Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#51
I don't know what to say about your theory, as much as I understand of it. I still don't understand, for example, how many stages there are in the rhapsodists' memory-structure: 6? 10? 22? Or What?. Relate it to tarot if possible. I will try to relate what you've said so far to tarot, as much as I understand.

I don't see the 42 districts of Egypt in documents known in the 15th century. What I find is Diodorus's report that Typhon hacked Osiris's body into 26 pieces, and Isis buried one in each district of Egypt, along with Plutarch's report that the Egyptian alphabet had 26 letters. So there would be a correspondence between districts and letters of the alphabet, at 26 rather than 22. And since they knew about the 36 decans (at the Schifanoia and elsewhere), they may have known to identify them as the gods of Egypt's districts. That is not 22 or 42 either. Graves, who usually uses sources available in the Renaissance, has 12 districts for the delta; he gives no reference for that number, however, and doesn't mention Upper Egypt.

Checking Graves' Greek Myths, I see that what you write about the parallels between the Theseus myth and the Achilles myth is in fact in sources known in the late 15th century: Plutarch's Lives for Theseus; the Iliad and Euripides' Hecuba for Achilles; Pietro da Montagnana, d. 1478, had translated the latter in Padua (Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy, p. 115). There was also Seneca's version, the Troades; it was at least in Latin. In these plays Achilles does indeed get Polyxena after death, sacrificed on his grave. I still can't find Achilles getting Helen, too; instead I find him getting Medea, in one variant; but that seems like a small point. I don't see the Theseus myth in any of the early tarot. I see Dionysus, as you know, and there are many parallels between the two myths; but I don't see Theseus specifically. Theseus never made it to godhood, despite the Athenians' best efforts (per Graves) after the Persian Wars; so he never had his own cult. As a result, the Renaissance humanists of the 15th century (Pletho, Bessarion, Ficino, Pico, Politiano, etc.) are fascinated by Dionysus, but not Theseus.

Joseph Campbell did a study of orally transmitted myths from around the world and decided that there was one universal "monomyth," which he called "the hero's journey." In describing that myth he was rather selective, both in the myths he chose and the parts he chose to include. (Achilles is not in his index, for example.) The result looks very much like a syncretist combination of Christianity and Hinduism, in fact reflecting his own orientation: Roman Catholicism in his own childhood, Hinduism learned in his early studies and later in life with Hans Zimmer (see Wikipedia on Joseph Campbell). To that mix we might add "the American dream," i.e. that heroes are made and not born: what determines a hero is not who his parents are but rather the journey he takes. Campbell's syncretism is a 20th century version of Pico's, in which the rationalizing under-structure is not the "prisca philosophia" but something like Jungian psychology. (Jung, however, was somewhat different, at least after he got over his flirtation with the Nazis.) Campbell does not refer to your German sources, but he may have known them; he learned German studying in Germany and had contact with many German-language scholars of mythology.

Campbell's "hero's journey" was picked up by George Lukas, who popularized his own reading of it after the success of "Star Wars." His touting of Campbell prompted the Disney organization to develop a sequence of steps--I don't recall how many there were--that all scripts submitted to them had to conform to. Other studios picked up on this and now all scripts have to conform, and film schools in the US teach it as dogma. So Hollywood is today's equivalent of your rhapsodists. The purpose is in Hollywood's case, and to a degree that of the oral cultures, is indoctrination into a set of values in which success is measured by the degree to which one fights for good against evil, i.e. us against them, transforming and "maturing" in the process. That is very far from Campbell's teachings. For him, the hero's victory is in seeing that us and them are the same; he refers to Cusa's principle of the "coincidence of opposites." The rhapsodists can usually be read in several ways.

I don't see Hollywood's version of the "hero's journey" in the tarot trumps. But I do see something like Campbell's or Jung's. The same structure can be found in the myths of Dionysus and Theseus (if we include the journeys to the underworld, which correspond to the "Devil" and "Tower" cards), as well as in the life of Jesus and the "imitatio Christi" by mortals. It is simply the road to Christian, or whatever, salvation.

I expect that the monomyth of the "hero's journey" has been discussed at length in relation to the historical tarot trumps, some for and some against. In the context of cartomancy, it requires some adjustment (otherwise, every reading drawing high trumps would be highly favorable to the querant, in either this world or the next). But in the context of tarot as an educational game requiring memorization of the trump sequence, it works fine.

Many tarot theorists, exemplified by the "Pythagorean tarot" site, apply the same monomyth to the pip cards (see e.g.http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/PT/VdN.html). They do that by distorting Neopythagoreanism to fit the model; the worst offense is changing the account of 5, making it (instead of 7) the number of crisis.

In the SB at least, I do not see the "hero's journey" model as fitting the pips, except at the end (7-9), the part of the Theology dealing with human beings and Zeus vs. Kronos. The Pythagoreans, like Hesiod, had as their foundation a myth about the creation and structure of the universe, and that's what we get in the SB pips. First came God, then unformed matter, then enformed matter, then the full development of the nonliving world, then plants ("vegetative soul"), then animals ("locomotive soul"), then human beings ("rational soul"), with a resulting crisis. That takes us up to 7. Then 8, 9, and 10 are about the fixed stars (fate), heaven (the resolution of the crisis), and the totality.

In "On the Creation," Philo of Alexandria explicitly applied the Pythagorean model to Book One of Genesis (in Loeb series vol. 1). Up to 7, it fits pretty well, except that Genesis leaves out plants as a separate stage/day. The result is that humanity gets created in the 6th stage/day instead of the 7th. Then Philo gives a Pythagorean account of the 7th day. I have not found any place where he talks about 8 and 9, but then some of his writings are missing. He applies Pythagorean teachings about the 10 in his essay "The Decalogue" (in Vol. VII of the Loeb series). He does not attempt a Pythagorean analysis of the individual commandments, but he does expound at length on why 10 is the appropriate number. Since 10 is the Tetrakys, perhaps what he says is the public part of why the Pythagoreans held the Tetrakys to be divine.

Philo lived 40 or 50 years before Nichomachus of Geresa, and in the same general area. According to Wikipedia, Neopythagoreanism started in the first century b.c.e. The Theology of Arithmetic (4th century) is more developed than Philo (or Nichomachus, as much as we know) and closer to what we see in 10th century Provence. In saying that Kabbalah evolved from Neopythagoreanism, I meant that it evolved in interaction with Neopythagoreanism, and I meant the doctrine of the 10 sefiroth--including the characterization of each one: not the Sefer Yetsirah, but the so-called "merkabah" tradition. Also, I did not mean to say that the "meditation on the 10" didn't exist earlier. Pythagoras may well have gotten it, in part, from Egypt. Egypt had a 10 day week, for example. The Egyptian reverence for 10 may have inspired 10 as the number of commandments, as well as other more esoteric Jewish doctrines later (e.g. the "merkabah" tradition, during the Babylonian captivity), which would have become more explicit and philosophical after the founding of Alexandria. (Another example is the 70 translators of the Septuagint: 7 x 10, the product of the two numbers of completion.) But a definite assertion of influence can be made only starting with Philo.

