Re: La verge sans veine (the unlucky penis)

#41
SteveM wrote:... tricksters who were said to have originated in Toledo, were said to be able to turn a cock into a hen.
TOLEDE. P. jouer des arts de- (attraper, faire des tours de prestidigitateur)
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=cJkG ... ISO-8859-1

C'est pendant ce répit que Renart « li rous » apprend « les arts de Tolède ».

Et il est cornart et deceu
Qui de tail creance est meu.
J'a n'ert par les arz de Tolete
Fine amour quise ne parfete.

le dernier avatar de la légende: "Jouer de arts de Tolède: attraper, tromper,
faire des tours de force". On pourrait se croire loin de l'école de magie, ...

One has to be careful indeed of the master of chance, one may not lose just one's shirt;)

Ha! s’il me prenoit en mercy
Et qu’il prinst toute ma robille!
Mais, he´ las! perdre la coquille,
Mon Dieu! c’est pour fienter partout.

Ha! If he had mercy on me
and took only my clothing!
But, alas! to lose the cock,
my God! that is to empty (piss) everywhere.

Farce de frere Guillebert 16th century.

One who turns the cock into a hen, is said of one who 'knows the arts of Toledo', and of a card shark:
"Toledo's reputation for black magic was owing to the association of Arabic alphabet and numerals with magical talismans. Because of the association of Arabic learning with astrology and alchemy, Toledo became linked in the popular imagination with magic and anyone studying there was de facto open to the accusation of necromancy. "Michael Scot, for one, who was in Toledo in the twelth century, was never able to shake thereafter the suspicion that he had learned the black arts there. Scot's reputed wizardry, moreover, was of a specifically mathematical cast. There are many references: Caesar of Heisterbach tells two stories of student studying the 'arte nigromantia' 'apud Toletum'. In medieval French, "jouer les arts de Tolede! was a common term for running confidence games or card sharking:
"Il fait d'n coq une poulette
Il jouer les arts de Tolete."
(He turned a rooster into a hen/he knows the arts of Toledo.)

Medieval science, technology and medicine: An Encyclopedia by Thomas F. Glick, Steven John Livesey, Faith Wallis p.481
Our bateleur, as one who knows 'the arts of Toledo, appears figuratively at least (through emasculation) to have 'turned a rooster into a hen'!
“Sire, il preche un Dieu à Paris
Qui fait tous les mouls et les vauls.
Il va à cheval sans chevauls.
Il fait et defait tout ensemble.
Il vit, il meurt, il sue, il tremble.
Il pleure, il vit, il veille, et dort.
Il est jeune et vieux, foible et forte.
Il fait d’un coq une poulette.
Il joue des arts de roulette,
Ou je ne sçais que ce peut être.”

Sir, he preaches a God at Paris
Who has made mountain and valley.
He goes a horseback without horses.
He does and undoes at once.
He lives, he dies, he sweats, he trembles.
He weeps, he laughs, he wakes and sleeps.
He is young and old, weak and strong.
He turns a cock into a hen.
He knows how to conjure with cup and ball,*
Or I do not know who this can be.

*sic Toulete (toledo) of the orignal version appears to have been changed to roullete in this later version - so instead of knowing the arts of toledo, he knows the art of 'little wheels' - roulette, surely the game of chance of that name dating from c.1745? Or, by extention, he knows the arts of chance/fortune (and her 'little wheel)?
From “Mystery of Saint Dennis” in the Duke de la Valliere’s “Bibliothèque du Théâtre François depuis son Origine. Dresde, 1768.”

quoted in "an incrementally-published online presentation of Isaac D’Israeli’s Curiosities of Literature, Mysteris, Moralities, Farces and Sotties: a compilation of book-lore whose first volume was issued in 1791, with further instalments being added in 1793, 1807, 1817 and 1823. Most of the articles were scanned from an undated (but probably 1870s or 1880s) single-volume edition of the work, the text in which was reproduced from an older (1820s) edition." Available online here:

http://www.spamula.net/col/archives/200 ... es_an.html
The expression « jouer les arts de Tolede » seems to have been a common French term for conjuror's passes and sleight of hand tricks...

Chapters on Magic in Spanish Literature 1916 by Samuel Montefiore Waxman - Page 22
TOLÈDE. Jouer des arts de Tolède.
Attraper, tromper, faire des tours de force. (XVe siècle.)

- Il fait d'un coq une poulette,
He makes of a cock a hen,

Image


- II joue des arts de Toulete. (XVe siècle.)
He plays at the arts of Toledo.

