Re: Images from a Ferrarese prophetic manuscript (1450 ca)

#11
Hi, Marco,

As long as I've been repeating some of my old Tarot de Marseille interpretation, I thought I'd expand on the Pope, Devil, and Tower in the context of the prophetic tradition.
marco wrote:I attach three images that I found in the catalogue of the exhibition “Le muse e il principe” (Ferrara 1991). They are illustrations from a Ferrarese manuscript dating to 1450 ca. The manuscript contains two prophetic texts: “Liber de causis, statu, cognitione ac fine instantis scismatis et tribulationum futurarum” by Telesforo da Cosenza, and the much more famous “Vaticinia Ponificum” by Giocchino da Fiore....

In the image that I attach there is a good pope (on the left) and a bad pope on the right (the last Antichrist).
Concerning the Pope = Antichrist(Devil) idea, one peculiarity of Tarot de Marseille is the iconographic pairing of the Pope and the Devil. They both have a large central figure, crowned, making a “blessing” gesture with the right hand and holding a “scepter” in the left. No such pairing occurs in any other deck. Each central figure has two subordinate figures in the foreground, and there are also two figures falling from the Tower. The two subordinates are unusual on other Pope or Tower cards, they appear on no other Devil cards. This composition, a dominant central figure with two subbordinates, appears on no other cards in the Tarot de Marseille trumps. Such an iconographic pairing of Pope with Devil would be obviously meaningful given the beliefs of the time. For several centuries the populace had been awaiting the End Times, and legend held that the Antichrist would be Pope. This is a quote I've posted before from Norman Cohn's excellent The Pursuit of the Millennium (1961).
Martin Luther was not (as is often supposed) the first to hit upon the idea that the Antichrist who sets up his throne in the Temple can be no other than the Pope at Rome and that the Church of Roms is therefore the Church of Satan. Amongst the eschatologically minded in the later Middle Ages the idea was already a commonplace. Even such a champion of the Church as St. Bernard could come to believe, in his tense expectatio of the final drama, that many of the clergy belonged to the hosts of Antichrist. And in the pronouncements of the propheta who was burnt as a heretic at Paris in 1209 similar ideas appear as an integral part of a doctrine which clearly drew heavily upon the Johannine and Sibylline traditions, Thios man, a cleric turned goldsmith, foretold that within five years the people would be consumed by famine, the kings would slay one another with the sword, the earth would open and swallow up the twon-dwellers and finally fire would fall upon those members of Antichrist, the prelates of the Church. For, he insisted, the Pope was Antiochrist, on account of the power he held; and the Babylon of the Apocalypse was really Rome.... Any Millenarian movement was in fact almost compelled by the situation in which it found itself to see the clergy as a demonic fraternity.
The Devil is thus shown as a perverted version of the Pope, and the small figures, tonsured clergy in the Pope card, become corrupt demons in the Devil card. (And in the Tower card the crown is blown off the tower while fire falls on the falling subordinates.) This identification of the Pope and Antichrist was current for centuries before Tarot was invented, and remained a mainstream Christian legend for centuries after. Protestant propagandists made a great deal out of that legend, and it is, in fact, still prevalent today. The point here, however, is that revising the iconography of both Pope and Devil cards to make them iconographic twins adds a fragmentary layer of meaning, clearly intended meaning, to the series. This is then developed in the House of God card.

Just as the Pope/Devil pairing only occurs in the Tarot de Marseille deck, that is also the only deck in which the Fire/Tower card is called the House of God, la Maison Dieu. Many interpretations have been offered for this, most of them explaining it away rather than explaining it. The name has been widely considered to be uninformative or even misleading, perhaps a mistake of translation from Casa del Diav[olo]. The question is, why would fire from heaven be striking the House of God?

In the Millennialist context, the destruction of the House of God, i.e., the Church, coming as it does after the rise the Antichrist to the papacy as shown in the Devil card, makes perfect sense. The ascension of the Antichrist to the head of the Church would mark its ultimate corruption, at which point the Millennialist mythology said it would be destroyed. Returning to the interpretation from Revelation 20, which I consider the foundation for this part of the trump cycle, immediately after the passage about Satan’s post-millennial release and his subsequent deception of the nations, “fire came down from heaven and destroyed them”. Various explanations for the use of a tower have been suggested, but the pairing of Pope and Devil, combined with the name House of God, provides another: Turris Ecclesia, the Tower of the Church.

The Tarot de Marseille Tower might well represent the Turris Ecclesia of St. Hildegard of Bingen. Both “Tower” and “House of God” are perfectly correct names -- Turris Ecclesia is both a tower and the House of God, i.e., the Church. Significant elements of Hildegard’s description also fit the common Tarot de Marseille image: Turris Ecclesia is a round tower, white, with three windows. Although the stenciled colors vary from one Tarot de Marseille deck to another, these elements fit the Tarot de Marseille card rather well. Then there are the details of what is happening in the Tarot de Marseille image. The tower itself stands intact, unscathed, while the “crown” is blown off, and two figures are thrown down. The white tower itself represents the true Church, made up of the faithful. (Cf. II Co 3:9-17.) The crown represents the head of the Church, i.e., the Antichrist who has become pope. Architecturally, the crenellated top of a tower is called the crown, for obvious reasons. Via metonymy, the crown represents the head of the Church, i.e., the pope. The falling figures represent the corrupt clergy, who are shown on the previous card (and on the Pope card). The corrupt Church is destroyed, while the cleansed Church of the faithful, the tower itself, remains unscathed. This is yet another difference between the Tarot de Marseille Tower and other Tarot Tower cards in which the tower itself is broken.

