Re: The Ur Tarot: the very beginning

Hi Pen,
Pen wrote: And to be honest, I no longer know who or what to believe. ... 8_eng.aspx

It never hurts to go back to basics when you feel you're being overwhelmed.

So it's better to concentrate on the what rather than the who.

The "what" is simply the facts. They're real, just the evidence of the game - mentions of the name, actual cards, and possible depictions of players. I tabulated the facts from 1442 to 1480 according to chronology a few years ago:
I gave a short description of each entry on the chart here: ... ntion.html

Thierry Depaulis later improved it (tightening it up and adding some references):

I changed the form the of the information according to geographic distribution north-south, just to begin getting a different perspective (this can be later analyzed qualitatively rather than just quantitatively):


Each one of these pieces of information, the basic facts, has an entry, and some have a larger bibliography. They are the essential basis of the earliest Tarot history. They aren't sufficient, but they are necessary.

The "who", on the other hand, are those who make arguments based on those facts - all the authors you read here, on the rest of the web, and in books.

The arguments about interpreting the facts above come down to arguments about methodology - how to interpret the facts, the documentary and iconographic facts. Building a theory. There aren't very many people involved in arguing about the earliest Tarot history, and, as far as I know, every one of us has a different opinion as to the "Ur-Tarot".

The broadest interpreters, like Huck, will say that the charts above don't convey much information - they just chart the occurence of the term "carte da trionfi" and the surviving cards. Huck argues, as you have seen here, that just about anything could be a tarot, from the nomes of ancient Egypt, to the I Ching, the Sefer Yetzirah, medieval Chess, Geomantic figures, to German playing cards. Also, the name could mean anything, and insofar as an entry doesn't explicitly describe the pictures on the cards and their number, the name "carte da trionfi" in a record is essentially worthless. He would say that the chart above is a mirage.

This is an extreme position, which most interpreters don't share.

Most of us agree that the term "carte da trionfi" refers to a specific kind of cards, and that the game "triumphs" refers to a specific game, just like when "Karnöffel" or "Ronfa" is mentioned over time, we assume that those terms refer to specific games with definable features.

This perspective makes the information on the chart valuable for developing a definition of "carte da trionfi", and a theory of origin.

Re: The Ur Tarot: the very beginning

Ross, many thanks for your wonderfully clear ordering of known facts, and the link to Ludus Triumphorum. Time and thought needed...

Having read the page on LT though, I'm curious re. your current personal opinion on whether the so-called Ur Tarot originated in the courts of the noblity or in a less elevated setting.
Ross wrote:Considering the absolute silence prior to 1442, the “courtly invention” scenario is therefore the most plausible, keeping in mind that, whether it went from artisan’s workshop to the streets and then to the courts, or from the courts to the streets, if we judge by the evidence both positive and negative that we have, the transfer must have been quick – in the range of about 2 years.

You don't commit yourself, but I can't help trying to read between the lines... (%)

He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: The Ur Tarot: the very beginning

Hi Pen,
Pen wrote:
You don't commit yourself, but I can't help trying to read between the lines... (%)

Yes, I don't commit myself in that post, but I have done so here and elsewhere - can't remember exactly where "here" for the moment, but it's pretty simple. I think it was made for middle-class tastes, from among the educated people who served the wealthy and powerful as courtiers (nobility, like Ferrara or Milan) or counsellors (non-nobility, like Florence or Bologna).

Here's something I'm writing, like I always do, probably never to publish, and unfinished for the moment (no notes!), but it might give a sense of what I'm talking about -

Documents, cards, and pictures of card-players

The primary evidence used in reconstructing the early history of the Tarot consists of three kinds of sources – 1) documents which mention the term “carte da trionfi”, “ludus triumphorum” or just “trionfi” or “triumphorum” in the context of playing cards, and the later name for this game, “tarot” or “tarocchi”, and its various spellings; 2) actual cards; 3) frescoes, paintings, and printed images showing playing cards.

Documents have the advantage of often being precisely dated, which is not the case with the cards themselves. The imagery of card players is the most ambiguous, since no images of trump cards survive from the 15th century, even in those few cases where we may strongly suspect a game of Tarot is being depicted.

The earliest cards pre-date the earliest lists of trumps; however, the game is named first in 1442, which is slightly earlier than most scholars believe any surviving cards to be. However, both cards and the name “carte da trionfi” appear in the early 1440s, and occurrences of both the name of the game and surviving cards increase in number and geographical distribution from then onward (fig. 1).

Based on the distribution of the evidence, a conservative estimate of the date of the invention of the game is to within five years of early 1442. Many scholars believe a period of ten years is plausible, while others find two decades or more of silence in the historical and material record acceptable. We may call these chronological positions the “low”, “middle”, and “high” respectively. Here I argue for the low dating.

The coincidence of the subjects depicted on the earliest trumps, from the 1440s and 1450s, with the subjects named in the lists of trumps which appear beginning a decade or two later, demonstrates that the subjects composed a standard set from an early date. But because one of the earliest surviving packs, the Cary-Yale or Visconti di Modrone, contains the three Theological Virtues in addition to many of the standard subjects, the date of the standardization of the number of trumps and their subject matter is disputed. Which position one takes regarding the nature of the Cary-Yale will determine one’s position on the date of standardization of the trump sequence. Additionally, one’s preferred place of invention for the game itself will affect how one argues the date of invention and early evolution of the sequence.

The two positions regarding the Cary-Yale are:

1. It is an example of an earlier standard, and may in fact be the first Tarot or a copy of it. The later standard was then derived from it, by subtraction.
2. It is an expansion of the earlier Tarot. This earlier standard is the typical 78-card pack.

Proponents of the first position argue that the Visconti court in Milan is a strong contender for the birthplace of the game, and that the Cary-Yale is probably the earliest surviving pack of Tarot cards (it may share this position with the Brera Brambilla, but this pack only has 2 trumps, Emperor and Wheel of Fortune). If the game were invented in this court, and had limited circulation among nobles, one can imagine that the two extra court cards in each suit and the three Theological Virtues were soon removed to produce the standard Tarot, and that this standard Tarot is what went out of the court and became the widespread standard game.

