Phaeded wrote:What boggles the mind here is that all of the earliest Italian explanations for this card call it SAGITTA - including the two tracts you translated(!)
Phaeded wrote:marco wrote:By the way, you have not answered my question: when you say that "all of the earliest Italian explanations for this card call it SAGITTA" (or saetta?) which sources are you referring to?
Mea culpa on my stating sagitta for saetta on the two c. 1560 treatises that Ross translated [edit, actually Fuoco and Cielo; finally dug up my copy of Ross's translation].
La contemplation del quale ci dimostra per l’opere sue maravigliose, et belle dottamente l’Auttore nelle sette figure seguenti, accioche conoscendolo l’amiamo. Onde egli per sua infinita bontà, et misericordia nel fine della vita nostra dalle mani del Diavolo ci sottragga, et ci faccia seco coheredi della vera sua gloria, et felicità del Cielo, et quindi accrescendo et con gli occhi et con l’intelletto ai Cieli, la Stella, la Luna, et il Sole, le sopranaturali fatture de Dio
His contemplation [i.e. the contemplation of God] is wisely presented by the Author [of Tarot] in the following seven figures by means of his marvellous and beautiful works, so that, knowing him, we love him. So that, for his infinite goodness and mercy, he delivers us from the Devil at the end of our lives, making us co-heirs with him of his true glory, and the happiness of Heaven. Therefore we rise with our eyes and intellects to the Heavens, the Star, the Moon and the Sun, the supernatural creatures of God
Dietro i Demoni viene il Fuoco per debito mezo fra le stelle cose celesti, et le mondane per esser si come i Naturali o Filosofi affermano elemento che prima si trovi della Luna, Sole, e d’ogni altra Stella
After the Demons, comes Fire, as the due mean between the stars, which are celestial, and mundane things: it is, as affirmed by naturalists or philosophers, the element that is found before the Moon, the Sun and any other Star
1 Laudate Dominum de caelis: laudate eum in excelsis.
2 Laudate eum, omnes Angeli ejus: laudate eum, omnes virtutes ejus.
3 Laudate eum, sol et luna: laudate eum, omnes stellae et lumen.
1 O praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise ye him in the height.
2 Praise him, all ye Angels of his: praise him, all his host.
3 Praise ye him, O sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars and light.
2 laudate eum omnes angel¡ eius: laudate eum omnes virtutes eius.
"Laudate eum omnes angeli eius" id est nuncij Divine voluntatis ad annunciandum eam a Deo deputati. Et eosdem sub alio nomine exhortans dicit "laudate eum omnes virtutes" et exercitus "eius" id est ipsi angeli ad exercendas operationes mirabiles constituti. Virtutes quamdoque pro uno ordine ponit, sed hic generale nomen est omnium celestium spirituum: qui etiam angeli dicuntur dum in ministerium mittuntur. Hucusque de invisibilibus egit: a quibus tamquam a dignoribus incepit. Deinde transit ad visibilia que minus sunt digna dicens.
3 laudate eum sol et luna laudate eum omnes stelle et lumen.
"Laudate eum sol" silicet luminare maius "et luna" luminare minus. "laudate eum omnes stelle" scilicet luminaria minores in apparentia. Sol et luna et stelle Deum laudant in eo quo a suo officio et servicio non recedunt. Servicio enim ipso laus Dei est. "Et lumen" id est effectus corporum luminosorum q.d. illa laudent non solum in se sed etiam in effectu. Vel per lumen generaliter accipit omne quod lucet et omnia lumen habentia que dinumerari non possunt.
2 Praise him, all you Angels of his: praise him, all his host.
“Praise him, all you Angels of his”, i.e. the messengers of divine will, assigned by God to annunciate it. Exhorting them under a different name, [the psalmist] says “praise him, all Virtues [Virtutes]” and his host, i.e. the same angels which have been created to accomplish marvelous works. He mentions the Virtues, a specific order [of angels]: but here it is a generic name for all heavenly spirits, which are also called “angels”, when they are ordered to their ministry. Up until this point, he spoke of invisible things, from which he started because they are more worthy. Then he passes to visible things, speaking of them that are less worthy.
3 Praise him, O sun and moon: praise him, all you stars and light.
“Praise him sun” or the great luminary, “and moon” or the small luminary. “Praise him all you stars” or the luminaries that look smaller. The sun, the moon and the stars praise God by not leaving their function and their service. Indeed also service is a praise of God. “And light” i.e. the effect of the luminous bodies, meaning that they praise not only by what they are but also by their effects. Or by “light” he generically means all things that shine and all things that have light, which cannot be enumerated.
The Anonymous interprets the card as “the heavens” or “heaven”, both as Paradise (the home of the blessed) and as a cosmological entity. Piscina interprets it specifically as the fiery heaven, the highest of the four elemental spheres.
Phaeded wrote:Actually no one had to “think” about the word or “imagine” anything – the lightning striking the tower was right in front of them to look at on the card. Your hierarchy requires imagining…that the tower is not there.
After having reread Piscina it is clear to me that is where you are taking your cue for the “celestials” from, especially this statement of his: “After the Demons, comes Fire (il Fuoco), as the due mean between stars, which are celestial, and mundane things: it is affirmed by naturalists or philosophers, the element that is found before the Moon, the Sun and any other Star (2010: 23).”
But what was the author’s knowledge of the original intent of the tarot?
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:It was his language, his culture, only a century removed from the original context, almost within living memory, and certainly within the same conceptual universe...
You may not know much about the game of Poker during the period of the American civil war, but if you wrote something about it in the 1980s (so roughly at about the same age as his and with the same amount of time in between you and the events that Piscina had between the invention of the game of Tarot and his time), you can bet that a Malay-speaking scholar of antique card games in Kuala Lumpur in 2430 is going to take what you wrote a lot more seriously than he does the theories of his contemporary compatriots. What you wrote will be pure gold, however off the cuff. It will say more than you can imagine.
Imagining that the tower is "not there" is a necessary abstraction for us to theorize what the designer meant, just as it is necessary to imagine that the three Magi are not there under the star, or the woman pouring water, or a woman holding the star, or that a couple of astronomers aren't there looking at the Moon, or that two dogs, a river, a couple of towers and a crayfish, aren't there, or that two kids aren't playing under the Sun, or a woman spinning yarn, or a couple making out... we do have to imagine that these "aren't there" in the abstract meaning of the sequence, or we have to tell a story involving all of those iconographies, which quickly makes our choices arbitrary, or nonsense.
In my imagining, the skeleton of the idea is Lightning-Star-Moon-Sun, a simple hierarchy of lights in the sky; the flesh of the iconography underneath these subjects is incidental, something that can be cut away. It may be appropriate to the subject (as the Magi are, as a stricken tower is), but it is ultimately decorative.
So what is your story, not ignoring the iconography underneath all the other lights?
For Francesco Piscina, he was born around 1540, so let's give his father 1515, and his grandfather 1490. If the Tarot inventor were born 1410-1420, and if he lived to be 75 or 80, then the very inventor of the game could still have been alive when Piscina's grandfather was born. Even if he were not, a lot of the players of the original game certainly were. Francesco's grandfather could, in principle, have learned to play Tarot from an original player. Even if he doesn't say so, what Francesco says could have been influenced by impressions he got from his grandfather, who got them from an original player.
Just as your grandfather could, in principle, have learned Civil War Poker from an original player, and why the historian of 2430 will be very interested in what you have to say about it, according it more intrinsic weight than the more abstract and far-removed theories of his friends.
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