Goose and the origin of tarot

#11
Thanks for the link, Huck. I had been focused on "tarot" at the time and didn't pay attention to "occam" etc. It was good to re-read in connection with the present thread.

Now I want to put on the table a hypothesis connecting tarot and goose. It has no doubt occurred to others but not mentioned due to lack of direct evidence. The hypothesis is that the tarot trumps might have started out in a board game, perhaps not of the chess but of the "Monopoly" variety, by which I mean, one where pieces travel from a starting point to a finishing point, with a reward at that point, and then repeat, until there is a winner. Goose is an example of that type.

In the tarot, as a trick-taking sequence in a game suitable for children, it doesn't make ideological sense for the Hanged Man, the Devil, and the Arrow to be more powerful than one or more of the virtues (however true it may be in real life), when it comes to capturing "counting cards" in tricks. Virtue is what gets one to the goal of life, i.e. heaven. So in the game, positive cards ought to contribute to the goal and negative ones work against it. (Another might be Fortune, as a temptation. Death, to be sure, is unavoidable; still, it shouldn't triumph over virtue. Time likewise. By the same token, I'm not sure that virtue should triumph over the Pope and the Emperor; the official line was that these personnages were virtuous.) Also, even the idea of a sequence, in the sense of progress toward a soteriological or eschatological goal, is obscured in trick-taking (although I realize that some don't see the tarot sequence in such terms; but it is plausible). In a board game, however, the sequence is clear, and it is perfectly normal for there to be helpers, obstacles and temptations in the path. I know of no direct evidence for such a hypothesis. However it may be that no one has looked carefully enough. Or it may be a matter of accumulating indirect evidence, such as the considerations I have just mentioned.

There is also the question of whether, if it was a children's game, we should even expect there to be evidence in the sense of documents or other records. That it would not have survived after the invention of tarot can be explained: if the two games used the same sequence, there was now no point to the board game, unless it was altered.

The game of goose is a Monopoly-type game with good and bad squares. Marco has given us an example, with sayings instead of geese, sent by Francesco de' Medici to Philip II of Spain. 1588: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=913#p13332. The game has 63 squares. but only 26 of them have something on them, in Marco's list. 9 of them are very similar, on the theme of "work" (in goose, they would have geese on them). Is it possible that goose in an earlier form was the proto-tarot; or another of that type?

That goose existed a century earlier than 1588 is argued cogently in the interesting piece cited by Huck, (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=754&p=10880), to which I add my attempt at a translation:
‘Bridoye et le jeu de l’oie’

"On joue beaucoup aux dés chez Rabelais. Gargantua s’y exerce dès l’enfance, Panurge ne saurait vivre sans. Mais à quoi? Au jeu de l’oie? L’épisode de Bridoye y invite mais les historiens sérieux de ce jeu, ceux qui ne le croient ni renouvelé des Grecs, ni égyptien semblent formels. Aucun jeu de l’oie antérieur aux dernières années du seizième siècle n’est conservé. Pourtant, le dominicain italien Barletta (= 1480), dans un sermon pour le quatrième dimanche de l’Avent, parle du jeu de l’oie à cette période de Noël, plus même, il y faut des gros et des petits dés afi n de remédier aux imperfections de la vue dues à la sénescence. Ce texte est, on le sait, paraphrasé par Rabelais: “Sed dicunt quidam. Si vult venire in domum meam in istis festis, paravi plura. Si voluerit ludere at triomphos (tarot) sunt in domo, ad thesseras habeo plura tabulatia, ad aucam habeo taxillos grossos et minutos. Grossos ut si forte male videret, qui a deus senuit”.

Le texte est édité à Brescia en 1497-1498, à Lyon dès 1502, 1507, 1524…

(Bridoye and game of goose

"A lot of dice is played in Rabelais. Gargantua practices it from childhood, Panurge cannot live without it. But why? In the game of goose? The episode of Bridoye invites but serious historians of the game, those who believe it is certainly neither renewed Greek nor Egyptian. No board game prior to the last years of the sixteenth century is preserved. However, the Italian Dominican Barletta ( = 1480), in a sermon for the fourth Sunday of Advent speaks of board games for this Christmas season, even more,here must be both large and small dice so as to remedy the imperfections of sight due to senescence. This text is known, paraphrased by Rabelais : " Sed dicunt quidam. Si vult venire in domum meam in istis festis, paravi plura. Si voluerit ludere at triomphos (tarot) sunt in domo, ad thesseras habeo plura tabulatia, ad aucam habeo taxillos grossos et minutos. Grossos ut si forte male videret, qui a deus senuit”.

