Victory and Triumphs

Huck raised the chronologically interesting point -

"We've now the first Trionfi note in Florence, short after the battle of Anghiari ... which was a Florentine "Triumph"."

Battle of Anghiari - 29 June, 1440.
Giusto Giusti diary entry - 16 September, 1440.

It was a Florentine triumph, that's true. It was deemed important enough to be remembered decades later, in the painting of Leonardo da Vinci. I seem to remember a contemporary painting as well, maybe someone can recall it better.

I can't hypothesize any connection between the game and the battle. It seems to me like the game should have existed before the battle: the name "trionfi" for the cards was already established, and Giusto didn't have to describe it further than that. And Florence already had a few triumphs - morally at least, the greatest triumph might have been the council which achieved (at least on paper and in the Italians' minds) the union of the eastern and western Churches. The pope, Eugene IV (Gabriele Condulmer), was still in Florence in 1440 (he wasn't just visiting for the Council - he was in exile from Rome since 1434; off hand, I think he was only able to return to Rome in 1443).

But what interested me about Huck's remark was the question it raised for me - do battles inspire games? In "real" historical terms, proven and documented, I couldn't think of any examples, but in literary terms and in the imagination, such inventions are clearly associated. In particular, it was widely believed that Palamedes invented the game of "tabulae" during a lull in the Trojan War. I quoted Paolo Vergerio to this effect on another thread (in fact I think the classical sources say actually "alea", which is dice, or games of pure chance, whereas tables is either a game like draughts/checkers or backgammon - I'll have to check the precise development of the pericope, but at least for quattrocento Italians the preferred belief seems to have been that it was the nobler tables and not the disreputable dice).

So it might be interesting to consider the relationship between some real victory and the invention of the game of Triumphs, since we know that THEY made the association between warfare and games, as something worthy to occupy leisure time between battles.

Re: Victory and Triumphs

I wrote at 4th of February 2012:
Well, I wrote in the Aeclectic Forum ...
Looks like a great finding ....

The reporting man [Giusto Giusti] was born in Anghiari and at Anghiari took place a battle at June 29, 1440, which is 2 1/2 months before the date of 16th September 1440 with the Trionfi cards. ... ghiari.asp


The battle became VERY famous and actually one doesn't know, why.
Fiorentinipontifici: 8000 uomini. Durata: 4 ore. Scontro tra le opposte cavallerie pesanti; quella fiorentina, divisa in tre schiere, affronta a turno gli avversari. Dei viscontei sono fatti prigionieri 22 capisquadra, 400 connestabili, 1440 uomini di taglia e 3000 cavalli; i morti sono 70 (60 milanesi) ed i feriti 880 (400 fra i ducali). Sono pure catturati 1200 contadini (aspiranti saccheggiatori) che seguono le truppe di Niccolò Piccinino. I prigionieri sono rilasciati quasi subito, secondo i costumi del tempo. ... a/1440.htm

Not many were killed. Condottieridiventura knows of "70", other voices (ironically) of "3" (who dropped from their horse and had a fatal accident)
A great number of prisoners, who were robbed and set free.

In 1439 had been the council of Ferrara ... it's said, that there were at least 3 great festivities. The Florentines learned to "celebrate" ... and this seems to be the begin of the Trionfi genre, which followed then in great events during 15th century.
The victory of Anghiari a year later might have given another reason for a "great party". Perhaps the Florentines had learned, that one could win with propaganda about a victory more than with the battle itself. This party was so big, that it was still remembered in the time of Leonardo da Vinci (about 70 years later). The battle of Anghiari became a symbol.

When Alfonso of Aragon made his Trionfo in 1443, and a Florentine delegation participated, then the report of this festivity mentioned, that the Florence people had already much experience with triumphal celebrations (more than others).

