Re: Decker's new book

#81
Phaeded wrote:Steve,
Guelph/Ghibelline factions were not the issue of the day when the ur-tarot would have been created in Florence, 1438-1440 (the last year, IMO); the Medici party and Albizzi faction were the combatants, disguised under the shifting appellations of popolani, magnates and oligarchs.
1439/1440 and some earlier years saw Pope Eugen in Florence, and the Albizzi (on the side of the council of Basel, Filippo Maria Visconti, anti pope Felix) belonged to the nobility class .... so somehow this is with some modification still the older Guelph/Ghibelline conflict.
Some time later the new emperor Fredrick III (Roman king since 1439, emperor since 1452) and his new secretary Enea Piccolomini dropped the side of the council ....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pius_II
... Being sent on a mission to Rome in 1445, with the ostensible object of inducing Pope Eugene to convoke a new council, he was absolved from ecclesiastical censures and returned to Germany under an engagement to assist the Pope. This he did most effectually by the diplomatic dexterity with which he smoothed away differences between the papal court of Rome and the German imperial electors. He played a leading role in concluding a compromise in 1447 by which the dying Pope Eugene accepted the reconciliation tendered by the German princes. As a result, the council and the antipope were left without support. He had already taken orders, and one of the first acts of Pope Eugene's successor, Pope Nicholas V (1447–1455), was to make him Bishop of Trieste. He later served as Bishop of Siena.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Decker's new book

#82
Huck,
There was plenty of vitriolic propaganda tossed around by both sides (and much of it by Filelfo, from Milan, on behalf of the Albizzi "oligarchs") but Guelph/Ghibelline simply had no place in that rhetoric. It had even less relevance in 1478 after the Pazzi conspiracy (if one accepts my dating of the CVI deck).

Ironically it is in Milan that one encounters Guelph/Ghibelline in a politically-charged situation for one of the last times as the Robespierre-like Ambrosian Republic went after a group of nobles when things began to fall apart. But that was in Milan, not Florence.

Phaeded

Re: Decker's new book

#83
Phaeded wrote:Huck,
There was plenty of vitriolic propaganda tossed around by both sides (and much of it by Filelfo, from Milan, on behalf of the Albizzi "oligarchs") but Guelph/Ghibelline simply had no place in that rhetoric. It had even less relevance in 1478 after the Pazzi conspiracy (if one accepts my dating of the CVI deck).

Ironically it is in Milan that one encounters Guelph/Ghibelline in a politically-charged situation for one of the last times as the Robespierre-like Ambrosian Republic went after a group of nobles when things began to fall apart. But that was in Milan, not Florence.

Phaeded
Maso Albizzi, father of Rinaldo, had once a career as Teutonic knight. It seems, that he was very dominant in his time.
Luca Albizzi (a son) became then friend of the Medici, and married a cousin of Cosimo. Rinaldo (other son) opposed him and presented the military tradition of the family, favoring military adventures. With that we are in the late 1420s / early 1430s, with the climax in 1433/34. After this we have the "pope in the town" for some time in Florence and Medici ruling.
The language and arguments might have changed, but somehow the parties prolonged.

Generally the 14th century was a "wilder time" in Italy (the number of 300 independent regencies around 1300 was reduced, often by private murder and fights and occasionally just by money), the 15th century saw greater political units with Venice, Milan, Florence, Chiesa, Naples and Ferrara/Modena/Reggio as the greatest. At the end of 15th century, the number of states was reduced again, mainly by the offensive of the Chiesa.
It's true, that the Guelph/Ghibelline question as a "higher political sorting system" had lost its importance, when less political players ruled the situation, but it's likely not true, that the old identities had changed completely.

In Germany (in comparable time) we had similar conflicts between "free cities" and "nobility as land-owners".

Cities were growing. In Italy the cities could have more inhabitants than in the Northern countries, which simply couldn't have so much inhabitants cause they needed much wood in the winter. So naturally the situation was different.