The text is edited in Brescia in 1497-1498 in Lyon from 1502 , 1507 , 1524 ...
Andrea has another version of this, from Rabelais, and he translates the French and Latin, at http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=281&lng=ENG. What follows is a translation arrived at between Andrea and myself:
C'est ainsi qu'il [Barlette] fait le portrait d'un impie qui au lieu de nétoyer sa conscience pour recevoir son Sauveur, & loger son Dieu, dit: Si vult venire in domum meam in istis festis paravi plura. Si voluerit ludere ad triumphos sunt in domo; ad tesseras, habeo plura tabularia. Ad Occam, habeo taxillos grossos, & minutos: grossos ut si fortè male videret, Quia Deus senuit: quelle impertinence! Ou plutôt quelle impiété”

(So he [Barlette] paints the portrait of a godless person who instead of cleansing his consciousness [or conscience] to receive his Saviour and host his God, says: "If he wants to come to my house during this holiday season, I have prepared quite a lot of things. If he wants to play triumphs, they are at the house; [If he want to play] at board games I have many (1). For the game of Occam (2) I have big and small dice: big if he sees very poorly". So God fainted: what impertinence! Or rather what wickedness)
_______________________
(1) The author here speaks about board games to play with “tessere” (in Italian). Tessere were little rectangular things, but we do not know what kind.
(2) Occam = it is probably a game, now unknown, invented or inspired by William of Occam, or Ockham (1288-1349), theologian, philosopher and an English Franciscan (See note 5).)
And Andrea's note 5:
5. Lothar Teikemeier informs us that Claude Gaignebet of the University of Nice in 2006 reported, in a symposium on Gambling and Providence, the text presumed to be the original, containing some variations in comparison to that reported in the Paris document : "Sed dicunt quidam. Si vult venire in domum meam in istis festis, paravi plura. Si voluerit ludere at triomphos sunt in domo, ad thesseras habeo plura tabulatia, ad aucam habeo taxillos grossos et minutos. Grossos ut si forte male videret, qui a deus senuit". Assuming the originality of this text (Brescia, 1497), the term “Occam” should be replaced with “aucam,” which Gaignebet reports to be a game of goose, and the final sentence should be replaced with "For the game of goose I have large and small dice. Large if he sees very poorly, given the senescence of God”.
So it seems that the game of goose was known in c. 1480, or at least before 1497.

To be sure, there is no evidence of such games as I describe before the time of the tarot's invention. But how many inventories of games suitable for children--and senescent gods--do we know of? How many children's board games of the Monopoly type from pre-1440 are preserved in any form? Simple board game layouts were duplicated in the dust, I learn on a website about games. Wood rots, of course, except in the tombs of Egypt, where, if getting on and off the board count as moves, a 32 space Monopoly-type game is often found; in Mesopotamia there were 20 squares on the board. If a game with such a structure existed once, it could exist again. Is it possible that such games never died out at all, but kept being played in the dust by generations of children, recorded if at all in ephemera not deemed important enough to save as their families, perhaps Jewish, moved west? There is also the "Phaistos Disc" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaistos_Disc) of ancient Crete. It looks much like a goose board and has 45 spaces. Does it represent a game that somehow survived as goose? We need not go that far.

It does not seem to me that the possibility of tarot's earlier life as a board game can be brushed aside as a Russellian teapot floating in space between earth and Mars, logically possible but not a real possibility, because there is a reason for thinking it might be true, namely, the problems I mentioned at the beginning, of negative cards triumphing over positive ones and the obscuration of what seems like a goal-directed sequence by the trick-taking form of play.

In particular, it is worth investigating games that in some way were like such a game. Chess, as Huck has shown, has some similarity, namely, in its pieces and as a game of instruction, as an emulation of war. Another didactic game was "the philosophers' game" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rithmomachy), which taught Boethian arithmetical ratios and principles of musical harmony. But both these games are of the "capturing" type, as opposed to a progress through a sequence. Goose, as I have said, like the tarot sequence has a start, finishing line, and good and bad squares in between; it's what I think is called a "racing"-type game..

It might be said that if tarot was derived from goose, someone then would surely have pointed that out. Against that, I ask, how many people in a position to know said anything at all about the origin of tarot? None. How many statements even describing tarot do we have from people before, say, 1447? None. Even after that in the 15th century, all we have are condottiere and preachers. If it was originally a children's game to teach the way to salvation, neither type is about to say that.

It seems to me that it is not necessary to prove the hypothesis for it to be on the table; it is something that needs to be disproved in order to take it off. An example of a disproof would be persuasive evidence for an origin of the tarot sequence that reasonably accounts for the anomaly I have pointed out, e.g. that the tarot didn't originally have those cards in question. Or, perhaps enough can be known about medieval games suitable for children to exclude such a possibility, just as we can exclude the possibility of tarot being already known when cards were first imported into Europe. Until then, it is a possibility worth thinking about and investigating.

