For Huck and anyone interested in this subject, here are some considerations I have gathered from posts of a few months ago, when the idea was fresh (I may wish to reword some things for clarity now, but this is "as-was") -
On the "Bologna-Florence" axis idea -
Given the similarity of the Charles VI to the Bolognese, I could accept that Florence and Bologna shared a common pattern initially, before evolving in different directions. So even if invented in Florence, I believe Bologna has kept the primitive pattern in this case, although the lack of the Star card in the Charles VI and Catania makes speculation about the meaning of the final section, based on the iconography, more difficult. The Rosenwald sheet is no help in this regard, since the Star, Moon and Sun contain no vignettes below the main subjects at all. We might suggest that the Minchiate image, clearly showing a Magus following the Star of Bethlehem, is an evolution of the vignette shown in the Bolognese pattern, which could (I believe mistakenly) be taken as the Three Magi – thereby indirectly indicating that the primitive Florentine design was similar to the surviving Bolognese ones (similar evolution or outright substitution is observable in many Minchiate cards compared to the primitive Florentine cards).
If we posit this shared original pattern between Florence and Bologna, with Bologna staying, over time, faithful to the original, I would use the Charles VI iconography and order more confidently. The main differences would be the figure on the World card, the depiction of Time, and the position of the Chariot (recognizing that we don’t know when the numbers were added).
The figure on the World in both Charles VI and Catania, and later with wings and halo in the Rosenwald sheet, resembles the allegory of Fama (or Gloria) in illustrated copies of Petrarch’s Trionfi (or earlier in the De viris illustribus) and in objects such as Lorenzo de’ Medici’s birth tray. Used independently of Petrarch’s scheme in such a way, it represents eternal Fame, a real triumph of the soul, not the vain worldly glory that is trumped by Time in the Trionfi. As such the Florentine section may be a Triumph of the Soul (rather than the Bolognese “Future Emperor” in my interpretation). For me it is easier to imagine the highly specific Bolognese story becoming generalized and conformed to Petrarchan imagery and ideology in Florence (and Milan, as in the Modrone), than it is to imagine the interpretation going in the other direction, becoming overlaid with the concerns of the late 1430s and early 1440s (although it could be argued that the growing threat of the Turks and Frederick III’s yet-unknown promise in the 1440s continuously fuelled speculation and interest in the prophecies relating to the future emperor who was to be called “Frederick”).
I assume that the allegory of Time would have been recognized as such whichever image was used. We do, however, know that the winged allegory is attested earlier than the earliest surviving Tarots, and by the time of the Rosenwald sheet the wings and pillar have been removed, and he looks simply like a very old man – so we might surmise that the simpler (less grotesque?) image, starting from the secondary version of Time attested in the 1450s, influenced engraved cards over time too. As before, Bologna has preserved the lectio difficilior
and the older image.
The problem for the Chariot’s position is, why, if in Florence the original position was as the numbering on the Charles VI and Catania (and Minchiate) indicate, he would be moved from above to below the wheel, and finally all the way down to just above Love (assuming Florence’s order was original and this change happened in Bologna). I guess it could be to delineate the bounds of the exemplum more clearly – “It starts here”. But I prefer the scenario of Florence changing the position of the Chariot to conform to a more Senecan view of self-mastery and virtue overcoming Fortune, as it developed over the century, culminating, and becoming inverted, in Machiavelli’s vivid counsel to seize Fortuna, to “beat, harm, and hurt her” etc. (Il Principe, XXV; Stacey (see below further for the reference) discusses this on pp. 291-2 and passim). The change from Chariot below to Chariot above Fortune can be documented in Florence from the difference between the list in the Strambotti and the Minchiate, although the numbering on the Charles VI and Catania Chariots might suggest that this position for the Chariot was known earlier than 1500 in Florence.
On the other hand, placing the Chariot immediately preceding Time reminds us of the Petrarchan scheme – Time defeats Fame. However, the rest of the scheme falls apart (Treason doesn’t defeat Time in Petrach, and Death hasn’t even happened yet, which is completely backwards to the Petrarchan series), thus if so, it demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the middle section in my view (We know anyway that the trump scheme is not illustrating Petrarch’s Trionfi, although sharing some imagery was clearly irresistible and probably unavoidable).
