Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky

hi Phaeded,
Phaeded wrote:
01 Jul 2018, 19:22

There are so many glossing over of the facts in order to make the Petrarch theory work that it still makes the head spin.

No one in Quattrocento northern Italy would make the equation of Justice with sword = Fama without an an attribute of Fama. (hell, the Peselino c. 1450 example of Fame at the end of my post doesn't even hold a sword]

Chariot-as-Chastity only exist in a single exemplar, the CY (which speaks of a bride's chastity, Bianca's, versus the abstract virtue, and indeed Chasitity's shield is personalized with the Visconti radiate dove, not some generic "chastity" symbol). Moreover, If Petrarch was the organizing principle why does every other example of the Chariot show a MALE???

The Dick Tarot is a follower of this. The PMB has also a female charioteer. You definitely spoke nonsense with " why does every other example of the Chariot show a MALE???". Isn't it curious, that just those decks, which are considered very early, had the female charioteer? The earliest male charioteer, from which we know, is the male figure in the Charles VI Trionfi deck.

Especially vexing is your continued assumption that the surviving PMB cards somehow form a complete tarot set (instead of the consensus opinion that these are surviving cards forming part of a deck). At all events, most of these have NOTHING to do with Petrarch

We speak of a card deck type, which developed in long years, even centuries. Is it not imaginable for you, that this object changed with the time? Or that there were different interpretations even at the same time? That Florentine and and Ferrarese and Milanese decks had local differences? That even decks in one city might have been different considerably?
Is it clear to you, that we know from the complete Trionfi development in 15th century probably only less than 1percent ? The Petrarca Trionfi fashion started 1440, as far we know it from the letter of Piero di Medici. From the same time we have the first Trionfi card deck note. Do you indeed assume, that this was accidental?
We have no Trionfi card note, which tells us, that decks with 22 trumps existed till the Boiardo Trionfi card poem, which I date to c. 1487. If you know something different, you could tell me. We have on the other side the 70 cards note in 1457 (which indicates a 5x14 deck), the 14 pictures mentioned at 1.1.1441 and we have the 14 trump cards of the first painter of the PMB. Sure, that is not much, but the argument for early decks with 22 trumps have less evidence, cause there is nothing. Second to this we've a broad tradition of decks with 5 suits (already mentioned 1377), which was not so common as decks with 4 suits, but not really rare. Between these is also deck with 5x14-structure (Master PW).

Magician (1 in the game with the Milanese order) [not in Petrarch]
Popess (2) [not in Petrarch]
Empress (3) [not in Petrarch]
Emperor (4) [not in Petrarch]
Pope (5) [not in Petrarch]
Love (6)
Chariot (woman on chariot) (7) [only in the CY]
Justice (with knight) (8) [not in Petrarch]
Father Time (with hourglass) (9) [I would argue this is Saturn, but besides the point]
Wheel (10) [not in Petrarch, and Time can't be represented twice as both the "Hermit" and "Wheel"]
(0 or 11 ?) = Fool [not in Petrarch]
Hanging Man (Traitor) (12) [not in Petrarch]
Death (13)
(14 ? or 20) Jugement [not in Petrarch, and is not Eternity, which contemporary depiction has God in heaven with angels, not salvation and damning of those on earth; the Pesellino example of Petrarch's Eternity makes this abundantly clear below, showing the sequence of Fame (sans sword), Time and Eternity]

"Development" means, that something changes with the time. If Petrarca had 6 allegorical figures, later decks might have incorporated the 6 Petrarca figures plus figures from other contexts. Minchiate includes for example the 12 zodiac signs plus 4 elements plus 7 virtues plus etc ... is that astonishing to you? Don't you recognize the zodiac signs, if they appear in a Minchiate?

The picture of the Judgement is a little strange for "Eternity", but Eternity knows many variants in the Petrarca editions.

Sure, these pictures have the theme, that Eternity wins over the 5 figures or wins over Time, a theme which became popular especially in France.


Is it impossible, that the old man in the bathtub with two younger girls was meant as "Father Time"? Just in the case of a funny painter in the year 1452?
Well, might be, that the figure left is a man. Father Time with Adam and Eve.

Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky

Adam is indeed interesting.

Adam was created at the 6th day, and that was the 6th of April.
Jesus died at a 6th of April.
Petrarca met Laura at the 6th of April 1327.
3x7 years later ...
Laura closed eyes and died at the same day (6th of April, but 1348) in the same hour of the day, when they had met for the first time.

Petrarca was crowned 1341 as poetus laureatus. I read, that this was curiously a 9th of April.

Petrarca wrote c. 1341 (the time, when he wrote Africa) a series of biographies of famous men.
One book contained 24-36 (depending on the edition) male persons. These persons appeared all in Africa.
The second book contained 12 biographies, more mythical persons. The first of them was Adam.
Adam - Noah - Nimrod - Ninus - Semiramis - Abraham - Isaac - Jacob - Joseph - Moses - Jason - Hercules

De viris illustribus ... (Petrarch)

Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky

Connection between Adam and 6th of April


Ge­denk­tag ka­tho­lisch: 23. Ja­nu­ar, 24. De­zem­ber
Ge­denk­tag evan­ge­lisch: 24. De­zem­ber (EKD)
19. De­zem­ber (LCMS)

Ge­denk­tag or­tho­dox: vor­letz­ter Sonn­tag im Ad­vent
Er­in­ne­rung an die Ver­trei­bung aus dem Pa­ra­dies: letz­ter Sonn­tag vor der Fas­ten­zeit (= Kä­se­sonn­tag / Sonn­tag der Ver­ge­bung)

