How do you play Marziano's game?

#1
I am trying to work out what connections there could be between Marziano's game of deified heroes and whatever game was played with the Cary-Yale.

To start with, I am trying to understand how to play Marziano's game. I get hung up almost immediately, because Marziano doesn't give enough of the rules. Nor does Marcello see any necessity for mentioning that fact. Presumably he thought that the ordinary rules for triumphs would apply. But there seems to be a difference, namely, the attachment of triumphs to the same suits as kings and birds. He says (http://trionfi.com/martiano-da-tortona- ... -16-heroum)
Indeed the first order, of virtues, is certain: Jupiter, Apollo, Mercury and Hercules. The second of riches, Juno, Neptune, Mars and Aeolus. The third of virginity or continence: from Pallas, Diana, Vesta and Daphne. The fourth however is of pleasure: Venus, Bacchus, Ceres and Cupid. And subordinated to these are four kinds of birds, being suited by similarity. Thus to the rank of virtues, the Eagle; of riches, the Phoenix; of continence, the Turtledove; of pleasure, the Dove. And each one obeys its own king.
My question is, what does that mean, in practice?

A strict reading would be that that the suits, beside the ten birds and the king, include three gods and one demigod, for 15 cards per suit. So if a person is out of eagles, but does have, say, Mercury, he has to play Mercury as part of following suit. On the other hand, if someone doesn't have any of the 15 in the suit led, he can play some other triumph, and for that purpose, a different hierarchy applies, in which the second most powerful gods in the four suits all take precedence over Mercury. So for example if someone plays Bacchus, Bacchus beats Mercury.

My next question is, is that a game anyone would want to play? It seems not to give much room for strategy, since most of your triumphs will be played in cases where you have to play them and not when you choose to play them.

Also, it seems very easy to unintentionally break the rules, since there is no way of identifying the suit unless one either has memorized it or somehow knows the god's connection to the name of the suit. That is to say, if in the above situation I play a low triumph of some other suit, thinking that it is in the suit led: for example, I mistakenly think Eolis is in the suit of virtues. I am unintentionally breaking the rules. Then later when I play Mercury, I may be able to get away with it. But probably someone is going to say, you should have played that earlier, instead of Eolis. It seems like that would happen a lot, especially among inexperienced or young players. And so many arguments ending in hurt feelings. Again, not a very pleasant game.

Am I misreading Marziano?

Another way of interpreting him is that the rule about following suit doesn't apply to the gods and demigods. The suits' only functionfor the gods is to provide a rationale for their ranking, so that the most important in each is among the four highest gods, and so on. But this seems to be reading into him what he doesn't say.

Re: How do you play Marziano's game?

#2
Mike,
Decker has definite ideas on the ordinal ranking of the cards - see especially p. 75: https://books.google.com/books?id=EllbB ... no&f=false

Also, given the Duchy of Milan as an imperial fief (and necessarily with more correspondence with the emperor than say Florence or Bologna), is there a possible connection to German luxury playing cards as an influence, especially in light of the Council of Konstanz, 1414 to 1418? The c. 1430 Stuttgart deck is close in time to Marziano (and surely had precedents), its animal suits (ducks, falcons, stags and hounds) features two birds which partially matches Marziano's all-bird suits, and the pronounced hunting theme seems to be relocated by Marziano to the sphere of the Gods' sport with humanity - "love" (rape) - with the virginal Daphne the apogee of virtue (undoubtedly the influence of Ovid in the hands of Petrarch here). Over the Xmas break while at the Getty Museum in LA (taking in the 'Renaissance Nude' exhibit - highlight being G. Bellini's Four Allegories) I picked up The World in Play: Luxury Cards 1430-1540; that book focuses on the earliest German luxury decks while comparing them to the CY, PMB and Sola Busca. I'm surprised that book hasn't garnered more interest here, especially from Huck.

You mention that book here (nothing else turned up in a search, but I've noticed the search function is seriously flawed in this new webpage):
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1086&p=16692&hilit ... 540#p16692

Phaeded

Re: How do you play Marziano's game?

