Just for fun (was Re: Bolognese sequence)

#241
It's been awhile since I've written on this Unicorn Terrace theory of mine. Clearly it is not my preferred explanation of the meaning of the Bolognese trump sequence anymore, and has not been for some time. But if, for the sake of argument, we were to take it that the trump sequence really were a riddle, in the sense of picture puzzle or enigma in "hieroglyphs" to be deciphered, then Caesar would still be my favorite as if choice - in fact I found it got even better over the interim, particularly the last cards.

The lowest cards are medievally styled representatives of the three parts of society after which "triumph" is named (the conventional wisdom) - the plebs, equestrian, and senatorial classes, who welcomed the triumphator.
Love represents Caesar's loves, particularly Cleopatra, with whom he is always pictured in the Triumph of Love.
The triumphal chariot is Caesar.
The three virtues are his virtù, which stand for the slogan "Veni Vidi Vici" (VVV, three virtues)
They lack Prudence, because he was famously imprudent, trusting in Fortune.
His chariot's axle broke down, in his first triumph, in front of the Temple of Fortune.
Time is the fated time, the Ides of March.
Traitor is his betrayal.
His Death.
The Devil eats his betrayers Brutus and Cassius, as in Dante.
The Lightning is the signs in the heavens, divine displeasure at this event.
The Star is the Sidus Julium, which appeared at his funeral and symbolizes his apotheosis.
The Moon is the month named after him, July.
The Sun is the year and the calendar designed by him, Julian.
The World is him in apotheosis, expressed in the same line of thought as this:

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The Angel is Christianity, after the common understanding that Julius Caesar founded the Roman Empire by divine providence in order to permit the spread of the true Religion, the Triumph of Christianity.

As a coherent reading of the entire sequence as a single, hieroglyphic narrative, no other character in history answers this "riddle" so well. Particularly not Jesus, of whom it would be blasphemous to think that Fortune played any role at all in the events of his life.
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Re: Bolognese sequence

#242
Ross,
“Just for fun”? C’mon Ross, this is a deadly serious game we are playing with untold ramifications for the world at large (or does it just seem that way on this obscure message board some of the time ;-). On to a few contentions I have with your JC theory…

The “papi” are rulers, so not sure how they could represent a class category (either knights or senators; the closest parallel to the latter – the senate – would be the college of cardinals, which the papi most definitely do not represent).

Of more interest to me is your “vvv theory.” The most famous contemporary example of associating Caesar with virtues was Alfonso V’s triumphal entry into Naples. So would a species of triumphal ephemera (tarot cards) have necessarily drawn from this example (that actually did have the most serious ramifications for the rest of Italy)? If not, why? And was there another source for associating Caesar with specific virtues?

Alfonso encountered the virtues in the first two floats that came before his own triumphal float: the first float, prepared by the Florentines, bore seven ladies [the canonical virtues?] who turned a large globe over upon which a standing Caesar saluted the new King and then presented him with his throne and crown. The next float was Catalans showing King Arthur’s siege perilous surrounded by Justice, Fortitude, Prudence, Charity and Faith. Two of these virtues are singled out for their actions: The figure of Justice addressed the newly crowned king while Charity distributed gold coins to the spectators. Why were Hope and Temperance missing? I can only assume that by obtaining the city of his desire, Naples, Alfonso was no longer in need of Hope; perhaps the absence of Temperance was a message to his enemies – he would not be tempering his wrath. At all events, we have 5 virtues that differ from the number of 3 virtues in tarot (2 of which overlap).

The four cardinal virtues have a classical origin and thus appropriate for Caesar and you have an explanation for the absence of Prudence. It would bolster your argument, however, if you could find sources among the humanists involved in the famous Scipio-Caesar debate in which Caesar was essentially made an exemplar of imprudence (e.g., not just examples of his haste as in crossing the Rubicon, but rather an essential trait of his being imprudence).

Finally,
Ross wrote:
The Angel is Christianity, after the common understanding that Julius Caesar founded the Roman Empire by divine providence in order to permit the spread of the true Religion, the Triumph of Christianity.