************

For your suggestion "Charles VI after 1478" I personally think, that the Charles VI was arranged with 16 trumps, with some relation to Chess and around 1463 (and with some relation to the Cary Yale, which I also perceive as a deck with 16 trumps and with some more distance to the Michelino deck, which had also 16 trump-figures). That's rather fixed in my head, cause of many details. You would need a lot of rather good arguments to change that, I would assume.
Well, your perspective would be clearer if you make a thread of your own, where you specifically declare, what you mean in this point (or other points of your theories).
If you distribute complex considerations "here and there" in a diversity of discussions, they are simply difficult to address (and to understand, too).
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Decker's new book

#84
Huck wrote: I personally think, that the Charles VI was arranged with 16 trumps...That's rather fixed in my head, cause of many details. You would need a lot of rather good arguments to change that, I would assume.
1. Only 1 of the Court CVI cards survived and yet ALL of the Trumps survived (making it the only hand-pianted deck with the complete set of trumps)? Please.

2. The Wheel of Fortune is attested in the Brambilla, presumably lost in the related CY deck, and is in the PMB deck. Yet was excised out of the CVI....why???

3. Like the Wheel, the Empress is in the earlier hand-painted decks and her consort, the Emperor is present in the CVI....so again, why excised?

4. There are two Ferrara archival sources that indicate a 14 trump/70 card deck, but no document anywhere indicating a 16 trump tarot deck (Marziano's was not tarot. In fact there is no evidence that anyone outside of Marziano/F.Visconti and his immediate circle, that he presumably played the game with, knew of that Greek gods/heroes deck until it was found during Sforza's encirclement of Milan in 1449, least of all Florence when it was bitterly opposed to Visconti during all of those previous years. Hell, even Sforza's circle didn't utilize the Marziano model in the PMB which follows close on the heels of the discovery of the Marziano text).

These are not just good but rather excellent arguments based on the evidence of the contemporary comparables of surviving decks and archival records. There isn't an iota of evidence linking tarot to chess in Florence, Ferrara or Milan...and in the end that is the square peg (tarot) you are driving into a round hole (chess).

Phaeded

Re: Decker's new book

#85
Phaeded wrote:
Huck wrote: I personally think, that the Charles VI was arranged with 16 trumps...That's rather fixed in my head, cause of many details. You would need a lot of rather good arguments to change that, I would assume.
1. Only 1 of the Court CVI cards survived and yet ALL of the Trumps survived (making it the only hand-pianted deck with the complete set of trumps)? Please.
We have a complete description of the Boiardo deck and a complete description of the Michelino deck. We have a complete Sola-Busca Tarocchi.
Between the about 30 known decks from 15th century in larger Germany we have also some complete decks (Hofämterspiel; 5x14 deck of Master PW as examples, but there are more).
A "complete survival of a deck" is usually not rare against the many possibilities "complete minus 1, complete minus 2, complete minus 1, complete minus 3 etc.", but relative common.

In the case of the 16 trumps of Charles VI it's imaginable, that a buyer wished to have only trumps, but got a single normal card, a court card, for a decision, if he would buy also the courts and pips. As such they found their way to France. Possibly a French tourist.

A lot of cards are "handpainted", but on the base, that they were "preprinted". I think, I've read once, that the Charles VI belonged to this category.
2. The Wheel of Fortune is attested in the Brambilla, presumably lost in the related CY deck, and is in the PMB deck. Yet was excised out of the CVI....why???
Games of luck were accompanied by the wheel of fortune, Chess was proud, that it was a game of skill. I)f it was a Trionfi game Genre with some focus on chess, the missing Wheel of Fortune. In the reconstruction of Cary-Yale, which survived incomplete, there's also no good place for the wheel of Fortune.
3. Like the Wheel, the Empress is in the earlier hand-painted decks and her consort, the Emperor is present in the CVI....so again, why excised?
The Empress is generally rare in the Florentine decks.
4. There are two Ferrara archival sources that indicate a 14 trump/70 card deck, but no document anywhere indicating a 16 trump tarot deck (Marziano's was not tarot. In fact there is no evidence that anyone outside of Marziano/F.Visconti and his immediate circle, that he presumably played the game with, knew of that Greek gods/heroes deck until it was found during Sforza's encirclement of Milan in 1449, least of all Florence when it was bitterly opposed to Visconti during all of those previous years. Hell, even Sforza's circle didn't utilize the Marziano model in the PMB which follows close on the heels of the discovery of the Marziano text).
There are three Trionfi decks connected to a "16".

