Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#61
mikeh wrote:Thanks for your comments, Huck. They are helpful, but so far haven't led to what I needed to know.

It is possible that 1491 was a period of lessening intolerance toward homoeroticism. I just can't find any verification of that. The existence of festivals doesn't tell me anything. Repression and festivals aren't mutually exclusive; the former can be a diversion of attention from the latter. Nothing is said in Ruggioro about any let-up in repression. Unfortunately the statistics he publishes are for quarter-centuries only; on that measure, 1476-1500 stands out as by far the most repressive quarter of the fifteenth century against "Sodomy": 196 individuals, vs. 134 the previous quarter, 81 the quarter before that, and 87 (from incomplete records) in the first quarter of the century (p. 128, in Google Books).
I classified the period 1487-1493 as party time. In contrast 1476 (murder of Galeazzo) - 1478 (attack on Medici) - 1486 have wars, not always much wars, but enough to have some sorrows. Partly the wars are massive, Ferrara for instance, had been never worse than in 1482-1484. I think, that in the later time with its many festivities and glorious marriages the moral had been relaxed. Instead of going to war the nobility went to weddings. The raise of cases of homosexuality not necessarily displays a correct picture. For instance the documentation might have become much better in the final quarter.
On the relationship between Ercole d'Este and Savonarola, following your lead I went to the library and found a whole chapter, "The Duke and the Friar" in Gardner's Dukes and Poets in Ferrara (1904, in Google Books, p. 396ff). But it starts in December of 1494. The documented relationship is all from after Savonarola became the ruler of Florence, that the letters between the two happen. Even granting that he turned religious, and Savonarolist, after his wife's death in 1493, that's two years after the SB.
1494 is a plausible date ... and it seems also plausible, that Ercole left the ship in early 1498, when the Savonarola case started to become hopeless. I don't see a relation to Savonarola before and I don't believe, that the figure on the 2 of coins means Savonarola. I think, it might be a Venetian owner of the deck ... or the producer (but I think this not likely). The young man might be Alfonso d'Este, who had married in Jan/Feb 1991. After this he and his father went to Venice.
The two of coins became later (and possibly already around 1490) the card, where the producer was noted.

Huck wrote,
The negative Tarot preaching was written on paper produced near Ferrara ... it might well have been written in the period of Savonarolism.
No, it's confirmed.
Are you saying that this "negative Tarot preaching" was written during the period 1493-1498? Or do you mean the general time of Savonarola's preaching, including the time he had few followers in the Ferrara area. That would be 1482; but he had no following anywhere until he after moved to Bologna in 1488, where Pico noticed him by 1490 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girolamo_Savonarola). So do you mean after 1488? Or 1490, when Pico invited him to Florence? Whichever it is, I find it hard to believe that the dating can be that precise, to specify a certain 10-15 year period. And are you referring to the "Steele Sermon," or something else?
Sorry, the "confirmed" related to the whole article and the relation Savonarola-Ercole, not to the Steele Sermon.

Savonarola burnt cards in 1497/98 in two actions. In 1497 Ercole prohibited card playing (from a single sentence notice somewhere). But after 1498 Savonarolism wasn't dead, especially not in Mirandola. How the Mirandola-Ferrara relation functioned between 1498-1502, I don't know, but it's clear, that the marriage between Lucrezia Borgia and Alfonso Este changed a lot and naturally it worked pro-Borgia and against Savonarolism. In this same year 1502 Gianfrancesco was attacked by his brothers (and had to leave Mirandola as a consequence). 1503 the Borgia pope died, so some pressure on Ercole was gone.
Ercole couldn't easily control Mirandola ... this had a strong fortification.

