Re: Dummett and methodology

#21
Hi, Mike,
mikeh wrote:At the moment, my questions for him are mainly related to whether his own analysis does not violate his interpretation of Dummett, and why his any less than what I say.
Absolutely! How could you have missed that?

My entire project is an attempt to SOLVE his riddle of Tarot. His view was that there might be no riddle to solve, and I claim to have solved it. How could I have been more emphatically explicit about that? That is why I named my old Web page The Riddle of Tarot, and one of the reasons for quoting him at such length, explaining his position and the constraints of this particular project. Every time I claim that there is a design to the lowest trumps, or the middle trumps, or the highest trumps, I am acknowledging and accepting much of his analysis (like the three sections finding) and simultaneously attempting to build on it in a way that will refute his conclusion, there there was no systematic iconographic programme to the trump cycle.

His view was that there was no coherent meaning to the trump cycle, and that any alternative position must overcome extremely difficult challenges to be considered plausible. I agree with that, and I continue to attempt to meet that challenge, to find and present a better conclusion than his. That is precisely what the term "null hypothesis" refers to -- it is the hypothesis which I attempt to overthrow, with my "alternative hypothesis". Perhaps when I rewrite the old Riddle of Tarot page it should be re-titled, for clarity:

Solving the Riddle of Tarot.

If we both dispute Dummett, then how are we different? Among the many differences between you and I are the following:

1. I am interested in Tarot history per se. Your interests are elsewhere, and for some perverse reason you have chosen Tarot as a vehicle for pursuing those other interests, from Shakespeare to alchemy. There are a number of reasons why one might choose this approach, and it it entirely conventional, a long-standing tradition to impose one's own interests on Tarot, but it is a fundamentally different approach to the subject than mine... or Dummett's.

2. I respect the work of historians. I take their findings and most of their conclusions as a starting point, rather than making up my own "history" and cherry-picking things from the real historians to suit my fancy. Because my interest is in objective history rather than personal imaginings, the endless years of research and analysis they have done is necessary -- I love those guys! (We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.) They researched and documented this historical world and thereby created a world of constraints. This is what makes a project like mine possible, so I embrace it as being not merely helpful but essential. The alternative is fantasy and bullshit.

3. I respect the work of experts in many fields, including the long history of esoteric subjects. In terms of modern scholarship, as an example, experts in ars memoria ignore Tarot -- with good reason. In terms of historical evidence, no one ever mentioned Tarot in that regard. You want to overrule the experts in a field and ignore the historical evidence in that field, whereas I accept them and use their work as fixed point of reference.

4. Most importantly, in this context, is that I respect and am working in the framework established by Dummett. The historical foundation he built is the very basis for my own project, which is a direct response to his challenge. I'm playing in his playground, and I know that, accept it, and attempt to build on that foundation rather than ignoring, marginalizing, or rejecting it.

Why is my carefully considered and overly detailed rejection of one of Dummett's conclusions different from your seeming indifference to Dummett's entire body of work and your lies about what he attempted and what he accomplished? First, I am challenging just one, very particular conclusion of Dummett's. It was an explicitly provisional conclusion, and the least speculative one possible, being based primarily on parsimony: the question is whether a theory is needed at all! Second, I am accepting the overall history of playing cards as it has developed through the work of playing-card historians. Third, when I think he's wrong about something, anything, (e.g., his description of the "harmless appearance" of the Tower card in Sicilian decks), I check it out as best I can before announcing his failure and my triumph. That is, I give him the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because he knew infinitely more about Tarot history than I ever aspired to know.

Even if we just look at our respective interpretations, you are in the process of making up 10,000 different stories, if you live long enough. Most all of them concern isolated details placed in a false context, and none of them will offer an explanation for the subjects and sequence of Tarot. Instead, you are simply fantasizing about what some hypothetical people might have thought about details taken out of context. For some reason you find this sort of make-believe interesting and worthwhile. It is certainly true that people would have done that from time to time, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries when emblem books developed and became so popular. (On the other hand, they probably would not have expressed the same ideas that fascinate you so much. We can see that just by looking at the popular emblem books and their typical subject matter.) Somebody might even have made up a game, using the trumps as "conversation cards", and perhaps someday a document describing such a game will be discovered. Maybe, might have, could be, we can speculate, yak-yak-yak, yada-yada, blah-blah-blah.