Given my position that the best explanation of the series is that the three grouped virtues are meant to raise expectations for the fourth, Prudence, instead to be faced with Fortune, I believe that the preferable order is the Bolognese, where the Chariot precedes the Virtues. A corroboration might be taken from the de casibus exempla themselves, where the character is introduced before the story is told (as is perfectly natural). The best answer to potential criticism of this view of the maker’s intention in the position and grouping of these virtues, might be “It works, doesn’t it? Everybody has wondered where Prudence is. That game designer was very clever indeed.” It is probably too smart by half to suggest that the scholastic Appetitive Virtues sub-grouping in the Cardinal Virtues is a good explanation. The simpler view is that Prudence is missing for a reason. I believe this reason is to say something about Caesar, that he trusted finally in Fortune (and scoffed at fate) rather than Prudence, which led to his downfall at the predicted time, by treason. The broader message is the imprudence of trusting in, or glorying in, Fortune.
The warning for would-be tyrants, from the example of Caesar, if from Florence, is logical. It is the advice the Florentine contingent gave through the mouth of Caesar to the triumphant Alfonso V in Naples on February 26, 1443:
“And Chance, who extends her locks to you,
do not trust in everything, for she is false,
who put me, once triumphant, in decline.”
(E la Ventura, che ti porge il crino,
non ti dar tutto a lei, ch’ell’è fallace,
che me, che trionfai, misse in dechino.)*
(Poet Piero de’ Ricci, author of Caesar’s speech, quoted in Benedetto Croce, I teatri di Napoli
(Bari, 1916), p. 6; also quoted in Philine Helas, Lebende Bilder in der italienischen Festkultur des 15. Jahrhunderts
(Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 1999) p. 210)
Antonio Beccadelli (Panormita) describes it in Latin -
“...but as for Fortune, who was seen a little before extending her golden locks in front of you, by no means trust her, she is changeable and fickle. Behold the changeable world***, that everything is uncertain but virtue.”
(sed fortunae, quae tibi paulo ante crinem aureum porrigere videbatur, nequaquam confidas fluxa et instabilis est. Ecce et mundus volubilis et praeter virtutem omnia incerta
I guess it would all be equally logical from Bologna, which also prized its liberty, to use Caesar as a double-edged warning to would-be tyrants, whether Pope or Duke (the Emperor’s representative). (The debate about Caesar’s meaning in 14th – 15th century Italian rhetoric and polemic is explored in various sections of Peter Stacey, Roman Monarchy and the Renaissance Prince
(Cambridge UP, 2007)http://www.scribd.com/doc/17924318/STAC ... -IDN-CNTXT
(downloadable – this episode in Alfonso’s triumph is described on page 184))
A Ferrarese-born jurist, Malatesta Ariosti (sometimes also given as Malatesta Ariosto), was responsible for designing Borso d’Este’s triumphal entry into Reggio in 1453. According to Helas, Ariosti had a treatise on Alfonso’s triumph which he used for his own planning (op. cit. p. 99 and note 219).
Caesar makes an appearance here and gives a speech too, which is closely based on Piero de’ Ricci’s poem, but adapted for Borso (given in Helas, p. 225)**. The relevant verse in Ariosti’s case reads:Et la fortuna che te porgie el creno
Non te fidare in ley, che la e falaze
Che mi che triumphai, messo in declino.
The relation to the trionfi game? The game was invented at least a few years before Alfonso’s triumph, but I think that the figure of Caesar in the two actual triumphal pageants probably reflects what he is doing in the tarot trumps. Denuded of context, the abstract of Caesar’s role in these Renaissance triumphs is as Stacey says. Caesar’s lesson about Fortune was known by all, as it still is today (thanks in English to Shakespeare).
*Piero de’ Ricci’s poem:
Eccelso Re, o Cesare novello,
Giustizia con Fortezza e Temperanza,
Prudentia, Fede, Carità e Speranza,
ti farà trionfar sopr’ogni bello.
Se queste donne terrai in tu’ostello,
quella sedia fia fatta per tua stanza;
ma, ricordasi a te, tu sarai sanza,
se di Giustizia torcessi ‘l suggello.
E la Ventura, che ti porge il crino,
no ti dar tutto a lei, ch’ell’è fallace,
che me, che trionfai, misse in dechino.
El mondo vedi che mutazion face!
Che sia voltabil, tienlo per destino:
e questo vuole Iddio perché li piace.
Alfonso, Re di pace,
Iddio t’esalti e dia properitate,
salvando al mio Firenze libertate.