For the Steele Sermon the attribute "Ferrarese paper" might mean, that Savonarolists in Mirandola might be the producers, the distance Ferrara-Mirandola isn't two far. Generally the father of Gianfrancesco Pico, Galeotto, was excommunicated for long years (I think since 1484 ?). He died April 1499 and Gianfrancesco was the heir. It might be, that the whole region was more rebellious than others and wouldn't easily obey Rome's ideas.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#62
Good; thanks. And Gianfrancesco was probably a die-hard Savonorolan, since Ercole had to dissociate himself from him publicly. S. A. Farmer,the translator-editor of the 1998 edition of Giovanni Pico's 900 Theses, thinks that Gianfrancesco even edited passage in his publication of Giovanni's posthumous works to fit his own (Gianfrancesco's) views, specifically those on astrology. I don't know about that, as I see nothing in any of Giovanni Pico's works to suggest an endorsement of astrology. I don't see any endorsement of astrology in the SB either--or most tarot prior to the late 18th century, for that matter.

I will have to read up on Galeotto's theological views.

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#63
mikeh wrote:Good; thanks. And Gianfrancesco was probably a die-hard Savonorolan, since Ercole had to dissociate himself from him publicly. S. A. Farmer,the translator-editor of the 1998 edition of Giovanni Pico's 900 Theses, thinks that Gianfrancesco even edited passage in his publication of Giovanni's posthumous works to fit his own (Gianfrancesco's) views, specifically those on astrology. I don't know about that, as I see nothing in any of Giovanni Pico's works to suggest an endorsement of astrology. I don't see any endorsement of astrology in the SB either--or most tarot prior to the late 18th century, for that matter.

I will have to read up on Galeotto's theological views.
There's one interesting thing about Gianfrancesco. After he was thrown out from Mirandola 1502 (lots of Savonarolists were killed then) he spend some time in Germany, visiting the emperor, fighting for his rights with juristic measures. He used this time also to publish the writing of his uncle. Around 1505 (April/May, as far I remember) he had been in Strassburg and visited "important men" there, which likely had to do with his publications, so mainly publishers, printers, other authors. On this line Matthias Ringmann (who belonged to the Strassburger humanists) got important details about Americo Vespucci and material to form a new world map. In this operation, who was finally made by Waldseemüller, Ringmann had the idea to name America after Americo Vespucci as the "explorer". Although this was later criticized, the new name became popular and is still in use nowadays.

In 1505 (or little later) a Strassburger publisher Matthias Schürer made a humble divination book, which used playing cards. The edition was based on the work of Martin Flach, who had made a humble lot book (really humble, nothing which promises great things) based on birds. Martin Flach (in his later years also printer in Strassburg) was a relative of this new printer.

Generally this production is called "Mainzer Losbuch", cause there was a parallel production slightly modified likely in the same time in Mainz. But the familiary connection to Martin Flach makes it probable, that the prototype was made by the Strassburger printer with the name Matthias Schürer, who either cooperated with a printer Knobloch or some time printed for him (Matthias Schürer was the younger of both).

http://trionfi.com/0/p/41/

Knobloch and Schürer definitely worked for Gianfrancesco at least since 1507, but I remember to have seen already the year 1504 for this cooperation.

In 1507 Gianfrancesco made a few (negative) notes about playing card divination (Ross found this), possibly he had seen it in Strassburg, or alternative possibility, he knew it already from Florence and his time there and possibly it was part of Savonarola's playing card persecution to attack such habits. If Gianfrancesco had talked about such things in Strassburg, it might have been an idea, which wandered by this way to the Strassburger printers, who might innocently imitated this wonderful new Italian custom ... both seems possible, but it seems not logical to assume, that both activities had nothing to do with each other (that would be a "rather strange accident").
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#64
Thanks for the additional information, Huck.

I have been revisiting my analysis of the SB Aces. I interpreted Coins and Cups as having to do with the Christian Trinity, and Swords and Batons as pertaining to categories of "Different" and "Same" in Plato's Timaeus. But if so, what is a Christian interpretation doing in a Neopythagorean deck?

Reading Cusa's On Learned Ignorance, I discovered that he attributes the doctrine of the Trinity to Pythagoras, Book I Chapter 7, says (http://my.pclink.com/~allchin/1814/retrial/cusa2.pdf, p. 13)
But Pythagoras, a very famous man of undeniable authority in his own time, added that this Oneness is trine.
.
So what tradition is Cusa referring to?