Because it does not seek to explain any historical facts, simply to interpret them as someone like you might have done, your project appears to have no historical significance. In contrast, I am making up just a few stories, which are intended to account for the selection of subjects and ordering of cards in specific historical decks (i.e., to explain known facts), and by extension, to understand the original design, the unseen Ur Tarot. Someone invented Tarot, and all the extant decks are derived from that invention. Why did that someone choose those subjects and arrange them in that original ordering, whatever it might have been? Obviously, there are several assumptions, working hypotheses behind that quest, but the point here is simply that you and I are looking for very different interpretations. You want lots of them, none of which will explain anything about Tarot history. I want just a few, and at least one which will explain the selection and sequence of trump subjects.

Regarding your objection to my characterization of your approach, consider the arguments presented in support of those characterizations. If I state as a fact that you are an occultist, (because, "you are what you do"), or more precisely an occult apologist, you will take offense. When I present as evidence the fact that you are arguing, repeatedly and at great length, in defense of various traditional occult fictions, that you are attempting to rationalize longstanding false claims into arguably justifiable ones that sound the same, you may still take offense. However, those appear to be the facts and the plain description of those facts. Your writings are a perfect example of the nature of the more sophisticated 21st-century Tarot folklore and the way it follows the same paths as traditional occultists as well as the New Age writers of the late 20th century.

(Yes, I also realize, using the argument "you are what you do", that I am an arrogant, obnoxious SOB. In my defense, I'm arrogant in dealing with you, whereas you are arrogant in dealing with Dummett.)

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

Re: Dummett and methodology [was Re: The Sun]

#22
I am going to comment on one thing Michael said in his earlier post, just before the last one (which I am waiting to settle in my mind):
mikeh wrote:
As such, the sequence seems more like one narrative, proceeding temporally from past to future, one grand journey of the spirit, than your division into three sections allows. So I wonder whether the sharp break into three sections, as opposed to one continuous narrative, is not a result of something else rather than an original state. But I have no worked-out theory, not of an ur-tarot but of an ur-interpretation, to replace yours with.
You repeat that New Age "Fool's Journey" assumption but claim that you are not following the New Agers, just as you attempt to justify Egyptian symbolism but are not an apologist for Court de Gebelin, and you attempt to justify alchemical symbolism but are not working the same ground as Levi and the New Age neo-Jungians. How can you spend so much time as an occult apologist and yet take offence when it is pointed out?
About the tarot as "Fool's Journey," I didn't use that word, but yes, that's one etymology of the word tarocchi (including the sense of "madman")--and I know that can be interpreted as a derogatory term about gambling, with tarot a popular form (but why that game especially?). About the tarot narrative as "one grand journey of the spirit", as I did say, I am following what I have read about Christian Platonism of the 1420s and 1430s, centered in Florence, especially at the Camaldolese monastery under Traversari. Here is Dennis Lackner in "The Camaldolese Academy" (Marsilio Ficino: His Theology, His Philosophy, His Legacy, p. 17:
Tradition relates that a vision of a ladder ascending into heaven had inspired St. Romjuald's foundation fo the hermitage of Camaldoli.(4) Perpetuating traditions of the Christian East expressed in John Climacus's Scala Paradisi, the Camaldolese sought to ascend this ladder by transfiguring the desires of nature into the desire for God. 'Physical love can be a paradigm for he longing for God' and 'Happy the man who loves and longs for God as a smitten lover does for his beloved.'(5) From their earliest years the Camaldolese thus conserved a kind of Chjristian-Platonic theology of the ladder, with roots in the Christian East, which propounded a model of man's gradual divinization through celestial love.(6) Thus on the one hand Camaldolese hierarchs found in Florentine Platonism a kindred spirituaity. On the other hand, the Renaissance Platonists saw in the Camaldolese life the embodiment of Platonic principles.
I have scanned the page so you can read the footnotes (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vQbhoYNqAN8/U ... WHiRes.JPG); the whole essay is worth reading, for its account of how the Camaldolese in relation to the Florentine humanists and Cosimo de' Medici then. The most important thing there is that Traversari had translated Climacus into Latin in 1419.

