Re: The Fool

#81
Ah yes, a good view of those claws, similar to the Noblet animal's. Just no webbing.

Debra wrote
I've been bitten by dogs and cats both. Also, a parrot. This does not make me a rat or even akin to a rat
Nor does it on my hypothesis that the card says, among other things, that all rats and ratlike people are sooner or later bitten by cats.

If all rats and ratlike people are creatures bitten or clawed by civets or cats, it does not follow that all creatures bitten or clawed by civets or cats are rats or ratlike people. (If all A and B are C, it does not follow that all C are A or B: if all Aardvarks and Bats are Critters, it does not follow that all Critters are Aardvarks or Bats.)

Re: The Fool

#82
Debra, I want to thank you again for helping me to see other ways of interpreting details in the cards, ways that are more common-sensical than my outlandish ideas. Even if I remain unregenerate in my point of view.

I will try again, this time using a different alchemical manuscript and extending my point to include the d'Este and Charles VI Fools as well.

Here is a page from a very beautiful, or at least earnest, alchemical manuscript. I got it from de Rola's Alchemy: the Secret Art. The manuscript is Vatican Apostolica Cod. Pal. lat. 1066, of which this is page 226. De Rola says it is 15th century. Another source, in Italian (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... =firefox-a), I think says it is "first quarter of the fifteenth century," if that is what "del primo venticinquennio del sec. XV" means. It would seem that the artist knew something about one-point perspective, which I understand started in Florence in c. 1413. The clothing looks to me like Pisanello c. 1420-1430, also similar to that in the Cary-Yale and some of the PMB (which does not mean these decks were done then, as they might be variants on earlier decks no longer extant).

Image


Of this page de Rola says:
Saturn holds a sickle; Rhea a stone. He had castrated and deposed his father Uranus; and to avoid the same fate, ate all his own children. Once Rhea substituted a stone; and the child, Jupiter, gre up to castrate and depose his father. Myths of this kind reflect the cyclical nature of the Great Work.
Besides the sickle and the stone, what the young King, and the small children, have in their hands is of some interest. I presume that the young King is Jupiter. He might conceivably be Saturn as a young man; but I don't think so, because his tool is different. He has in his left hand his cutting implement, and in his right hand that which he used it to cut off. He is handing it to the children, who perhaps aren't quite sure what to do with it.

The next page, 227, shows a scene of cooking, lots of cook-pots, which I will skip. The next page that de Rola shows us is 230v (below). On top, it has the old King, and in front of him the Queen, standing in a large, squat tower that is also a container. There is an owl on one side and a shield with a Medusa-head on the other. The Medusa-head shield, de Rola tells us, is a symbol of the putrefaction.

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On the bottom (below), we see what might be the same lady standing in a higher tower and showing us a pile of money. The rainbow behind her identifies her as Iris, goddess of the rainbow that comes after the storm. On the other side, we see Venus, recognizable by her scallop-shell, "her body all roses: the red flowering out," de Rola says.

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It is well known that Venus-Urania was born on a sea-shell from the foam created by Uranus's testicles. In the alchemical allegory, she is the Stone that results from the cooking and putrefaction that went before. (Yes, I know it was Uranus's and not Saturn's, but that's too picky. I think the lady Iris also has something to tell us about the Tower card, but that is another thread.)

Then in the last scene that de Rola shows us, on the bottom of page 239, the alchemist, who is by now impoverished, distributes the money to those to whom he owes it, who are rich. At the top, the doglike Cerberus eats people.

Image


My idea is that Jupiter managed to get Saturn's testicles. They are the magic ingredient in the elixir. Alchemists sometimes referred to it as "semen." Then with a little cooking it is done. The elixir is on the one hand Venus and on the other hand Iris, who generates all the money. i.e. the elixir in quantity. Iris, Rhea in another persona, is mistress of the Stone, and also of the "multipicatio" that you can get by cooking the stone a little more after it is done. Or something like that.

In the Noblet Fool card, on this alchemical interpretation. the Fool is Saturn, even with a similar crown. The animal is in the position of Jupiter, the castrating one. And so the volatile will be fixed, and the fixed made volatile.'