Sigismondo Malatesta didn't take part at the battle ... but he changed from Milan side to Florentine side. ... rescia.htm

In March 1440 he fought for Milan against Florence. In August 1440 he was engaged for Florence against Milan ... although he isn't in the region of Florence, but in the Romagna ... In September/October (at 16th of September is the Trionfi card action) condottieridiventura reports:
Occupa Bagnacavallo, Massa Lombarda ed altre terre dell’imolese; non può, o non vuole, impedire a Francesco Piccinino l’ingresso in Forlì. Danneggia molti villaggi e tenta di espugnare il capoluogo. Vista l'inanità dell'impresa, si sposta prima a Forlimpopoli con gli altri condottieri. A metà ottobre, i fiorentini prendono la strada di Capodicolle e della val di Savio: il Malatesta si ferma a San Vittore perché trattenuto dai fiumi in piena. Le milizie fiorentine proseguono per la Toscana; egli deve, invece, fermarsi per qualche giorno, in quanto non può trovare riparo a Cesena, dal momento che il fratello milita al soldo del duca di Milano. Rientra a Rimini.
The situation develops into a pause of war. Filippo Maria Visconti sends his daughter to the court of Ferrara in September/October 1440, where Bianca Maria stays till end of March 1441. Bianca Maria gets 14 painted objects at 1.1.1441, likely Trionfi cards, as a present for the guest from the side of Leonello. The painter is the later Trionfi card painter Sagramoro.

Further we have around this time, that a commission is given for illustrations to a Petrarca-Trionfi-edition from the side of Piero di Medici. This is oldest known note of this picture genre, which then was very often used first in Florence (especially for Cassoni) and later also elsewhere.
The commission went to the artist Matteo de Pasti, who in 1441 had been in Venice. The letter exchange 1441 is given as the first sign of Matteo de Pasti ... who had to leave Florence for unknown reason (he begs for an excuse in the letters). In later times Matteo had some relation to Sigismondo Malatesta. He got the commission to paint the Osmanic sultan in the mid 1440s, but was taken prisoner as a spy. Later he worked mainly as an medalist.
Further we have about Parisina's daughter Ginevra:
"8./9. Ginevra [by Parisina] *24.3.1419, twin; married 1433 Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, died (possibly killed by her husband) in October 1440; the news should have reached Ferrara in late October 1440 during Bianca Marias visit and should have influenced the mood of all persons present.
It was the 3rd marriage in short time between the houses of Este and Malatesta and all ended in a catastrophe: Parisina - Niccolo (1418), Margherita - Galeotto Roberto (1427 or little later), Ginevra - Sigismondo (1433).
Some art historians, suggesting a date between (1436 - 1438), believe, that she was painted by Pisanello on the famous picture "unknown Este princess".
The death of Ginevra in late 1440 occurred in a familiary situation, where all marriages of the generation of the Niccolo-children had ended in disaster (early death of one of the partners) - and that all after the familiary drama around Ugo and Parisina. Under these conditions Bianca Maria might have viewed on a possible marriage to Leonello with great scepticism. And she would have been right with it - Isotta's first marriage (1444) ended in the same year by murder, Leonello's marriage (1445) ended after 4 years and Beatrice had her first husband for only one year (1448). Isotta's second marriage was the first marriage which endured a longer distance of ca. 10 years.

It's unclear, if the murder of Ginevra is a true story ... but whatever it was, it happened one month after the Trionfi deck. Malatesta married then Francesco Sforza's daughter Polissena in October 1441 parallel to the marriage Bianca Maria Visconti - Francesco Sforza;the majo interest was then to have a little peace, but this phase didn't endure.

According the later attacks on Malatesta Polissena was also killed by her husband (1449).

Both murder stories might be true or just infamous political propaganda. to get Malatesta controlled.

We have no Trionfi card production note in the years 1443-1449, that's the major phenomenon. We have some dense "Trionfi notes of different character" (cards and others) between 1439-1443, but then at least for the cards a pause with a strong net of productions following after 1450.
Well, the deciding point seems to be, that Giusti Giusto was of Anghiari.

The battle of Anghiari can't hardly gotten its "great importance" (which was celebrated with the commission to Leonardo da Vinci much later) as a great bloody event.

Actually there was a battle at Soncino after 10th of June, 1440, in which a Milanese army (5000 men), led by Borso d'Este, was completely deconstructed by Sforza, 1000 men dead, 3000 prisoners, Borso himself became prisoner, and the luggage was lost inclusive 5000 ducats.
But likely the deciding event was, that Brescia, after being 3 years under siege, was freed at 10th of June.