Michelino deck had 16 trumps.

Cary-Yale has 16 cards per suit. If one excepts, that a 5x14-structure preceded the later Tarot structure 4x14+22, then a deck with 5x16-structure looks logical, at least as an experiment.

The Charles VI has 16 surviving trumps, if complete or not not complete.

Further: The Cessolis text (c. 1300) led to many editions, often using a set of 16 pictures related to the 16 figures. As Chess had been very popular during 14th century (said to have been the second preferred book theme after the many versions of Bibles and the Apocalypse), one likely has to calculate hundreds of different works of art. A standard iconography, similar to Trionfi card motifs, once these were settled.

Further: John of Rheinfelden (1377) compared playing cards to Chess.

Further: Another modern "16" appeared with the many editions about geomancy during 14th century. 16 was also used in lot book structures.

Lots of decks in playing card history made something with Greek gods. Mostly used as court cards, for Tarot or Trionfi history it's not known, but that means actually "nothing", as we definitely know only a minor part of the complete productions during 15th century.
For playing card history we have the curious condition, that Dummett & co assumed a "nothing" for Trionfi decks
in Florence, and nowadays the Florentine development dominates all and everything thanks to the research energy of Franco Pratesi.
Franc Pratesi was sure about the relevance of Florence before he had access of the evidence, just as he (as an Italian) understood the basics of art production in Italy better than us.
These are not just good but rather excellent arguments based on the evidence of the contemporary comparables of surviving decks and archival records. There isn't an iota of evidence linking tarot to chess in Florence, Ferrara or Milan...and in the end that is the square peg (tarot) you are driving into a round hole (chess).


.... :-) ... one must be rather blind to take this position ... just my opinion, it's not meant personal

Chess was a dominant game, already about 400 years on the market in Europe. A naturally weak new game medium (playing cards) had the natural trend to imitate in its experiments already known structures, naturally not always, but at least occasionally. So for some decks one can't put this factor outside of the calculation.

We observe a lot of creativity in the about 30 surviving German deck forms, and we get a similar result, if we compare the different known Italian productions. A lot of creativity is "normal" in the question ... "crazy" is the idea, that one Trionfi version dominated all and everything.

As a lot of Tarot researchers come from the "Tarot corner", there's the far spread fixation just on this, "Tarot". This "must be" the oldest, the most important from begin on, etc.
This idea makes blind for the condition, that there's a general creativity in Trionfi festivities, in lot books, in other games and many other aspects.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Decker's new book

#86
Huck wrote:
In the case of the 16 trumps of Charles VI it's imaginable, that a buyer wished to have only trumps, but got a single normal card, a court card, for a decision, if he would buy also the courts and pips. As such they found their way to France. Possibly a French tourist.
Possibly Madame Sosostris.

Re: Decker's new book

#87
Huck wrote,
In the reconstruction of Cary-Yale, which survived incomplete, there's also no good place for the wheel of Fortune.

In your reconstruction of the CY, you have for the front row two cards with towers, two cards with horses, two cards with the imperial eagle. For the second row, you also have seven cardinal plus theological virtues, and love. What you need is two more cards to complete the first row, with matching figures in them, like the towers, horses, and shields. So you have two cards with bearded old men, i.e. Time (as seen on the PMB) and Fortune (as seen in the Brera-Brambilla and PMB). It seems like a good completion to me.

Re: Decker's new book

#88
mikeh wrote:Huck wrote,
In the reconstruction of Cary-Yale, which survived incomplete, there's also no good place for the wheel of Fortune.

In your reconstruction of the CY, you have for the front row two cards with towers, two cards with horses, two cards with the imperial eagle. For the second row, you also have seven cardinal plus theological virtues, and love. What you need is two more cards to complete the first row, with matching figures in them, like the towers, horses, and shields. So you have two cards with bearded old men, i.e. Time (as seen on the PMB) and Fortune (as seen in the Brera-Brambilla and PMB). It seems like a good completion to me.
Yes, there are two "free places" (places of the bishop), and some possibilities.