The idea of the mystical ladder or staircase (scala in Italian) continued to be important later in the 15th century and after. For the later history (and earlier; his figure 7, from Mt. Sinai, 12th century; I don't know when that got to the West), see Andrea Vitali, "The Mystical Staircase" at http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=110&lng=ENG, and especially its figure 4, 1477 Florence:
Image

Re: Dummett and methodology [was Re: The Sun]

#23
Mike,
Very nice find on Dennis Lackner's "The Camaldolese Academy" (Marsilio Ficino: His Theology, His Philosophy, His Legacy). I've been researching Travesari somewhat lately, but mainly in an indirect connection with the puzzle of the San Lorenzo night sky fresco in the Old Sacristy (despite the pagan constellations this site is one of religious ritual and salvation - I believe Travesari would have had a role in the overall program of the Old Sacristy for Cosimo, but not the specifics of the astronomical fresco as I believe he was dead by the time it was painted).

Anyweay, not sure how my searches did not turn up Lackner, but thank you again!
Phaeded

Re: Dummett and methodology [was Re: The Sun]

#24
mikeh wrote:As such, the sequence seems more like one narrative, proceeding temporally from past to future, one grand journey of the spirit, than your division into three sections allows.
Hello Mike,
it seems to me that if you say that Climacus explains the whole tarot sequence, without any need of the division in different sections proposed by Dummett, you should clarify how Climacus explains the “jumps” from the Pope to Love and from Death to the Devil.

Some sort of ladder has been recognized in tarot by many. But no single hierarchy or ladder applies to all the sections of the cycle.

The first section corresponds to a kind of social hierarchy (the lowly, the noble, the clergy).

The second section represents the tragedy of human life: the early successes, the powerful influence of Time and Fortune, the end represented by Treason and Death. The three virtues appear here as the qualities needed to face life. If we ignore the virtues, the order here is chronological (Love and Triumph belong to youth, Time brings to old age and Death).

The third section represents the divine order of eternal entities as a “hierarchy of light” (as from the Book of Revelation).

The second and third sections can easily be linked as life and after-life of man. It is something we see in Petrarch's Triumphs and, even more clearly, in the paintings by Lorenzo Costa in the Bentivoglio Chapel in Bologna which have been extensively commented by Michael Hurst. Still, I don't see how to interpret the third section of the trumps as “one narrative, proceeding temporally from past to future”. How to explain that the devil is “temporally” before judgment and after the virtues? And, above all, which is the temporal interpretation of trumps 0-V? That section has precise visual parallels in depictions of the three ranks of mankind. But what is the meaning of having the lowly “temporally” before the noble and the noble “temporally” before the clergy?

From what I understand, Climacus describes the progress of man in this life, based on the victory of Virtue on Vice. So it is a parallel for the central section of the trumps (even if some concepts central to the trump sequence, such as Fortune, seem to be missing). But the first and the third sections of the cycle remain totally unexplained, if one refers to Climacus alone.

I agree with the view of Franco Pratesi who, after discussing Climacus and other candidate sources for the sequence of the trumps, writes:
We have often found that it was easy to retrieve a source for any individual card of the tarot sequence, whereas it has been hard – indeed, really impossible for me - to find a reliable source for the whole sequence. However, there can be intermediate cases: we can suppose that the tarot sequence derived from assembling, instead of twenty-two individual cards, about four-five groups of five-four cards each, respectively, or even less.
The idea of the tarot sequence having been composed by different groups of cards is not new, but has recently been supported by Michael Hurst, developing previous suggestions by nobody less than Michael Dummett.
Dummett concluded that, apart from the three Virtues - which occupied various positions according to place and time - the other cards of the sequence were practically independent of the particular order adopted and could be divided into three successive groups, bottom, middle, and upper. Initially one finds cards from Bagatto to Papessa, (with the suggestion that Papessa could be born as a conversion of Prudenza, the missing cardinal virtue) then a second series connected with conditions of human life, from Amore to Morte, and finally a third series related to celestial and spiritual powers.
We have thus reached a situation in which the tarot sequence can be seen as formed by groups of cards, which are weakly linked between different groups, but strongly linked within each of them.
How can Climacus provide a better, simpler alternative to the social hierarchy of the first six trumps and the transcendental “hierarchy of light” of the last trumps?
Could you please detail the complete interpretation of the whole trump sequence as a unified “journey”?