I notice that Marco is investigating other board games as well as goose. I applaud such efforts. Even ones known after the establishment of the tarot might tell us something about the situation earlier.

added next day: I changed the wording of my parenthetical remark about Death and Fortune above.

Re: Goose and the origin of tarot

#12
We will never reach the state,that we could exclude a specific game development "before a specific date", when its existence is definitely proven.
So we can't exclude a Tarot with 22 trumps before 1440.

Even if we would have evidence of a man claiming in 1505 "I've invented in 5 minutes the game of Tarot, at the first of April, from 5.00 to 5.05 in the morning" the possibility would exist, that the man lies. It's possible, that another person at first of January 1439 had a glorious idea in the circumcision festivities and worked on long days and months about it, calling his product finally Trionfi or similar. And perhaps this man only repeated the action of Prince Fibbia.

We have the common table games, backgammon etc., clearly older than 1400 and in use, running games existed. ... :-) ... we don't need to go to the old Egyptians.

Nonetheless we can only use that, what we know positively.

... :-) .... If we shorten this Korean Yut board to a side length of 5 running positions and reducing the middle section also 5 points diagonals, what would we get? 21 positions.

Yut is a running game ... this reduced Yut board would make a nice ancestor of Tarot ... :- )...

This is the normal Yut board and its running ways.



Actually one could play such a game on a simple 5x5-grid. Dice are too quick for such a game, but 4 sticks are used, which each produce 0 or 1 as results (so 0-4 as possible results of one throw).
If you have no board, one could play it in sand. Bad for the game board archeology, but it would do it.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: A 1588 board game: Filosofia Cortesana

#14
Huck wrote,
We will never reach the state,that we could exclude a specific game development "before a specific date", when its existence is definitely proven.
So we can't exclude a Tarot with 22 trumps before 1440.

Even if we would have evidence of a man claiming in 1505 "I've invented in 5 minutes the game of Tarot, at the first of April, from 5.00 to 5.05 in the morning" the possibility would exist, that the man lies. It's possible, that another person at first of January 1439 had a glorious idea in the circumcision festivities and worked on long days and months about it, calling his product finally Trionfi or similar. And perhaps this man only repeated the action of Prince Fibbia.
I was not excluding a tarot with 22 trumps before 1440. Just the opposite, I was trying to find a way of saving 22 trumps as the number early on. I was working from the assumption that the 22 trumps existed before 1440. If so, I argued, the meanings of the cards don't fit with its being a trick-taking game with the hierarchy given (I note here that I strengthened the argument in my post slightly since yesterday, in the part about Death.).

Yes, it is possible that people lie. It is possible that Marziano lied when he proposed a game to Filippo, and in fact he was merely copying a game that he knew about and Filippo didn't. However it is also possible to evaluate which is more likely in a particular case. So I don't rule out finding good evidence for an "original" tarot, however unlikely I think it is that we ever shall.

Thank you for your interesting Korean game board. It is easier for me to believe such a board game as I have in mind came from Egypt (transported by Jewish children) than Korea! Believing Egypt makes fewer assumptions. Backgammon in fact came from Persia according to Wikipedia (shaped like the coils of a snake, it says, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backgammon ... .28Iran.29; but was this backgammon, goose, or just the earliest board game found?); so backgammon at least certainly would have spread from there to Egypt and the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean, and from there to Rome. But as I say, we need not go back that far. 1440 would do nicely.

Marco wrote,
marco wrote:This French paper presents a Goose game board dated 1500 ca and studied by Thierry Depaulis.
"Les mystères du Jeu de l’Oie au Metropolitan Museum de New York", by Adrian Seville

http://www.giochidelloca.it/storia/cluny.pdf
Thank you for your very interesting link. There is much of value in the essay. I am working on a translation. I only wish I could get a closer view of the pictures and layout, showing empty versus full cells. Perhaps someone could produce jpg files from the pdf, showing the individual early goose boards. What interests me is how many spaces have pictures on them, and what they are pictures of; he does describe what they are, or some of them, and what they might symbolize, but it would be good to see the whole in detail. It seems to me I count 20 such pictures in the Met's version, rather significant for my hypothesis. The number of cells with pictures on them seems to have grown with time (just as I suspect happened with tarot trumps!). The author also says that the number 63 had mystical Kabbalist significance as "la Grand Climactérique" (sic), enabling him to associate it somehow with Pico della Mirandola's "Cabalistic Conclusions" of 1486. I have no idea what he is talking about, but I will re-read my Pico.

The time-lines he has in colored graphs (going back to the 1480s) would be nice to have in jpg files, too

The author, Adrian Seville (with input from Depaulis), makes reference to an earlier essay by Depaulis himself, "'Sur la piste du jeu de l’oie', II, Le Vieux Papier, Avril 1999". Do you know how to get it?