At Anghiari were 8000 Florentine (actually papal troops with a Sforza delegation under Michelotto Attendola) and a "superior number" (true or untrue ?) in Piccinino's army. Piccinino had before attempted to get a foothold in Perugia, but the people in Perugia didn't want him. They paid 8000 ducats, but didn't want him as master of Perugia.
The battle had a lot of prisoners, but after the battle Piccinino's army was similar strong as before ... but they had lost their booty.
It was an unusual hot day day in June, and Piccinino had attempted a surprise attack by moving his foot soldiers a greater distance. The surprise didn't work, as the approaching army was discovered by dust raised through the march, and the foot soldiers were exhausted by the heat.

It's a riddle to me, why the battle of Anghiari got so much attention later. It likely got this, cause Filippo Maria after it seems to have accepted a truce, which prepared the later peace.
War and Victory propaganda is still used in modern times. Triumphal celebrations (if not caused and inspired by a marriage) and so also "triumphal cards" naturally could have been part of the propaganda.

However, I would have the suspicion, that a Trionfi deck, which followed the battle of Anghiari and was caused by it, would have used another iconography as that, which we know with the Tarot cards. Perhaps it looked more as the Sola Busca with more martial motifs.

There's a contemporary note in the triumphal celebrations for Alfonso V of Aragon in 1443, which states, that the people of Florence (which present a greater part at this Naples festivities) make a very good impression, as they know, how to arrange a triumphal celebrations. So they must have learned it at earlier opportunities. They could have learned it:

1. During the celebrations at the council in 1439.
2. After the battle of Anghiari in 1440
3. During the peace celebrations in October 1441
4. With the new spread of Petrarca Trionfi iconography, which (likely) started with Piero di Medici's commission to the artist Matteo de' Pasti, who lived in Venice. See ... ... 0824500771

Matteo de Pasti got then a lot of attention by Sigismondo Malatesta. He was also involved in the construction of the Malatesta Temple in Rimini.

Image ... pasti.html

The temple looks different than nowadays.

Image ... MEDALS.pdf ... MEDALS.pdf
(Malatesta uses Fortitudo as backside)

Matteo de Pasti is said to have been in Ferrara 1444-46. The work for Malatesta might have started in 1446 (see date of medal). The note of 1441 seems to be the first, which is known about him. The 1441 exchange indicates, that Matteo had reason to leave Florence (perhaps already since 1434 ?).
Later there is some relation to Leon Battista Alberti.

Re: Victory and Triumphs

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: But what interested me about Huck's remark was the question it raised for me - do battles inspire games? In "real" historical terms, proven and documented....
Yes, at least decks of cards.

Marlborough's Victories Playing Cards, 1707
"Marlborough's Victories playing cards, first published in 1707, depict Marlborough's campaigns and the personalities involved. The elaborately engraved illustrations cover a variety of European political issues and include portraits of royalty connected with the campaigns. The spade suit comprises almost entirely a series of savage, not to say scurrilous attacks upon the French king, Louis XIV. The pack also sheds an interesting light on the fall of the Duke from public favour."

But to me the Marlborough deck is just a faithful echo of the original purpose for which trionfi were invented - propaganda for military victories or for the generals who would win them. I hypothesize an ur-deck to celebrate Anghiari, produced by the Medici for Sforza as one of many means to keep him in the Papal/Florentine fold, and the Giusti Giusto deck for Malatesta following suit and serving the same purpose (although it also benefitted his family, some members ended up working for Malatesta, it also proclaimed Giusti's allegiance to the Medici for whom he faithfully worked for decades).

The possible d'Este "wooing" deck for Bianca from 1/1/1441 ("14 painted images") would have served the same purpose in aligning that condottieri family with Milan via that political marriage (that never happened). The marriage that did happen the next year, Francesco with Bianca, that I of course associate with the CY deck, has Filipo Visconti following suit in also commissioning a deck to celebrate keeping Sforza in his pay via the marriage to his daughter. A late 1468 date is untenable for the CY deck - as I have written elsewhere here - a primary reason being that the ubiquitous balzo on the women in the deck was no longer fashionable then (it dies out right after the mid-century).


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