Proponents of the second position argue that the dating of the Cary-Yale is probably later than the earliest reference to the game, and note that this reference is not in Milan, but rather in Ferrara in 1442. Moreover, the Cary-Yale is demonstrably an expansion of the regular pack in one respect, since it adds two female court cards to each suit, making a six-court suit. By analogy, it is likely that the additional trumps were also an expansion of the standard number of trumps. Also, the Theological Virtues do not appear again as cards in any surviving pack for a century, until they were added, with the Cardinal Virtue Prudence, the four Aristotelian Elements, and the twelve Zodiac signs, to create the Germini or Minchiate pack in Florence. The Cary-Yale’s deviation from the standard in both the regular suits and trumps, along with its uniqueness, argues strongly for its being an experiment in expansion rather than an earlier standard itself. Finally, if the game were invented in Milan a few years before 1442, but was known in Ferrara already in that year, one must ask if this earliest Ferrara reference was more likely to be a pack configured like the Cary-Yale (which Bandera dates to between 1443-1445), or whether it was in Ferrara that the deduction of court cards and trumps took place (in other words, that Ferrara invented the standard sequence), which didn’t catch on in Milan for a few years, possibly a decade, more; secondly, and more troubling, one must ask how a Bolognese cloth merchant (“merzaro,” mercer) could sell a pack of “carte da trionfi” in Ferrara in July 1442 at one-eighth of the price of a court-commissioned pack in the same city. This latter fact suggests that the game must have escaped from courtly confines and private commissions quite a bit earlier than the low chronology allows – time enough for a mid-market version of the game to have been produced.

Those who argue for more or different cards in the composition of the earliest Tarots, including some experimentation in the design, may be said to have a “broad” position; those who argue that the standard 22 trump subjects, added to the 56 card pack, composed the original, may be said to have a “narrow” position.

I find the implications of the Milanese court invention scenario, with a Cary-Yale standard, to demand a more complicated, and therefore less plausible, series of events than positing that the original 78-card standard was occasionally adapted, to produce such one-off luxuries as the Cary-Yale and other surviving luxury packs. The position I adopt on chronological and compositional questions can thus be characterized as low and narrow.

The final question to be addressed before establishing a historical theory of origin is that of the place of the original invention.

Ferrara, February 10, 1442, is the earliest documentary reference to the game. There are about 30 more references to it over the next two decades in the same source, the accounting books of the ruling Este family. Since the two earliest Visconti packs, from Milan (or rather, Cremona), cannot be dated with certainty to earlier than this date, Ferrara has evident priority.

However, the internal evidence of this earliest document suggests that the cards being referred to are not the original invention. The artist, Sagramoro, must have been using a model. The entry reads “the cups, coins, swords, batons, and all the figures, of four packs of cartexelle da trionffy, two with green backs and two with red backs”. This description of the composition of the pack is never repeated (nor that particular spelling of “trionfi”), which suggests the item called “cartexelle da trionffy” was a novelty that required some explanation in this first instance. Furthermore, from the same records in 1454, documenting an in-house workshop dedicated to making packs of Triumph Cards, we can deduce that the time it takes to make such a luxury pack averages 11 days. So, if we assume that Sagramoro had 4 assistants under him, each uniquely occupied in making a pack of the cards, the execution of the entire commission might have taken 11 days. But in fact we don’t know how many, if any, assistants he had in this enterprise, and assuming that the court would expect consistency in the quality of the art, it seems likely that only one artist, or maybe two, worked on the project. This makes the timeframe for the production of the four packs mentioned on February 10 at least around two weeks, placing the initial commission in late-January at the latest. If Sagramoro worked alone, or with one assistant, the commission and production must be pushed back at least to several weeks earlier, given the workshop’s other obligations (documented in the accounts).

Whatever the uncertainty over the amount of time it took to make the four packs, and the origin of their model, more insight is given in the second known occurrence of the term. On July 28, 1442, Jacomo “guerzo”, the servant of the young Este boys Sigismondo and Ercole, is paid for buying a pack of “carte da trionfi” from the Bolognese mercer (cloth-merchant, haberdasher), Marchione Burdochio. The amount is only 1/8 of what Sagramoro was paid for single, hand-painted pack, strongly suggesting that Burdochio’s product was a mass-produced one (relative to the epoch). Since Burdochio’s main business with the court was selling fabrics of the sort Bologna specialized in, the silk cloth taffeta, the entry also suggests that the pack, like the taffeta, came from Bologna. If a mass-produced Tarot were being made in Bologna already less than six months after their first documentation anywhere, it doesn’t leave much time for the game to have gone from the closed confines of the private rooms in a stately palace in Ferrara to the workshops of Bologna, in time for them to be brought back to Ferrara and sold to the court for children to play with. Rather, the July 28 1442 reference opens a hole in the Ferrara court invention scenario, as well as the courtly invention scenario as a whole (given the time constraints we have seen earlier). Moreover, if the game were conceived from the beginning to be marketed, then its standardization is assured. Given the geographical spread of the game in the first two decades, always (with the exception of the Cary Yale) with the same name and, wherever they survive, the standard subjects, this original product must have also had the name “carte da trionfi” and the 22 standard subjects.

Although we may reject the court in Ferrara, there is still the court in Milan. In this case the documentary evidence is of no help, but instead we have the two earliest surviving packs, Cary-Yale and Brera Brambilla. They cannot be precisely dated, but the internal evidence of the cards themselves points to before 1447. Given this ambiguity, we cannot say definitively that Milan didn’t know the game before Ferrara, but there is no need to assume a dependence of the former on the latter, since Milan ruled Bologna for most of the period I posit for the invention of the game. Just as easily as the game could have gone from Bologna to Ferrara, it could have gone from Bologna to Milan.

Because of the Milanese influence in Bologna in 1438-1441, couldn’t the opposite be argued? That is, that the game was invented in the court in Milan, and got transferred to the ruling classes, particularly the Bentivoglio family (who married into the Visconti family in May 1441), during that period, and was taken up by courtiers who devised a printed version – of which Burdochio’s might be an example – and then passed it on to Ferrara? I admit the question can’t be resolved with what we know at the present. I can only say that, if it were courtly, and, given the extreme closeness of the Ferrara and Milan courts in the years 1440-1441, the game should have shown up earlier in the Ferrara records if it were fashionable in Milan already by 1441.