** Malatesta Ariosti’s poem (differences emphasized):
Excelso principe, o duca nouello,
Justicia cum forteza, temperantia
Prudentia, fede, Carita et speranza
Te faranno triumphare supra ogne bello.
Se queste Donne tu tera in tuo stillo
Questa sedia hanno facta per tua stantia
Ricordati che farai senza
Se ala Justicia torgiesse el sugello.
Et la fortuna che te porgie el creno
Non te fidare in ley, che la e falaze
Che mi che triumphai, messo in declino.
Voltabile et tolo per destino
Tu vedi il mondo che mutazione faze.
Et questo vole Jdio perche le piazze.
Borso Ducha di paze
Christo te exalta in tua prosperitade
Questo tuo Regio tu mantegni in libertade.
*** The figure of Caesar was on a revolving globe, possibly the first of its kind. Philine Helas has also written an article about globes in 15th century Italy –“"Mundus in rotundo et pulcherrime depictus: nunquam sistens sed continuo volvens": Ephemere Globen in den Festinszenierungen de italienischen Quattrocento” , Der Globusfreund
(vol. 45-46 (1997-1998) and has an interesting thesis about the globe in Alfonso’s triumph. The summary is here:http://www.coronelli.org/publikationen/gf4546.html
(third summary down)
“At the above-mentioned event in Naples, Florentine merchants presented a statue of the emperor Caesar standing on a sphere painted to represent the earth, which was constantly revolving. It is my hypothesis that this globe was a product of the "scientific revolution" which began in early 15th Century Florence and was further proliferated by the Union Council in 1439 where Greek and Latin scholars met. Written sources make no mention of the creator of the 1443 globe. We can, however, reconstruct a highly suggestive connection: Piero de' Ricci was the author of a poem recited by Caesar; de' Ricci was acquainted with Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, the great Florentine cartographer who, in turn, was a friend of Filippo Brunelleschi, the well-known architect, engineer and constructor of machines for the religious spectacles in Florence. Together this is a rare combination of humanistic, artistic and scientific knowledge which could have formed the basis for this invention.”
On whether the premise of meaning in the sequence or no meaning is preferable.
"In answer to your question, I think the premise of meaning in the sequence is more sound than a premise of no meaning. We can argue for the soundness of the premise by suggesting external comparisons – invented Renaissance games like Marziano’s card game and Cusa’s Globe Game, both conceived with a symbolic plan in mind, as well as the observation that it is difficult to remember the unnumbered trumps without some organizing principle. An organizing principle for a non-numbered (or non-alphabetic or other external device, such as a conventional hierarchy) set of pictures, can only be a narrative; a narrative is a story, and a story by definition has a meaning.
The difficulty for commentators prior to Dummett was that the three groups weren’t recognized as such, which made it seem that if the trumps have a coherent sequential meaning, everything had to be part of the same story line (a second difficulty is that the three families weren’t recognized as such, and those commentators who tried to interpret the sequence, in French or English, relied on the Tarot de Marseille order, which made it even harder). With the three groups of subject matter, we can begin to see that they may be better interpreted as a three short stories linked by a common theme - “Triumph”, the name of the game. All three parts concern Emperors, which require no apology to be associated with triumphs (nor Popes, who also had triumphs). The first part is the Emperors of the present world – who will triumph this time in the struggle between Pope and Emperor, Church and Council (the equal papi rule)? One thing is sure, they are all subject to cupiditas (in this case desire for money and power). The second is a past example of a triumphator, with a lesson everyone could appreciate. The last is the final triumph, first of a Last Emperor, and finally God once and for all (at the End of Time).
The “why?” is something we’ve discussed before – it is a “completion” of the moralization of the ordinary playing card pack. The status mundi is described in the ordinary pack, but there are powers higher than kings playing this game, moral lessons, and ultimate things to consider as well.
My interpretation of the final section is based on a specific iconography, which may be wrong. But whether you buy my interpretation or not, first you have to accept that the three groups can be described with a coherent meaning at all.
Dummett characterized the three groups in his 1985 FMR article “Tarot Triumphant” as
1 – the Bagatto and the four papal and imperial cards;
2 – the conditions of human life;
3 – spiritual and celestial powers.
This is the “vague hierarchy” (Michael Hurst’s term) he outlined for the choice of subjects and their grouping. He was not the first to recognize these three parts nor to characterize them more or less in this way, but I am sure it was an independent discovery for him.
