card game). Fewer people doubted that the Pope had faith and sincerity, than that he was charitable.

In another dialogue, an older whore is giving a new whore some tips. Nana is describing how she attracts rich clients (I found this quote myself; it's in Aretino's Dialogues, trans. Rosenthal, 1971, p. 143:
NANA: I had all the haughty airs and manners of an empress, which would barely [hardly?] suit her and are in any case a swindle. I took as my example a certain noblewoman who always carried a silken pillow around with her and made whoever spoke to her kneel on it.
ANTONIA: Oh, you mean the female Pope [Papessa]?
ANNA: The lady Pope, or so I am told, did not put on such high and mighty airs; by my oath, she did not. Nor did she give herself so bright a title as those whores did. One woman, for example, called herself the daughter of Duke Valentine and another the daughter of Cardinal Scanio.
I once had the Italian on Interlibrary Loan, but I didn't make a copy of the page. I presume that "Cardinal Scanio" means Ascanio Sforza. I don't know Duke Valentine. Again, the lady Pope is being defended. In each case, I think he's talking about the legendary Pope Joan. This is later, of course, 1543.

In conclusion: Faith works as the Popess, and might marginally work for the Pope (although many saw the current Popes as hypocrites). But probably he would have been thought of, by the Sforza at least, as the antitype of Justice, and that's what it looks like when you compare the body language of the PMB Pope with that of Giotto's Injustice. Otherwise, I have no particular quarrel, except they can more straightforwardly, safely, and with sufficient precedents in the culture, be seen as representatives of different aspects of the social order, the Pope and either the Church or something that is missing, whether rightly or wrongly.

Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

Lorredan wrote:Hi Mikeh.
As I said The Moon is in the Sphere of Faith...[/quote
mikeh wrote:... I do think that the Moon was associated with Faith, if only because of the painting "St. John at Patmos" by Hieronymus Bosch ( ... atmos-1485) ...
We have in reference to St. Augustine in the Golden Legends some connection with the Sun and Charity (caritas, divine love):

For the excellence of his dignity; for like as the emperor Augustus excelled all other kings, right so he excelled all other doctors, after that Remigius saith: The other doctors be compared to stars and this to the sun. As it appeareth in the epistle that is sung of him: He shineth in the temple of God like to the sun shining. Secondly, for the fervent love, for like as the month of August is hot by heat, so is he enchaussed of the fire of the divine love, wherefore he saith himself in the book of Confessions: Thou hast through pierced my heart with thy charity...

In terms of the star -- there is Mary "Star of the Sea" as a symbol of hope.

But such metaphors/simile with the stars, sun and / or moon could vary however in accordance with the relationships being conveyed. In the two lights concept for example the Emperor (4th in the bottom row Tarot de Marseille) is likened to the Moon (4th in the top row Tarot de Marseille) in subordination to the Pope (5th) as Sun(5th); in another context the church is likened to the moon in terms of its relationship to Christ as the Sun of Righteousness.

OT: In the Golden Legends there is also reference to the stars, moon and sun in reference to St. Francis:

He (St. Francis) was replenished of marvellous joy for the love of his Creator. He beheld the sun, the moon, and the stars, and summoned them to the love of their Maker...

... And when his last days approached, and he was grieved by long infirmity; then he made himself to be laid upon the bare ground, and did do call all the friars that were there, and when they were all present he blessed them. And like as our Lord fed his disciples at supper on Shere-thursday, he gave to each of them a morsel of bread, and warned them, as he was wont to do, to give laud to their Maker. And the very death which is to all men horrible and hateful, he admonished them to praise it, and also he warned and admonished death to come to him, and said: Death, my sister, welcome be thou; and when he came at the last hour, he slept in our Lord. Of whom a friar saw the soul in the manner of a star, like to the moon in quantity, and to the sun in clearness.

Golden Legends Vol. 5 (Of St. Francis)
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

Mikeh wrote:
Faith works as the Popess, and might marginally work for the Pope (although many saw the current Popes as hypocrites). But probably he would have been thought of, by the Sforza at least, as the antitype of Justice, and that's what it looks like when you compare the body language of the PMB Pope with that of Giotto's Injustice. Otherwise, I have no particular quarrel, except they can more straightforwardly, safely, and with sufficient precedents in the culture, be seen as representatives of different aspects of the social order, the Pope and either the Church or something that is missing, whether rightly or wrongly
Agree with everything you said on Faith/popess, including the Giotto comments. As for the Pope/Charity...

