Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

From here on, my original posts are thoroughly reorganized and largely rewritten.

5. From Minchiate in 16 to the A orders in 22, 25 and 97, in matrices where the order proceeds by columns.

First let me summarize the most important points so far:

Cary-Yale surviving cards (order unspecified): Imperatrice, Imperatore, Amore, Carro, Death, Faith, Hope, Charity, Angel, World

Cary-Yale additions, hypothesized: Temperanza, Giustizia, Prudenza, Tempo, Ruota.

My basic hypothesis: What corresponds to Marziano’s Virtues, Riches, Continences, and Pleasures are, in the proto-Tarot with the 16 Modrone subjects, the four cardinal virtues Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance, in that order.

I do not expect to prove that hypothesis, but only show its reasonableness and ability to account for the known facts. As such, it is also one that may require modification with the addition of more facts.

Before continuing, since this post starts a second page in this thread, I present again the table, cut and pasted from Depauiis, of early A orders, including the relevant cards of Minchiate.

As it happens, if we divide the 16 chosen cards , 11 original and 5 hypothesized (given in the summary above the table) into 4 groups, using the Minchiate order as proposed by Pratesi, and put them into a 4x4 matrix in the manner of Marziano, we do not get a cardinal virtue in each row, as can be seen in the matrix below. (Here "Trombe", Trumpets, is Minchiate's name for the card otherwise known as "Angelo" or, in the Tarot de Marseille, "Jugement". Likewise Minchiate does not have an Empress or Emperor, just "papas".) Like Marziano, the numbering goes from 1 as the most powerful in terms of trick-taking to 16 the least powerful not counting the suit cards. Since there is not one virtue per row, suits cannot be assigned, so that the last column is blank.
This matrix can also be written from 16 down to 1, the method of numbering adopted both in Minchiate and Tarocchi, which we are more used to.
Before going on, however, I need to clarify a couple of things. I am postulating that what connects the game played with the Modrone (Cary-Yale, CY) cards is the cardinal virtues appearing in the row corresponding to that suit. Unlike Marziano's gods, in the care of the CY cards, the other cards do not somehow fall under that virtue in the way that Marziano's gods fell under one of his four categories of virtues, riches, continences, and pleasures. There may well have been some sage saying that connected the other cards with the virtue, e.g. "The just emperor will be generous and spare from death those of an enemy nation who took up arms against him but now submit to his authority." There would equally be a sage saying connecting three other cards to that same virtue .As we will see, the virtues can share a row with other cards in many ways.

I would have thought that the idea of dividing the 16 cards of our sequence into four groups of four based on the four virtues would not have occurred to anyone independently of knowing Marziano's treatise, there is nothing in the tarot subjects to suggest any association to one virtue rather than another. Marziano's division of gods and demigods into four groups, although contrived, is more natural, in that it depends on pre-existing qualities of these subjects. Yet it may well be that the idea of the four groups of four united by the four virtues may have been stimulated by something in Marziano's stay in Florence before Milan. Florence was divided into four quarters each divided into four gonfaloni (for their names see ... ebook.html), a link Huck provided in post 2 of viewtopic.php?p=20791#p20791). This structure was depicted in a late 14th century fresco that has been recently restored and is now the ceiling of a seafood restaurant in Florence. A photo of this ceiling is included in Monica Donato's essay "Gli affreschi del Palazzo dell'Arte de' Giudici e Notai" (The frescoes of the Palace of the Guild of Judges and Notaries, in Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Classe di Lettere e Filosofia, serie 5, 2015, 7/1, pp. 3-33.
The fresco features a series of concentric circles, similar to medieval representations of the cosmos. Inside all the rings are squares; around the inner square are four other squares each divided into four squares each. (Ignore the four large rectangles pointing vertically and horizontally; these are something else, administrative units of the city government. Ignore also the figures between each pair of virtues, which are civil law and canon law. For a fuller treatment, see my post 11 at viewtopic.php?p=20845#p20845.) These 16, as well as the four sets of rectangles in the four quadrants of first ring, represent the 16 gonfoloni, districts, within the 4 quarters of Florence. In the next ring outward are rectangles representing the 21 guilds of Florence, with an equal number of shields, each with the heraldic of a particular guild. Outside the last ring (of a moat, I think) are the four cardinal virtues, one for each quadrant of the 16. (For better pictures of the virtues, see Phaeded's post.) Donato says:
A destra e sinistra dell'immagine della città sono le quattro Virtù cardinali, principi guida della vita civile, tradizionalmente associate a figure di regnanti, a designarne la sovranità.

(To the right and left of the image of the city are the four cardinal Virtues, guiding principles of civic life, traditionally associated to the figures of rulers, to designate their sovereignty. )
In relation to the quadrants of the circle, moreover, there is a relationship between one virtue and one group of four. The fresco is a picture of the relationship I am suggesting between a suit, representing a virtue, and four out of sixteen cards.

I do not know whether any significance should be attached to the number 21 in relation to the cards at this point. But the 16 standards in four rectangles is the same as Marziano's structure, and that they were surrounded by the four cardinal virtues has a direct relationship to the modification of that structure I am proposing for the tarot subjects.

In fact, looking at the fresco as a miniature cosmos radiating out from a central point, it is not clear whether each quadrant, i.e. suit, has 4 elements or 5, since the virtue could be considered an additional element, as opposed to representing the suit.. a 4x5 matrix would of course include 20 cards, and if one were outside the matrix, in the way that the Fool is outside the sequence of tarot trumps, that would be 21, the same as the number of guilds and one less than the number of triumphs that is enumerated in the later lists (except that of the Charles VI as numbered and the Strambotto, which have just 20 plus the Fool). If the tarot preceded Marziano's game, then it may well be that Marziano's is a shortened form of tarot rather than the tarot being an expanded version of Marziano. And if 21, then what about 25 or 26, adding the three theologicals, and prudence, and perhaps not subtracting the Popess, which is missing from Minchiate? The upshot is that we have to investigate several such matrices, not just the 4x4 of Marziano..

