For me, in this formulation of the "razor" - "pluralities (of entities) should not be multiplied beyond necessity" - the concept of "necessity" shows how our "simplicity" is achieved. It may not be that the simplest solution is the true one, but if there is no need to posit plurality - additional layers of complexity -, then the simplest is the most natural to choose. Simpler solutions also provide easier checks - you can research a single question for a simple theory and find out if it seems more or less plausible, or confirms the theory, much easier than you can by positing multiple, unnecessary theories (entities), and then trying to research them all and having to come up with all kinds of scenarios to justify the mythical entities. It is quicksand.mikeh wrote:Ross: Thanks for your well-articulated reply to my objections (back on p. 13, viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&start=120#p5508). I was a little annoyed at first, because I wasn't arguing that the other decks were complete as we have them, just that some might have been of other numbers besides 22, a number that didn't seem very natural to choose. (Yes, I know that Occam's razor would say that either the decks are complete as we have them (one "simple"--or simplistic-- solution) or they were all 22 (another "simple" or simplistic solution). I would rather argue from the real world, which is usually not simplistic (or "simple," as some might say).
In this case, even though most of this reality is unknown and reality of the world is, often, complex, it is nevertheless unnecessary to posit all kinds of different standard subjects, in different orders, in the decades before our earliest carte da trionfi, in order to account for the standard series. The simplest solution does work, and accounts for all of the surviving examples and the existence of the game. The thing to be explained is the game of triumphs; the entities presumed are - an original or Ur-Tarot of 22 trumps and 56 suit cards, named carte da trionfi, and identified with the corresponding game trionfi and ludus triumphorum; - an initial diffusion from a single center; - adaptation of the game in different centers, with creative changes and reinventions in some cases; - rediffusion in some cases.
Those four entities seem to me to be the only necessary ones to account for all the variations and natural evolution of the game. The process of card loss is not gratuitous or ad hoc, because it is demonstrable, as a fact.
The structure of the Cary Yale is explained by the third entity, "creative changes". But since the Cary Yale is so early, it is possible to change the sequence of presumed entities by changing the first to "an original Ur-Tarot of 25 Trumps and 64 suit cards", and assume that the third entity, "adaptation", means a general reduction before the second, "diffusion", took place. This was Dummett's original theory in 1980. In this case it goes: creation: adaptation: diffusion: readaptation: rediffusion: etc... It only works if the original Tarot game stayed in a narrow circle for a time, long enough to be changed into what later went out as the standard series.
Either theory is plausible, and both contain only what is necessary to explain the evidence for the game of Triumphs. Everything else - various hidden experiments, different configurations of trumps, etc. are superfluous, gratutious, what the old logicians would have called "perverse", thinking - because unnecessary and unprovable.
That "multiplying entities beyond necessity" leads to twisted (perverse) theorizing, the quicksand of endless ad hoc theories, is amply demonstrated by the 5x14 theory, which has had to presume multiple points of diffusion for multiple (if not endless) entities, specific and ad hoc explanations for each of them, showing how, although standard subjects in the 5x14 and 5x16 models, they are not related, and finally a grand synthesizer of all the streams around 1490, - all instead of a single point of diffusion in the beginning and the natural process of adaptation and change to explain the variants, and the natural and demonstrable process of loss to explain the incompleteness of all 15th century standard series carte da trionfi.
This analogy seems to be right, and supports the "single point of diffusion" model, which goes to "adaptation and change." - even to point where the original is almost unrecognizable in the most distant iteration (in Tarot's case, this would be giving the name "triumph" to a game with the regular pack, that has no permanent triumphs, and itself suffering the name change from "triumph(s)" to "tarot (tarocchi)", a process that took at least 20 years, between 1480 and 1500).Later you did address my concerns. I have been thinking about your arguments. I still have problems with them.
I say: Starting out with 22 doesn't make it any more likely that the number will stay at 22. I have been reading about the history of Rugby and American football. the same game was played for years at Rugby School. But when it spread to other schools, the rules started to change. Even the establishment of a central authority couldn't stop it: there was a "great schism." When it spread to another continent, the rules changed even more, into a game that wasn't even Rugby.
In tarot, players wouldn't have liked to come to a new place and find not only that the cards looked different, but they had a different order in the trump sequence, yet with no indication on the cards to remind them of what the order was. Yet that is exactly what happened. People also wouldn't like the rules changing, which of course they did if the "four papi" rule was an original rule. Whether they are playing with a few cards more or less is less important. In fact, if adding a card makes the game more interesting, they would welcome it. For example, American card companies added the Joker in the 19th century. That made some trick-taking games more interesting.
Hmmm... now you've changed the analogy. You say "players wouldn't have liked to come to a new place..." whereas in the first half of the analogy, it is the game that moves. The distinction is actually important though. Someone or a few do in fact bring the game in the first instance of diffusion, but once established, it is developed and changed by local players, not controlled by the original center of diffusion. Change and adaptation are natural and do not need to be pleaded for as causes for differences in the family of tarot games (since the alternative, multiple independent inventions, is impossible). Thus, change happened, and continues to happen, and our only task is to try to draw the lines of connection and explain some of the changes if we like.