Ge­denk­tag ar­me­nisch: 26. De­zem­ber
li­tur­gi­sche Feier am 2. Don­ners­tag nach dem Ver­klä­rungssonn­tag
Ge­dächt­nis der Ver­trei­bung aus dem Pa­ra­dies: 2. Sonn­tag der Fas­ten­zeit

Ge­denk­tag kop­tisch: 1. April

Ge­denk­tag äthio­pisch-or­tho­dox: 1. April

Ge­denk­tag sy­risch-or­tho­dox: 29. Au­gust, Diens­tag nach Os­tern
To­des­tag im Alter von 930 Jah­ren
Tag sei­ner Er­schaf­fung und To­des­tag: 6. April

Name be­deu­tet: der Mann aus Erde / der Mensch (hebr.)

Ur­va­ter der Mensch­heit
* (nach jü­di­scher Zeit­rech­nung:) 13. Ok­to­ber 3761 v. Chr.
† (nach jü­di­scher Zeit­rech­nung:) 2831 v. Chr.

From "Petrarch in English" by Thomas Roche ... 22&f=false


Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky

I should have said only the CY Chariot has an attribute of Chastity (yes the PMB and Dick have a woman, but I believe both are Milanese and close to the original rationale for why the Charioteer was female - it was Bianca as the founder of the Sforza off-shoot of the Visconti least how Sforza propaganda would have put it, and she is only in the guise of chastity in her wedding dowry CY deck). And the Dick example you provided has zero to do with Chastity - if anything it is justice or a ruler, holding the orb of rulership along with a sword.

The bottom line is you are pushing for Petrarch and one of the few trumps that can be explicitly linked to his 6 subject scheme - the Chariot-as-chastity - is abandoned after the CY as there is no longer a single attribute of Chastity (same with the World-as-fame - after the CY there is no longer an attribute of Fame so there is zero connection of Petrach's Fama trionfi to tarot after the CY deck). How is the below PMB trump Chastity? And clearly they knew of the CY version, so why completely abandon the Chastity connection if Petrarch was the meaning and source?

As for your French examples of Eternity (Pesselino on the other hand is contemporary, in time and location) - which look nothing like the tarot trump at all events - is typical of your wayward searching, far and wide from tarot proper. Especially off base is this comment of yours: "...that Eternity wins over the 5 figures or wins over Time, a theme which became popular especially in France." Never in tarot, and you counted two of God's angels in the PMB Judgement example as "won over" (the angels don't need to be won over), something you threw out there to try to match the number of five figures beneath the image not even labeled eternity but "Le Triumphe de Dvinite". At all events, no early source ever confuses Judgement with Eternity - that is something you made up. Piscina merely describes the Marseilles version while the Anonymous Discorso calls Judgement by its correct name: "He is represented by Justice, because at Judgement day he will be a most righteous and severe Judge, repaying everyone according to their deeds" (Caldwell translation, 2010: 63) Instead of searching the corpus of tarot you have searched through the corpus of illustrated Petrarch editions, which are not in any way equivalent to tarot.

The bottom line for your Petrach theory: half of the 6 Petrarch themes disappear altogether after the CY deck - the winged trumpet on the "World" and the Chasity's jousting shield are not to be seen again and no Petrarchan attribute replaces them; Eternity was never even present - wholly a re-imagining of Judgement by you. Why the six Petrarch themes would have ever been combined with 8 or 10 or 16 other unconnected themes to begin with to create a tarot deck is a problem that leads you even further into convoluted reasoning.

The proof you are dead wrong about the earliest known Judgement as some form of Eternity is written on the very card itself!

CY Judgement detail.JPG
(52.78 KiB) Not downloaded yet
surgite to Judicium - "Arise to judgment"


Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky


The large colour image Huck provided is the Issy Chariot, so-called because owed by the Musée français de la Carte à jouer, at Issy-les-Moulineaux, France. This card belongs with a Queen of Cups and Knight of Coins at the National Museum at Warsaw (Kaplan I, p. 109), and a Queen of Coins that was sold at auction in 2005.
See -

Because they recall the school of Cosimo Tura, Depaulis gives their provenance as Ferrara, circa 1455 (there may be other reasons for dating and provenance I don't recall).

The heraldry of the coin held by the Queen and Knight is clear, and should give some known relationship if not date. I don't know if the object held by the charioteer bears any heraldry.

The "Dick" Huck refers to is a half card of the Chariot on the Dick Sheet, shown at the second link above.

Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky

I am sorry not to have been able to contribute to this interesting discussion, as until recently I have been focused on Andrea's iconological essays, or else Alain's. But Andrea and Alain are taking a break, and I have time at the moment. I was happy to see Sandy's playing with the idea of the Popess card as a replacement for Prudence--an idea that Dummett once had--and the celestials as replacing the theological virtues. I would suggest, however, that such a change would have happened not in the same city, going from a court milieu to a popular milieu, but in going from one city to another, in a popular milieu that did not even exist in the previous city.

My reasoning is that people of the court would have been interested in how the cards had spread to the people and have made it their business to inform the card makers of their errors. Given that Milan was an autocracy ruled by the probable sponsor of the court game, the card makers would have probably corrected themselves.

