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The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 18 Apr 2010, 18:15
by mmfilesi
Hi friends...

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:
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").
e) Avignon is very near of Provence (Lyon is a little further, but is also near)
provence.jpg (71.8 KiB) Viewed 13551 times ... 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.
08_car_diablo.jpg (26.49 KiB) Viewed 13551 times
Well... what do you think, friends? Could it be that the name of taraux, came from the tarasca of Provence?



Re: The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 18 Apr 2010, 22:58
by mmfilesi
In 1550, a poet called Alberto Lollio write "L’invettiva contra il giuoco del tarocco".

In pags 13, him, a poet, who know well the words, said dont know the etimology of tarot:
And that fantastic and bizarre name
of Tarot, having no etymology,
The response of Vincenzo Imperiali is rather fantastic (it seems that its inventing it.)
I think it was a good idea to give to the game
such a name, which is currently obscure,
because it has been corrupted by the length of time.
The antique name was “Teroco”,
from “teriocor”, that in the Latin language
simply means “I play three times”.
Because we see that the player is ready
to make three kind of games at the same time,
as he shows in his doctrine
If the italian poets dont know the origin of the word "tarocco", may be mean which is a rare French word, as a corruption of the word Tarasque.

Re: The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 18 Apr 2010, 23:45
by mmfilesi

If I were a cardmarker of Avignon, and see the emblem of Biscione, for example in a coin that gives me a Milanese to pay my cards.
(113.02 KiB) Downloaded 837 times
Milano grosso. 1402.

Maybe think in the Tarasque.

tarasca.jpg (238.78 KiB) Viewed 13536 times
Opicino de Canistris. The Tarasque (s XIV).

Re: The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 19 Apr 2010, 07:32
by SteveM
mmfilesi wrote: f) In Provence there a old legend about the Tarasque monster.

g) The Tarasque eats and brings people, thats the Devil of Cary Sheet.
There are a lot of monsters that are said to eat people, the images and description of the Tarasque on the above link seems to bear little if any resemblance to the Devil of the Cary sheet to me.

Re: The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 19 Apr 2010, 08:16
by mmfilesi
Thanks for responding, Steve! :)

Yes, you have reason. I dont think it very important the iconographic of the devil (althoughis related to the Tarasque). I think it's more interesting Biscio and triumphal procession.

The triumph of the Tarasque:
eltriunfodelatarasca.gif (52.84 KiB) Viewed 13531 times ... &q&f=false

David D. Gilmore. Monsters: evil beings, mythical beasts, and all manner of imaginary terrors

Re: The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 19 Apr 2010, 10:09
by mmfilesi
* TARASQUE1, subst. fém.

TARASQUE1, subst. fém.

A. − [Dans les légendes provençales] Animal fabuleux, tenant du dragon, du crocodile et du serpent, qui sévissait dans le Rhône et ses alentours, et qui fut dompté par sainte Marthe; p. méton., mannequin représentant cet animal, promené en procession à Tarascon notamment, à la Pentecôte et à la Sainte-Marthe. Elle l'emmenait l'homme terrible, détendu et docile, comme les vierges de jadis, de leur ceinture, attiraient, domptaient les tarasques (La Varende, Nez-de-cuir, 1936, p. 119). On nomma Tarascon l'endroit où avait été tuée la Tarasque (...). Pour la fête de la Tarasque, le jour de Sainte Marthe, les jeunes gens de Tarascon promènent (...) une carcasse de bois recouverte de toile (...), font mouvoir sa queue, qui, soudain, balaie la foule (...) et termine en jeu populaire la vieille légende du dragon (Dévigne, Légend. de Fr., 1942, p. 19). V. battue ex. 1.
− P. méton. Figure sculptée, ciselée, représentant une tarasque. L'église prenait quelque chose de fantastique (...); on entendait aboyer les chiens, les guivres, les tarasques de pierre qui veillent jour et nuit, le cou tendu et la gueule ouverte, autour de la monstrueuse cathédrale (Hugo, N.-D. Paris, 1832, p. 184). Un grand casque héraldique en or, ailé d'or rouge et surmonté d'un mufle de tarasque (Lorrain, Viviane, 1885, p. 6).

B. − P. anal. ou au fig. Personne ou chose qui évoque une tarasque par son aspect monstrueux, son caractère païen ou dangereux. Cette mansarde s'étirait, tendait le cou et les vertèbres, tarasque noire (Malègue, Augustin, t. 1, 1933, p. 253). Clovis représentait le dernier genre, le dompteur de la mode (...) cravachant cette tarasque et jamais dévoré par elle (Morand, Fin siècle, 1957, p. 143).

