One more humanist of the early Medici literati circle I should have mentioned as he was important to Lorenzo vecchio as his tutor (likely Cosimo’s as well) – the future chancellor Carlo Marusppini (I still lean towards Bruni as the one behind the original tarot program, the humanist chancellor at the time of Anghiari).
I know that I read two different accounts of the Albizzi/Martelli scuffle in 1434 after the Medici return but can’t find them at the moment (or least don’t have the time for a thorough search at the moment); will post them for you once I locate them in the ever-growing pile of copied articles I have.
Re. the event for which Cosimo held the Pope’s horse’s reins:
You’re right - that was the event:; Huck wrote: Before the council [Pope Eugene] entered end of January 1439 (if you mean this), that's hardly the date of the Giovanni procession, I would think.
Precisely what we have in the Gozzoli painting; its if the Cosimo event is “quoted”, yet his action is performed by another (Martelli) as he is now in the train of dignitaries.Cosimo’s costly yet successful efforts to have the Council of Ferrara transferred to Florence in 1439 ar well known, and when Pope Eugenius arrived in Florence for the occasion, it was Cosimo, elected Standard Bearer of Justice, who marched beside him and held the bridle of the papal horse [fn: Cavalcanti, Delle Carcere, 244]. Richard Trexler, Public life in Renaissance Florence, 1980: 424.
Backing away from these details for a moment, let’s consider the competing theories of the ur-deck: Created as a species of trionfi for the Medici victory at Anghiari [my theory] or the earlier “victory” of the Medici of getting the “successful” Council moved to Florence (your theory; Ross’s too?).
Let’s agree with Crum and others that Gozzoli did in fact paint an idealization of the Council of Florence in the Medici Palace chapel fresco of the procession of the Magi; moreover, let us also admit that the first person to receive a tarot deck that we know about, Malatesta, is in that very painting. From there complications ensue. Nothing in Gozzoli’s painting explicitly speaks, iconographically, to one of the trumps; most damning: None of the three kings look like the emperor card that was produced in the CY, Brambilla and PMB. If a church-related event, versus a battle, was the original focus of the tarot then one must explain the incongruent fact that the Church, quite recently in the person of Bernardino (d. 1444), condemned cards, objects virtually synonymous with gambling. So the great East-West Union was celebrated with an iniquity?
The only facts we have about the earliest known Giusti/Malatesta deck is that it quickly followed upon the Medici victory of Anghiari, was paid for by a procurer of armed men (Giusti) and was bequeathed to a purchaser of the services of such armed men (Malaesta) in his primary occupation of a condottiero. Moreover, the only thing we know about the deck proper is that it displayed Malatesta’s coat of arms – an overtly political symbol in the 15th century. None of this jives with the ur-deck having a primarily moral purpose nor having been Church-centric.
My own theory is that the deck celebrated the joint Papal/Florence victory at Anghiari, but that the recipients of the ur-tarot decks were not the clergy for the reasons I touched on above; the “target audience” for the cheaper decks would have been the popolo and especially mercenary solidery that had vexed all Italian states since Hawkwood and before. The earliest tarot decks – Anghiari, CY and PMB (Brambilla is too fragmentary) – are all associated with condottieri, not the Pope or “the Church.” But even the Church, in the person of its legate who lead the papal army that day at Anghiari, bishop Ludovico Trevisan, celebrated Anghiari as a triumph (where was the Council depicted as such by either the Medici or Church?):