What I want to talk about in Shephard (The Tarot Trumps: Cosmos in Miniature
, 1985) is his comments on minchiate. However since he is building upon Moakley, a brief summary of his take on her may be in order. I will have links to the whole chapter 5 ("The Original Story") at the end of this post.
He ignores Moakley's argument about ribaldry and Carnival, and also her argument about the integration of the four suits with the triumphs, to focus on the application of the Petrarchan Triumphs. He identifies the "Charles VI" order, as given by Dummett in Game of Tarot
, as another, probably earlier, order which Moakley's analysis also fits, he thinks.
For the "Charles VI", he says Petrarch's poem does not apply to the Fool and Bagat. As support he cites Dummett, who says that both appear to be unnumbered, even if the Bagat does function as the lowest trump. (My comment: since the Bagat is missing from that deck, This is an inference, based on the Emperor's having the number 3 and the Bagat's lack of a number in the very similar Bolognese tarocchi. Another possibility is that the "Charles VI" lacked a Popess.)
What is left, excluding the Fool and Bagat, divides neatly into four groups of five: a triumph of Love, with his captives; a triumph of chastity--or, more broadly, virtue--up to and including Fortune; a Triumph of Death for the next five; and the last three Petrarchan Triumphs in the last five: a Triumph of Fame in the Star card; a Triumph of Time in the Star, Moon, and Sun ; and a Triumph of Eternity in the World and Angel. He says that it is understandable that the last group of five should contain three Petrarchan Triumphs, because these were not, before the 1440s, typical subjects for decorative art. (Actually, I don't think Death, World, or Angel were either, except in religious art.)
For the "Steele" order, he concedes that Moakley's application of Petrarch had difficulties. He thinks his version is better. His solution" is to put the Love card wholly in the "triumph of chastity" section. In that case, for the Triumph of Love, the corresponding cards are only the group of four "captives" (Empress, Emperor, Popess, Pope); in fact, he says, in the Steele order, Love is a captive of Chastity.
To me this "solution" is not very satisfactory, as in the Love card of every early deck it looks very much like Love is triumphing: Cupid is overhead, not tied up, with his bow and arrow ready to shoot. It seems to me clear that the "Charles VI" order works better in in relation to the actual cards than the "Steele" order.
Shephard says that the "Steele" order is probably later than the "Charles VI" order, a later variation on it. In that case, the "Steele" order's less satisfactory fit with Petrarch can be explained as a divergence from the intent of the original designer.
In both orders Shephard finds a place for the triumph of Fame. associating it with the Star card, leaving the Triumph of Time with the Moon and the Sun.
With regard to Minchiate, with certain adjustments, he says, it primitively has the same order as the "Charles VI". Moreover, the designs on the cards fit Petrarch better than those on the "Charles VI". For this reason he hypothesizes that the proto-minchiate-type visually is even older than the "Charles VI" type. Here is what he says (I am putting it in bold because it easier to read that way):
Before leaving the Triumphs a glance at the Minchiate will again be helpful. The Minchiate type of pack was invented in Florence sometime around the early 1500s. It was apparently constructed by adding a further twenty trumps to the already existing 21-trump type, omitting one trump of the latter, so as to bring the total to forty trumps plus The Fool. Michael Dummett has pointed out that since the twenty additional trumps in the Minchiate have been inserted at a certain
[start p. 38]
point in the sequence of standard trump subjects as a consecutive block (numbers 16 to 35) of new cards, we can remove them and study the resulting order in reasonable confidence that it represents an order in use at the time the Minchiate pack was invented. In fact, the resulting order is almost identical with the Charles VI type. What is especially interesting to us here is the precise point at which the twenty new trumps were inserted into the sequence. Their insertion immediately after trump number 15 has been made at exactly the point at which it would best give recognition to and least disturb the structure of the older cards, if those were a pack of the kind we have envisaged, broadly of Charles VI type and representing the Triumphs of Petrarch. The insertion at that point would in effect keep intact the first three sets of five cards (numbers 1 to 15) representing the Triumphs of Love, Chastity, and Death, and the introduction there of the twenty additional trumps (of theological and cosmological subjects) would place these in the natural position to lead up to the final set of five cards culminating in the Last Things, taken over from the older series.
This underlines the point that the structure of the Charles VI type of pack seems to have been based on four main groups of five cards each, and further strengthens the case for the tarot having been originally founded on the Triumphs.
One more point concerns the actual designs of the Minchiate cards. These remained exceptionally stable over the centuries and so it is likely that the twenty cards in the Minchiate taken over from older types of pack will preserve types of designs already in use in the Florence area at the time when the Minchiate was invented. For this reason it is particularly interesting to see that some of the Minchiate designs seem to fit the story of the Triumphs especially well.
