Re: New book - "Explaining the Tarot"

#21
The "inn keeper" is a standard figure in the chess interpretation of Cessolis.

The "innkeeper" appears as a card in the Master Ingold description

A figure similar to the Magician appears twice in the De Sphera manuscript of ca. 1470 . Once it is more the Bateleur (children of the moon), the other is at the children of Mercury (if I remember correctly). At the Mercury picture it's more like an innkeeper.
In cities with vine production it was custom, that each owner could profit from the visitors (even if he didn't own rooms to offer to the visitors). At least this had been custom in Germany ... he just took a table before his house and offered his goods. Indeed a rather similar scene as shown at the bateleur card.

Another innkeeper card appears in the Floetner deck from ca. 1540.

Image
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Moralization versus Iconography

#22
Hi, Ross,

Your discussion of moralizations (in the Cannocchiale Aristotelico thread) seems closely tied to Explaining the Tarot, with those two great 16th-century moralizations of Tarot, so I'll ask my question here. The passage you translated is a remarkable period recognition of the problems presented by moralizations when considered in terms of iconography, the identification and explanation of the subject matter.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:This reminds me of another 17th century off-hand moralization... [as part of] a diatribe against Estienne Pasquier, who moralized the game of Chess in his Recherches de la France (1607).

"The other question I ask of Master Pasquier, is to know how the game of Chess pertains to the RECHERCHES DE FRANCE, seeing that it is certain that the French are not its Inventors[...]

"To all this I respond in order. Firstly, if I want to write Books, and expose myself to the derision of everyone, I could allegorize all games, and I could say for example that the nine pins are the nine Muses; the bowling ball, Phoebus or the Sun, who is round like a ball, the lanes, ruled and well defined, resemble their sheet of Music. I could also say that the Courts are the image of this life and this world: that the balls are men, as the Actor would say, that the Gods treat us like balls: the racquets and sets (battoüers) by which one plays, are the desires which motivate us, and all of our different affairs which beat us and break our heads, that the cord placed in the middle of the court is the maturity of age, some going over, others going under, some pass it, some do not reach it, but at last after everything, the ball being well rallied, one must at last put it back in the containers, which are the grave; or in the nets, the image of those who are condemned and exposed in view of the whole world, on a wheel, a gibbet, a scaffold, etc.

"I could say that the game of Tarot represents a Republic better than Chess represents the Court of a King: In Tarot there is every estate like in a Republic, there are coins (deniers) to recompense the good, there are swords for the defense of the country, there are Knights, Sergeants, Acrobats (Basteleurs), Triumphs, Emperors, Popes, and fools. Whoever would like to moralize this, would make a Book bigger than the Recherches of Master Pasquier."

(R.P. François Garasse, Les recherches des recherches et autres oeuvres de Me Estienne Pasquier, Paris, Sebastien Chappelet, 1622 ; pp. 217, 220-222)
It's a shame, as you note, that he didn't spend time spinning out a Tarot story. It would have been interesting to see what he did with it, (especially given that he began by noting "every estate"). As demonstrated year after year, decade after decade, and generation after generation, anything whatsoever can be read into Tarot -- or any other allegedly allegorical vessel. Garasse understood this as clearly as the lying author of the Steele Sermon or Antoine Court de Gébelin, both of whom imposed nonsense on the hapless card game.

The distinction between moralizations and iconography is crucial in terms of using the two essays as a mirror of the sensibilities of the day while not assuming that the marginally coherent programmes adequately explain the subjects or their sequence in any but the most general manner. That point was mentioned directly and indirectly in several places in my review, including the sidebar on suit-card moralizations. Suit-sign readings have always verged on the fatuous, often crossing over, and I've posted earler versions of that list several times over the years in response to fools who seek the "true" meaning. The inclusion of some vapid allegory for suit-signs in an interpretation of Tarot is subject to the same criticism offered by Garasse -- it is certain that the inventor of Tarot did not have any input on the choice of suit-signs, so indulge any impertinent imposition whatsoever. The inclusion of the suit cards is a hallmark of imposed moralization rather than a competent allegorical reading, whether or not the history of the deck is known.