There is a fundamental distinction between the Church as the corporation of the faithful, the Bride of Christ, Heavenly Jerusalem, etc., and the worldly Church, which is the corporation of the corrupt, and which is to be destroyed. This distinction is made clear in the card, when understood via Hildegard’s vision. Hildegard writes, “Now the reason why you see a huge round tower entirely built of white stone is because the sweetness of the Holy Spirit is immense and comprehensively includes all creatures in its grace, so that no corruption in the integrity of the fullness of justice destroys it; since glowing, it points the way and sends forth all rivers of sanctity in the clarity of its strength, in which there is found no spot of any foulness. Wherefore the Holy Spirit is ablaze, and its burning serenity which strongly kindles the fiery virtues will never be destroyed; so all darkness is put to flight by it.” In other words, the Church is cleansed by the Holy Spirit and still stands intact -- as in the Tarot image.

St. Paul says that the Antichrist “sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (II Th 2:4.) While the popes didn’t claim to be God, they did claim to be the only route to God, and the Church was the only means of salvation. “And then the lawless one [Antichrist] will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” (II Th 2:8.) One of the iconographic oddities of Tarot de Marseille is that the Tower is struck by something looking like half fire, half wind (breath). Other oddities of the Tarot de Marseille image, in comparison with other cards illustrated above. The giant hailstones shown on the card are a conventional Apocalyptic motif. The key meaning of the card in the context of the Devil/Antichrist card is the cleansing of the House of God. And that’s what it shows.

As a meditative exercise for the day, consider the phrase, "by the splendor[brightness] of his coming", inlustratione adventus sui, in the context of the trump cycle, specifically, this triptych. Here's a visual to help with the meditation, with seven stars surrounding one brighter, 8-pointed star representing the Advent of Christ.

Image


If anyone is interested, here is a 2001 series of TarotL posts where I tried to put all the pieces together.

Tarot de Marseille and Heterodoxy -- 1 of 4
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TarotL/message/18528

Tarot de Marseille and Heterodoxy -- 2 of 4
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TarotL/message/18529

Tarot de Marseille and Heterodoxy -- 3 of 4
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TarotL/message/18530

Tarot de Marseille and Heterodoxy -- 4 of 4
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TarotL/message/18531

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Images from a Ferrarese prophetic manuscript (1450 ca)

#12
Thanks for the image and those oldies-but-goodies posts, Michael.

I agree that the inescapable conclusion of the Devil-World (or Angel! I would argue) sequence is apocalyptic. The linkage of the Tower with the prison of the Devil, AND the destruction of Gog and Magog in the Telesforo imagery is persuasive. I had previously balked at such literalism because of the lack of armies in the card, where Revelation describes them. But, it appears that the whole thing is summed up in the person of the Devil, and the destruction of the Tower by fire from heaven following in sequence. It seems we have to think of the trumps as being sketches, very summary and allusive, and not florid as larger works could allow themselves to be.

It is clear that the Minchiate designers took the Star as being the Star of Bethlehem (=Jesus) and the figure below is one of the Magi. The seven stars around a central large eight-pointed star in the Tarot de Marseille also suggest just what your golden picture shows - but would you still argue what you did in your fourth post from 2001 above, that the figure below the Star pouring water from two jugs is really the Spirit pouring Blood and Water?

The closest cognates for the image are pictures of Aquarius and some of water-nymphs (Vitali has some), but there is no reason I can think of to put one on this card. The star in the shoulder on the figure on the Cary Sheet indicates that the figure was celestial (stars in figures was the most common way to indicate personifications of constellations and planets), so I tend to think it has to be Aquarius - despite being utterly unclued as to why Aquarius might the "Star" (constellation) chosen. Is there a tradition of Aquarius allegorically representing the pouring out of (the) Blood and Water? I guess it's possible.

It doesn't seem possible to take it as the "vials" of Revelation, since the figure is never angelic, or depicted with wings. The Tarot de Marseille Star vignette remains the hardest for me to interpret.

Ross
Image

Re: Images from a Ferrarese prophetic manuscript (1450 ca)

#13
Hi, Ross,
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:I agree that the inescapable conclusion of the Devil-World (or Angel! I would argue) sequence is apocalyptic.
I would agree that most of the sequences are, but there are also variations in the iconography to consider. The Florentine Reversal, with a mundane World triumphed by Fama, is clearly not eschatological, nor even Christian. It is that long-sought, present-in-several-decks-yet-still-unrecognized grail: genuinely humanist Tarot. Sadly, the people who most insist on Renaissance humanism in Tarot also insist on imposing it on Tarot de Marseille and other medieval Christian decks, and fail to see that different decks tell different stories. So they miss the cool fact that some of them do represent the more stylish Renaissance sensibilities.

A striking fact about the Florentine Reversal is that it does not work coherently with the overall sequence. It's an ad hoc revision. Being so perfectly consistent with the attitudes characteristically associated with Florence, and especially given the specific design of some decks with a Eurocentric World and the Fama of the Florentine skyline, it is the best example of what I have termed the civic-pride explanation for Tarot deck variations in general.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:The linkage of the Tower with the prison of the Devil, AND the destruction of Gog and Magog in the Telesforo imagery is persuasive.
There are a number of textual and pictorial cognates, and these things overlapped in the sensibilities of the day. The description of the downfall of the Devil and his minions from Revelation 20 was connected by the Joachim/Telesphorus traditions with the description of the Ultimate Antichrist, and descriptions from 2-Thessalonians. Moreover, they were conflated in different ways by different writers. And then there are images of the Harrowing of Hell, inescapably similar, which might have been conflated with some intended meaning or other. Then there is the tradition of artists borrowing one subject as model for another, related subject. So we have to follow the Tarot storyline, in each deck, rather than attempt to fit the trumps as a group to a particular model.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:I had previously balked at such literalism because of the lack of armies in the card, where Revelation describes them. But, it appears that the whole thing is summed up in the person of the Devil, and the destruction of the Tower by fire from heaven following in sequence. It seems we have to think of the trumps as being sketches, very summary and allusive, and not florid as larger works could allow themselves to be.
But it is the storyline that makes sense, and it isn't just any storyline -- it is the primary story of TRIUMPHS in Revelation. There are basically three triumphs in Revelation, over the Devil, over Death, and the ultimate triumph of Christ over all. Christ is the one who triumphs: "Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals'." That must all take place before he hands dominion over to his Father, and at the end he is the Groom of Rev. 21, who is "coming soon", as he announces in Rev. 22, calling himself the Star -- always a symbol of His Advent.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:It is clear that the Minchiate designers took the Star as being the Star of Bethlehem (=Jesus) and the figure below is one of the Magi. The seven stars around a central large eight-pointed star in the Tarot de Marseille also suggest just what your golden picture shows - but would you still argue what you did in your fourth post from 2001 above, that the figure below the Star pouring water from two jugs is really the Spirit pouring Blood and Water?
Two answers: First, I hang on to an interpretation until a better one comes along. If you've got one, I've been ready for it for a decade. Second, by "better" I mean one that makes better sense of the card and the sequence as a whole.