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The myth of Saturn also figures into an alchemical interpretation of the d'Este and Charles VI cards. Compare these cards to the "Saturno" card of the so-called "Tarot of Mantegna." The children at the bottom of the cards are the children of Saturn, whom he will eat if they don't get him with a stone first, or grab his virile member, so that the power of the father will be transmitted to son. The alchemists pictured Saturn very similarly to the way he is depicted on the "Saturno" card, e.g. this detail of the 16th century "De Alchimia."

Image


In the lower part of the same illustration, the new king, I think here Apollo, is suitably cooked, bathed, dressed, and ready to go.

Image


It is the same process as in the other manuscript (and in the "Ripley Scrowle"), minus the gory details.

This alchemical interpretation is the only one I can think of that unites the various details in all three Fool cards (adding the Noblet) in one coherent allegory. I think that the PMB Fool card (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5e7P4Y3Wo3w/S ... vegni1.jpg, with Giotto's) says the same thing in Christian terms. That one is the Fool who dies at Carnival and is reborn, after seven weeks of putrefaction (the seven feathers in his hair), at Easter.

Re: The Fool

#83
I understand the "all animals bitten by cats are not rats and all rats are not bitten by cats" logic. :) Just bragging about the variety of animals that have taken a chunk from my hand. Lately.

This is certainly interesting. Surprising to think of Saturn as such a foolish one--that's contrary to his nature isn't it?

Re: The Fool

#84
debra wrote:Surprising to think of Saturn as such a foolish one--that's contrary to his nature isn't it?
Saturn is the star of Judaism - Jews were denigrated as obstinate and perverse 'fools' for denying Christ - the fool (as representing one who denies god) may be found under Saturn in some Children of the Planets variants. In one astrological reading of the period Saturn = law = old testament of G-d's law = judaism: venus - who is born from the spilt seed of castrated saturn = love = new testament of God's love= Christ (star of the morning = venus). In other readings Jupiter (the one that castrates / ends the old rule of law - Saturn) signifies Christianity.

Astrological sources give various planetary significators for Christianity and Islam - Venus is in some given to Islam, and the Sun or Jupiter to Christianity - Saturn is consistently attributed to Judaism, in Jewish writings too, such as those of Ibn Ezra.

Many of the medieval representations of Satan are rooted in the anti-semitic readings of the assocations between Judaism and Saturn.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The Fool

#85
hi Mike,

I don't know too much about alchemy, so I can't be of a big help.
But the following might be of interest:

Barbara of Brandenburg, wife of Lodovico the Turk in Mantova, was daughter of Johann, Margrave_of_Brandenburg-Kulmbach ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John,_Marg ... g-Kulmbach

http://genealogy.euweb.cz/hohz/hohenz2.html#BJA
A1. Johann "der Alchemist", renounced his rights of succession, *1406, +Baiersdorf 16.11.1464, bur Heilsbronn; m.before 26.5.1416 Barbara of Saxe-Wittenberg (*after 1406, +Bayreuth 10.10.1465, bur there)

* B1. Rudolf, *Trebitz, Saxony 2.2.1424, +X.1424
* B2. Barbara, *1423, +Mantova 7.11.1481, bur there; m.Mantova 12.11.1433 Luigi III Gonzaga, Marchese of Mantua (*5.6.1414 +12.6.1478)
* B3. Elisabeth, *1425, +after 13.1.1465; 1m: 27.8.1440 Duke Joachim of Pomerania (*ca 1427 +1451); 2m: 5.3.1454 Duke Wratislaw X of Pomerania (+17.12.1478)
* B4. Dorothea, *1430, +Kalundborg 25.11.1495, bur Roskilde Cathedral; 1m: Copenhagen 12.9.1445 King Christopher III of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Pfgf von Neunburg u.Neumarkt (*26.2.1416 +6.1.1448); 2m: Copenhagen 28.10.1449 King Christian I of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Gf von Oldenburg (*II.1426 +21.5.1481); Christian apparently married her, the dowager Queen, in order to help win the Danes to his side in his successful efforts to gain the Danish throne
* B5. [illegitimate] Fritz, Knight, fl 1456
o C1. Magdalena von Brandenburg; m.Giberto Borromeo, Count of Arona (*1463 +27.2.1527)
o C2. Franziska von Brandenburg; m.1477 Borso I da Corregio, Count of Corregio (+1504)
... when Sigismondo had been in Italy (1431-33), he also crossed Mantavo. Likely at this opportunity it was arranged, that Lodovico Gonzaga (then 21 years old) should marry Barbara (then 10 years old) later (I don't know, if Johann himself accompanied the Emperor).