Actually it was common to associate Augustus with Christianity by way of the Tiburtine Sibyl, who gave him an oracle vision which tells him that there is, in fact, to be a divine ruler of the world, but that it is not to be Augustus. There are ample manuscript illuminations of this – whereso for J. Caesar and and an angel portending Christianity? Tiburtine Sibyl/Augustus examples…
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Phaeded

Re: Bolognese sequence

#243
Phaeded wrote:Ross,
The “papi” are rulers, so not sure how they could represent a class category (either knights or senators; the closest parallel to the latter – the senate – would be the college of cardinals, which the papi most definitely do not represent).
By "medievally styled" I mean the medieval versions or equivalents of the threefold Roman division. This is religious rulers, secular rulers, and common people. Or clergy, nobility and commoners. Those who pray, those who fight, those who work. The "Three Estates", etc.
Of more interest to me is your “vvv theory.” The most famous contemporary example of associating Caesar with virtues was Alfonso V’s triumphal entry into Naples. So would a species of triumphal ephemera (tarot cards) have necessarily drawn from this example (that actually did have the most serious ramifications for the rest of Italy)?
I wouldn't argue that in an argument about the original design and meaning of the trump sequence, which was invented before Alfonso's triumph.
And was there another source for associating Caesar with specific virtues?
I'm not sure, but I don't think it would be the Cardinal Virtues per se, except for Courage (=Fortitude) perhaps. It's not something I noted, but I'll look around.

The general point would be that this is a highly medieval version, not a neo-classical version, of Caesar. Like on Alfonso's arch, the Cardinal Virtues stand for all virtue (this is possible because of scholastic virtue-theory, which made every possible natural virtue (as opposed to infused virtues, given by grace) a "part" of one of the Cardinal Virtues).
It would bolster your argument, however, if you could find sources among the humanists involved in the famous Scipio-Caesar debate in which Caesar was essentially made an exemplar of imprudence (e.g., not just examples of his haste as in crossing the Rubicon, but rather an essential trait of his being imprudence).
Well, if I were to develop the argument, I would start from quotes relating his reliance on Fortuna, which are easy enough to find (he says so himself, if I remember correctly). To a medieval mind, or a stoic one, this is the epitome of imprudence.

Then there'd be his dalliance with Cleopatra, as well as ignoring the signs of the conspiracy, especially ignoring the soothsayer and the letter.

I think I could make a pretty good case that imprudence, stemming from pride, was his downfall.

There's a French Triumph of Love that shows him standing with Cleopatra beside a horse with the word "Imprudence" written on it. It is one of four horses pulling Love's chariot (the manuscript is an illustrated version of Illicino's commentary on the Trionfi), but it is the first one, the closest to Caesar, and the only one with this title written horizontally and therefore easily read (the others are scrawled vertically on the necks of the animals).
Finally,
Ross wrote:
The Angel is Christianity, after the common understanding that Julius Caesar founded the Roman Empire by divine providence in order to permit the spread of the true Religion, the Triumph of Christianity.

Actually it was common to associate Augustus with Christianity by way of the Tiburtine Sibyl, who gave him an oracle vision which tells him that there is, in fact, to be a divine ruler of the world, but that it is not to be Augustus. There are ample manuscript illuminations of this – whereso for J. Caesar and and an angel portending Christianity?
Sure, and Augustus came to power because of who? This was not an obscure interpretation. Augustus represents the pax that allowed Christianity to spread over the whole world, but Julius Caesar founded the Empire (in the medieval understanding, I mean).

You'll probably like the paper by Hester Schadee, "Caesarea Laus: Ciriaco d'Ancona Praising Caesar to Leonardo Bruni", Renaissance Studies vol. 22, no. 4 (2008), pp. 435-449. For example passages like this:
Ciriaco/Mercury is unusually clear as to why Caesar’s foundation of the Empire was willed by God, in a passage that deserves to be quoted in full for its astonishing merging of the Olympic pantheon with Christian redemption:

‘[That monarchy] which, when founded by our C. Caesar himself through the highest virtue of his mind,
was so pleasing to the highest Jove himself, that, when the son of Caesar the divine Augustus reigned, and
when [the Temple of] Janus had been closed by him, the fierce arms put away and the whole world pacified,
when the Golden Age had come – that he, descending from the highest fortress of the heavens to the earth,
in a miraculous and unprecedented order, deigned to unite himself with the human race. And so, while he
himself father of the gods and of mankind, having become man, dwelt among men under the son of the
divine Augustus the third Caesarian emperor Tiberius, it pleased him so to approve of this Caesarian principate,
that he held thus divided with him the rule of the globe of heaven and earth, and confirmed by his most holy
speech that the things of Caesar should be rendered unto Caesar, and the things of God unto God’.
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Re: Bolognese sequence