Pope and Popess is one.
Time and Fool, as these "somehow" appear in the Courier Chess and cause "Fou" is a French expression for the bishop. This seems to be the idea in the Charles VI.
Time and Wheel, as you had it.
Likely some others. There's no way to decide it at the current level of information, so it's better to leave it free.

The Brera Fragment is strange, as it has a lot of the courts and pips, but only 2 trumps. And one of them is just the Emperor and we have an "Imperatori game", which possibly had a reduced number of trumps (in relation to Trionfi decks, which at least had 14 in the beginning ... just my opinion. Trumps are Emperor and Wheel of Fortune.

Kings - Emperor (is present)
Queen .... leads to the expectation, that also an Empress
Knight .... leads to the expectation, that something with a horse was part of the trumps (Chariot ?)
Page .... would fit with the Wheel of Fortune

In this strange Spanish deck of c. 1450 only one Emperor card was added (4x12+1).

The 5x14 deck of Master PW had two additional cards, one with the city of Cologne and a nude woman caught by death, so somehow it's 5x14 + 2 ...

Image


Image


The twice appearing Visconti viper might be just the addition of an owner card. Similar the "crowned fish", which definitely belongs somehow to the Dauphine.

Possibly early "Joker" cards.

The "Wheel of Fortune" card would make a good "additional Joker", possibly also the "Emperor", as we have seen in the Spanish deck.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Decker's new book

#89
Phaeded wrote:
Huck wrote:
In the case of the 16 trumps of Charles VI it's imaginable, that a buyer wished to have only trumps, but got a single normal card, a court card, for a decision, if he would buy also the courts and pips. As such they found their way to France. Possibly a French tourist.
Possibly Madame Sosostris.
... :-) ... we have, that Playing Cards were sent as present in diplomacy posts (Marcello). This was likely not a single case.
And we have, that the Charles VI appeared later in a French collection. Naturally there are lots of ways, how these got there.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Decker's Ch. 6 end and Ch. 7

#90
I am going to discuss some more of Decker, the end of chapter 6 and all of chapter 7. That will complete Part Two of the book (out of five).

I have made additions on Jan. 1, 2014. They are in bold type.

The rest of Chapter 6, after Manilius, is devoted to the Picatrix. Like Manilius, this is a text that was used in the design of the Schifanoia in Ferrara; the images of its middle section are derived from the book's descriptions of the decans (the 36 divisions of 10 degrees each in the zodiac). Decker finds that the same correspondences that worked for Manilius also apply to the Picatrix: the prescription for offerings to Saturn includes dead bats and black goats, and the Devil has bat wings and, "possibly, the face and ears of a goat or stag". Saturn's scythe corresponds to the Devil's hook on the card. Mars relates to the Tower, because it has Mars "as a red spirit that looks like a torch of fire". Venus relates to the Star card; one who wishes to conjure her, the Picatrix "should possess two vessels, one for wine and one for perfume". The Moon is the moon, whose talisman has crescents and watery settings, and the Sun is the sun, a talisman for which shows a man "stretching his hand as if he wants to shake the hand of the person next to him". The Angel is Mercury, because the Picatrix "describes a figure with outstretched wings". And the World is Jupiter, because the talisman shows a man sitting on a chair with four legs, each of which is on the neck of a standing winged man. The four winged men would be the four creatures in the corners. And Jupiter was sometimes depicted in a mandorla, e.g. in the "Tarot of Mantegna", which was based on earlier imagery, as Seznec showed.

It seems to me that these resemblances are all rather loose. For example, the Temperance-lady's vessel does not look like a perfume bottle; the Devil card more usually has a pitchfork, while there is a man with a scythe on the Death card. Also, if the soul is ascending to heaven, as he says in the next section, the planets are not in the recognized order. That is not to say, however, that someone might not have made these associations once the tarot was established. Ross made a pretty good case once (http://www.trionfi.com/0/i/r/11.html) that the image of the PMB Fortitude card was related to the image for the 26th degree of Libra in the Astrolabium Planum of Johannes Angelus, 1494 Venice, derived from Petrus de Abano. Abano was the basis for the Schifanoia's astrological images (of the decans), too, as well as Giotto's in the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua, Ross says.

