Re: The Popess

#22
The poet Aretino (flourished second quarter of the 16th century), known to tarot enthusiasts as the author of The Talking Cards, wrote a dialogue mentioning the Popess in particular. The author's spokesperson, a prostitute named Nana, is educating Antonia, her naive colleague, about how to succeed in their trade. She is describing how she attracts rich clients (Aretino's Dialogues, trans. Rosenthal, Stein & Day 1971, p. 143:
NANA: I had all the haughty airs and manners of an empress, which would barely suit her and are in any case a swindle. I took as my example a certain noblewoman who always carried a silken pillow around with her and made whoever spoke to her kneel on it.

ANTONIA: Oh, you mean the female Pope?

NANA: The lady Pope, or so I am told, did not put on such high and mighty airs; by my oath, she did not. Nor did she give herself so bright a title as those whores did. One woman, for example, called herself the daughter of Duke Valentine and another the daughter of Cardinal Scanio.
This passage also gives us information about the Empress—she does usually look rather haughty--and, if not the Pope, then at least a cardinal. But popes were usually former Cardinals. Apparently it was a mark of distinction to be the daughter of someone who had been pledged to celibacy since adolescence. But the main point of interest is that the author’s spokesperson is commending the Popess, conventionally considered haughty, for her modesty.

Similarly, Boccaccio spoke of Pope Joan’s "outstanding virtue and holiness" despite her "unparalleled audacity," i.e. daring but not haughtiness. God even apparently protected her as long as she stuck to scholarly activities. But becoming Pope was too much. Boccaccio says of God (Famous Women p. 439)
He abandoned to her own devices this person who boldly persisted in doing what should not have been done.
The implication is that God saw nothing wrong with women becoming university scholars, even when disguised as men; he drew the line only at their becoming Pope. Even that may be Boccaccian irony.

Another thought: In the Schoen horoscope (1515), several of its astrological houses have been identified as having similar images to those of the tarot trumps: emperor, pope, marriage, etc. House 1 shows a woman giving birth to a newborn, as ignorant as a Fool. House 2 shows an artisan, in a depiction very much like the “Mantegna” Artixan and not dissimilar to some versions of the Bagatto. House 3, the house of communication, shows one woman reading to another.

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The Popess is also reading, as early as the Cary Sheet, and continuing in the Marseille versions.

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The Virgin Mary, of course, was reading a certain passage in Isaiah when the angel Gabriel made his appearance. She is an example in defense of women’s learning how to read, teach, and study. Anna teaching Mary how to read was a common subject in Renaissance art (below).

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I conclude not that the Popess is Mary but that it is a card that attaches importance to women as readers and scholars. Even the PMB Popess holds a book. The Cary Sheet Popess seems not only reading but lecturing; an adoring acolyte, perhaps snidely suggesting Pope Joan’s lover, listens attentively. But the card in all these versions remains propaganda for women’s greater presence in education and other walks of life.

I see no reason why anyone would originally create a Popess just to match the Pope, on analogy to Emperor and Empress and King and Queen. The Papacy wasn’t supposed to be hereditary, requiring two royal parents, and nobody before tarot associated the Popess with the Church. The earliest picture of “Ecclesia Catholica” looking like the Popess that I know of (on Ross’s website) is from 1615. It is a reaction to the Protestants’ use of Durer’s “whore of Babylon” to satirize the Roman Catholic Church.

Sometimes an analogy is made between the PMB Popess and Giotto’s Faith (center and left below), where “Faith” is held to be similar to “Church.” Well, perhaps; but Faith does not equal Faith in the Church. Sister Manfreda had her faith, too. And I also see a similarity of the PMB Popess to Giotto’s “Justice,” which might be Bianca’s intended view of Sister Manfreda (justice on her side); Popess Manfreda was burned at the stake just five or so years earlier than Giotto’s fresco, in nearby Venice.

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Along the same lines, I seem to see a similarity between the PMB’s Pope and Giotto’s “Injustice.”

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Bianca Maria herself might have tended to identify the Pope with Injustice, as her husband had been excommunicated shortly after their marriage, in a dispute about territory he had but the Pope thought should be his. The excommunication was lifted only when Francesco gave up the territory.