Added later: researching "climacteric" I see that 63 was considered, along with 81, the most dangerous year of life, the one in which one was likeliest to die, until the age of 81 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climacteric_year). It had to do somehow with 9 and 7. It was Pythagorean, not Cabalist, and appeared in many ancient Latin sources, such as Plato, Cicero, Macrobius, Aulus Gellius, to which may be added Augustine, S. Ambrose, the Venerable Bede, Boethius, etc. (http://portail.atilf.fr/cgi-bin/getobje ... ata/image/), as well as Petrarch and Boccaccio (http://www.letemps.ch/Page/Uuid/ded0fde ... 92e910f623).

more on tarot and goose

#15
Here is my attempt to translate the article in Marco's link, http://www.giochidelloca.it/storia/cluny.pdf. I wasn't sure how to translate a few words; in those cases I put the originals in brackets. A high-resolution scan of the board is at http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/se ... ons/202612:
Day of study, February 12, 2013, on the occasion of the exhibition "Art of the game, game in the art. From
Babylon to the medieval West" presented at the Musée de Cluny.

The mysteries of the Game of Goose at the Metropolitan Museum in New York
Adrian Seville.

First, I must apologize for discussing in this seminar an object that is not old enough to deserve a place in this great museum of Cluny. Nevertheless, I hope you will agree that this is a rather mysterious object to justify the discussion - and after all, it is finally old enough!

Hidden in the department of European sculpture and decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum of New York is a unique example of the game of goose. We can say without a doubt that it is very precious and beautiful. But from that moment, nothing is certain. We can ask the obvious questions about a museum object: how old is it? Where does it come from? What are the circumstances in which it was created? And in response, we must admit that we are not certain. One can also say that the object is potentially very important for the history of the game
of goose itself. Indeed, the importance of the subject was recognized by Thierry Depaulis years ago [Sur la piste du jeu de l’oie, (On the trail of the game of goose), II, Le Vieux Papier, April 1999] and I would like to thank him very sincerely for his collaboration in this study.

In May, with the help of Anne Dunn-Vaturi, I had the privilege of being authorized by the Conservator Dr. Wolfram Koeppe to study this subject in detail.

C:\Users\Adrian\Pictures\games\Oldest Goose\Metropolitan Museum\Edited May 2012\IMG_1588.JPG

Chess and Goose Board, 430 mm x 419 mm x 29 mm, Accession Number: 62.14 Metropolitan Museum, New York

The object is a double-sided game board: on one side, there is the game of goose, on the other side is a
chessboard. Each of the two opposite sides is decorated with twelve semicircular cells with a central repository. There is also a backgammon board, that is to say a game of tables.

You all know the game of goose. It is a very simple game. It is played with two dice and without choice of moves [déplacement]. You played it with your grandmothers - but never using a game board of such quality! The quality of the inlay work is superb. The materials are also of high quality. The mosaic disc contains gold in the form of metal triangular strips, and also contains ivory and green stained ivory. The 'wood' is reddish, probably burned horn [corne grillée]. The board is made of ebony and ivory, but its setting is simply blackened wood. The wooden frame supporting the decorative faces of the two boards could be teak.

According to the initial attribution given by the museum, the object was of northern Italian origin, and dates from
the sixteenth century. Dr. Koeppe now says that this area of the collection should be studied in the years to come. He believes that the attribution "from Northern Italy" is obviously not correct and, in fact, the object is probably not of European origin. If the object is not of European origin, from where does it come?

Another board game with a remarkably similar decoration is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Again we see the semicircular backgammon cells with a central repository. The object is assigned by the museum to Gujarat, India, or Sindh in Pakistan, and given a date of the sixteenth century. [Jaffir Amin, The Furniture of Play: Games Boards and Boxes in India, in The Art of Play, ed. Andrew Topsfield, 2006].

C:\Users\Adrian\Documents\Games\Publications Adrian\Metropolitan Museum Cluny\V and A Gujerati board\Gujerati tables.jpg

Chess and Backgammon board, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Museum number: 1961-1899 Gallery location: South Asia, room 41, case 16

Is it possible that our object is also from North India? If such is the case, it must have been ordered for the European market, probably by an Italian merchant, given the origins of the game. In the sixteenth century, trade with India was achieved largely by Portuguese merchants, but Italians also took part, especially those of Florence.

Obviously the numerals are of the West. The calligraphy is very similar to that seen in Italy the fifteenth century. Nevertheless, the execution of the numerals is not perfect. In the case of the numeral ten, one numeral is not complete. It is inconceivable, given the quality of this item, that such an error was made by an Italian manufacturer. Obviously we have here a worker unfamiliar with Western objects.