Nonetheless I can see a court game of the CY-type, made with women and girls in mind (given the female pages and knights), as spreading to one other group, namely the mercenary soldiers. They would have found the idea of female knights and pages ridiculous, and no one would have objected to their removal for that milieu. In fact we have the remains of just such a deck, the Brera-Brambilla. I would imagine that both types of decks existed simultaneously, in different milieus of the same city.

It cannot be concluded that with 14 cards per suit, the trumps would have reduced to 14. The problem is that it is hard to say which would have been eliminated, since all 16 appear later in Florence, in minchiate. Perhaps Ferrara had a 14 trump tarot, since it is there that we see the "14 figures" of New Year's 1441, apparently Leonello's gift to Bianca Maria, whatever they are, and the 70-card triumph decks of 1457, which could be 5x14, but also could be 4x48 + 22, as Pratesi suggests somewhere).

In 1436 Francesco Sforza left the employ of Filippo Maria Visconti, I assume taking his men with him, and went to work for the Florence of Cosimo de' Medici, whose lifelong friend he became. This would have been a perfectly good time for the cards to travel south, in their Brera-Brambilla form. Surely it is not too preposterous to hypothesize that the tarot existed in pre-1436 Milan, at least to a limited extent, if the great Dummett did so himself, both in his 1993 book and in his 2004 IPCS Journal article on the virtues (in which he also hypothesized an 18 trump tarot prior to the 21 trump version).

That the later minchiate had the four virtues lacking in the tarot is evidence of a weak sort that such an early tarot, with precisely those four virtues, existed in Florence at some point, perhaps influenced by Milan. The three theologicals conform in some details to those of the Cary-Yale, There is also the Chariot card, with its female charioteer (even if her nudity suggests that any connection to Pudicitia has been lost), and Love, with its kneeling lover like the bowing lover in the CY. This leads to the hypothesis, suggested weakly by Pratesi ( ... ti-di.html), that an early Florentine tarot contained precisely the same trumps as the Cary-Yale, although in the minchiate order, and that such a deck transformed itself into minchiate over the course of time (references to a game called minchiate or gemini appear at around 20 year intervals starting in 1466). At the same time--let us imagine--other card makers in Florence, perceiving that the presence of the theological virtues might interfere with the enjoyment of what was after all an illegal game condemned by evangelical preachers, may have transformed them into the celestials, for a tavern-centered milieu. So we have an early stage of both games, minchiate and the A order tarot, in Florence.

In Milan it would have been advisable to keep some similarity in pictorial resemblance when the cards changed from theologicals to celestials, so that players could recognize the old series in the new, i.e. a lady praying to something in the upper right corner ( ... arSpes.jpg), a lady holding something vaguely round ( ... anItal.jpg), a young child and something hot (fire, the sun) ( ... tySun4.jpg .

In Florence and Bologna the cards produced for the celestials are different: we are dealing with a new milieu, served by new card makers, who want to satisfy both traditionalists, who see the educational value of the theologicals, and idlers who might want to use the imagery to justify their time in the taverns. So Hope becomes the Star of Bethlehem that we see in Bologna and probably Ferrara ( ... othshl.jpg), made more obvious in minchiate ( ... peStar.jpg), which by having the star in the corner manages to be something like Hope. Faith becomes the light that illuminates the darkness.albeit also studied by astronomers ( ... othsch.jpg), And Charity becomes that celestial body without which life would not exist, which gives its energy to plants and animals abundantly without any need for recompense (most memorably on one of the Ferrarese sheets, third from the left at ... villel.JPG . That Clotho is on the ChVI and Bolognese Sun card ( ... eville.jpg) brings out this fact: for she is the one who weaves the thread of life that the others measure and cut ( The loving couple on the minchiate card similarly suggest progeny to come, life sustaining life. Moreover, notice that in minchiate the theologicals and prudence are placed exactly where in the tarot lists the celestials appear, immediately before whichever of the Angel and the World came first.

It could be argued that we cannot say whether the celestials or the theologicals came first; in other words, Filippo may have been the one to make the change, from the celestials as they appeared in Florence to his theologicals in Milan. They may have started out as just the objects themselves, as in the Rosenwald, then changed to theologicals by Filippo, that change affecting the later, more elaborate designs of the ChVI, the Bolognese, and the "2nd artist" PMB celestials.

I do not find that argument very convincing; it is quite a leap from celestials to theologicals, more than between theologicals to celestials, as celestials habitually symbolize aspects of the sacred, but the theological virtues do not spring to mind when one is confronted with a star, a moon, and a sun. However it till may be true that Filippo removed the celestials in some existing sequence elsewhere and inserted theologicals, without seeing himself as changing one into the other.

There is also the fact that in the tarot the celestials always occur in the same order relative to each other. That suggests that unlike cards that vary within the groups, these cards, once invented, spread to cities where the distinctive parts of the orders had already been established: they came as a bloc, at a time when trade and mixing of regions was higher compared to earlier. If so, they would not have been a part of the first wave of the popular tarot (as opposed to the wave of the court and mercenary tarot), in which the order was uncertain except for the boundaries of Dummett's three groups and what went in them. But once the celestials had been developed they would have been exported to other centers.