Ross brings up the point that the CY had Female Knights and Female Pages, as though paired with their male counterparts. Well, these were unconventional but not heretical. Ladies did ride horses and serve as attendants. Perhaps some were even armed. Some decks of regular cards also had such cards (for female knights, see my post at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&p=5670&hilit=f ... ghts#p5670; for female pages, in decks that may or may not be tarot, see Kaplan Vol. 2 pp. 274, 281); in an effort to correct the all-male court cards of the Malmuks, card designers would have tried out various feminine options before settling on just Queens. The Popess is a different thing entirely. I find it difficult to believe that a deck so pious as to have the three Theological Virtues (which are no more feminine-imaged than the others typically were) would have such a contradiction to the Catholic faith—unless, to be sure, the image meant “Church,” for which we have no evidence. Visconti undoubtedly knew the “Pope Joan” story in Boccaccio; the book was in his library (I forget where I read that). Unless Filippo had a heretical streak I don’t know about, he would have avoided at all costs calling a card in a deck of his by any name suggesting that personage.

She did get a couple of other incarnations explicitly, when the Pope and the Popess were replaced with two other cards, namely Jupiter and Juno and Bacchus and the Spanish Captain. Jupiter and Juno are simply the King and Queen of Heaven, a pagan heavenly equivalent of Pope and Popess, but unlike them married to each other. It seems to me that Bacchus is just a satirical equivalent of the Pope, the God of Wine replacing the sanctifier of the Eucharistic wine. All that access to wine produced drunkard priests, of course.

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Then how would the Spanish Captain be a satiric equivalent of the Popess? Well, by the late 16th century he would have been associated with Il Capitano of the Commedia dell’Arte (http://www.delpiano.com/carnival/html/captain.html), and scores of Italian comedies before that. Il Capitano was an arrogant boaster, thus claiming to be someone he wasn’t. (Look at his portrayal on the card.) In that way he was like Pope Joan; some of the meaning is retained, without the suggestion of blasphemy. At least by the time of the Captain, then, “Pope Joan” was probably how the card was understood.

Another issue: why is she number 2 in the sequence? In the Steele Sermon, she is number 4, next to the Pope. One answer is that she was given that position by Filippo Visconti, on a chess analogy: she and the Pope are the two bishops on either side of the King and Queen. It is said that the Cary Sheet Popess, in having a bishop’s staff, links her to the bishops of chess. Well, if so, this is the only version of the card to do so, and it is not the first Popess. Perhaps the artist felt it would be too blasphemous to give her a papal staff. In the same way, he muted her gender characteristics and doesn’t give her a tiara. And her headpiece might be a crown, like that of Mary, not even the headgear of a bishop, much less of a Pope.

If we assign the relevant cards in the CY (Popess, Empress, Emperor, Pope) tarot numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5, as though they were chess pieces, what, following the same principle, would correspond to the other spaces in the row, and to the pawns? It is rather too convenient if chess gives the order for these four cards and no others. It would seem that there would have to be two cards lower in number than the Popess. As Trionfi presents the chess analogy, there is no Fool (0) or Bagatto (1) in the CY. If not, and the Popess is 2, what is below them, i.e. to their left on the board? Moreover, if we went in order, the pawns would get all the higher numbered cards, an absurd indignity. Or do they go to the opposing pieces? In fact the chess analogy, as used on Trionfi, is only meant as a way of reconstructing what the missing trumps were, not their numbers in the sequence.

But there is no evidence, apart from the indirect considerations of the chess analogy, that any Visconti deck had a Popess. No one even knows if Visconti played chess. Tolfo, on the site Historia di Milano, flatly denies that he did (find “chess” on my post viewtopic.php?f=11&t=365&p=4643&hilit=tolfo#p4643_); If he sponsored a chess club and had chess books in his library (per Autorbis at http://trionfi.com/0/c/30/), that may have been to satisfy his court and its visitors. Perhaps he learned but wasn’t very good, so he pretended he didn’t play; if so, he wouldn’t have wanted to sponsor a card game that would remind him and others of that fact.

The first known Popess is in the PMB, probably sponsored by Bianca Maria in the 1450’s. The Popess might reasonably have been one of three cards she added to remind her children of their illustrious forebears (the others being step-great-grandfather Amedeo VIII of Savoy as the Hermit and grandfather Muzio as the Hanged Man); the Popess was then Sister Manfreda. I would expect her to have liked Boccaccio’s “Pope Joan,” at least before she became Pope. It is unlikely that Bianca played chess; it wasn’t a women’s game.

