Ross: Thanks for citing Lactantius as your source for the Phoenix as "the bird of untold, exotic oriental wealth". Looking in that source, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0707.htm
, I do not find where he says this. It is a bird of Egypt, yes, but that land, or the East generally, is not associated by him with wealth. What associates the Phoenix with wealth is the "yellow metal" on its tail and thighs, i.e. gold, the color of the sun. I would suggest also that another association might be its burning itself up, leaving only a small worm, just as wealth is often consumed in a flash and must be regenerated anew from the ashes. I hope if this is revised you give a footnote mentioning Lactantius and say more clearly what associates the Phoenix with wealth, since it is not the exotic orient, nor anything untold.
Another thing I had trouble with is your next sentence:
Then he abstracts (deifies) the hero-gods from this fourfold structure, and puts them into their own hierarchy from highest to lowest.
One problem is the word "deifies": the hero-gods are already deified within this fourfold structure. They cannot be deified further. Another problem is the word "abstracts" and what you conclude from that word. It is true that he does not restate the fourfold structure as such, but that is ecause there is no need, he has already stated it, But it remains very much present in his descriptions of the gods. For Riches we have (I quote from your old translation, which I can simply copy and paste):
Juno: They add a beautiful but harmful bird, covered in eyed feathers; because rich men are adorned, but harmful, and the potentate requires many eyes for watching after riches and earthly things. They assign her one colourful rainbow, welcome in appearance, but quickly disappearing. For in fact it is by her agreement that the limit of time of increase in things is granted, since in a short time it can perish and flow away. [This is also a clue to why the phoenix.]
Neptune: .. whose monstrous kingdom is held to have the Sirens, who by sweet song soothe sailors, summoning sleep; and having put them to sleep, afterwards bring about their shipwreck. Indeed it is understood among voluptuous women how to ensnare men by fluent and alluring speech alone, and by sweetness of words to lead them continuously to ruin.
Mars: Mars, whose chariot, distinguished by a thousand excellent things taken from enemies, we will place as tenth. Although savage and bold, he was warded off by Jove, who would not permit him to be first or equal, unless he should prove invincible. Not being permitted himself to destroy the whole world, he petitioned heaven to be allowed to rule over such as had that desire. Out of the bramble, and ferocious, he stirred up anger, thus far threatening to the lands. ... With cruel sword, dripping with blood, he aims at the road.
Aeolus: to his authority it was conceded, like Virgil, to soothe the waves, and by the wind to raise them, and in whatever way to agitate in all respects the kingdom of Neptune. By his command the appearance of this world is very often changeful. The hills become covered in white, the woods are laid bare; the plains become dirty, and what were formerly rushing torrents, freeze. The whole earth itself begins to shiver. In frenzy sometimes the now-ripe gifts of Ceres and Bacchus perish, ... Furthermore he is god of the clouds and the power of the hail-storm; being powerful in the mid-day to cover the land in darkness, and to give back the light itself after having been put to flight by the darkness. ... Described being dressed as a king, enthroned among the cliffs of his islands, bringing up a gale by the sceptre, ... [i.e. luring men to their doom after calm seas]
Venus: ...Described as in a sufficiently wanton condition, with free-flowing hair, breast and arms exposed, knee bare; in the showing of these, more easily to entice to love; lightly clothed by a lynx pelt, since fleeting and being in the midst of brief pleasure; through the forest with a ready bow and gathered quiver, intent on hunting – to hunt and wound the souls of men wandering in the gloom.
Bacchus:. ... By his suggestion, after the grape had been discovered, and he laid aside the drinking cup of the spring, and by the pleasantness of tasting, by no means did he exhaust the drunken stream, the ruin of the human race. ... According to the nature of being drunk, he is called Liber, since by the same, while he reigns, he renders men unimpeded and free of cares. Twin tigers pull the chariot, since drunkenness sometimes leads to the ferocity of tigers. [Pratesi suggests that his cane is for the support of drunks: "Secondo il suo nome, porta un bastone per il sostegno degli ubriachi. "]
Ceres [basically positive but there is also this, to remind us of gluttony]: from this comes our greater happiness if we should enjoy the gifts of Ceres and Bacchus not in luxury but for normal desire and in moderation.
Cupid: [after a torrent of invective he ends:] ... In flight, thus marking the instability of lovers; girded with human hearts, since he triumphs as victor of these. Nude, only because lovers desire one another completely; with a full bow, he wanders through heaven and earth wanton and in flagrant desire; whose arms, pestilent to gods and men, Jupiter himself is not able to escape.