This is one of the things (basically, everything) that RLG failed to understand. It's not about my "desire" to see a pattern in which every third card is a religious figure or a Moral Virtue. That IS the order of the Tarot de Marseille trumps, and those religous subjects and virtues, equally spaced, DO constitute a pattern. That's just a fact, the phenomona to be explained, and anyone who, like RLG, fails to see that, who denies that it is real and maligns those who attempt to explain it, should probably find a different hobby.

My desire is to understand the pattern, to make sense of the sequence. The fact that there is clearly a systematic design to the lowest and middle trumps, and the fact that it is complex/conflated and subtle with compromised and imperfect meanings -- like a riddle -- tells us that we are justified in approaching the highest trumps with that same expectation. We should look for important and nearly-universal content, with at least two layers of meaning being conflated to make it more interesting (playful?) and profound, and we shouldn't expect it all to be easy. And it certainly isn't.

But the question is, can we find a parallel pattern that makes sense of the series? I believe that I did. But it's not obvious. It's exactly like figuring out what Love and the Chariot have in common that explains their connection with Justice. You don't get to just look at the pictures and make up your favorite story. You have to look at the sequence and figure out a meaningful story. Starting from the known, what is the series about? What is the plain and literal context of the obscure or mysterious symbolism? What interpretation of the enigmatic makes sense of the things we've already figured out? If the sequence is eschatological, then how does Aquarius fit in? In fact, what does Aquarius have to do with any of the rest of the sequence? Or water nymphs? Or whatever.

Tarot may, a priori, be meaningless drool. This is the usual result of Pomo deconstruction, recontextualizig and revisioning: a meaningless hodge-podge. That method is pretty-much guaranteed to falsify whatever it is applied to. The proper method is to use the actual historical context, and the most crucial context is the rest of that particular deck, whichever deck one happens to be looking at, as well as historical Tarot more generally.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:The closest cognates for the image are pictures of Aquarius and some of water-nymphs (Vitali has some), but there is no reason I can think of to put one on this card.
Which is to say that the closest pictorial cognates are not informative. That is very unusual. It suggests that this card was intended to convey something unusual or, in keeping with the rest of the deck, something common but forcibly conflated with another subject in a novel manner, requiring novel illustration.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:The star in the shoulder on the figure on the Cary Sheet indicates that the figure was celestial (stars in figures was the most common way to indicate personifications of constellations and planets), so I tend to think it has to be Aquarius - despite being utterly unclued as to why Aquarius might the "Star" (constellation) chosen. Is there a tradition of Aquarius allegorically representing the pouring out of (the) Blood and Water? I guess it's possible.
There are two parts to the Tarot de Marseille Star card. The top half is a direct reference to Christ's Advent. We know what seven stars refer to, and we know what a brighter star amongst them means. The First Advent was prophesied as the "Star of Jacob" (Numbers 24:17). This relates to the Star of Bethlehem, but also to his Second Coming. At the end of Revelation, after telling/showing all that strange End-Times stuff to St. John, he speaks of himself with title, the Bright and Morning Star. "I am coming" and "I am the Star" are the first and last lines of the last message of Christ in the Bible, Rev. 22-12-16.

The bottom half is just odd. A woman pouring two vessels and a bird in a bush. WTF? However if 1) the highest cards depict the eschatological triumphs of Christ, and if 2) they are peculiar in part because they conflate at least two meanings, and if 3) one of the designer's essential constraints was "Don't Depict the Deity!", because decorum precludes such images in a card game, then he was extremely ingenious to make things as clear as he did! Three triumphs of Christ without depicting Christ -- that's a hell of an assignment. Also, keep in mind the fact that the biblical proof-texts I had to search for were extremely well known, back in the day. So the depiction of an allegory of 1-John, chapter 5, in conjunction with a reference to the Advent, is not at all far fetched... for someone of that provenance. (It was insanely far-fetched for me. I had to read the entire Bible, cover to cover, twice, along with countless books about the Bible and medieval Christianity... and I'd never had any interest in any of that shit before!)
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:The Tarot de Marseille Star vignette remains the hardest for me to interpret.
It's pretty cool. Given the fact that the top half is easy, that the sequential context is somewhat understood, and that the bottom half is iconographically unique, what reading of the bottom half is congruent with the top half and the rest of the sequence?

I'm glad that some of my ideas are finally seeming not so far-fetched!

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Images from a Ferrarese prophetic manuscript (1450 ca)

#14
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
The Tarot de Marseille Star vignette remains the hardest for me to interpret.

Ross

A few random ideas that might be relevant to the Tarot de Marseille Star. I'm always hoping to get a closer view of the maiden and her jugs. :ymdevil:



From bibletools(.org)

"John 7:37-39

Christ spoke of the Holy Spirit during His proclamation on the Last Great Day. His words revealed that a day—the White Throne Judgment—would come when all humanity would have free access to the "living water" of God's Holy Spirit (John 4:13-14; Matthew 5:6; Revelation 22:17). Jesus is not only Judge of all, but also the One who dispenses the Holy Spirit to all of His disciples.

Giving meat in due season (II Timothy 4:2), Jesus preached about the meaning of the Last Great Day, and His subject was the Holy Spirit. Why? There is no doubt that some understood the meaning of the day because His audience had just witnessed the conclusion of a ceremony that involved water. God never commanded them to keep this ceremony, but nonetheless it contained a measure of true symbolism.