The real difficulty for the courtly invention scenario, for me, is the existence of Burdochio’s mid-market pack so soon after a luxury version is attested. When we constrain the date of invention by the trend of the data to within 5 years, it seems too short a time to imagine a courtly fashion having gone “retail” as it were. The tendency is to believe that fashion and invention in this period were always top-down – the wealthy were the trend-setters, and poorer classes copied them as much as they could afford. But this rule is obviously not invariable, since we have proof of the ruling Este family of Ferrara buying a pack of carte da trionfi “off the street”, from a common merchant. It was already, by then, not a fashion limited to the wealthiest people. The change from common product to exclusive courtly creation would only take a single commission – an Este, or a Visconti, commissioning an artist to make a version of a common game that would be worthy of their dignity (a practice for which we also have explicit proof (Marcello), and seems to be implied by the earliest Ferrara document). But how long would it take for a game in fashion in a court to become something made for the middle class, like Burdochio’s product? Estimating that is pure guesswork. I am constrained by the period of 5 years, which I consider probably too short – but obviously not impossible – for the top-down model to work. Critics of this position either have no theoretical problem with the short timeframe, or demand more time for the game to have been invented, whether a decade or more, so that it had time to percolate down.

In the conviction that mine is the simplest solution, I propose that the earliest form of the game we can infer from the evidence in Ferrara was mid-market, and that it was produced in Bologna. This leads to further considerations, based on what we know of the Bolognese game. Since Dummett’s work in 1980, we know that Bologna is the standard representative of what he called the “A” type of the three Tarot families. It is iconographically and structurally distinct from the B and C types (as they are from each other), and Dummett originally thought it came from Bologna. However, discoveries later in the 1980s and 2000s led to a revision of that notion, and now it can be said that Florence has at least an equal claim to have invented the type. Without going into detail, we can therefore say that if Bologna gave the game to either or both of Ferrara and Milan, which I think is the most reasonable argument, it is nevertheless uncertain whether Bologna can claim to be the birthplace of the game, or whether Florence might be. Whatever the resolution of the question, the earliest examples of both Bolognese and Florentine cards are so similar that we know they had a common origin, in one or the other city. Since Bologna has, with a few exceptions, preserved its iconographic and structural tradition for the longest of any family of Tarot games – they still play the game with essentially the same trump designs they used in the 15th century, and essentially the same game they played in the 16th century – and far longer than Florence, I believe Bologna has preserved the original form of the pack and game, no matter which city it was invented in.

Having established my historical position, we can move to the iconographical questions, and the issue of interpreting the sequence of trumps.

The earliest iconography for the A or Southern types is depicted in three or four hand-painted luxury packs. These are, with their conventional names, the Rothschild (one trump), Charles VI (sixteen trumps), Catania (four trumps), and Este (eight trumps) packs. The printed pack is first attested by the Rosenwald and Beaux Arts-Rothschild (BAR) sheets (uncut printed sheets of cards). The former is taken to be from Florence, the latter from Bologna. None of these can be assigned a precise date. Although a controversial theory places the Rothschild as early as 1420, more conventional dating puts this, along with the Charles VI and Catania, to between 1450 and 1465. The Este pack, with stylistic similarities to the others, is usually taken to have been made around 1473. Finally, the printed cards are usually presented as “late 15th to early 16th centuries”. Although my impression is that the Rosenwald sheets, at least that of the trumps, are earlier than the BAR sheet, I would guess by several decades, I have no expertise to offer. All that matters is that the BAR is Bolognese with certainty, while the Rosenwald is Florentine by consensus. They therefore provide a basis of comparison with the much earlier painted luxury cards of the same A tradition, but which by the time of the appearance of these two sets of sheets had diverged.

Based on a comparison of the luxury cards with the sheets (as well as with Florentine artists), it seems probable that all these painted cards are Florentine rather than any being Bolognese. Therefore, the BAR sheet is the earliest iconographic witness to the Bolognese pattern. It dates to at least 50 years after the earliest Florentine cards, and at least 60 years after the proposed invention or reception of the game in Bologna. It is therefore a crucial piece of evidence, although its reliability as a guide to the 60 years of silence is controversial.

How controversial? My method is to compare the earliest A types, all except Este being within about two decades of the invention of the game, to the later, divergent, traditions. I find that the BAR sheet is close enough to be a recognizable descendant of the luxury cards – sometimes better than the Rosenwald – and that therefore it is reasonably certain that BAR is not very far removed from the standard upon which the early A-Southern painted cards are based.

The question of the original A sequence encounters only one significant difficulty, the placement of the Chariot. In Bologna, it immediately follows Love (as in the more familiar Tarot de Marseille). In Florence its placement varies between coming immediately after the three Cardinal Virtues, or coming immediately after the Wheel of Fortune. In the Rosenwald sheet, the Chariot’s position is rendered ambiguous by the flawed attempt at numbering the cards, and the unlikely placement of the Wheel of Fortune on the sheet after the Hanged Man. As I have stated above, I believe that the Bolognese order preserves the original order, and that the demonstrable instability of Florentine orders supports the notion that the latter’s cardmakers or players changed it from time to time.

A minor difficulty in the ordering of either of the A types is their sequence of grouped Cardinal Virtues. The traditional Bolognese order is Temperance, Justice, Fortitude (TIF), which is that of the Rosenwald Sheet, while the Minchiate order is Temperance, Fortitude, Justice (TFI), which is how the numberer of the Charles VI orders them, as well as the anonymous Strambotto on the Triumphs of about 1500. This form, TFI, is clearly the majority opinion in Florence. I think the problem is minor for interpreters of the possible allegory since various rankings or orderings of the Cardinal Virtues are found in philosophical literature and they are taken collectively in any case. Justified moral interpretations can easily be found for any order. Since I am working on the assumption of TIF, I will glean whatever small reward I can from the occurrence of this order in the philosophical literature.

A difficulty of a different sort for the A-Southern types is the cards known as “papi”. The BAR Sheet only preserves twelve cards, of which the lowest cards are among those lost; Rosenwald preserves all the cards but the Fool, and shows four papi, which are clearly a Pope and Popess, and an Emperor and Empress. Of the earliest, luxury A cards, Charles VI only preserves a Pope and an Emperor, which, with the surviving later numbers, show that the Emperor was “iii”, the Love card “v”, and the TFI virtues “vi”, “vii” and “viii” respectively, making the Pope by necessity “iiii”, and only one other card between the Emperor and Bagatella possible; the Rothschild has the Emperor alone, and the Este only the Pope among these cards. Coming forward in time, the Strambotto, the earliest documentary list of an A sequence, lists “Pope, Emperor and Empress”, and notably omits the Popess. Finally in Florence, the Minchiate has only three of these papi, like the Strambotto and the Charles VI at the time of its numbering. Bologna itself, as far as we can trace these cards from their earliest appearance in a late-16th century rulebook, has always had four papi, which are not further distinguished by individual names, but which appear in surviving cards from the mid-17th century as two Popes and two Emperors. In 1725 they were changed by law to four non-Christian “Moors”. How do we make chronological and historical sense of this reduction in number and change in subjects among the “papi”?