Re: Dummett and methodology [was Re: The Sun]

#25
Marco,
I'm interested in you clarifying your own position. Do you believe, as Hurst seems to, that the tarot was complete with 22 trumps from its very inception and that it was made up of three groups: a first group suggesting the states of human life combined with the three Virtues (the cardinals, sans Prudence, with the additional caveat that "if we ignore the virtues, the order here is chronological"), a second group of social hierarchies and a third group of eternal entities/lights...merged into a heretofore unknown sequence as the result of a creative act of bricolage by some unknown genius? Moreover, the genius's sequence was ignored asthese three groups were idenified as such by "others" who in turn rearranged them into yet new sequences to suit their own taste for reasons unknown to us?

I think Occam's razor dulled considerably before I was done writing even that abridged explanation.
Phaeded

Re: Dummett and methodology [was Re: The Sun]

#26
Phaeded wrote:Marco,
I'm interested in you clarifying your own position.
Hello Phaeded,
I am flattered by your interest in my humble opinions! I will do my best to clarify what I think.

Do you believe, as Hurst seems to, that the tarot was complete with 22 trumps from its very inception
We do not have any specific evidence of different subsets of the 22 trumps. I am convinced that the 22 trumps seemed meaningful to XV century people. A meaningless unnumbered sequence would not have been so successful. Since the sequence is both meaningful and very complex (so much so that it has been wildly misunderstood after De Gebelin) I tend to think of it as something produced by a single man at a precise moment in time. Anyway, since we have no specific evidence of an evolution, discussing it is just speculation. Occam cuts the evolutionary idea because there is no evolutionary evidence to be explained.
and [do you believe] that it was made up of three groups: a first group suggesting the states of human life combined with the three Virtues (the cardinals, sans Prudence, with the additional caveat that "if we ignore the virtues, the order here is chronological"), a second group of social hierarchies and a third group of eternal entities/lights...merged into a heretofore unknown sequence as the result of a creative act of bricolage by some unknown genius?
Dummett (quoted by Michael Hurst) wrote:

When we look closely at the various orders, we find that there was far from being total chaos. A first impression is of a good deal of regularity which, however, is hard to specify. Now the cards which wander most unrestrainedly within the sequence, from one ordering to another, are the three Virtues. If we remove these three cards, and consider the sequence formed by the remaining eighteen trump cards, it becomes very easy to state those features of their arrangement which remain constant in all the orderings. Ignoring the Virtues, we can say that the sequence of the remaining trumps falls into three distinct segments, an initial one, a middle one, and a final one, all variation occurring only within these different segments.

So, the virtues somehow constitute a fourth segment, which in most orderings is connected with, or embedded in, the second section (not the first one, as you write). You can see a few ancient orderings here and compare them yourself.

It is not easy to make sense of these sequences. Dummett's observations above, and the huge amount of visual analogues for the three sections collected by Michael Hurst, are the best explanation I know of.

And, yes, I think the inventor of the trump sequence was a genius. He was clearly inspired by Petrarch's Triumphs, so also Moakley's contribution in the explanation of the trump sequence should be mentioned. Petrarch's poem has been described as “the story of the human soul in its progress from earthly passion toward fulfillment in God”: I think the same description applies to the trump sequence.
Moreover, the genius's sequence was ignored asthese three groups were idenified as such by "others" who in turn rearranged them into yet new sequences to suit their own taste for reasons unknown to us?
The cards were rearranged: this is a fact, not my opinion.

Most cards were moved with a section, but not moved from a section to another: this also is a fact.

The reasons of the two facts above are completely undocumented so, in a certain sense, their being unknown to us also is a fact.

The civic-pride hypothesis put forward by Michael Hurst seems reasonable to me also in this case. But if you have a better explanation, please share it with us!
I think Occam's razor dulled considerably before I was done writing even that abridged explanation.
Occam's razor cuts unnecessary complexity. Here we have a documented complex structure (the trump sequence) with a documented complex set of variations (the different orderings collected by Dummett). Until a simpler explanation produces the same amount of visual and textual parallels, I stick to the complex but functional explanation we have.

Re: Dummett and methodology [was Re: The Sun]

#27
Marco,
If the sequence determines the meaning and was at the essence of what the creator of the game came up with, why are there three variations almost from the get-go? "Civic pride" merely explains why a sequence variation was adhered to, not why the received wisdom of the ur-tarot would have been altered in the first place.

Secondly, I find the three groupings arbitrary. There are no contemporary cognates that perfectly match these groupings so not only was the entire sequence made-up, so were these subgroups.