Another issue is that of how the 4x4, 4x5, etc. matrix by columns, as Marziano had it, affects the conduct of the game. Somehow the four virtues would mnemonically be associated with the three other cards in its group, perhaps by a sage saying. But what would that have to do with the conduct of the game? It seems to me that each row of triumphs has to function as an extension of its corresponding suit, to which it is is subordinate, so that following suit in a trick requires that one play a card in the suit led, and if one has none, then to play a card in the corresponding extension if one has one. Failure to do so would be to forfeit the hand, while doing so may require one to give up a card one would have preferred to put to better use later in the hand.

With these clarifications and complications, let us see how the standard Minchiate order above can reasonably be supposed to have been slightly different at an earlier time. All of these variations will keep the same system of numbering, from 16 down to 1 going in columns from left to right.

It is not hard to fix the matrix by just one change. One of them, putting Time high instead of low, i.e. as a celestial meaning cosmic time, is not a change but simply a different interpretation of the Petrarchan triumph called Time, Tempo. The other is the obvious one of putting Prudence with the other cardinals instead of with the theologicals. Prudence could be inserted anywhere, but a couple are more interesting than the others. One is to put Prudence above the others in the order, as Cicero and St. Thomas Aquinas did. Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae Part II of Part II, listed Prudence immediately after the theologicals and before Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance, in that order.
We could also imagine that the theologicals were directly above Prudence. However we need not go that far to be able to assign suits according to the virtue in each row.

The order of suits here is not the same as Marziano's. But we could also imagine a different placement of the Chariot originally, that it was put before the virtues, as it is in the Bolognese order, where I imagine the theologicals and Prudence placed where we see them in Minchiate:
Alternatively, we could imagine putting an additional ruler in position 3, Minchiate's third "papa", corresponding to the Pope in other decks, and removing the Wheel. I am not going to provide tables for this alternative not only because I find the Wheel more likely as an early card than the Pope, as I explained earlier, but also because as far as the position of the virtues is concerned, it amounts to the same thing as moving the Chariot card.

Then, from A4, moving Prudence to be with the other cardinals, but this time as second from the top (although it could have been otherwise), we get:
With this placement of Prudence, the virtues are in the order presented in Plato's Republic, assuming that instead of his Wisdom we have Prudence, which Aquinas defined as "wisdom for man". Now the suits are in the same order as inferred for Marziano's game. Moreover, the cardinal virtues are all in the same column. If one is designing a sequence where the cardinal virtues are the key link to the suits, this is a very logical and memorable way to do it. It won't matter if someone gets the order wrong elsewhere, as long as the result is all the cardinal virtues in the third column counting from the top, the second column counting from the bottom.

This feature also has one other advantage, more difficult to explain. When there is a conventional association between a suit and a cardinal virtue, it is possible to reduce the matrix to one of 12. However in so doing either some cards will out of order in the internal hierarchy, or some cards will have changed what row they are in. The more irregularity, the more this will happen. If both games, with a 12 and 16 card matrix, are played in the same city in the same time period, this is an opportunities for confusion. I will illustrate this point with A4, already presented:
If the virtues are removed from the rows we get:
Here Time is out of order. But if we correct the order, then the rows will change:
Here all the cards in the middle column are different from what they were in the 16 card matrix. But of course removing the cardinal virtues from A5 would not disturb anything. That is another advantage of an order where all the cardinals are in the same column.

From any of A1-A5, one or other of the known A orders can be derived simply by subtracting the theologicals and prudence, and then adding the new ones. It is of interest that the Minchiate order in 16, lacking a virtue in one or more rows, with 25 cards, obtained by adding to the 16 nine additional cards, no longer has that problem.
The position of Prudence in Minchiate is perhaps where it is just so that the Marziano-type game could be played with 25 cards. To that extent the above matrix is not excluded from being the original form. Here of course the Fool is not part of the matrix; this is fitting for a card without number. The same matrix can be preserved even with Minchiate's full 97 cards, because the number of additional cards is divisible by 4 (4 elements and 12 zodiacal signs). It is a 10x4 matrix.

The 21 or 22 cards of the so-called Charles VI deck, given the order indicated by small numbers handwritten at the top of the cards sometime after they were produced, is achieved from any of A1-A5 by removing the fousome Hope-Charity, and the , and adding the usual tarot subjects (perhaps excluding the Popess) in their usual places. The numbering is from Depaulis's table of A orders presented above; the 5 cards missing from the Charles VI are in italics. It is unlikely that this was originally a 16 card deck, because the otherwise similar Catania cards includes an Empress, recently discovered (see my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1112, referencing Emilia Maggio, "New Insights into the So-called Alessandro Sforza Deck", in The Playing Card for April-June 2016):
Here the bottom row does not have a virtue, because of course Prudence is no longer there. But if the deck had a Popess card, perhaps that condition could be fulfilled by her. Prudence was typically shown carrying a book. She sometimes had a cross-staff as well, as in the PMB Popess card, and as Wisdom she would get a crown. If the Charles VI didn’t have a Popess (possible since the numbering has the Emperor as 4), then the Bagatella would be put into the matrix in her place. In this case Prudence dictates having nothing to do with that character, on pain of losing one's Denari. Otherwise it remains outside the matrix with the Fool.

From A4, the shortened Bolognese order, the full 22 is likewise achieved by subtracting the series Hope-Charity, inserting the series Diavolo-Sol and the Hanged Man, and adding two more “papi” in front of the existing two. At some point the order of Fortitude and Justice would have been reversed. We see a similar reversal in the Rosenwald sheet. Or else, to be sure, this order is original and the Minchiate and Charles VI is not.
So the A order supports the hypothesis I am advancing quite well. But Marziano was in Milan. when he wrote his treatise with the implied 4x4 matrix. So it makes sense that I also examine the C order, to see whether either is more fundamental than the other. While it makes sense to have the virtues all in sequence as in the A region, there may be an equally valid rationale for the C order of virtues, within an order that is otherwise like that of Minchiate, and which has a cardinal virtue in each row of the 4x4 matrix.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

6. The Cary-Yale cards in Minchiate order, except C order for the cardinal virtues, in a matrix where the sequence descends by columns

