Re: The Hanged Man

#41
mikeh wrote
If necessary there can be a thread on that topic, Milan-"Marseille" cards as hieroglyphs. I don't have such thoughts about cards elsewhere (or the CY), one way or the other. I think there is a thread on something like that topic, although not limited to Milanese-French, on Aeclectic, started by Ross; I haven't contributed. I will look at it and see if there is anything I can add.
Well, I did read the thread on Aeclectic about tarot as hieroglyphs, and yes, I had things to add. Ross's initial 2008 post, http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... ostcount=1, is quite interesting, about the use of the word "hieroglyph" as a descriptor in tarot literature before de Mellet, in the "Anonymous Discourse" and elsewhere. Then there is Kwaw's (SteveM's) post two after that, about the use of the word to describe other games and also emblems. After that, the thread is uneven in interest, regards the main topic. After debating with myself on whether to post a reply on a new thread here or on that Aeclectic thread, I decided that Okham's Razor dictated that I not create new threads unnecessarily. After Ross's and Kwaw's initial posts, I don't think it is required to read the rest: I quoted what is most relevant in my first post (link below). It took two postings on Aeclectic (in about 4500 words) to say what I needed to say.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=43, and the one immediately after,
http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=44.

Here I think I can manage to state the essence of what I was trying to say there. For a more thorough treatment, go to these posts on Aeclectic.

The key quote for the 15th century understanding of hieroglyphs is in Albert's De Re Aedicifatario. He says:
The Egyptians employed the following sign language: a god was represented by an eye, nature by a vulture, a king by a bee, time by a circle, peace by an ox, and so on. They maintained that each nation knew only its own alphabet, and that eventually all knowledge of it would be lost—as has happened with our own Etruscan: we have sepulchers uncovered in city ruins and cemeteries throughout Etruria inscribed with an alphabet universally acknowledged to be Etruscan, their letters look not unlike Greek, or even Latin, yet no one understands what they mean. The same, the Egyptians claimed, should happen to all other alphabets, whereas the method of writing they used could be understood easily by expert men all over the world, to whom alone noble matters should be communicated...(On the art of building in ten books, trans. Rykwert, Leach, and Tavernor, p. 256.)
This book was not published until 1486, but manuscript copies, which may or may not have included this passage, had circulated since 1452. The basic idea is already in his 1430s essays "Veiled Sayings" and "Rings," and also in his device of the "winged eye," which appears in documents by 1438. In Ferrara, this style affects medallion reverses, especially a series done by Pisanello in 1443 ; Alberti, in Florence until 1437, spent that year in Bologna, and in 1438 went to Ferrara (both places for the Papal Council). He remained in Ferrara during most of the 1440s, with Leonello his chief patron. Grafton (Leon Battista Alberti) details hiseffect there (Chapter VI, "The Artist at Court").

In Milan, one of Alberti's early colleagues, Filelfo, had moved there in 1440 and stayed until 1474. In addition, Alberti had a devoted follower there in Felarate, Francesco Sforza's architect (on loan from Cosimo). Filarere wrote his own treatise on architecture, in the footsteps of Alberti's, finished by 1462. Besides praising Alberti (on p. 152 of Skelton's translation), Skelton documents at least 40 uncited references to the earlier work and many to other of Alberti's works. Filarete also designed his own version of Alberti's "winged eye" device, a drawing that included a swarm of winged eyes and ears. He quotes Diodorus often (a major ancient source on hieroglyphics), probably in Pogio's translation, and credits Filelfo in a reference that most scholars (Giehlow, Dempsey, Curran) have thought shows that Filelfo had a copy of Horapollo's Hieroglyphica.

Thus the idea expressed in the above quote--of pictures whose most important meanings could be discerned by the few no matter where, but not understood by the many anywhere--reached all the major cities of the tarot, and most especially Milan, where its effect on the PMB is evident compared to the CY, where the Cary Sheet is downright Egyptianate (see my posts on the "Cary Sheet" thread here), and from where the same understanding spread to France.