The distinction between moralizations, which are essentially what occultists from 1781 to the present have concocted, and iconography is so fundamental that I began the old Riddle of Tarot by pointing out the difference and using it to explain the purpose of the page. This was the first paragraph:
Michael wrote:Many interpretations can be—and have been—concocted to accompany the Tarot trumps, just as various moral allegories have been attached to chess and regular playing cards. The thing that sets Tarot apart from other games that have moralized content associated with them is that Tarot actually had immediately recognizable, specific and systematic allegorical content designed into the tokens of play, the pictures on the trump cards. The presence of subjects such as the Emperor and Pope, Justice, Temperance, Death, the Devil, and the Angel of the Last Resurrection indicate moral content at a glance. The Tarot trumps exhibit a remarkable didactic design, a schematic outline of Christian salvation, in the same Triumph of Death tradition as many other medieval and Renaissance works of art. They present this summula salvationis via traditional medieval concepts such as the three estates, the Fall of Princes motif, and Revelation’s eschatological triumphs over the Devil and death. Deciphering that original moral subject matter, the meaning of the cards and their sequence, is the riddle of Tarot: interpreting the images and their order in such a manner as to make sense of the whole, honoring the “author’s message” rather than rewriting it. That is the purpose of this essay.
Given my perennial (and extreme) fondness for that theme, I was wondering if you had any other such comments on moralizations from the 17th or 18th century.

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Moralization versus Iconography

#23
Hi Michael,
mjhurst wrote: Given my perennial (and extreme) fondness for that theme, I was wondering if you had any other such comments on moralizations from the 17th or 18th century.
before Marco's translation of Tesauro today, I had only 6 full or partial moralizations at all, from the Steele Sermon to Minucci (1688).

You know the two 16th century discourses now, so maybe Minucci is the only one you hadn't seen (he only moralizes the last 5 cards of Minchiate).

I don't know any 18th century ones, until Court de Gébelin's.

I inserted Marco's remarks as number 6 - I'll correct and augment it later. Note that this is as it was written about 3 years ago - so the summary remarks about Anonymous (and the date) should be ignored.

Allegorizations Of The Trump Series, Full And Partial, Before 1781

This section deals with literary interpretations of the standard trump series (excluding complete revisionings of the series such as the game invented by Boiardo, or the Sola Busca, Rouen, and Mitelli packs).

Quasi-allegorical (15th century to present).

1. The Steele Sermon calls the series “21 steps on a ladder to Hell”; additionally, it offers glosses on the titles of some of the figures, such as “little world” for the Chariot, and “God the Father” for the World. These can be understood as allegorical interpretations. However, the author does not offer a complete synthetic view of the sequence, explaining how each “step” follows the other, and we must really wonder how he could consider a series whose final cards are of increasing celestial brightness and end with “God the Father” as “steps on a ladder to hell.” We should probably regard him as not commenting on the meaning of the series itself, but on the fact that the images are being used as a game at all.

2. Like the Sermon, literary Appropriati take the trumps as symbols worthy of allegorical explanation, but no extant examples attempt to moralize the hierarchical order as such; images are explained either in isolation, or in groups arbitrarily arranged.

Full Moralizations (16th century only).

3. Piscina, 1565. Discorso sopra l’ordine delle figure dei Tarocchi. This seems to be the first attempt to tell a story with the trumps in hierarchical order.

4. Anonymous Discourse, c. 1570. Journey of the Soul.

Partial Moralizations (17th century).

5. Garasse, 1622. Not a sincere attempt, but a parody moralizing the series vaguely as representing a Republic.

The other question I ask of Master Pasquier, is to know how the game of Chess pertains to the RECHERCHES DE FRANCE, seeing that it is certain that the French are not its Inventors, as he could learn in the verse of the Italian Gerolamo Vida: but in the Recherches de France why rather put the games of the Paume and Chess, than the games of Tarot, Bowling, the short ball, and others that are more in use among the French than the game of Chess, which requires rather a Spanish patience, not a French impatience?

Moreover, Master Pasquier, in treating of the game of Chess, asks and looks for the reasons why the Rook goes straight, the Bishop (fou) diagonal, the Knight jumping, the Queen (Dame) in all directions, and the Pawns and the King have only one step; and by his cleverness associates all these particulars to the affairs of the State. The Pawns, he says, are the common people, the Knights are the Nobility, the Queen the Courtesans, the Rooks the Counsel, and the Bishops are those who are personally nearest to the Kings, as it happens that in the game of Chess the Bishops are normally beside the King.