#244
Ross,
In general, if Caesar were intended I think the Bolognese tarot illustrations would have been more specific to that historical figure; and I don't mean more 'neo-classical' but rather, for example, why not put a pyre beneath the star (Caesar's manner of burial was well known)? Instead the Bolognese 'star' card you posted earlier in the thread is of the three magi offering a crown to the star. The only card that can be said to point to Caesar, the Chariot, can arguably be said to just be of an archetypal “hero-ruler” in classical garb.
You'll probably like the paper by Hester Schadee, "Caesarea Laus: Ciriaco d'Ancona Praising Caesar to Leonardo Bruni", Renaissance Studies vol. 22, no. 4 (2008), pp. 435-449.
Thanks for the head's up; Ciriaco is definitely one of the more interesting characters of the Renaissance. I bought a copy of the fairly recent book about Ciriaco by Marina Belozerskaya, To Wake the Dead: A Renaissance Merchant and the Birth of Archaeology (2009), but admitedly only skimmed to the parts where she writes about his involvement with Filelfo (F. was more of a mentor, famously sending C. his notes in the Aeneid, but I think C. influenced Filelfo’s design for his coat of arms of Mercury). I am most interested in Bruni-Filelfo's relationship, so I'm eager to read that article on Bruni/Ciriaco.

Phaeded

Re: Bolognese sequence

#245
Phaeded wrote:Ross,
In general, if Caesar were intended I think the Bolognese tarot illustrations would have been more specific to that historical figure; and I don't mean more 'neo-classical' but rather, for example, why not put a pyre beneath the star (Caesar's manner of burial was well known)? Instead the Bolognese 'star' card you posted earlier in the thread is of the three magi offering a crown to the star.
If it were intended to illustrate his life, the meaning of his life in the Christian history of salvation, you mean. But that would not be the claim - as I said, if "the trump sequence really were a riddle, in the sense of picture puzzle or enigma in "hieroglyphs" to be deciphered", then it would not be so clear and direct.

The only thing that kept me from embracing this interpretation was what seemed to me the extreme implausibility of this premise, that it were a riddle to be deciphered (which is why I put it in the Unicorn Terrace in the first place). But if it were, and, for the sake of argument, I had to defend a solution, then I think Julius Caesar would be the best choice.

If I had to argue the Star card, I'd say that the "star" part is self-explanatory, based on the word in the story, it doesn't need to match precisely what we find on coins, and that the three figures underneath only superficially resemble the Three Magi. In fact they are Augustus recognizing Julius Caesar's apotheosis, and instituting his cult, with the other two figures representing the Roman population, or even the population of the whole world.
The only card that can be said to point to Caesar, the Chariot, can arguably be said to just be of an archetypal “hero-ruler” in classical garb.
Sure, but that would be part of the argument for a riddle, not against it. You'd have to read the signs around it properly to get that the figure on the chariot is meant to be Caesar, and not a stock triumphator.
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Re: Bolognese sequence

#246
I'm glad you're reviving this thread, Ross. I saw a pair of images I think might be relevant, two charioteers. They remind me of the BAR Chariot and World cards:
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These are the last two scenes from a long frieze at Lorenzo de' Medici's villa of Poggio a Caiano, designed by him the year before his death and completed after he died. I have scanned the whole frieze at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-v01AbxyD0xo/U ... Fricze.JPG, taken from L. Medri, 'La misteriosa genesi del fregio in terracotta invetriata della villa di Poggio a Caiano e l'ipotesi della doppia committenza', in L'architetturo di Lorenzo il Magnifico, exhibition catalogue, Spedale degli Innocenti, Florence, 1992, ed. G. Morolli.