#3
I think the best way to think of Marziano's card game is that it was played like Tarot.

Most commentators misread the design of the game by conflating the symbolic themes with the suits and heroes.

The fourfold thematic structure is Virtues, Riches, Virginities, and Pleasures.

Each theme has two parts, a suit symbolized by a bird, and a set of four heroes. The set of all the heroes is a set of trumps, independent of and above the suits of birds, and ranked in a straight sequence from Jove to Cupid.

The suits and the fourfold moral structure are not the same thing. Hercules is not "Hercules of Eagles", and it is meaningless to call him "Hercules of Virtues." He is just Hercules, and ranks 13th in the trump sequence.

Marziano did not know of a jargon term for trumps, which indicates to me that he invented the concept of a permanent trump suit independently of anything else that may have existed using the same concept. He had to explain it as it functioned, i.e. "Every one of the gods, however, will be above all the ranks of birds and the kings of the ranks. But the gods are held to this law among themselves: that who will be first designated below, he should lead all the others following in sequence."

He has there described and defined a trump suit.

If it were not clear enough, the only eyewitness to Michelino's rendition of Marziano's description, Marcello, explicitly compares it to a regular ludus triumphorum.

The only thing the standard game and Marziano's game have in common is that they both have four suits and a trump suit. If the gods and heroes had been indicated as merely high cards of the four suits, there would have been no rationale for Marcello to compare the two very different-looking games. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the structure of the two games, four suits and a trump suit, was the same, and that it was obvious at a glance.
Image

Re: How do you play Marziano's game?

#4
At the very least, it is a five-suit trick-taking game with four plain suits and one longer trump suit. This is what we don't know:
How many players?
Do all cards get distributed or is there a talon?
Are all cards worth the same like in whist?
Do you have to follow suit?
Can you play trumps whenever you please?
Are you obligated to play trumps when void like in tarocchi?

Re: How do you play Marziano's game?

#5
We can't answer those questions from Marziano's text. The only additional feature of ranking or order that he confirms is that two suits were ranked lesser number low to greater number high, and two were greater number low to lesser number high. To use conventional terms, two were Ace low Ten high, two were Ten low Ace high. But in all four the King was highest.

In Marziano's game the two suits with Ace low Ten high were Eagles and Turtledoves; the two suits with Ten low Ace high were Phoenices and Doves. In the fourfold moral symbolism, the first two answer to Virtus and Virginity, the latter two to Riches and Pleasure. He says that this rule symbolizes that it is better when more people practise virtue and continence, and better when fewer people follow riches and pleasure.

This feature of inverted suit order, excluding the court cards, is of course classic Tarot, where the Ace low Ten high suits are Batons and Swords, while the Ten low Ace high suits are Cups and Coins.

Although we cannot answer Ludophone's questions directly from Marziano, we can gather some of the standard features of card games played contemporaneously to Marziano's text in Milan, from a ducal decree of February 24, 1420 which prohibits "card games except for those which follow the old and correct method, namely throwing down the figures and other signs for such a sign and such a figure, which may be named swords or batons, thus such a sign against such a sign"

nec ad aliquem ludum carteselarum nisi dumtaxat secundum antiquum et rectum modum, videlicet iactando foras figuras et alia signa pro tali signo et tali figura, nominando enses vel bachulos et tale signum contra tale signum
(from Caterina Santoro, ed. I Registri dell'Ufficio di Provvisione (Milan, 1929) p. 560, n. 40)
See also this post - viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&p=5187&hilit=foras#p5187

This seems to be a clear description of following suit (signum) and court card rank (figura), which by then, no more than sixty years after playing cards were introduced, was traditional.

So, following suit was a feature.

How many players? Cannot say, although surely they improvised. Ugo Trotti in Ferrara in 1456 says Trionfi is best played by four in two partneships. "Best" implies that other ways were known. If the Palazzo Borromeo fresco shows Trionfi players, there are five.

Whether all cards distributed or not we can't say, but to deal them all out, with the remainder going to the dealer for a discard option, seems to be the classic Tarot form, so I would bet that. Dealing all the cards also allows less option for chance and betting, which was always the main complaint of the authorities against certain card games.