When Barbara of Brandenburg really arrived in Mantova(1436/37), it took not long, till Lodovico "left home" and went with a band of other young warriors straight to the duke of Milan. What really happened is rather dark reported, at least there evolved a constant family trouble in Mantova between once the reigning father and the two eldest sons of Mantova, who all changed their participation in the current Milan-Venice war in the manner, that they mostly fought at tho different sides.
Brother Carlo was then some time handled as "husband in spe" for Bianca Maria Visconti, before the version "Leonello with Bianca Maria" was discussed, which finally was finished with the already earlier "Bianca Maria - Francesco Sforza" version. The struggle between the brothers continued till the death of Carlo (in 1456; in different "historic versions" he died 1450 or 1478, but this should be errors).

In the time, when Barbara came to Mantova, a printing press appeared somehow in the use for the court of Ferrara, involved is a person called "Mantovano". It isn't clear, if this has anything to do with Mantova, it might be just the name of a family, who mainly was present in Padova and who somehow was connected to paper-trade and possibly "early printing" ... but it is a strange accident, that two possibly German elements appear at the time.

In this time Leonello d'Este (Ferrara) was married to a Gonzaga daughter (the marriage took place 1435-39), so Leonello was then - for some time - brother-in-law to Barbara of Brandenburg.

Whatever the precise relations, it seems probable, that an important German-Italian marriage caused side effects with cultural exchange between the region Mantova-Ferrara and the region around Nurremberg (which was for one side the major place of Johann the Alchemist, cause Kulmbach, in far distance to that what is called Brandenburg, and Nürnberg have only 100 km distance - and Nürnberg was ALSO at the other side one of the early centers for the development of printing technology).

Well, the really interesting question is, what's all behind such a term "Alchemy". Printing seems to be easily also
also "alchemy", as it demands a lot of techniques, which look like a "miracle" to those, who don't understand the process.

Before the printing press in Ferrara we have for Italy only notes of woodcut technique in Florence (1430) and the more general note from Venice October 1441, that "earlier" Venice had a "printing mystery", which now (in 1441) had become also known to others. Further there is a note about woodcut printing very early (1422 ... or 1421 ?) very far in the South of Italy, which likely refers to a use of wood cut technique in Aragon/Spain (it's the time, when Alfonso of Aragon prepared to get the the throne of Naples).

Barbara von Brandenburg is said to have had a large letter exchange with Bianca Maria Visconti later. Well, they've nearly the same age.
Considering the situation of the half-years-stay of Bianca Maria in Ferrara 1440/1441, it might well be, that for some time Barbara of Brandenburg also joined the assumed happy-girls-community then, Mantova and Ferrara aren't very far (about 90 km, and the larger part might have been done with a ship), and the general wars had taken a pause.

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

Well, somehow as an idea ... if you wish to research connections between alchemy and Tarot, you need the names and biographies of the of persons, who made alchemy or have been suspected to make alchemy. And then you can compare that with those biographies of persons, which definitely were in "Trionfi-card-business".

For Kulmbach, which became a central place for this dynasty, we have, that the was involved in general trade (a major trade-route to Bamberg, Nürnberg, Eger, Hof und Leipzig, from which especially Nürnberg - Leipzig should have been most interesting).
Its economical conditions depended on textiles, especially "Tuchmacher, Barchentweber, Färber und Seidensticker". Textiles were important in this time, Florence became very rich about textile-trade. "Alchemical parts" of this productions might be textiles colors, as for printing one also need to know about printing colors.

http://mitglied.multimania.de/geya/Know ... farbe1.htm

This German article gives reason to assume, that considerable progress in the production of "Druckfarben" happened in the first half of 15th century (so before Gutenberg), so relative precisely in the time of Johann the alchemist.

An interesting detail it is, that Kulmbach was heavily destroyed by an attack of the Hussites in 1430, short before the emperor made his visit to Italy.