This conclusion is reinforced when we consider the execution of the iconography of our own game. The basic rules of a game of goose are inviolable and therefore the iconography of the board is very standardized. The game as a whole is of numerological significance.

The classic iconography of the game:
The geese
5, 14, 23 ... 59
9, 18, 27 ... 54 - 63 win
accidents
6 Bridge
19 Hotel
31 Well
42 The labyrinth
52 prison, boat
58 death
The dice - initial throw 9
26 6 and 3
53 5 and 4

The favorable cases are marked with the image of a goose and form two series, each spaced nine apart along the track, which ends in the winning box at sixty-three. The boxes of hazard are randomly placed at fixed points. There are also two boxes to deal with of initial shot 9 which otherwise would result in an immediate victory for the player.

I chose for comparison of iconography, three printed games dating to 1600. These are among the first Italian games of classic form.

Refinement decreases from left to right. The first is a copper engraving by Lucchino Gargano. The date on the board is fifteen hundred ninety-eight. The second [Coll. Bertarelli, Milan] is a woodcut in the style of the sixteenth century. There is a variant form in box fifty-two: instead of the prison, we see a boat. The third [Coll. Bertarelli, Milan] is a woodcut whose design is rudimentary, with the same variant in box 52.

Will compare these games with our object:
Classic MET Mus.
6 bridge [absent]
19 The hotel [absent]
31 The well
42 The labyrinth
52 The prison, the galley boat
58 death

We see that in our object, the boxes at six and nineteen are empty. We will consider the significance of this later.

If we continue to box 31, we see that the well is shown in a strange way. Would this be an attempt to show the well in perspective, like the others?

The representation of the labyrinth is relatively normal.

As for the box of the prison, our object shows a ship of a very particular form - it is actually a Venetian galley. During the sixteenth century, slave rowers began to appear in the galleys of the Republic of Venice. Previously, the rowers were free men who were often also soldiers. When it became difficult to find free men who were willing to do this work, rowing benches were filled with debtors and criminals. [Venice and its Merchant Empire, Kathryn Hinds (1999)]

The representation of death varies widely among the four games - but in our object what does death hold in its right hand?

Regarding the representations of the dice, it is seen that some of the time the designers had problems with perspective, even in the case of a simple cube. The representations in our object are particularly inept; in one box, the surface [face] of the die is shown as a figure with five sides. In addition, the spaces typically show the dice throws necessary to win, but here it is not the case.

Finally, we consider the poor goose in our game! Thierry Depaulis described it as: 'A bird, but one that is difficult to recognize as a true Anatidae [translator’s note: biological term for waterfowl]. Rather, we would see a pigeon or some dove, or a raptor.’ [op. cit.]

However, looking at the picture on the far right, we see that sometimes the representations a goose in the first Italian games were not very successful.

In summary: the calligraphy of the numbers is archaic, the decoration is like that found in North India in the middle of the 16th century; likewise the cells of the game of tables are similar to those of the game of tables in northern India; the iconography of the track is similar to that found in the first woodcuts of the Italian game of goose; and the decoration of our object is refined, but the iconography of the track is relatively rudimentary and incomplete. A date of the sixteenth century still seem possible.

To go further, we need to look at our object in the historical context of the game of goose in the sixteenth century.

The distinctive numerology is our starting point. The number 63 shows cabalistic influence, because it represents the Grand Climacteric. The board game is a game of life. [There now appears a short article on “Climacterique” from Diderot’s Encyclopedia, 1754. There is no mention of Kabbala, Pico, or anything else connected with the Renaissance.]

In any case, it is the Christian Kabbalah, a philosophical movement of short duration primarily associated above all with the Florentine philosopher Pico della Mirandola [1463-1494, Conclusiones philosophicae, cabalasticae et theologicae, Rome, 1486]. This movement, although it is a failed philosophy, gave some intellectual respectability to the Kabbalah. Indeed, the Kabbalah probably would have given a sort of respectability to an associated game. This was important because it allowed the game to be adopted by royal patrons at the end of the 16th century.

There is no mention of the game of the goose in the philosophical writings of Pico and his collaborators. Moreover, the game is not specifically listed by Rabelais, so it was thought that the game ought to have originated in the late 16th century. However, Claude Gaignebet suggested that the article on Bridoye in the Third Book of Rabelais depicts a game of goose. Gaignebet also uncovered an ancient reference to a board game played with dice, large or small, as Bridoye had it, in a collection of sermons of Gabriele da Barletta. [Chance & Providence, XLIXth International Symposium for Humanist Studies, Tours, 3-9 July 2006, Summaries.]

{There follows the same quote from Gaignebet that I gave earlier, from Huck’s post.]