What the cards were worth is another impossible to know, but it would make sense that not only was the aim to win a number of tricks, but also specific cards for higher points, like the Kings and Heroes.

Whether being able to lead with trumps or requiring to play one when void of the led suit, I would guess that it was like in classic Tarot, that the dealer can lead with trumps if he so wishes, and that one must play a trump when void, or any card if void even of trumps.

Additionally, there seems no to be no Excuse function in Marziano's game. But what is the point of having Cupid, who is explicitly said to capture even Jupiter (in the legendary description, not Marziano's Prologue), be the least valuable trump? I wonder if Cupid did not have some special function, like an Excuse. But the possibilities are endless.

Specifically, I find the symbolic sense of the Virgins - Pallas, Diana, Vesta, and Daphne - to be offended by allowing Cupid to take them. One could imagine a rule where these four cards were immune to Cupid.

But these sorts of musing are for us when we play the games we devise. There is no way to glean them from Marziano's slight indications.
Image

Re: How do you play Marziano's game?

#6
Ross wrote,
Most commentators misread the design of the game by conflating the symbolic themes with the suits and heroes.

The fourfold thematic structure is Virtues, Riches, Virginities, and Pleasures.

Each theme has two parts, a suit symbolized by a bird, and a set of four heroes. The set of all the heroes is a set of trumps, independent of and above the suits of birds, and ranked in a straight sequence from Jove to Cupid.

The suits and the fourfold moral structure are not the same thing. Hercules is not "Hercules of Eagles", and it is meaningless to call him "Hercules of Virtues." He is just Hercules, and ranks 13th in the trump sequence.
It is not a question of Hercules being "Hercules of Eagles". Whether it is meaningless to call him "Hercules of Virtues" is not clear to me. The question is whether Eagles is the suit or Virtues is. Marziano says (http://trionfi.com/martiano-da-tortona- ... -16-heroum):
Indeed the first order, of virtues, is certain: Jupiter, Apollo, Mercury and Hercules. The second of riches, Juno, Neptune, Mars and Aeolus. The third of virginity or continence: from Pallas, Diana, Vesta and Daphne. The fourth however is of pleasure: Venus, Bacchus, Ceres and Cupid. And subordinated to these are four kinds of birds, being suited by similarity. Thus to the rank of virtues, the Eagle; of riches, the Phoenix; of continence, the Turtledove; of pleasure, the Dove. And each one obeys its own king.
It may be that by "order" he means what we mean by "suit". It is not clear to me why he says "rank of virtues" later. I would have thought "order" would have been the appropriate word. Thus far I at least cannot tell whether "subordinated to these" excludes "under them in the suit" or not. If we look at it from the perspective of the tarot later, then it does. But I'm not sure that's the only alternative. That is, to repeat, if Virtues is the suit, then Eagles might be just the lower members of that suit, while the higher members of the suits, the gods and demigods, are also ranked among themselves.

But I think that what comes next clears up the matter, because of the way he describes the birds immediately following:
However, the order of these Birds is, although none of their type has right over another, yet this arrangement they have alternately – Eagles and Turtledoves lead from many to few: that is to say it goes better for us when many cultivate virtue and continence; but for Phoenices and Doves, the few rule over the many, which is to say that, the more the followers of riches and pleasure are visible, the more they lead to the deterioration of our station.
This says pretty clearly that Eagles and Turtledoves are subsumed under "virtue and continence", whereas Phoenices and Doves fall under "riches and pleasures". It is also part of his rationale for why the numerical order goes from high to low in the former and low to high in the latter: the more virtues and continences we have in our ranks, the stronger we are; and while one or two pleasures and riches are OK, ten times that amount makes us weaker, morally speaking, the "deterioration of our station".

In this case the suit is not defined by the suit-object in the number cards. The suit is an abstraction - virtues, riches, etc - under which the suit-objects (types of birds) fall as well as the four gods and demigods under that abstraction. It is something Marcallo didn't notice because he assumed that the trump suit worked the same way as in the triumphs game he was familiar with. But I don't think the text reads that way. What do you think?