Another explanation for her number 2 status that I think I have seen somewhere is that the Popess belongs next to the Bagatto because she is just a higher-level version of what he is: a trickster, a deceiver. In a hierarchy of social levels, she belongs between the Bagatto and the Empress. The latter, although she may have been arrogant, never claimed to be a man. This explanation of the ordering is plausible; it also depends upon the “Pope Joan” interpretation. In that case, too, she would not only be a deceiver, as that would trivialize the card; she would also be a great lady, ahead of her time, though flawed.

It seems to me that at some point, at the card’s beginning or later in the century, there may have been another reason for having the Popess as number 2. She expresses the Neopythagorean Dyad, as expounded in such works as the 4th century Theology of Arithmetic, continuously available since then. There we read:
...the dyad is the first to have separated itself from the monad, whence also is called ‘daring.’ For when the monad manifests unification, the dyad steals in and manifests separation. (Robin Waterfield translation, p. 42)
And later:
Apart from recklessness itself, they think that, because it is the very first to have endured separation, it deserves to be called ‘anguish,’ ‘endurance’ and ‘hardship.’ (translator’s note: Duas is here linked with due (Anguish)). (p. 46.)
These terms certainly would apply to Pope Joan and Sister Manfreda. The Marseille-style Popesses also look rather anguished, sad, or at least pained.

Actively, the Dyad separates from the creator-Monad as audacity followed by anguish. Passively, she is pure matter to complement the Monad’s pure and perfect form. The Theology says, “...it is taken to be matter...” and:
...it is in itself devoid of shape and form and any limitation, but is capable of being limited and made definite by reason and skill. (p. 45)
The union of form and matter then produces individual instantiations of form in matter, i.e. round things, heavy things, humans, trees, etc.—or the Christ child, from God’s perfection and Mary’s matter. That is the Triad, the child of the Monad and the Dyad. The Empress, Trump 3, is essentially a mother, and the eagle on her shield stands for her child. In the Dyad, however, what we have is only the desire of matter for form, and vice versa. As the Theologysays:
The dyad, they say, is also called ‘Erato’, for having attracted through love the advance of the monad as form, it generates the rest of the results, starting with the triad and tetrad. (Translator’s note: Erato is one of the Muses; her name is cognate with the Greek for ‘love.’) (p. 46)
Matter’s love for form, the Dyad’s love for the Monad, not yet bearing fruit in the Popess, produces, in the Triad and beyond, the universe.

I have tried to show on another thread how this analysis of the Dyad contributes to the design of the Sola-Busca Twos and the word-lists for the Twos attributed to Atteilla (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=530#p7916). I think it extends as well to the Popess. A similar Neopythagorean analysis applies to the other numbered trumps in her vicinity (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=530&p=8518#p8518).

If the Popess is the Dyad, more aliases follow. The Theology of Arithmetic identifies the Dyad with Rhea (p. 46), who was mother of Zeus and protector against Hera of her grandson Dionysus. Rhea is the goddess who defied her husband and gave him a rock to swallow instead of the infant he thought he was eating. She is a rebel against authority, in which she suffers much anguish but eventually trumphs.

Later, according to Apollodorus, her daughter Hera afflicts her grandson, the young Dionysus, with madness; he wanders from place to place until finally Rhea purifies Dionysus of his madness (with amethyst, according to Nonus) and teaches him her mysteries (http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/DionysosM ... tml#Kybele). In the tarot, this detail is important because one way of seeing the Fool is as Dionysus (see viewtopic.php?f=23&t=383&start=20#p6495). In fact, by the 17th century many if not all of the trumps could be seen as connected in some way to Dionysus or his “mysteries” as alluded to in the Greco-Roman classics and luridly illustrated on Roman-era sarcophagi. The Empress would be any of Dionysus’s mothers, chiefly the clueless Semele.