The problem is that we don't know when that would have happened; it might have been before Filippo thought of the CY. What can be said, however, that the ChVI and Bolognese celestials, as opposed to those of the Rosenwald, look like they have been influenced by the theologicals of the CY-type. If so, we may suppose those celestials influencing those of Milan, when relations between Milan and those cities in the Florentine orbit (e.g. Bologna) improved (i.e. after 1450). The Milanese card makers would have had no trouble coming up with a version of the tarot in something resembling the Florentine order, although, influenced by previous Milan decks and the court, they would have had certain preferences, such as the order of the virtues (derived from Cicero and Aquinas as opposed to Plato's Republic) and mingling them with other cards (for which see more below) rather than having them all one after the other. And perhaps the theologicals were not removed right away, or for some other reason they wanted to keep some kind of correspondence between the earlier theologicals and the new celestials. So there are the visual resemlances I have already pointed out.

Pratesi in his discussion (the above plus favored the priority of Florence over Milan, even with exactly the same trumps, except in the minchiate order. However here, it seems to me, we have to acknowledge the preceding deck of the Marziano, whose deck had 16 triumphs, each assigned to a particular suit, 4 to a suit, and moreover chose the 16 in accord with an underlying commonality, the 12 Olympians plus 4 demigods, on which he imposed a hierarchy (see the table at

On this basis it is possible to reconstruct the CY precisely. For the four suits, in place of Marziano's Virtues, Riches, Virginities, and Pleasures, we have the four cardinal virtues. More precisely, we may observe that Justice has a sword, that Fortitude was often shown with a spear (e.g. by Giotto), that Temperance has cups, and that Prudence was depicted holding a looking=glass, whose roundness is the same as that of a coin. Indeed in 1551 one writer, Innocento Ringhieri, made precisely those associations, in describing the suits of a so called "Game of the King" (Kaplan Encyclopedia vol. 1, p. 30): Justice to swords, Fortitude to "columns" (like the spear, associated with that virtue), Temperance to cups, and Prudence to "mirrors" (no doubt round ones).

We also cannot overlook that assigning four cards to each of the four suits is entirely supported by the suit assignments given on the Beinecke website for these cards. Whenever they were done, it is a reasonable set of assignments. (In favor of their being original, consider that assignments of trumps to suits otherwise were only made once in the history of the tarot, before Moakley's speculations in the 1950s, in precisely the Marziano, and the latter lay unnoticed in one archive or another until 1898, when a summary was published that did not mention suit assignments. These were not mentioned until Pratesi in 1989, and the Beinecke curator assures me by email that his library did not make them up. They are different from Moakley's, too. But as I say, wherever they come from they are reasonable assignments.)

I want to make clear what this reconstruction into 16 cards is that I am talking about. It is derived from the 11 surviving cards, including their order in the sequence, on the Beinecke website (but adding the usual titles for World and Angel), plus inserting the missing 3 virtues and 2 other cards, Time (from Petrarch) and the Wheel (from Boccaccio). Notice especially that the order of the theologicals is the same as in minchiate, Hope, Faith, Charity, as opposed to what we might expect, the Faith, Hope, and Charity of St. Paul. And there is also the Angel put after World, which no one before or since has ever associated with Milan:

Swords/Justice: Empress, Emperor, Love, and - somewhere in the group - Justice.
Staves/Fortitude: Fortitude, Hope, Faith, and - somewhere in the group -Wheel.
Cups/Temperance: Charity, Chariot, Death and - somewhere in the group -Temperance.
Coins/Prudence: World, Angel, and - somewhere in the group - Prudence and Time.

I also want to make it clear that the Petrarchan/Boccaccian analysis of the 7 relevant cards only applies to the CY (and perhaps the BB). If women are on other Chariots, that is not to suggest that they represent Chastity, but rather that the CY is not an isolated case, and one may derive from another. "Fame" of course has the trumpet and the famous knight, Francesco. Time has the card seen in the Catania, ChVI, and the PMB,, the first of these surely fairly early (1445?). And yes, the image of Time, the Old Man, is derived from Saturn, usually depicted as an old man with a scythe much like the Old Man's staff; but it is by way of the Greek pun Chronos/Cronos, the addition of the hourglass, and the removal of the scythe's defining blade. As for the Last Judgment, it is referred to explicitly by Petrarch in his "Triumph of Eternity". However in general it is not from Petrarch's poems that the subjects on the cards derive, but merely their titles, adapted to the occasion of a Visconti-Sforza marriage (of 1441) or its first progeny (of 1444).

As I have said, Pratesi favored a Florentine origin for these 16, in the order they appear in minchiate. It seems to me that the idea that these precise 16, so nicely fitting the Marziano structure (so that the same game could be played with either), could accidentally have arisen in Florence first, is too improbable to be believed (here again see Pratesi's note, in which my contribution is incorporated, ... ti-di.html). Only if Marziano himself had devised both versions in Florence when he was there, one undoing the elegance of the other, where only the inelegant one became popular, could the coincidence be accounted for. If so, that would have been before 1418, when he moved to Milan for good. If so, not a trace remains of such an improbable event, while Marziano's game in Milan is in not one but two sources, the other being Decembrio (

It might be argued that no such improbable coincidence need to be assumed, that Filippo or one of his court humanists simply selected, from a trump suit developed elsewhere, perhaps even in Florence, those that fit a Marziano-type structure, discarding the unwanted ones and substituting new ones of his choosing.