To meet the conditions of my hypothesis, it is necessary to have a Minchiate-type order but with something like a C order of virtues, so as to have something from which the later C orders could develop and also, perhaps, if it is the first after Marziano, to stimulate the development of the A and B orders, including Minchiate itself. Here again are the C orders:
The process is the same as I went through previously with the Bolognese order: put the theologicals and Prudence in place of Devil-Sun and remove the other cards of the full 22. Then I can place the virtues as they appear in the later C orders. In this case the most well documented of the early C orders is that of Susio, which Piscina in Piedmont repeats,, and also Vieville in Paris a century later. I am taking Piscina’s order for the top two cards, as it is both what is indicated by Minchiate and a reasonable order for the Cary-Yale, given what is on the cards (discussed in a previous post). The result is the following:
There is not a virtue in each row, so suits cannot be assigned. It is the same for the Alciati order, with 5 Fortezza and 6 Carro, and the Tarot de Marseille order 4 Carro, 5 Giustizia, 6 Tempo, 7 Ruota, 8 Fortezza. But perhaps Time was meant as cosmic time, i.e. that represented by the Sun. This was an interpretation of Tempo that worked for Minchiate, and it works equally well here. We get:
Again this works. Moreover, the suits are in the same order as in Marziano. It won’t work in the Alciato order, because then Giustizia is no longer in the first row. It also can't be reduced to a 3x4 matrix without seriously changing the order or the rows.

Could this have been the original order, on the hypothesis that the game of tarot was merely an adaptation to different subjects of Marziano's game? It might be objected that this odd placement of the cardinal virtues is not nearly as memorable and logical as that in which they are all placed one after the other. But that may not have been the point. the designer may have in mind relating one of the cardinal virtues to one or more of the Petrarchan triumphs and the rulers. So Justice is placed near the Emperor and Empress and even closer to the Love card, with its handshake signifying the contractual agreement that is the basis of marriage, the only ethical (and chaste) form in which the sexual instinct can be expressed. Before and within that contract it requires Fortitude to maintain such chastity. The duke's first wife, he claimed, did not live up to the agreement, and paid for her transgression with her life. To stave off death, Temperance is needed not only sexually but in food and drink. Prudence iis required to assure that one's name lives on after one's death, and also dictates the practice of Hope, Faith, and Charity to ensure one's soul's future after death, in keeping with its placement with the theologicals.

Before death, Prudence of a different, more practical sort is required in the management of Time, using the past in the present to shape one's future. Prudence in relation to that sort of Time, in its lower position, is expressed in the following alternative order, C3. In this case, once the virtues Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance are put in their customary C positions, the only place left for Prudence is in the bottom row, just before Death. Any other position will move one of the other virtues into the same row as another one.
If something like such thinking was the intent of the designer, we might well wonder if it was not the Susio placement of virtues that was first, and the A order merely a simplification of its content into something more memorable and flexible.

In this case, Prudence is in the position later occupied by the Hanged Man, the triumph that Vincenzo Imperiali identified with Prudence in his c. 1550 reply to Alberto Lollio's Invettiva:
...Vien poi la Morte, et mena un’altra danza,
Et la prudenza, e la malitia atterra,
Et pareggia ciascuno alla bilanza.
Ma, 'l vecchio saggio la Fortun' afferra,
Et fa di lei, e di sua ruota un fasso,...

...Then comes Death, and brings another dance,
Prudence, and malice down here,
And makes everybody equal on the scales.
But the wise old man catches Fortune,
And makes of her and her wheel a faggot,...
I assume that the "dance" is the gallows, and that Prudence is on the part of the sovereign, reserving a shameful and miserable end for traitors.

From this 4x4 matrix, expanding to 4x5 + 22 is straightforward enough:
While the fourth virtue is missing, the Hanged Man is in precisely the right place to fill that gap, so that the matrix continues to have a cardinal virtue in each row.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

7. B order placement of the virtues in the framework of the Minchiate order, in matrix where the sequence descends by columns

We cannot yet say whether it was the C order of virtues in a Minchiate framework that produced both the C orders and the A orders, or it was the A order in that framework that produced both A and C. There is one more order to look at, B. The following table is that of Dummett in Game of Tarot p. 400:

The earliest attestation of the B orders is that of the Sermones, so that is the one I will use. Of the cards I am using for the 16 card matrices, the others merely interchange Love and the Chariot, which is of no consequence.
In this case three virtues are in a row, so that at least two of them are needed to get a virtue in each row. The only solution I have found is to move Prudence to the very top, and in addition either reverse the positions of Justice and Angel, or reverse Fortitude and Chariot. It is an unorthodox but not unthinkable position for Prudence and one of the reversals of adjacent cards that do happen. If World and Angel can switch, so can other adjacent cards. Below is the latter solution.
Having Prudence at the top is not unthinkable, because indeed it is divine Prudence that rules everything else, including divine Justice and the cosmos. When Prudence is removed from the order, some of its sense is conveyed by a printed B order World card, probably of the early 16th century, which shows a divine being holding the world in its arms ( ... 5a.v1a.jpg). However this is all rather ad hoc, i.e. tailor-made to get the result I need. Another solution is preferable which I will present in the next section

I could not find any other solutions that don’t require even more changes, equally ad hoc.

Expanding to 22 cards is straightforward, except for which card in the third row would serve somehow to represent Prudence. It cannot be the Hanged Man. The only one I can think of is the Vecchio (Old Man), whose hourglass suggests not just time but the proper use of it, as in the inscription on Titian's Allegory of Prudence: "EX PRÆTE/RITO // PRÆSENS PRVDEN/TER AGIT // NI FVTVRA / ACTIONĒ DE/TVRPET": "from the experience of the past, the present acts prudently, lest it spoil future actions" ( This solution is quite ad hoc, however.

8. The three orders with subjects proceeding by rows

if the triumphs are ordered in their matrix by rows, from top row to bottom row, finding solutions in the B order gets much easier. It seems to me that Ferrara might have thought that having to remember both rows and columns was unnecessarily cumbersome, and that the same game could be played by ordering the cards simply by rows. Again it is a matter of putting Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance where they customarily are and finding where Prudence has to go, in this case two possibilities. Then we have:
The order of suits is the same as in Marziano's matrix and my A5 and C2.