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

Having written this so far with all this modern alchemy of the search engine I stumbled about that, what one might interpret as the "unexspected context" ...

"Guttenberg" is a location 15 km of Kulmbach. Since long times ... before Johann the alchemist ... there was a castle and still nowadays there is a castle, and so likely also in the time of Johann the Alchemist. And naturally it somehow belonged to Johann the alchemist.
From Johann the alchemist I got the opinion ... for the reasons described above ... that he worked in his "alchemistic studies" with colors for printing and textiles.

The man Gutenberg ... chosen as the greatest hero of the millenium 1001-2000 ... now has the following story:
Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz, the youngest son of the upper-class merchant Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden, and his second wife Else Wyrich, who was the daughter of a shopkeeper. According to some accounts Friele was a goldsmith for the bishop at Mainz, but most likely he was involved in the cloth trade. Gutenberg's year of birth is not precisely known but was most likely around 1398.

John Lienhard, technology historian, says "Most of Gutenberg's early life is a mystery. His father worked with the ecclesiastic mint. Gutenberg grew up knowing the trade of goldsmithing." This is supported by historian Heinrich Wallau, who adds, "In the 14th and 15th centuries his [descendants] claimed an hereditary position as ...the master of the archiepiscopal mint. In this capacity they doubtless acquired considerable knowledge and technical skill in metal working. They supplied the mint with the metal to be coined, changed the various species of coins, and had a seat at the assizes in forgery cases."

Wallau adds, "His surname was derived from the house inhabited by his father and his paternal ancestors 'zu Laden, zu Gutenberg'. The house of Gänsfleisch was one of the patrician families of the town, tracing its lineage back to the thirteenth century." Patricians (aristocrats) in Mainz were often named after houses they owned. Around 1427 the name zu Gutenberg, after the family house in Mainz, is documented to have been used for the first time.

In 1411, there was an uprising in Mainz against the patricians, and more than a hundred families were forced to leave. As a result, the Gutenbergs are thought to have moved to Eltville am Rhein (Alta Villa), where his mother had an inherited estate. According to historian Heinrich Wallau, "All that is known of his youth is that he was not in Mainz in 1430. It is presumed that he migrated for political reasons to Strassburg, where the family probably had connections." He is assumed to have studied at the University of Erfurt, where there is a record of a student, in 1419, named Johannes de Alta villa.

Nothing is now known of Gutenberg's life for the next fifteen years, but in March 1434, a letter by him indicates that he was living in Strassburg, where he had some relatives on his mother's side. He also appears to have been a goldsmith member enrolled in the Strassburg militia. In 1437, there is evidence that he was instructing a wealthy tradesman on polishing gems, but where he had acquired this knowledge is unknown. In 1436/37 his name also comes up in court in connection with a broken promise of marriage to a woman from Strassburg, Ennelin. Whether the marriage actually took place is not recorded. Following his father's death in 1419, he is mentioned in the inheritance proceedings.
Let's summarize: The father ... "most likely he was involved in the cloth trade" ... traded with textiles. If Kulmbach was important for textile trade in this time, he knew about Kulmbach ... which has a proud distance of 300 km.
But ..
In Mainz the not too small river Main, proud 524 km in length, meets the bigger river Rhein. Naturally the Main had formed a trading route, which naturally also was active in 15th century. The Main runs in direction to Kulmbach and through Kulmbach. 386 km of the 524 km of the Main are still nowadays used as "Bundeswasserstrasse", which means, there are ships on it.
A trader in Mainz naturally would manage deals between imports from the upper Main and traders, who operated along the Rhine. For a Mainzer merchant (dealing in clothes), it would be natural to engage also in a second business, for instance "goldsmith", as it is suspected by others for the father.

A business connection between Kulmbach - Mainz looks naturally.

Gutenberg possibly studied in Erfurt (noted in 1419 - possibly). If the young Gutenberg took the way via Erfurt, he likely would have followed the Main till near to Kulmbach and then had to take the land route to Erfurt to the North at the trading route between Erfurt and Nürnberg. Other shorter ways would have to fight with a lot of mountains.