In this regard the curtain behind the “Marseille” Popess gets an explanation. Daimonax (http://www.bacchos.org/tarothtm/0et9mathermite2.html) shows us a remarkable Roman-era relief in which a Dionysian ritual takes place in front of just such a curtain, which even has a book on top of it, slightly behind, as though suggesting hidden knowledge available only to initiates. The people here are all impersonating characters in the Dionysian myth. The boy (with his head and arm missing) is in the process of becoming a Dionysus. His female initiator is the Domina, in the role played by Rhea, Dionysus’s initiator, in the myth. The male initiator is the Silenus, enacting the role of Dionysus’s mentor by that name. It was held that when a child was old enough to understand, it should undergo the rite that made it a Dionysus or an Ariadne, and so secure its place in Heaven. It is all rather like “first communion.” I only wish I knew to what extent this relief, or others like it, was known in the 16th century, so I could feel more comfortable saying that such scenes influenced how the card was seen.

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The Theology also identifies the Dyad with Isis:
...they call it ‘Isis,” not only because the product of its multiplication is equal to the sum of its addition, as we said, but also because it alone does not admit division into equal parts. (p. 46)

The translator explains that the justification is with reference to the Greek Ison (equal). McNeil has noted the similarity of the Cary Sheet Popess to the image of Isis in the Borgia Apartments (see my post at viewtopic.php?f=14&t=566#p8116). And de Mellet, in what I take to be a report on the cards as they were viewed his time, found both the 2 of Coins and the 2 of Cups to be associated with Isis (in section III: “The Cow or Two of Cups, devoted to Apis or Isis”; in section IV: “the Two of Coins surrounded by the mystical Belt of Isis”; http://www.donaldtyson.com/gebelin.html).

Iconograpically, the “X’ on the Marseille Popess’s front, her stole, while typical of representations of the Pope, is also reminiscent of the “knot of Isis,” as in the Capitoline Museum’s Isis, which comes from Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, or the illustration of Isis in Cartari (this one from the 1647 edition):

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Boccacio writes about Isis in the same book in which he discusses Pope Joan. He says that after a misadventure in Greece with Jupiter, she sailed to Egypt and became a great benefactor to the Egyptians. Working “hard and diligently,” not only did she teach them agriculture and how to make food from the grain, not only did she give them laws and teach them how to get along, but also
Next she did something that is even more admirable in a woman: marshalling her intellectual powers, she devised alphabetical characters suitable for teaching the language of the inhabitants and demonstrated how the letters should be placed together. (Famous Women, trans. Brown, p. 45, in Google Books)
. Thus the book in the Popess’s hands could easily be seen as a symbol of what Boccaccio held to be Isis’s greatest accomplishment.

Plutarch, in a text well-known in the Renaissance, also described Isis in ways that attest to her daring in thought and action. When Osiris was abroad, their brother, Seth or Typhon, wanted to make himself the ruler of Egypt. Isis successfully foiled him and ruled Egypt well by herself until Osiris returned. Seth then murdered Osiris at a banquet. The coffin in which Seth has sealed Osiris floated out to sea, but Isis managed to find it and resurrect Osiris (Plutarch, Isis and Osiris XIII, at http://www.thriceholy.net/texts/isis.html). And so on. Once she even defied her son, by insisting that Seth not be killed; the son responded by either removing her crown or, more likely, chopping off her head (Isis and Osiris XIX, XX; Plutarch is evasive).

The curtain can also be explained in terms of Isis. Of the Popess, De Gebelin said (http://www.tarotpedia.com/wiki/Du_Jeu_D ... te]...elle est en habit long avec une espèce de voile derriere la tête qui vient croiser sur l'estomac:...

... she wears a long dress with a species of veil which falls from behind her head and cross over her stomach:...[/quote]
I am not aware of any pre-de Gebelin Popess, besides the one drawn in his book, that shows a veil coming from behind and crossing over her stomach; but seeing the curtain behind her as a veil fits a well-known passage in Plutarch. He describes an Egyptian statue of Minerva--“whom they consider the same as Isis”--as veiled (Isis and Osiris IX). It had an inscription reading "I am all that hath been, that is, and shall be, and my veil no mortal hath hitherto raised." This saying might hint at esoteric knowledge, of which mere mortals can attain merely a glimpse, or be seeing her as a personification of Nature, whose principles are hidden from mortal eyes (Hadot, The Veil of Isis: an Essay on the History of Nature, reviewed at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2007/2007-03-25.html). The Popess’s book from this perspective could be the "book of nature," the hidden principles governing the universe. “Nature” is another of the names of the Dyad mentioned in the Theology of Arithmetic (p. 39). It is in contrast to Moses' "book of the Law." Famously William Blake had his demiurge Urizen writing in both on the frontispiece to his Book of Urizen, 1794.