To play a 3x4 matrix game, The cardinal virtues can be removed from these rows without any alteration in either the rows or the order. They can also be expanded to 22 in precisely the same order of suits, with the same assumption that was useful in the C order by columns, that the Hanged Man stands in for Prudence.
It strikes me that once Ferrara had taken this initiative, the same could have been done in the C region. Here are the C2 cards proceeding by rows, the Susio order putting Time in a high position. In this case, to work out, once the three known C order virtues are put in their known positions, the theologicals and Prudence have to be before Death rather than after. That is reasonable allegorically, because to be saved one is supposed to practice the theological virtues before death:
The same can be done successfully with my C3, with Time low and Prudence in the Hanged Man's position:
Shortening the sequence by reducing it to 3x4 is of course no problem: everything but the cardinal virtues remains the same.

Reconfiguring the C order 16 card sequence into rows instead of columns puts the suits in an entirely different order, from Spade-Denari-Bastoni-Coppe to Coppe- Denari-Bastoni-Spade. This of course has nothing to do with Marziano’s order, but it is curiously an order that Pratesi says is used even today in Italian Poker. He tells me (personal communication)
For the order of the suits, here we have, still today, an idiom to remember it, used mostly in Italian poker: Come Quando Fuori Piove, (cuori, quadri, fiori, picche). Of course, the two red suits above the two black ones. (In bridge, the lowest suit then became the upper one.) This was different with Italian suits, where however exactly the same order was valid for the two round suits above the two long ones. A strong distinction between the two sets was the order 1 to 10 or 10 to 1 of the corresponding pip cards. The alleged reason was that clergy (coppe) was higher than merchants (ori), and then judges (bastoni) were higher than soldiers (spade). As I once said, I don’t know how far this can be pushed into the earliest times. However, I would prefer such an order to be respected in any reconstruction.
That the order of suits Pratesi describes is the same order of suits that emerges as the last stage in the linkage of suits to groups of trumps, from Marziano to A5 to the C order, is a striking coincidence, if it is a coincidence at all. (This order of suits could also have derived from the A order in a matrix proceeding by columns using the Rosenwald Sheet's order of virtues, where Justice precedes Fortitude; however the Rosenwald, of around 1507, is rather late to still be using such a matrix.)

In the shortened form of a 3x4 matrix by rows, removing the virtues, there is actually a Lombard example of such a tarot without virtues , given two assumptions. Lothar Teikemeier ("Huck") pointed this out, rather obscurely (you have to already know his own position) in his first post at viewtopic.php?t=1073): the “first artist” cards of the deck done for the Visconti-Sforza family in the 1450s. One assumption is that the “first artist” cards constituted an entire set, with none missing. The second assumption is that the card usually interpreted as Justice instead be seen as Fame, through the addition of a rider on a white horse, probably a reference to Christ at his second coming, the “rider faithful and true” of Rev. 21:19, but also any hero in service to justice ( ... ustice.jpg) Such a sequence can be put into a 3x4 array by rows with two cards below the matrix, C14r. It should be noted that suits can be assigned only by rows; an attempt to do so by columns leaves two rows unassigned, and the two that are assigned are only so because of the association of a card in the row with a particular suit:
Here the order of triumphs, curiously, is that of Ferrara. This is a result that coincides with the documentation of “14 figures” as a gift to Bianca Maria Visconti (of Milan) in Ferrara, presumably from Leonello d’Este, on Jan. 1, 1441, and also with the account book’s note of some “70 card triumph packs” in 1457 Ferrara, which could be construed as 5x14 (but conceivably 4x12 + 22). It is as though a game of Ferrara with a matrix by rows now shows up, in the 1450s, in Milan.

Once in rows it is also possible to expand the Lombard sequence from 14 or 16 to the full 22. But now it is impossible to assign suits.
Wherever we speculate that Prudence is hidden, Fortitude and Justice are still in the same row. This is also going to be true in the Alciati and Tarot of Marseille placements of these virtues.

:In the A order, or any order with at least three virtues in a row, they cannot cannot distributed so that there will not be two or more to a row. It is possible to have one cardinal in a different row, but the other two will still be in the one above or below. Here, for example is A2, the Minchiate order with Time high, arranged by rows:

In the A region, the 22 card version by rows has an even worse result than the 16, as far as having one virtue per row. Typically putting the 22 in order by rows will place all three in the middle of the second row, as for example the Charles VI order below.
By then, I imagine, the connection between suits and virtues was long sundered, first in the A region and then in Lombardy. When it was abandoned in Ferrara is hard to say. I would estimate the date in Florence of such a change in the rules at around 1438, because the ludus triumphorum, the name whose Italian equivalent we see, in a context suggesting it was not then new, has its first known occurrence in 1440. Before no more than a couple of years earlier it either had the same name but was not popular enough to make the surviving records as now known, or else it had a different name, such as ludus virtutis, with slightly different rules. Or most likely both.

9. Summary and Conclusions

This series of posts has attempted to justify seeing the tarot sequence as a development out of Marziano’s game of deified heroes, with the cardinal virtues replacing categories of gods as the link between suits and groups of tarot subjects. Using Gertrude Moakley’s historical research into suit-virtue correlations, 4x4 matrices comparable to that implicit in Marziano’s treatise were constructed for 16 cards, the 11 of the Cary-Yale deck supplemented by the 5 others deemed most probable, with the virtues arranged in accordance with how they were positioned in the A, B, and C regions identified by Dummett. In each case a matrix similar to that of Marziano can be maintained, which in A and C can be readily expanded to 22, although with some other card playing the role of Prudence.

I think the following conclusions are in order:

1. As far as the most likely form in which the tarot subjects would have replaced Marziano's in the latter’s 4x4 matrix, what emerges, given the presence of the three theological virtues and Prudence among the surviving cards of the Cary-Yale, is a variant on Minchiate. A variant with the Bolognese placement of the Chariot is the most memorable: all the cardinal virtues are in one column, Time can be either high (cosmic) or low (that of an individual life); the theologicals can follow immediately or be in their Minchiate placement; the order of suits is the same as Marziano’s; and it is easily adaptable to a 3x4 matrix in which the virtues are implied by the suit. But variants in which the virtues have Susio's Lombard placement are not excluded as that from which the others sprang, if the principle was the less memorable and flexible one of associating particular virtues with particular Petrarchan triumphs. In favor of Lombardy is also that Marziano was in Milan at the probable time of his treatise, (although it could easily have been known elsewhere). Even the Ferrara region is not impossible, although it requires an unprecedented placement of Prudence as the highest triumph, and in a 4x5 matrix a change to Prudence in the third row, where the Old Man could perhaps serve that function.

