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)