Now I will get to the I Ching and the mathematical parallels to Pythagorianism involving binary notation. After re-reading Philo, I am a little less skeptical. I said I would have to see 4096's relationship to the Tetrakys mentioned in the Pythagorean writings before I saw its relevance. Well, Philo does mention it--but in connection with the 7--the day God rested--rather than the 10 or the sequence 1,2,3,4. I give the whole section, although the number does not appear until the end:
XXX. Now, when the whole world had been brought to completion in accordance with the properties of six, a perfect number, the Father invested with dignity the seventh day which comes next, extolling it it and pronouncing it holy; for it is the festival, not of a single city or country, but of the universe, and it alone strictly deserves to be called "public" as belonging to all people and the birthday of the world. I doubt whether anyone could adequately celebrate the properties of the number 7, for they are beyond all words. Yet the fact that it is more wondrous than all that is said about it is no reason for maintaining silence regarding it. Nay, we must make a brave attempt to bring out at least all that is within the compass of our understandings, even if it it be impossible to bring out all or even the most essential points. Now, 7 or 7th is a term used in two different senses. There is the 7 inside the number 10. This consists of 7 units, and is determined by the sevenfold repetition of the unit. There is the 7 outside the number 10. This is number starting throughout from the number 1 and formed by doubling it and going on doubling (7 times) or trebling, or multiplying by any other number in regular progression; as, for example, the number 64 is the product of doubling from 1 onwards, and the number 729 that of trebling. Each of these forms claims more than casual notice. The second form, clearly has a very manifest superiority. For invariably the 7th term of any regular progression, starting from unity and with a ratio of 2,3, or any other number, is both a cube and a square, embracing both forms, that of the incorporeal and that of the corporeal substance, the form of the incorporeal answering to the surface which is formed by squares, that of the corporeal answering to the solid which is formed by cubes. The plainest evidence of this are the numbers already mentioned: for instance, the 7th from 1 reached by going on doubling, i.e. 64, is a square, being 8 times 8, and a cube, being 4 times 4, again multiplied by 4: and again the 7th from 1 reached by progressive trebling, 729, is a square, being the product of 27 multiplied by itself, and the cube of 9, i.e. 9 times 9, again multiplied by 9. And invariably if one takes the 7th number for his starting-point instead of the unit, and multiplies in corresponding fashion up to a (fresh) 7th, he is sure to find the product both a cube and a square; for instance starting from 64 the number formed by continuous doubling will give us seventh 4096. This is at once a square and a cube--a square with 64 as its side and a cube with 16. (Philo, "On the Creation" XXX, in Loeb series vol. 1)
That is all Philo has to say about "the 7 outside the number 10"; the next section deals with "the 7 inside the number 10," where of course we won't see any numbers above 10.

Philo may have chosen the example of doubling, which gives the result 4096, because it is the simplest illustration of his number-theoretical point. But there might be some other context to which he is alluding, or which makes this example come readily to his mind. That context may simply have been the Egyptian system of measuring volume (and also European, still used in the US: an ounce is 1/8 of a cup; a cup is 1/2 of a pint; a pint is 1/2 of a quart; a quart is 1/4 of a gallon). Or maybe something else.

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#52
mikeh wrote:I don't know what to say about your theory, as much as I understand of it. I still don't understand, for example, how many stages there are in the rhapsodists' memory-structure: 6? 10? 22? Or What?. Relate it to tarot if possible. I will try to relate what you've said so far to tarot, as much as I understand.

I don't see the 42 districts of Egypt in documents known in the 15th century. What I find is Diodorus's report that Typhon hacked Osiris's body into 26 pieces, and Isis buried one in each district of Egypt, along with Plutarch's report that the Egyptian alphabet had 26 letters. So there would be a correspondence between districts and letters of the alphabet, at 26 rather than 22. And since they knew about the 36 decans (at the Schifanoia and elsewhere), they may have known to identify them as the gods of Egypt's districts. That is not 22 or 42 either. Graves, who usually uses sources available in the Renaissance, has 12 districts for the delta; he gives no reference for that number, however, and doesn't mention Upper Egypt.

Checking Graves' Greek Myths, I see that what you write about the parallels between the Theseus myth and the Achilles myth is in fact in sources known in the late 15th century: Plutarch's Lives for Theseus; the Iliad and Euripides' Hecuba for Achilles; Pietro da Montagnana, d. 1478, had translated the latter in Padua (Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy, p. 115). There was also Seneca's version, the Troades; it was at least in Latin. In these plays Achilles does indeed get Polyxena after death, sacrificed on his grave. I still can't find Achilles getting Helen, too; instead I find him getting Medea, in one variant; but that seems like a small point. I don't see the Theseus myth in any of the early tarot. I see Dionysus, as you know, and there are many parallels between the two myths; but I don't see Theseus specifically. Theseus never made it to godhood, despite the Athenians' best efforts (per Graves) after the Persian Wars; so he never had his own cult. As a result, the Renaissance humanists of the 15th century (Pletho, Bessarion, Ficino, Pico, Politiano, etc.) are fascinated by Dionysus, but not Theseus.
I don't know of Diodorus' text, who seems to have interpreted or arranged the myth according an alphabetic system (26 ... I would love to see this passage).
I've read from 14 parts of the body of Osiris, for instance here ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_Osiris_and_Isis

Osiris "14 parts" has 826 results (Google)
Osiris "26 parts" has 107 results (Google)

Perhaps this tells a little bit about the more far spread version. "Diodorus' opinion" is young, 1st century BC, not the original version likely, which said to have developed 1700-1500 or so.

Inside the 'Osiris story the information exists, that Osiris reigned "28 years" - before dying. The numbers 28 + 14 have the harmony 2:1, together they are 28 + 14 = 42 ... again.

"28" signals the moon relation. Generally it seems, that the Egyptian moon was "male" in contrast to the Greek version.
The decanate system signals, that "36" was regarded as "solar".

28 + 36 = 64 ... 64 again. 28/36 is a pattern, which appears also in the binary structure, based on a different mathematical logic.

Nobody states, that the decanate-system with 36 elements should be mixed with the "42 gods" of the underworld. Osiris is a dying god, and this fits quite well with that what's perceived as the moon features. 14 days to raise, 14 days to falling down.

Another 14 in similar context as Osiris is the myth of Iakchos, but it might be difficult to decipher in this way ... there seems to be intended 7 changing forms (animals) of Iakchos and 7 Titans, which rupture the child. 7 + 7, 14 parts, somehow the structure of 7 planets and 7 children. The mathematical structure "14" appears occasionally. It seems to be combined with 7x7 + 1 = 50, which is dominating in Greek mythology (a lot of 50s are there). Naturally this 14 + 1 + 49 = 64 and it's part of the binary tree structures. It reappears in Kabbala with "50 doors of understanding", but suddenly the 50 suddenly had a contradicting 5x10-structure.

The Iakchos-myth is a curious myth likely connected to earlier bloody child sacrifice, naturally a rather dark story, which was hidden later in mysteries.

For Achill and Helen ... it's a side variant, possibly intended to replace other interpretations (and this didn't work really). See ...

http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/IslesBlest.html

... in the mid is a list, which gives between other stuff Achill as partner at the "white island" or "Islands of the Blest" or "Elysian Plain" the figures Iphigenia, Helen, Medea, Polixena.

... :-) ... I would guess, that the renaissance fascination about Dionysos clearly had a strong relation to medieval alcohol use. Any correspondence to Theseus is naturally worthless in such matters.

*******

I don't know John Campwell's writing ... I doubt, that he had much use of the German sources, that I told about. They're difficult to read even for Germans. I don't think, that this rather specific approach had much to do with Jung either. Getting inside this system of these special German scholars related to Pauly-Wissowa, demands time. I don't claim to have gotten into it, too. They themselves should have spend a life to get into it. Somehow this community was broken with WWII .... So, if you haven't endless of time, it's difficult to get to the bottom of it.

Modern society isn't made for such things ... this was possible only earlier.

....
I expect that the monomyth of the "hero's journey" has been discussed at length in relation to the historical tarot trumps, some for and some against. In the context of cartomancy, it requires some adjustment (otherwise, every reading drawing high trumps would be highly favorable to the querant, in either this world or the next). But in the context of tarot as an educational game requiring memorization of the trump sequence, it works fine.
As far I spoke of the "hero journey" I spoke of that scheme, which was used by Greek poets before, no modern relation was intended.
It's fairly an object by itself, which needn't be connected to the works of their epigones. This Greek version seems to be related to 12 zodiac signs (similar, but not naturally 100% identical to our version) and 6 "planets" in the sense, that these Greek symbol fields are pre-astrology and not identical to planets in the later meaning (but was used in the development of the planet names, which were fixed in later times).

In "On the Creation," Philo of Alexandria explicitly applied the Pythagorean model to Book One of Genesis (in Loeb series vol. 1). Up to 7, it fits pretty well, except that Genesis leaves out plants as a separate stage/day. The result is that humanity gets created in the 6th stage/day instead of the 7th. Then Philo gives a Pythagorean account of the 7th day. I have not found any place where he talks about 8 and 9, ...


... .-) ... The 7 days of the Bible are "7" and not 10 ...