Finally, the overall sequence as hierarchal vignettes makes no sense. Take the last portion of the Bologna sequence for instance:

Old Man / Hermit
the Traitor
Death
the Devil
Lightning / Tower
the Star
Moon
Sun
World
Angel (Judgement.)

• Why does time (the hermit) precede being a traitor? What do those two even have in common?
• Why does God’s wrath (lightning/tower) follow 2 cards after death?
• Why does the “star” (as the 8th fixed star sphere or any star/planet), precede the moon which is the lowest of all the heavenly spheres?
• Why would the “star” – again, if the 8th fixed star sphere - precede Judgment (the latter shows the dead arising from their tombs in the earth; a star would indicate already having made it to the heavenly spheres a’la the Paradiso.)?

The sequence here is not meaningful however you “parse” it.

Phaeded

Re: Dummett and methodology [was Re: The Sun]

#28
Phaeded wrote:Marco,
If the sequence determines the meaning and was at the essence of what the creator of the game came up with, why are there three variations almost from the get-go? "Civic pride" merely explains why a sequence variation was adhered to, not why the received wisdom of the ur-tarot would have been altered in the first place.
Hello Phaeded,
the question of the variations, why and how they occurred, is open. If I understand correctly, according to the Civic pride theory, the sequence was intentionally modified, trading some of the meaningfulness for a localized unique version for that particular region.

But it is very important that the changes were not arbitrary. The Fool and the Bagat always are in the lower positions of the first section, and the Pope always is at the top.

Love and Success (the Triumphal Chariot) always come before Time and Fortune. Treason and Death always appear at the end of the second section.
Secondly, I find the three groupings arbitrary. There are no contemporary cognates that perfectly match these groupings so not only was the entire sequence made-up, so were these subgroups.
If this is so, we can only conclude that we are confronted with an original composition. There are no perfectly matching contemporary cognates also for Petrarch's Triumphs or Dante's Commedia, this does not make those works meaningless.
Finally, the overall sequence as hierarchal vignettes makes no sense. Take the last portion of the Bologna sequence for instance:

Old Man / Hermit
the Traitor
Death
the Devil
Lightning / Tower
the Star
Moon
Sun
World
Angel (Judgement.)

• Why does time (the hermit) precede being a traitor? What do those two even have in common?
The traitor represents being a victim of treason, not being a traitor.
Time (the Old Man), like Fortune, is a neutral power, which drives human life to its destiny: from Love and Success to Treason and Death. Both Treason (“De Proditione”) and Death (“De Morte”) appear in the second part of Petrarch's De Remediis, the book about “foul fortune”.
• Why does God’s wrath (lightning/tower) follow 2 cards after death?
The second section of the trumps represents human life in this world, and ends with Death. The following section represents what will happen at the ends of times. The wrath of God is directed against the Devil, who will be defeated at the end of times, when all mankind will be dead.
• Why does the “star” (as the 8th fixed star sphere or any star/planet), precede the moon which is the lowest of all the heavenly spheres?
As Paolo Minucci wrote in 1676 (commenting the Minchiate): “the Stars are outshone by the Moon, and the Moon by the Sun”. This section is organized as “a hierarchy of light”. At the very bottom there is the Devil, which Bernard of Clairvaux called "the Prince of Darkness" (princeps tenebrarum).

Michael has provided a great graphical illustration of the concept:
Image

• Why would the “star” – again, if the 8th fixed star sphere - precede Judgment (the latter shows the dead arising from their tombs in the earth; a star would indicate already having made it to the heavenly spheres a’la the Paradiso.)?
The last section of the trumps does not represent the journey of the soul after death. It represents the final fight against the Devil described in the Bible.

For instance, Matthew 24:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets [the Antichrist i.e. the Devil],
and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were
possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.
Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the
desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers;
believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even
unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be [the Tower / Lightning].
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be
gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun [the Sun]
be darkened, and the moon [the Moon] shall not give her light, and the
stars [the Stars] shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens
shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:
and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they
shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with
power and great glory [the World as the Glory of God].
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet [Judgement],
and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds,
from one end of heaven to the other.

tr500.jpg
tr500.jpg (78.35 KiB) Viewed 4048 times
By the way, the “Paradiso” is set before the final judgment. The resurrection of the bodies has not occurred yet. For instance, Virgil says, speaking of Ciacco, (Inferno, VI, 96) “No more his bed he leaves, Ere the last angel-trumpet blow” ('Più non si desta di qua dal suon de l'angelica tromba').

