The Popess and the Empress

#2
Atlantean wrote: I know some people think the Popesse is a man in drag (you know who you are)...
Hee, hee, really? I remember Robert suggested it once in a thread on AT, but he was joking (I think)...
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: Tarot was originally based on the Roman Catholic religion.

#3
SteveM wrote:
Atlantean wrote: I know some people think the Popesse is a man in drag (you know who you are)...
Hee, hee, really? I remember Robert suggested it once in a thread on AT, but he was joking (I think)...
Actually, I was not suggesting that the Popess was a man in drag, I was suggesting that the Popess was originally a second pope, and that the card then became a female. Same for the Empress. At the time I was more focused on the possible relationship to the Great Schism. Here's the original thread from years ago: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=70257

And I still believe it might be the case, but for more focused reasons. In Bologna, it seems that the four equal "papi" contained two popes and two emperors.

If the tarot originated in this region, or with this order, then it's possible that that would explain why the Empress is in the order at all as, for a "ranks of man" type sequence she is rather superfluous. It would also explain the Popess being there. In the much later version by Bologna by Mitelli (from around 1660, so fairly contemporary with Vieville and Noblet for comparison in time), this tradition is kept, and the two figures in each set are distinguished by being seated or standing:



This needs more research and evidence to be presented as a full theory, but might be a good subject to develop in the Unicorn Terrace. Of course, one of the biggest issues is how quickly the "Second Pope" became the "Popess", as early as the Visconti Sforza.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

The Popess and the Empress

#4
robert wrote:
SteveM wrote:
Atlantean wrote: I know some people think the Popesse is a man in drag (you know who you are)...
Hee, hee, really? I remember Robert suggested it once in a thread on AT, but he was joking (I think)...
Actually, I was not suggesting that the Popess was a man in drag, I was suggesting that the Popess was originally a second pope, and that the card then became a female. Same for the Empress.
Yeah sorry I wasn't referring to that old crock, but my mistake, it was the empress you said was a man, not the popesse:
kwaw wrote:
le pendu wrote:Actually, the Empress is really a MAN!!!
You think so? I had thought possibly the Popesse maybe was a man, why not the Empress too? The ugly sisters of our tarot pantomine? Who is our cinderella do you suppose, star lady or the worlds dancer?

The character of the Pardoner from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, who in many ways is very much like our bateleur, is said to be based to an extent upon the character of ‘False Seeming’ from ‘Roman de la Rose’:

But what care I? I'm none the worse,
With silver have I stored my purse
And goods have heaped; so well I've striven,
That foolish folk have freely given
Abundance, and I lead my life
In ease, all undisturbed by strife,
Thanks to the easy prelates who
Fear to say aught whate'er I do.
Not one of them dares make essay
Against me, or he'd roundly pay.
And thus I live as pleaseth me
By fraud, deceit, and trickery.

Who even dressed as a woman when it took his fancy:

Sometimes a woman's robe I wear,
As matron staid or damsel fair,
And oft assume religious dress,
As anchorite or prioress,
An abbess who with life hath done,
Or novice who would fain be nun
As through the world I walk about,
I turn each credence inside out,
And whatsoever may be their law,
I take the grain and leave the straw;
For I but live to cozen folk,
And laugh at all beneath my cloak.
What more to tell? In suchlike way
As serves me best I play my play.

http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~cha ... s-sem.html

The pardoner with his yellow hair and clean shaven face is described by chaucer as either a gelding (eunech) or mare, a cant term according to some for effiminate homosexual (how VERY dare you); anti-clerical reformers who proposed that priests should be allowed to marry as celibacy was unnatural and would only lead to 'unnatural vice' in same sex institutions would often refer to nuns dressing up as men and men dressing up as woman and 'marriages' being perfomed between them: so perhaps Mrs. Pope refers to this type of reformist satire (while not necessariy excluding also Pope Joan reference, a good satirical piece can work on several levels).

Woman as Man or Man as Woman, the mask like face of the Popesse is perhaps another reference to an element of disguise, permissable at carnival and masquerades, and perhaps a necessity for on an individual level at all times for some in society.

Both Popesse and Empress as men? A sort of medieval pantomime? Possible I suppose, even in Shakespeares time the womens roles were taken by men.

