This a little "crackpot theory", but may be interesting.
a) In Visconty decks we dont have Devil. Neither in Fiorentine deck, Ercole or the fragmentary early decks. The first appareance, as you know, its in Sermo perutilis de ludo cum aliis, maybe write arround 1475. Thats mind, its a "new" card. This is not very important for my crackpot hypothesis, but it is curious...
b) As you know, the first appareance of word "tarot" in a document its in Avignon and Ferrara in 1505.
c) We think, for this match and cary sheet, there is extensive exchange of cards from France to Italy.
d) Ross has written a very interesting hypothesis about the origin of the word tarot:
e) Avignon is very near of Provence (Lyon is a little further, but is also near)In my post, I did rather confuse your recent find of an early reference to 'Taraux' in the Avignon region, with the large number of card printers later known to have been around in, I seem to recall, especially the Lyon district - two regions which are not only quite distinct, but far further afield from each other than they appear from my current location
Look at this map -
Note the town "Tharaux" - in 1550, it was spelled "Taraux".
Look at this history of the name here -
A dictionary tells me the name is proabably celtic in origin (like most of these old little French towns). It might relate to a mythical founder called "Taravus", or to the root "Tar-", which is the same as "Tor" and "Taur", which means "strength" and of course "bull." There are several towns in France with names like this - the most
striking is "Tharot", south of Paris.
But this one does not concern me.
Look at the first map again. Note the next town to the north, St.Jean de Marejols. This town is about 2km from Tharaux. Both towns are in the diocese of Uzés, about 60km from Avignon, where a large card production was going in the 15th to the early 16th century (around 30 master cardmakers from 1441-1518, more if you count apprentices). It is in Avignon, in 1507, that the earliest use of the term "taraux" cards is found.
(note: I have since learned that there is an earlier reference in Avignon in 1505 - still perfectly within our time-frame).
Most of the cardmakers in Avignon have their original towns noted. Several are from the Diocese of Uzés, and all are active at the same time around 1507. The biggest cardmaker in town at that time was Jean Fort, or "le Fort" - "the Strong." (Sforza means "the strong" also - like, perhaps, "Taraux"). One cardmaker married a woman from St. Jean de Marejols. He is not heard from again after 1502, but wives are noted as taking over cardmaking when their husbands die. So we have, in 1507, the quite likely possibility that someone who knows a town called "Taraux" is making "taraux" cards.
Could they be a pun on the name "le Fort" - "Sforza" - "the Strong" - Hence "Strong cards" (since the trumps are stronger than the rest) - Taraux?
(naturally, I'll be looking into this theory when I have a chance to travel to Tharaux and Avignon - maybe there is a tradition there).
(references: H. Chobaut, "Les Maitres-Cartiers d'Avignon du XVme Siècle à la Révolution", in *Provence Historique, t. VI fasc. 22, octobre-décembre 1955, pp. 5-82; "La carte à jouer on languedoc des origines à 1800", Toulouse, Musée Paul Dupuy, 1971; editor "R.M." alludes to a reference to "naips" in Barcelona in 1310; also notes that no makers of tarots are known west of the Rhône (p. 10), quoting d'Allemagne. Also reminds me that the name "Napier" means the same as "Cartier").
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... 477-fr.svg
f) In Provence there a old legend about the Tarasque monster.
g) The Tarasque eats and brings people, thats the Devil of Cary Sheet.
Well... what do you think, friends? Could it be that the name of taraux, came from the tarasca of Provence?