The most comprehensive discussion of the frieze in English is Francis Ames-Lewis's, in "Neoplatonism and the Visual Arts at the Time of Marsilio Ficino" (pp. 327-338 of Allen and Rees, eds. Marsilio Ficino: his Theology, his Philosophy, his Legacy 2000), who says, after reviewing the close relationship between Ficino and Lorenzo de' Medici (p. 332f):
And certainly, one work of art devised for Lorenzo only shortly before his death may well have had more than a small element of Ficinian Neoplatonism woven into its intellectual conception. This is the frieze, probably completed after Lorenzo's death, for the portico of his new villa at Poggio a Caiano (16). The meaning of this elaborate allegory is still somewhat enigmatic, but it seems probable that, by reference to classical mythology, it links two basic ideas. The first is the Neoplatonic theme of the weary journey of the soul through life toward a final reunion with the Creator; and the second is the Laurentian theme that the passage of Time through the course of the seasons will lead to the restoration of a golden age: 'le temps revient'. Ficinian Neoplatonism is thus blended with poetic interpretations of the passage of Time characteristic of the culture of Lorenzo the Magnificent's circle. Another recent interpretation of the meaning of the frieze revolves around the Myth of Er, and the contrast between Good and Evil as expounded by Plato in Book X of the Republic (17). The central section focuses on the two-headed Janus, the God of the changing year who was celebrated on 1 January, Lorenzo's birthday. Janus stands in front of the door to his temple, from which Mars, God of War, emerges. He looks back towards the origins of Good and Evil at the dawn of civilization, and forward towards the iniquitous effects of Evil in warfare and the beneficent effects of Good as seen in agrarian labours in different seasons. In the final section the charioteer of Evil is halted at the gateway of death by the Goddess of Justice, while the charioteer of Good is welcomed through the gate to rise to immortality (Fig. 4).
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16. Recently restored and now displayed within the villa, this frieze and its meaning were discussed by L. Medri, 'La misteriosa genesi del fregio in terracotta invetriata della villa di Poggio a Caiano e l'ipotesi della doppia committenza', in L'architetturo di Lorenzo il Magnifico, exhibition catalogue, Spedale degli Innocenti, Florence, 1992, ed. by G. Morolli, C. Acidini Luchinat and I. Marchetti, Florence, 1992, pp. 94-100; see also F. Landi, Le Temps Revient. Il fregio di Poggio a Caiana, San Giovanni Valdarno, 1986; C. Acidini Luchinat, 'La Scelta dell'Anima: la vita dell'iniquo e del giusto nel fregio di Poggio a Caiano', Artista, 3 (1991), pp. 16-25.
17. C. Acidini Luchinat, 'In the Sign of Janus', in Renaissance Florence, The Age of Lorenzo de' Medici, 1449-1492, exhibition catalogue, Accademia Italiana delle Arti e delle Arti Applicate, London, 1993-94, ed. by C. Acidini Luchinat, London 1993, pp. 139-41. See also Allen's essay in this volume.
The second charioteer, with its horses' front legs up as though ascending, is similar to Cosimo's antique Nike cameo (http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/carro/nikecameo.jpg) and the Donatello version (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Hs34Dp__9Z8/U ... noFig7.JPG) posted a while back on a different thread. The motif of ascent, although inappropriate for any Chariot card (including the CY and PMB) is indeed appropriate for the BAR World card, as you say (with the word "apotheosis"). Actually, the two of them together remind me of both BAR cards, Charioteer and World, one in a this-world triumph and the other an apotheosis. Both have winged helmets; whether the wings mean the same thing, however, is not clear. In the frieze, the two charioteers are War and Agriculture/Industry, the former barred from the ascent by the goddess of Justice, the latter not.

I have no trouble identifying the BAR Charioteer as Julius Caesar, or as Mars, who I think is the primary subject of the card; the winged helmet was his attribute, as you say (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&start=10#p4294). Or he could be any embodiment of Mars, as in the Charles VI card, with its condotiere in characteristic hat; compare that card to the "Tarot of Mantegna"'s Mars (below). But the BAR World card is a different matter.
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Both Florence and Bologna prided themselves on their republican form of government and contrasted it with the "tyranny" of Milan. Poggio and Bruni, chancelors of the Florentine Republic, were no exception; they admired the Roman Republic, as Schader points out.

