The Marriage Contract

#1
In the various discussions, that take place about Tarot, you find little gems that stay with you, or ring a bell.
Such was “Plato and the Virtues”. It opened many doors in my mind and one was the talk about 5x14 Theory. So as there seems to be some consensus that Tarot is about the newly discovered study of Plato, I wondered what might be that the 14 Cards were about in the first place? What could they have been about before the sequence was extended.
So I took out the 14 cards from the Visconti PMB and studied them without the prejudice of a whole 22.
The Visconti PMB has been considered a Marriage deck. There is not extant in the PMB the Tower and the Devil. So for this purpose
the 14 cards are (What they are called now- even though there was no title or card number)…
Fool/Juggler/Popesse/Empress/Emperor/Pope/Lovers/Chariot/Justice/
Hermit/Wheel/Hanged Man/Death/Judgement.

So here is my story about a Marriage Contract told in 14 cards.

Marriage Contracts in the time and place of Tarot’s beginning had four different stages. They were the Impalmamento, the Sponsalia, the Matrimonium, and the Nozze
The Marriage contract was a civil matter- not a religious matter. These stages were not
in absolute order- for example the Sponsalia was often part of Impalmamento.
In the Nobility these four stages were very spread out- sometimes over years. By the end of the 15th Century that had reduced considerably.

Originally, the Impalmamento referred to the handshake with which a marriage contract was sealed. Before this could occur, the initial negotiations were opened by a marriage broker (sensale or Matchmaker) These negotiations were completed through family associations or parents. If not parents then influential contacts- like Church and State. If the negotiations were successful, the contacts would seal the alliance, and a document was signed called ferme il parentado.
Sensale=The Juggler
Parentado= Popesse/Empress/Emperor/Pope (there had to be 4)

The second stage Sponsalia was an all male affair. Not even the bride was included in this stage. It was all about negotiations about money and property- the Dowry- the Groomprice-where they would live- what would happen if either died- who would be the inheritors- what advantage there would be of the marriage- did the Bride to be want this (her consent was needed). Mind you often she did not have a choice really. So there were legal things to take care of. If the marriage was an elevation of status for the bride- the Dowry was a higher proportion. It was important and Just that the marriage was a match of somewhat equal social standing to prevent indebtedness between the families. So there were legal things like Premortem and Postmortem that is Dowry and Inheritance or the return of the Dowry if Husband dies or where the dowry goes if wife dies.
Just Sponsalia= Justice
Dowry Balance (verba de futuro) =WOF
Premortem (Dowry /money before death)= Hanged Man
Postmortem(after death return of Dowry or inheritance)=Death.

Now we have the Marriage (Matrimonium) day and the words are much the same as today. Do you take this……..etc and all my worldly goods……..and until Death separates us…etc etc. What happened back then that does not much happen these days. The Groom gives a counter trousseau that includes jewellery, furniture, clothing for her and has what is a ”best man” today(an Elder known to the groom), who has the couple face each other and he gives the bride on behalf of the groom the gifts .This is called ‘Con el tempo’ (‘With time’) and is the motto quite often on Cassione or Marriage chests.
On that day of Marriage or in a church after the blessing you have a Epithamia
Which is Poetry sung or recited sometimes solemn, sometimes a farce, on the civic Virtues of marriage. The Nozze comes the same day, or the next, or in a years time.
It is the consummation of the marriage and the groom will not get his hands on the premortum -the Dowry, until the bride has been bedded. The Bride wearing a crown, leaves for the Grooms home riding a white horse, where she will stay until her death.
Marriage = The Lovers
Trousseau = The Hermit
Going to the grooms house=The Chariot
The length of the Marriage Contract= The Judgement
Epithalamia= The Fool

Now it is not a stretch to imagine if you added 6/8 cards with Plato’s Virtues that you have a series of images that depict a Social Contract like described in his Republic.
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: The Marriage Contract

#2
I needed to say my information comes from at least 4 sources.
Maestra Clare de Estepa - a journal essay
Kirsti Thomas- Customs and Theory of Medieval and Renaissance Marriage
Parragon "ART"
Marriage Customs In the Roman Catholic Church
and a little to be relied on "The Horizon book of The Renaissance" with gossipy essays.

~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: The Marriage Contract

#3
From this Marriage Contract the first half of the Tarot seems to explain itself and then it seems to extend itself and morph into something else. What is this something else?
I have suggested it is Marriage Contract with a whole community.........based on Platonic Love.
For Plato, the ideal state was a just society in which people dedicate themselves to the common good, practice civic virtues of wisdom, courage, moderation and justice, and perform the occupational role to which they were best suited. It was the duty of the ‘Philosopher king’ to look after people in civility. Aristotle thought the polis was an ‘association of associations’ that enables citizens to share in the virtuous task of ruling and being ruled. His koinonia politike as political community.