(Croce in Bologna in 1602 omits both Popes (Pope and Popess) from his poem, but retains Emperor and Empress, named as such; this should probably be seen as sensitivity to the controversial figures rather than evidence of a pack in Bologna that omitted them (since it was a literary composition rather than a description of the pack); the omission of the Popess from the Strambotto may be political like this, but the evidence of the numbering of the Charles VI, and the omission of one of the figures from the Minchiate both give weight to the interpretation of a unique pack with the Popess already omitted in Florence by about 1500.)

First, from the Steele Sermon we know that the presence of a Pope and Popess among the trumps offended some strict Christians. In the larger context, these moralists were attempting to reform morals by attacking such “vanities”, including games, that led down a slippery slope to damnation. Their influence was sporadic, short-lived, and localized,

Re: The Ur Tarot: the very beginning

mmfilesi wrote:Thanks Huck.
... :-? ... Well I am not sure exist a conceptual or iconographic continuity between Michelino and other decks.
Well, that's of course not sure ...
We don't know, how much the details of the Michelino deck were known outside of the court of Milan, and - as Filippo Maria Visconti lived a very reserved life - it may well be, that they were not. But Marcello heard of the deck as a singular item, searched for it (1449) and got it. And - it seems so - he send it to King Renee in France and it was gone then.
Which is naturally not sure to be the full story. Isabella of Lorraine died in spring 1453, Renee went for a military escapade the same year to Sforza in Milan, and together they fought again Venice troops (in other words: "together against Marcello"). ... possibly Renee recognized, that the deck was Milanese property and gave it back ... :-) ... ?

Well, that's not recorded, also it's not recorded, if there were other editions of the same deck or any other form, by which knowledge about the Michelino deck would have passed to the future. Well, the mentioned 1500 ducats for a playing card deck, recorded by Decembrio, couldn't have been overlooked for instance by Galeazzo Maria, who surely had possibilities to request some information about details of this object.

Recorded is, that after 1466 Galeazzo Maria developed greater interest in the older symbols of his grandfather and the Visconti (Sforza himself seems to have been not so much interested). We have then in Milan a rebirth of the interest in Daphne, which is the somehow dominant figure in the Michelino deck. There's this picture, painted by one of the Pollaiuolo ... and it is assumed (at least by one researcher) that it presents Galeazzo Maria and Bona of Savoy as Apollo and Daphne.


Additionally there's a Sforza manuscript in Wolffenbüttel, given to short before 1470 ...


(here given as from 1480, but I saw it otherwise dated earlier)

... and later another reappearance by Birago, made for Bona of Savoy c. 1490 ...


... and then, due to the marriage of Maximilian with Bianca Maria Sforza, the occupation of Milan by the French and refugees of Milan in Austria/German and the special interest of the German poet Celtis, Daphne has a greater appearance on Germany:


box of Celtis


print in a Celtis work 1501/02


another Celtis print

Well, Celtis became a sort of "literature pope" in Vienna till his death 1510, Emperor Maximilian discovered the modern print media as an excellent tool to distribute imperial propaganda and the title poetus laureatus got excessive use in German countries. This all - Daphne, Celtis and naturally also Apollo - became a major factor in German humanism ... and this is NOT a small movement. But not only in Germany ...

Later - at the end of 16th century - we have the first Opera in Florence: Daphne ...

And Opera business and all, what's connected to it, ALSO isn't a small movement.

The honor of Daphne goes back to Petrarca. Petrarca had a lover (if only imagined as a poetical ideal or real, is a riddle of literature) named Laura ... and Laura is just another name for Daphne. And Petrarca makes a lot of his title "Poetus Laureatus", which he got in Rome 1341. Petrarca makes his Laura die in 1348 ... with the increasing plague, naturally at a very symbolic day, Good Friday. At c. 1355 he started his "Trionfi", which wasn't finished 1474, at his death, with naturally again used "Laura".
Naturally Petrarca (and also his Trionfi) wasn't totally famous during his life time. Success "after the death" depends on lucky conditions - a lot of great poets have disappeared from public attention, for instance Boiardo, called the most important poet of second half of 15th century long had been rather forgotten. In Petrarca's time the distribution methods for literature were limited. When Petraca started the Trionfi, he was in Milan ... Filippo Maria had reason enough to regard the poet as a Milanese poet. He was a great lover of the Canzonieri, that's definite. So perhaps just the personal Filippo Maria's interest in Petrarca had a strong influence on Petrarca's rather successful afterlife.

The Daphne concept was very mighty ... and somehow it took the Milanese way and it appeared in the Michelino deck.
But let's take the perspective "Triinfi" from another side:

From the illustrated editions of the Trionfi (not the cards, but the poem) we know, that the first version was ordered 1441 (by Pietro de Medici). From the same year (which is a 100-years-anniversary of Petrarca's poetus laureatus activity 1341) we know, that Leon Battista Alberti organized a literary contest in Florence just in October 1441. And October 1441 is just the month, when Francesco Sforza married Bianca-Maria Sforza (a typical "triumphal celebration"). And around a similar time in Germany the later pope Pius II, Enea Piccolomini, became poetus laureatus by the new emperor Fredrick III.
Accidental coincidence or causal coincidence?

Naturally that's causal coincidence, not accidental coincidence. Cause ... that are simply too much correspondences.

There are two big events in close relation: The Ferrarese-Florentine council 1438/39 and the war between Milan and Venice 1338-1441 inside the 30 years period of Venetian-Milanese wars 1425 - 1454. This war was especially heavy, actually a duel between Piccinino and Francesco Sforza.