Now I will get to the I Ching and the mathematical parallels to Pythagorianism involving binary notation. After re-reading Philo, I am a little less skeptical. I said I would have to see 4096's relationship to the Tetrakys mentioned in the Pythagorean writings before I saw its relevance. Well, Philo does mention it--but in connection with the 7--the day God rested--rather than the 10 or the sequence 1,2,3,4. I give the whole section, although the number does not appear until the end:
XXX. Now, when the whole world had been brought to completion in accordance with the properties of six, a perfect number, the Father invested with dignity the seventh day which comes next, extolling it it and pronouncing it holy; for it is the festival, not of a single city or country, but of the universe, and it alone strictly deserves to be called "public" as belonging to all people and the birthday of the world. I doubt whether anyone could adequately celebrate the properties of the number 7, for they are beyond all words. Yet the fact that it is more wondrous than all that is said about it is no reason for maintaining silence regarding it. Nay, we must make a brave attempt to bring out at least all that is within the compass of our understandings, even if it it be impossible to bring out all or even the most essential points. Now, 7 or 7th is a term used in two different senses. There is the 7 inside the number 10. This consists of 7 units, and is determined by the sevenfold repetition of the unit. There is the 7 outside the number 10. This is number starting throughout from the number 1 and formed by doubling it and going on doubling (7 times) or trebling, or multiplying by any other number in regular progression; as, for example, the number 64 is the product of doubling from 1 onwards, and the number 729 that of trebling. Each of these forms claims more than casual notice. The second form, clearly has a very manifest superiority. For invariably the 7th term of any regular progression, starting from unity and with a ratio of 2,3, or any other number, is both a cube and a square, embracing both forms, that of the incorporeal and that of the corporeal substance, the form of the incorporeal answering to the surface which is formed by squares, that of the corporeal answering to the solid which is formed by cubes. The plainest evidence of this are the numbers already mentioned: for instance, the 7th from 1 reached by going on doubling, i.e. 64, is a square, being 8 times 8, and a cube, being 4 times 4, again multiplied by 4: and again the 7th from 1 reached by progressive trebling, 729, is a square, being the product of 27 multiplied by itself, and the cube of 9, i.e. 9 times 9, again multiplied by 9. And invariably if one takes the 7th number for his starting-point instead of the unit, and multiplies in corresponding fashion up to a (fresh) 7th, he is sure to find the product both a cube and a square; for instance starting from 64 the number formed by continuous doubling will give us seventh 4096. This is at once a square and a cube--a square with 64 as its side and a cube with 16. (Philo, "On the Creation" XXX, in Loeb series vol. 1)
That is all Philo has to say about "the 7 outside the number 10"; the next section deals with "the 7 inside the number 10," where of course we won't see any numbers above 10.

Philo may have chosen the example of doubling, which gives the result 4096, because it is the simplest illustration of his number-theoretical point. But there might be some other context to which he is alluding, or which makes this example come readily to his mind. That context may simply have been the Egyptian system of measuring volume (and also European, still used in the US: an ounce is 1/8 of a cup; a cup is 1/2 of a pint; a pint is 1/2 of a quart; a quart is 1/4 of a gallon). Or maybe something else.
Well, "7 inside the 10" is also a play on "binary elements" like the 8 trigrams of I-Ching and 4 basic signs created with two elements (00, 01,10,11).

You have 8 trigrams, but regarded from another view there only 3 elements (3 lines or dimensions, 111), which create 7 other states (100,010,001 - 011,101,110 - 000), from which one is regarded as "special and "center of the cube", so that the result is the pattern 3-6-1, which appears as the basic of the life-tree-ideas (as they for instance appear in Kabbala).

At another level you can take the 4 basic elements (00,01,10,11) and take them as the "true content" of the 3 lines
and the one special form of the seven, so that you get a 4+6 - structure.

I think, that 4-life-trees-above-each-other ... somehow in this model for instance, I don't find representations of older ...

Image


... had this idea.
The idea had been to describe the world with the help of a mathematical system (binary tree). Then they had to explain, how this world was generated, which produced this explanation with the 4 trees, in which the 10 positions developed itself by slight "interpretation changes".

I don't know these neo-pythagorean texts. But trivial logic tells me, that Pythagoras 570-c. 495 BC and Philo of Alxandria (20 BC – 50 AD) are parted by c. 550 years. That's about the distance, which parts me from Filippo Maria Visconti.
It's damn difficult to understand Filippo Maria Visconti and his time, though there are a lot of helpers in our time, internet, an universum of books, other people interested in the same topic, international email exchange etc..

Which chances had Philo to have an understanding of Pythagoras, or which had his biographer, who wrote about 800 years later than his literary object, especially as Pythagoras is known to keep his matters in secrecy?
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#53
Philo was drawing on Neopythagoreans of his time and place. I quoted him as the first clear evidence of Pythagoreanism/Neopythagoreanism in Judaism.

The "four worlds" theory of Kabbalah that you cite didn't exist as such until the 16th century, in Safed. It is not found in the Zohar, or anywhere else, before then. Even the later parts of the Zohar, written after the main body, only have three, at most. This is discussed in Wisdom of the Zohar, I think vol. 2.

I had trouble posting a proper link to the appropriate page of the best translation of Diodorus on the web. A link to an older translation is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osiris, footnote 16. You can find the other translation easily on the web, at http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... s/1A*.html; search for "twenty-six". I cited Diodorus in the 15th century context, to suggest (combining with Plutarch on the Egyptian alphabet) how the Renaissance might have correlated Egyptian letters with parts of Osiris and districts of Egypt. 14 is probably correct for the pre-Ptolemaic, pre-Persian Egyptians. And actually, fourteen is also given by Plutarch, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... .html#T358. I missed this reference earlier. I still don't see the justification for adding 28. Yes, the sum is 42, and yes, 28 is a significant number for Osiris woship; but I see no textual justification for thinking from these facts that the number of districts in Egypt was 42, much less that therefore Moses created an alphabet of 22 letters, subtracting the number of districts in one part of Egypt.

Graves gives 12 as the number of districts in the Nile delta. He does not give a reference. I would think that if Osiris's body was cut into 14 parts, and one was missing, the number of districts would be 13. Isis would not have given an effigy of the missing part to a 14th city as one of the parts. The phallus was too sacred and special.

I admit that the Pythagoreans juggled numbers without adequate justification, so as to illustrate philosophical points. I used their jugglings, in the Theology of Arithmetic, to interpret the Sola-Busca pips. But we have to use their jugglings, not ours.

Thanks for the citation for Achilles-Helena, to Pausanias. Even though an obscure variant, with no mythic explanation, this source was studied intensively by Greek-readers in the Renaissance.

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#54
hi Mike,
Graves gives 12 as the number of districts in the Nile delta. He does not give a reference. I would think that if Osiris's body was cut into 14 parts, and one was missing, the number of districts would be 13. Isis would not have given an effigy of the missing part to a 14th city as one of the parts. The phallus was too sacred and special.
The order of the 42 districts, parted in 22 (lower Egyptia) + 20 (upper Egyptia, delta-region) is said to be very old, from about 2400-2500 BC.

I gave earlier two maps ...

Image

with 22
Image

with 20

I didn't invent these things nor paint these images ... :-). Similar maps I saw elsewhere. It's said, that these districts were presented in "heraldic" forms at temples at the front and backside, parted in this 2 groups. It's said about the later times, that according political changes the districts hadn't been always 42, but the "42" was preserved as an ideological item also in this times. I don't know, from which districts Ranke-Graves spoke (which time (?)) and I don't know, in which book.

http://www.meritneith.de/gaue.htm

It's German, but you can see the "heraldic signs" or "hieroglyphs" or whatever one feels tempted to call them.