2. Since the four cards grouped together as extensions of a suit do not in themselves have anything to suggest an affinity with the cardinal virtue that is their link, we would expect something prior to have suggested such a grouping. Marziano's groups of four gods are such a prior model. Another possibility, however, is some visual association, such as that in a fresco on the ceiling of the Audience Hall of the Guild of Judges and Notaries in Florence. In the latter case the matrix suggested could have been either 4x4 or 4x5. Even 4x6 is not excluded, although the cards demanded go far beyond what the cards of the Cary-Yale suggest.

3. The placements of the virtues in Ferrara are best explained by a change in the matrix from numbering by columns to numbering by rows. Thus Ferrara is the least likely of the three regions to have originated a game based on Marziano. A matrix proceeding by rows in the B order is easily adapted to 12, 14, and 22 card sequences. In Lombardy the placement of the virtue cards is plausible by columns. but its order, too, could have been adapted to rows in a 12, 14, 16, and 22 card versions. The “first artist” cards of the PMB might constitute a 14 card version (3x4 + 2). The 22 card version by rows in both B and C require that the Hanged Man be interpreted as Prudence. The 4x4 matrices with trumps numbered by rows in the C region, as well as the Rosenwald Sheet's by columns in the A region, yield a characteristic order of suits that happens also to be the suit order of Italian Poker. A 4x4 matrix in which the hierarchy among triumphs goes by rows rather than columns is not adaptable to the A region. This incompatibility may have led to the abandonment of the practice of linking suits to foursomes of triumphs.

And finally:

4. The scenario I have sketched, allowing for many uncertainties, is a reasonable one, well in conformity with the facts and very few other assumptions; therefore a connection between Marziano’s game and the ludus triumphorum, in whichever order, is at least worthy of reasonable consideration.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

Since posts 9-13 were written I have added a clarifying phrase or sentence here and there. I also found one labeling error on my part, in post 13, the table originally labeled "C2-22, expanded from C2" should read "C3-22, expanded from C3." I apologize for the confusion.

Also, in post 12. section 6, the paragraph beginning "I would have thought that..." is completely rewritten. Originally I argued against the idea that a tarot structured in Marziano's way, 4x4, numbered hierarchically by columns and linked to the suits by rows, would have pre-existed Marziano's own game, because there is nothing similar about the cards in the rows to put 4 in one subgroup, unlike with the groups of gods. But Phaeded's marvelous find of the 14th century fresco on the ceiling of what is now a seafood restaurant in Florence (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1380) has changed my mind. The fresco has a circle suggesting the city of Florence, inside which, between the leaves of a quadrifoil inside the circle, are four rectangles with four standards in each, representing the 16 districts of the 4 quarters of the city. This 4x4 structure is suggestive in itself, but what tips the scales for me is that outside the circle in line with the four rectangles are the four cardinal virtues, one in line with each of the rectangles. At least I think that is how it is: the virtues are described as northwest, southwest, southest, and northeast, relative to the ceiling. Unfortunately I have not found a diagram or picture showing the virtues in relationship to the rectangles. (Added May 31: Phaeded has added a couple of pictures that confirm my impression.) Whatever the details, this visually corresponds to my idea of linking each of the suits to one subgroup of the tarot trumps by means of a virtue standardly connected with the suit. It is too close to ignore. There does not have to be any relationship other than proximity in the sequence to form subgroups, just as there is none except geographical proximity for the districts. So indeed the matrix with 16 standard tarot subjects could have pre-existed Marziano's game and even been its inspiration.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

As a result of reading Monica Donato's 2015, essay on the frescoes photographed by Phaeded, I have expanded post 12. section 6, the paragraph beginning "I would have thought that..." by a photo followed by three more paragraphs. For more of Donato's essay, see my post at viewtopic.php?p=20845#p20845. I have also added one more conclusion at the end of post 13, a new number 2, for four points in all.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

mikeh wrote:
28 May 2019, 12:29
…[Guidici] fresco has a circle suggesting the city of Florence, inside which, between the leaves of a quadrifoil inside the circle, are four rectangles with four standards in each, representing the 16 districts of the 4 quarters of the city. This 4x4 structure is suggestive in itself, but what tips the scales for me is that outside the circle in line with the four rectangles are the four cardinal virtues, one in line with each of the rectangles. …Whatever the details, this visually corresponds to my idea of linking each of the suits to one subgroup of the tarot trumps by means of a virtue standardly connected with the suit. It is too close to ignore. There does not have to be any relationship other than proximity in the sequence to form subgroups, just as there is none except geographical proximity for the districts. So indeed the matrix with 16 standard tarot subjects could have pre-existed Marziano's game and even been its inspiration.
Neither 16 chess pieces to a side nor 16 gonfaloni have anything to do with the subjects of Marziano’s trumps. As for the Guidici cardinal virtues, they simply surround Florence as “New Jerusalem” as a rightful and just polity (there is no inherent meaning via “proximity” of a virtue to four neighborhoods as you seem to propose). At some point the subjects of the trumps have to matter, if not be the crucial information we are looking for.

In regard to this latest matrix du jour, you might also note that the 16 gonfaloni are not intrinsic to Florence’s foundation myth as some sacred ur-number. In describing Florence after the demise of Frederick II, when the city begins state building proper and territorial expansion (Pistoia is its first target), Bruni describes the city as “divided into six regions….The urban multitude was enlisted under the military standards of the several regions….” - not four or sixteen, and if “multitude” was somehow meant to indicate 16 it was too unimportant to bother specifying – only the number six is mentioned (History of the Florentine People, Book II.2; 1428; Tr. James Hankins, 2001: 109).