If one assumes - considering the later business -, that Gutenberg studied in his "missing 15 years" the early printing technology and business, it's natural to assume, that he was in this period ALSO in Nürnberg.

Is there a context ? ... I don't know.

Johann the Alchemist started his life - naturally - not as alchemist ..

Image


Image


... but in 1433 he got a fine book: das Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit.
In 1434 Gutenberg returned to Mainz ...

Well, it's a question, if this has a context ... :-)

Friedrich I, still living father of Johann the alchemist, recognized, that Johann wouldn't be the right man for a big territory like Brandenburg. So he ruled things in the manner (1437), that Johann was reduced to the Kulmbach/Bayreuth region and that his younger brother ruled in Brandenburg.

************
btw.

[youtube]
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Adam McLean, a member here, and his alchemistic dreams.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The Fool

#86
SteveM wrote: Saturn is the star of Judaism - Jews were denigrated as obstinate and perverse 'fools' for denying Christ - the fool (as representing one who denies god) may be found under Saturn in some Children of the Planets variants.
Ah. Ha. Thanks, Steve...I have work to do, I see that :ymblushing:

Re: The Fool

#87
I have been in major retreat for a couple of days, because in checking up on the manuscript from which I posted my Saturn castration image, I discovered that no art historian considers it a book of alchemy! Only de Rola gives it that label. It's a book about the gods, similar to the Libellus. But that doesn't mean that some artist didn't insert images that are about the gods referred to in the text, and also alchemical. The most thorough material on the manuscript is in German; it may take me a while even to get the books. I will probably post my current thoughts anyway, in the Research section of THF. This issue doesn't really affect my point about the Fool, however; or, it just affects one aspect of it, an overtone rather than the main note.

So now: Thanks for the information, Steve. Yes, my impression is that Saturn didn't get rehabilitated until Ficino, who was born under that sign and naturally did not see it as dominated by fools.

Huck: I was referring to the Empress Barbara, not Barbara of Brandenburg. (Perhaps you knew that, and decided to talk about the other Barbara.) Empress Barbara was Barbara of Cilli (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_of_Cilli). Barbara of Cilli is who the CY Empress probably was identified with. If you know about any contact between her and Filippo Visconti, I would be very interested.

But I found your information quite helpful. The Buch der Heilegen Dreifaltigkeit is a major early alchemical work, definitely not about printing or cloth-dyeing. I assume you saw on Google Images the page from it that I posted earlier, which I got form Laurinda Dixon, Bosch, p. 296 (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5e7P4Y3Wo3w/T ... lDixon.jpg).

I had no idea that Johann of Brandenburg obtained a copy of a "revised" version in 1432. That considerably streamlines the connection between alchemy and Ferrara. Thanks for the link to Wikipedia on Johann. In the entry on the Buch itself, Wikipedia only says that it was written c. 1410 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buch_der_h ... faltigkeit).

I am not sure about the 15th century authenticity of the alchemical images you posted, allegedly (per their posters) from the Buch. They look too smooth. People later did engravings, and even illuminated manuscripts, based on the 15th century text, and said they were from that work, but we don't know what alterations they made, what they looked like when. I wish I knew the dating for the various images from the Buch that are in Google Images. Any information about dating would be appreciated.

"Alchemist" was a term of abuse then. If you wanted someone imprisoned or worse, find some reason to call him or her an alchemist. Empress Barbara was not liked, ergo... She was also the first lady vampire, according to some (her husband founded the Order of the Dragon, "vampire" in some language, Romanian or Hungarian).

And since alchemy was officially banned by the papacy, people would have been careful to distinguish printing and cloth-dyeing from alchemy, although some people, like scribes, might have liked to use the term to harass their competition. And alchemy had the first chemistry labs, so what they came up with, although it might not be gold, might still make some money (that last clause sounds better in German, I think).

Re: The Fool

#88
mikeh wrote: Huck: I was referring to the Empress Barbara, not Barbara of Brandenburg. (Perhaps you knew that, and decided to talk about the other Barbara.) Empress Barbara was Barbara of Cilli (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_of_Cilli). Barbara of Cilli is who the CY Empress probably was identified with. If you know about any contact between her and Filippo Visconti, I would be very interested.
Hm ... I don't know, when you spoke of Barbara Cillin. I didn't reply to that Barbara with my Barbara ... My Barbara's father father was Johann the Alchemist.
Also Tarot was formed in Italy with influence of Bianca Visconti, and she had a (long) letter-friend in Barbara von Brandenburg. The letter-exchange is so famous, that it was mentioned in a specific German dictionary with high approach as a great example of letter exchange.
So there is a communicative connection between Bianca Maria and an Alchemist ... very realistic.