In Chapter 7 Decker presents his theory that the tarot is three sets of 7, one for the descent into matter, one for life in matter, and one for the ascent to heaven. He does not mention Robert O'Neill, who presents this same idea in Tarot Symbolism, 1986. Decker's main new text is the Latin Asclepius/Aesclepius , which existed throughout the Middle Ages in Latin translation. The deck he mostly refers to for evidence on the cards is the Tarot de Marseille (of which there is no evidence that it was the original tarot, other than it serves Decker's purpose).

I have already alluded to how the descent works: We go from the "Good Daemon" creator god, the Juggler, through Wisdom in the Popess. Then the soul goes into Intellectual Manifestation--the Ideas--in the Empress and Sensible Manifestation in the Emperor. These two come from Apuleius's De Mundo. The Pope then, for Decker (p. 166), is Beatitude, the blessing of creation, and the Quintessence above the four in matter. Appropriately, the Pope usually is shown giving a blessing.

Love is the World-Soul, of which our individual souls are a part. He does not say how that is expressed in the card. "Aristotle taught that the material world desired to draw close to God," he says. But in that case, the card would not be part of the descent; God is the other way. It seems to me that it would have been better if he had used some other quote about the World Soul, one that supported his idea that the principle of Love entering the soul urges it closer to other souls, which are imbedded in the world. Plato's Timaeus speaks of the world-soul as "fairest and best" (30c), made after God's image, but does not talk about individual souls being drawn to the world for that reason. But there is Logion 38 of the Chaldean Oracles, imbedded in Proclus's In Parmenides 895 (Ruth Majercik translation, 1988):
For after he thought his works, the self-generated Paternal Intellect sowed the bond of love, heavy with fire, into all things.
If so, the love-infused individual soul descending into matter would be drawn into the cosmos, where the "bond of love" had taken root. The sunburst behind Cupid would be an indication of the divine origin of love, because the sun, in Platonism, was the standard image of the One. I doubt whether the designer of the original tarot would have known this logion in Proclus, although it is possible. The Chaldean Oracles weren't appreciated in the West until Plethon's edition, and there is no evidence of its being paid attention to in Italy before the 1460s. There is also the passage in the Poimandres, section 14 (http://gnosis.org/library/hermes1.html, also in Copenhaver, Hermetica, p. 3, a part not in Google Books) in which Anthropos looks into the water of his own reflection, reaches down to embrace it, and Physis, Nature, draws him into her iron embrace. But the original tarot was before this text was known in the West.

The Chariot, Decker says, is the ensouled body, combining the number 3 for the three parts of the soul with the number 4 for the elements, as he said in an earlier chapter.

Again, there is additional support for this view in the Oracles, to anyone was adept in Proclus. In Vol. 1 of his commentary on the Timaeus, Proclus says (Logion 201 in Majercik; the quotation is taken to be from the Oracles)
Particular souls become mundane through their "vehicles."
The next seven cards Decker calls "Probation" (p. 167). He sees the soul moving under the influence of supernatural powers as described in the Asclepius. Addition Jan. 1 2014: In what follows, Decker refers to specific sections in the Asclepius, mostly using an obsolete translation by Scott, but in one case correcting it. For people who want to follow his argument, and mine, while reading along in a good translation of the Asclepius, I have used the current standard translation by Copenhaver (Hermetica, at http://books.google.com/books?id=OVZP6b ... er&f=false). Since originally posting, I have put in all the page numbers and section numbers. In a couple of cases where Decker has interpolated comments in brackets and ellipses (in dots) I have used Decker's translation followed by Copenhaver's. Unfortunately many of the quotations come from pages that are not in Google Books' version. In these cases I have included a link to my scan of the relevant page. For people who have already read this post, I have put all these additions in bold type.

In this "Probation" section (cards 8-14), the first of the supernatural powers is the light of the sun, which Decker (p. 169) identifies with Justice (as in Durer's "Sol Iusticiae", which shows Christ holding the attributes of Justice, with a sun behind). There is no mention of Justice in the passages of the Asclepius that he cites (section 19 and 27; in the Copenhaver translation, these are on pp. 77, sentence at bottom of page (in Google Books), to the end of that paragraph, on p. 78 (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kp9DQNZqD1o/U ... r78&79.JPG); and 83 (in Google Books), starting with "the one who dispenses" and ending "all things that are"). Decker identifies the two concentric circles on Justice's crown as a solar symbol. In a hand-painted Justice by Bembo, he says, both the upper corners contain stylized suns or bursts of light. I have no idea what Justice he means; the PMB has no such thing. The unpainted woodcut of the BAR has something corresponding to his description, but something similar is on many of the cards.