In footnote 39, the translator gives as Cusa's probable source: John of Salisbury's De Septem Septenis VII (PL 199.961C). This text, as far as I can determine, is only available in Latin. I managed to locate it on-line using my local library's "First Search" search engine (from WorldCat). It is in volume 5 of Joannis Saresberiensis Opera Omnia, p. 233.
Deus est unitas: ab unitate gignitur unitatis aequalite procedit. Hinc igitur Augustinus: Omne recte intuenti perspicuum est; quare a sanctae scripturae docturibus patri assignatur unitas, Filius aequalitas, Spiritui Sancto connexio; et licet ab unitate gignatur aequalitas, ab utroque connexio procedat: unum tamen et idem sunt. Haec est illa trium unitas: quam solam adorandam esse docuit Pythagoras. ....
Given the state of my Latin, I will not attempt to translate this passage. But it is clear that Cusa is saying something similar when he says that
But since oneness is eternal, equality eternal, and union also eternal, oneness, equality, and union are one. And this is that trine Oneness which Pythagoras, the first philosopher of all and the glory of Italy and of Greece, affirmed to be worthy of worship.

The translator adds in footnote 43 that in "union" he is translating Cusa's "conexio" and "unio," which Cusa uses interchangeably. All that is missing from the above quote is Salisbury's notion that the second and third persons "proceed" from the first. That the One "generates" Equality is the subject of Cusa's Chapter 8. That Union "proceeds" from Unity and Equality is the subject of his Chapter 9. In Chapter 9 he also explains that Equality corresponds to the Son and Union to Love or the Holy Spirit.

Can this doctrine be derived from any Pythagorean writing? In fact "equality" is one property of the Dyad ,and "union" of the Dyad and the Monad is one property of the Triad In the Theology of Arithmetic. Exactly how this language got to Salisbury, and how the two terms got associated to the second and third persons of the Trinity specifically, I don't know; but Cusa is simply appropriating it for his own purposes. What Cusa is doing is attempting to show that since all three, Unity, Equality, and Union are are eternal, all are descriptive of the one God, a proof of the Trinity derived from "Pythagoras." Whether the Theology is the source, or some summary of the relevant portions (only its first three chapters), I do not know. I also do not know what Salisbury is referring to in citing Augustine. There are no scholarly notes to the Septem Septenis as published (in 1848).

In Chapter 9 (http://my.pclink.com/~allchin/1814/retrial/cusa2.pdf, p. 15), Cusa goes on to identify "union" with "the same."
And although equality of oneness is begotten from oneness and although union proceeds from both [of these], nevertheless oneness, equality of oneness, and the union proceeding from both are one and the same thing--as if we were to speak of [one and] the same thing as this, it, the same. The fact of our saying "it" is related to a first thing; but our saying "the same" unites and conjoins the related thing to the first thing. Assume, then, that from the pronoun "it" there were formed the word "itness," so that we could speak of oneness, itness, and sameness: itness would bear a relation to oneness, but sameness would designate the union of itness and oneness.[In this case, the names "Oneness," "Itness," and "Sameness"] would nearly enough befit the Trinity.
This language--substituting "the same" for "union" I find in Porphyry's "Life of Pythagoras", a text available throughout the Middle Ages. Here it is:
The Number One denoted to them the reason of Unity, Identity, Equality, the purpose of friendship. sympathy, and the conservation of the universe, which results in persistence in Sameness.

This is from The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, p. 133, in Google Books.

In these terms, there might be an alternative interpretation of the SB Ace of Swords. That is, the two figures on each side of the sword, different in appearance but doing the same thing on the same level, might represent Equality, and so the second person of the Trinity, the one who came not to bring peace but the sword.