The debate, 1435, was between Poggio and Guarino, to which Ciriaco's 1436 letter to Bruni was another contribution. That it was also about the monarchial vs. republican constitutions Schader makes clear (p. 435):
...the emphasis is on Caesar, whose evaluation ultimately depends on the writers’ attitude to the Republic and the Empire. As such, the debate doubles as a contest between republican and monarchical constitutions, which renders it relevant to contemporary Italian politics.
Schader continues (p. 436):
Poggio’s texts have generated a fair amount of scholarly literature, fitting as they do so nicely the concept of Florentine republican civic-humanism and its use of Roman history for political self-definition. (4) The other letters have enjoyed a lesser fortune. (5) To my knowledge, there is no literature specifically devoted to Ciriaco’s Caesarea Laus. (6) This lack of scholarly interest may be explained by the fact that this text never became part of the controversy in terms of circulation, (7) or may reflect a feeling – already expressed with great gusto by Poggio – that Ciriaco’s letter did not match the standards of the other contributions.
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4. The thesis famously put forward by Hans Baron, The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance: Civic Humanism and Republican Liberty in an Age of Classicism and Tyranny, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955); on the Scipio-Caesar controversy see Vol. 1, 54–7. See also Giuliana Crevatin, ‘La Politica e la Retorica: Poggio e la controversia su Cesare e Scipione. Con una nova edizione della lettera a Scipione Mainenti’, in Poggio Bracciolini 1380–1980, (ed.) Riccardo Fubini (Florence: Sansoni, 1982), 281–342; Claudio Finzi, ‘Cesare e Scipione: due modelli politici a confronto nel Quattrocento italiano’, in La Cultura in Cesare, (ed.) Diego Poli, Vol. 2 (Rome: Il Calamo, 1993), 689–706; and John W. Oppel, ‘Peace vs. Liberty in the Quattrocentro: Poggio, Guarino, and the Scipio-Caesar controversy’, Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 4 (1974), 220–65.
5. For Guarino’s contribution see especially Marianne Pade, ‘Guarino and Caesar at the Court of the Este’, in La corte di Ferrara e il suo mecenatismo 1441–1598, (eds.) Marianne Pade, Lene Waage Peterson, Daniela Quarta (Modena: Panini, 1990), 71–91. For some comments on the texts of Ciriaco and Pietro del Monte, see Canfora, Controversia, 65–70; and Ernst Walser, Poggius Florentinus: Leben und Werke
(Leipzig: Teubner, 1914), 171–2. For Del Monte’s see also Baron, Crisis , Vol. 2, Appendix 2, 392–4; David Rundle, ‘Carneades’ Legacy: the Morality of Eloquence in the Humanist and Papalist Writings of Pietro del Monte’, English Historical Review, 117, 2 (2002), 284–305; and Susanne Saygin, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1390–1447) and the Italian Humanists (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 90–7.
6. The exception is Cortesi, ‘caesarea laus’, whose introduction is useful if brief. Bodnar’s forthcoming edition, see n. 2 above, may engage in more detail with the contents of Ciriaco’s letter.
7. Only two mss are extant, on which see Cortesi, ‘caesarea laus’, 49–52, neither including other texts of the controversy.
Poggio's view of Ciriaco's letter was short and to the point. Schader says (footnote 8)
In a letter to Bruni, dated 31 March 1438, Poggio remarks: ‘Eam cum legissem nescio risune an stomacho maiore commotus sim videns et vesani hominis verbosam loquacitatem et impudentiam scribendi’, Poggio Bracciolini, Lettere , (ed.) Helene Harth, Vol. 2 (Florence, 1984), 298–301, at 298; ‘When I had read [the letter], I don’t know if I was gripped more by laughter or vexation, seeing both the verbose loquacity of this insane man, and his shamelessness in writing’.
Ross observes that Dante put Brutus and Cassius in the lowest circle of hell, being eaten by the Devil, and that Ciriaco reflects the same laudatory view of Caesar and the defeat of the Republic, as providing the peace that paves the way for Christ. But Bruni even in 1405 clearly dissociates himself from Dante's political views. Schader says (p. 446)
In the first book of his Dialogi ad Petrum Paulum Histrum, Bruni, the recipient of the Caesarea Laus, had Niccolò Niccoli attack Dante as a bad interpreter of Virgil, who also unjustly assigned Caesar’s murderer Brutus to the lowest circle of Hell. (46) In doing so, Niccoli challenges the views of another speaker in the dialogue, the elderly chancellor Coluccio Salutati, whose De Laboribus Herculis consisted of a defence of poetry, followed by extensive exercises in its allegorical interpretation, and who had defended Dante’s judgement of Caesar and the tyrannicides in his De Tyranno. In the second book of the Dialogi, Niccoli recants, using a twofold strategy. Firstly, he claims that he was not actually expressing his own opinions, but those of unspecified others. (47) It has been convincingly argued that the reference is to Poggio, who had criticized Salutati’s views on poetry in a letter to Niccoli, which led to a heated exchange with Salutati. (48) Secondly, Niccoli changes the terms of the argument, praising Dante not for the truth contained in his writings – which he denies – but for the pleasure that his fictions bring; ‘quod crebro insipientes homines fallit, cum res a poeta dictas ita accipiunt, quasi vere sint atque non ficte’. (49) Dante, according to Niccoli, did not express his real view of Caesar, ‘sed legitimum principem et mundanarum rerum iustissimum monarcham in Cesare finxit’. (50) So whilst reinstating Dante, Niccoli removes the customary grounds for his supremacy. (51) This judgement, notably, is not refuted by Bruni.
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46. Leonardo Bruni, Dialogi ad Petrum Paulum Histrum, in Leonardo Bruni. Opere letterarie e politiche, (ed. and trans.) Paolo Viti (Turin: Unione tipografico-editrice torinese, 1996), 78–143, at 108–10. All translations are my own. David Quint, ‘Humanism and Modernity: A Reconsideration of Bruni’s Dialogues’, Renaissance Quarterly, 38 (1985), 423–45, offers an expert analysis of Bruni’s text.
47. Bruni, Dialogi, 138–40.
48. Riccardo Fubini, ‘All’ uscita dalla Scolastica medievale: Salutati, Bruni, e i “Dialogi ad Petrum Histrum”’, Archivio Storico Italiano, 150, 4 (1992), 1064–1103, at 1080–3.
49. ‘which often misleads foolish people, when they take the things said by a poet as if they were real and not fictitious’, Bruni, Dialogi, 132.
50. ‘but he created a legitimate prince, and most just monarch of the affairs of the world, in Caesar’s person’, ibid. 132.
51. See Fubini, ‘All’ uscita dalla Scolastica’, 1087–8 for examples of allegorical readings of Dante.
Thus Poggio's and Bruni's admiration for Dante and Petrarch did not extend to their preference for "tyrants"--and especially not before Filippo Maria's death. The peace of Augustus, the result of Caesar's tyranny, would have been considered a work of providence rather than of Caesar's personal merits. So I have a hard time imagining the "apotheosis" of Julius on a tarot card of a republic, whether of Florence or Bologna. I would think it more likely to be simply Christ or Christianity (as well as his and its embodiments in contemporary rulers), equivalent to Gloria in the Christian sense. Christ was often identified with Hermes, messenger of the supreme god and guide of souls, whose attributes the figure wears (besides the helmet, there is the messenger's herald and lines suggesting wings coming from his heels) as well as those of universal emperor, which Christ also is.