In favor of such an idea, there is the game of Karnoffel, the earliest trick-taking game on record. related to Kaiserspiel (yes, suspiciously like "Imperatori"). In it some cards of one suit randomly chosen act as trumps. The Knave of trumps acts like an Emperor, superior to all the other cards, including the four kings, while the 7 of trumps, called the Devil, if it was led, came next, and the 6, called Pope, came after that, after which came the lowly 2, then the 3, 4, and 5. This, it seems to me, is most likely the game Filippo railed against in 1420 (for the documentation, see Ross at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&p=5187&hilit=foras#p5187), when he legislated against (any games of cards, if not done according to the correct and ancient system", ("qualsiasi giuoco delle carte, quando non fosse secondo il retto e antico sistem"), which system was that of "throwing forth the figures and other signs according to such a sign and such a figure" (iactando foras figuras et alia signa pro tali signo et tali figura"), i.e. following rank (as Ross interprets the phrase) or perhaps suit (as Berti reads it). I do not think that he would have seen the practice of making the Ace high as objectionable, any more than he would the practice of awarding a "1st prize" as opposed to calling it "10th prize", if there were 10 in all. It is more likely something like Karnoffel, in which the trump suit, one of the four picked at random, did not follow the established ranking and did not always obey the rule about following suit. He may have developed tarot as a worthy alternative; then others after him sneaked in the Devil and the Pope in spite of his efforts. So all that Filippo's tarot owed to that game would, indirectly (via Marziano), have been the idea of a trump suit.

[Note added Aug. 2: in the above I have modified what I wrote originally, at which time the "search" function for this forum was not working, at least not on my computer; later it did work, so I could read Ross's post about Filippo in 1420, and I modified the point about 1420 accordingly.]

But if Karnoffel, as may be, spread to other cities, there is nothing to stop them from developing a trump suit of their own, perhaps with an Emperor, Pope, and Devil. Against this alternative I have no definitive answer. All I can say with confidence, is that the Marziano by itself is sufficient, given, for the subjects, Petrarch's poem, the pervasiveness of the 7 virtues, and the idea of an Emperor superior to all the kings, to generate something close to the tarot deck of later fame.

There is another approach to the question that occurs to me; how fruitful it is I'm not sure: that is to proceed by a process of elimination. If Karnoffel were turned into a trump suit, the trumps would be an Emperor, a Devil, a Pope and some number cards, probably with the 2 high. What other trumps might be suggested by such a series? Some German decks had female and male Fools, so we can add them. In the same spirit, entertainers of both sexes, a Hecate, goddess of witchcraft to go with the Devil, and of course a Popess and an Empress. Maybe a beggar, too, a strongman (physical rather than moral Strength), and a sexy lady riding beautiful horses. I know they didn't have circuses then, but that's what comes to mind. Where this series is headed, however, will not yield us the tarot as we know it. All Karnoffel can do is suggest some of the oddball characters and off-beat interpretions, not the grand plan. That is what the CY provides. The Petrarchan/Boccaccians and the virtues provide the major challenges of life, from early adulthood to beyond the grave. even the celestials are included, in that they represent Petrarch's Cosmic Time, once the Old Man has been reclassified as Human Time and put before Death. In that grand plan a few oddballs (Bagatella and Fool) and difficult situations (Hanged Man, Tower) testify to human freedom of choice, while the Pope (position 5) battles it out with the Devil (at 15, 3 times more powerful). These may well be the contribution of Karnoffel-type thinking.

The Marziano is sufficient to provide the structure of the CY, and the CY's subjects can come easily enough from the seven virtues, the seven Petrarchan/Boccaccian triumphs, and the idea of Imperials being superior to Kings and Queens. These four sources would seem to be the mainstay of the finished tarot, of which it would seem, from all the evidence, that Filippo Maria Visconti or someone in his employ deserves the main credit for bringing together. But from outside Milan there is also Karnoffel's, or its spirit's, raising up of the despised, so that the Devil is three times more powerful than a Pope (not to mention an Emperor), and a card synonymous with trifles and worse beats every king and is one of the main point-getters, along with a Fool, of the game. Such a combination is bound to be popular, in fact more popular than Filippo's stuffy and somewhat hypocritical virtue alone.

What do we end up with? Essentially, that the CY, besides being a failed experiment, because it is too stuffy, also provides the chief impetus and organizing principles for the tarot we know it. It is not everything, but it is the scaffolding of that multi-faceted structure.

There are also two more specific conclusions. One is that nor only do the celestials of the PMB "2nd artist" cards replace CY's theologicals, but the celestials in the ChVI and Bologna do so as well. The other is that Pratezi's suggestion is probably wrong, that the trumps in Florence, if they were exactly the same as in my reconstructed CY, might have preceded those in Milan. That they would fit the needs of a Marziano-type structure so well is just too much of a coincidence. So, given also the similarity of certain minchiate cards (theologicals, Prudence, Love, Chariot) to the CY rather than to the Florentine tarot, the development of minchiate as a separate game is likely the result of influence from Milan and the type of deck that the CY exemplifies. In a short time it produced two games, both of which were played for centuries (and one of which still is) rather than one.

Note: a few hours after posting, I rewrote the first three of the last four paragraphs. What I had went nowhere, and now I see where it needed to go, in the direction of thinking through Karnoffel.

Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky

I don't remember, what triggered me to write this just in this thread ... it's not ready, I just saved it, that it doesn't disappear.