The two identical putti on the Ace of Batons, in that scenario, are still "the Same," but now interpreted as the third person of the Pythagoran Trinity rather than the Timaeus, The SB Ace of Baton's raising of the club over the empty cuirass and helmet then signify what proceeds from the strife brought by Christ, i.e. the peace and love of the Holy Spirit. The SB Ace of Batons in that way is similar to the "Venus Victrix" of Zoppo's Parchment Book, the vanquishing of Mars by Venus, of war by love, as in the image on the right below (discussed in more detail at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=530&p=8743&hilit=Venus+Zoppo#p8743),

Image


Admittedly this interpretation of the people on the Ace of Swords, as representing "Equality" rather than "Difference," is rather obscure. But it might have been just the thing, in a noble Venetian drawing room, to add the proper elevated tone to what might have otherwise looked like a rather plebian game of cards. I understand from reading Carlo Ruggiero's essay, "Playing with the Devil" (in his Machievelli in Love, 2007, p. 41ff) that the Venetian aristocrats took pains to distinguish their games from those of the common people.

John of Salisbury's reference to Augustine makes me wonder to what extent the Chartres School--and perhaps the Renaissance as well--knew about Neopythagoreanism in general, and the Theology of Arithmetic in particular, from the Church Fathers (as well as from Porphyry and others). In anthologies of ancient references to Pythagoreanism, I have not seen selections from the Fathers. In my local Catholic university library, I looked in the indexes, under "Pythagoras," of several books of writings of the Chartres School. I found brief references in these works to what I recognize as Neopythagorean tenets found in the first four chapters of the Theology. Since the references are very brief, they were likely based on quite brief summaries or allusions in the literature, patristic or otherwise (Greek, Latin, or Arabic), at their disposal. I will continue exploring this issue.

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#65
mikeh wrote: In footnote 39, the translator gives as Cusa's probable source: John of Salisbury's De Septem Septenis VII (PL 199.961C). This text, as far as I can determine, is only available in Latin. I managed to locate it on-line using my local library's "First Search" search engine (from WorldCat). It is in volume 5 of Joannis Saresberiensis Opera Omnia, p. 233.
Deus est unitas: ab unitate gignitur unitatis aequalite procedit. Hinc igitur Augustinus: Omne recte intuenti perspicuum est; quare a sanctae scripturae docturibus patri assignatur unitas, Filius aequalitas, Spiritui Sancto connexio; et licet ab unitate gignatur aequalitas, ab utroque connexio procedat: unum tamen et idem sunt. Haec est illa trium unitas: quam solam adorandam esse docuit Pythagoras. ....
Given the state of my Latin, I will not attempt to translate this passage. But it is clear that Cusa is saying something similar when he says that
But since oneness is eternal, equality eternal, and union also eternal, oneness, equality, and union are one. And this is that trine Oneness which Pythagoras, the first philosopher of all and the glory of Italy and of Greece, affirmed to be worthy of worship.

Hello Mike,
I see you have gotten the meaning of Johannes Saresberiensis perfectly right.
Anyway, here is my translation of that passage:

God is unity: generated by unity he proceeds from the equality of the unity. Therefore Augustine: everything is clear to he who examines in the right way; for this reason those who have studied the holy scripture attribute unity to the father, equality to the Son, union to the Holy Spirit; it follows that equality is generated from unity, and that union proceeds from both [unity and equality]: yet they are one and the same. This is the unity of the three: which Pythagoras taught to be the only thing [deserving] to be adored.

Marco

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#66
Wonderful, Marco! Actually, I learned a couple of things from your translation. First, when Cusa associates "generation" with "equality" but "precession" with "union." he is exactly repeating Saresberiensis's formulation. Second, the reference to Augustine is merely incidental; Saresberiensis is not attributing the Pythagorean formulation of the Trinity to Augustine. I still don't know where Saresberiensis gets it (unity, equality, union). His wording is close to that of the Porphyry quote that I gave, but "union" doen't appear there and the order is different: "identity" (sameness) comes before "equality." Another possible source is Anatolius of Laodicia's On the Decad (in Google Books), which says, "The Triad is the result of the Monad coming together with the Dyad." The phrase "coming together" suggests "union." But Anatolius doesn't mention "equality" anywhere. Of sources known to me, only the Theologumena Arithmeticae has both concepts (equality and union), in the right order. But I can't believe that Saresberiensis had access to that rather extensive work; if he had, he or someone at Chartres would have quoted more of it.