But Dummett’s attempt to characterize, summarize or describe the three parts was the second step he made only after he had done the purely formal work of discovering the fact of the three sections in all variations of the Tarot:
excluding for the moment the Virtues,
1 – no card below the Pope ever rises above him in any list of trumps (group 1);
2 – no card after the Pope and before the Devil ever goes below or above this section (group 2);
3 – no card after the Devil ever goes below him (group 3).
From the resulting arrangements of specific trumps within the three groups, and adding the Virtues back in, Dummett was able to reduce the dozen or so lists of trumps he knew to three families. With this discovery, he was able to link each family with a specific city or region. Thus, instead of the art history arguments that Klein for instance had to rely on to sort through some of the mass of evidence, Dummett had given a key for instant indentification if enough of the order of the trumps were known, irrespective of the style of the cards or whether we had the cards at all (only a list).
I have spoken only of Dummett, but I am sure that Sylvia Mann’s great talent for systematization influenced him immensely. Together they created the discipline of tarot history.
As I noted above, Dummett subsequently took a second step, based on the first one, of describing and characterizing the three sections of trumps. But as you know, he has gone no further with attempting to explain the specific choices of subjects or orderings within the sections. It is not something he has shown a great deal of interest in doing, for whatever reasons. The primary purpose of the trumps, whatever the reasons for their images being selected, is to play a game with a permanent set of trumps. From this perspective, the question of the meaning of the trump sequences is at best a historical curiosity.
But there is one justification beyond mere curiosity for trying to understand the meaning of the trumps’ selection and order. This is to undermine the esoteric historical fantasies which nearly everyone believes about the Tarot that have come to substitute for true historical understanding. Thus historical research into the origins of the Tarot game has a polemical motive – debunking -, and this was the spirit in which Dummett wrote several chapters of his magnum opus and continually reiterates to this day. It is also the spirit in which people like Michael Hurst and I write (he much more “polemical” than I).
Beyond the debunking motive, it is very curious, educational, and a lot of fun to try to understand how this particular selection of 21 (or 22) trump cards came about (if you like to study the late middle ages and specifically the Italian Quattrocento, of course).
But do the trumps as we have them, in any known order, tell a story?
This is a legitimate question, since as you noted hundreds of years have failed to produce a satisfactory explanation (I believe that it was effectively impossible before 1980, so only 30 years). In fact, of course, very few have genuinely tried in those hundreds of years, and only a handful in the last 30.
Dummett noted in 1980 that if they do tell a coherent story, we will have to know the original subjects and order first. This may seem an impossible condition, since the earliest surviving tarots are not complete, and we don’t know their exact order nor the iconography of the missing cards in the original early sets. To fulfill the condition, we have to argue, however well we can, for one of the established orders being the original, and allow for only inconsequential changes in iconography to have occurred between its invention and its earliest exemplar (my argument), or argue for a hypothetical original that may have no surviving descendants. If we believe that the original designs, number of trumps, and original sequence is irretrievably lost, we are obliged to give up unless or until plausible and useful evidence of it turns up (your position).
Michael Hurst believes that Dummett’s condition is unnecessary and impossible, and that it is possible to tell the story of a set of trumps without positing it as the Ur-Tarot. That is, a given series may be a reinvention with its own coherent meaning without reference to what a hypothetical Ur-Tarot might have been (as I state it, it is a banal observation, but he takes issue with the word “reinvention”, since there is an implied original lurking in the background). While of course true in principle, there is no need to insist on the exclusivity of either approach. The Ur-Tarot may exist, it can be interpreted. Derivatives may be authentic reinventions and open to interpretation. Some trumps orders and iconography may be incoherent. Animal Tarots and Tarot Nouveau genre-scenes probably do not have a coherent unifying narrative; the presence of numbers degrades the need for clear narrative, etc.
I also believe that trying to interpret a Tarot without having an idea of its place on the family tree, or having some idea about to what degree it is derivative, is a slippery slope to self-delusion. Using historical methodology, to establish sound reasons for choosing one type of tarot first, at least makes the slope much less slippery.
But the question of meaning is one of principle – is it a sound premise or not?