Sforza was in a precarious position after 1450 with both Venice and Naples mobilizing against what they saw as his illegitimate claims to the duchy of Milan (and he must have been nearing the end of the funds fronted him by Cosimo after 3 years of war). The last thing he needed to do was antagonize the Pope as well, ergo, no presumptive inclusion of the theological virtues (always associated with the popes, especially in their monumental tombs) but the PMB does include an image of a generic pope that implies the Church sanctioned Sforza (perhaps by way of the holy sacrament of marriage to Bianca - those cards are near one another). Pointing out that the pope was corrupt as any other ruler - which everyone of course knew - would hardly have been politically expedient. The inclusion of the Pope also offsets the Popess (which could be explained away as a Poor Clare abbess-as-Mary's-vicar or some other female cleric, for a pope who wouldn't exactly have had a 150 year old event, Manfreda, recalled immediately to mind; e.g., that card was for Milanese nobles, including the Visconti cadet lines still milling about and causing trouble; not to mention Bianca Visconti's own probable devotion to Manfreda - all connections to the Visconti dynasty were of paramount importance to Sforza). The Popess by herself would have inflamed the Pope (via his clerical snitches in Milan) unless she was clearly equated to Faith, but without the other theological virtues, which the PMB lacks, that claim wouldn't have stood up.

As for Pope=Charity: a very old tradition depicts Popes and other clericals donating models of churches and convents (usurped to a degree in the quattrocento by civil leaders), emphasizing their role in charitibale works:



Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

Phaaeded: The PMB Pope does not look unjust, to be sure. That would indeed be unwise on Sforza's part.He just looks severe--against evildoers, incompetents, and enemies of the faith, one could say. It's just that of all the Giotto figures, his demeanor most resembles that of Injustice. That would be Sforza's private joke, if this card is inspired by anything in the Arena Chapel at all. There might have been pictures of God the Father like that, when he isn't feeling charitable. It doesn't resemble the official papal portraits. He doesn't look charitable. It still seems to me that the Pope is primarily a high part of the social order, and not part of the virtue/vice psychomachia of the soul's progress. The Hanged Man, by contrast, both looks like Giotto's Despair and is a good antitype to struggle against. A nice complication is that like the Popess, he may be related to the specific circumstances of the Sforza, in that grandfather Muzio, a Sforza hero, was portrayed that way by an antipope. The despair of the falsely accused must also be overcome as well as that of the truly guilty. The Tower and the Devil are also part of that psychomachia, the Tower related to Inconstancy, which it looks like, as well as to other things. I forget what I saw the Devil as related to.I'd have to go back and read what I wrote.

I have no objection to most of your antitypes in the CY scenario. Antitypes are also built into the Petrarchan framework: Death and Time as evils to be overcome; Carnal Love is also an antitype for Petrarch, although Love in general isn't, if it is a reflection of divine love (and so in a way an exemplar of Caritas). But like the Pope in the PMB, the Emperor and Empress are primarily high representatives of temporal authority in the social order, rather than exemplars--although they can be that, too, of various virtues (and vices). The Chariot likewise exemplifies Fame, no problem. That works especially for the BAR and the Charles VI, less so for the CY and PMB, unless it's fame through virtue. Virtues, too, are built into the Petrarchan structure: Chastity, Fame (through the virtues), Eternity (with divine love).

As far as the tarot of Florence/Bologna vs. Milan, so far the titles and order of the Petrarch Triumphs, supplemented by Boccaccio, fit Milan better--although I am bothered by the low position of Time, if indeed it is represented by the Hermit. There is no way "Chastity" fits the Charles VI or BAR Chariot. They, however, fit the Petrarch of the Viris Illustribus, with its emphasis on military heroes. And the cards before Love fit Petrarch's De Remediis better than they do Giotto (except visually in the PMB only, the Fool borrowing from Giotto's Folly, the Bagatella, very loosely, from his Prudence, the Popess from Faith and maybe Justice, the Pope from Injustice). Hanged Man, Devil, and Tower come from Giotto in all the early decks. So far, I see no way of assigning temporal priority to one place or another. But we are discussing the sequence Anghiari-Ferrara-Milan on another thread, "visconti marriage and betrothal commemorations," where I would rather keep it, for now. You mentioned the Hermit once, but I didn't get a clear picture. You haven't discussed the Celestials yet.

Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

Celestials are coming soon. Lorredan is forcing my hand by making some key identifications on another board.

As for the order ... I posit two sets of 7 in the beginning, the virtues and their exemplars/antitypes. But even if there was a consistent order for the Virtues that falls apart when you start replacing the Theological virtues in the PMB. And there should be nothing higher than Judgement (the unknowable heaven is beyond that) but often we find the "world" with implicit civic symbols (how is that heavenly?) as the highest card.

I'm not doubting there is an order...but when did it get imposed on the cards for the full 22 trumps? Obviously the attraction of the cards, in my theory of Medici using them as propaganda after Anghiari for the 14 card ur-tarot, is that they could be commonly used for playing as a means of reaching the popolo (in addition to special decks for their condottiere)...but if the Virtues had an order then you could say their matching exemplar counterparts were in that same order,so say 1-7 for the exemplars/antitypes, then 8-14 for the Virtues. But again, that all falls apart with the PMB...


Re: What's With the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?

A nice thing about the Petrarchan framework is that it doesn't break down when you get to the PMB or any later deck--although the Hermit is a problem, which I will try to address at the end of this post.

As SteveM says, associations between virtues and celestials are in the prior literature, but with several ways of doing it. I solve this problem by going to the same source I have been going to all along, Petrarch, and in particular, the De remediis. the same source as I used for the beginning of the tarot sequence. I will go through the references, both in illuminations and in the text, one by one.

Trapp, in figure 5 of chapter II of Studies of Petrarch and his Influence (2003), shows us an illustration in a manuscript of that work with all three of our luminaries.

This comes from Bib. Apost.Vat. MS. Pal. lat 1596, f. 71; North Italy, c. 1400, the caption says. Here is the whole page. ... Fig5AllJPG.

Trapp says of it the following:
In the initial for the Prologue to Book II, 'Petrarch' is seated writing in a landscape, the actual opening words of the prologue visible on the parchment before him: 'Exomnibus que vel mihi lecta' (Fig. 5). Behind and above are sun and moon. Adverse fortune, the subject of this Book, is represented by a wind blowing a ship to wreck at the right. These are marginal reader's notes and a few strange, sketched figures, perhaps the work of Gionnozzo (d. 1459) or Angelo di Giannozzo (d. 1497).
So the manuscript is"North Italy"--a phrase that typically excludes Florence--"perhaps Ferrarese"; but it resided in Florence at some point before 1459.

Before going on, I wish to repeat, from earlier posts, that the Remediis, although virtually unknown these days, was the most popular of his Latin works, in terms of manuscripts and printed editions. It was translated into French in 1377 (Trapp p. 120), and into Italian in about 1426 (p. 119). That last date may be of significance for the tarot.

So what do the stars, sun, and moon in the illumination mean? Here is the accompanying text (Rawsky translation, vol. 3, p. 1).
Of all I have read or heard that has pleased me, hardly anything is more important, more deeply imprinted in my mind or more often remembered, than the saying of Heraclitus, everything exists by strife.

For it is so; and nearly everything attests to it. The stars oppose the swift-moving firmament. Contrary elements conflict with each other; the earth trembles, the seas boil, the air swirls, the flames crackle. The winds fight never-ending battles with each other. One time of day vies with another, each thing against another thing, and all things against us. Spring is moist, summer is dry, autumn gentle, winter harsh--and what we call change is, in fact, conflict. The things that surround us by which we live and thrive, which allure us with so many enticements, are terrifying once they begin to be angry. Earthquakes and vicious windstorms demonstrate this, shipwrecks demonstrate this, and fires raging on earth or in the sky...
The general point is that adverse fortune comes out of favorable fortune, for which one should be prepared at least mentally, so as to avoid sorrow. We see the point of the shipwreck in the illustration: what we thought was to our advantage, the movement of goods or persons, becomes the opposite. The stars, as fixed entities, contend with the firmament, spinning the whole sphere around. due to forces from the 9th circle (I get this from the translator's notes, quoting from Isadore). The, sun and the moon are the "times of day" that contend, one winning out part of the time and the other another part, every 24 hours.