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So the winged helmet in the World card has a different significance than that on the Chariot card. At least in cities proud of their republican form of government, the Chariot card depicts Mars/Julius Caesar/condotiere, while the World is Mercury/Christ/Christianity. This contrast is also seen in Lorenzo's c. 1490 two charioteers, the personification of war barred from heaven by Justice, and that of agriculture and industry being admitted.

Ciriaco was not a Florentine and his political views had no influence there. To be sure, these views had also been those of Salutati, and as such, they might have had some currency in Bologna of the 1430s. But I cannot imagine that with the throwing off of Visconti rule, the establishment of the Bentivoglio within the framework of a Florence-like and Florence-aligned republic, and the well-publicized arguments of Poggio and Bruni, such views would have remained there. That they would have formed the basis of a new game called the tarot in the years immediately after a second influential dissent against such views (Poggio's in 1435 after Bruni's in 1405) seems to me highly unlikely.

More on the World card

#247
Regarding the figure on the Bolognese World card as Mercury, a clearer version of the card is in Vitali and Zanetti's Il Tarocchino di Bologna, p. 32. Andrea says it is from the Tarocchi Alla Torre, XVII century, Biblioteca Nazionale, Parigi (i.e. the BNF). All the other trumps Vitali shows (9 of them) are very similar to the BAR. Zanetti in her essay identifies the Tarocchini World card as reflecting the medieval image of Fama or Gloria; I don't know what she is referring to.

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I have one question about the dating. The British Museum has a folder (they pasted the cards into a book with blank pages) of extremely similar trumps and courts (the only differences I have seen is that the Knight of Swords has a black sword, vs. a white one in the BNF, and the placement of stars in the Moon card). They, too, date the deck to the 17th century. However this folder includes the four Moors, which I thought were added in 1725. They say there are only two Moors; however the first card is a Moor, and I counted 3 more. Here is the link: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/c ... 600&page=1

Re: Bolognese sequence

#248
There is information on that British Museum page that will give you clues to why the dating is wrong. Perhaps only one piece of background information not given there, but which you already know, is required.