Since Isis in the Roman world was assimilated to Cybele (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis#Greco-Roman_world), who was assimilated to Rhea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybele#Cult_history), Isis also equals Rhea. Furthermore, if Rhea can have a Domina substitute for her, so can Isis, and the card might just as well be about this High Priestess as about the goddess herself. In this category I would also place the likeness of the card to the illustration of the priestess of Venus in the Hypnerotomania of 1499 (for the image, see http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=12). Venus was another goddess assimilated to Isis; the Hypnerotomania is full of Egyptianate elements (obelisks, heiroglyphs, etc.). More specifically than the other goddesses, she represents the element of love that the Theology of Arithmetic associated with the Dyad. However Venus is not traditionally associated with a book or curtain; iconographically, with Cupid, she is more associated with the Empress and her infant-like shield.

Another alias is still the Virgin Mary, who dared to give birth to a child conceived out of wedlock, ironically parallel to Pope Joan, and likewise dared to defy the religion she was brought up in; she then suffered from his separation from her on the cross. In this association, the curtain could be the veil of the temple that was rent at the crucifixion (Matt. 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45). The “Pances” title on the Dodal card (paunch, suggesting “Womb”) connects the card to her, while also applying to the other savior-mothers, Rhea and Isis. On the Marseille-style cards she is too old for the scene to be of the Annunciation; but she traditionally lived a long time.

In summary, the main pre-de Gebelin aliases, or associations, for the Popess that I am comfortable with at present are these: at first Sister Manfreda and Pope Joan; then later, in a similar characterization, the Dyad, Rhea (including the Dionysian Domina), Isis (including her priestess), and Mary; also, in reaction to Protestantism, an association to the Church (meaning the sacrament-dispensing organization headed by the Pope, as opposed to the miserable sinners getting the sacraments).

It is possible that “Church” was an association in the mid-15th century, but the evidence favors the other two, Pope Joan and Sister Manfreda. The evidence is what is presented in the Greer article (thanks Marcos), plus the Boccaccio story and the Steele Sermon that echoes it (as Marco points out). In addition, there is what I have given here about the Aretino dialogue, the Schoen Horoscope, and the likely associations to the Spanish Captain. Later on, too, there is perhaps an association to the Dyad, and in any case other female figures, with their curtains, who had similar daring, suffering, and love as Pope Joan or Sister Manfreda but with more success. The evidence on the other side—the CY male/female pairs, the resemblance to Giotto’s “Faith,” the analogy to the bishops in chess---is at best a matter of interpretation that can go either way.

Please feel free to correct any errors I have made.

Re: The Popess

#23
Hi friend! :) Good article... Some doubts.

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The Popess is also reading, as early as the Cary Shee
Is a Popess or a Bishop?

Marco, Ross, Steve and Robert have developed the hypothesis of two popes in:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=70257

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The Popess is also reading,
About Maifreda and poor Clarises hypotesis, maybe you like read this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=581

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For Bachus, I think we need work in Steve hypothesis about painters club drunk: Schildersbent

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=577

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The book is a normal attribute of the papacy, like the tiara or staff papal.

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For Captain Fracasse, good analysis by Huck in:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=581

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No one even knows if Visconti played chess.
Decembrio said Visconti like chess.

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It is unlikely that Bianca played chess; it wasn’t a women’s game.
And not ride in horse, but Bianca yes. We don't know if Bianca playing chess.

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Along the same lines, I seem to see a similarity between the PMB’s Pope and Giotto’s “Injustice.”
At the bottom of the drawing, you can verify that this is a nobleman.
her number 2 status
She is in number 2, I think, because she meaning the Church. And the church in centurys XIV-XVI is very bad considered. Another kingdom. See for example:
Dante. Paraiso, XXVII.
Boccaccio. Decameron. First day, second tale (Gianotto de Civigní)
Petrarca. Canzonero, CXXXVIII
the Dyad, Rhea (including the Dionysian Domina), Isis (including her priestess), and Mary;
We dont have a document of century XV-XVI which says the popes represents Isis.

I think in Italy in the fifteenth century, or the twenty-first century :) , they dont played cards with the Virgin Mary. The italian, first believe in the "Madonna"... after in God :) .
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: The Popess

#24
The most typical use of figures like Mrs. Pope, particularly when paired with an Empress, is as Church (with State).