The Hermit, Decker had said much earlier in relation to Horapollo, represents the "horoscopus", the horoscope-caster and "keeper of the hours". In the Asclepius(Copenhaver translation, top of p. 78, http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kp9DQNZqD1o/U ... r78&79.JPG)), the horoscopes are the Decans. The ruler of the Decans is the Pantomorphosis, the all-form. Not able to picture such an entity, the tarot relies on Horapollo, Decker says.

Again, I think a reference to something else in the Platonic world would have been more appropriate. The Timaeus famously said that "Time is the moving Image of Eternity." (http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/timaeus.html). So the Hermit, if embodying Time, would be the image of the Deity. It is perhaps with this idea in mind that the Marseille Hermit, starting with "Chosson" and Dodal, show the image of the sun on the inside of his robes. The Oracles support such an interpretation. Proclus says (Majercik, Oracle 195, from In Tim. III, 45),
But (the theurgists) have praised Time itself as a god, and one (Time god) (they praise) as 'Linked to the Zones' ...the other as Independent of the Zones"
.
I presume that the "Zones" are the spheres of the planets and fixed stars. The one "linked to the Zones" would be Time; the other is eternal.

The Wheel, Decker says (still p. 169), is Fortune, which this section of the Asclepius describes as ruler of the entire system of six planets (excluding the sun), which Decker says is indicated by the six knobs of the Tarot de Marseille. Actually the Asclepius (p. 78 again, http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kp9DQNZqD1o/U ... r78&79.JPG) refers to "seven spheres". What is the justification for separating out the Sun? Again, Proclus, citing the Oracles, seems to provide such a position (Majercik logion 200,In Tim. III, 132):
Regarding the planets, (Julian the Theurgist says) that (God) established them as six, "intercalating" the fire of the sun as the seventh.
The Asclepius (still p. 78) says that Unity governs the sphere of Air. Decker says (p. 170) that there is a gap in the text here just where the Asclepius, allowing the tarot designer to insert Fortitude here, air being indicated by the feathers on the hat of the Tarot de Marseille lady. That interpretation of the text of course is quite arbitrary, not to mention that the interpretive jump from hat to air is rather long. And actually, in Copenhaver's translation of this passage (Copenhaver p. 78, end of first paragraph), http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kp9DQNZqD1o/U ... r78&79.JPG) what governs the air is "all the gods". How either Air or the god" relates to Fortitude remains unclear.

The Hanged Man, Decker says (p. 170), is "celestial Jupiter" administering the law, which he theorized in relation to Manilius, "the unseen power that causes the man to suffer".

Death is Plutonian Jupiter, a merger of the two gods, also mentioned in Hesiod's Works and days. Decker does not quote from the Asclepius, but this god is described in section 27 (Copenhaver p. 83, in Google Books):
The one who dispenses (life), whom we call Jupiter, occupies the place between heaven and earth. But Jupiter Plutonius rules over earth and sea, and it is he who nourishes mortal things that have soul and bear fruit.
Thus we see vegetation on the Tarot de Marseille card, Decker says. So in Decker's hands, the Death card is Nourishment. However his quote only gives the god power of nourishment over "mortal things", and if Death nourishes anything, it seems to me, it is only an immortal thing, the soul.

Temperance is for Decker (p. 171) Kore, the maiden Persephone, a fertility goddess and regenerator of life, because that is what mixing the elements results in, as pictured on the Temperance card. Actually the Asclepius does not mention Kore or Persephone. The fertility goddess mentioned is Venus (Asclepius 21, Copenhaver p. 79, http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kp9DQNZqD1o/U ... r78&79.JPG):
For each sex is full of fecundity, and the linking of the two or, more accurately, their union, is incomprehensible. If you call it Cupid or Venus or both, you will be correct.
That would more naturally be the Love card, I think.