In think in research one cannot operate very well with persons, which not really exist, only as an "unknown person".
But I found your information quite helpful. The Buch der Heilegen Dreifaltigkeit is a major early alchemical work, definitely not about printing or cloth-dyeing. I assume you saw on Google Images the page from it that I posted earlier, which I got form Laurinda Dixon, Bosch, p. 296 (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5e7P4Y3Wo3w/T ... lDixon.jpg).
Image


This picture seems not to be of the edition, which Johann the alchemist got in 1433 or 1434, I would say ... but I don't know. There is more than one edition.
http://www.handschriftencensus.de/werke/2246

I would think, that alchemy is about experiments. And occasionally results, which were good for something. For instance the porcelain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porcelain

Tarot research is similar. One finds out about a lot of things ... .-)



I had no idea that Johann of Brandenburg obtained a copy of a "revised" version in 1432. That considerably streamlines the connection between alchemy and Ferrara. Thanks for the link to Wikipedia on Johann. In the entry on the Buch itself, Wikipedia only says that it was written c. 1410 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buch_der_h ... faltigkeit).

I am not sure about the 15th century authenticity of the alchemical images you posted, allegedly (per their posters) from the Buch. They look too smooth. People later did engravings, and even illuminated manuscripts, based on the 15th century text, and said they were from that work, but we don't know what alterations they made, what they looked like when. I wish I knew the dating for the various images from the Buch that are in Google Images. Any information about dating would be appreciated.
I also don't know about the authenticity with security, but from the rank of the person and his enthusiasm about it must have been rather good in quality. A noble edition.
"Alchemist" was a term of abuse then. If you wanted someone imprisoned or worse, find some reason to call him or her an alchemist. Empress Barbara was not liked, ergo... She was also the first lady vampire, according to some (her husband founded the Order of the Dragon, "vampire" in some language, Romanian or Hungarian).

And since alchemy was officially banned by the papacy, people would have been careful to distinguish printing and cloth-dyeing from alchemy, although some people, like scribes, might have liked to use the term to harass their competition. And alchemy had the first chemistry labs, so what they came up with, although it might not be gold, might still make some money (that last clause sounds better in German, I think).
I think she was a strong woman ... and she got bad propaganda from the Habsburger, naturally. She was dangerous to them.

Well, we know the both cases Parisina and Beatrice de Tenda. Woman makes adultery - husband kills woman, in very noble society. No problem.
Something rather similar happened in about the same time in Hungary ... or at least in the surrounding of Barbara Cilly. The result was very negative for the man. I forgot the name ... but I've read it, and if I would be energetic enough, I would find it.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The Fool

#89
The page that I posted, and you identified and put into your post, is from the St. Gallen manuscript. Thanks for the link to the other manuscripts. It is wonderful how German universities have digitalized their rare manuscripts. I did not see a link to the St. Gallen's pages; of course it is not in Germany. But I did look at some of the others. The illustrations are much the same as the ones I posted, but with a couple of additional ones. I have yet to find any of the ones that McLean posted (but I haven't looked at everything, by any means). Somewhere I saw that his finds were in an American university. I have no idea how you found that link to the manuscript sites. It certainly doesn't come up on Google for me. Here is a group of illustrations that I didn't know about (Dresden p. 10; see also pp. 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 11).

Image


I wonder if that combination of dice (3.5, 6) shows up on any of the tarot Bateleurs. On the Noblet, they are 1, 2, and 3.

The ones from Munchen (see p. 9 of their pages) are much the same but more sophisticated draftsmanship, http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db ... =3&seite=9. Page 8 is like the St. Gallen page, but again more sophisticated.