For example, in the Minchiate designs, The Star shows one of the Wise Men from the East, under the Star of Bethlehem, which seems a much more fitting illustration of Fame than the lady in the new Visconti-Sforza card. The Moon includes a clockface, bringing out more clearly the connection of the card with the Triumph of Time. The Sun shows a pair of lovers who might well represent Petrarch united with Laura at the end of Time (Kaplan, p.52).
This strengthens the likelihood that one of the reasons for the new cards in the Visconti-Sforza pack was to replace designs of an older kind (broadly like those preserved in the Minchiate), which had been perfectly appropriate in a pack intended as illustrations of the Triumphs of Petrarch but which were no longer suitable when the Visconti-Sforza pack was reorganized on a different plan and with a different story.
I would add that in minchiate the Old Man never lost his hourglass. Moreover, the minchiate retains the three theological virtues and prudence as part of the numbered cards; most theorists say that they were probably also present in the Cary-Yale, which (excluding the Marziano) remains the earliest deck we know anything about other than it existed at such and such a time and such and such a place. The inclusion of the three theologicals and prudence in minchiate suggests an equally ancient origin.
A problem is that while the minchiate Chariot card has a female charioteer like the Cary-Yale, the minchiate's lady is nude. How can a nude lady represent the Petrarchan triumph of Chastity, which for Petrarch was fundamentally Pudicitia, i.e. the avoidance of shame? There are two possibilities (or a combination of both): one, that the nude lady is a change from the original, suiting late Renaissance taste; or two, that as an ideal rather than an actual woman, locating her in a Platonic heaven rather than on earth, it was appropriate to picture her nude. An example might be Titian's famous painting sometimes called "Sacred and Profane Love", where the goddess is nude and the woman clothed. There is also the change in the Star and World cards in cards associated with Milan, from clothed figures in mid-century to nude or mostly nude ones by the time of the Cary Sheet and the Sforza Castle cards.
Both Moakley and Shephard assume that the "original" tarot had 22 triumphs. That assumption is not shared by several researchers today (although others still maintain it). I should perhaps give a little history before saying how it affects Moakley's thesis.
That the tarot may have had fewer than the usual 22 special cards early on was to my knowledge first advanced by Ronald Decker in 1974 (Journal of the Playing Card Society
, Vol. 3 no. 1 (August, 1974), pp. 23ff). He suggested that the CY might have had 14 trumps (adding the 3 missing cardinal virtues, or 2 plus the Popess), bringing the total number of cards (16x4 + 14) to the usual 78. In addition, the PMB might have had either the same number, 14, or perhaps 16, the 14 that have survived plus Strength and World, which were present in the CY. Dummett objected . that with 14 (I think he oversimplifies Decker, but it doesn't matter) the total wouldn't be the requisite 78, but 70 (or 72, I'd add). The only way to have 78, he says, is to suppose that the PMB was first, with its 22 trumps, and then the CY with 14 trumps, removing 8 and replacing them with 5 others. But that is very implausible. If you want to see more, see https://askalexander.org/display/22505/ ... w=survival
for Decker and https://askalexander.org/display/22505/ ... d%20decker
In Il Mondo e l'Angelo
, Dummett asserted against Decker that it is implausible is that people thought in terms of keeping the total number of cards constant at 78. Instead, "what really matters is that the ratio between trumps and suit cards, and "it is extremely likely" that this ratio was kept constant. If the standard deck had 21 trumps to 14 suit cards, then the CY would have had to have 24 trumps to its 16 court cards per suit. This argument is presented at search.php?st=0&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&keyw ... 1&start=10
. Of course this ignores an even simpler ratio, 1:1, at the beginning, even though obviously it wasn't kept. In that case the CY would have 16 trumps and the PMB 14, now without the requirement of adding up to 78 cards total.
Dummett had in 1974 rejected the 1:1 ratio on the grounds that it was "against almost all the evidence". However that evidence is not from the beginning stages of the game. What would need to be established is that in almost all cases the most stable and popular form of a recently invented game is the same as its earliest workable version, which is surely not true.
Dummett argues, however, for the "conservatism of the players", making it possible to infer unknown previous years from known later years. No doubt players would balk at a change in the order of existing triumphs. Whether the same would be true for the addition or subtraction of triumphs is less clear. Also, there are regime changes,fashion changes, and other considerations. As conservative as I am when it comes to computers, if I had learned how to use an Atari computer first, that would not prevent me from switching to DOS or Apple when they became available and popular--especially when I couldn't buy an Atari system any longer.