What if the war hadn't ended in summer 1441? Well, naturally the wedding between Sforza and Bianca Mari Visconti hadn't taken place, but likely also not the literary contest in Florence. But came the peace unexpected? Not really ... actually it was expected since the second battle of Soncino (June 1440), a deciding battle, which Filippo Maria and Milan had lost. After this battle a truce was concluded, which was interrupted by (not expected) newwar activities of Piccinino in February 1441.
As people prepare for things, which might happen in the future, we may conclude, that the commission for the Petrarca Trionfi edition was given in the period, when the truce was decided, but Piccinino still hadn't reopened the battle field.
Florence had various Trionfi activities during the council 1439. Somehow it was organized, that the Eastern Church "had lost" and Roman church "had won", and somehow they celebrated "a result", which wasn't a result (the unification of the churches never became a real unification).
With this artificial result it was attempted to win the battle of the "Italian council" against "the German council" to regain "spiritual territory", which once was lost during the council of Constance. Well, this plan worked out: Finally the anti-pope Felix resigned, the council of Basel disappeared and the Catholic church had free hands for about 70-80 years to get a lot of money from somewhere else to build up the new Rome in great splendor ... till the reformation, which made clear, that the earlier victory, which just rearranged the papal dominance in the church, didn't pay out.
Anyway ... that's the bigger story, but too big to learn about details in 1439-1441. In a report to the Alfonso Trionfo in Naples (1443) it is said, that the participating Florentians are experienced with Trionfi celebrations. I would think, that this could only refer to the festivities observed in 1439 during the council ... otherwise I don't know of reports, which might have stimulated this opinion. So one might from this set a strong !!! behind this humble remark ... this is a general contemporary (1443) global description of the phenomenon Trionfi, which wasn't unknown in Italy, but hadn't a great existence in Italy till a specific "not really known" moment
during 15th century, when it started to become a great Italian topic for at least 2 centuries.

The council time in Ferrara (1438) didn't have so much splendor, Ferrara was smaller and the whole council suffered from not enough money and translation difficulties ... and at its end came the plague. However, this part of the council was important for background activities, during which a sort of book fever (inclusive real translation from Greek material, which had been brought from Constantinople) developed, which raised the interest in literature ... and finally caused, that Cosimo di Medici opened a public library at San Marco in 1444. And the council cause, that Leon Battista Alberti for the first time visited Ferrara and became by this acquainted to Leonello ... surely not an important activity for the council, as just a lot of persons appear in Ferrara, but for the Trionfi card development possibly an important man.
In contrast to Ferrara the council of Florence had sponsors, and it was astonishingly few money, for which the Constantinople delegation was willing to change the location from Ferrara to Florence.

From this analysis it's plausible, that the phenomenon Trionfi (this means the festivity, not the cards) starts its explosive Italian importance 1439, and it wasn't before.
Trionfi-like activities of some dimension happened 1423 in Naples and 1425 in Milan, in a time, when the conditions in Milan were splendid, and in Naples it developed, cause Alfonso of Aragon wished to impress the people of Napes with Spanish glamor. After 1425 the glamorous moments were rare, enthusiasm about the emperor (1431-33) visit stayed humble and all the matters were difficult, the papal election of Eugen stimulated opposition, big marriages wasn't given, etc.. And the whole was kept small, cause the economical conditions weren't mostly very well, as there was too much war. Well, we don't know for sure, but if there was such a great opportunity, why nobody can give information about it?
For the Trionfi development we have reports, that the earlier antique Roman Trionfi tradition found some prolongation in Constantinople. Surely weren't the Eastern Emperors of 15th century not in the financial state to have known such great festivities in their lifetime, but some of it might been kept in their memory. Now we have had just in 1438/39 a real Eastern emperor with an entourage of 700 persons as guests at the council (roughly 1 and 3/4 year and later in smaller groups some time longer) and enough time between the participants to exchange memories, world views, humble opinions etc. and surely occasionally the theme "Trionfi" was topic. And just during and short time after it - 1441 - the theme "Trionfi" explodes. Shouldn't one assume the logical development, that the council with its greater manifestation in Florence 1439 triggered the general Italian interest in these shows?

For our beloved playing cards with "Trionfi" name naturally it's probable, that the game came LATER than the social phenomenon of the Trionfi. It surely followed the general rule, that the tail follows the dog, and not vice versa.
And there was surely the problem, that there was a war, while delegates and Rome's representatives and Florentians enjoyed their festivities in Florence.
Naturally this war hindered an immediate spread of the Trionfi idea outside of Florence. But the public reception and the enthusiasm in Florence naturally generated wandering stories, which made other regions and their regents think about, how this new social behavior might be used to stimulate the own population. The Trionfi from Florence was a sort of advertisement of success ... if the success was real or not real, wasn't so interesting, it was more important, that other regions believed, it was a success.
Well, naturally ALSO the current foes of Florence/Venice and the Pope Eugen party should believe, that it was a success.

The run of the war seems to be like this ... major information is from ... a/1430.htm

Spring 1439, the council had begun running ... Milan took Bologna with the rather strong intention to put some pressure on the delegates at the council nearby.
During 1439 there are some minor battles, in which Venice seems to have had the better part. A big Milanese offensive is taken in December against Brescia, which isn't successful and ends with big Milanese losses. Nonetheless the situation is very insecure, and the delegations in Ferrara, which decide to proceed the council in Florence, have great worries about the security of the transfer from Ferrara to Florence.
Still in January 1439 three battles occur, in which the 2 major ones are decided in favor of Venice. Then - finally - everybody seems to have agreed, that it is winter.
The council-festival in Florence could took its start under relative peaceful conditions.
The next battle season started in June 1439, but the begin knew no big decisions. Heavy fighting appears since September 1439 (3 battles are recorded), just the time, when the delegates in Florence plan their journey back. October (2), November (2), December (2) follow ... that's the most intensive fighting time of the war. The begin of the period is successful for Milan, the end sees again victories of Venice.
In 1440 only 3 battles occur between April and June, all successful for the foes of Filippo Maria. Two of them are large battles, both in June and both present a heavy defeat of the Milanese forces. The battle of Anghiari became later the object of a famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci ...

Peter Paul Rubens's copy of The Battle of Anghiari. Allegedly from left to right is Francesco Piccinino; Niccolò Piccinino; Ludovico Trevisan; Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini. ... ainting%29

... and it was a battle against Florence and the Chiesa, and it knew not too much cases of deaths (totally 70, 880 wounded), but thousands of Milanese prisoners.

The second battle of Soncino (another battle was in 1431) ended with 1000 Visconti troops (between them many from Ferrara) either dead or wounded and more thousands of prisoners ... and a lot of money was lost, too. This was the battle, in which the leading general Borso d'Este became prisoner, perhaps an early nasty experience with war, which guided Borso to become a rather peaceful duke of Ferrara during the time of his later reign.
Well, and Borso became the person most mentioned in Trionfi documents.

