Building a 15th Century divination system

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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby SteveM on 04 Jul 2009, 15:09

EnriqueEnriquez wrote:
R.A. Hendley wrote:
marco wrote:
Cups Temperance (who holds a cup)
Wands Strength (in the Visconti-Sforza holds a wooden club)
Swords Justice (holds a sword)
Coins Prudence (card coins look like mirrors)



I wonder if these would have been seen as being the said virtue, or being in need of the said virtue? For example, Cups = wine, pleasures, etc. = need for moderation, Staffs (or Scepters) = labors (or Rulership) = need for courage, Swords = Power = need for fairness, Coins = wealth = need for wisdom.


That is a great observation!

When it comes to vice, be moderate.
When it comes to work, be strong.
When it comes to power, be fair.
When it comes to wealth, we prudent.

(The last one is useful, but I am not comfortable with it since the original text alludes to coins as mirrors, not currency).

Thanks!

EE



I think rather "when it comes to pleasure be moderate (rather than vice)." But otherwise agree, makes sense, through toil, endure; in power by fair, with wealth be prudent.
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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby R.A. Hendley on 04 Jul 2009, 15:29

marco wrote:
Cups Temperance (who holds a cup)
Wands Strength (in the Visconti-Sforza holds a wooden club)
Swords Justice (holds a sword)
Coins Prudence (card coins look like mirrors)



If we really wanted to take the good 15th century Catholic approach we could follow that line of reason to its extreme and slap Aquinas' parts of virtue on to the individual pips. For example,

Temperance - Cups

Integral parts

A - Shame
2 - Honesty

Subjective parts

3 - Abstinence
4 - Sobriety
5 - Chastity
6 - Purity

Potential parts

7 - Continence
8 - Clemency
9 - Meekness
10 - Modesty
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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby marco on 04 Jul 2009, 17:14

EnriqueEnriquez wrote:Yes. I was just pointing out that here we may be talking about a way of ‘moralizing’ a regular deck of playing cards, not a tarot deck.


Yes, Ringhieri is talking about regular playing cards, not Tarot.
I see the author has changed the names of two of the suits:
Cups, Columns, Swords, Mirrors.
(Coppe, Colonne, Spade, Specchi).

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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby robert on 18 Sep 2009, 09:50

I've spent some time the past few days rereading some of the threads on Aeclectic discussing elements. Bee has been a good advocate for the system advocated by Jean-Claude Flornoy in his books, and Melancholic on AT (also known as our own R.A. Hendly or RAH here on Tarot History) of:

Fire/Choleric = Swords
Water/Phelegmatic = Coins
Air/Sanguine = Cups
Earth/Melancholic = Batons

See these posts in particular:
http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=97
http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=15
http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=98

I also found these pages on Wikipedia helpful:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_element
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humorism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Temperaments

I like most of this. I like the view of the classical elements, their relationship to the humors, and their relationship to the temperaments.

RAH posted this lovely diagram:
Image

What I'm less sure about is the matching up of the elements with the suits of the tarot. There is that great image posted by RAH with one figure holding a sword, another a coin bag, and another a stick:

Image

FIRE.........Choleric.........Lion...........Sword

AIR..........Sanguine.......Monkey......Leisure (hawking)

WATER.....Phlegmatic....Sheep.........Money (coin purse)

EARTH.....Melancholic.....Pig.............Staff


There is also the earliest reference to suits and elements matching them up in the same way:

The earliest known written connection between card suits and the four elements is in La Signification de l’ancien jeu des chartes pythagorique (1582) by Jean Gosselin.



Tiles ...............Batons..........Earth

Clover .............Coins.............Water

Hearts .............Cups.............Air

Pikes ...............Swords..........Fire



Is this the best evidence we have to match them up this way? How strong is this case? I'm pretty convinced, but not entirely sure we have enough evidence to say "Yes, this would be the most likely model used to match the elements with the suits". What do you think?
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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby robert on 24 Sep 2009, 19:31

No one? Boring?
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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby marco on 25 Sep 2009, 09:00

It is a difficult subject, but I think that it can be a good track in the investigation of "a 15th Century divination system". Moreover, it provides a strong link to astrology, as represented by the four stars associated to the four characters in RAH's image.

Comparing that image to the Sola Busca pages is somehow disorienting, but I am not sure it is relevant :)

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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 25 Sep 2009, 09:22

robert wrote:
The earliest known written connection between card suits and the four elements is in La Signification de l’ancien jeu des chartes pythagorique (1582) by Jean Gosselin.



Tiles ...............Batons..........Earth

Clover .............Coins.............Water

Hearts .............Cups.............Air

Pikes ...............Swords..........Fire




Tiles should be Coins (or Diamonds) here; Batons go with Water in Gosselin, because Clover (Trèfle, Clubs) grows in moist ground.

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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby robert on 25 Sep 2009, 09:30

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
robert wrote:
The earliest known written connection between card suits and the four elements is in La Signification de l’ancien jeu des chartes pythagorique (1582) by Jean Gosselin.



Tiles ...............Batons..........Earth

Clover .............Coins.............Water

Hearts .............Cups.............Air

Pikes ...............Swords..........Fire




Tiles should be Coins (or Diamonds) here; Batons go with Water in Gosselin, because Clover (Trèfle, Clubs) grows in moist ground.

Ross


Really? Are you suggesting that RAH misunderstood the associations, and that the earliest record would be:

Coins = Earth
Batons = Water
Cups = Air
Swords = Fire

Yikes.
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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 25 Sep 2009, 09:36

Yes, I'll try to find the original quote.

Of course Michael had it in his fragments pages of yore...

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Re: Building a 15th Century divination system

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 25 Sep 2009, 09:38

Here you go, from my post to AT in 2006 -

"The earliest I know of is 1582, in a book by Jean Gosselin. Michael Hurst gives my translation of the relevant part at his site.

The order is:
Tiles (Diamonds)=Earth
Clovers (Clubs)=Water
Hearts=Air
Pikes (Spades)=Fire

The reasoning is this (which I quote from Michael's site because I wrote most of it) -

"A book by Gosselin (La Signification de l’ancien jeu des chartes pythagorique) associates the four suits with the four elements, in a 52-card French-suited deck. (One Tarot author noted that the term “Pythagorean” in the title is an example of the inflated manner in which the label was used at the time. It was slapped on to anything concerned with numbers to add a false patina of age and wisdom, and cards had numbers.) Franco Pratesi summarized the attributions as follows:

“Firstly, it will be seen, that in a common pack of cards there are four types of characters: which are Tiles, Clovers, Hearts and Pikes. These show us the four Elements, of which all natural things are composed…

— The Tiles, [Diamonds] which are depicted on the cards, signify the earth: for just as the earth sustains all heavy things, so the tiles are used to bear the heavy things placed on top of them.

— The Clovers, [Clubs] which are depicted on the cards, represent water: for the reason that the clover is an herb that flourishes in moist places, and is nourished by means of the water that makes it grow.

— The Hearts, which are depicted on the cards, signifies to us air: since our hearts could not live without air.

— The Pikes, [Spades] which are depicted on the cards, represents to us fire: for just as fire is the most penetrating of the Elements, so the Pikes are very penetrating weapons of war; and with each of the above-said characters are marked thirteen cards in a deck, which gives the sum of fifty-two cards.”

(From a TarotL post by Ross Caldwell; quoted from Franco Pratesi in Jean-Marie Lhôte, Dictionnaire des jeux de Société, note 18 page 652.)

http://www.geocities.com/cartedatri.../1540-1739.html , s.v. 1582"
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