From old collection ...
The words "Triomphi" and "minchiatar" appear in context in a poem around 1440 (unclear date). The meaning of this occurence is unclear (the passage was found by Raimondo Luberti). Burchiello was a poet and barber and in his shop artists and other great people of the time did meet, engaging themselves in poetry. His sonnets became rather popular.
Around 1440 [appearance of "minchiatar" and "Triomphi" in Poem 31 from "Rime" of Burchiello]:

Se tu volessi fare un buon minuto
togli Aretini et Orvietani e Bessi
e sarti mulattieri bugiardi e messi,
e fa' che ciaschedun sie ben battuto;
poi gli condisci con uno scrignuto
e per sale vi trita entro votacessi,
e per agresto minchiatar fra essi
accioché sia di tutto ben compiuto.
Spècchiati ne' Triomphi, el gran mescuglio
d'arme, damor, di Bruti e di Catoni
con femine e poeti in guazabuglio: questo fanno patire i maccheroni
veghiando il verno, e meriggiando il luglio
dormir pegli scriptoi i mocciconi.
Dè parliàn de moscioni,
quanta gratia ha il ciel donato loro,
che trassinando merda si fan d'oro.
As far we know it, the word "Minchiatar" appeared for the first time in the poem.
Later - in 1466 - the word Minchiate appears in a letter of Luigi Pulci and then it is clearly related to a card game. Luigi Pulci made then a poem, in which some
words starting with "Minch.." were used (as far I know, there is no precise date for this work). The topic of this poem is food and kitchen of various different people in Italy.

For the word "Triomphi" we know, that it - to our knowledge - appeared as a game-word in September 1440 in Florence. Buchiello's poem is considered to be from the same time.

Andrea Vitali, surely more able to interpret Italian poems than we, gave a comment ...
He didn't believe, that the poem had something to do with playing cards.

But this must not be the final word about it. Bruto and Cato are figures in the Sola-Busca Tarocchi, which is dated to 1491, so much too late for the development in 1440. But who knows ... the existence of a type of Trionfi deck filled with Roman or other heroes around 1440 wouldn't surprise. The 16 figures of the Michelino deck (before 1425; Roman gods in our evaluation) were considered in Martiano's explanation also as heroes. Burchiello's poem might tell us, that "around 1440" decks called "Triomphi" or "Minchiatar" were known to Burchiello, and Burchiello made some fun about them.

In France the custom developed, that court cards got names of male or female heroes. The youngest of these heroes was LaHire, who died in 1443, another was Jeanne d'Arc (killed 1431). French reports about this French playing card custom claimed, that it existed already in the 1450s.
It might well be, that this custom also belongs to the general European playing card development of c. 1440.

Franco Pratesi detected twice a card game called "corone" ....
... one in Florence (in 1447 as a card game), the other in Siena (in 1445 as a game).
Corona/Corone means "crowns".
In the context of the literary development in Florence 1420-1440 the terminus "3 crowns" was used for the 3 poets Dante-Petrarca-Boccaccio. All 3 poets appear together with 3 contemporary Florentine condottieri and 3 Sybils on frescoes in the Carcucci villa in Florence, the arrangement was made c. 1450.
Image ... ersons.htm

The arrangement 3x3 was taken from the presentation of the 9 Worthies, which had developed in Germany/France in 14th century and was extended also to Italy in the course of 15th century.

Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky

Good points, Huck. Andrea's comments do not deal with the occurrence of "minchiatar" two lines earlier than "triomphi". It would be of interest to have a translation of that part of the poem. There is a period at the end of the line that separates the two words. If that marks a shift of topic from the one sentence to the other (as from one box of goods to another in the river boat), we could ask, what is it that makes the one sentence lead to the other? Perhaps it is precisely the word "minchiatar", which gives rise in the poet's (and reader's) mind the newly popular games of "minchiate" and "triomphi", with the latter word something he can then use in another sense in the next sentence.

P.S. In my post above, I made a couple of factual errors, owing to having to rely on my memory because the "Search" function was not working at the time I was writing. Pulci's "minchiate" letter of course was in 1466 and not 1462. Also, Filippo's legislation against certain types of games was in 1420, not 1421. And the games he legislated against were not those which overturned the proper order of society (that was in a certain bishop's comment about Karnoffel or Kaiserspiel), but rather against those not played ""according to the old andcorrect system" (non fosse secondo il retto e antico sistema), which system was "throwing forth the figures and other signs according to such a sign and such a figure (iactando foras figuras et alia signa pro tali signo et tali figura), which Berti interpreted as following suit and Ross (if I understand him) as following rank (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&p=5187&hilit=foras#p5187). I presume that a rule pertaining to "following rank" would apply to who wins the trick. Karnoffel would not have obeyed the latter principle, in its ranking of the trump suit (not a separate suit, but one of the four determined at random). It might also not have obeyed the "following suit" rule, if there were trumps that could be played regardless of whether a person could follow suit. But I must confess that I am unclear on the meaning of Filippo's legislation, most notably on whether it is meant to apply to what cards can be played in a trick or what cards can win a trick.

Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky

mikeh wrote:
28 Jul 2018, 06:19
In Milan it would have been advisable to keep some similarity in pictorial resemblance when the cards changed from theologicals to celestials....
There are also two more specific conclusions. One is that not only do the celestials of the PMB "2nd artist" cards replace CY's theologicals, but the celestials in the ChVI and Bologna do so as well. The other is that Pratezi's suggestion is probably wrong, that the trumps in Florence, if they were exactly the same as in my reconstructed CY, might have preceded those in Milan. That they would fit the needs of a Marziano-type structure so well is just too much of a coincidence.
That the theologicals were replaced is a fairly safe assumption, but what frequently appears here among your posts, seemingly as an "accomplished fact", that they were replaced by the "Celestials", is completely unfounded. The objections are numerous, but exhibit A is the established tradition of "Ecclesia", which shares the primary attribute of a staff cross with Faith, such as in this Ecclesia et Synagoga niche statue on the Notre Dame Church in Paris (Ecclesia on left), is what iconographically allowed the replacement of this trump (and note the CY Faith shares the chalice attribute with Ecclesia, predisposing an almost equivalent symbol, "the Church" for "the Faith", albeit skewing the latter's personal virtue meaning).