Each day during the Feast of Tabernacles, a priest drew an urn of water from the pool of Siloam and carried it through the Water Gate while the people recited Isaiah 12:3: "Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." Once inside the city, they paraded the urn of water to the altar accompanied by a choir singing Psalms 113—118. To conclude the ritual, the priest poured the water on the altar as an offering to God.

However, on the last day, the great day of the Feast, they marched seven times around the altar before pouring the water. What does pouring water upon an altar have to do with salvation? How many understood the symbolism that day when Jesus spoke concerning the Holy Spirit? Had the symbolism become obscured in people's minds by the passage of time? Jesus' comment should have revitalized their understanding of this wonderful truth.

Psalm 118:19-29 is a part of what the choir was singing as the procession approached and circled the altar. This psalm exalts the theme of the Last Great Day. It depicts the time when the whole world will go through the gates of righteousness, recognizing Christ as Savior, rejoicing in those God sends to teach them and praising God for His mercy in giving them salvation. Though not directly stated in these verses, the only reason mankind will respond like this is because God will pour out His Holy Spirit on all of humanity!"


http://bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseact ... bolism.htm



From The Message of Water Baptism by Grover Gunn, pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church Jackson, Tennessee

"The Bible consistently describes baptism with the Holy Spirit as a pouring out from above. Through the prophecy of the prophet Joel, God said, "I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh." Peter on the day of Pentecost proclaimed that Joel's prophesy had been fulfilled and then said this about Jesus:

"Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear."
Titus 3:5-6 says,
"... not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to [God's] mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior ..."
In these verses, the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit as being poured out from above.
The Bible also uses water as a symbol for the Holy Spirit. Water cleanses our bodies, and the Holy Spirit cleanses our souls. Water gives life to our bodies, and the Holy Spirit gives life to our souls. Thus we read in Isaiah 44:3

"For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring."
Thus we read in John 7:37-39:
"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; ..."
So here we have our first point. Baptism with water is symbolic of baptism with the Holy Spirit. And when the water of baptism come down upon a person from above, that is symbolic of God's pouring out His Holy Spirit upon His people as a cleansing and life-giving flow."


http://www.grovergunn.net/andrew/act1044.htm



Image



"Stella Matutina - Morning Star

This scene tells about the combat between light and darkness. Eventually, morning is breaking. The giant rooster announces the rising sun, while the roaring lion takes flight and the incubi of the night (frightening bats and dragons) sail away in a dark cloud. Taking advantage of the first light of day a ship leaves harbor. The lemma proclaims Jesus’ message to the churches: “I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16). He is the promised one seen by the prophet Balaam. “A star shall advance from Jacob.” However, in this illustration this expression decorates the radiating star with the bust of Mary, which dominates the page.

"Stella matutina," also known as "stella Marina" and "Lux matutina" (12C), and as "stella maris" used by Saint Bernard to explain the meaning of the name "Mary," suggests and announces the rising sun of justice, Jesus Christ (Mal. 4:3). The glory of her light is but light from eternal light, and praise of the never-ending light of God's love for us."


http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/prayers/stella.html


"Q: What is the origin and meaning of the expression stella matutina or morning star?

A: Stella matutina or morning star is first used in the Padua version of the Litanies of Loreto (fourteenth century; Capitolare B63). In a Parisian manuscript of the twelfth century we find the expressions Stella marina" and lux matutina ("star of the sea" and "light of the morning") (Paris, Nat. lat. 5267). It is believed that the author of the Padua Litanies combined these two titles into one to become stella matutina.

The morning star is a sign of the coming day, the announcement of the rising sun; it is a promise of light. It announces the coming "sun of justice" (Mal 4:3), the "daybreak from on high visiting us" (Lk 1:78). Mary is morning star not for and through herself, but she is only the reflection of the creator and redeemer. She exalts his glory. When she emerges from darkness we know that the day is near (Newman).

The meaning of Morning Star is related to that of Star of the Sea (see the question: Star of the Sea). According to Saint Bernard, Mary may be compared to a star. A star radiates light without losing its brightness; Mary thus did not lose her virginity giving birth to Christ. She is the star which goes out from Jacob and whose light illumines the world. This star kindles the fire of the spirit, hastens the growth of virtues and burns out vices. Mary, the star, has a role as spiritual model and ideal (De laudibus Virg. Matris 2.17; PL 183, 70f).

Let us be mindful that the symbol of the Morningstar is also used to designate Jesus Christ, himself. In Rev. 22:16 Jesus calls himself the Morningstar. He is the true "Lucifer," the harbinger of Light, not the one mentioned in Isaiah 14:12. The "bright Morningstar" calls himself also the "root and offspring of David" (Rev. 22:16) who received authority from his Father (Rev. 2:26). He will give this authority, symbolized again with the Morningstar ("And to him, I will give the Morningstar, Rev. 2:28) to the victor, "who keeps to my ways to the end" (Rev. 2:26). Jesus is the "star (that) will come out of Jacob" (Nb 24:17-19) as announced by Bileam. This star, the "Star of David" is a symbol of the kingship of David. The prophets had written that the Messiah would come from the lineage of David. The symbol was thus not for David personally, but a symbol for the Messiah, the King of Kings. Jesus Christ, the Messiah and "Morningstar" endows with his messianic authority and light, those who follow him and persevere in his service."


http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/questions/yq/yq71.html


"Q: What is the Origin of Mary's title: "Star of the Sea"?

A: Star symbolisms on behalf of Mary refer to two types of stars:

a) six-pointed stars indicate Mary's Davidic origins and Jewish character;
b) stars with eight radiating points highlight Mary's role in salvation as helper in the "restitutio perfectionis" (8=perfection) or reparatrix parentum et totius orbis.