But following the logic that a matrix (4x4 in your case) might be meaningful in its own right, into which new wine might be poured into old, wouldn’t we need some indication that the number 16 was not only related to the content but prominently placed among the other civic symbols of the subject city, begging for further elaboration? The civic heart of Florence was the Piazza della Signoria, focused on the Palazzo della Signoria and its ringhiera (where the priors and chancellor sat and faced the piazza) as well as the adjacent Loggia (now called “dei Lanzi”) from where official proclamations were made. This same piazza is where condottieri swore their fealty (on an astrological propitious day) and from whence the entire St. John Day’s procession assembled before marching up the Via delle Fondamenta (now Via del Proconsolo) to the Baptistry. Its even where Savaronola was burned alive. Below, beyond the fictive structure in the foreground, in the background of this 1480s painting by Domenico Ghirlandaio one can see the now-destroyed ringhiera of the palazzo on the left (only some foundation footings survive), and straight back the Loggia with two of the virtues visible (without the post-1440 Uffizi and sculptures within the loggia):
The civic symbols dating to c.1440 or earlier in this piazza (the shields beneath the crenelations are not visible in the painting above):


On the Palazzo I see are the standards of the the Popolo; the Florentine Giglio post-1251; the Comune of Florence, the Capitano del Popolo, the Keys of the Papacy, Libertas, various flags of the allied Angevins, the Eagle of the Parte Guelfa and at the base the Marzocco (the lion). On the Loggia I see the seven virtues – the cardinals facing the piazza and the three theologicals facing the Palazzo so as to guide/bless the work of the Priors.

What I don’t see is any reference to the 16 gonfaloni or a “4x4 matrix.” The objection that gonfaloni would be with the people assembled in the piazza is countered with the fact that the Parte Guelfa was also assembled in the piazza and in fact lead the St. John’s procession. So why is the Parte Guelfa commemorated on the Palazzo but the gonfaloni were not? Better yet, why are the gonfaloni not reified into any plastic or painted art as a series anywhere in the city - besides the c. 1370 ceiling fresco of the Guidicci/Notai guild (and perhaps the Seta guild) - if that “matrix” were of central concern to the city in the mid-quattrocento?

There is in fact the lead component of a “matrix” present in the piazza: the seven virtues on the loggia. The pivotal St. John’s Day procession that begins in the Piazza della Signoria ends beneath a towering edifice featuring multiple series of seven, including the virtues, on the campanile in the Piazza San Giovanni. And the 7x2 matrix is found through out the city in terms of the seven virtues matched to seven exempli. I’m not going to repost images of the 7x2 virtues/exempli artistic works found in the cassoni panels by dal Ponte and Scheggia, the Aquinas-inspired monumental fresco in Santa Maria Novello (in the “Spanish Chapel”), etc, but there is a connection between those subjects and tarot - these very canonical virtues. They are quite simply missing in Marziano, which singles out not virtu’ or a specific virtue but rather the non-sensical “virtues” as one of four suits; are we supposed to imagine Jupiter, Apollo Mercury and Hercules each surrounded by the seven virtues? The question can remain rhetorical because there is no such representation of that in Florence. Sure the Guidicci/Notai guild hall was important, but nowhere near as important and visible as the Piazza dell Signoria. So why would the Florentine ur-tarot not feature all seven virtues while less than ~2 years later the CY does? To spite its own dominant “matrix”?

At all events (the four shields without names are the four quarters/churches):
16 gonfaloni and Marziano.JPG
(120.26 KiB) Not downloaded yet

The seven virtues of the Loggia della Signoria is equivalent to the seven virtues of the CY (and again, some other time for Prudence = Fama-World).


Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

Phaeded wrote:
Neither 16 chess pieces to a side nor 16 gonfaloni have anything to do with the subjects of Marziano’s trumps. As for the Guidici cardinal virtues, they simply surround Florence as “New Jerusalem” as a rightful and just polity (there is no inherent meaning via “proximity” of a virtue to four neighborhoods as you seem to propose). At some point the subjects of the trumps have to matter, if not be the crucial information we are looking for.
It is not a question of the subjects, merely that they are 4 each in 4 groups (defined by the rows of the matrix). The proximity of individual virtues to the neighborhoods is on the ceiling, of course, not in reality. That is all that matters. The proximity of the rectangles to each other does reflect the proximity of the neighborhoods, although in a schematic way. Yes, the subjects do matter, on the level of virtues but not on that of neighborhoods or their stemmi. That they are pictures is relevant, but not what they are pictures of. The designer of the game gets to choose what is relevant and what is not. He did not choose to make the cards reflect the stemmi of neighborhoods, obviously

Phaeded wrote
In regard to this latest matrix du jour, you might also note that the 16 gonfaloni are not intrinsic to Florence’s foundation myth as some sacred ur-number.
I do not see why they need to be. It is just a bunch of rectangles in a circle on a ceiling; what they are is meaningful, but not in relation to the game, which changes them, the rectangles perhaps contiaining stemmi, into something else.

Phaeded wrote
But following the logic that a matrix (4x4 in your case) might be meaningful in its own right, into which new wine might be poured into old, wouldn’t we need some indication that the number 16 was not only related to the content but prominently placed among the other civic symbols of the subject city, begging for further elaboration?
I do not see why. What the 16 are, apart from the virtues, plays no role in the game. One can play the game without knowing a thing about Florence. The only role of the neighborhoods is to be a stimulus for the ceiling, whose only significance for our purposes is to have stimulated the idea of a particular game structure in the mind of a designer.

The question I was trying to answer was this. Marziano's game has a 4x4 trump structure with four qualities linking foursomes of trumps to the four suits, where these foursomes are not four cards in order, i.e. 1-4, 5-8, etc, but rather proceed by columns, i.e. group one is 1, 5, 9, 13; group 2 is 2, 6, 10, 14; etc.. Where could such an idea come from as the basis for a card game? One answer might be that they are suggested by the nature of the subject, i.e. classical mythology. But could a game of this structure already be an adaptation of a previously existing game using only cards later associated with tarot and Minchiate? The problem is that the tarot subjects cannot readily be divided up into four groups in the way that gods can. However the ceiling of the Judges' and notaries' hall provides a solution. Someone sitting there listening to some boring exhortation from the speaker's platform sees a a 4x4 matrix which then can be linked to the suits by way of their standard association to cardinal virtues, one to a row instead of one to a quadrant. It actually does not have to be 4x4. The virtues could be in addition to the 16, for 4x5. There could also be 1-3 cards not in the matrix. Then it is a matter of finding subjects that complement the cardinal virtues and also can form a hierarchy of their own - not because the districts have such a hierarchy, but because the game requires it. The 6 Petrarchans will do nicely, as well as an Emperor and an Empress. The 3 theologicals aren't in a hierarchy, except that Charity is the highest, but they fill out the virtues. The object is to have a game that because of its educational nature can be justified morally and so not alienate powerful entities by permitting it.