The concept of societas civilis is Roman and was introduced by Cicero. The political discourse in the classical period, places importance on the idea of a ‘good society’ in ensuring peace and order among the people. The philosophers in the classical period did not make any distinction between the state and society. Rather they held that the state represented the civil form of society and ‘civility’ represented the requirement of good citizenship. Moreover, they held that human beings are inherently rational so that they can collectively shape the nature of the society they belong to. In addition, human beings have the capacity to voluntarily gather for the common cause and maintain peace in society. By holding this view, we can say that classical political thinkers endorsed the genesis of civil society in its original sense.
Wikipedia (my emphasis)
So society forms this Social Contract, in Christianity a Contract is like that of the Covenant between God and his people.
On a personal level it is the Marriage Contract.
Now my next task is to try and explain who the "Parentado" of Marriage Contract depict in the larger picture of my
Story.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: The Marriage Contract

#4
The first Parentado after the Sensale or matchmaker is what we call now the Papesse/Popesse.
In the Visconti PBM she is very clear, although there seems to be a reliance on her depicting a family relation of the Visconti Sister Manfreda, an Umiliata nun or even Pope Joan. I think she is
Saint Clare- more importantly a mystical place called Sainte Clare of Avignon.
She is Petrarch’s Songbook ‘Canzoneire’. Petrarch was called the Father of Humanism.
Laura, illustrated by her virtues and well-celebrated in my verse, appeared to me for the first time during my youth in 1327, on April 6, in the Church of Saint Claire in Avignon, in the first hour of the day; and in the same city, in the same month, on the same sixth day at the same first hour in the year of 1348, withdrew from life, while I was at Verona, unconscious of my loss.... Her chaste and lovely body was interred on the evening of the same day in the church of the Minorites: her soul, as I believe, returned to heaven, whence it came.
Bianca Visconti also grew up with the Poor Clares. Laura of the Poetry may be real- but she may also be allegorical- but nevertheless Petrach’s poetry is one of Romance and Love of Virtue.- or unrequited Love. So really Petrarch’s Love could well be called Platonic. Laura, like Saint Clare is chaste.

So one of the parents of this Social//Civic /Marriage Contract is Virtuous Love idealised by Petrarch in verse and depicted as Saint Clare a place of Mystic Christianity in a sense. This Civic Humanism that forms this contract gives the idea that the religious, military and politically minded like Sforza believed their pursuit of personal fulfilment should be based in Virtuous behaviour and philosophical contemplation of the classical studies of Plato and others; but the code of conduct was also Romantic chivalry -taking the best from each.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: The Marriage Contract

#5
I have to take the cards three and four together. They are known as the Empress and Emperor today, and I do not know how they came to be called this as in both the Cary Yale and the PBM Visconti they are not named or numbered. Somewhere with a hundred years they got titles and set places in the sequence, although in many decks the places seem inconstant. So I do not know if cards needed to be Trump-ers because of their place in the sequence or their subject matter in the sequence. For example Trump One is Trumped by Trump Two. Or The Juggler is Trumped by The Papesse/Popesse regardless of the Number place. This might be made clear if I say the 18th century Tarrochini of Bologna it appears that Card 7 is Temperance and it would appear that in 1725, because of Catholic sentiments cards 1,2,3,4 became Moors, and the Pope became Love at position 5.

Secondly, The term Emperor and Empress might be because of the so called “Empire” they created, rather than an actual title. Something like calling Bill Gates an Emperor, because of his Empire Microsoft.

So who do we have as the State Parentado of the Contract?

I offer for your consideration …The Count of Virtue and his second wife Catarina.
Giangaleasso Visconti (1351-1402) He was to become the First Duke of Milan.
How did he get to be called The Count of Virtue?
At the age of 9 years old he was married to Isabella of Valois and the area selected for Isabella’s Dowry was the County of Vertus. As I have said earlier he would not have got his hands on her Dowry until the marriage was consummated. This happened when he was 13. Nine years later Isabella died. Because of fears of his desire to be King in the South and Lord in the North his uncle decided to marry his daughter to him (Catarina) with the sweetener of a large Dowry and that same Dowry was given to his sister Violante to marry Catarina’s brother Ludovico. Regardless of all this “in house marriages” he overthrew his Uncle Bernabo in a clever Trojan horse coup in 1385.
He reformed government, tax laws, law codes, and made the area an important centre for the study of law.
He commissioned a Book of Hours and all throughout as the Count of Virtue he used allegorical virtues as personal symbols. One thing I really admire him for, although it may not have been as Virtuous as it sounds- he absolutely forbade the population to carry arms. From the coup against his Uncle it had only taken 4 years to become Ruler of most of Lombardy. He had two sons Giovanni and Filippo Maria father of Bianca. He had along with the Virtues as symbols the Motto A Bon Droyt (legend has it that Petrarch gave him that), The Visconti Viper, the heraldic white dove in a golden sunburst and most importantly the Imperial Eagle. This Imperial Eagle is on all the Visconti decks.
So The Virtues of Justice/Strength/Temperance are already part of the story……as are Huge Dowry and arranged marriages and their convoluted contracts.
Catarina can be read about here…. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caterina_Visconti
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: The Marriage Contract