More generally (independently from the number of radiating points), the star symbolism may be used to articulate one or all of the following characteristics of Mary:

a) Her privileges, in particular, her mission as Mother of the Redeemer, or her holiness (full of grace);
b) Her anticipatory or demonstrative role (forerunner, announcer ...) with regard to Christ ["she is the dawn, Christ the Rising Sun"] and the Trinity;
c) Her role as luminous and enlightening."


http://campus.udayton.edu/mary//questions/yq/yq17.html
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: Images from a Ferrarese prophetic manuscript (1450 ca)

#16
Thanks Michael,

The Leber-Rouen Deck is fascinating. There does seem to be an influence from the Stella Maris motif.

A couple of things that caught my eye on the Stella Matutina image above are:

a) The cock in the tree resembles the Tarot de Marseille Star.

b) The small star on the shoulder of Mary resembles the star on the shoulder of the Cary Sheet figure.


Image
Image
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: Images from a Ferrarese prophetic manuscript (1450 ca)

#17
marco wrote: I had a look on google: I don't think Telesforo was ever printed.
Michael has kindly written to me, pointing out that the book was actually printed in 1516. My quick search did not give any results because, as pointed out by Michael, the name of the author is spelled in many different ways. See here: http://opac.khi.fi.it/cgi-bin/hkhi_de.p ... gt10310979

The text was printed in Venice by Lazzaro Soardi in 1516 (Impressum Venetijs : per Lacarum de Soardis, 1516. die. 5. Aprilis). It seems that the printed version has "many interpolations".

The complete title of the printed version is: Abbas Ioachim magnus propheta Hec subieta in hoc continentur libello. Expositio magni prophete Ioachim: in librum beati Cirilli de magnis tribulationibus & statu sanctae matris ecclesie: ... vna cum compilatione ex diuersis prophetis noui ac veteris testamenti Theolosphori de Cusentia: ... Item explanatio figurata & pulchra in apochalypsim de residuo statu ecclesie: & de tribus veh venturis debitis semper adiectis textibus sacre scripture ac prophetarum. Item tractatus de antichristo magistri Ioannis Parisiensis ... Item tractatus de septem statibus ecclesie deuoti doctoris fratris Vbertini de Casali ... Item tabula alphabetica principalium materiarum. Item vita magni prophete Abbatis Ioachim

So it seems that also the printed version is a collection of different prophetic texts including Iohannes Parisiensis, Theolosphorus de Cusentia, Ioachim Florensis, Ubertino da Casale.

I found the description of the printed book here: http://www.sbn.it

Marco

Re: Images from a Ferrarese prophetic manuscript (1450 ca)

#18
marco wrote: Michael has kindly written to me, pointing out that the book was actually printed in 1516. My quick search did not give any results because, as pointed out by Michael, the name of the author is spelled in many different ways. See here: http://opac.khi.fi.it/cgi-bin/hkhi_de.p ... gt10310979

The text was printed in Venice by Lazzaro Soardi in 1516 (Impressum Venetijs : per Lacarum de Soardis, 1516. die. 5. Aprilis). It seems that the printed version has "many interpolations".
Excellent - thanks for passing this information along Marco.

"Many interpolations" - indeed, I think prophetic texts are meant to sell well, so changes that make them more relevant are often interpolated. In non-prophetic texts too.

Here is an off-topic example relevant for tarot divination history.

Sometimes you will come across the claim that a 14th century poem called La Spagna claims that "Roland read the cards to find out where Charlemagne's enemies were" (most lately, e.g. in Paul Huson, "Mystical Origins of the Tarot" p. 46).

(This is from my response to Mary Greer's question about this a few months ago - I just happened to have been looking into it)

The short answer is that the phrase fece un cerchio e poscia gittò le carte (he made a circle and cast the cards (or, pages)) doubtlessly occurs in the Milan 1519 edition of "La Spagna". However, it does not seem to occur in any other edition, earlier or later, and in the critical edition of Michele Catalano, La Spagna Poema cavalleresco del secolo XIV (Bologna, 1939-1940), based on the three extant manuscripts, a different phrase is used in this place - fece un gran cerchio e poi gettava l'arte (he made a big circle and then cast the art).

So what's going on here?

I read this on the net somewhere - maybe AT, which referred to Huson. Huson (p. 46) says that van Rijnberk discovered it, but he didn't provide a quote and I didn't have van Rijnberk yet. So I checked my Italian sources, where two of them mention it: Berti (Storia dei Tarocchi, 2007, p. 95), gives the quote and cites van Rijnberk. The second Italian language source to mention it is Terry Zanetti in Vitali and Zanetti, Il tarocchino di Bologna (Martina, 2005), p. 75. She gives a slightly different rendering of the quote - Fe' un cerchio e poscia vi gittò le carte - and instead of mentioning van Rijnberk cites an article by C. Lozzi in La Bibliofilia from 1899.

So it seemed that van Rijnberk couldn't have claimed this discovery - this made me all the more anxious to see what he really said. But in the meantime, armed with the quote in its two forms I managed to trace its history on the web (La Bibliofilia is at the Internet Archive) and through Google Books.

Lozzi mentions a baron Reiffenberg, who also mentioned the phrase in a brief communication "on the antiquity of playing cards" in 1838, in Bulletins de l'Académie Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Bruxelles (tom. IV, Bruxelles, 1838), pp. 66-68. Frédéric Auguste Ferdinand Thomas, baron de Reiffenberg (1795-1850), actually does claim to have discovered it, or at least its significance for playing card history. In reviewing the recent work of Duchesne, de Reiffenberg writes:

"From his dissertation he concludes that cards are of Italian origin and were invented during the 14th century, without giving a precise year or naming the author of this innovation. That which he was not able to discover, I will hardly reveal with that pride in trivial things so natural to pedants; I only want to draw attention to a passage from an old Italian, a passage in support of Mr. Duchesne, and which has not been noted until now. Indeed, in our country and even in Italy the Spagna Istoriata, one of the numerous forgeries of the ancient epics of troubadours and bards, is barely read. However, in this work, Roland has recourse to sortilege to discover the enemies of the Emperor Charlemagne.
Fece un cerchio e poscia gittò le carte (Canto XX).
He made a circle, says the author, and then threw the cards. Is it a case here of those same cards which serve for idle amusement, and in which diviners (devineresses) read the future? I am disposed to believe it, all the more since the Spagna Istoriata, printed in Milan in 1519, is assumed to have been composed in the 14th century, which agrees with Mr. Duchesne."