*******

The structure of 22 + 20 appears in the binary-tree as already described. It's specific logic (one has to know, that the binary tree offers various forms, made by logical analysis) is close to that (not identical), which was used in the construction of the Sepher-Yetzirah system (32 ways of wisdom). The Sepher Yetzirah text presents some internal logic of the 32 ways of wisdom, which makes it more or less unavoidable to recognize, that the 32 ways are a representation of the binary tree with 6 bits, this means in other words for instance, that "I-Ching" and "Sepher Yetzirah system" are both based on the same mathematical system (naturally with differences in some of their outside interpretations).

http://trionfi.com/tarot/new-themes/sepher-yetzirah/

The 22-20-structure, as it appears with the 42 Egyptian districts, is given without internal explanation (it's difficult to get a reporting high priestess in the moment ... :-)), but it's easy to recognize, that they "should have" spoken from the binary structure, as they speak at other places about it (Horus-eye).

Moses with his 10 plagues for Egypt and 10 laws for his people and the later high evaluation of 22 letters in the Jewish culture till Sepher Yetzirah gives other clear numbers and information to decipher that the binary structure still was used and "rather near" to the system, as it was used by Egypt before.

Myths are organized this way.

Neither you'll (probably) find this interpretation about Sepher Yetzirah or Moses or Egypt elsewhere. It is (only) own research.
The "four worlds" theory of Kabbalah that you cite didn't exist as such until the 16th century, in Safed. It is not found in the Zohar, or anywhere else, before then. Even the later parts of the Zohar, written after the main body, only have three, at most. This is discussed in Wisdom of the Zohar, I think vol. 2.
Well, perhaps you're right. As far I know it from researches long ago Scholem took the position (only from vague memory), that they often had a 3-fold life tree ... and he not explicit stated, that a 4-fold life tree didn't exist. Meanwhile I've seen some rather complicated life-tree representations (they know a lot of variations) and I understand the problem to give a clear judgment, what has been present in the earlier discussions and what not.

But maybe you can explain me, which sort of 4x10 structure you're using ... if this was done by Nicomachus of Gerasa, a man born in "Gerasa, Roman Syria (now Jerash, Jordan)", how could it happen, that it was later completely omitted in kaballistic speculation?

It's true, that the current Wikipedia article states, that "Moses Cordovero and Isaac Luria (sixteenth century) were the first to introduce the fourfold world as an essential principle into Kabbalistic speculation" ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atziluth

But generally I've read that the kabbalists had made a lot of "secret teachings" ... :-) ... so if you have documents, from which you might think that you can conclude, what they thought and what they not thought (for instance 3x10 or 4x10), you're always in the trap, that the missing part might have been "secret teaching" ... :-)

My own impression about the studies of Sepher Yetzirah (latest production 5-6 century AD) was, that it is very clear a child of the general binary tree: 32 ways of wisdom as a form of 64 hexagrams (64 = 32 x 2) ... not really a "big" unsolvable problem.

In the Bahir (said to be early 12th century) I found in the translation of Aryeh Kapln the terminus "64 forms" in a context, which might give reason to assume "they knew it" (but inside this text it is rare occurrence ...) . In later kabbala the impression is "they had forgotten it" or "they kept it in silence" and the dominating impression was "they had forgotten it" and they were lost in totally contradicting forms partly.

With 16th century and Isaac Luria it seemed, that they had found it again and again they produced "mysteries" around it ....

In 20th century Gerschom Scholem made energical research around kabbala. My impression was, that he didn't know this "mystery".
Aryeh Kaplan, writing from a more religious position than Scholem, made a rather good translation work, giving clear information about variants in the Sepher Yetzirah. Nice. The "32 ways of wisdom" are explained by a "5-dimensional hypercube", in other words the binary tree 2^5. Nonsense. The Sepher Yetzirah explains itself only with the binary tree 2^6 ...
Either he knew it and kept it as a secret, or he simply hasn't realized it. And the same for Scholem.

From my point of view the 5x14-theory in its basics is "true" with 99% reliability. But in the matter of the relationship between I-Ching and Sepher-Yetzirah there is no doubt at all.

Well, this is only a little bit of basic math. Mankind can be considerably confused about very simply things.
I had trouble posting a proper link to the appropriate page of the best translation of Diodorus on the web. A link to an older translation is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osiris, footnote 16. You can find the other translation easily on the web, at http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... s/1A*.html; search for "twenty-six". I cited Diodorus in the 15th century context, to suggest (combining with Plutarch on the Egyptian alphabet) how the Renaissance might have correlated Egyptian letters with parts of Osiris and districts of Egypt. 14 is probably correct for the pre-Ptolemaic, pre-Persian Egyptians. And actually, fourteen is also given by Plutarch, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... .html#T358. I missed this reference earlier. I still don't see the justification for adding 28. Yes, the sum is 42, and yes, 28 is a significant number for Osiris woship; but I see no textual justification for thinking from these facts that the number of districts in Egypt was 42, much less that therefore Moses created an alphabet of 22 letters, subtracting the number of districts in one part of Egypt.
The Google request "osiris" "26 parts" has 153 results

The Google request "osiris" "14 parts" has 752 results. For instance this:
http://books.google.com/books?id=QW14u2 ... 22&f=false

The story of Osiris and Isis seems to have meanwhile lots of variants, the version with 14 pieces seems to be "more popular" ... :-) ... but if you follow them in detail, they vary often.

Diodoros variation:
Although the priests of Osiris had from the earliest times received the account of his death as a matter not to be divulged, in the course of years it came about that through some of their number this hidden knowledge was published to the many. 2 This is the story as they give it: When Osiris was ruling over Egypt as its lawful king, he was murdered by his brother Typhon, a violent and impious man; Typhon then divided the body of the slain man into twenty-six piecesa and gave one portion to each of the band of murderers, since he wanted all of them to share in the pollution and felt that in this way he would have in them steadfast supporters and defenders of his rule. 3 But Isis, the sister and wife of Osiris, avenged his murder with the aid of her son Horus, and after slaying Typhon and his accomplices became queen over Egypt. 4 The struggle p67between them took place on the banks of the Nile near the village now known as Antaeus, which, they say, lies on the Arabian side of the river and derives its name from that ofº Antaeus,41 a contemporary of Osiris, who was punished by Heracles. 5 Now Isis recovered all the pieces of the body except the privates, and wishing that the burial-place of her husband should remain secret and yet be honoured by all the inhabitants of Egypt, she fulfilled her purpose in somewhat the following manner. Over each piece of the body, as the account goes, she fashioned out of spices and wax a human figure about the size of Osiris; 6 then summoning the priests group by group, she required all of them an oath that they would reveal to no one the trust which she was going to confide to them, and taking each group of them apart privately she said that she was consigning to them alone the burial of the body, and after reminding them of the benefactions of Osiris she exhorted them to bury his body in their own district and pay honours to him as to a god, and to consecrate to him also some one that they might choose of the animals native to their district, pay it while living the honours which they had formerly rendered to Osiris, and upon its death accord it the same kind of funeral as they had given to him. 7 And since Isis wished to induce the priests to render these honours by the incentive of their own profit also, she gave them the third part of the country to defray the cost of the worship and service of the gods. 8 And the priests, it is said, being mindful of the benefactions of Osiris and eager to please the queen p69who was petitioning them, and incited as well by their own profit, did everything just as Isis had suggested. 9 It is for this reason that even to this day each group of priests supposes that Osiris lies buried in their district, pays honours to the animals which were originally consecrated to him, and, when these die, renews in the funeral rites for them the mourning for Osiris. 10 The consecration to Osiris, however, of the sacred bulls, which are given the names Apis and Mnevis,42 and worship of them as gods were introduced generally among all the Egyptians, 11 since these animals had, more than any others, rendered aid to those who discovered the fruit of the grain, in connection with both the sowing of the seed and with every agricultural labour from which mankind profits
This looks rather demystified. Osiris is a man, not a god, and the whole talking about the god Osiris is explained to lead back to a "propaganda" trick from his sister Isis. ... .-) ... with some security not an old version, but a result of a later ratio.
Not much to assume, that this is an old "26" ... "26" might refer to a natural number (perhaps Diodorus or somebody else counted Osiris temples, who claimed to have a part of the body) or another mythical sense (for instance YHVH with its value 26, the general cube with 26 elements (6 sides, 8 corners, 12 lines), an unknown alphabet with 26 letters etc.)

The "42 districts" are another system than the "14 parts of Osiris", one shouldn't mix them.

