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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.