Next comes the soul's ascent (Decker p. 171). What corresponds to the Devil and Tower cards is what happens to the soul if negatively evaluated by the Good Demon; it goes "tumbling down" into storms of fire, water, air, and earth, as the Asclepius indeed says (section 28, p. 84 of Copenhaver, in Google Books). If judged positively, it ascends through a pagan version of Purgatory. He sees the figures on the Tarot de Marseille Tower card as tumbling to Hell. But he also mentions purgatory for this card, purgation through fire.

The Star is divine providence, promising that the purgation will not be unduly extreme, but will fit the offenses committed in life (Asclepius 28, as Decker quotes it, p. 172).
The divinity foreknows all [of one's deeds], so the penalties inflicted will accord with the offences.

(The corresponding quote in Copenhaver is on p. 84: "The divinity foreknows all of it, so one pays the penalty precisely in proportion to one's wrongdoing.")

It is a pagan Purgatory. Earlier he had identified the Star of the card with Providence. To me the Asclepius quote sounds more like divine Justice.

Then, for the Moon card, Decker quotes the Asclepius as follows (section 29)
When the shadows of error [cf. the Moon card] are dispelled from the man's soul, and he has perceived the light of truth [cf. the Sun card], his senses are wholly absorbed in the knowledge of God.
(Again, if you are following along in Copenhaver, the sentence in his translation, bottom of p. 84, is: "And when the shadows of error have been scattered from a person's soul and he has perceived the light of truth, he couples himself with divine understanding in his whole consciousness.")

Decker observes: "The sun, of course, dispels shadows and sadness." Thus the Asclepius says, as Decker quotes it (still section 29);
"The sun illuminates...by its divinity and holiness...The sun is indeed a second god.
(The full quote, in Copenhaver, p. 85, is "In fact, the sun illluminates the other stars not so much by the intensity of its light as by its divinity and holiness. The sun is indeed a second god, O Asclepius, believe it, governing all things and shedding light on all that are in the world, ensouled and soulless": http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bJQ2TDAlyCU/U ... aver85.JPG, top of page.)

At the Angel, the soul rediscovers its immortality, Decker says. There is in fact no mention of an Angel at this point in the Asclepius. The Good Daemon did his work earlier. The part about immortality is the rest of the sentence about his perceiving the light of truth (Copenhaver bottom of p. 84 in Google Books, top of 85, http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bJQ2TDAlyCU/U ... aver85.JPG):
...and when his love of it [divine understanding] has freed him from the part of nature that makes him mortal, he conceives confidence in immortality to come.

But perhaps the Last Judgment and recognizing one's immortality come to the same thing, for a Hermetic.

There follows, after skipping several pages of the text, a mystical passage about the world. Decker quotes without comment (beginning of section 30, corresponding to the first sentence of the section in Copenhaver, p. 85, http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bJQ2TDAlyCU/U ... aver85.JPG):
The world must be full of life and eternity...Eternity's life-giving power stirs the world, and the place of the world is within that living eternity....The world will never stop moving or be destroyed.
All in all, the fit to the Asclepius is very loose. When there is nothing in the Asclepius, as happens frequently, Decker uses something from another text. I don't see anything objectionable about this, since they are all from the same era and roughly the same perspective, the Platonism of the Roman Empire (even if the Renaissance didn't know that). But such a wide assortment of texts weakens his case that the Asclepius is a source for the tarot, because what he does cite is common to the whole tradition.

In fact the Asclepius does talk about devils, called "baleful angels" in Copenhaver's translation (p. 82 in Copenhaver, end of section 25, in Google Books), in a section whose language is very close to that of the Bible's Book of Revelation. It describes how "Egypt" will be taken over by them, until God finally has had enough, "washing away malice in a flood or consuming it in fire or ending it by spreading pestilential disease everywhere" (section 26, still Copenhaver p. 82). Then the old order will be restored, in a kind of this-worldly New Jerusalem. The world that Decker quotes, the one that "will never be destroyed" is something else, the world of the senses; it is part of a denial that there will be an "end of the world" either in the material or non-material sense.