After this June 1440 - Anghiari and Borso's unlucky battle - it seems to have been decided, that public opinion considered, that this war would end soon. A truce was agreed upon ... and likely diplomats had some business to negotiate the conditions.
Looking through all the battles, then Milanese troops are considered to be the losing party in most of it, roughly 70-80%. Filippo Maria should have lost of money with his military attempts.

According the public expectations one can imagine, that now, after June 1440, a decent preparation of triumphal festivities could take place with the assumption, that peace would really come. Naturally .... in Florence / Venice / Rome one would call it a victory and naturally also in Milan one would try this, though the objective conditions would spoken another language.
Florence (Pietro de Medici) ordered an edition of Petrarca's Trionfi and we know, that since this realization the Petrarca motifs became a very frequent topic in Florentine marriage chests and elsewhere.
In Milan we observe, that Duke Filippo Maria send his daughter to Ferrara, Bianca Maria's famous visit. Possibly this prepared a marriage of Bianca Maria to Leonello d'Este ... if it would have come to the marriage and a unification between Milan and Ferrara, then the new state Milan-Ferrara state would have blocked a lot of the natural ways between Venice and Southern Italy (so to Florence and Rome). Venetian ships would have solved this problem, but, anyway, that might have caused a lot of trouble for the vital trading ways in the future.
As Filippo Maria Visconti and Niccolo d'Este was close to each other in these late days of Niccolo, this threat was rather REAL.

At 1.1.1441 we have recorded in Ferrara the painting of 14 "figure" objects as a present for Bianca Maria by Sagramoro, an artist known for playing card productions since 1422, and later the great Trionfi card painter in Ferrara.
These objects are not called "Trionfi" or "playing cards" ... but actually the situation was so, that the "great triumphal moment" was just a plan and project (the peace treaties weren't signed) ... so this might just have been 14 experiments, just a design for (possibly) later real playing cards.


It's interesting to observe, that ..

a. just the battle of Anghiari (June 1440) later became a famous object of art ... just in 1504/05, a time, which somehow triggered the edition of a new Taroch deck in Ferrara, when Alfonso d'Este celebrated his new title "duke of Ferrara"

b. the issue of the second battle of Soncino (June 1440) focussed a person, Borso d'Este, which till then had a rather unknown factor of Ferrarese court life ... and that just this person later became the greatest Trionfi card commissioner, that we know in 15th century (at least in the documents, that we know of)

Well, somehow and occasionally Borso's time was considered a "golden time". Not everybody had this opinion, surely. But, anyway, this idea existed .. ... Este_Bible

Re: The Ur Tarot: the very beginning

I have been off doing other things while this thread has been going on. Thanks, Pen, for reviving the Bologna-thread issues for us. The old one sort of fizzled. I want to pick up where I left off there. I am replying to Ross's last post.

I still think the Michelino was the first tarot, and after that came a predecessor to the Cary-Yale, a Petrarchan Christianization of the Michelino, somewhat along Pen's lines. Perhaps the 1425 Trionfi festivities (mentioned in Huck's last post) suggested the modifications, as well as Filippo's growing religiousity. The new version might have been Marziano's second experiment, before his unfortunate demise.

But enough of the "might haves." For me, the key problem is, how did the Fool get to be unnumbered? I can only see one way, and it leads back to Milan.

The usual way to explain the unnumbered status is to say that Roman numerals had no zero. So you can't put his number on the card, which is really Zero. After all, Zero is what is on the Sola-Busca Fool card. In the late 18th century, both de Mellet and Etteilla gave it the number Zero. So there was a tradition for zero.

There are a couple of problems with that explanation, at least in the beginning. One is that nobody else at the time, except the Sola-Busca artist, considered it zero. The Steele Sermon, although saying it was unnumbered, mentioned it at the end. Why didn't he put it at the beginning, if it was zero and unnumbered? Pasquinata also put it at the end, I think unnumbered (although Andy Polett doesn't say,

Also, we have to look at to how the game was played. The special property of the Fool was that you could play it at any time. So it was a very useful card to have, to avoid having to play a powerful card.

But what does that have to do with the number zero? I mean, you could have these rules and still call it the first trump, if it's the lowest. Someone might say, no, that number was already taken by the Bagatella. But these cards didn't have numbers on them. The lowest is first, no matter who's on the card or what was lowest before.

And what is it to follow suit? In particular, what counts as being in the suit? In the Michelino, each god-card was part of a suit, one of its four highest members. So "following suit" meant playing a trump in that suit, if that's all you had. In that case you might have to play a very powerful card, since any trump beat any non-trump, regardless of suit (and among trumps, there was a clear hierarchy, starting with 1, for what beat what). In this predicament, a Fool card would come in quite handy. That's what I think happened, at some point. The Fool was a card that didn't belong to any suit. Only cards belonging to suits had numbers. Et voila, no number, not even zero! If he was zero, we'd have to be able to say what suit he was zero in. So he's not in a suit, if he's unnumbered.

If all trumps except the Fool belong to a suit, then there have to be, originally, a multiple of 4 trumps, plus one when you have a Fool. Personally, I think 16 would have been a good number,the same as the Michelino, and the most natural expansion from the 11 we have, given what they are and what would naturally go with them. But I'm not bothered by 12 or 20.

24 is a stretch. Yes, there are enough candidates: e.g. Star, Moon, Sun, and Prudence. But I think that Star, Moon, and Sun weren't original, not in Milan or anywhere at the beginning. They got replaced because theological virtues were too dreary in Bologna or Ferrara. In Minchiate, the Theological Virtues occur right where Star, Moon, and Sun would normally appear. And there are parallels in the imagery, between CY theological virtues and PMB luminaries.

I don't see why there have to be proportionately more trumps if there are more suit cards, 16 instead of 14 per suit. Is that true in Minchiate? By that logic (used the other way), there should be around a hundred suit cards there. But there is some relationship of trumps to suits. In the CY, making them the same number is a logical way to do it (excluding the Fool). And it is the same as in the Michelino. Maybe they increased the number of suit cards to match the trumps. Maybe the Brera-Brambrilla had 8, and that was seen to be not enough.