Re: The Hanged Man

#42
In reflecting upon the summary just posted, I see that our 1450s architects have failed to state some things that were clear in the ancient sources and to the humanists: namely, that hieroglyphs were used for sacred writings. The word in Greek, my dictionary says, is "heiros," sacred, plus "glyphein," meaning "to carve"; so sacred inscriptions. Also, Alberti doesn't really explain why hieroglyphs had to be incomprehensible to the many. If you want to avoid the problem of phonetic alphabets getting lost, and phonetic writings dying out along with the language they are written in, you just convey what you want to say in narrative pictures, as was done in the cathedrals and which they saw on pagan sarcophagi. But there was something about sacred inscriptions as such that required enigmatic and hidden expression, because God is transcendent and beyond human comprehension, except in metaphor. (For a good explanation, see Hankins, Plato in the Italian Renaissance, all of p. 254, in Google Books, of this tradition, in which Plato is the prime example, whose writings are regarded as "a theological system known only to initiates.") So the Mass and the Bible had to be kept in Latin, even though the common people didn't know Latin, to heighten the sense of mystery and undying tradition. And Plato's elusive allegories were expressions of hidden Christian truths, as Bessarion influentially said, and Ficino after him, in their Christian Neoplatonism (see Bessarion quote, Hankins p. 256, in Google Books.) So this tradition mixes with the idea expressed by Alberti, and the tarot trumps are seen as giving something like a sacred message, or sacred messages, or at least "noble" ones, in enigmatic inscriptions whose meaning (a) is not readily apparent, (b)requires special learning or consciousness to grasp, and (c) probably cannot be captured fully in words or reduced to dogma. This is still only an inadequate summary, unfortunately. For a better one, go to the two posts I gave links to prviously. And to be sure, tarot is also just a game.

Re: The Hanged Man

#43
Here is a follow up to my post viewtopic.php?f=23&t=395&p=7960&hilit=Buch#p7960. I posted a page of the St. Gallen copyof the Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit, where there are drawings reminiscent of the Wheel, the PMB Strength, and the Hanged Man (trumps 10, 11, 12). Well, thanks to a link that Huck provided, I can see other versions of the same drawings. In the Dresden copy, I notice that the hanging man is of the Jesus-type.
This doesn't prove anything, of course, but it is suggestive of one way that such images were portrayed, i.e. not of Judas even when the person is hanged the way Judas was (right side up). This is from http://www.handschriftencensus.de/werke/2246, which has more. The date is given as "1450."Another version of the same thing, more sophisticated--"nicht vor 1467," it says, not before 1467--is at http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db ... =2&seite=8.

Image

Re: The Hermit

#45
Marcos, I think it's a fairly common mistake caused by the reversal of letters/numbers when they're cut in the wood and then printed. I believe it was meant to be X11.

There are other similar mistakes in the minors too - look at the 6 and 7 of swords...

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: The Hermit

#47
hoo wrote:Hi mmfiles. This same card can be seen on page 4 of the 'Hanged Man' thread
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=395&start=30#p8532
By the way, doesn't this post belong in that thread rather than here in the Hermit thread?
Mod note: As noted above by hoo, the three above posts were moved to this thread rather than where originally posted.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Hanged Man

#49
It's not necessarily a typo. When you write 4 as IIII, and 9 as VIIII, it makes no difference in which order the X's and I's go. There is no ambiguity if you write IIIIV or VIIII. It's just V plus !!!! either way. Likewise IX is the same as XI, and IIX the same as XII, etc. It's one less thing to worry about, when you're doing the cutting. It's not really wrong, until such time as there's a clear convntion to write 4 as IV instead of IIII.

Re: The Hanged Man

#50
mikeh wrote:It's not necessarily a typo. When you write 4 as IIII, and 9 as VIIII, it makes no difference in which order the X's and I's go. There is no ambiguity if you write IIIIV or VIIII. It's just V plus !!!! either way. Likewise IX is the same as XI, and IIX the same as XII, etc. It's one less thing to worry about, when you're doing the cutting. It's not really wrong, until such time as there's a clear convntion to write 4 as IV instead of IIII.
It may have meant the same in the days before the subtractive method, but the odds are that if it made 'no difference' in which order the 1s were placed in relation to the Vs and Xs then surely we'd see more instances of them occurring first rather than last? Aproximately 50/50 perhaps? Maybe it wasn't really wrong as such, but I honestly don't think the designer/cutter began the cards with the idea that it was 'one less thing to worry about'.

Anyway... (%)

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

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