It is overkill, to be sure. "Everything changes" is truer than "all is strife." From a promising illustration we get not much not much clarity in the text. Well, I look further.

The translator added pictures of his own choosing to the book, mostly from the same time period as Petrarch or the few centuries before, to illustrate his translation. Two of them have to do with the heavens. One relates to Dialogue 1 of Book I. It shows the moon and the sun together, held by the "craftsman," meaning God as creator, perhaps identical with the Logos of John 1:1. The stars are represented by the zodiacal figures around the central image. Around the zodiac are the months, and in the corners representations of the seasons.

Clearly what we have here is a representation of the passage of time, as the translator (or traditional title?) names the piece, "the course of time."

The text of Dialogue I, concerning the good fortune of being in the prime of life, supports this idea (p. 15):
JOY AND HOPE: my years are undiminished.
REASON. How can stay undiminished what is being diminished every day since its inception and once bestowed, steadily ebbs away in minute portions? For the heavens turn in perpetual motion, minutes consume hours, and hours the day. That day begets another, and that another yet, ceaselessly. So months pass by, so years, so moves and coursesa lifetime and, as Cicero says, flies away, yet stirs not her swift pinions, as Virgil said. so, likewise, those who make their way by sea in a ship do not feel they are moving. And, often, they also do not know hat their end is near.
We measure the hours (with a sundial), days and years by the sun, the weeks by the quarters of the moon, and also the months themselves. The stars, too, process in monthly order through the zodiac. The seasons are measured by the length of the sun's light and the place of its rising and setting.

It is beginning to look as though the Celestials signify the Triumph of Time, which in turn will be triumphed over by Eternity. Petrarch seems to be thinking of this transition at the end of the Dialogue
REASON. ...Awake from your slumber, it is time; and open your bleary eyes, get used to thinking of eternal things, to love them, to desire them, and, at the same time, to disdain what is transitory. Learn to leave willingly what cannot be yours for long, and dismiss temporal things from your mind before they do leave you.
Petrarch states the same theme with reference to one of the Celestials, the sun, at the beginning of the Triumph of Eternity ( ... ge=VI-I.en; I cite this for confirmation, although I don't think this text received nearly the circulation of De Remediis in the time period in question):
-----------------------------------If all things
That are beneath the heavens are to fail,
How, after many circlings, will they end?

So ran my thought; and as I pondered it
More and more deeply, I at last beheld
A world made new and changeless and eternal
I saw the sun, the heavens, and the stars
And land and sea unmade, and made again
More beauteous and more joyous than before.
Greatly I marveled, seeing time itself
Come to an end, that ne' er before had ceased,
But had been wont in its course to change all things.
Past, present, future: these I saw combined
In a single term, and that unchangeable:
No swiftness now, as there had been before.
As on an empty plain, I now could see
No "shall be" or "has been," "" or .before.
Or .after,. filling life with doubtfulness.
Thought passes as a ray of the sun through glass?
More swiftly still, for there is nought to impede.
What grace, if I am worthy, shall be mine,
If I may there behold the Highest Good,
And none of the harm that is poured out by Time,
And comes with Time, and disappears with Time!
The sun no more will pause in the Bull or the Fish,
Through whose diversities the work of man
Is born or dies, increases, or grows less...
When he speaks of the stars, the heavens, the sun, etc., as "unmade, and made again," he means in an eternal, unchanging sense, in which stars, sun, and moon no longer move. In fact, it may be wondered if they exist at all, except in a new, unimaginable form.