But 28 years reign and 14 parts of Osiris seem to be composed together and shall say something ... so says my suspicion. They've composed a second "42" ... but this time likely with the intention to address Osiris as a moon god (cause the 28, in some myths Isis is styled as sun).

For mathematical reasons (binary tree) there's a 50+14-structure, more precisely a (49+1 = 7x7 + 1)+(2x7). The 50 (=49+1) one sees often addressed in Greek mythology, occasionally also a 14 (for instance: the 14 children of Niobe, from which 13 are killed by Apollo + Artemis). In Kabbala it appears as the "50 doors of understanding" in Binah.
The background are the 64 hexagrams composed by 8x8 trigrams (as in I-Ching). One trigram (naturally 111=heaven) is considered the all-dominating god, which leaves 7x7 trigrams as a rest, which form the "creation" or the "world" = 49 hexagrams). The 50th element is god (heaven with heaven), but there are hidden 14 further elements, where the heaven trigram meets the other 7 trigrams on 2 stations, either "above" or "below". These form a natural 2x7. So 49 + 1 + 14.

This 50 is often connected to death and rebirth, as in the Osiris myth (14). The Tibetans use it as 49 days of the 3rd Bardo, one of 3 states between death and rebirth.

In Kabbala we have the funny experience, that the 50 doors of understanding are arranged in a 16th century text as a 5x10 structure with the 50th gate, where Moses meets god. The 50th gate with Moses and "the 50 doors of understanding" seems to be an older source, however, the 5x10-structure appears in the Mantegna Tarocchi structure (as you and me know well) and it seems impossible (if you know a contradicting source, make me happy) to locate something, which knows it from an earlier date.
A simple conclusion "then the Jewish kabbalists took it from Christian sources" ... in other words "from the Mantegna Tarocchi" .... will likely raise heavy contradiction ... :-)
There were kabbalists in Italy during 15th century ... for instance Delmedigo, who knew Pico. Chaim Vital, who was the major distributor of Lurianic material, had descended from a family in Calabria.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#55
Huck wrote
I didn't invent these things nor paint these images

Yes, I understand. But where did the website you are citing get its information? It doesn't give footnotes. All it has is a short bibliography at the end (3 books). How much comes from those books, and how much is invented/hypothesized? Apart from that, looking at the listed authors "Manfred Lucker" and "Guy Rachet," I see that they are writers of very general books on mythology; Rachet also wrote historical novels. They are not Egyptologists, even though they may have studied Egyptian mythology a lot. I am still skeptical.

There is also the theory that there were 36 districts of Egypt, corresponding to the 36 decans, local cults represented on the Dendera Zodiac, one for each 10 day week of the year. (Not that this has anything to do with the tarot, before the Golden Dawn, although some have wanted to suggest an influence, based on the influence of Arabic and Latin texts about the decans at the Schifanoia.)

Huck wrote,
But maybe you can explain me, which sort of 4x10 structure you're using ... if this was done by Nicomachus of Gerasa, a man born in "Gerasa, Roman Syria (now Jerash, Jordan)", how could it happen, that it was later completely omitted in kaballistic speculation?
I am not using a 4x10 structure. The Neopythagoreans didn't have a 4x10 structure, that I can see. It just had things to say relating to each of the 10 numbers. Philo borrowed from these things in his work.

I also don't see a 4x10 structure in the SB pips, apart from the four suits of 10 number cards each, which is inherent in the playing card medium in which the designs were put. I mean, I don't see any system to the imagery, apart from the suit-signs as identifying a particular card. That's one difference between it and the Boiardo: Boiardo has an overriding 4x10 schema governing his choice of imagery. There might conceivably be a relationship to the four temperaments, but if so, such a relationship doesn't come from Neopythagorean writings on the 10 numbers.

Neopythagoreanism isn't much of a philosophy, in its own right. It is mostly an unsystematic borrowing from previous Pythagorean precepts, with additions and corrections from Platonism, Aristotelianism, natural science, medicine, the allegorical treatment of Greek myth, and maybe stoicism. Perhaps the associations with the numbers were meant as a memory aid. I don't see any sign of secret teachings that may have been working behind the scenes. It is possible that at one time there were lists of 10 things. Aristotle, in his account of Pythagoreanism (Metaphysics 1.5.985-987), gave a list of 10 binary pairs, each a pair of opposites (http://history.hanover.edu/texts/presoc ... ommentary2).
A different party in this same school say that the first principles are ten, named according to the following table: -finite and infinite, even and odd, one and many, right and left, male and female, rest and motion, straight and crooked, light and darkness, good and bad, square and oblong.
The Neopythagoreans might have expanded on such lists. For example, adding 10 deities, and the 9 muses plus Apollo, etc. I don't see even that in the Theology of Arithmetic and other writings using Neopythagoreanism (e.g. Plutarch), although individual muses are associated with individual numbers (but not all of them), Apollo with the Monad, and other deities with other numbers.

I also don't see any system in the "Etteilla" word lists, other than that they seem to reproduce the unsystematic borrowings from Neopythagoreanism in the SB (unsystematic except for relating to their particular number from 1 to 10). \That makes them hard to remember. It is only with the 19th century occultists that things became systematic, 4 x 10 matrices, and so easy to remember that one could become a tarot reader without much effort.

Huck wrote,
A simple conclusion "then the Jewish kabbalists took it from Christian sources" ... in other words "from the Mantegna Tarocchi" .... will likely raise heavy contradiction ... :-)
There were kabbalists in Italy during 15th century ... for instance Delmedigo, who knew Pico. Chaim Vital, who was the major distributor of Lurianic material, had descended from a family in Calabria.
Well, Jewish Kabbalists often borrowed from non-Jewish sources. Why not Christian? That is the one big defect in Scholem's work, that he didn't consider borrowings from non-Jewish sources. One scholar in Tel Aviv (I'd have to do some hunting in the library to get the reference) thought he saw echoes of John Scotus Eriugena in the Zohar, and even favorable references to Jesus in some 13th century Kabbalah. Scholem noticed the similarity of the Castile group of Kabbalists, c. 1250, to the ancient Gnostics. So where did that come from, all of a sudden? Well, not the Cathars--their myths were different, at least in their particulars. Scholem seems to assume that the Gnostic slant arose spontaneously, out of nothing. But it is quite similar to the Gnostic myth developed by the 2nd century Ptolemaeus, as summarized by Irenaeus, the first Gnostic in his book in fact, a source readily accessible in Latin (and maybe, in Spain, in Greek) at that time. When Pico saw Christianity in the Kabbalah, perhaps he wasn't far wrong, if we include heterodox Christianity.

In the late 15th and early 16th century, yes, there was much interaction between Kabbalists and Christians. In Florence, perhaps encouraged by Ficino, there arose a magical trend in some Jewish Kaballists that others there denounced (described by Idel in an essay); perhaps the magical trend in Agrippa compared with Reuchlin comes from there, as it developed. Those who advocated this magical trend could point to earlier texts, medieval, in which it also existed. But these early 16th century Jewish Kabbalists magnified it, made it dominant. And these Kabbalists in Italy are precisely the ones whose thinking migrated to Egypt and Safed in the wake of the expulsion from Spain. Cordovera is reacting against them, as well as using some of what they say. Idel tells the story. The essay is buried in a book with essays by other authors, not in one of his own books. I made a copy, which I will try to find.

But Idel doesn't mention the four worlds as part of these Italian Jewish Kabbalists' accounts, as I recall. I would think he would, and that I would have noticed. It's also not in Agrippa, or the other Christian Kabbalists before him; but then neither is three worlds. I'm not sure what hangs on this point.