To all this I respond in order. Firstly, if I want to write Books, and expose myself to the derision of everyone, I could allegorize all games, and I could say for example that the nine pins are the nine Muses; the bowling ball, Phoebus or the Sun, who is round like a ball, the lanes, ruled and well defined, resemble their sheet of Music. I could also say that the Courts are the image of this life and this world: that the balls are men, as the Actor would say, that the Gods treat us like balls: the racquets and sets (battoüers) by which one plays, are the desires which motivate us, and all of our different affairs which beat us and break our heads, that the cord placed in the middle of the court is the maturity of age, some going over, others going under, some pass it, some do not reach it, but at last after everything, the ball being well rallied, one must at last put it back in the containers, which are the grave; or in the nets, the image of those who are condemned and exposed in view of the whole world, on a wheel, a gibbet, a scaffold, etc.

I could say that the game of Tarot represents a Republic better than Chess represents the Court of a King: In Tarot there is every estate like in a Republic, there are coins (deniers) to recompense the good, there are swords for the defense of the country, there are Knights, Sergeants, Acrobats (Basteleurs), Triumphs, Emperors, Popes, and fools. Whoever would like to moralize this, would make a Book bigger than the Recherches of Master Pasquier.

(R.P. François Garasse, Les recherches des recherches et autres oeuvres de Me Estienne Pasquier, Paris, Sebastien Chappelet, 1622 ; pp. 217, 220-222)

6. Emmanuele Tesauro, 1654. Emanuele Tesauro was born in Turin in 1592 and died in the same city in 1675. He entered the Jesuit Order in 1611. In 1654 he composed the Cannocchiale Aristotelico (Aristotelian Spyglass), the most important baroque rhetoric essay.

The passage about Tarot and Chess belongs to the discussion of “Inventions in which the fictional character makes use of gestures and actions, without words”.

Finally whatever of pleasant and ingenious we find in Mute Games proceeds from the same source; [these games] represent some heroic subjects. Such is the game of Tarot; a deign creation of a barbarous mind, in which you see a mixed tangle of all the people in the world, with their devices. The Rich with Money, the Drunkards with the Cup, the Warriors with the Sword, the Shepherds with Maces. Emperors, Prelates, Angels, Demons: almost as if the Player holding a deck of cards had to keep the whole World in his hand, and the game were nothing but a metaphor of messing up the universe: who brings more ruin is the winner. But the most heroic and cunning game, a school of war, is that of Chess. In a small battle field you see two ordered armies, one of White Assyrians and the other of Black Africans. And here there are Kings, Queens, Warriors, Knights, Towering Elephants, and Infantry facing, assaulting, ambushing, surprising, running, helping, fighting, covering, taking prisoners and taking them out of the world at the command of the two Players, as if they where the masters of the battle. Until when the squads of the enemy are defeated and the King (the only one whose life is spared) is arrested: a tiring but sweet victory ends a conflict without bloodshed but not without anger for the loser. The game was conceived by the warlike mind of Palamedes among the Greek tends, in order to fight against idleness. You must not be surprised if an armed Pallas was born out of the brain of Jove and armies where born out of the brain of a Soldier. What is this game but a heroic symbol, a continuing metaphor? Where those little simulacra, animated by the living hand, allegorically represent an intellectual conflict, and have movement as their Motto. So the Player is transfigured in in the characters represented by those wooden warriors, and the mind of the Player lives in our images. (p.57-58)

(Andrea Vitali; translation and commentary by Marco Ponzi)

7. Paolo Minucci, 1688. Commentary on a the poem Il Malmantile racquistato of Lorenzo Lippi (1676). Last five cards of Minchiate pack (Arie) represent Triumph of Fame (he does not interpret the rest, except to say that all the cards are “hieroglyphs and celestial signs”).