That might seem the end to it, but while it seems the Baron is claiming the discovery for himself directly from the 1519 edition, in fact there is a still earlier mention in 1812, by P. L. Ginguené. In the Histoire Littéraire d'Italie, vol. 4 (Paris, 1812), Ginguené discusses the Charlemagne romances, and recounts the story as it is given in the Milan 1519 edition of La Spagna, which he believed to be the oldest edition (the first edition is in fact Bologna, 1487). He recounts the episode as "A Sudanese (un soudan), that Roland had converted in Asia, had given him a grimoire: now he worked it, made a circle, threw the cards, read the formula of evocation, and immediately a crowd of demons appeared and demanded his orders." For the phrase "threw the cards" (jette les cartes), Ginguené quotes in the footnote fece un cerchio e poscia gittò le carte (Cant. XX).

Whatever the relationship between Reiffenberg and Ginguené (I guess Reiffenberg found it in Ginguené), Ginguené helped resolve an issue that came up when I finally got van Rijnberk's Le Tarot (1947).

Van Rijnberk's account is: "An allusion of uncertain value can still be found in an Italian poem, Spagna istoriata. This poem, written in the 14th century, was not printed until 1519, in Milan. In canto XX, there is a verse which indicates that Roland, in order to discover where the enemies of Charlemagne might be found, had recourse to magic: Fece un cerchio e gittô le carte. "He made a (magic) circle and there threw the cards (with a divinatory aim)." (pp. 37-38) That's all he says - no claim to discovery. Note also that he or the printer misprinted the accent (a circumflex instead of a grave accent) and he misquotes the verse - it should have 15 syllables, as both the critical edition version and the Milan 1519 have. Anyway, in his bibliography he describes his source: [Item] 153 - Spagna istoriata. Poem written in the 14th century, printed in Milan, 1519. See Tiraboschi: Storia delle letteratura italiana, T. V, parte 2, p. 402."

That reference would potentially push things back into the 18th century, with Tiraboschi's first edition. Luckily, Internet Archive and Google Books both have multiple editions of Tiraboschi, but in none of them does this reference occur. It turns out to be a case of bad editing or bad memory on van Rijnberk's part - the Tiraboschi reference does contain something of interest for playing card history, namely the story of Pipozzo di Sandro which appears to mention cards in 1299. This is now known to be a case of interpolation (see e.g. Kaplan I, p. 31). But the explanation for van Rijnberk's mistake must be that he remembered or had a note of Ginguené's "Histoire littéraire d'Italie", which is the translation of the title of Tiraboschi's work. So in fact, Ginguené must be van Rijnberk's source.

So what about the actual meaning and significance of the 1519 quote itself?

Nobody quotes the whole passage of the 1519 edition, but Ginguené's account describes it well enough. The Catalano critical edition gives it in Canto XXI (this story is not in Canto XX in this edition) -

"Orlando a tal parole alzò le ciglia
e di botto ebbe mala opinione,
dandosi di tal cosa maraviglia.
Parte da Carlo e va al suo padiglione,
e 'l libro in mano subito allor piglia,
de che il Soldano gli fe' donagione.
Dentro del padiglion da una parte
fece un gran cerchio e poi gettava l'arte."

From the description and quotes of other parts of the poem in the 1519 edition in Ginguené, I can compare the same parts in the critical edition, and find that the Milan edition has subtle changes in wording, although they are recognizably the same passages. So it seems that the Milan edition is a reworking, perhaps a unique one, but not one attested in manuscript.

1519 would an early date for a carto-magical reference, but does "carte" really mean "playing cards" here? Given the context of the grimoire, and the fact that cards would be incongruous in this situation (he is not reading them, and how would he invoke demons with them?), I tend to think that "carte" here means "pages", as in the pages of a book, i.e. the grimoire itself. Thus the 1519 edition and the manuscript readings have the same sense - he is throwing down his grimoire.

From Canto XXI, La Spagna, poema cavalleresco del secolo XIV (ed. Carlotta Gradi, 1996; reproduces edition of Michele Catalano, 1939-40)

38
Orlando a tal parole alzò le ciglia
e di botto ebbe mala opinione,
dandosi di tal cosa maraviglia.
Parte da Carlo e va al suo padiglione,
e 'l libro in mano subito allor piglia,
di che il Soldano gli fe' donagione.
Dentro del padiglion da una parte
fece un gran cerchio e poi gettava l'arte.

39
Legendo il libro, ben mille demoni
entrar nel cerchio, tra piccoli e grandi.
Tutti gridavan con alti sermoni:
- Che vuo' tu, conte? Che vuo'? Che domandi? -
Temette il conte per tal condizioni,
ch'a pena tien ch'a Dio non s'accomandi;
poi disse lor: - Chi ha più maestria
rimanga qui e gli altri vadan via. -

He has a book in hand, he makes the circle, then he "throws the art", then immediately in the next verse starts reading (leggendo il libro), whereupon thousands of demons, big and small, enter the circle.

I think the best reading for "gettava" here is then "threw OPEN" the book.

So for the 1519 edition, I'm supposing (without having the text to see) that it would be "threw open the pages" - just a different rendering of the same meaning.

(I find in my archives that Michael had asked this question in 2007, based on a wikipedia article that seems to have claimed it (I hope he doesn't mind my reposting it, and I think I have answered his question - now to see if that wikipedia article still claims it!)-

"One 19th-century book (Bibliographie des chansons de geste: complément
des Épopées françaises
, by Léon Gautier)dates the original of Spagna
istoriata
to 1350-80. It says the "best manuscript" is from 1471, and
notes that it was popular in Italy. "Printed for the first time in
Bologna in 1487, Spagna istoriata was reprinted in Venice in 1488,
1514, 1534, 1557, 1564, and in Milan in 1512 and 1519."