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#56
Yes, I understand. But where did the website you are citing get its information? It doesn't give footnotes. All it has is a short bibliography at the end (3 books). How much comes from those books, and how much is invented/hypothesized? Apart from that, looking at the listed authors "Manfred Lucker" and "Guy Rachet," I see that they are writers of very general books on mythology; Rachet also wrote historical novels. They are not Egyptologists, even though they may have studied Egyptian mythology a lot. I am still skeptical.
No, this should be farspread. I just don't know the English words to feed the search engine. The German words are "altägyptische Gaue". My earlier material had been from Pauly-Wissowa. But here is the English Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nome_%28Egypt%29
They use the term "Nome" ... generally it's said, that French scholars had collected the best material. But the French article is hardly longer:
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nome_%28%C ... antique%29
There is also the theory that there were 36 districts of Egypt, corresponding to the 36 decans, local cults represented on the Dendera Zodiac, one for each 10 day week of the year. (Not that this has anything to do with the tarot, before the Golden Dawn, although some have wanted to suggest an influence, based on the influence of Arabic and Latin texts about the decans at the Schifanoia.)
... :-) ... that's likely, cause they don't understand the meaning of the 42, I would assume. It's true, that the number of "active districts" varied. This went partly down to 38, likely cause of practical reason. They couldn't change the religious ideology so quick.

I am not using a 4x10 structure. The Neopythagoreans didn't have a 4x10 structure, that I can see. It just had things to say relating to each of the 10 numbers. Philo borrowed from these things in his work.

I also don't see a 4x10 structure in the SB pips, apart from the four suits of 10 number cards each, which is inherent in the playing card medium in which the designs were put. I mean, I don't see any system to the imagery, apart from the suit-signs as identifying a particular card. That's one difference between it and the Boiardo: Boiardo has an overriding 4x10 schema governing his choice of imagery. There might conceivably be a relationship to the four temperaments, but if so, such a relationship doesn't come from Neopythagorean writings on the 10 numbers.
I thought, you had found there something.

Generally we have a Christian "40" ... 40 days of Jesus in the desert.
Then we have a 40 in the Christian calendar.

There are 40 days between 11.11. and 21.12. (darkest day)

There are 40 days between 25.12. and 2.2 (Mariae Lichtmess, in England used as "Presentation of Jesus at the Temple") ... that's cause according Jewish customs a woman was not clean till 40 days after the birth of a son (80 days for a daughter). Mariae Lichtmess is called the earliest possible day for carnival.

Then there is carnival and 40 feasting days before Eastern (Sundays are not counted, a "later rule", ) ... Eastern is calculated after the states of moon.

Then there are 40 days till Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension of Jesus ... always a Thursday)

10 days later we have Pentecost.

10 days later we have Fronleichnam (Corpus Christi, a later invention, 1264 general custom .... always a Thursday)

The whole makes 180 ( + some Sundays and some days between Maria Lichtmess and carnival). If we arrange Fronleichnam as missing (so 170) and assume 14 average days between Lichtmess and Carnival, we would have 184 + 3 days for "before Christmas", a little bit more than a half year.

All Saints day had variable dates before ..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints
... but Western Chruch took up 1st of November in 8th century in Pope Gregory III' time (731-741)

So then we have
10 days between 1.11. - 11.11.
40 days between 11.11. - 21.12.
(3 missing days)
40 days between 25.12. - 2.2.
variable 40 feast days period till Eastern
40 days Eastern - Ascension
10 days Ascension - Pentecost

Fronleichnam didn't exist then. This is somehow "elegant" as a number play, 10-40-40-("40")-40-10

Somehow a little bit similar to a 4x10-card deck and even to 5x10, as we find it in the Mantegna Tarocchi

So somehow the "40" is part of the Christian arrangement.

One has to observe the interest of Sixtus IV in a reform of the calendar.


Huck wrote,
A simple conclusion "then the Jewish kabbalists took it from Christian sources" ... in other words "from the Mantegna Tarocchi" .... will likely raise heavy contradiction ... :-)
There were kabbalists in Italy during 15th century ... for instance Delmedigo, who knew Pico. Chaim Vital, who was the major distributor of Lurianic material, had descended from a family in Calabria.
Well, Jewish Kabbalists often borrowed from non-Jewish sources. Why not Christian? That is the one big defect in Scholem's work, that he didn't consider borrowings from non-Jewish sources. One scholar in Tel Aviv (I'd have to do some hunting in the library to get the reference) thought he saw echoes of John Scotus Eriugena in the Zohar, and even favorable references to Jesus in some 13th century Kabbalah. Scholem noticed the similarity of the Castile group of Kabbalists, c. 1250, to the ancient Gnostics. So where did that come from, all of a sudden? Well, not the Cathars--their myths were different, at least in their particulars. Scholem seems to assume that the Gnostic slant arose spontaneously, out of nothing. But it is quite similar to the Gnostic myth developed by the 2nd century Ptolemaeus, as summarized by Irenaeus, the first Gnostic in his book in fact, a source readily accessible in Latin (and maybe, in Spain, in Greek) at that time. When Pico saw Christianity in the Kabbalah, perhaps he wasn't far wrong, if we include heterodox Christianity.

In the late 15th and early 16th century, yes, there was much interaction between Kabbalists and Christians. In Florence, perhaps encouraged by Ficino, there arose a magical trend in some Jewish Kaballists that others there denounced (described by Idel in an essay) ....
Idel = Moshe Idel, modern writer ????
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#57
Sorry I am so late in replying, Huck. I had a pressing commitment, now finished. Thanks for the links--yes, nomes, of course. I should have thought of that myself. What I see from your links is that 42 is the number for Greco-Roman Egypt. When I click on the links given at the end of the Wikipedia article, the only a page that has any references again gives 42, again for Greco-Roman Egypt, but with a further qualification in a footnote (http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/geo ... cities.htm):
The number of nomes varied between 37 and 47 (according to Pliny the Elder, 1st century CE. This number included three oases.). In the time of Strabo who visited Egypt in c.25 BCE, the country was divided into 37 nomes: 10 in the Delta, 17 in Middle Egypt and a further 10 in the Thebaid.

French Wikipedia also makes the claim of 42 only for Greco-Roman Egypt. The only reference given is a book in English, Egypt after the Pharaohs.

In any case, we're not talking about the time of Moses, which is the context you were citing 42 nomes for. There were nomes then, but nobody seems to know how many, at least that I can find from your links.

Huck wrote,
This went partly down to 38, likely cause of practical reason. They couldn't change the religious ideology so quick.
I don't understand your reasoning. From what religious ideology to what other religious ideology?

Huck wrote, about 4x10 in Neopythagoreanism,
I thought, you had found there something

In the Theology of Arithmetic, what corresponds to 40 is indeed the 4 and the 10, but as the two main numbers signifying completion, not as an array with 40 items (and never, that I am aware of, in terms of their product, 40). 4 is the number for the completion of particular types of thing: four gospels, four elements, four directions, etc. And since four points are the minimum needed to determine a solid, four is the number for the completion of materiality and of the mineral world, the fourth day of creation in Philo's "On the Creation." In the "Marseille" tarot, four is the number of the Emperor, ruler over all the material conditions of life. Ten is the number for the completion of the whole series, after which the numbers repeat, in a base-ten system such as the Greeks used. In Philo it is the number for the full set of commandments. In the "Marseille" tarot it is the number of the Wheel, which returns one to the beginning--as does Judgment, the 10th of the next series. 40 then would be completion squared, so to speak--a result worth capitalizing on, although the Theology does not do so.

Huck wrote,
Idel = Moshe Idel, modern writer ????
Yes, I meant Moshe Idel. Sorry, I wasn't sure at that moment how to spell his first name, so I left it off.

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#58
I have been reading about homoeroticism in 15th century Italy, in hopes of learning more about the conditions in which the Sola-Busca might have been conceived and received. On Venice, my main source is Guido Ruggiero's Boundaries of Eros, 1985 (in Google Books). I see that in Venice in the decades before 1491, the ruling Council of Ten had the idea, spread by the preachers, that the plague had come owing to the presence of Sodomites (Ruggiero p. 109). If Venice wanted to avoid the fate of Sodom, it had better deal with their Sodomites. So Venice exiled, flogged, and burned them, those that confessed under torture, regardless of social class, but focusing on "active" as opposed to "passive" partners, where there was physical contact of body parts, however slight. The only people the morality enforcers couldn't get were clerics, because they were under the jurisdiction of the Church. In general, the Church handled the issue by transferring the accused clerics away from Venice. But in one case Venice successfully managed to get an exception and was able to execute at least one cleric (Ruggiero p. 131).