#6
Lorredan wrote: I offer for your consideration …The Count of Virtue and his second wife Catarina.
Giangaleasso Visconti (1351-1402) He was to become the First Duke of Milan.
How did he get to be called The Count of Virtue?
...
So The Virtues of Justice/Strength/Temperance are already part of the story……as are Huge Dowry and arranged marriages and their convoluted contracts.
An interesting observation, these parallel of Vertus and "Virtues". You mention only 3 virtues "Justice/Strength/Temperance". Would you say, that he already avoided Prudentia?
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The Marriage Contract

#7
Hi Huck! Glad someone is reading this ramble.

I had the pleasure to see the Visconti Book of Hours and had to go several times to see the pages turned over.
I cannot find mention of any except these three in either image or words.
It does not seem that Prudence was there until Filippo Visconti extended the Book of hours and Prudence
appears holding a compass and looking in a mirror- with the three aforementioned Virtues.
Prudent to look to the Stars?
In the Cary-yale Visconti the Emperor looks very like the young Giangaleasso and in the PMB looks like the man has grown much older.
He really was known as the Lord/Count of Virtue.....made me laugh.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: The Marriage Contract

#9
Lorredan wrote:Hi Huck! Glad someone is reading this ramble.

I had the pleasure to see the Visconti Book of Hours and had to go several times to see the pages turned over.
I cannot find mention of any except these three in either image or words.
It does not seem that Prudence was there until Filippo Visconti extended the Book of hours and Prudence
appears holding a compass and looking in a mirror- with the three aforementioned Virtues.
Prudent to look to the Stars?
In the Cary-yale Visconti the Emperor looks very like the young Giangaleasso and in the PMB looks like the man has grown much older.
He really was known as the Lord/Count of Virtue.....made me laugh.
~Lorredan
If Cary-Yale was made 1441, then there would 4 Emperor's possible (perhaps only 3).

Fredrick the III. - Emperor-in-spe since 1439
Albrecht - Roman King 1437-39
Sigismondo - the last real emperor since 1433, reigned 1411-1437
Wenzel - not really emperor, but Roman king 1478-1400, when he gave the duke title to Giangaleazzo.

Fredrick III was ruling. So he would be an alternative.
The PMB-Emperor is clearly Sigismondo. He had made Sforza a knight in the Dragon order (is this right ?, ... but I remember it) ... and Fredrick had shown the cold shoulder, when Sforza wished to have his rule in Milan made legitimate. This conflict endured as long Sforza lived. So Sigismondo has some logic.
Prudence appears holding a compass and looking in a mirror- with the three aforementioned Virtues.
Prudent to look to the Stars?
A compass would indicate "clever navigation". A compass has 16 directions ... Filippo Maria Visconti had a favor for the 16.
A relation between compass and Tarot was earlier suggested by Diane O'Donovan. Very complicated and she never made it to the point, that her idea became understandable.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The Marriage Contract

#10
Now the 6 cards that were by a different hand in th PMB Visconti
are Force/Temperance/Star/Moon/Star and Mondo(World)
As I maintain that Justice is the balance that need to be applied for there to be a Just Contract- that leaves Temperance or Moderation and that seems to be included in all sequences- I take it that there was a not suitable Temperance in the first 14 cards. As Force seems to be a deviation from the usual image of that Virtue I presume that was changed also, to reflect Sforza. So The Visconti does not seem able to be a 14 Trump deck to start with.
It seems to be a 16 Trump deck and it would seem that the Cary Yale had 16 Suit cards- maybe it was a 5x16 deck as was the PBM originally?
Anyways, if that is the case all that seems different is that the Cary Yale had Faith/Hope and Charity and then the Visconti PBM had Star/Moon and Sun.
Then you have an image of Prudence holding a mirror with a compass in her Hand in the Book of Hours
So that Monde is the reflection of Prudence's mirror and the Star/Moon and Sun are the body of Prudence?
There is Prudentia in the Heavens?
So was Faith/Hope and Charity removed/not used/reconfigured with the Star/Moon and Sun? Looks like it to me
I do not know about those missing or not there cards of the Devil and the Tower. I believe it is "not there"
Now I need to explain whom I think is the forth parentado of the Contract- the card we call the Pope.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

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