I'll have to rethink this theory - I haven't revisited it in years.mikeh wrote: Your choice is 1; Ross's is 2; mine is 3. Now, what are the probabilities? I see I will have to get a copy of Game of Tarot from somewhere. I don't know if it will help.
The Game of Tarot won't help you with this question, since Dummett was unaware of it in 1980. But you should have a copy, for sure. It is the foundational text for Tarot history. Dummett then believed the earliest record of Tarot in France to be in Rabelais, 1534. The earliest known occurence of the word "tarocchi" was Ferrara, 1517. Dummett's hypothesis at the time was that the game called triumphs was changed to tarot/tarocchi because at some point in the late 15th century a game played with regular cards took the name "triumph", using a changeable trump suit (usually turning over the next card after dealing a hand, like in so many trumping games), and overtook in popularity the original game of Triumphs. So tarot - the original triumphs - had a name change which made it clear that it wasn't this more popular game.
I can't recall if Dummett speculates about the meaning of the name - I'll check when the morning is older.
Historically, Dummett's theory was that the French invasions of Charles VIII (1494) and Louis XII (1499) introduced French soldiers and camp followers to the game, which they brought back to France. Judging from his remarks on this subject in A History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack (2004), he still holds to this basic idea, although he has known the 1505 Avignon reference since the 1990s. To me it seems implausible for Avignon to be exporting taraux cards to Pinerolo, near Turin (this is the 1505 reference), so shortly after this presumed first encounter of the French to the game. Moreover, while Charles VIII's army marched through Milanese territory (the invasion was abetted by Ludovico ("il moro") Sforza), they never "fought for possession of the city" of Milan, as Dummett mistakenly believes (HGT, p. 111). Charles VIII's adventure in Italy lasted only 10 months, not counting the stay of a small French garrison in Naples until 1497. Naples was the main objective in any case. So, the case for the French troops of Charles VIII to have familiarized themselves with the Milanese game from 1494 seems weak. The real French presence in Milan dates from the end of 1499, under the real claimant to Milan, Louis XII, and this gives only six years for Tarot production and export to Italian Savoy (Piedmonte) to begin.
My theory is otherwise, that it was the French invasion of 1499 that brought the French game to Milan, accounting for the C order's presence there in the first half of the 16th century, first attested by Andrea Alciato in 1543.
The story of the 1505 reference begins in 1955, when Hyacinthe Chobaut published an article "Les maître-cartiers d'Avignon". He noted that there was a reference to "cartes communément appelées taraux" (cards colloquially known as taraux) in a record there. Chobaut neglected to provide a transcription of the original document in his appendices however. Thierry Depaulis rediscovered Chobaut's article in the late 1980s and tried, in vain, to find the reference. A few years later however, an archivist in Avignon with whom Thierry had been working, found the reference - for 1505, not 1507! So the error was either Chobaut's or the typsetter's, but in any case the story had a happy ending.
Meanwhile, Adriano Fransceschini, in his work on the Este archives in the early 1990s, had come across two Ferrarese references to tarochi [sic] in 1505 as well.
Thierry presented the Avignon discovery in an article - "Des "cartes communément appelées taraux"", The Playing-Card, vol. 32, n° 5, March-April 2004, p. 199-205 + n° 6, May-June 2004, p. 244-249.