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They are TEAM CHRISTENDOM!! To the right are Team Captains George Emperor and Tommy Pope, taking on the challengers, led by Nick Folly and "Dishonest" Abe Tricksworth. It's gonna be a great match folks!

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The idea is repeated on the higher levels. It all fits together in a nice tidy way...

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

Re: The Popess

#25
R.A. Hendley wrote:The most typical use of figures like Mrs. Pope, particularly when paired with an Empress, is as Church (with State).

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They are TEAM CHRISTENDOM!! To the right are Team Captains George Emperor and Tommy Pope, taking on the challengers, led by Nick Folly and "Dishonest" Abe Tricksworth. It's gonna be a great match folks!

Image


The idea is repeated on the higher levels. It all fits together in a nice tidy way...

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I love this.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Popess

#26
a) I think it's a very interesting idea. Thanks R.A. Hendley for the the effort graphic.

I think that may be related whit the preface of the second book of Petrarch's De rimedis, when speaking about the world in eternal conflict.

b) R.A. Hendley, please, can you tell me the reference of this ilustration:?


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Thanks, friend!
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: The Popess

#27
hanks for your thoughtful comments, Marcos, and also the links. Now we can go deeper, hopefully.

mmfilesi wrote,
Is a Popess or a Bishop?
Yes, I know that some people think it's a bishop, because of the crozier and because of the chess analogy. I could have said more. There is the 16th century Budapest Popess that Robert posted on ATF (http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=45), who has a crozier. And none of the early lists have "bishop" as the title of one of the cards. A Popess is a Popess, unless there is a good reason why she's not.
The book is a normal attribute of the papacy, like the tiara or staff papal.
In the pictures of the pope with a book that I have seen, the book is not as conspicuous; it just sits closed on his lap, for example in the Charles VI Pope card. And in many decks (including the Geoffrey, 1550), he isn't shown with one, making the Popess's book even more conspicuous.
For Captain Fracasse, good analysis by Huck in:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=581
Thanks. I missed reading it, or I would have credited him. I will add an edit doing so. I don't think I am disagreeing with him on the relationship to El Capitano in Commedia dell'Arte. Or am I? "Fracas" is a word in English, too, meaning "a noisy disturbance or quarrel."
Decembrio said Visconti like chess.
Very good. I'd appreciate knowing your reference--I haven't seen him cited in this regard before.
At the bottom of the drawing, you can verify that this is a nobleman.
I only said that Injustice "resembles" the Pope. I meant in the way he looks, especially his face.
We dont have a document of century XV-XVI which says the popes represents Isis.

I think in Italy in the fifteenth century, or the twenty-first century, they dont played cards with the Virgin Mary. The italian, first believe in the "Madonna"... after in God

Even if we did have such a document, it wouldn't prove anything. It's just evidence, maybe good, maybe bad. People say crazy things in every century, and also boring, superficial things. Do you have a pre-Luther document saying that "Popess" equals "Church"? (If you do, I'm interested; that's evidence, too.) Works of art typically didn't have their various levels of meaning spelled out in those days (or these). I mean, there are primary meanings and also topical meanings from the particular place and time of creation, and also associations that build up and change over time. An example of this last one: Hamlet got associated with Oedipus by Freud, and one cannot understand the Olivier film version without knowing that association.

The Noblet "Popess" has the title "Popess" on the card. Earlier, the word appeared in various lists as the title of one of the first four cards. Its primary meaning would seem to be ""female counterpart of the Pope." But it meant more than that at various times and places. If I am in the US, speaking to someone else in the US, and I say, "The President was on TV last night," the statement refers, unless otherwise specified, to the president of the US. If speaker and hearer are in France, the statement refers to someone else. In 15th century Italy,the only Popess generally known was Popess Joan. When prostitutes played tarocchi with their clients or each other, Popess Joan would have been what came to mind (that was the point of my Aretino quote). In 15th century Lombardy, and in the Visconti-descended families in particular, there was also Popess Manfredi, She could not help having come to mind, in the setting described by Greer. It is not just a question of what someone, Bianca Maria for example, intends by a word. I sometimes mix up right and left. If I say, "Turn right at the stop sign," and I mean "Turn left," what I say still means "Turn right" regardless of what I intended. So with Popess Manfredi and Popess Joan. These are secondary meanings of the card, closely associated with the primary meaning at the time the title was given.