Re: Deciphering the Sola-Busca Pips

#67
I had occasion recently to return to the Sola-Busca 3 of Swords, which I analyzed in this thread (viewtopic.php?p=7946#p7946, in terms of Lippo Lippi's Ecstasy of Augustine before the Trinity, c. 1420-1430, and other Augustinian works on the theme of Augustine in ecstasy being pierced by rays. Other paintings of the time showed him with a vision of Christ on the cross, similar to the iconography of St. Francis's stigmatization.

I had not tried to analyze what the three swords might be, seen as rays of the Trinity into the believer's heart. It occurred to me that the black, white, and red of alchemy might correspond to the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son. First we have the Lippi painting, which is now online in color:

Now for my expansion on how the Trinity would affect someone's heart. I inserted this at viewtopic.php?p=7946#p7946, but I will repeat it here.

The Father in ejecting Adam and Eve from Paradise makes humanity aware of its sinfulness, and his repeated punishments described in the Old Testament and extra-canonical legend, from the Flood onward, reiterate the theme. The color black, the first stage of the Great Work, is an apt image for that consciousness of sin.. The second stabbing of the heart is that of the Holy Spirit which descended upon Jesus at his baptism in the shape of a dove. As taught by Jesus, it awakens the spirit of love in the believer for God and neighbor. It is symbolized by the white of the dove. The third stab is the red of Jesus's sacrifice on the cross, the Son's taking upon himself the sins of the world and redeeming humanity from death, but also representing the sacrifices and sufferings, as well as the courage, of the believer in emulation of Jesus.

I get some support for this interpretation from a section in the late 15th century "Ripley Scrowle" that was once connected to this card by Tarotpedia online. Albeit written in England, the Scrowle is a poem composed by an Augustinian cleric in the 2nd half of the 15th century. England at that time had many connections to the city-states of Northern Italy. If a series of images went with the poem at the time, it has not survived. In its final section it says (http://www.levity.com/alchemy/rscroll.html):
The Blood of mine heart I wish
Now causeth both joy and blisse
And dissolveth the very Stone
And knitteth him ere he have done..
[...]
Thou must part him in three
And then knit him as the Trinity
And make them all but one
Lo here is the Philosophers Stone.
Correspondingly, the illustrations that survive from a century later, c. 1570, show for this section drops of blood coming from the heart area of a dragon and penetrating onto three black, or black and white, circles (for examples see https://www.compendiumnaturalis.net/the-ripley-scrolls/). The Levity site gives a 1718 version even shows a heart-shaped heart inside the dragon. Above the dragon is the same configuration of circles but now linked together and surrounded by a sun-burst and with distinctive three colors: in several examples (besides the three featured at the previous link, see http://lab404.com/misc/ripley.jpg, they are red and black on one level and white in the middle above them. Here is the relevant section of the illustration. The words already quoted are on the right.
Image
In another version, they are red and black on one level and silver above; in a third they are yellow and white on one level and red below. I surmise that in the last version the artist has in mind the three stages after the nigredo, in the version in which there is a yellow stage between white and red. In the 18th century version on Levity, the circles have a sun, a moon, and just blackness inside them. In all the versions, in my application of the poem to the images, each earlier stage is not canceled when another comes, but rather continues to be present in the heart of the believer.

What is missing from the Scrowle image is of course the swords. Yet the language of "part him in three" seems to me to suggest a cutting action, and moreover the drops of blood from the dragon's heart pierce the circles in a way reminiscent of swords. In any case, am not so much finding alchemical imagery in the tarot card as giving an alchemical expansion, or commentary, on the painting by Lippi, and thereby also coming to a fuller analysis of the Sola-Busca 3 of Swords card.

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