(Mystère de saint Denis. Mystères inédits du XVe siècle, etc., p.116.)

Le livre des proverbes français 1842, By Le Roux de Lincy, Ferdinand Denis:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sfTT ... 4fpw&hl=en
Isaac D’Israeli’s Curiosities of Literature, Mysteris, Moralities, Farces and Sotties:
Reproduction of 7th edition available as a pdf file from google books here:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gfMI ... 2mvk&hl=en

Whether Noblet intended a play on words, or whether he saw in the 'unlucky penis' a lucky accident upon which to accentuate the implicit workplay, it was a very fitting one whether intentional or accidental.

The element of word play used by buffoons in a farce was refered to as coq-à-l'âne, from 'rooster to the donkey' (or as we may say in the equivalent english idiom, cock and bull), synonyms being bon mot, or jeu de mots - play of words. The word bateleur to is synonymous with baratin, a player of words, a bullshitter, a saltimbanque (mountebank), a juggler not only of things, but of words, a 'boniment'.
Un vieux saltimbanque qui, dans un boniment emphatique, annonce qu'il va faire un saut périlleux.

Le charlatan est bruyant. Il vend ses recettes et ses drogues sur les places publiques, sur les champs de foire, aux carrefours des rues où s'attroupe la foule. Il appelle, il arrête les chalands. Sa rhétorique spéciale use de tous les moyens pour retenir, amuser, persuader; son boniment échevelé met à sa discrétion le client ébloui, étourdi, fasciné. Toutefois, s'il cherche à amuser pour mieux envelopper, quelques-uns aussi s'amusent à le voir faire et déployer ses artifices.

http://www.cnrtl.fr/lexicographie/boniment
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: La verge sans veine (the unlucky penis)

#42
SteveM wrote:"In polite biological and medical circles, the male sexual organ is called « un verge ». Apart from being the anatomical word for a penis, « un verge » is also a magic wand, a stick or a rod."
Synonyms of verge in order of regularity:

http://www.cnrtl.fr/synonymie/verge
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Noblet’s batelleur’s Wand

#43
Wow, Steve, nice work!! Now there is a reference or two that we can take seriously!

Just to reply to Robert's well argued point, re the penis in hand is not so common.... well, to me, in this present day, a wand seems a lot like a penis, in shape and even in potency, holding a wand in one's hand feels powerful, and gives one a sense of purpose. Now, I do not have a penis of my own, but can assume that if I did, I'd feel pretty cool with it in my hand, not severed mind you...it would give me sense of something important or powerful or at least active... What I mean to say is I would not be feeling idle with it in my hand., I'd certainly be about to do something with it.

I have no claim to know what was on the minds of the people for whom these decks were contemporary, but surely those people could also note the similarity between a wand and a penis, and yes, even when it is held in the hand. A penis and its connection to power and potency is so much like a wand with its same connections to power and potency. I do not see this particular wand/penis to be a depiction of human mutilation, it is not meant to horrify or turn stomachs, there is no blood dripping and or torn skin hanging from it. So, in a way I do not see it as a severed penis, I see it as a funny ha ha addition that made sense to the people who used these decks. A wand in the shape of a penis, it's simple and not esoteric....imo.

As for the close ups of the accepted penises and possible penis, I cannot look at the bateleur's "wand" and not see a penis head with a urethral slit. I mean jeez, if that image were in the hands of a school child, I know exactly where they'd draw in the urine stream. C'mon you guys, if a child drew that image in a classroom, what on earth would everyone conclude it depicts??? And would that child be sent to the principal's office or would anyone buy the story that it was meant to be a wand?
"...he wanted to illustrate with his figures many Moral teachings, and under some difficulty, to bite into bad and dangerous customs, & show how today many Actions are done without goodness and honesty, and are accomplished in ways that are contrary to duty and rightfulness."

Re: Noblet’s batelleur’s Wand

#44
Thank you, Steve, and bless you.

I'm dying to post a more complete response to your wonderfully comprehensive answers.

I have been waiting to hear from Robert Mealing for I have asked him how to retrieve a “saved” partially composed message. I am tired of rewriting every time I turn away briefly to reference something.