Prononc. et Orth.: [taʀask]. Homon. et homogr. tarasque2. Étymol. et Hist. 1. a) 1614 « monstre fabuleux des légendes provençales » (César de Nostredame, Hist. de Provence, Lyon, p. 676: [saincte Marthe] trouva aux marais et palus de Tharascon une grosse et horrible beste à quatre pieds, qui depuis a esté nommee la Tharasque); 1665 Tarasque (Voy. d'Espagne, curieux, hist. et polit. fait en l'année 1655, 111-2 [Ch. de Sercy, 1665] ds Quem. DDL t. 3); b) 1832 « monstre sculpté » (Hugo, loc. cit.); 2. a) 1896 p. métaph. ces pianistes tarasques (Montesquiou, Hort. bleus, p. 129); d'où b) 1936 « danger fabuleux » (Aragon, Beaux quart., p. 43). Empr. à l'a. prov. tarasca « id. », 1369 (Pansier) du n. de la ville de Tarascon dans les Bouches-du-Rhône où l'on promène sa représentation par un mannequin au cours d'une procession. Fréq. abs. littér.: 22.

Re: The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 19 Apr 2010, 17:23
by mmfilesi
Well, as nobody says his opinion, only Steve (thanks!!!!), I entered in a personal duplication machine and have discussed with myself. :fool

Marcos 1: Hey! Hello Marcos 2! Long time no see.

Marcos 2: Yes we should be more often.

Marcos 1: What do you think of this hypothesis, Marcos 2?

Marcos 2: Honestly, I think you're a bit stupid. You need go to Narrland, where man in the moose are Santa Klaus.

Marcos 1: Wait, listen a moment, please friend. Since 1505 increasingly use more derivatives of the word tarot to name the game wins, right?

Marcos 2: Yes, according to research by Autorbis:

Marcos 1: Well, proceed. The first appearance of this word is in Avignon, a cardmarker who is selling his cards to Italy. And he said its a common name (taraux). It also appears in a document of Ferrara that year (...pare oto de tarochi).

Marcos 2: Yes, that is correct according to Autorbis summarized.

Marcos 1: However, just 50 years later, two Italian poets (Lollio and Imperiali) said they dont know what it means the word "tarocco". ... ra_1550_ca

Therefore, we think that the word first appeared in France and from there went to Italy, especially if we consider that from c. 1475 Avignon and Lyon have become big centers of production of cards and that Milan was conquered by French in 1500. Right?

Marcos 2: Well, it's a hypothesis. You would need to check with documents if, indeed, there is that trade in cards from France to Italy.

Marcos 1: Yes, that's true, but let us assume for a moment that is true. Follow. Since ancient times, the Tarasque, pronounced tarask, is a popular monster in the folklore of Provence. In fact, the city of Tarascon has a tarasque in his shield, and the king René creates "L'Ordre des Chevaliers de la Tarasque" in 1474, and existing a triumphal parades with the tarasque as protagonist. Right?

Marcos 2: Yes, until then I agree. These are facts, not opinions.

Marcos 1: At least since 1475 approx. (Sermon of Ludo), the Devil exists between the triumphs of the tarot. Therefore, the cardmarkers of Provence and the nearby city of Lyon have two dragon-monster in the cards: the Devil and the Biscio, the serpent of the Sforza family that eats men. And they are making cards for the Sforza.

Marcos 2: So?

Marcos 1: Well, that, perhaps, the Provence cardmarkers called such cardas, "cards of Tarasque", where the word would taraux.

Marcos 2: Opinions, conjectures, hypotheses ... You need documents. For example, you need to find a logo of cardmarkers of Provenza which appears Tarasque or something similar.

Marcos 1: Yes, I know, but its only a working hypothesis ... Now we have to investigate further.

Marcos 2: Well, I come inside of us. It's been a pleasure talking with you. :)

Re: The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 19 Apr 2010, 17:57
by Pen
Marcos, I'm finding it impossible to form an opinion on your theory, but one thing I'm certain of is that you're a card... :grin:

From The New Penguin English Dictionary: card 8. informal: an amusing or eccentric person...


Re: The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 19 Apr 2010, 18:03
by mmfilesi
:) :) :)

Re: The tarot and the tarasque...

Posted: 19 Apr 2010, 19:45
by mmfilesi
A walk through Avignon...

we can go to Rue des Teinturiers, a very old road, long tradition handicraft ... Avignon%29

Et voilà... le tarasque ^^ ... 74362.html

Au n°20 de la rue des Teinturiers, on peut admirer ce petit bas relief .
tarasca_avignon1.jpg (55.34 KiB) Viewed 13512 times

La maison fait l'angle avec la rue de la Tarasque, qui a pris ce nom au XVème siècle, faut-il y voir un rapport ?
tarasca_avignon2.jpg (19.08 KiB) Viewed 13512 times

Il s'agit bien d'une représentation de cet animal fabuleux dont la légende rapporte qu'il a été vaincu par Sainte Marthe.

Le voici proposé par l'association Artesens, dans sa reconstitution du bestiaire fabuleux du Moyen-Age. Bestiaire à découvrir du bout des doigts comme si l'on était non voyan