Yes, one certainly does find out all sorts of things doing tarot research. 8-}

Re: The Fool

#90
Here are a couple more images related to our most recent discussion. First,

Image


This is one Huck posted on our "Tarot of Mantegna" thread. It is from the De deorum imaginabilus libellus, in Vatican Library Reginensis 1290, a manuscript that Seznec (Survival of the Pagan Gods, p. 177) dates to 1420. It derives from one of the same sources as the other c. 1420 manuscript, the one where the young people are handling the genitalia) and is not an alchemical manuscript. In fact, the one in the other manuscript (lat. 1066, http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5e7P4Y3Wo3w/T ... ration.jpg) has nothing that the one above does not. The only reason for calling the other one an alchemical illustration at all is that it is in the context of other illustrations immediately before and after that are more overtly alchemical. I go over the rationale at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=655&p=9755#p9742, in the second part of that post.

It seems to me that the one above is a precursor to both the Noblet Fool card c. 1650 (http://www.tarot-history.com/Jean-Noble ... le-fou.jpg ) and the alchemical emblem of Mylius 1628 (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5e7P4Y3Wo3w/T ... onster.jpg ).

The second image I want to introduce here is from Giotto's Arena Chapel, c. 1305. It is an example of a Satan done in a way that resembles the "Mantegna" Saturn (http://trionfi.com/mantegna/e/e-mantegn ... chi/47.jpg).

Image


A couple of colored versions of this detail (from The Last Judgment are on the Web (http://archivesofkhazad-dum.blogspot.co ... avolo.html), but the black and white one above shows more detail. (I get it from Plate 6 of The Cambridge Companion to Giotto.)

In this connection, I have been thinking some more about Debra's question:
Surprising to think of Saturn as such a foolish one--that's contrary to his nature isn't it?
That Saturn is foolish is implied by the story of Rhea's deception and Jupiter's castration. Saturn is so suspicious that he eats his children; but he can't tell the difference between his child and a stone.

When one sees Saturn as the god of Judaism and Jupiter as the god of Christianity, however, the situation is more complex. It is one thing to say that the Jewish people, the people of Saturn, are foolish for rejecting Christ's offer of salvation, and quite another to say that their god himself is foolish. The god of the Jews and the god of the Christians, in the first person of the Trinity, are one and the same. And Christ did not suspend the Law, he simply said what its essence was, Love, and provided the means for forgiveness.

Christians are still subject to the Law, or much of it. To be sure, circumcision is now of the spirit rather than the flesh, and pork is OK, too. But the 10 commandments still apply, still dictate what is just and loving; it is only that mercy tempers justice, in Heaven as it should be on earth.

So why would Saturn, the Old Testament god, be considered a fool, within Christianity?

One answer might be the ancient Gnostic one, that the Old Testament god is an ignorant demiurge (Plato's term in the Timaeus), who acts like he knows everything but doesn't. Above him is the true God. Since alchemy goes back to the time before the Gnostics were chased to the hinterland of the Roman Empire (from which they re-entered later as Cathars), the idea of the Jewish God as a fool could have been retained there, in its conception of Saturn.

With the Cathars, as I understand them, the God of the Old Testament, which they saw the Roman Catholic Church as worshipping, was Satan, the embodiment of evil, with the Catholic Church his carefully crafted instrument. He was not ignorant, but rather full of pride and malice. (I know that there were differences among Cathars, but not on this point; they differed on their answer to the question, How could a good God produce and tolerate such an evil offspring as this demiurge?) How could such a malicious god be considered a fool?

I think the answer to this question is contained in the Giotto "Hell" picture that I presented earlier in this post. In the lower left, a bishop, still wearing his mitre, blesses a sinner while money changes hands (a detail noted by Andrew Ladis "The Legend of Giotto's Wit and the Arena Chapel" (go to "Conents" and then p. 229 at http://books.google.com/books?id=5CByQQ ... it&f=false). The irony is that both are in Hell, where indulgences cannot be bought or sold. Similarly, the smug, smiling Satan is himself a prisoner in Hell.

It is the same with the Judeo-Christian god of the Catholics, as seen by the Cathars. He, and his followers are smug in thinking that they are lords of all creation. But in fact, for the Cathars, this world is Hell, and that god a prisoner in it as much as we are. That god is no Lord, and they will only remain in hell all the longer for representing him. They are fools, thinking they are going to heaven when in fact they will only remain in Hell.