My point is that a homoerotically charged deck such as the SB would not likely have been a state-to-state gift from Ferrara to Venice. That would have been taken as a slap in the face.

I have not been able to find anything about Ferrara and Milan. Presumably, since they were not republics, the rulers could enact and enforce laws as they chose. Probably they engaged in homoerotic activity themselves and so didn't get too worked up about punishing people for it. I know that's true for Galeazzo Maria; I'm not sure about the others.

But there is a whole book on homoeroticism in 15th century Florence, Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence,, by Michael Rocke, 1996 (in Google Books). Florence had a special enforcement unit called the Office of the Night, that peered into taverns, shops, alleys, and windows, and took anonymous denunciations (Rocke p. 45ff). It functioned during most of the 15th century, and a majority of the male population of all classes came before this agency at one time or another in their lives (15,000 incriminated in the last 40 years of the 15th century alone, out of a population of 40,0000, per Rocke p. 112). So "Sodomy" was rampant in 15th century Florence, virtually a regular phase of life between puberty and marriage. The severity of the crime depended on the age of the participants. Typically, males between the ages of roughly 12 and roughly 18 took the role of passive partner; unless they came to the attention of the Watch for numerous partners, they were let go. Between the ages of 18 or so and 30 or so, they took the role of active partner; these accuseds were tortured unless they confessed; then if they did so, jailed and given large fines. Also, the small minority of offenders over age 30 were punished more than others, because by then they should be married. (And even before then, it was felt, males should use the city-run brothels, which had been created just so they wouldn't have to resort to "Sodomy.") The power of the Office of the Night varied according to the temper of the times. Before the Medici, it came on strong. When Lorenzo wanted to neutralize his enemies, it came on selectively strong. Once Lorenzo was secure--certainly by the early 1480s--penalties were nominal at best. Under Savonarola, it got to the point of actual burnings--but only one sentence was actually carried out. The gangs of youths who made up the "Sodomite" crowd were a major force in his overthrow's being as quick and painless as it was--even if they did try to get his body parts to drag them around the city, before they turned to ashes.

Florence was apparently infamous among the preachers, from Bernardino on, for the extent of its "Sodomy." Siena wasn't far behind. And I would imagine that Bernardino found more to object to in Bologna's taverns than just gambling. Bernardino says that people should keep their sons indoors and send their daughters outside, because even the rape of a young girl is less offensive than "Sodomy" (Rocke, p. 38, in Google Books, citing Bernardino's Prediche (Siena 1427), 908).

So I am inclined to think that the deck made for Venice was a private commission, not a matter of state. It may well have been engraved in Ferrara (although the main evidence for that is the similarity in technique to the "Mantegna"). As for the program-writer, the degree of sophistication suggests someone both highly scholarly and somewhat notorious. My first candidate is still Poliziano. For the trumps, he was an authority on Roman history, maybe the best of his day, and according to Wikipedia did not share the moralizing approach of most humanists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poliziano). As for the pips, his handwriting is reportedly on the copy of the Theology of Arithmetic held by the Laurentian Library (per citation in the 1922 editor's preface), then the Medici Library. To me that's pretty good evidence. He was also among those accused of sodomy, per Rocke and Wikipedia both. He might have done it (written the program, I mean) with the help of his good friend Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, who also had both credentials. Both would have been familiar with Ficino's theory of melancholy (see Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, p. 49, in Google Books), which provided a medical basis for divination (including cartomancy, to which the SB, as I see it, is quite suited; and it is from Giovanni's nephew that we get the first known report of cartomancy). Giovanni Pico and Poliziano spent a lot of time together, visiting libraries among other things. Both died at the same time and place, in 1494, both due to arsenic poisoning, also with large amounts of lead and mercury in their bodies, per the 2007 post-mortem reported by Wikipedia. The instigator of the poison is suspected to be Piero di Medici, who was furious at these two for getting Savonarola invited to Florence (admired by them presumably for his stand against the corrupt clergy, not for his stand on "Sodomy").

Another thing is that since gambling occurred in the taverns, which were the main pick-up places for the "Sodomites" who were their customers, I doubt if cards with heavy Christian symbolism would have appealed. Or if there had to be such cards, Greek interpretations would have been preferred, Greece being the center of sodomy as described by Plato, in which the love of beautiful bodies was the first step on the ladder leading to the divine. Private homoerotic decks might have been more common than their evidence today would suggest. Such decks would have been the first to be destroyed in times of religious fervor and by embarrassed heirs.

Another thing: I haven't been able to find any confirmation of the idea that Savonarola was a friend of Ercole d'Este, as is often asserted in regard to the SB Two of Coins. Savonarola's father and grandfather were on good terms with the Estensi, but he himself seems to have been repelled by them, as far as I can find out.

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#59
Murder on Pico de Mirandola and Poliziano ...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... olved.html

... thanks, this is an improvement, that some of these expected murder-cases becomes cleared. Likely there will be more cases in the future.
mikeh wrote:I have been reading about homoeroticism in 15th century Italy, in hopes of learning more about the conditions in which the Sola-Busca might have been conceived and received. On Venice, my main source is Guido Ruggiero's Boundaries of Eros, 1985 (in Google Books). I see that in Venice in the decades before 1491, the ruling Council of Ten had the idea, spread by the preachers, that the plague had come owing to the presence of Sodomites (Ruggiero p. 109). If Venice wanted to avoid the fate of Sodom, it had better deal with their Sodomites. So Venice exiled, flogged, and burned them, those that confessed under torture, regardless of social class, but focusing on "active" as opposed to "passive" partners, where there was physical contact of body parts, however slight. The only people the morality enforcers couldn't get were clerics, because they were under the jurisdiction of the Church. In general, the Church handled the issue by transferring the accused clerics away from Venice. But in one case Venice successfully managed to get an exception and was able to execute at least one cleric (Ruggiero p. 131).
Venice had the call to be very serious in religious matters ... I found the remark, that before the begin of the battle at the river Taro they were very engaged in religious rites, which appeared a little strange to others fighting at their side. Also it seems, that the allowed Trionfi cards very late, maybe 1486/87/88. In this short period till 1494
they allowed sorts of festivities, which former likely weren't allowed. Beatrice d'Este in representation of the Milanese state visited Venice ... I think, something like this didn't happen since 1425, whn the Milanese-Venetian hostilities started.
As generally and also for playing cards one has to expect waves of persecution of homosexuality, not a static prohibition and persecution on the same level.
My point is that a homoerotically charged deck such as the SB would not likely have been a state-to-state gift from Ferrara to Venice. That would have been taken as a slap in the face.
Trionfi cards, which were made for marriages, likely mostly were produced on the "private level" and not official ... if it would have been official, we would find them on "present lists" for wedding. As we don't find any notes about them, we have to assume, that they went the private way. Half officially there is the report, that Bianca Maria Sforza brought playing cards to the wedding with Maximilian and they were discussion at the wedding evening. But this happened in Germany and there was no German problem with cards (not so much prohibition). But there was a present list of Bianca Maria's dowry (before-wedding action in Milan without Maximilian), and somehow I assume, that it survived. The deck should have been on the list, but I assume it wasn't on the list (although the whole Milanese court excessively played cards then, as we know).
I have not been able to find anything about Ferrara and Milan. Presumably, since they were not republics, the rulers could enact and enforce laws as they chose. Probably they engaged in homoerotic activity themselves and so didn't get too worked up about punishing people for it. I know that's true for Galeazzo Maria; I'm not sure about the others.
Borso might have been homosexual himself (he didn't marry, no sexual activity recorded). Around 1465 he made remarkable presents to a male favorite (don't ask me for the source). Sassi "Panfilio" di Sassi, the poet, I've told about, behaved open homosexual in Ferrara ... (don't ask me for the quote, memory only).

In Milan Galeazzo was recorded as having an homoerotic adventure by a Florentine (?) diplomat. This came to the ears of Galeazzo, and somehow he urged, that this diplomat disappeared from Milan, and around 1475 he attempted to persecute homosexuality in Milan. This caused a lot of trouble and might even have played a role in his assassination. This was reported by Giovanni dell'Orto, who is very active in this topic (I don't know, where, just memory).

http://www.giovannidallorto.com/
....