There is an odd thing about the Cary-Yale, never mentioned (except by me). Every trump is assigned a suit. Look on the Beinecke site and see for yourself. This is not something the Yale librarians dreamed up. The bequest came to them that way. I once posted (in the 5x14 thread) the email that the librarian sent me, after he checked on this. It is not the best evidence, I admit, but it is corroboration.

The unnumbered Fool, like the court fool and the natural fool, was outside the hierarchy. In Shakespeare, the sisters call Lear's Fool "your all-licensed fool," meaning he could say and do whatever he wanted (although, as he fears, he might be beaten no matter what). Renaissance pictures of Fools had him doing whatever he wanted and getting beaten for it. Likewise, the Fool can be played whenever it wants, is always beaten, and yet never leaves its owner. Tarot is truly the game of the Fool.

Once the Fool was established as unnumbered, it stayed that way, even when the trumps stopped being assigned to suits and it was as good as a zero. So we see it going to the beginning of lists. Also, the number of trumps didn't have to be a multiple of four. That simplified things right away. The PMB could be any old number, as far as the Fool is concerned.

But in order to explain the Fool's unnumbered status, as opposed to zero, we have to go back to a game in which all the trumps belonged to suits. That is exactly what the Michelino was. So unless somebody knows some other deck in some other place that fits the bill, the Michelino started it all. Then something like the CY, or Brera-Brambrilla (if it had enough cards), came along, but without the CY's Sforza heraldic devices, if that's what the fountains etc. were. As I have said before (and it is not original with me), the clothing in these decks is similar to the c. 1425-1430 drawings of courtiers done by Pisanello, who had visited Milan and other courts; I would add that it is also similar to the earliest of the Zavattari brothers' frescoes at Monza (probably commissioned by Filippo), but not the later (they did the work from the late 1420s until the mid 1440s). (To see these examples, go to my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=365&start=270#p7136 and scroll down to the pictures.)

This type of deck may have gotten to Bologna in various ways> So I will return to the "might haves." The chief possibilities are the condottiere Niccolo Piccinnno (1438) and the Visconti lady who married a Bentivoglio (1441). I do not imagine that the game was played much in court--or, as Ross says, Ferrara would have had it. Maybe there was a deck for Filippo's wife and one for his mistress (the lady who lives in the red castle on the World card, as mmfilesi says). Then maybe Piccinino got one, at a dinner where they could laugh about his escape in the bottom of the boat (in another version of the World card). And he had copies made to distribute to his conquests as good-will offerings and to pass around to his men as rewards for good deeds. Soldiers had a lot of free time to play cards. (In fact, Piccinino might have started the middle-rung production during his time in Bologna, just for these purposes.) Or the Visconti girl in Bologna got her deck from Bianca Maria as a wedding present, and the Bentivoglio ordered cheaper versions to ingratiate themselves with their supporters.. Then the Bolognese and Florentines (many of whom, in that trade, were probably already in Bologna) ran with the idea; Trionfi pageants were now in vogue (as Huck says). New ideas sometimes take a long time to catch on. How many years did Van Gogh have to wait? Too many. But who knows? And who knows how many cards a Bolognese deck would have had then ? The fact is that Bologna in general was stable, conservative, and miserable for most of the nearly 300 years it languished under direct rule of the Papacy, while under the Bentivoglio, it was a lively place, similar to Florence and probably almost as creative and changeable. We can't generalize from the one era to the other.

So much was destroyed, the Bentivoglio Palace in Bologna as well as the Visconti one in MIlan. There are inevitably huge gaps in the evidence. And history does not always move in the simplest ways. The hard evidence (about the Michelino, and the Milan cards themselves) and the unnumbered Fool point to Milan.

Re: The Ur Tarot: the very beginning

Hi Mike,

I can't agree with most of your interpretation of the early evidence you cite. Like I said to Pen, there is no consensus on how to interpret it all and come up with an "Ur-tarot hypothesis" - everyone with an opinion, has a different one.

Without direct, self-evident or persuasive, evidence, all we have left is argument. The best tool in that arsenal is analogy - since it was done in such and such a way here, it is more likely that it was done like that there. It's a good tool because it still relies on evidence, and it is best when the evidence is directly relevant to the unknown subject one is arguing about. In the case of the Cary-Yale, I argue that since the deck has expanded the number of suit cards (and with female figures, which might be relevant), then by analogy it is more plausible that it has an expanded number of trumps as well. I might add that the deck is physically HUGE, maybe the biggest ever made. All of this adds up to "expansion", which also implies "expansion FROM a model" - it is a secondary Tarot, a variant.

I don't think the Beinecke's system is ancient. Parravicino doesn't mention it - he just sees trumps and suit cards, as most people do. There's no guarantee that the museum would have a description of precisely what the cataloguer did. I would bet that the BnF doesn't know who misnumbered the 17th century Bolognese cards in their collection according to the Tarot de Marseille numbering either. Maybe it was the previous owner, maybe it was a cataloguer in the prints department (there's analogy again).

I don't agree with your characterization of the Marziano design as making the gods part of the suits. The bird-suits and the gods are two different aspects of the fourfold thematic design.

Let's call the four moral characteristics (Virtues, Riches, Virginities, Pleasures) the "horizontal" aspect, and the birds and gods the "vertical" aspect of the design. The vertical aspect has two parts - birds and gods. The gods are effectively a fifth suit.

Virtues............Eagles............|....1, 5, 9, 13
Riches ..........Phoenices..........|....2, 6, 10, 14
Virginities.....Turtledoves.........|....3, 7, 11, 15
Pleasures..........Doves............|....4, 8, 12, 16

Jove is not "Jove of Eagles" - he's just number 1 of the gods. He's one of the four gods in the god-suit of the "theme" of Virtues, just as the Eagles suit is the bird-suit in the theme of Virtues.

Cupid isn't "Cupid of Doves" - he's just number 16 of gods, etc., for all the rest.

"Every one of the gods is above all of the orders of birds and the rank of kings." I could get into this more, but let me offer the corroborating evidence, namely Marcello's reaction to seeing Michelino's rendition of Marziano's text. He calls it a "new kind of Triumphs". Now, on what basis does he compare it to a normal deck of Triumph cards?
It can't be the content or iconography, since Triumphs and Michelino/Marziano have little, if anything, in common (we might argue for Cupid, Apollo/Sun, Diana/Moon, etc., but that is already going beyond what we know). Since it can't be the content, it has to be the STRUCTURE that the two types of deck had in common: they both had five suits. The "sixteen celestial princes and barons" are the very first thing that lept to his eye when he describes it for Isabelle. They obviously stood apart, in their appearance and order.