A while ago, ATF user Melanchollic produced this diagram that maybe can make the overall structure of the trumps clearer.
MappingtheTarotv2.jpg
(53.48 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Re: Dummett and methodology [was Re: The Sun]

#29
Marco,
First, I’ll stop sandbagging soon (give me 2 more weeks to edit something together) and present the evidence that there is a literary source that accounts for all the trumps in a 3x7 format, but not anything resembling the three groups discussed above… which reminds me of Ptolemy’s epicycles attempting to ‘save the phenomena’ of the tarot sequence as meaningful.

But let’s look at your examples where the imposition of the sequence-as-meaning has twisted what are otherwise clearly understood trumps (at least by 15th century contemporaries) into something entirely else.
Marco wrote
The traitor represents being a victim of treason, not being a traitor.
Time (the Old Man), like Fortune, is a neutral power, which drives human life to its destiny: from Love and Success to Treason and Death. Both Treason (“De Proditione”) and Death (“De Morte”) appear in the second part of Petrarch's De Remediis, the book about “foul fortune”.
The traitor is emphatically not a victim – he is hanging for his sins: guilty of treason. And I know you know this so not sure why I feel compelled to explain further; but given that we know the ur-tarot is now Florentine and that city had a clear policy of painting traitors upside down ( (i)impiccati(/I )– famously so in the case of Piccinino (after he switched over to Visconti) and the Albizzi faction (after Anghiari) – the meaning of this card would have been crystal clear to all.
Phaeded wrote:
Why does God’s wrath (lightning/tower) follow 2 cards after death?

Marco wrote:
The second section of the trumps represents human life in this world, and ends with Death. The following section represents what will happen at the ends of times. The wrath of God is directed against the Devil, who will be defeated at the end of times, when all mankind will be dead.
The protoype for this card was lifted from the widespread and heavily illustrated Speculum humanæ salvationis. The example below in b/w is from the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, Ms. Lat. 593 version (Florentine, late 14th c.) – ignore the left image but in the right image God strikes down Sodom (note Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt as a twisted column). There is no devil – simply God’s wrath. Masaccio ripped this off for his ‘Expulsion’ (but this is still divine wrath directed not at the devil but at the offending parties: Adam and Eve), in turn ripped off by a later Florentine Minchiate artist (again the wrath – stones from the tower here – fall on the offender, Eve), but all of the cards reflect the same primary meaning of divine punishment for sinning.
Image
Image
Image

Phaeded wrote
Why does the “star” (as the 8th fixed star sphere or any star/planet), precede the moon which is the lowest of all the heavenly spheres?

Marco wrote
As Paolo Minucci wrote in 1676 (commenting the Minchiate): “the Stars are outshone by the Moon, and the Moon by the Sun”. This section is organized as “a hierarchy of light”. At the very bottom there is the Devil, which Bernard of Clairvaux called "the Prince of Darkness" (princeps tenebrarum).
Many trumps in later decks are bastardized versions of the ur-tarot that often corrupt the original meaning. I see you found a later Marseilles deck “star” card that shows multiple stars but in fact the PMB shows a single star clearly based on Paduan prototypes in whichVenus is depicted. Padua was well known for astrology and her scholars spread far and wide (Filelfo and Alberti to name just two of her famous alumni), not to mention Cosimo de Medici himself was in Padua for extended stays in 1430 and 1434. That star motif as Venus would have been perfectly understood in the mid-quattrocento, particularly in Florence and Milan. That this trump was misunderstood as “Star” is a laughable idea unless the Star of Bethelem was indicated – and lo and behold, Bolognese decks tried give meaning to the nonsensical “star” by showing it with the Three Magi: http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/taro ... astar1.jpg. That 17th century poem you found sheds no light on the PMB “star” nor the ur-tarot...just the ignorant follies of later decks that followed and then degenerated into what Gébelin and his ilk perfected into fool’s gold.
Marco wrote
The last section of the trumps does not represent the journey of the soul after death. It represents the final fight against the Devil described in the Bible.
If the Devil were the subject of the the Star, Moon, Sun, World, and Angel/Judgement why is there nary a sign of him in those cards? The devil is simply a factor in the world that must be dealt with, just like the any of the other cards. There is no psychomachia showing an angel and devil fighting over a soul (a common enough image, e.g., http://25.media.tumblr.com/b5651737880a ... o1_500.jpg ), no St. Michael or avenging Lamb of God, nor is there any apocalyptic imagery dealing with the devil in the Judgement card – just the resurrection of the dead. Yes they believed in the devil and sin, but there is no proof that the deck was preoccupied with the devil other than recognizing his existence in a single card. He was simply as real as the Emperor.