Do you know how to do that? Feel free to send me a private message. I could not send this privately to you because your website seems to be down. Thanks, again. —Marcei

Re: Noblet’s batelleur’s Wand

#45
What does any of this have to do with all of those missing fingers???
Isn't it unusual to show only two fingers on a hand?
Why are the rest of them missing?
Should that not have some bearing on how you interpret the image?
Isn't it odd that the "penis" appears just at the point where we expect a wand would?
If the "penis" continued, would it not form the more usual wand?
But it doesn't continue....
And lo and behold, neither does the hand!
So, if it's not a wand, because part is missing, is that not a "hand" either, because part of IT is missing?
I am not a cannibal.

Re: Noblet’s batelleur’s Wand

#46
OnePotato wrote:What does any of this have to do with all of those missing fingers???
Nothing excepting what I originally said, that if the block was not intentionally (re)worked to show such but was the result of damage, perhaps Noblet was happy to let the damage go as a happy accident that brought out the implicit pun (and then perhaps added that urethral like slit that makes the appearance even stronger).

Also of course, it makes apparent the pun, which is implicit whether explicitly shown (by accident or intention) or not. And provides a context in which intent may have been possible, in response to two of Roberts questions, why would a bateleur be shown holding a verge and why would Noblet let such an image go. A context that relies not only on the pun, but to the french proverb of 'one who knows the arts of Toledo (used of prestidigitators, practitioners of lederdemaine, bateleurs/jugglers, practioners of 'natural magic' or the use of scientic knowledge to apparently miraculous ends) and their 'emasculating' powers (who turn a rooster into a hen).

Perhaps you could do one of your wonderful corrections (such as in the 1c date) to show how it would have looked prior to any damage/adaption?
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Noblet’s batelleur’s Wand

#47
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Steve. The information you posted was wonderful and very much appreciated. I knew that it was not just a simple mistake. The Tarot is an endlessly fascinating creation; and because the French are wonderfully bright, witty and playful, (I say that partly because I am half French though I don't speak the language) one can only expect that French Tarots would reflect that sensibility.

Though not heard publicly, even here in the painfully repressed United States the penis is sometimes referred to as a magic wand but that was just too easy. I guess that's why my mind came up with the idea I threw out about Jean Noblet possibly voicing discontent with working conditions. As for the missing fingers, perhaps that works equally well for someone doing slight of hand actually being slight-of-hand!

Now I will wait for some brilliant insights about the apparent tradition with some card makers (Noblet, Vieville & Bodet) showing the wand-hand of the Bateleur backwards. I would want to know if the term “backhanded” which means deceptive or devious in English also has that meaning in French. After all, the Bateleur or Magician can be said to practice deception.

Once we get all of these mysteries solved, then I think that we can finally put the Magician or Bateleur to bed —perhaps with the Priestess! Sorry, Robert, (I sense that this is a touchy topic with you) but I just couldn't resist. Blessings ever,—Marcei

P.S. Steve you mentioned Toledo in your post. It might interest you to know that I am just outside Toledo, Ohio; maybe it takes one to know one, even on different continents!

Re: Noblet’s batelleur’s Wand

#49
Just one last thought regarding the depiction of this "penis" as looking different than the others in this deck which we agree (I think) were intentional, it may have been mentioned in other posts already, but why could this not have been a wand carved in the shape of a penis in this bateleur's hand, even before the "break" occurred? It's possible that if we were to have the entire image here before us that it would show a penis shaped wand in his hand, not a severed penis in his hand. Which could explain the apparent difference in the artistic rendering of this thing in his hand. It was never meant to look like the other ones in this deck as they are meant to be actual flesh penises.

Or, like what has been mentioned by Steve, it may have been altered after the break, but one cannot deny that there are lines in that thing that do not look like any wand I have ever seen, my wands never have something on them that resembles at first and second glance, a urethra and a glans. It just looks too purposeful. :(( ~x(
"...he wanted to illustrate with his figures many Moral teachings, and under some difficulty, to bite into bad and dangerous customs, & show how today many Actions are done without goodness and honesty, and are accomplished in ways that are contrary to duty and rightfulness."

Re: Noblet’s batelleur’s Wand

#50
Hi again Prudence,

I think if it had been an entire wand, no one would have understood it. In other words proportionally it would not have worked.

And for OnePotato: It is precisely because it is in that position that one makes the connection.

I am sorry that this seems to be such a touchy thing for people, but I am really glad we have revealed the significance because otherwise folks seeing the amazing Noblet deck might think that there is some sinister practice connected with the Tarot. As it is, I fear that amazing deck will never be openly sold here. We have a lot of nutty people in the US, and anything connected with the genitals seems to be suspect. As an example, there is a very well-known author of books for teenagers who used the rather clinical word, scrotum, in one of her books and the religious fanatics had the book banned from schools.

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