I believe Franco Pratesi, who brought the text to the attention of playing card historians, also suggested that the Marziano deck might have been a proto-tarot, from which, by transformation of the trumps, the standard Tarot subjects were created (the suits in Tarot just being the normal Italian suits). I'll take a look and post his remarks.

None of this makes Milan less likely, and Visconti is a demonstrated card-game inventor. So, with the proven track-record and the earliest surviving Trionfi to boot, Milan, Visconti court, is the prime contender for the home of the Ur-Tarot.

The only things that constrain me are the low chronology and the narrow definition of the Ur-Tarot - I can't accept more than 10 years of silence before 1442, and I think the 22 standard subjects were created all at once. And I really prefer 5 years to 10, which I think is justified by the distribution of the evidence from 1442 onward.

The low chronology makes it hard for the luxury game to have gone from Milan to Bologna, then adopted by normal cardmakers. Who was their audience? How could the middle classes of Bologna or Florence have already picked up the habit of playing Triumphs by 1441? Donnina's wedding (May 1441) is hardly enough time to take a couple of luxury Milanese decks and turn them into a Bolognese commodity. Again I argue by analogy - the Este actually DID buy a common deck from a merchant. The commission of a product worthy of their status, to be painted by a court artist, could be done in a few weeks. And Marcello too, when he gets his first Trionfi deck, which isn't "worthy of royalty", goes off in search of a cardmaker who could make something like this Trionfi but worthy of Queen Isabelle's status. Just like Francesco Sforza's letter of December 1450 when he asks for Trecci to find "the finest" Trionfi cards for him - he, Marcello, and the Este, all knew different qualities of Triumph cards. The luxury versions are just that - luxury VERSIONS of something obtainable in a few different grades of quality.

So it's easier for me to imagine some Milanese in Donnina's wedding party picking up this new Bolognese game and then commissioning a luxury version by an artist like Bembo back home, than it is to imagine the luxury version coming to Bologna then trickling down in a matter of weeks to the courtier class, and then someone having the idea to make a cheaper version ("a matter of weeks", or at least quickly enough to be among Burdochio's goods a year later (if not sooner)).

Re: The Ur Tarot: the very beginning

Ross wrote:Parravicino [edited to add: sorry the link doesn't work, I can never get links to work] doesn't mention it - he just sees trumps and suit cards, as most people do.
It isn't so difficult to make links from work. Most pages are made with with Frames, but each text content has a full calling address.
If you click with the RIGTH mouse button on the text field, You get a menu with options. Go to option "this frame" and you get a further menu, where you has to take the option "View Frame info". This opens a window, and it presents at the top the info about the Frame address, which in the case of the Parravicino article is ...

With this link you only get the frame content, but if you desire the full page content, you simply have to strip the final "t1.php" ... and you have then ...

,... :-) ... maybe if there much free time, it will be changed to a more modern version. Actually frames work very fine usually.


Re: The Ur Tarot: the very beginning

Ross, Mikeh, Huck, thanks very much for these developments. Are all very, very, interesting. :)

Some doubts.

a) Why are we sure the Burdochio's deck are from Bologna?

I know this document:

1442 [28 July – credit to Marchione Burdochi, merchant]:
E adi dicto per uno paro de carte da trionfi; ave Iacomo guerzo famelio per uxo de Messer Erchules e Sigismondo frateli de lo Signore. Apare mandato a c___,………… L. 0.XII.III [Franceschini 1996:170; cf. Bertoni 1917:220 note 3]

with Ross translation:

And on the said day for one pack of triumph cards; has Iacomo “cross-eyed”, servant, for the use of Masters Ercole and Sigismondo brothers of the Lord. Appearing in mandate at c. ______, ………….L. 0. XII. III

But in this document dont said the decks are from Bologna. If Burdochio is a merchant he can buy the decks from other places, as Firenze, where the gioco da trionfi is not-forbiden in 1450 (and thats mind is popular), or...?

b) We are sure the fool-card is an italian invention? why not German? Might have existed in the Ur-Karnoffel?

c) What do you think about the covers gods appearing in Kaplan II. 290-91 (I dont have scaner now)? its a reminder of the deck Michelino? we know another decks with gods in the covers or only this?

Well, that's not recorded, also it's not recorded, if there were other editions of the same deck or any other form, by which knowledge about the Michelino deck would have passed to the future. Well, the mentioned 1500 ducats for a playing card deck, recorded by Decembrio, couldn't have been overlooked for instance by Galeazzo Maria, who surely had possibilities to request some information about details of this object.

Recorded is, that after 1466 Galeazzo Maria developed greater interest in the older symbols of his grandfather and the Visconti (Sforza himself seems to have been not so much interested). We have then in Milan a rebirth of the interest in Daphne, which is the somehow dominant figure in the Michelino deck. There's this picture, painted by one of the Pollaiuolo ... and it is assumed (at least by one researcher) that it presents Galeazzo Maria and Bona of Savoy as Apollo and Daphne.
Yes. Its a powerfull argument. Thanks.

the issue of the second battle of Soncino (June 1440) focussed a person...
I think the italian war is a very good chanel to know cards games. The mechanism of condottieri and her mercenary companies become the war in a "forum" where people of many nationalities can met and play cards. For example, in the battle of Borgoforte in 1367, as said Geoffrey Trease, we have British, Germans, Italians and Burgundians in the Visconti army; in the imperial army: Bohemians, Germans, Swiss, Poles and other Slavs, Bretons, Gascons and Provencal, and, of course, there were also the Italians Visconti opponents.


OK. I suggest an exercise. Forget all we know of Milan, Ferrara and Bologna. With the data we have, the ur-tarot could have been invented in Florence?
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: The Ur Tarot: the very beginning

Huck wrote: It isn't so difficult to make links from work. Most pages are made with with Frames, but each text content has a full calling address.
If you click with the RIGTH mouse button on the text field, You get a menu with options. Go to option "this frame" and you get a further menu, where you has to take the option "View Frame info". This opens a window, and it presents at the top the info about the Frame address, which in the case of the Parravicino article is ...

With this link you only get the frame content, but if you desire the full page content, you simply have to strip the final "t1.php" ... and you have then ...

,... :-) ... maybe if there much free time, it will be changed to a more modern version. Actually frames work very fine usually.

Thanks, I fixed it.

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