The "Papess," in Franciscan tertiary habit in the PMB , is a close approximation of Faith. Arguments for alternate cards are specious (and the notion that two trumps both had the staff cross and book attributes in the ur-tarot is ludicrous in light of the problem of identifying which was "Faith" and which was "Papess/Ecclesia" - a difficult, if not impossible proposition).

Giotto's Faith in his virtues/vices cycle in Padua, the prototype for several of the trumps (especially the PMB's Justice and Fool), has the same attributes of the "Popess" - staff cross and book, albeit a scroll in Giotto, clearly showing a replacement is at work here:

To deny the above is to favor theory over the evidence of your eyes.

Of course that still begs the question of WHY were the theologicals replaced. The celestials argument does not provide a rationale, but I attempted to do that in my "Dante/Literary Source" theory; the salient points:

1. The earliest evidence points to Florence, a staunchly Papal city in which Pope Eugene IV was living at the time of the earliest reference to tarot. Hence, theologicals are naturally found in the ur-tarot (and I do not see a difference between the CY trumps and the Florentine ur-tarot).
2. The most politically prominent Florentine cycle of the seven virtues was on the Loggia dei Lanzi, from which political proclamations were made and public ceremonies performed such as the swearing into office of the Gonfaloniers and the Priors; of these bas relief virtues, it is Charity literally elevated in a more elaborate niche facing the seat of government, the Palazzo Vecchio ( ... alanzi.JPG; theological virtues only: ... _to_NW.jpg) . This highest theological virtue, in this cycle's context, was naturally associated with the then-resident Pope in blessing this papal city's political endeavors (in fact a Papal army joined the Florentine one at the battle of Anghiari, with the Papal general Trevisan issuing a medal afterwards showing a trionfo with the inscription: ECCELSIA RESTITUTA EXALTO). Of perhaps of even greater relevance is Donatello/Michelozzo's funeral monument to Antipope John XXIII in Florence's baptistry, just some five years before Anghiari (c. 1435), featuring the three theological virtues on his tomb, with Charity in the central position, just as it is on the Loggia facing the Palazzo Vecchio: ... ohn_23.jpg. That Charity was replaced by the Pope - who ordained orders, charities and benefices - was only natural, even elsewhere, as that original equivalence would have been clearly understood by all (especially by a humanist that worked in both Florence and Milan, such as Filelfo).
3. That leaves the third theological virtue, Hope, simply replaced by Giotto's paired vice, Despair (Desperatio): the hanged man.
4. If the theologicals were replaced in Milan then the rationale needs to be sought there, and I have the simplest explanation: Sforza was literally at war with the previous Pope Eugene IV, and sought legitimation for his new dynasty from the new Pope Nicholas V (Tommaso Parentucelli, with whom Sforza's chief humanist, Filelfo, was friends and was the agent of reconciliation; Parentucelli was earlier a household tutor for Palla Strozzi, Filelfo's great Florentine patron exiled by the Medici). The theological virtues were replaced in deference to the papacy for whom they were especially associated, increasingly on their mortuary monuments (again, see the John XXIII tomb in Florence, financed by Sforza's own banker, Cosimo de Medici). Replacement (versus retaining them as Sforza's own personal attributes) was simply the politically prudent thing to do, especially with recognition from the other legitimating body (the Holy Roman Emperor) not forthcoming, if not hotly contested.

But back to "exhibit A", Faith replaced by Ecclesia in a Franciscan tertiary habit - the historical details from my "Dante theory" post:
Almost immediately upon becoming Pope Nicholas V, he issued the Franciscan targeted Bulla Pastoralis officii (July 20, 1447) which had the aim of responding to the requests of the “friars of the Third Order living in Italy”, by giving them the right to possess “houses, oratories, and other places” (domus, oratoria atque loca), together with the right to found other houses “with the permission of the diocesan bishop” .… Since the first Regular Tertiaries seem to have been hermits, Nicholas V invited them to adopt a habit which would distinguish them from simple hermits, and at the same time from other religious Orders (from this link: )

To put to bed any lingering doubts about this identification of the “Papess”, the conditions in Milan at the time the PMB produced explain the need for a Franciscan Tertiary in light of the one popular communal project that extended from the Visconti to the Sforza era: hospital reform. The movement to reform Milan’s corrupt charities took on momentum in earnest under the leadership of Martino della Gazzada, a wealthy banker and merchant and member of Misercordia; after St. Francis’s visit to Milan in 1441, della Gazzada became a Franciscan Tertiary under the newly formed Observant monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Following della Gazzada’s example, by December 1442, 19 new male members from the city’s merchant class had joined the Tertiaries and in 1447 the community had more than doubled in size (Evelyn S. Welch, Art and authority in Renaissance Milan, 1995: 133). Upon the death of Visconti in 1447 the new Ambrosian Republic moved quickly to form a committee to continue the hospital reform, the Deputati sopra le Provvisioni dei Poveri, with della Gazzada taking a lead role in what proved to be one of the most popular initiatives of the Republic (ibid).