One important factor explaining the variations in ordering of the trumps is that the cards were originally unnumbered, and there is no evidence that the rules were written down. So when the game went from one place to another (diffusion), it may have come with a greater or lesser perfection of knowledge about the way the game was played in the original place, including the ordering of the unnumbered trumps. Players getting their information at third, fourth or however many distant hands are bound to introduce changes that may grow into local traditions. Confronted with the trumps, it appears that many of the changes in order were ideological in nature, reacting to the reading of the sequence of allegories - particularly with the Virtues in the B and C orders, where Temperance trumps Death (C), and Justice is put before the last Judgement (B). I also argue that the changing placement of the Chariot in Florence is ideological, perhaps reflected in B and C as well. But overall, the Trump sequences are "synoptic", and Dummett succeeded in reducing them to three families, which are closely identified with three centers. This was the most important contribution to the study of Tarot history ever made.
The equal-papi rule is inherently unstable away from home, and only exists in Bologna and Piedmont/Savoy. It is a tendency to number and order all the cards - even the Fool finally gets a number in 18th century in northeastern France and eastern Germany, XXII. I guess the equal-papi rule seemed arbitrary and unnecessary to most players, and they just dispensed with it.
It is true that adding a card can be successful at making the game more interesting, but continual different additions, within a short time, would seem only to be annoying. I think the trumps had to be all at once, just as, when Germini was invented, they added the 20 extra cards all at once, in a single place between the Tower and the Star. If it were gradual, you would expect more disruptions of the standard sequence. There also seems to be no reason why a wild card or an "excuse", like the Fool, could not have existed before the Tarot sequence was invented, since such a card seems to have been invented multiple times independently in history. But, there is no evidence for it in Italy before Tarot, and it doesn't solve any problems to posit such a scenario, so it seems unnecessary to posit it.
I don't know why you think this. Local traditions of play develop and are codified - outsiders don't have any say in this. Travellers, if they know their hometown version of a game, find delight in learning about how another place plays it, especially if it has different figures and some strange rules. But even if they learn the version in the new town, and find it enjoyable, they will not have much success introducing any changes back home - except rarely, like when the concept of bidding was invented (I think in the mid 17th century) in the Spanish game of Ombre, and spread throughout all of Europe in a few years.Yet many people would still prefer that the game remain, as much as possible, the same from city to city.
I'll have to go back and read that - but what didn't you like about my proposal - was it the dice one? Whatever the case, I'm not sure that is necessary now - the way my allegorical interpretation goes, the total number itself was not a determining factor, unless it was some calculus for the ratio of trumps to suit cards for play. More likely, I suspect that the allegory required that number of cards, no more and no less.However you might be right about Bologna being first, and having 22 trumps from the beginning. I am not against that. I am just against applying "Occam's razor" as opposed to examining possibilities and gradually ruling out some and supporting others empirically, while saying "I can't say" otherwise. You have a reasonable proposal, one that stimulates my imagination to look for more corraboration. So I want to get back to discussing it, even to the extent (in this post at least) of ignoring all the other decks I can think of in other cities after 1442.
There may have been good reasons for choosing 22 trumps in 1438 or so. I hadn't read Vitali's article on tarot origins (http://www.associazioneletarot.it/The-H ... 1_eng.aspx. He cites Origen on the number 22: the 22 books of the Hebrew Bible correspond to the 22 Hebrew letters. Given the thriving Jewish population in Bologna, Kabbala, with its 10 sefiroth and En Sof, might also be relevant. So I am back to that old issue, after I thought I had safely buried it. (I wasn't convinced by Ross's arguments on the thread "Tarot and Kabbalah." But I won't discuss them here; I posted my own thoughts there. On Bologna and the 5x14 theory, another Vitali essay is worth reading, http://www.associazioneletarot.it/Bolog ... 9_eng.aspx.)
Thanks, I didn't know about Antongaleazzo's law affiliations.One concern I had was about who in 1438 or so might have sponsored and designed the cards. I liked Ross's suggestion that maybe the tarot came out of the Law Faculty at the University. The Law Faculty had a particular connection to Antongaleazzo Bentivoglio, Ross's candidate for "hero" in the deck. He got a Doctorate in Civil Law from there in 1414 and was a lecturer in that faculty 1418-1420 (Ady p. 11). He was paid one of the highest salaries of the time, 300 lire, suggestive of his importance at the University ("Bologna's Bentivoglio Family and its Artists: Overview of a Quattrocento Court in the Making," by David J. Drogin, p. 76, in Artists at Court: Image-Making and Identity, 1300-1500, ed. Campbell).
Another thing is that there would have been precedents in allegorical visual art connected with that particular faculty. There was a tradition in which professors who dominated both university and civic affairs commissioned tombs with reliefs and little statues on them (Drogin p. 76). The tradition may have been started in 1300 by one Rolandino Passeggeri, a professor of civil law, who "accumulated enough power to effectively control the city." The tombs invariably showed books and a professor lecturing to his students. Here is a later such tomb, done in 1430-1435 by Jacopo della Quercia and workshop (Drogin p. 75)
You're right, and my choice of lawyer or jurisconsult for the inventor is not off-hand. I considered Ugo Trotti's interest in the game, as well as Alciato's, and later Pierre Grégoire's - all were Law experts. In Bologna, where I ended up, it is a logical place to find experts in Law, and they could be creative. Most importantly, I considered Malatesta Ariosti, a Ferrarese jurisconsult whose family originated in Bologna. Ariosti is the one who designed, wrote and directed the triumphal entry for Borso d'Este in Reggio in 1453, with so many resonances with the trumps (He was in turn influenced by Alfonso's triumphal entry in 1442, at least the Florentine part; although the author of this is anonymous, it was sponsored by the merchants of Florence).
Someone trained in Canon and Civil Law, with the attendant background in Roman history (since Justinian's code was the basis of civil law), given the indications of interest through generations of legal experts, is not a mean candidate to be the inventor of the game of triumphs, in my scenario and interpretation.