Dummett framed the issue this way: “The question is whether the sequence as a sequence has any symbolic meaning. I am inclined to think that it did not: to think, that is, that those who originally designed the Tarot pack were doing the equivalent, for their day, of those who later selected a sequence of animal pictures to adorn the trump cards of the new French-suited pack. They wanted to design a new kind of pack with an additional set of twenty-one picture cards
that would play a special, indeed a quite new, role in the game; so they selected for those cards a number of subjects, most of them entirely familiar, that would naturally come to the mind of someone at a fifteenth-century Italian court. It is a rather random selection: we might have expected all seven principal virtues, rather than just the three we find – and, of course, we do find all seven in the Minchiate pack. With the Sun and Moon we might have expected the other five planets, instead of just a star; with the Pope and Emperor, we might have expected other ranks and degrees. But, of course, in a pack of cards what is essential is that each card may be instantly identified, so one does not want a large number of rather similar figures, especially before it occurred to anyone to put numerals on the trump cards for ease of identification
“This is my opinion, but I do not want to insist on it. It may be that those who first devised the Tarot pack had a special purpose in mind in selecting those particular subjects and in arranging them in the order they did: perhaps they spelled out, to those capable of reading them, some satirical or symbolic message
. If so, it is apparent that, at least by the sixteenth century, the capacity to read this message had been lost. (…)
“The search for a hidden meaning may be a unicorn hunt; but, if there is a hidden meaning to be found, only a correct basis of fact will lead us to it. The hidden meaning, if any, lies in the sequential arrangement of the trump cards; and therefore, if it is to be uncovered, we must know what, originally, that arrangement was
.” (GT, pp. 387-388, emphasis added).
I bolded the first statement to highlight that I think the analogy is poor – animals and other scenes with no connecting narrative could only be substituted for the old trumps when large numbers were already printed on the card. Nobody was expected to remember “boar, pig, chicken, cow, bear, frog, camel, wolf…” etc. The last bolded sentence in the paragraph agrees with this sentiment, and suggests another train of thought. We know that the Bolognese players learned the order by heart, without numbers, until the late 18th century. It is therefore possible for people to learn the trump order more easily than a random selection of “rather similar figures”.
But Dummett proposes that it was, nonetheless, a random selection. The scenario he seems to suggest is that the inventor pre-decided a certain number of trumps (21), took a body of conventional images, let’s say 100, put them into a sack, shook it well, and drew 21 out.
Yet everywhere they went, people arranged these random figures, still presumably without numbers, into the same three groups – this was the very discovery which allowed Dummett to describe three families of orders. Thus everyone who saw these random subjects arranged them in a broadly similar way – this suggests they were meaningful groupings to those who so arranged them.
Within the groupings, they arranged them slightly differently, but with the exception of the placement of the virtues, there are few differences among the families. We could suggest that, like a Chinese Whisper, in the early diffusion of the game, the person who was transmitting it had learned the most basic parts (Bagattino lowest, Angel/World highest, Pope highest of the Popes and Emperors, Devil and Tower together, Star lower than Moon and Sun…) but lost was the the exact order of the Virtues or the placement of the Chariot or Time (or whatever in the middle section).
I think this is a confusing scenario, and a preferable one is that the orders are meaningful changes in reaction to a received order – whichever order was received in the location that decided to change it. They didn’t like, or perhaps understand, the order as given, and made their own story out of the sequence.
So I think a better view is that there was a basic descriptive content of the three sections, such as Dummett and we have worked out, and that everybody learned it – or already clearly recognized it - first – Bagattino is lowest (by definition), then four Papi, then human life/morality, finally God’s stuff. This is the basic description of the three parts that a handful of people over the past two centuries have recognized.
The other two bolded passages in the quote above show that Dummett himself was not quite satisfied by the “pulled out of a hat” scenario, but he had nothing better to propose. However, his discovery of the three groupings was advancement enough, and we will work from there.
A further question concerns the issue of whether we can find the original order or not. The answer to this depends upon historical argumentation, whether we can settle on a place and time of invention, and what our model of the development of the various trump sequences is.
We can posit an unknown phase of development, the longer the better, during which the original order and sequence was lost. If that is our position, we can still try to re-create a meaningful Ur-sequence that told a story with our presumed missing cards (usually Prudence, maybe the Theological Virtues).
My argument is conservative, and the dating is much tighter, giving less room for that scenario. I think that the number of cards and their subjects was original and has been preserved, in either the Bolognese order in particular, or at least the A family more generally.