Then there is a third level of meaning: a looser set of references, allusions, and associations. These vary depending on the context. The main context in the 15th century was a trick-taking game, in which people also could talk, eruditely or jokingly, about the cards. Associations also helped someone to remember the ranking of the cards and what cards were played (by participating in a running narrative that one constructs).. Some associations are simply personal. Others are cultural. Those are the ones we are interested in. For someone using the Cary Sheet cards, "bishop" might be a useful association to the Popess, because of her crozier. For someone using versions of the card without the crozier, the association to "bishop" would not be much help in remembering either the Popess's place in the order or whether it had been played, because there are two of them. The term might help one to remember that, like bishops in chess, Pope and Popess are separated by two cards. But that's not much.

In this context, "Church" might actually work for the Popess in the 15th century. In the Song of Songs the Lover was understood as the Church and the Beloved as Christ, female to male. So here "Church" might be a valid associaton for the Popess, and "Christ" for the Pope, even though there is nothing in the appearance of the Popess on the card, other than gender, to suggest the Shulamite, that I can see. But I grant the association to "Church" in that context. That meaning of "Church," moreover, is quite compatible with the "Pope Joan" meaning. The Shulamite, like Joan, is passionate, disobedient, and much-suffering. So conceptually the association works. This is "Church" as "Christ's people," people of the Faith, miserable sinners that they are--on a clearly lower level than Christ--and not as "the Faith," which came later, as far as I have been able to determine, to distinguish the Church from Protestantism. (I wanted to say something like this in my post, but I couldn't figure out how to do it, I was focused on the picture rather than the concept. Also: I assume you agree that the Popess does not equal the theological virtue Faith, which was represented quite differently in the CY that preceded the PMB. If it were Faith, it would be called Faith.)

It is as associations to the card, that I mean the Virgin, Isis, and Rhea as "aliases" of the Popess. I don't know when they would have become associations: not at the beginning, but later: for the Virgin, by the time of the Schoen Horoscope, i.e. 1515; for Isis, perhaps by 1500 and the Cary Sheet, with more evidence by 1650 and Noblet; for Rhea, by the time of the Noblet.

For the Virgin, what I offered was the Schoen horoscope and the wood sculpture of Anna and Mary. The Schoen horoscope suggests both the Popess, in the context of the other pictures for the houses, and the Virgin, by its similarity to the sculpture. This is just evidence, not proof. In this context, it would have made sense to add, by the time of the Noblet, the curtain, as the veil of the temple.

For Isis and Rhea, my only written document is the {i]Theology of Arithmetic[/i], which associates Isis and Rhea with the number Two, and which I hypothesize played a role in the cartomantic use of cards as early as the Sola-Busca. However there are also specific features on the cards that point to the association with these two goddesses, at least one of which, the curtain, may have been put there for that purpose.

For Isis there is the resemblance between the Cary Sheet and the Borgia Isis, as noted by O'Neil, in the context of Egyptianate details in other cards and intense Egyptomania in Milan's circle of alliances (Borgia, Maximilian). From Noblet on, we have the book, the curtain, and the stole, and for Rhea, just the book and curtain, and other cards with features consistent with a Greco-Roman interpretation. Moreover, both goddesses were paired with male counterparts: Osiris and Silenus; and they are both associated with Pope Joan conceptually, as the same type of strong, intelligent woman. Another reason for these associations is that some educated people were interested in the pagan equivalents to the Christian mysteries, Egyptian and Dionysian among others imagined as taking place during the Roman Empire and before.

Also, the cartomantic use of cards would have been something that increased over time, in what must have been primarily an oral tradition--you might get burned at the stake if there was written proof of what you were doing. (I am not arguing that the lack of written proof proves that there was a secret tradition; it's just a fact that writing a system down was riskier than oral transmission.) Pythagoras was associated with oracles and fortune-telling; so Pythagorean writings become important in that context. Greco-Roman-Egyptian mysteries would also have an attraction in such an esoteric art, because of their association with oracles. Such use may not even have been seen by its practitioners as fortune-telling, but just as a way of randomly picking a few morsels of wisdom out of 78 such morsels, and intuitively fitting them to the individual being addressed.