So the necessary questions would include, what is the original wording
that Huson has translated as "a magic circle in which he lays out a
deck of cards
", and what is the date of the manuscript which contains
that passage? Without such information, without the reference being
adopted by more recent and reputable historians, and without other
early references to a similar practice, it seems seems a very weak
thread upon which to base the Wikipedia entry. The earliest uses of
playing cards for divination would appear to be as a randomizing
device in conjunction with lot books, which is *not* cartomancy as the
term was coined in the 18th century and is commonly used today, so the
Wikipedia entry just sucks."
(From a post of September, 2007)

Indeed

Ross
Image

Re: Images from a Ferrarese prophetic manuscript (1450 ca)

#19
Hi Michael,
mjhurst wrote:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:I agree that the inescapable conclusion of the Devil-World (or Angel! I would argue) sequence is apocalyptic.
I would agree that most of the sequences are, but there are also variations in the iconography to consider. The Florentine Reversal, with a mundane World triumphed by Fama, is clearly not eschatological, nor even Christian.
That's not necessarily so. For example "Savonarola saw Florence as the nucleus of the coming millennial world community and foretold that Florence would be the New Jerusalem." (Donald Weinstein, Savonarola, Florence, and the Millenarian Tradition
http://www.jstor.org/pss/3161135
(google keywords +savonarola +florence +"new jerusalem")

There's no way to know if the Minchiate designer didn't think the same way. In any case, it's not black (humanist) or white (eschatological). There is plenty of grey.

But it is the storyline that makes sense, and it isn't just any storyline -- it is the primary story of TRIUMPHS in Revelation. There are basically three triumphs in Revelation, over the Devil, over Death, and the ultimate triumph of Christ over all. Christ is the one who triumphs: "Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals'." That must all take place before he hands dominion over to his Father, and at the end he is the Groom of Rev. 21, who is "coming soon", as he announces in Rev. 22, calling himself the Star -- always a symbol of His Advent.
Sure. But the Latin doesn't say "triumph" in 5:5 ("ecce vicit leo de tribu Iuda") so I don't think it's a good proof-text for the connection of the name of the game with the subject of Christ's triumph.

I don't see that there has to be a stark distinction between Christ and the believer either, in an eschatological sense. His victory is OUR victory. And vice-versa, if we are true Christians. So the original narrative of the final trumps can't be decided simply by settling on whether the World was Christ or the New Jerusalem (two ideas I WOULD distinguish, since the Bride is different from the Bridegroom) or the triumphant soul, later to be bodily resurrected (A).
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:It is clear that the Minchiate designers took the Star as being the Star of Bethlehem (=Jesus) and the figure below is one of the Magi. The seven stars around a central large eight-pointed star in the Tarot de Marseille also suggest just what your golden picture shows - but would you still argue what you did in your fourth post from 2001 above, that the figure below the Star pouring water from two jugs is really the Spirit pouring Blood and Water?
Two answers: First, I hang on to an interpretation until a better one comes along. If you've got one, I've been ready for it for a decade. Second, by "better" I mean one that makes better sense of the card and the sequence as a whole.
I don't have a better interpretation of the Tarot de Marseille Star figure (in terms of meaningfulness in the sequence I mean). I can only note that the Cary Sheet doesn't show seven stars, although the figure does look like a "virgin" (no breasts). Nor does it show a bird in a tree (a cock crowing the dawn?). All I can say is that the figure in isolation would be taken as Aquarius, or secondarily as a naiad.

The connection of such a figure to the subject "Star" is not obvious to me (e.g. why Aquarius would be THE Star, or why water needs to be involved), but I'm not trying to force the vignette to make sense in terms of a narrative. It could be merely decorative, like the loving couple in the Minchiate Sun.

RAH's Stella Matutina and the Leber card are interesting in this connection, I'll have to think about it. It seems a lot of cardmakers wanted a naked woman on that card.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:The closest cognates for the image are pictures of Aquarius and some of water-nymphs (Vitali has some), but there is no reason I can think of to put one on this card.
Which is to say that the closest pictorial cognates are not informative. That is very unusual. It suggests that this card was intended to convey something unusual or, in keeping with the rest of the deck, something common but forcibly conflated with another subject in a novel manner, requiring novel illustration.
I think you'll admit that there are "meaningless" vignettes in different versions of this card and others (meaningless not in themselves but in terms of a narrative interpretation of the series), so this could be such a case. You either have to presume the Cary Sheet - Tarot de Marseille vignette to be the original, or that the designer of this style knew the original meaning but changed it meaningfully, to argue for its relevance.

For the moment, like the Tarot de Marseille Moon and Sun, I'm favoring "decorative" rather than being an integral part of the apocalyptic narrative of the sequence Devil-Angel.
There are two parts to the Tarot de Marseille Star card. The top half is a direct reference to Christ's Advent. We know what seven stars refer to, and we know what a brighter star amongst them means. The First Advent was prophesied as the "Star of Jacob" (Numbers 24:17). This relates to the Star of Bethlehem, but also to his Second Coming. At the end of Revelation, after telling/showing all that strange End-Times stuff to St. John, he speaks of himself with title, the Bright and Morning Star. "I am coming" and "I am the Star" are the first and last lines of the last message of Christ in the Bible, Rev. 22-12-16.
It could be, that is a strong argument, except for the earliest example (Cary Sheet) not showing seven stars. The Star of Bethlehem idea is also obvious, as in the Minchiate.

But since I favor a Bolognese origin, I'm thinking that the Star, while indeed a "Morning Star", is a reference to a different prophecy, that of the coming (Priest-)Emperor who would reform the Church, defeat the Turks, establish peace in Europe, etc. There is obviously a conflation with messianic ideas, so the ambiguity (inherent instability) of the image explains the potential, and the realization, of the variants.