P. S. Thanks for that justification of the "following suit" rule by reference to Filippo's edict. I hadn't thought of using that edict in that way. That was very helpful.

P.P. S. Your post quoted the sentence "Every one of the gods, however, will be above all the ranks of birds and the kings of the ranks." The version on trionfi.com says "Every one of the gods, however, is above all the orders of birds and the ranks of kings." The first version makes more sense to me and seems clearer than the second. Which one corresponds to the Latin? (I am at a serious disadvantage, not having the Latin. Is it available anywhere?)
Added next day: I answer my own question in the next post.

P.P.P. S. Huck and I had a fairly long and detailed discussion of the book by Timothy Husband, either here or on Aeclectic. But I can't find it either. Added later: found it, http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=251337.

Re: How do you play Marziano's game?

#7
To answer my own question, "Do you have the Latin?" I see that Franco gives it in his essay (http://trionfi.com/earliest-tarot-pack): "Deorum vero quisque omnibus ordinibus avium et ordinum regibus praeerit." I see the word for "order", "ordinibus" but not anything corresponding to "rank". So I remain confused. Franco translates the sentence as "However, each of the gods will be higher than all orders of the birds and than kings of the orders."
If "orders" means "suits", then that sentence fits your interpretation. But that can't be right, because there are then four suits of gods (since there are four orders of gods) in addition to four suits of birds. It makes sense to use the word "rank" to indicate a sub-order within each of the four orders, for clarity, as you seem to have done. If so, then "order" would correspond to "suit" and "rank" to the suborder within each suit.

I also see from Franco's essay that he sees virtues, riches, virginities (continences), and pleasures as the suits:
[A comment may at once be deserved to the four "suits". At first sight, they seem to be quite original; however, if the usual interpretations of the four suits in a standard pack are considered, the originality of these orders is strongly reduced: it is not difficult to suspect denari under riches, spade under virtues, coppe under pleasures, even if the association of bastoni with virginity or even with temperance, the alternative name of the order, is to me something still unheard of.]
Decker seems to agree with Franco. But you are disagreeing with Franco. It seems to me that he is probably correct. But unfortunately the text is still a bit unclear, at least to me, since Marziano never uses the word "suit".

In your post you referred to "most commentators" as getting it wrong. Does that include Franco? Are there others, besides Decker?

Re: How do you play Marziano's game?

#8
Harum vero Avium ordo est quia nulla earum species in alteram vis habet.

"Of these, none of the species of birds in the order of things has power over another [species of bird]."

[Birds of different species/suits cannot take each other.]

Deorum vero quisque omnibus ordinibus avium et ordinum regibus praeerit.

"EACH of the gods, however, presides over ALL the orders of birds and kings of the orders."

NB: Ordo and its conjugations ordinum, ordinibus - the word for order(s) may also be translated as rank(s), estate(s), class(es), file, line, row, troop, succession, etc., depending on context.

Despite that the author is struggling for the lack of ludic nomenclature, it still seems pretty clear to me. I think Ross is surely correct in his interpretation and analysis.

I was a bit confused by the phrase "Sed inter se dii hac lege tenebuntur, quod qui prior inferius annotabitur sequentibus omnibus praesit." at first, but then realized [duh!] he simply meant that the order of the gods is as they are annotated below, the first having command over the ones that follow.

"The rule among the gods is as listed below, from highest to lowest."

The essay ends with the list of Gods, from Jupiter to Cupid, highest to lowest.


SteveM

ps: For the latin text, a manuscript is available online at the BnF here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b ... 8d/f1.item
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: How do you play Marziano's game?

#9
Steve wrote,
Harum vero Avium ordo est quia nulla earum species in alteram vis habet.

"Of these, none of the species of birds in the order of things has power over another [species of bird]."

[Birds of different species/suits cannot take each other.]
I like your translation, but not your paraphrase. It begs the question, which is, does species of bird = suit? I am not sure what the force of "of things" is. That is important. I think it is short for "species of bird, type of god, and anything else in that order" So I get:
Of these, none of the species of birds in a given order of things can take any species of bird in another order of things.
It is absolutely not clear where "suit" goes. It might be that order of things = suit.