MINCHIATE. A well-known game, called also Tarocchi, Ganellini, or Germini. But since it is little used outside of our Tuscany, or at least played differently from us, in order to understand the present Octameter I think it is necessary to know how the game of minchiate is played. This game is composed of ninety-seven cards, of which 56 are called Cartacce, and 40 are called Tarocchi, and one, which is called The Matto. The 56 cards are divided into four types, which are called Semi, among which are depicted fourteen Denari, (which Galeotto Marzio says used to be bread anciently), in 14 Coppe, in 14 Spade, and in 14 Bastoni: and each type of these suits (semi) begins from one, which is called Asso, and ends at ten, and in the eleventh is depicted a Valet, in the 12 a Knight, in the 13 a Queen, and in the 14 a King: and all of these suit cards, outside of the Kings, are called cartacce. The 40 are called Germini o Tarocchi: and this word Tarocchi, says Monosino, comes from the Greek hetaros: with which word, he says with Alciato, it Denotes those companions, who come together to play for nourishment. But I do not know this word, what it would be; I know well that hetairos and hetaroi means Sodales: and from this word, coming down into Latin, could be made the diminutive Hetaroculi, that is to say Little Companions. Germini comes from Gemini, a celestial sign, which has the highest number among the Tarocchi. In these Tarocchi cards are depicted different hieroglyphs and celestial signs, and each has his number, from one to 35; and the last five ending at 40 have no number, but are distinguished by the figures impressing their order of precedence, which is in this order Star, Moon, Sun, World, and Trumpet, which is the highest, and would have the number 40. The allegory is, that just as the Stars are outshone by the Moon, and the Moon by the Sun, so the World is bigger than the Sun, and Fame, shown with the Trumpet, is worth more than the World: inasmuch as that when a man is gone, he continues to live through fame, when he has performed glorious acts. Likewise Petrarch made Trionfi like a game, since Love is superseded by Chastity, Chastity by Death, Death by Fame, and Fame by Divinity, which reigns eternally. Also, the last card is not numbered 41, but is figured with the image of a Fool [note: after this there is no more allegory; Minucci proceeds to a description of the use of the Fool, and the rest of the rules of Minchiate].

(Lorenzo Lippi, Il Malmantile racquistato. Poema di Perlone Zipoli, con le note di Puccio Lamoni (Florence, 1688); “Perlone Zipoli” is the pseudonymn of Lorenzo Lippi, and “Puccio Lamoni” for Paolo Minucci)
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Re: Moralization versus Iconography

#24
mjhurst wrote: As demonstrated year after year, decade after decade, and generation after generation, anything whatsoever can be read into Tarot -- or any other allegedly allegorical vessel. Garasse understood this as clearly as the lying author of the Steele Sermon or Antoine Court de Gébelin, both of whom imposed nonsense on the hapless card game.
Your right of course , year after year, decade after decade, century after century, the cards just as the stars are open to allegory: that is the truth, not that anyones allegory is more truthuful than anothers; any more than the stars were created according to some ancient mythological interpetation of the accidental patterns read into them. I like the null hypothesis, in which terms Gebelins and Steeles, the demonic liturgy and Anonymous and every other lying author's allegorical interpretation is as 'authentic' as any others. The only obvious 'truth' is its open nature to allegorical interpretation, which may change with almost protean capacity to time and place. I think the null hypothesis, in which any allegorical reading is authentic as another, a poetic convention of rhetorical tropes, ready to be read in any order, a sort of narrative machine, may well become the favoured modern 'occultists' reading:)
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: Moralization versus Iconography

#25
SteveM wrote:
Your right of course , year after year, decade after decade, century after century, the cards just as the stars are open to allegory: that is the truth, not that anyones allegory is more truthuful than anothers; any more than the stars were created according to some ancient mythological interpetation of the accidental patterns read into them. I like the null hypothesis, in which terms Gebelins and Steeles, the demonic liturgy and Anonymous and every other lying author's allegorical interpretation is as 'authentic' as any others. The only obvious 'truth' is its open nature to allegorical interpretation, which may change with almost protean capacity to time and place. I think the null hypothesis, in which any allegorical reading is authentic as another, a poetic convention of rhetorical tropes, ready to be read in any order, a sort of narrative machine, may well become the favoured modern 'occultists' reading:)

I couldn't disagree more. Of course I'm dogmatic, and somewhat authoritarian, but a good dresser none the less.