We know that with de Gebelin, Isis became a clear association to the Popess. What I am suggesting is that de Gebelin was probably not the first to think of such an association. He was just the first to dare successfully to say it in print and get noticed. Nor is it an inappropriate association. In some ways, Isis by the 17th century was a more interesting example of the type than Pope Joan or the Church, because of her strength. Unfortunately de Gebelin literalized the association, making it the history of the card from Egyptian times rather than an association given to it after the card was invented. But it was as purported science that the world could hear the association at that time.

Re: The Popess

#28
Mikeh wrote:
For Captain Fracasse, good analysis by Huck in:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=581

Thanks. I missed reading it, or I would have credited him. I will add an edit doing so. I don't think I am disagreeing with him on the relationship to El Capitano in Commedia dell'Arte. Or am I? "Fracas" is a word in English, too, meaning "a noisy disturbance or quarrel."
The association between "Commedia dell arte"-Captain Fracasse and Captain-Fracasse as the replacement of the popess seems to be a general observation, that's not from me. I don't know, who was the first, I would assume, the designer of the card.
... :-) ... I remembered that there once was a Fracasse Sanseverino.
Even if we did have such a document, it wouldn't prove anything. It's just evidence, maybe good, maybe bad. People say crazy things in every century, and also boring, superficial things. Do you have a pre-Luther document saying that "Popess" equals "Church"? (If you do, I'm interested; that's evidence, too.)
A report to the feast of the pheasant 1454 in Burgund.

http://trionfi.com/0/t/21/
"I will leave them now to record a pity moving _entremets_ which seemed to be more special than the others. Through the portal whence the previous actors had made their entrance, came a giant larger without artifice than any I had ever seen, clad in a long green silk robe, a turban on his head like a Saracen in Granada. His left hand held a great, old-fashioned two-bladed axe, his right hand led an elephant covered with silk. On its back was a castle wherein sat a lady looking like a nun, wearing a mantle of black cloth and a white head-dress like a recluse.[7]
"Once within the hall and in sight of the noble company, like one who had work before her, she said to the giant, her conductor:

"'Giant, prithee let me stay
For I spy a noble throng
To whom I wish to speak.'

"At these words her guide conducted his charge before the ducal table and there she made a piteous appeal to all assembled to come to rescue her, Holy Church, fallen into the hands of unbelieving miscreants.
More and reference to the text at the given place.
The action was made to win fighters for the crusade against the Osmans, who had conquered Constantinople the year. The reference couldn't hardly be much nearer to 1452, when the popess appears for the time in a card deck (at least to our eyes).

*****************************
Later added:

Strange enough, we found an interest of Bianca Maria Visconti in an ascending St. Gugliema cult around 1450, which later was parted by the sister-in-law of the poet Luigi Pulci, Antonia, who made a piece of literature out of it.

Also strange ... Beatrice d'Este, girlfriend of Bianca Maria in Ferrara 1441/42 and later the wife of Tristano Sforza (son of Franesco) and "second lady" in Milan, had around 1445 opportunity to appear on the stage of a sort of "Isis-Show" patronized by Leonello ... )... I would like to know more myself.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The Popess

#29
Very interesting Posts.
Could someone tell me why with all these associations, why in the Visconti PMB is the card we call the Popesse now, is dressed as a Nun? She is not dressed as the Church- Mary- Isis-Faith-Pope Joan. She has not a Crozier but a Ferula- A pastoral Staff of an Abbess- a sign of her authority as an Abbess. There is the knob topped by a cross.
Every newly appointed Abbess was likewise entitled to receive the public "homage" of her clergy — the ceremony of which was sufficiently elaborate. On the appointed day, the clergy, in a body repaired to the abbey; at the great gate of her monastery, the Abbess, with mitre and and staff, sat enthroned under a canopy, and as each member of the clergy passed before her, he made his obeisance, and kissed her hand. The clergy, however, wished to do away with the distasteful practice, and, in 1709, appealed to Rome; the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars thereupon modified some of ceremonial details, but recognized the right of the Abbess to the homage.

This ceremony was common in Northern Italy in the Renaissance. It was later totally abandoned. It is where the term Virga comes from - the staves/staffs on notes in written music. If you look up Crozier you will see the following -Virga/Pedum/ Pastorale/Ferula etc. Think Hildegarde Von Bingham.
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

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