Steve wrote,
Deorum vero quisque omnibus ordinibus avium et ordinum regibus praeerit.

"EACH of the gods, however, presides over ALL the orders of birds and kings of the orders."
The capitalized words are not the issue that bothers me. Here the odd thing is that he doesn't say "species of birds and kings of the species". Apparently "order" can replace "species" but not the other way around.

It seems to me that those sentences do not settle anything. Yes, every god is above every order of birds and their kings. So what? That doesn't exclude them from being in particular suits (i.e. orders) as well, for the purpose of following suit. If an eagle card is led, and the only card in the suit of Virtues you have is Jupiter, then you have to play Jupiter.

And yes, none of the species of birds in the order of things has power over another species of bird in its order. The different species of birds are in different suits, and it is the rule that birds of different suits can't win tricks when a different suit is led. In that way they are different from gods, which can win tricks even if they are not of the suit (i.e. virtues) led.

Also, when you wrote:
NB: Ordo and its conjugations ordinum, ordinibus - the word for order(s) may also be translated as rank(s), estate(s), class(es), file, line, row, troop, succession, etc., depending on context.
I think I get that from the different ways Ross and Franco translated that one sentence. What I need to know is whether every instance of "rank" and "order" in Ross's translation corresponds to a form of the word "ordo". I assume it does. If so, I will ignore the difference in wording. I remain puzzled as to why Ross felt two different words for the same word in Latin helped in the understanding of the text.

There is also the word "species", as in "species of bird." A species is within an order, although in a sense it is an order, too.

There is then the passage earlier in the text:
Indeed the first order, of virtues, is certain: Jupiter, Apollo, Mercury and Hercules. The second of riches, Juno, Neptune, Mars and Aeolus. The third of virginity or continence: from Pallas, Diana, Vesta and Daphne. The fourth however is of pleasure: Venus, Bacchus, Ceres and Cupid. And subordinated to these are four kinds of birds, being suited by similarity. Thus to the rank of virtues, the Eagle; of riches, the Phoenix; of continence, the Turtledove; of pleasure, the Dove. And each one obeys its own king..

I assume that "rank" is"ordo"; but "kinds" is "species", not that it matters. And "these" is "these orders".

So we have two types of orders: (1) birds and their kings; and (2) gods and demigods. What unites them? I say, the suit. Ross says, the theme. What Ross calls "themes" I say could be "suits". What Ross calls "suits" I say are could be just orders of birds, one species for each suit.

Maybe it will help I will give an imaginary example of a game such as I have in mind. Let us call it "VIII Impertori". The deck has 60 cards: numbers 1-10 and a king, queen, and jack in each of four suits. In addition, each suit has an Emperor and an Empress. The suits are "Babylonian Empire", "Persian Empire", "Alexandrian Empire", and "Roman Empire". (I get this idea from an 18th century allegorization of the suits in Minchiate recently put online by Andrea.) In the game, the Imperials rule over their inferiors, who obey a strict hierarchy and have domestic powers only. The Imperials, however are always after more territory, so they can capture forces in other kingdoms. So any of the Imperials can take any of the regular suit cards. But among themselves, they have a strict hierarchy, too, because of their place in history. The Persian Empire conquered the Babylonian Empire, the Greeks under Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, and the Roman Empire conquered the Greek Empire. Among the imperials, however, the Emperors are all more powerful than any of the Empresses. So the hierarchy goes (1) R. Emperor; (2) G. Emperor; (3) P. Emperor; (4) B. Emperor; (5) R. Empress; (6) G. Empress; (7) P. Empress; (8) B. Empress. And after that, the regular cards, in the suit led.

So now if I don't have any Persian subjects in my hand, just the Emperor, if someone else leads a Persian, I have to put my house in order, so to speak, come what may, and put my P. Emperor on the table, even if I would have preferred to use him more effectively than to put down a couple of common soldiers in my own territory. Anyway, that's the game, and it seems to me that Marziano's might be similar to that one. And I am not sure that the game I have in mind is just imaginary.

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