This image shows the chronology of these publications:

[We see a purple line 1475-1485, representing Pico della Mmirandola, a blue line for the same period representing Barletta, and a green line 1485-1455 for Rabelais.]

Further information about the history of the game of goose appeared in a publication by Pietro Carrera.
It is clear that intelligent men, after the first invention of a thing, by adding or modifying the same basic idea, knowing other inventions. We know what happened to the game of Goose at the time of our fathers: This game was invented in Florence and, as it was very much appreciated, Francesco de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, decided to send it to His Majesty Philip II of Spain. When it was published there, it gave the opportunity to some intelligent minds to invent other games slightly different from the first, among which there is the game known by the name of courteous philosophy invented by Alonso Barros of Spain.
Pietro Carrero, Il Giocci degli Schocchi Militello, 1617.
Carrera talks about the invention of variations of the game of goose. He also says that the original game was discovered in Florence and was highly appreciated by Francesco de' Medici, who sent it to Philip II of Spain.

Carerra talks finally about a game that had specific variants, and in fact exists in the British Museum [Department of Prints & Drawings, Registration number: . 1869,0410.2463 *]. The explanatory brochure also exists.

We can add to our chronology games which are known or referenced at the end of the period.

[There follows another set of parallel lines, adding to the ones before: Le Tiers Livre, 1535-1545; Francesco de’ Medici and Philip II of Spain, 1510-1590; Pietro Carrera, 1555-1600+; Philosofia Cortesana, gioco della scimia, Fortunaspil, 1575-1585; Ocha Lucchino Gargano, Bertarelli G, 1580-1595; Bertarelli I, 1590-1600+; Rigaud Lyon, John Wolfe Stationers Hall, 1580-1590; Game Board V & A, Game Board MET, 1545-1555.]

We see that a date which goes back to the mid-sixteenth century is entirely credible for our object, and we can infer that it has been copied from an unknown Italian engraving on wood.

The problem that remains is the iconography that we still lack - the mystery of the empty boxes (6 the bridge, 19 the hotel. Is it possible that the track of our object represents a version of the game of goose that precedes
All the versions we know?

This would correspond to the process generally recognized of games becoming more complicated over time. However, the interpretation of the game as a game of life means that the bridge is an important symbol. It represents a rite of passage. Similarly, the hotel represents earthly pleasure and is an important aspect of the symbolism. I do not have a credible solution to this mystery - to you now offering a solution! [- à vous maintenant d’offrir une solution!]
It seems to me that there are a few remaining problems in dating the game board in question. The reasons given for dating it mid-16th century are:

1. Galleys weren’t “prison ships”, i.e. manned by slaves, until then.
2. Trade with India wasn’t established enough before then.
3. The Victoria and Albert dated their game board to the “16th century”.

On 1, what I read elsewhere contradicts the idea that galleys didn’t have slaves until the mid-16th century. Here is Marina Belozerskaya, To Wake the Dead: a Renaissance Merchant and the birth of archeology, p. 98:
In Italy slaves had disappeared for a few centuries during the Middle Ages, but the Black Death had killed so much of the workforce that the Italians began to replenish it with human cargo imported from the East. Every prosperous nobleman and merchant had a couple of slaves—Mongolian girls with black hair, high cheekbones, and dark, slanting eyes, or else tall, blond Circassians or Russians with blue eyes and round faces (there were very few African slaves in Europe at that time). Even priests, small shopkeepers, and sailors often had one. (17) Most of the slaves brought to Italy were women employed as domestics. Men tended to be sent to labor on the Venetian sugar plantations on Crete and Cyprus, in the Genoese alum mines at Phocaea, and on war galleys.

17. On slavery in Europe, see Origo, Iris, “The Domestic Enemy: The Eastern slaves in Tuscany in the Fouteenth and Fifteenth Centuries,” Speculum 30 (1953), 321-66; Spufford, Power and Profit,, 338-41; Verlinden, Charles, L’esclavage dans l’Europe Medievale (Bruges: De Tempel, 1955); Malowist, Marian, “The Trade of Eastern Europe in the Later Middle Ages,” in Postan M. M. and Edward Miller, eds. The Cambridge Economic History of Europe,, vol. II, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 525-612, esp. 587-90.
I see nothing on the Internet contradicting this statement.

The book that Seville cites in support is a children’s book, written by a professional writer of children’s nonfiction with no credentials in history other than taking graduate courses in Old Norse, Old Irish, Old Occitans, and Old French (http://www.kathrynhinds.com/bio.htm). The book is in the children’s section of my local public library, but I have not yet seen what it actually says. The page is not on the Internet that I can find. [Added later: the quote is on page 56. Hinds gives no footnote or other documentation of the statement; it is, after all, a children's book.]