@};-



"We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires."

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

Re: Moralization versus Iconography

#26
I couldn't disagree more.
Me too, to an extent. I like to believe there was an intended 'narrative', nonetheless as yet we have nothing but individual allegorical interpretations, none of which, past or present, yours, mine or anyone elses is sufficient to knock the null hypothesis of its perch. All that has been demonstrated with any degree of authority is the flexibility of the cards to moralisations and allegorical interpretations.
Of course I'm dogmatic, and somewhat authoritarian,
Me too.
but a good dresser none the less.
Left or right?
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: Moralization versus Iconography

#27
SteveM wrote:
I couldn't disagree more.
Me too, to an extent. I like to believe there was an intended 'narrative', nonetheless as yet we have nothing but individual allegorical interpretations, none of which, past or present, yours, mine or anyone elses is sufficient to knock the null hypothesis of its perch. All that has been demonstrated with any degree of authority is the flexibility of the cards to moralisations and allegorical interpretations.
Of course I'm dogmatic, and somewhat authoritarian,
Me too.
but a good dresser none the less.
Left or right?

It is often the case people will agree to disagree, but I'm quite certain this is the first time I've ever disagreed to agree. :))
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: Moralization versus Iconography

#28
SteveM wrote:I think the null hypothesis, in which any allegorical reading is authentic as another, a poetic convention of rhetorical tropes, ready to be read in any order, a sort of narrative machine, may well become the favoured modern 'occultists' reading:)
It's true that the theory of no set meaning being the intention of the designer is the modern occultists' favored understanding (I don't even think there are many occultists around anymore - we are "post-occultist" - there are users and producers of Tarot cards, some are pure art, using only the form of a tarot deck to display an artistic vision, others are reading decks, intended solely for intuitive divination; occultism, in the true sense descending from the French or English esoteric schools, is a small fraction of Tarot users), but the term "null-hypothesis" is a historical theory, not an interpretative one.

The term "null-hypothesis" (coined I believe by Michael Hurst) refers to Dummett's suggestion in Game of Tarot that the inventor of the game might have had no intention to produce a narrative or coherent allegory in his choice of images and their sequence for the game. The theory is that the inventor chose the images out of many conventional images available, in a vaguely conceived hierarchy that everyone would recognize and easily commit to memory, for the purpose of trumps in a game - no moral story, no narrative.

So "null-hypothesis", as originally coined at least, doesn't mean that the cards were intended to mean anything anybody wants them to mean - it means that, as a sequence, they have no intentional meaning at all except to represent positions in a hierarchy, and can be replaced by any other pictures, or just plain numbers, without losing their original purpose.
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Re: Moralization versus Iconography

#29
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
SteveM wrote: The term "null-hypothesis" (coined I believe by Michael Hurst) refers to Dummett's suggestion in Game of Tarot that the inventor of the game might have had no intention to produce a narrative or coherent allegory in his choice of images and their sequence for the game. The theory is that the inventor chose the images out of many conventional images available, in a vaguely conceived hierarchy that everyone would recognize and easily commit to memory, for the purpose of trumps in a game - no moral story, no narrative.

So "null-hypothesis", as originally coined at least, doesn't mean that the cards were intended to mean anything anybody wants them to mean - it means that, as a sequence, they have no intentional meaning at all except to represent positions in a hierarchy, and can be replaced by any other pictures, or just plain numbers, without losing their original purpose.
I understand that Ross, but thanks for clarifying it, my post wasn't clear.
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: Moralization versus Iconography

#30
SteveM wrote:
Me too, to an extent. I like to believe there was an intended 'narrative', nonetheless as yet we have nothing but individual allegorical interpretations, none of which, past or present, yours, mine or anyone elses is sufficient to knock the null hypothesis of its perch. All that has been demonstrated with any degree of authority is the flexibility of the cards to moralisations and allegorical interpretations.
Exactement!(and Precisement!)
Anyways why I am posting is that I have got my self organised to purchase via the web and have made orders through Amazon for books that I cannot get here in New Zealand.
The problem with this book, that I am interested in reading, is that there are no copies available in Amazon USA/Britain/Australia/New Zealand. Is this likely to change? I cannot use Paypal.
Many Thanks
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

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