The game is not about gonfalones, nor does someone playing it have to know anything about the fresco or Florence. The analogy is loose, but close enough for the one to have suggested the other.

For the same game with different cards, but still of an educational nature, 16 gods and demigods will do nicely. But the fresco is more closely related to the ludus triomphorum than it is to Marziano's game, because of the presence of the virtues in the fresco. Marziano's game is sufficiently unlike the fresco as not to cause a problem for Filippo. And even the Milan order of trumps is sufficiently different from that in Florence as to be seen by him as a Milanese improvement on a too-simplistic Florentine game, in that for Filippo the virtues are placed in a more meaningful game-related way (next to Petrarchans) than simply one after the other as in Florence.

I drew a picture for you of what our game designer sees on the ceiling as he looks up. Instead of "virtue" I should have put "cardinal virtue".

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

mikeh wrote:
06 Jun 2019, 11:42
Phaeded wrote
But following the logic that a matrix (4x4 in your case) might be meaningful in its own right, into which new wine might be poured into old, wouldn’t we need some indication that the number 16 was not only related to the content but prominently placed among the other civic symbols of the subject city, begging for further elaboration?
I do not see why. What the 16 are, apart from the virtues, plays no role in the game. One can play the game without knowing a thing about Florence. The only role of the neighborhoods is to be a stimulus for the ceiling, whose only significance for our purposes is to have stimulated the idea of a particular game structure in the mind of a designer.

Why call out the external four virtues and 16 gonfaloni but not the other series of symbols within the symbol of Florence? Technically there are the four shields of the Commune (lily)/People (cross), Guelfs (eagle-dragon), and Fiesole/Florence (red and white shield), the four main churches, 16 neighborhood flags, 21 guild flags with a matching number of patron saints, surrounded by a number of gates. The schematic from the dissertation - whose author worked closely with Prof. Donato - didn't even bother to note the virtues, while yours promotes them as pivotal to the concentric design. You are reading this symbol of Florence with a preconceived notion that the number 16 is all important and that the virtues are connected (because they are in tarot), isolated that from the other series of concentric images which are part of the symbol, and then juxtaposed that against the four virtues outside of the a way that no 15th century Florentine would. A Florentine would have been used to viewing the four virtues arranged on ceilings in the same way, as in the Lana guild, the Baroncelli chapel, etc. and not especially connected them to any of the series of concentric symbols, except to note the city as a whole embodied the virtues.

The Lana guild's four virtues (the glare of a naked bulb hanging from their center mars any photo):
Lana guild ceiling - 4 virtues
(3.43 MiB) Not downloaded yet

So again, why isolate the 16 gonfaloni over, say, the guild of which, the Guidici/Notai star, is given the pride of place on the vertical axis of the building, pointing towards the front? In a guild hall there would be a reason to single out the ring of 21 guild flags (also represented in the Mercanzia in stone relief, some of which are still there above the Gucci merchandise, as that retailer now owns that building on the Piazza dell Signoria). The only way one singles out the 16 gonfaloni is by making a case that they were meaningful when tarot was created in Florence. But the converse is true: Not only were the gonfaloni not "stimulating" any art programs in c. 1440 Florence (or after 1382), but they had already been stigmatized after the Ciompi revolt:
The gonfalonieri of the military sections had failed to respond to the Signoria on July 20 [1378] and were discredited (Richard Trexler, Public Life in Renaissance Florence, Studies in Social Discontinuity , 1980: 345.[Fn 66]).

Instead the oligarchs moved on to focusing on external sources for securing the military needs of the city - condottieri; and indeed the oldest known Florentine tarot deck was given to one. The idea of the neighborhood militia was only (vainly) revived under Machiavelli.

So here's what unfolded in regard to the two matrices of seven virtues and 16 gonfaloni:
1378-1382 Ciompi Revolt (not only do the 16 gonalfoni militia fail to suppress this but the Ciompi take their flags)
1382 Oligarchs reassert themselves
1383-86 Oligarchs commission Agnolo Gaddi to design the seven virtues on the Loggia della Signoria

The matrix of the seven virtues literally supplants the 16 gonfaloni within a year of the latter's ignominy as the matrix literally embossed over the city's primary square, on the loggia.

You can continue to ignore the evidence of the 7x2 matrix (when virtues are represented with exempli) in favor of a 4x4 theory, but there is no 15th century evidence for interest in that latter theme. Not to mention the Ferrara "14 images" and notice of a 70 card deck of 1457 point towards the 7x2 matrix and 14 trumps. Zero evidence for a Florentine 72 card deck, anywhere.

I get the problem of what relationship did Marziano have to tarot proper, but the genetic relationship you are proposing between the two has nothing to back it up. Conversely, I argue Marziano's deck's rediscovery in 1449 prompted the expansion to 22 trumps into what we call the PMB in c. 1451, in the sense that it now occurred to Sforza's entourage that other themes could be trumps than the ones they already knew (7x2 structure of seven virtues and their exempli/antitype); clearly Sforza was ordering decks of tarot at this time so interested in the subject. Furthermore, Marcello and friends express complete surprise at the novelty at the Marzano deck - they call it "trionfi" because of the medium of cards and trump-like subjects of the "celestials", but no one was making a genetic connection between Marziano and tarot (Marziano merely fell within the genre of "trionfi" productions, as generally defined by Pratesi). Ergo, my theory is that the rediscovery of Marzano's "celestials" lead to the creation of "celestials" in the expanded Sforza deck exemplified by the surviving PMB deck. And sure enough, we have no evidence of the "celestial" trumps - sun, moon, "star"/Venus - in the earlier surviving CY trumps (and I argue there are four more in their "children of the planet" guises: "Juggler"/Mercury, Hermit-time/Saturn, Fire-sagitta-tower/Jupiter, and most controversially, the missing Mars misread as "devil"...also not in the CY). The reason why these planetary children cards have been misread is due to reasons somewhat related to what Erwin Panofsky called a 'law of disjunction': "Whenever in the high or later Middle Ages a work of art borrows the form of a classical model, this form is always presented in a non-classical image." When the planetary gods are already appearing in contemporary garb, to further remove them as one of their "children"/exempli obfuscates them even further for the modern beholder (hence the numerous misinterpretations, beginning even in the 16th century). In the 16th century the classical forms begin to be reclaimed (especially with Duerer) and the planetary children theme is diminished in favor of just representing the seven "celestials" themselves. And yes I understand Marziano's "celestials" have nothing to do with those classical gods in their planetary aspect, but in a profession obsessed with astrology - that of the condottiero - it made sense to transform or rather utilize the "celestials" into their planetary aspects.


Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

Phaded. Thanks for the thoughtful reply. And pardon my lateness; this time I really was on vacation.

You put quotation marks around "celestials" as though it was a term used by Marziano, I cannot find a passage where Marziano speaks of "celestials".

You say that Marcello's calling Marziano's game a new kind of triumphs, that he is using "triumphs" in a generic sense, as opposed to a particular card game. I cannot see how this is implied. I do not know in what sense he meant the word, but I would guess as a card game.

You say that I am superimposing a preconceived 4x4 matrix onto the fresco. I am superimposing the fact of a 4x4 matrix in Marziano onto the fresco. It is not a "preconception".

However you may be right that there are other elements in the fresco, in addition to the 4x4 neighborhoods and the virtues, to consider. It is a matter of what is relevant as far as contributing to the development of the tarot. Later games, or reasonably possible games, of triumphs support allowing for some of these elements to be relevant. 16 neighborhoods plus 4 virtues gives a 4x5 matrix. Adding the 4 bodies of the commune at the North, East, South, and West axes could add 4 more, for 4x6. There is also the number 21, which equals later the number of triumphs. Any of the multiples of 4 will do, plus 1 or 2 other components not part of the matrix. What remains constant is the four cardinal virtues for four suits. If the fresco stimulated either a 4x5 or 4x6 matrix, Marziano's game would be his reduction to 4x4.

The use of the cardinal virtues in a card game is also not a "preconception". It is a fact, at least for 3 of them, and a generally accepted assumption, in the case of the CY, of all four. It is also a fact that associations were made, and are natural, between those four and the four standard tarot suits.

I do not see that the 16 neighborhoods were discredited, merely their militias. Or did that way of dividing the city go out of existence for a time, only to be revived later (the neighborhoods, not the militias)?

To be sure, there are other facts. The 7 virtues on the Signoria is another fact. Exemplars and anti-types are another fact, I am not trying to refute a 7x2 structure, just suggest its lesser probability. It is possible. But the references to 14 "figures" can also be explained as 3x4 + 2, just as 22 can be seen as 4x5 + 2. And 70 cards can just as well be 4x12 + 22 as 5x14.

Regarding the lesser probability of a 7x2 structure based on antitpes and exemplars: there are antitypes on the theological virtue cards of the CY. If so, there are not likely also antitype cards for these virtues in their own right; that would be duplication. And it is even more unlikely that some are antitypes and others are exemplars. Mixing was not done, as far as I know. But I am willing to be corrected.

But one thing bothers me. Unlike the theologicals, there is no antitype on the Fortitude card. So it might be that the theological virtues and the cardinal virtues became part of the early Lombard pattern at different times. In that case, were the theologicals replacements or additions? If additions, it is necessary for me to show that both a 4x5 + 2 deck without theologicals and a 4x6 + 2 with theologicals will be possible with a cardinal in every row. If replacements, then it is necessary to show that both a 4x4 deck without theologicals and a 4x5 + 2 deck with theologicals can have a cardinal in every row.

In Florence or Bologna, for a 4 by anything matrix proceeding by columns, it makes no difference how many other cards there are or in what order, as long as the 4 cardinals all come one after the other, or if Prudence comes later it does so one more than a multiple of four cards later.

But the situation is different in Milan, where the CY is. I had not explored what a 4x4 deck without theologicals would look like.

In the Susio order, it is easy enough to show that both a 4x5 without theologicals and a 4x6 with theologicals can have a cardinal virtue in each row. In the case of the 4x5, it requires that Prudence be in the Hanged Man position. it is C3-22 above.

A 25-26 card version with theologicals is more straightforward. With the Susio placement of virtues, it is as follows (it has the Susio placement of virtues plus the Minchiate placement of the theologicals. Prudence could also be number 24.)
But I have not up to now explored 4x4 matrices without theological virtues and 4x5 matrices with them.

There seem to me two ways of constructing a 4x4 matrix in the Susio order without theological virtues. One is by assuming that the celestials were there from the start. Since the celestials, like the theologicals, appear after Temperance but before World or Angel, that alternative is as unproblematic as a 4x4 matrix that does have the theologicals. Please excuse my lack of tables here. Try to imagine them. I will insert tables here tomorrow, hopefully.
C1a: Susio placement of virtues, replacing theologicals with celestials. Prudence has to be in Hanged Man position.
16 Trombe/Angelo 12 Stella 8 Tempo 4 Giustizia Spade
15 Mondo/Fama 11 Temperanza 7 Ruota 3 Amore Coppe
14 Sol 10 Morte 6 Fortezza 2 Imperatore Bastoni
13 Luna 9 Prudenza 5 Carro 1 Imperatrice Denari
The other way is to replace the theologicals with two additional papas (for a total of four) and either Hanged Man or Sol, the latter as Petrarch's representative of Time. I say "papas" so as to leave it open whether they were the Pope and Popess, which seems to me unlikely at first, or the Eastern Empress and Emperor, which would have been replaced by the Popess and Pope sometime after 1453. Surprisingly to me, this latter matrix (with 4 papas and no theologicals) will in fact yield a cardinal in each row:
C2a: Susio/Piscina placement of virtues, replacing theologicals with 2 papas and Hanged Man or Sol
16 Trombe/Angelo 12 Morte 8 Fortezza 4 Papa Bastoni
15 Prudenza or Sol 11 Prudenza or Impiccato 7 Carro 3 Papa Denari
14 Mondo/Fama 10 Tempo 6 Giustizia 2 Papa Spade
13 Temperanza 9 Ruota 5 Amore 1 Papa Coppe
So it may well be, drawing on the single fact of there not being an antitype in the Fortitude card, that the theologicals were not part of the game until the CY, either replacing three other cards in a 4x4 matrix or added to a 4x4 sequence in a 4x5 or 4x6 matrix. However I am not sure that this lack of an antitype is significant.

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