There is one more passage in the De Remediis, and one more contemporary art work, about the sun, moon, and stars, that the translator puts in juxtaposition to it. Here is the artwork (Rawsky vol. 1, p. 126):

The Dialogue here is Number 40, Book I, "On Painting." Petrarch says:
Forgetting the great craftsman, you just gaze voraciously at those poor pictures of the sun and the moon--ignoring their connection to the highest things. And that is where your understanding ends.
What are "their connection to the highest things"? It is not just God, because of the plural. Rawsky cites Ps. 35, 10 ("For with thee [the Lord] is the fountain of life; and in thy light we shall see light', Rev. 12:1 ("a woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet"), and Job 31:26-28: which is bit obscure:
Douay-Rheims says:
[26] If I beheld the sun when it shined, and the moon going in brightness: [27] And my heart in secret hath rejoiced, and I have kissed my hand with my mouth: [28] Which is a very great iniquity, and a denial against the most high God. [29] If I have been glad at the downfall of him that hated me, and have rejoiced that evil had found him. [30] For I have not given my mouth to sin, by wishing a curse to his soul.
Douay-Rheims explains.
[26] If I beheld the sun: If I behold the sun and moon with admiration, knowing them to be created and governed by the power of God, I call on my adversaries to produce any thing against me, whereby I could be charged with worshiping the sun or moon.
Rawsky also cites an illumination of sun and moon as "the cosmos and its sorrow": the idea of sorrow fits the PMB Moon card, but the sun card is not the cosmos. I would think the ascended Virgin as imaged by the Moon and the ascended Christ by the Sun might be a possibility. Christ as the Sun would fit the Charles VI and BAR Sun (if we see the lady with the distaff as Clotho, the Fate that cuts the thread of life), but not these decks' Moon. The BAR's Star card also fits, as it seems to depict the three wise men looking at the Star of Bethlehem.

The PMB's Moon card only partly fits this interpretation. Her sorrowful look is that, sometimes depicted in Renaissance Madonnas, of Mary unconsciously knowing her child's fate. Yet the bridle, the symbol of restrained lust, does not fit the Virgin's innate purity, and is certainly not something the Virgin was ever depicted being sorrowful about.. And the child with the Sun does not look much like the Christ child. I suspect that other infuences are at work. The PMB Sun and Moon, like the other 4 second-artist cards, are in my opinion very late. Ross ( has shown how the PMB Fortitude card derives from a manuscript by Petrus Bonus. That manuscript was the basis for the decan images at the Schifanoia (as Ross observes), working on which, 1469-1470, is where I think Benedetto Bembo would have picked up his frequently cited Ferrarese influences. You will note Ross's dating of the card, c. 1475. In the late 1460s or early 1470s (or even the late 1460s) there might have been input from Filelfo's studies of Proclus (the relevant text verified from the inventory of his books) and the Chaldean Oracles, or, in Florence, Ficino's studies of the same texts. I have developed this point elsewhere, in the Plethon thread on Aeclectic.

In addition, I think the passage in Revelation about "the bright and morning star" could be cited, in a general way, and also the brightness of the New Jerusalem, greater than the sun. In that general way, the celestials are firstly representatives of the Triumph of Time. And second, as preparing the way for the Triumph of Eternity, through representing the Star of Bethlehem, the Virgin Mary, and the Christ, also anticipating the events of the Apocalypse. This interpretation fits the BAR best (2 cards) but also the PMB (in a general way, with some changes between first artist and second). The Moon card, while clearly representing Time, is harder to place in this "anticipation of Eternity" framework than the Star card, except by postulating an earlier "Virgin Mary" themed card now lost. The same is true for the Sun card, as Christ.

If the celestials represent Time, what does that do to my hypothesis that the Hermit represented Time in the CY-type? I am not sure. One possibility is that in expanding the deck, three cards were seen as better than one, and with more potential for a Christian message. So the Hermit was simply moved to an earlier place in the deck, losing his association to Time and, little by little, even his hourglass. Another possibility is that there never was a Hermit in the CY-type (I mean, c. 1440), or that there were both a Hermit and at least one of the Celestials. The Sun has the most associations to Time of the three. I visualize a card with just a big sun on it, as we do see in an odd Sun card that appears separate from any deck, or perhaps something like the BAR and Charles VI, which shows the triumph over fate and hence anticipates the triumph of eternity.

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