Another thing is that since gambling occurred in the taverns, which were the main pick-up places for the "Sodomites" who were their customers, I doubt if cards with heavy Christian symbolism would have appealed. Or if there had to be such cards, Greek interpretations would have been preferred, Greece being the center of sodomy as described by Plato, in which the love of beautiful bodies was the first step on the ladder leading to the divine. Private homoerotic decks might have been more common than their evidence today would suggest. Such decks would have been the first to be destroyed in times of religious fervor and by embarrassed heirs.
The Sola-Busca uses not Christian motifs ... Greek interpretations on cards were realized, see the Michelino deck. They look lonesome in that few, what we know of 15th century, but it doesn't look lonesome if you look at the whole playing card tradition, sexual orientated decks were always there, and Greek mythology isn't missing.

The Tarot, as it was in Court de Gebelin's time, became very successful by some political decisions in the time of Louis XIV, which reduced "creativity with cards". The wish to have cards, which are easily "recognized" by common usage, created standards (further there were tax influences, which also preferred standards). Before there were similar "reducing creativity" steps by invention of printing technology and mass-production.

Naturally the too sexual oriented decks weren't the most successful productions.
Another thing: I haven't been able to find any confirmation of the idea that Savonarola was a friend of Ercole d'Este, as is often asserted in regard to the SB Two of Coins. Savonarola's father and grandfather were on good terms with the Estensi, but he himself seems to have been repelled by them, as far as I can find out.
Well, I've read some details ... somewhere. I've written about it ... somewhere.
"Savonarolism" + "Ercole d'este" or something like this. Ercole d'Este believed that Savonarola would become a saint and that would have been a "Ferrarese Saint". Later Ercole d'Este collected virgins with Jesus stigmata. After his wife died 1493, he turned to become rather religious. He even prohibited playing cards ... likely not too long.
There are letters, which Ercole d'Este wrote to Savonarola. Pico de Mirandola and his nephew Gianfrancesco were Savonarolists. Gianfrancesco lost Mirandola for some time in 1502, attacked by his brothers cause his Savonarolism. Some Savonarola preachers were killed then. Mirandola belonged to the Ferrarese territory, though not totally controlled.
The negative Tarot preaching was written on paper produced near Ferrara ... it might well have been written in the period of Savonarolism.
No, it's confirmed.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#60
Thanks for your comments, Huck. They are helpful, but so far haven't led to what I needed to know.

It is possible that 1491 was a period of lessening intolerance toward homoeroticism. I just can't find any verification of that. The existence of festivals doesn't tell me anything. Repression and festivals aren't mutually exclusive; the former can be a diversion of attention from the latter. Nothing is said in Ruggioro about any let-up in repression. Unfortunately the statistics he publishes are for quarter-centuries only; on that measure, 1476-1500 stands out as by far the most repressive quarter of the fifteenth century against "Sodomy": 196 individuals, vs. 134 the previous quarter, 81 the quarter before that, and 87 (from incomplete records) in the first quarter of the century (p. 128, in Google Books).

On the relationship between Ercole d'Este and Savonarola, following your lead I went to the library and found a whole chapter, "The Duke and the Friar" in Gardner's Dukes and Poets in Ferrara (1904, in Google Books, p. 396ff). But it starts in December of 1494. The documented relationship is all from after Savonarola became the ruler of Florence, that the letters between the two happen. Even granting that he turned religious, and Savonarolist, after his wife's death in 1493, that's two years after the SB.

Gardner's previous mentions of Savonarola do not suggest any relationship. Growing up, Savonarola flees to Bologna to escape what he regards as a dissolute court and city. In 1481 he returns as a Dominican preacher. Gardner says (p. 163):
His preaching fell absolutely flat; at first the Ferrarese flocked in numbers to hear him, but after the first sermon he preached to almost empty benches.
"Our Savior says that no prophet is accepted in his own country," he wrote to his mother Elena, a few years later: "suffer me then to stay in the vineyard of Christ, outside my own country, where I know and have had actual experience that I produce more fruit for my own soul and the souls of others than I would in Ferrara..."
There is more in the letter to the same effect. It is dated January 25, 1490, from Pavia, Gardner says in a footnote (p. 165). He gets it from Lettere inedite di Fra Girolamo Savonarola, ed. P. Vincenzo Marchese. Archivio Storico Italiano, Appendix, vol. 8, p. 111.

Then in 1494 come the letters between the two, with Ercole showing his support for Savonarola and Savonarola prophesying to Ercole, a lot of it about the reliability of a certain "amico" who is undoubtedly the King of France. The letters were all secret, of course (since what is being suggested--that the French be invited back, after how badly their army had behaved--would be considered by most a form of treason), but Ferrara's tilt toward Florence--and France--then was general knowledge. The Venetians became suspicious. In November 1497 Ercole had to go to Venice and insist that he was neutral. Before then, in fact, he had already written Savonarola a rather skeptical letter (Aug. 8, 1497) regarding his prophecies. In January 1498, he was closer to the Pope than he was to Savonarola, Gardner says, in part due to Ercole's son Cardinal Ippolite, then in Rome. So Ercole's ambassador tried to dissuade Savonarola from preaching the Lenten sermon. He did anyway, saying that "the excommunication was invalid and the Pope a broken tool" (I don't know if this is a quote or Gardner's paraphrase). After that, on March 20, comes Ercole's public dissociation from Savonarola. Gardner writes (p. 338):
In March Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola published at Florence a defense of Savonarola, and dedicated it to Ercole, implying that he had written it in consequence of a conversation that he had had with him and at his request. Monsignor Felino Sandeo, one of the Ferrarese prelates of the Curia, urged the Duke to take measures to clear himself. The latter at once wrote back, dissociating himself entirely from Gian Francesco, protesting that he had never consulted him as to the validity of the excommunication. He inclosed a letter to the Pope himself in a similar strain, calling God to witness that he had nothing to do with the publication, and that he had never doubted about the authority and power of the Sovereign Pontiff.
So, yes, Ercole was a believer in Savonarola for a time, with mutual support. Thanks for telling me where to look. But I still have no evidence that there was any relationship before 1493; and in fact in 1490, the time of the SB's preparation, there is evidence to the contrary. I find it hard to imagine that anything would have happened in the next year to change the situation. The only significant thing was that Pico discovered him and invited him to Florence. But that's no indication that Ercole supported him, much less in a public way such as in a tarot deck, especilly one given at a marriage.

But it might well be that people after March 1498 understood this card precisely as referring to the bond of friendship between the two men--especially in Venice, which would have been disposed to disbelieve Ercole's protestations of neutrality and of non-support for Savonarola vs. the Pope. It is the bond of undying friendship that quickly becomes an embarrassment, to be denied when fortune turns against it, the friendship that makes not just the one but also the other a laughing stock.

Moreover, I can see,as a result of this embarrassment, exactly the associations to the card that the "Etteilla" word list for the card has, especially in the Uprights:
2 OF COINS: Embarrassment, Obstacle, Engagement, Obstruction, Hitch, Snag.--Trouble, Upset, Emotion, Awkward Position, Confusion, Difficulty, Unexpected Obsacle, In Error, Obscurity.--Agitation, Anxiety, Perplexity, Concern. REVERSED: Note, Written Document, Handwriting, Test, Literature, Doctrine, Erudition, Written Work, Book, Production, Composition, Dispatch, Epistle, Missive.--Written Character.--Literal Sense--Alphabet, Elements, Principles, Bill of Exchange.
Huck wrote,
The negative Tarot preaching was written on paper produced near Ferrara ... it might well have been written in the period of Savonarolism.
No, it's confirmed.
Are you saying that this "negative Tarot preaching" was written during the period 1493-1498? Or do you mean the general time of Savonarola's preaching, including the time he had few followers in the Ferrara area. That would be 1482; but he had no following anywhere until he after moved to Bologna in 1488, where Pico noticed him by 1490 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girolamo_Savonarola). So do you mean after 1488? Or 1490, when Pico invited him to Florence? Whichever it is, I find it hard to believe that the dating can be that precise, to specify a certain 10-15 year period. And are you referring to the "Steele Sermon," or something else?

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