Another problem, of course, is Decker's reliance on the Tarot de Marseille, even to the number of spokes on the wheel. There is no evidence for that deck being the original tarot. All of his arguments fitting the various texts to the Tarot de Marseille, to extent they are valid, could be explanations for why these details were added. Except for the texts that explain the order, all relate to small details on the cards. As far as the order of the trumps, there is no evidence for the Tarot de Marseille order until 1544, over a hundred years after the original tarot. This is not to say that better arguments cannot be found. Decker simply doesn't provide them.

The 3x7 array is another issue. It is generally agreed that there are three sections to the sequence, but usually Love and Chariot are put in the first section. A case could be made for Love and Chariot on the descent, as I have suggested, but one has to assume that the deck's designer was alert to Proclus's citations of the Chaldean Oracles. Other than that, the sequence descent-trials-ascent, as grounded in Hermetic-Platonic texts of the first two centuries of the common era, is still worthy of consideration.

I myself would have made more use of the Chaldean Oracles, both by way of Plethon's edition and Proclus, although not for the time period of the tarot's invention. For more on this, see Chapters 1-3 of my "Tarot and the Chaldean Oracles", at http://tarotandchaldean.blogspot.com/.

SUMMARY EVALUATION OF PART TWO OF THE BOOK ("THE TEXTS APPLIED TO THE TRUMPS")

As far as influencing the tarot at the time of its invention, there are only two areas where it seems to me, after reading his argument, there might be a case, and even then only for the time when it took its present shape of 22 cards.

One area that still seems to me relevant is that pertaining to Egyptian hieroglyphs, especially Horapollo, because of (1) the Egyptomania of the times, (2) the good fit with some of the imagery, i.e. the Bagat in the PMB and several in the Cary Sheet, and (3) the presence of Ciriaco in Cremona at the right time, Sept-Dec 1451, a very good time for both Filelfo and he to give input to the Bembo on the PMB; also, Simonetta, his chancelor, was there at least in July and Francesco in December, per letters written by them (Phaeded at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=976&start=20#p14396). Filelfo had the full Greek text of Horapollo, and Ciriaco likely the Latin 37 sign version.

Another group of texts, with actually a more persuasive case, is that of ancient arithmology, notably Macrobius, Martianus Capella, possibly also Philo. This Pythagorean-based "arithmetical theology" (Theologumena Arithmeticae, as one 4th century text is called) is really the best account I know for why the Popess is number 2, Justice is 8, and the Wheel is 10 (as the end of a cycle); the other cards from 0 to 9 also fall in line. For the cards above 10, the correspondences are looser. But once the precedent had been set in the first ten, the remainder could perhaps afford to be such.

That Filelfo was in Cremona in late 1451 increases the probability that Pythagorean arithmology influenced the order, at least of the PMB. A letter by him quoted by Robin in Filelfo in Milan (pp. 49-50) shows him quite adept at the playful use of its correspondences. Filelfo would also have known the relevant dialogues of Plato and the Latin works of Apuleius, Macrobius, and Martianus Capella.

Filelfo would also have had some familiarity with Proclus, at least to the extent of familiarity with the Chaldean Oracles imbedded there, some of which Plethon had called attention to. Filelfo's own philosophical writings are closer to Proclus than they are to Augustine. Robin(Filelfo in Milan p. 151) paraphrases his 1473-1475 De Morale Disciplina:
God is pure mind, light, and fire. This being is the light that illuminates truth, the fire that kindles the love of virtue.
Filelfo here makes no reference to Christ, the trinity, etc., she says. From God comes the eternal forms, including those of the virtues, and it is through love of those, God's works, that virtuous action occurs, without which knowledge of the virtues would be meaningless (p. 157) and by means of which, among other things, the soul grows closer to God. That doctrine, close to that of Proclus and the Chaldean Oracles (see Majercik's Oracle 51), would also apply to the virtue cards in the tarot, which Decker had so much trouble pulling out of the Asclepius. This is Filelfo of the 1470s. Whether he had such an orientation in the 1450s, when the full 22 card tarot was probably born, is a difficult question.

The rest of the book, Parts Three through Five, deal with Etteilla, cartomancy, and Cabala. I will get to that eventually.

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