To be sure, he also has good things to say about these gods; after all, they are heroes. Gut for the ones in the other two categories, he does not mention any vices that I see. So there is no indication that he has shed, or abstracted from, the fourfold structure. It is still very much there, and how to reconcile that structure with the order by which each "leads all the others following in sequence" remains at issue.
It may be that Marziano has simply not thought out how the fourfold order is to be played out in the game, or else he is assuming the reader (Filippo) knows the conventions from other games with permanent trump suits (of which VIII Emperadori would be a candidate). How the fourfold order is reflected in the game remains a problem. It may be that, as you say in another thread, one is simply invited to be conscious of the moral virtue or vice attached to each god as one plays. But from his emphasis on the fourfold order, I would think it was something more substantive, which could be generalized to other games with permanent trump suits.
One possibility is, as Ludophone suggests, extra points for combinations of gods in one of the four moral orders: so many points for 3, or 4, or even 5 (including the King, or specified accumulations of number cards). However he has not discussed scoring at all in this treatise, so I doubt if that is what he had in mind, unless it was already conventional.
Another possibility is that there is some rule pertaining to "following suit" that we don't know about, or that he hasn't yet thought of.
I once suggested that if the four moral orders were extensions of the suits, as Pratesi stated in 1989, that might mean that one would have to play a trump that was part of the extension of the suit led even if one didn't want to. For example, suppose a Dove is led, and someone out of Doves has put down Jove. If I have Cupid, I have to play that card even though it will be taken.
I no longer think that is a viable rule, for two reasons. First, with no suit-signs on the "extensions", there will be many misplays, to be discovered later and penalized, with hurt feelings if the player is a child. It promotes distrust of other players, too, and the idea that if one follows the rules one will probably lose. Not good.
A better rule would be that one can play a trump in the corresponding moral order even when one is not out of suit cards. That does not violate anything said later. Then one would have to be very careful playing a king early on. The right demigod could capture it.
And perhaps even stronger: a trump played in the moral order connected to the suit led beats any trump played not in that order. So in the example I gave earlier, when a Dove is led, Cupid would beat Jove, as opposed to the other way around. I am not sure whether that would be an exception to what is said later, about the order from Jupiter to Cupid, becuse the order stil holds, it is merely pre-empted in this case. What seems to me to support this hypothesis is that it explains how it could be, in his game, that Cupid could capture Jove, as he seems to imply at the end of his description of Cupid. “With a full bow, he wanders through heaven and earth wanton and in flagrant desire; whose arms, pestilent to gods and men, Jupiter himself is not able to escape."
In this connection I would point out a mistranslation, again in your introduction. In the table of gods, "ordo" does not translate as "suit". It translates as "order". Actually, I cannot find the phrase "ordo deorum" anywhere in the text, referring to all 16. Perhaps it is implied somewhere, I don't know Latin well enough to tell. But it seems to me that for Marziano there are four orders of gods and four orders of birds. While it seems legitimate to see the birds as four suits, it is not at all clear that the gods constitute a fifth suit in that same sense. To say so is an interpretation, not a translation of anything Marziano says.
One final suggestion is that when you say in your last post
VII. Relation to Tarot
Conceptual or genetic? Pratesi for latter, me for former (independent invention of idea of trump suit)
"Genetic" is a loaded term. There are two types of "genetic": "ancestor" and "cousin". That is to say, tarot may not be descended from Marziano's game, but the two may have a common ancestor. In fact they obviously do have a common ancestor: ordinary cards with four suits of which some are numbers and some courts. The question then is whether they have a common ancestor closer than that. Karnoffel or Kaiserspiel would be closer, if there was some relationship. VIII Imperadori might be even closer, if the imperadori were permanent trumps. You might argue that there is no relationship of VIII Imperadori to tarot either, since the one was 1423 and the other 1438 or so. Then there is the question of whether VIII Imperadori in 1423 is the same game as VIII Imperadori in the 1440s. But I really don't see why such a game might not have survived from 1423 Ferrara to 1440s Ferrara. In other words, the category "genetic" is either obviously true or to be further defined, not necessarily ancestral.
Added later: Ross wrote,
(Bernardino mentions the four standard courts in 1423, king, queen, upper soldier, lower soldier, those last two again suggesting German usage, at least as we know it from later).
Perhaps you get that from Dummett, 1980. According to Andrea Vitali it is actually in Sermo 42, Contra alearum ludos, delivered in Siena, 1425. http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=227
. The significance is that Dummett says that the latest biography, post 1472, mentioning triumphs in the sermon of 1423 Bologna, differed from the earlier biography of 1445 on this issue. But the earlier biography, the one mentioning queens, etc., was in a different city, and only shows that Triumphs in 1425 had not yet reached Siena and says nothing about whether they were present in Bologna.