Added next day:The next advocacy of a pre-22 special card was by John Berry in 1987, in a review of Robert V. O'Neill's Tarot Symbolism, which can be read at https://askalexander.org/display/22573/ ... k%20review, reproduced on THF at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1073&p=16421&hilit ... ohn#p16427.
I am not sure who was next to advocate tarots of fewer than 22 special cards, Andrea or Huck. Added next day: it seems to have been Huck, first in a 1989 book that publishers proved not to be interested in, followed by contacts to some major researchers and then in 2003 on the Internet (see Huck's two posts below). He, or the group he helped form, contacted Pratesi about the 5x14 theory in 2002, and Andrea in 2004 or 2005.
But Andrea only mentioned "8 allegories, then 14 and 16" in passing, in the exposition catalog Caravan of Tarot: Tarot:History, Art, Magic
, http://www.associazioneletarot.it/cgi-b ... arovan.pdf
, p. 7 (added next day: my copy of the catalog has the date 2006).
Huck has more detailed hypotheses, arguing for fewer than 22 in (a) the CY (16 triumphs), (b) the PMB (14 ), (c) the Charles VI (16), and (d) some Ferrara decks referred to in documents (14). Huck is also noisier, with numerous posts on THF and Aeclectic. For him the CY's 16 triumphs and no Fool became those of the PMB by removing all 7 virtue cards except the one with the Justice lady on it, because it was needed to supply the triumph of Fame, achieved by the knight in the background who fights for justice.Then there is room for 4 other trumps (16-6 + 4 = 14), plus the Fool. This result is something less solemn than a lesson on virtue. People do think that way, especially young people. (Whether it would apply to the Duke and Duchess of Milan in 1452 is less clear to me. Perhaps in Ferrara, plus or minus a dozen or so years.)
Added next day. In 2004 Dummett published an article advocating a pre-22 special cards version with 18 triumphs plus the Fool, minus only the virtues, "about 1420 and perhaps in Milan," at https://askalexander.org/display/22588/ ... %20virtues, on THF at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1073&p=16421&hilit ... ohn#p16422. He hypothesizes that the virtues were added, in "possibly Ferrara...perhaps as early as 1430" (p. 166). There is no mention of his earlier idea of the 3:2 ratio between cards per suit and triumphs.
Patrisi has also joined those willing to entertain the hypothesis of early tarots fewer in number than 22; he is careful to say it is in the realm of hypothesis, and it may well be that the tarot was always 22 subjects.(I would not disagree; nor, I think, would Huck). He has made specific speculations about a 16 triumph proto-minchiate in Florence (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1086#p16686
, which also contains my 16 triumph speculation for the CY) and the game of "VIII Emperors" made in that city for Ferrara (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1120
Recently Phaeded has argued for a 14 triumph deck early on (Empress, Emperor, Love, Chariot, Wheel, Death, Judgment, and the 7 virtues [with "World" as Prudence]), expanding to 22 for the PMB and after but with a possible period of overlap (see viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1062#p16260)/
). In this regard, it seems to me that the Cary-Yale-type needs 16 cards; having two more would also give one card for every Petrarchan triumph. I would add either the Sun or the Old Man, to represent the triumph of Time, and make Prudence and "World" (for me representing the triumph of Fame) separate cards. Phaeded denies the relevance of Petrarch, as opposed to a schema associating two cards to each of the seven planets based on quotations from Dante's Paradiso
At this point, it seems to me, all we can say is that there are alternative hypotheses, with more or less plausibility or probability (if such can be estimated) at various times and places and in various decks In relation to Moakley, researchers disagreeing about the relative merits of the various alternatives.
Relative to Moakley, it seems to me that allowing for a smaller number of subjects earlier on makes it easier both to defend the influence of Petrarch's poem on the tarot early on, and to attribute those subjects most readily amenable to ribaldry to a later development--but not as late as the PMB, which might be seen as an effort to tone down the ribaldry introduced in some other city of the early tarot. It is also easier to assign the four suits to the cards in a symmetrical way if, like in the Marziano deck, they are a multiple of four. That eventuality tends to be confirmed by the Cary-Yale triumphs' suit assignments as catalogued, whose fit seems based on information unavailable to the cataloguer and otherwise too unprecedented to have been made up by someone based on some theory or other current at the time.
Here are the scans I promised, from Shephard's book, his chapter 5, "The Original Story"
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lDtLofhXhCE/ ... ge-001.jpg
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-833vb92HEiQ/ ... ge-002.jpg
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_jeMOr0Ebic/ ... ge-003.jpg
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-h-Yrj8ZIU8A/ ... ge-004.jpg