The BnF site gives better pictures of the cards. I'm sure I've posted it here before, but here it is again -



There is a clue on the card that a former owner or librarian didn't know what to do with these cards any more than the BM one did. Can you spot it?
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Re: Bolognese sequence

#249
What I see is something that indicates that the card you posted is the same as the card I posted from Vitali and Zanetti's book, the BNF card. It suggests that somebody didn't know if this was the 21st card or not.

However the BM card, now that I look at both more closely, seems different from the BNF card. It doesn't have that tell-tale notation in the corner, that I can see.
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/c ... id=3236792

I have no idea what on the BM page suggests that the dating is wrong, other than the bit about the Moors, which is the bit I am wondering about.

And how do you know that the card you posted, the BNF card, is 18th century,? Are there Moors in that deck? Are you saying that Vitali got it wrong, too? This BNF card is considerably different from the card that Vitali and Zanettii have in their book in color (similar colors to the BNF but a different design), which Vitali says is "Tarocchini Al Leone, Bologna sec. XVIII, Collezione Francesco Sogliani" and which does have the Moors. Again, I have no idea why Vitali dates this one (below) 18th century, except for the story about the Moors, which the cards from the BM still put in question, at least for me at this point. I admit to being puzzled by the "acquisition date" of "1753-1875". I don't understand why so long a span. Did they not keep records of acquisitions until 1875?
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BX_jh2-eXgA/U ... li18th.JPG

Re: Bolognese sequence

#250
You still haven't exhausted all the information on the BM page. I know that you have at least one part of the background information necessary to make sense of it once you find it, but if not, I'll fill you in.
mikeh wrote:What I see is something that indicates that the card you posted is the same as the card I posted from Vitali and Zanetti's book, the BNF card. It suggests that somebody didn't know if this was the 21st card or not.
Right. Although that's a convoluted way to say it. The bigger lesson is that cataloguers and collectors are just people at a certain place and time, and their context has to be taken into account when interpreting what they have written.
However the BM card, now that I look at both more closely, seems different from the BNF card. It doesn't have that tell-tale notation in the corner, that I can see.
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/c ... id=3236792
Did anybody suggest they were the same card? I don't know what you are getting at - different cards, different makers, different time, same city. What's the issue?
I have no idea what on the BM page suggests that the dating is wrong, other than the bit about the Moors, which is the bit I am wondering about.
There's one thing left you didn't get yet. It's there, and you can go that extra little bit further. You should know about it in any case, for dealing with the BM collections specifically and 19th century historiography of playing cards more broadly.
And how do you know that the card you posted, the BNF card, is 18th century,?
I don't know that. I assume 17th century, along with the catalogues and specialists.
Are there Moors in that deck?
No, they're papi. Don't you have the complete set of images from the BnF? They were posted here before, but I can't find them at the moment. They're not the easiest to find, but if you go here -
http://images.bnf.fr/jsp/index.jsp?cont ... mbinee.jsp
- with the arrow at the right of the first menu line, the "Département de collection" field, scroll down to the "Estampes et photographie" option, and click it; then write "bolonais" in the "Légende" field (third field). Then click "Rechercher". That will take you right to them. Higher res images are available.
Are you saying that Vitali got it wrong, too?
No, he says 17th century like everybody else. Where did you get the idea that I think the Alla Torre deck is 18th century?

In fact it might be, but only barely, since it has to be before 1725.
This BNF card is considerably different from the card that Vitali and Zanettii have in their book in color (similar colors to the BNF but a different design), which Vitali says is "Tarocchini Al Leone, Bologna sec. XVIII, Collezione Francesco Sogliani" and which does have the Moors.
So a different set of cards from a different maker at a different date is.... somewhat different from another set. And that is .... surprising. It puzzles you. Why on earth would that be?
Again, I have no idea why Vitali dates this one (below) 18th century, except for the story about the Moors,
Right. That is the all important date - 1725. Another date that is important is more vague, "circa" 1750, when the term "fantesca" for the valets as females (male is "fante") in the suits of Denari and Coppe dropped out of use. From then on, they are all "fante".
which the cards from the BM still put in question, at least for me at this point.
It shouldn't be in question that the BM cards are later than 1725.
I admit to being puzzled by the "acquisition date" of "1753-1875". I don't understand why so long a span. Did they not keep records of acquisitions until 1875?
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BX_jh2-eXgA/U ... li18th.JPG
I believe that's partly answered by the thing you're missing on that page.
Image

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