When Sforza took over in 1450 his plan was not to just sanction a process already in place but closely associate his regime with it so as to take the credit for its final realization in the form of the enormous Ca’ Grande hospital, built on Bernarbo Visconti’s old palace in Porta Romana that Sforza donated for the project (ibid, 136). Although prominent Republicans such as della Gazzada were excluded and Sforza’s own secretary inserted as a lead deputy, Cicco Simonetta, the connection to the Franciscan Tertiaries was maintained, via Simonetta’s own representative who tended to day to day activities, Giovanni Caimi, a ducal courier whose “family had been closely connected to her Franciscan Tertiaries in the 1440s, and in 1446 Giovanni was charged with the administration of the Ospedale deo Poveri in Bianca Maria’s dower town of Cremona”(ibid, 141). Two Ciami women donations ensured the commencement of the Ca Grande’s construction in 1456. Thus a popular communal movement that became closely aligned with Franciscan Tertiaries that had preceded the arrival of Sforza was nevertheless coopted into an expression of his own piety. Although the hospital (1456) post-dated the PMB (c.1451), the religious sentiments of the Milanese patriciate, as well as the lower classes that formed the backbone of the Tertiary Order, would have been the apt symbol of popular piety at the time of Sforza’s investiture and thus an apt symbol of the Church in Milan. Sforza primarily courted the Milanese patriciate and Welch notes that while most wealthy Milanese men and women did not become Franciscan Tertiaries many were buried in the Tertiaries’ habits (ibid, 133).
mikeh wrote:
28 Jul 2018, 06:19
Essentially, that the CY, besides being a failed experiment, because it is too stuffy, also provides the chief impetus and organizing principles for the tarot we know it. It is not everything, but it is the scaffolding of that multi-faceted structure.
Yes, the CY has a clear connection to the PMB, but you fail to rightfully call the Marziano deck - from which neither suits nor trumps provide a template for tarot - the failed experiment. Pratesi is right: the trumps in Florence preceded those in Milan.


Re: Biblical virtues and lights in the sky

Thanks for your alternative view, Phaeded.

First, I want to make clear that I do not say that the replacement of Hope, Faith, and Charity by Star, Moon, and Sun is a fact. It is only a hypothesis, part of the larger hypothesis that I presented, assuming (hypothetically) the historical correctness of the Beinecke suit assignments.

In my view you are focusing too much on the meanings of the cards and not enough on the practice of playing a game.

In one way Marziano's game is a failed experiment, namely, in so far as it is a game involving the 12 Olympians and 4 demigods correlated with four suits with non-traditional names. In another way, however, it is not a failed experiment, if the Beinecke suit assignments are historically correct. Namely, it has a trump suit of 16 cards assigned to the regular suits in a logical way, one that was not even unique in the history of card games. It assigned the first 4 cards to Justice and swords, the second 4 to fortitude and batons, the third 4 to temperance and cups, and the fourth 4 to prudence and coins. That way of correlating trumps with suits was itself a failed experiment, but it would have generated the basic 16 cards of the tarot trump suit.

We then get to the problem of replacing 3 of the trumps.. We have to remember that there is an existing game in whatever place the replacement happened, one using the 3 theologicals, all in a row at a certain place in the sequence. The players would be very upset if that sequence and place were upset too much. However by this time Time has been moved to a logical place for it to have been moved, namely after the Chariot or Wheel and before Death, since it is an Old Man. At some point, Prudence is removed: that is no problem for the players; you don't have to remember where it was, if it's not there. This leaves Charity as the card immediately before the World and the Angel (which is last), and the other two theologicals just before Charity. The easiest way to replace these cards is to put the 3 celestials in their place, in a way that is easy to remember (increasing light0 and with visual clues to help the players out: the thing in the upper corner (Hope, Star), holding a solid round object (cup, moon), and holding a fiery round object (fire, sun). This will be easy to get used to. And in a way the minchiate placement of the theologicals could be a kind of memory of where they used to be, and where the celestials are now in the changed game of tarocchi.

What is harder is to do is a replacement that inserts the replacements at greatly different places in the order: 2, 5, and 12 - even if these cards, at least 2 and 12, do have a connection to the old ones., both visually (the cross and the figure of Judas) and in meaning (remembering an opposite is tricky, but after all, it's on the bottom of the old card). And the one in the middle, Charity, which was the highest one, can maybe be remembered if you know popes' and antipopes' tombs and that the pope is the highest theological person. But it is not as natural as replacing them all in a row in the precisely the same place in the sequence.

So I suppose it all depends on your assumptions and what you mean by "replacing". I am thinking of the trick-taking game where you have to remember a place in a sequence by means of a picture, while you are thinking of replacing in meaning.

As far as the origin of the tarot, it all depends on what you mean by "tarot". If you mean a deck with a trump suit that consists of all or most of the cards we know today, in more or less the same order, then yes, it probably started in Florence. If you mean a game with a trump suit, then Marziano's game and probably VIII Emperors and Karnoffel preceded it. If you mean a game with a permanent trump suit, then Marziano's game, perhaps something called "VIII Emperors", and perhaps something that developed out of Karnoffel, preceded it. If you mean a deck and game with a permanent trump suit the majority of whose cards are those we can identify with cards we know from many concurring surviving decks, with a match also with minchiate, then the Cary-Yale has a good chance of reflecting that game; it is unclear whether it started in Milan or Florence, but Milan has a slight advantage, because of the preceding Marziano game's structure and the Beinecke's suit assignments.

I am not aware that Pratesi thinks that the tarot started in Florence. It is his favored hypothesis, but he admits himself that he would feel more comfortable about it if the Marziano didn't exist.

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