We should bear in mind that Giotto painted his Hell in Padua 1305, only 5 years after Sister Manfreda was burned at the stake in nearby Venice. Admittedly, she was not a Cathar, although living very close to their headquarters (http://marygreer.wordpress.com/category ... y-reports/, find "Manfreda"--but after about 1270 it would have been non-existent or underground); yet I somehow imagine that Giotto would have seen her Inquisitors as of the same stamp as his painted bishop. Her belief that the impending Apocalypse required a female pope may have been a deviant belief, and in opposition to the Pope in Rome, but could a sensitive person even then have believed it deserved burning at the stake?

I do not know whether Cathar ideas survived their exodus from Italy some 150-170 years earlier than the rise of the tarot. But the idea of Saturn, i.e. the Jewish god, as a fool, if it goes back to ancient alchemy, might have gotten a new emphasis among alchemists during the Cathar period, an emphasis that could have well survived the Cathars themselves.

For the idea of God's foolishness, in his attitude toward humanity, is not only Gnostic, or Cathar, or alchemical. It also is in the Hebrew Bible itself (without, to be sure, the Cathars' addition that he is evil). It is in the so-called "Wisdom" literature, from which the alchemists quoted often. We read in Wisdom of Solomon Chapter 10, 1-1 (Douhy-Rheims translation of the Vulgate; here I include the chapter heading and the notes to the underlined words that are in the on-line version I am using; I do not know how old they are, but they surely are how the passages were traditionally understood):
What wisdom did for Adam, Noe, Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, and the people of Israel.

[1] She preserved him, that was first formed by God the father of the world, when he was created alone, [2] And she brought him out of his sin, and gave him power to govern all things. [3] But when the unjust went away from her in his anger, he perished by the fury wherewith he murdered his brother. [4] For whose cause, when water destroyed the earth, wisdom healed it again, directing the course of the just by contemptible wood. [5] Moreover when the nations had conspired together to consent to wickedness, she knew the just, and preserved him without blame to God, and kept him strong against the compassion for his son.

[3] "The unjust"... Cain.

[4] "For whose cause"... Viz., for the wickedness of the race of Cain.-- Ibid. The just ... Noe.

[5] "She knew the just"... She found out and approved Abraham. Ibid.

[5] "And kept him strong"... Gave him strength to stand firm against the efforts of his natural tenderness, when he was ordered to sacrifice his son.

[6] She delivered the just man who fled from the wicked that were perishing, when the fire came down upon Pentapolis: [7] Whose land for a testimony of their wickedness is desolate, and smoketh to this day, and the trees bear fruits that ripen not, and a standing pillar of salt is a monument of an incredulous soul..

[6] "The just man"... Lot.-- Ibid.
(http://www.drbo.org/chapter/25010.htm)
The point is that Wisdom rescued her spouse God from his own ignorant, impulsive undoing. When God kicked the first humans out of Eden, she showed them how to survive, although she did not rescue Cain when he departed from her. When God vent his fury upon impious humanity with the flood, thereby intending to destroy those whom he had created in his own image, Wisdom saved the just for a new beginning. When God destroyed the Tower of Babel and set the nations against each other, Wisdom chose one person to be the foundation of His people. When God tested his chosen one's obedience, Wisdom helped him to follow God's will. When God vented his wrath against Sodom and Gomorrah, Wisdom again intervened to save the just.

In other words, when God foolishly set out to destroy his own crown of creation, the just with the unjust, Wisdom saved the situation caused by God's self-defeating lack of subtlety. This, I think, is the portrait of the Fool we are dealing with in the tarot in his manifestation as Saturn. It is the volatile God who is, through His death and rebirth as Christ, the 2nd person, made fixed, i.e. calmer and thus more aware.

In relation to God's offspring, humanity, Wisdom is like Rhea with Jupiter, protective. She does not use treachery against her husband, however, but merely tidies up afterward, like a good Jewish wife. Wisdom is God's afterthought. In the New Testament, Jesus takes on the same role, perhaps one implanted in Him by the Holy Spirit. But Jesus is also the one who, like Saturn, suffers and dies; thereby He redeems not only humanity but the Father, i.e. Himself, as well.

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