In reference to the Pardoner being 'gelding or mare' we may also note the pun upon the French 'mer', the sea (letters of the period to the Chaucer's king write of France as 'ultra mare', meaning 'over sea'), into which Saturns genitals are thrown and from which Venus Urania was born.

Kwaw
robert wrote:
If the tarot originated in this region, or with this order, then it's possible that that would explain why the Empress is in the order at all as, for a "ranks of man" type sequence she is rather superfluous.
In a ranks of man, I would have thought a second pope and a second emperor was rather superfluous too...
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

The Popess and the Empress

#5
SteveM wrote: In a ranks of man, I would have thought a second pope and a second emperor was rather superfluous too...
I'd agree, which is why I started to question the whole "first 6 cards are ranks of man" suggestion. So looking to other reasons why the cards might be there, I started to feel more sympathy for thinking that Bologna might be the oldest order, and that somehow it might explain the inclusion of the Popess and the Empress.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Popess and the Empress

#6
robert wrote:
SteveM wrote: In a ranks of man, I would have thought a second pope and a second emperor was rather superfluous too...
I'd agree, which is why I started to question the whole "first 6 cards are ranks of man" suggestion. So looking to other reasons why the cards might be there, I started to feel more sympathy for thinking that Bologna might be the oldest order, and that somehow it might explain the inclusion of the Popess and the Empress.
Well the VS shows the bride of christ and empress were there from pretty much early on - I don't really buy this various patterns developing as a series of accidents and misunderstandings thing you seem so fixated on, a feminine pope and feminine looking emperor being mistook for women and the resultant error being perpetuated - fully intended to be popesse and empress as far as I am concerned unless there is convincing evidence otherwise. I do agree however that the popesse and empress of the Milanese/French pattern and two popes two emperors of the Bolognese appear superfluous in a simple ranks of man scheme.
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: The Popess and the Empress

#7
Fixated?
=))
SteveM wrote:
robert wrote:
SteveM wrote:I do agree however that the popesse and empress of the Milanese/French pattern and two popes two emperors of the Bolognese appear superfluous in a simple ranks of man scheme.
Well, I asked James to separate this thread out so that we could explore an alternative reason for them being there, I think the Bologna might hold the answer. If you don't think they belong in a ranks of man, and you don't want to discuss Bologna, maybe you'll share with us why you think they are in the tarot?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Popess and the Empress

#8
SteveM wrote:Well the VS shows the bride of christ and empress were there from pretty much early on - I don't really buy this various patterns developing as a series of accidents and misunderstandings thing you seem so fixated on, a feminine pope and feminine looking emperor being mistook for women and the resultant error being perpetuated - fully intended to be popesse and empress as far as I am concerned unless there is convincing evidence otherwise.
I agree. The most effective way of depicting humanity through metonymys for a known social order would be by using couples. In any case I would wonder why is that the lower rank is represented by two men: The Fool and The Magician.


Best,


EE
What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Re: The Popess and the Empress

#9
EnriqueEnriquez wrote:
SteveM wrote:Well the VS shows the bride of christ and empress were there from pretty much early on - I don't really buy this various patterns developing as a series of accidents and misunderstandings thing you seem so fixated on, a feminine pope and feminine looking emperor being mistook for women and the resultant error being perpetuated - fully intended to be popesse and empress as far as I am concerned unless there is convincing evidence otherwise.
I agree. The most effective way of depicting humanity through metonymys for a known social order would be by using couples. In any case I would wonder why is that the lower rank is represented by two men: The Fool and The Magician.


Best,


EE
and are they really a pair? or is the Magician alone and the Fool outside?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Popess and the Empress

#10
robert wrote: and are they really a pair? or is the Magician alone and the Fool outside?
Well, they aren’t both at ‘the same side of the counter’, so to speak. Assuming that The Fool starts the sequence in front of Le Bateleur, one seems to be about to fall victim to the other. They certainly don’t team up, but suggest an ‘every man for himself’ kind of reality.

So, the are certainly not a couple, but I don’t know why. (It isn’t just that they are both handsome and single, but that I don’t have an iconographic argument for it. :D )


Best,


EE
What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

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