On point 2, the Portuguese were after a monopoly on trade with India through usurping power and revenues from local authorities. Such fine work would not likely come from Portuguese-Italian-Indian cooperation.

Italians used mainly other ways of getting to India and Pakistan, I think. Besides the silk road, the 15th century is when Egypt and the Red Sea opened up to Europeans, meaning mainly Venice and Genoa. It would take some time to establish relationships, but perhaps the middle of the 15th century would have been enough time. It is possible that middlemen from India or China were used; there was a substantial Chinese population in Florence by mid-15th century.

The only argument left for dating the board to the mid 16th century is that the Victoria and Albert Museum dated theirs to “the sixteenth century”. That is not the middle.

Seville notes that the calligraphy is similar to that of Italy in the 15th century. So it is really unclear when it was made. I would guess that 1460-1550 is the most that can be said. But I am not an art historian. The point about the calligraphy might be worth pursuing further, as there were changes in calligraphy during the 15th century.

The most interesting part of the pdf, besides the pictures of the boards, is the quote from Carrera, followed by Seville’s endorsement of it, namely, that the game of goose got more complicated over time and that such is the case typically with games. Tarot, the last time I looked, was a game. In fact, perhaps I should give the quote from Carrera in French (followed again by the English):
Il est clair que les hommes intelligents après la première invention d'une chose, en ajoutant ou en modifiant à la même idée de base, savoir d'autres inventions. Nous savons ce qui s'est passé pour le jeu de l'oie, à l'époque de nos pères: ce jeu a été inventé à Florence et, comme il a été très apprécié, Francesco de Médicis, Grand duc de Toscane, a décidé de l'envoyer à Sa Majesté Philippe II de l'Espagne. Quand il a étépublié là bas, il a donné l'occasion à certains esprits intelligents pour inventer d'autres jeux peu différentes de la première, parmi lesquels il ya le jeu connu sous le nom de philosophie courtois inventé par Alonso de Barros de l'Espagne.
Pietro Carrero, Il Giocci degli Schocchi, Militello, 1617.

(It is clear that intelligent men, after the first invention of a thing, by adding or modifying the same basic idea, knowing other inventions. We know what happened to the game of Goose at the time of our fathers: This game was invented in Florence and, as it was very much appreciated, Francesco de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, decided to send it to His Majesty Philip II of Spain. When it was published there, it gave the opportunity to some intelligent minds to invent other games slightly different from the first, among which there is the game known by the name of courteous philosophy invented by Alonso Barros of Spain.
Pietro Carrero, Il Giocci degli Schocchi Militello, 1617.)
Which Seville applies, appropriately, to the Metropolitan Museum's game board comments:
The problem that remains is the iconography that we still lack - the mystery of the empty boxes (6 the bridge, 19 the hotel. Is it possible that the track of our object represents a version of the game of goose that precedes all the versions we know?

This would correspond to the process generally recognized of games becoming more complicated over time.
If only people would see that the same principle might apply in the case of the tarot!

Added later: on the other hand, the game of goose is also similar to (but initially simpler than) to an ancient Indian game known in the West, starting in the 19th century, as "snakes and ladders", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snakes_and_Ladders, It is a real "psychomachia" game. In the history of inventions, there is the phenomenon of one country's taking another's invention and not acknowledging where it came from. Fascinating.

Re: A 1588 board game: Filosofia Cortesana

#16
mikeh wrote:researching "climacteric" I see that 63 was considered, along with 81, the most dangerous year of life, the one in which one was likeliest to die, until the age of 81 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climacteric_year). It had to do somehow with 9 and 7. It was Pythagorean, not Cabalist, and appeared in many ancient Latin sources, such as Plato, Cicero, Macrobius, Aulus Gellius, to which may be added Augustine, S. Ambrose, the Venerable Bede, Boethius, etc. (http://portail.atilf.fr/cgi-bin/getobje ... ata/image/), as well as Petrarch and Boccaccio (http://www.letemps.ch/Page/Uuid/ded0fde ... 92e910f623).
An interpretation of the game of the goose as a Game of Human Life is made explicit by a later (1790) edition:
http://www.giochidelloca.it/scheda.php?id=144

Also De Barros links number 63 to the duration of life, or at least to the duration of an ambition:
The sorrows of ambition are many, and a better remedy would be necessary for their cure, than what is offered by the game which has been described here. And for a better comprehension the game should go along with the book. But in order to consent the easiness of playing, it is presented as a large sheet of paper painted with 63 houses or divisions, which are the years of life which are spent following an ambition or that an ambition consumes.

