Thanks for the timely clarification, mmfilesi. It's what I thought, but you also had more to say beyond the usual, about why a vice is shown.
While I am thinking about this card, I thought I might give its Osirian and Dionysian associations.
Osiris was a vegetation god. I know that's in Frazier. The tarot designers of course did not read Frazier. But in Plutarch, Osisis is described as cut down by Typhon with his sword, buried, and yet was reborn, twice, by the magic of Isis (Isis and Osiris
XIII, XXXVII, at http://thriceholy.net/Texts/Isis.html
.) Osiris is also the water of the flood, which dies out and regenerates again, as opposed to Isis as the land. He was also identified, in Diodorus, with grain, as the one who brought agriculture to the peoples of the world, as far one way as India and the other as Oceanus (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History
I.14-17 at: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... A*.html#21
Pico refers to the cutting down of Osiris in his Oration
At one time we shall descend, dismembering with titanic force the 'unity' of the 'many,' like the members of Osiris; at another time, we shall ascend, recollecting those same members, by the power of Phoebus, into their original unity. Finally, in the bosom of the Father, who reigns above the ladder, we shall find perfection and peace in the felicity of theological knowledge. (http://www.cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/Mirandola/
Notice that Pico mixes Greek and Egyptian myth in one sentence: Titanic force dismembers Osiris, and Apollo gathers him up. He is referring to the Titans who chopped up the child Dionysus Zagreus, boiled and roasted the pieces, and ate them, all but the heart. The Greeks, and the Renaissance, identified the dismemberment of Osiris with that of Zagreus; Osiris was the Egyptian Dionysus.
A pictorial example of the death-rebirth process in Osiris is in Meier's Atalanta Fugiens
The alchemists saw Plutarch's account as emblematic of an alchemical process. As though to confirm their view, Plutarch (Isis and Osiris
XII) described Osiris as black, Isis as white, and Typhon as red; these are the most basic colors of alchemy. Here Osiris would be the prima materia; Typhon the fiery transforming agent, and Isis the purifier.
Another text is Apuleius's Metamorphses
, describing the rite by which his hero becomes a priest of Isis:
I approached the confines of death. I trod the threshold of Proserpine, and borne through the elements I returned. At midnight I saw the Sun shining in all his glory. I approached the gods below and the gods above, and I stood beside them, and I worshiped them. Behold, I have told my experience, and yet what you hear can mean nothing to you.
He entered the darkness, where he saw the sun shining, went below to the gods there, Proserpine and Pluto, and then rose up again. It is the Roman equivalent of the Christian mystery.
For the Dionysian interpretation, one text is Livy, cited by Daimonax (http://www.bacchos.org/tarothtm/12pendu1.html
Daimonax asks us to imagine a machine that lowered people into underground caves. Livy's account says that it was the non-initiates who had this happen to them. However Livy is a negative reporter, and people in the 16th-17th centuries could see for themselves engravings of sarcophagi showing initiations on two levels (reproduced by Daimonax at http://www.bacchos.org/tarothtm/12pendu2.html).
...Men were said to have been carried off by the gods--because they had been attached to machines and whisked away out of sight to hidden caves; they were people who refused to enter the conspiracy or to join in the crimes, or to commit violations...(In Marvin Meyer, The ancient Mysteries: a Sourcebook[/i,] p. 86, in Google Books.
There was also the testimony of Pausanias, who described an oracle in which people lowered themselves into a cave and had unusual experiences there (induced by the drugs Pausanias said they took, as well as sensory deprivation, I would say). Then they got back up by use of a ladder:
They have made no way of descent to the bottom, but when a man comes to Trophonios, they bring him a narrow, light ladder. After going down he finds a hole between the floor and the structure. Its breadth appeared to be two spans, and its height one span. The descender lies with his back on the ground, holding barley-cakes kneaded with honey, thrusts his feet into the hold and himself follows, trying hard to get his knees into the hole. After his knees the rest of his body is at once swiftly drawn in, just as the largest and most rapid river will catch a man in its eddy and carry him under. After this those who have entered the shrine learns the future, not in one and the same way in all cases, but by sight sometimes and at other times by hearing. The return upwards is by the same mouth, the feet darting out first. (http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Trophonios.html)
On this re-interpretation of Livy, the Hanged Man's rope is attached to a pulley that lowers him into the cave; but we can't see the pulley--it would be just above the top of the Dodal image (below). I have been inclined to be skeptical of things we can't see. The myth about the Titans burying Dionysus's heart, the scenes on the sarcophagi, and the tale from Pausanias are convincing enough for me. But Al Craig's posting of Cupid upside down brought to mind for me another drawing, by Alberti in De Re Aedificatoria, 1452 (reproduced in Lefaivre, Leon Battista Alberti's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, p. 119). Alberti is a writer sometimes linked with the tarot, as discussed in the "Two Emperors in the Wheel" thread (see especially viewtopic.php?f=12&t=590&p=8558&hilit=alberti#p8558). All we have to do is turn Cupid upside down, and we get something like the "machine" described by Livy added to the "hanged Cupid" image given by Al from Hurst. This would not be part of the original Hanged Man, but since the "wings" that Al notices appear in the Cary Sheet fragment, perhaps as early as that.
At the same time, the way the rope is tied on the Noblet and Conver suggests the influence of the right-side up Cupid from Hurst.