Phaeded

Re: Dummett and methodology [was Re: The Sun]

#30
Phaeded wrote:Marco,
First, I’ll stop sandbagging soon (give me 2 more weeks to edit something together) and present the evidence that there is a literary source that accounts for all the trumps in a 3x7 format, but not anything resembling the three groups discussed above… which reminds me of Ptolemy’s epicycles attempting to ‘save the phenomena’ of the tarot sequence as meaningful.
This sounds very interesting. I hope you have read Franco Pratesi's papers on trionfi.com in which he describe a much longer and extensive research with a similar goal.
Phaeded wrote: The traitor is emphatically not a victim – he is hanging for his sins: guilty of treason.
I agree: the traitor represented on the card does not represent a victim. In the sequence Love/TriumphalChariot Time/Fortune Treason/Death, only the first two cards possibly represent something that the protagonist Everyman does. The other four are things that Everyman is subject to. Everyman does not “become” Fortune, Time, Treason and Death: he is subject to them.
we know the ur-tarot is now Florentine
I disagree: I just consider Florence one of the possibilities.
The protoype for this card [the Tower] was lifted from the widespread and heavily illustrated Speculum humanæ salvationis. The example below in b/w is from the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, Ms. Lat. 593 version (Florentine, late 14th c.) – ignore the left image but in the right image God strikes down Sodom (note Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt as a twisted column). There is no devil – simply God’s wrath. Masaccio ripped this off for his ‘Expulsion’ (but this is still divine wrath directed not at the devil but at the offending parties: Adam and Eve), in turn ripped off by a later Florentine Minchiate artist (again the wrath – stones from the tower here – fall on the offender, Eve), but all of the cards reflect the same primary meaning of divine punishment for sinning.
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I think that (given the context of the card, trumping the Devil and before Judgment) a better parallel for the Tower is an image like this:
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(discussed here).

I agree that the card has received interpretations making it something else (e.g. Hell).
I see you found a later Marseilles deck “star” card that shows multiple stars but in fact the PMB shows a single star clearly based on Paduan prototypes in whichVenus is depicted. Padua was well known for astrology and her scholars spread far and wide (Filelfo and Alberti to name just two of her famous alumni), not to mention Cosimo de Medici himself was in Padua for extended stays in 1430 and 1434. That star motif as Venus would have been perfectly understood in the mid-quattrocento, particularly in Florence and Milan.
The card has indeed been widely interpreted as Venus, the Star per excellence. For instance in Leber tarot (“inclitus sidus”) or Folengo's 22 trumps sonnet (Love calls it “my star” “mia stella”). Still I think that the names "Stella" or "Stelle" are appropriate: the card was originally meant to represent stars in general, as in the Genesis, in the Revelation and in the passage from Matthew 24 I quoted above. This explains its position as a step in a hierarchy of light: Prince of Darkness, Star, Moon, Sun, Glory of God. The sequence of the trumps needs to be explained. It is not random. I am looking forward to read your explanation of the meaning of the sequence.
That 17th century poem you found sheds no light on the PMB “star” nor the ur-tarot...just the ignorant follies of later decks that followed and then degenerated into what Gébelin and his ilk perfected into fool’s gold.
I think that Minucci's text (posted and translated by Ross here) is interesting exactly because it proves that, only a century before De Gebelin, tarot was still partially understood. Minucci closes his discussion with this sentence: Likewise Petrarch made Trionfi like a game; since Love is superceded by Chastity, Chastity by Death, Death by Fame, and Fame by Divinity, which reigns eternally (“Il Petrarca similmente ne' Trionfi fa come un giuoco; perchè Amore è superato dalla Castità, la Castità dalla Morte, la Morte dalla Fama, e la Fama dalla Divinità, la quale eternamente regna.”) In my opinion, a parallel between the trumps and Petrarch's Triumphs is not “ignorant folly”.

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