In my support, I have those games that have attestation of their invention, Marziano’s and Cusa’s, and reinventions like Boiardo’s, which show that the invention sprang fully formed from the mind of the inventor. I think that Triumphs must have been the same, the obscurity of its origins lying somewhere in the destroyed records of Visconti Milan or Bentinvoglio Bologna (Cecelia Ady, “Materials for the History of the Bentivoglio Signoria in Bologna”, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, s. 4, vol. XVII (1934), p. 57), if a princely or quasi-princely invention, or in the yet more obscure bourgeois-invention scenario. Perhaps also the fact that it has a meaningful name, clearly related to the subject matter, and not an inscrutable nickname like ronfa, cricca etc., is a proof of its intentionality over the scenario of a slow development with many changes.
There are very few people who have offered sincere historical attempts to understand the narrative of the series (by “the series” I mean the 22 standard subjects, whichever order is chosen for exegesis). I am omitting the numerous esoteric moralities, beginning with Court de Gébelin, and of which the most influential now is the “Fool’s Journey” invented by Eden Gray and based in popular Jungianism, as non-historical.
Before 1980 only Moakley gave a competent interpretation in any sense of the word (I put the 16th century Discorsi in a different category of course). However, most people find it unconvincing.
After 1980, John Shephard (1985) and Timothy Betts (1998) are the only two who have offered historically based interpretations. Neither attempt has been widely accepted, and neither book was reprinted. Robert O’Neill’s attempts (from 1985 to this day), while informed by history, are occultist apologetics. Ronald Decker has promised one, but from what little I know of it, it will be implausible. All of these are in English, and I know of no attempts in French, Italian or German (except for Lothar). This is probably because the English speaking world only knows Tarot as an occult object, and Dummett’s work and its proponents have caused a major upheaval in English Tarotism. Although Dummett is well-represented in Italian, he is not in French or German. It is probably of no consequence – Italians are quite happy to imagine Tarot invented in their Renaissance anyway.
Michael Hurst has offered an interpretation of the Tarot de Marseille which most fully takes into account Dummett’s primary insights, but of course also tries to explain the exact sequence and choice of images. I will no doubt oversimplify if not caricature his interpretation, and he has posted widely on it, so I’ll let him speak for himself."
On the evidence for the antiquity of the equal-papi rule.
"Equal papi rule
There is no proof that it was original, but there is also no reason to think it wasn’t. I think there is reason to believe that it was, and it is my premise.
If you deny the premise, you are preferring it wasn’t, and must defend it.
Who has the stronger reason to presume?
For my side, the conservatism of the Bolognese game and designs is in my favor. The earliest rules, in the Pedini manuscript, the original of which is consensually dated from the middle to the end of the 16th century, has it. The game hardly changes between then and the earliest printed rules, in 1754. It has hardly changed since, in its form of Ottocento. But the basic rules are still present.
Also in my favor is the existence of the rule in Piedmont and Savoy. It is implausible for such a rule to have been invented independently twice, especially as the Piedmontese also observed the high Angel over the World – all the while using Tarot de Marseille numbered packs. The game in Piedmont must therefore have been established early, broadly, and deeply for these features to have persisted at all. Since Piedmont was already importing French tarots in 1505, there is little reason to argue that the Bolognese game took over the whole area in the early 16th century. It is even less plausible that the Piedmontese form of the game took over Bologna in the early 16th century. Whichever way you look at it, the Bolognese version of the game must have been established already in the 15th century.
If you prefer the premise that the equal-papi rule was not original, you have to account for its unlikely appearance in two distant and, as far as we know, unrelated places. Savoy never dominated Bologna, nor Bologna Savoy. If you posit that a vast Bolognese-tarocchino invasion happened sometime in the 16th century, you have to account for the fact that the Piemontesi still played with the “Piedmont” design, which is closely related to the Tarot de Marseille, that the equal-papi rule was widespread up until the 18th century, and the Angel beating the World until today (despite the numbering on all the cards according with the Tarot de Marseille, with World at XXI and Angel at XX), and that they don’t use the reduced 62 card pack. The weight of the evidence points to the game being known in the 15th century, with the 78 card pack.
The best hypothesis I have is that in the earliest diffusion of the game was according to the Bolognese pattern and rules, and it reached as far as Savoy, where the game became deeply entrenched, if not further. When Bolognese cards ran out (as they quickly would), they began importing cards from their neighbours in France. But they continued to play by the then traditional rules. By this time, the French cardmakers had been changing the pattern and begun numbering the cards, but the rules the Savoyards/Piemontese were used to stuck with them, only gradually eroding."