This prophecy comes from a document known as the Reformatio Sigismundi which began circulating in Basel in 1438-9 (after Sigmund's death in December 1437, but before the deposition of Eugene IV in June 1439) -
Be it known that it is God's will to have a new state and order come into being appropriate to the Christian faith.
In the name of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, we Sigismund... affirm by our soul and by the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ that what we are about to divulge was revealed to us in the year 1403 in Pressburg in Hungary. Toward dawn of Ascension Day, as the morning star appeared in the sky, a voice came to us saying:
Sigismund arise, profess God and prepare a way for the Divine Order. Law and justice languish neglected and scorned. You yourself are not destined to accomplish the great renewal, but you will prepare a way for him who will come after you. He who will come after you is a priest through whom God will accomplish many things. He will be called Frederick of Lantneuen. He will raise the standard of the empire to the right of his own standard, and between them he will raise a cross. He will rule sternly and with severity. No man shall be able to stand up against him. He will establish God's new order....
From Gerald Strauss, "Manifestations of Discontent in Germany on the Eve of the Reformation" (Indiana University Press, 1971) pp. 30-31

It turns out that this prophecy is just a version of a Latin prophecy which is noted first in Bologna in 1299 (and is obviously connected to the "Fredericus redivivus" legend) and was attributed variously to John of Parma, Hildegard of Bingen, and finally the Emperor Sigmund (I haven't seen the Latin version yet, I'm just hoping it has the morning star motif and the "not yet accomplished" theme). The relevance I see is the historical context of the situation of Bologna (and Milan) with regards to the council of Basel in 1438-1441 (decrees of Basel published in Milanese territories, including Bologna), the situation of Eugene IV (chased out of Rome in 1434, didn't return until 1443), Basel's depostion of Eugene and election of Felix V (November 1439), the deaths of Sigmund (December 1437) and his chosen successor Albert II (October 1439, although never crowned Emperor), and the election of Frederick III in February 1440 (crowned only in 1452), and the latter's relationship with Basel and Eugene (did not recognize Eugene as Pope until 1444), and some other circumstances that make it plausible. All of this is a pretty interesting backdrop to the invention of Tarot, if you consider my dating to within 5 years of 1442 to be sound, and the choices to be between Milan and Bologna (I came down finally on the side of Bologna).

Another interesting aspect of Sigmund's career is that a few months after he was crowned Emperor (May 1433), while still in Italy in October, a comet appeared in the constellation "the Crown" (corona), which was the first comet ever studied by Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli (famed for his astronomical observations
see e.g. http://www.atlascoelestis.com/Toscanell ... obolli.htm ), and is also noted in the Bolognese Chronicle. This would surely have been taken as a sign of something relevant to the Empire, although I have not found a prophecy relating to it (Bolognese astrologers (professors of astrology, of which there were 3 in the 1430s), were required by the city since 1405 to publish almanacs and astrological predictions for the upcoming year, so there should be something there if they survive (for that information see Paul Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (Johns Hopkins, 2004) pp. 408-412 (Google Books and Amazon)).

I think this helps interpret what is going on in the vignette in the Bolognese Star card, taking the Rothschild Sheet version as reflecting the original. Under the "morning star", a King holds the imperial crown up, while behind him a figure holds the orb ("you yourself are not destined to accomplish this great renewal").

Versions of the Bolognese card of the 17th century onward show what appears to be a Popess holding up the imperial crown to one or two kings, so it appears to be a corruption (understandably).
The bottom half is just odd. A woman pouring two vessels and a bird in a bush. WTF? However if 1) the highest cards depict the eschatological triumphs of Christ, and if 2) they are peculiar in part because they conflate at least two meanings, and if 3) one of the designer's essential constraints was "Don't Depict the Deity!", because decorum precludes such images in a card game, then he was extremely ingenious to make things as clear as he did! Three triumphs of Christ without depicting Christ -- that's a hell of an assignment. Also, keep in mind the fact that the biblical proof-texts I had to search for were extremely well known, back in the day. So the depiction of an allegory of 1-John, chapter 5, in conjunction with a reference to the Advent, is not at all far fetched... for someone of that provenance. (It was insanely far-fetched for me. I had to read the entire Bible, cover to cover, twice, along with countless books about the Bible and medieval Christianity... and I'd never had any interest in any of that shit before!)
LOL - good for you! I wish more people would study the Bible - critically I mean.

I agree that sentiment about "Don't depict the deity" in general, although the exceptions show that some people didn't feel that constraint. Bembo's VS Judgment, Vieville's World, and the Steele Sermon's author saw "God the Father" in the World card even though he was presumably not explicitly shown.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:The Tarot de Marseille Star vignette remains the hardest for me to interpret.
It's pretty cool. Given the fact that the top half is easy, that the sequential context is somewhat understood, and that the bottom half is iconographically unique, what reading of the bottom half is congruent with the top half and the rest of the sequence?
[/quote]

A reading that says it is decorative ;)

But it is not iconographically unique - both Aquarius and a naiad are matches. She may not be part of the narrative, any more than the VS Star woman says anything about the star in the narrative - she is a decorative prop. Obviously at some point she became nude (Met. Museum/Budapest (although I can't tell if it is really a woman), Leber), associated with Venus and water-nymphs.

Best regards,

Ross
Image

The Star and the Morning

#20
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:I can only note that the Cary Sheet doesn't show seven stars, although the figure does look like a "virgin" (no breasts). Nor does it show a bird in a tree (a cock crowing the dawn?).
I think we can all agree that the Star with a bird represents the Morning (the star is Venus as the star of the morning, Stella Matutina or Lucifer).
Ripa's version has both the bird (a swallow, in this case) and the jar pouring water (representing dew). For Ripa, the human figure is male (since "Crepuscolo" is masculine). The jar is very different from what we see in Tarot Stars, since it is pouring tiny drops of water (and there is no second jar).

http://www.humi.keio.ac.jp/~matsuda/rip ... 0003w.html
http://emblem.libraries.psu.edu/Ripa/Im ... pa019a.htm

Marco

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