Re: A 1588 board game: Filosofia Cortesana

#17
.... hexagram Nr. 63, "after completion", Chinese I-Ching, 3000 years ago (but maybe, that the numeration is a little bit younger)

Image


It's a little bit small, but hexagram 63 is right in the middle, together with hex. 64. Perhaps it's not clear from the drawing, that it is meant 3-dimensional.

hex 1 and hex 2 are the polar points, hex 63 and hex 64 are the hexagrams, which are most elegantly mixed by Yin and Yang.

1. 111111
2. 000000
...
63. 101010
64. 010101

It's just logical to put the one pair at the beginning and the other at the end (from the perspective of the person, who arranged the numbers).

The figure is just logical ...
http://www.i-ching.hu/

Image

copyright: József Drasny
Quote by József Drasny "Practically the same form was published in Lothar Teikemeier's book, in the "Lyra, I-Ging gleich Tarot" in 1998 (Holos Verlag) and even in private edition, in 1988. He created this arrangement on the basis of special mathematical principles and named it 'ichingsphere'. The author used it to demonstrate certain relations between the Tarot and the I Ching. Presently, this diagram is connected to his site: http://www.trionfi.com.
József Drasny found his version around 2007 or so, I think. He detected it completely independent, just confirming the figure.

The I-Ching uses some "trivial" principles, which almost were not used in China alone, but likely everywhere. So it's no wonder, when a rather similar math was used also in the Sepher Yetzirah with its 32 ways of wisdom. As the Sepher Yetzirah was projected on Tarot by Levi and Golden Dawn, one can "translate" Tarot to I-Ching and not only to Sepher Yetzirah (if one follows the projection). If one follows the projection of Golden Dawn, then ...

hex 1,2 would be 21, World
hex 63,64 would be X Malkuth

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

Drazny's version has nothing to do with the Sepher Yetzirah - I-Ching analogy. Sepher Yetzirah is not a theme for him, he's just following the math of I-Ching.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: A 1588 board game: Filosofia Cortesana

#18
I think it is just coincidence that 63 has an important role in the I Ching as well as in goose. In the hexagrams, 63 gets its importance from being one less than 64. If goose is the "game of life", then it makes sense for it to end at 63, if it is the time most likely for death, until 81. That has in part to do with 7 as the "critical" number, the number governing the transition from one time of life to another, as expounded by classical medical theorists and used by Neopythagoreans to show the significance of the number 7. I don't know how 9 enters in, perhaps as the number before the completion, 10. But neither has anything to do with the powers of 2, which is what governs the I Ching. Also, the I Ching is essentially a lot-book. The game of goose is not.

Re: A 1588 board game: Filosofia Cortesana

#19
mikeh wrote:I think it is just coincidence that 63 has an important role in the I Ching as well as in goose. In the hexagrams, 63 gets its importance from being one less than 64. If goose is the "game of life", then it makes sense for it to end at 63, if it is the time most likely for death, until 81. That has in part to do with 7 as the "critical" number, the number governing the transition from one time of life to another, as expounded by classical medical theorists and used by Neopythagoreans to show the significance of the number 7. I don't know how 9 enters in, perhaps as the number before the completion, 10. But neither has anything to do with the powers of 2, which is what governs the I Ching. Also, the I Ching is essentially a lot-book. The game of goose is not.
It's less the I-Ching, but its appearance in the binary math ...

"111111" is 63, not 64
"000000" is 0, not 1

In genealogy you've a natural "63", cause "binary math" is naturally used in it ... 1+2+4+8+16+32 = 63 (not 64)

The "1" in it is the "researched person", the "2" are his/her parents, the "4" are his/her grand-parents etc.

Evrart de Conty in his chess allegory (1398), of importance for Tarot history, cause it contained 16 gods as the Michelino deck, writes about the the binary logic, as far remember it. Chess, again, had been very popular then.
The Chess board ha 64 fields, it's naturally, that Evrart embarked on the number and its mysteries.
The special evaluation of "63" was already around in 15th century, likely before the game of the goose, at least I've read so.

"7 Lebensalter" - according" the 7 planets - naturally had been also a theme once

Image

http://www.zvab.com/buch-suchen/textsuche/lebensalter
... not to forget about Shakespeare.

... .-) ... "7 planets" are younger than I-Ching, at least in the attention of mankind.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: A 1588 board game: Filosofia Cortesana

#20
Yes, chess occurred to me this morning, an 8 x 8 grid, definitely binary, the most popular game among the nobility at the time of the tarot, and in fact on the opposite side of the goose board made in India. The 63 as one less than 64 (one space to get on the board?) is an alternative theory, although it conflicts with what historically was written about the game.

Perhaps the seven planets are in the tarot, and three of the elements (if Temperance, Devil, and Arrow), but all of the zodiac, and in something approximating one of the orders given in the Sefer Yetzirah? And before Levi? Even Etteilla didn't know it.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron