François Rabelais gives tarau as the name of one of the games played by Gargantua in his Gargantua and Pantagruel; this is likely the earliest attestation of the French form of the name.
The first form of Taroch and Taraux appeared in 1505 in Avignon and Ferrara.
The English and French word tarot derives from the italian tarocchi, which has no known origin or etymology. One theory relates the name "tarot" to the Taro River in northern Italy, near Parma; the game seems to have originated in northern Italy, in Milan or Bologna.
For the moment it looks very much like "from Florence"
Other writers believe it comes from the Arabic word طرق turuq, which means 'ways'. Alternatively, it may be from the Arabic ترك taraka, 'to leave, abandon, omit, leave behind'. According to a French etymology, the Italian tarocco derived from Arabic طرح ṭarḥ, 'rejection; subtraction, deduction, discount'.
There is also the question of whether the word tarot is related to Harut and Marut, who were mentioned in a short account in the Qur'an. According to this account, a group of Israelites learned magic, for demonstration and to test them, from two angels called Harut and Marut, and it adds that this knowledge of magic would be passed on to others by the devil. What can be taken into account here is the phonetic resemblance of tarot تاروت to Harut هاروت and Marut ماروت.
There are many other more plausible suggestions.
Playing cards first entered Europe in the late 14th century, probably from Mamluk Egypt, with suits very similar to the tarot suits of Swords, Staves, Cups and Coins (also known as disks, and pentacles) and those still used in traditional Italian, Spanish and Portuguese decks.
However, the earliest written document mentioning a tarot-like card set occurs as early as 1227, and it says that "Italian children are instructed in the knowledge of the virtues via sheets (cards) denominated carticellas".
Nice ... does anybody knows these new ideas of a Tarot origins ?
A perfect example of these "carticellas" comes from a 1460 set known today as "Tarot de Mantegna" or "Tarot de Baldini" created by artist Francesco del Cossa.
So Francesco del Cossa shall be the new origin of the Mantegna Tarocchi. 1460 is doubtful. My own theory says c. 1475.
This set was composed of 50 cards and split in 5 categories (Social Classes, The Muses, Arts & Sciences, Virtues & Cosmic Principles, and the Planets & Spheres). Nevertheless,the first direct mention of playing cards was in 1299 in a manuscript written in Siena titled "Trattato del governo della familia di Pipozzo di Sandro",
in which the existence of naibbe is mentioned,
hm ... wasn't that "carte" ? Pipozzi is noted by Kaplan and not accepted ...
which is the first term used for playing cards (naipes in Spanish), originating from the Arabic word naib (`deputy') suggesting the name of the game -`the Game of Deputies'.
Starting in 1310, German territories start shunning the game of naibbe (cards).
1310 is new to me ... what's this ?
Additionally, In 1332, king Alfonso XI of Castile advises his knights to not play such games.
... noted by Kaplan and not accepted ...
noted by Kaplan and not accepted ...
However, the first direct documented evidence of a ban on their use is in 1367, Bern, Switzerland. Wide use of playing cards in Europe can, with some certainty, be traced from 1377 onwards.
Additionally, in a 1377 document, naibbe was one of the favorite games of a German priest called Father Johannes where he writes about the existence of 7 different types of decks, one of which consists of 78 cards, which could only refer to a Tarot deck.
interesting question ... did Johannes use the terminus naibbe? I think, this was ludus cartarum ...
It is believed Tarot could have evolved out of traditional playing cards , with the addition of the major arcana being influenced by the previously mentioned carticellas, which already depicted cards such as The Sun, The Moon, Justice, Temperance, Strength, The Emperor, and the Pope (Hierophant.)
... 7 trumps, as it seems, who brought this up ? ...
Other theories by occultists point out how the mysterious rise to tarot coincides with the spread of the Holy inquisition in the 12th century, and the formation of Kabbalah, theorizing that the esoteric symbolism of the cards are remainders of pagan Europe disguised as playing cards in order to escape persecution.
The first known documented tarot cards were created between 1430 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara and Bologna in northern Italy when additional trump cards with allegorical illustrations were added to the common four-suit pack.
... would be nice to know, which Tarot cards are documented in 1430-1440 ...
These new decks were originally called carte da trionfi, triumph cards, and the additional cards known simply as trionfi, which became "trumps" in English. The first literary evidence of the existence of carte da trionfi is a written statement in the court records in Ferrara, in 1442. The oldest surviving tarot cards are from fifteen fragmented decks painted in the mid 15th century for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan.
... if it are 15 fragmented decks, who said, that these all were made mid 15th century ...
Divination using playing cards is in evidence as early as 1540 in a book entitled The Oracles of Francesco Marcolino da Forlì which allows a simple method of divination, though the cards are used only to select a random oracle and have no meaning in themselves.
... Johann Schöffer about 1505 in Strasbourg and Mainz ...
But manuscripts from 1735 (The Square of Sevens) ...
compare http://marygreer.wordpress.com/2008/04/ ... of-sevens/
...and 1750 (Pratesi Cartomancer) document rudimentary divinatory meanings for the cards of the tarot as well as a system for laying out the cards. Giacomo Casanova wrote in his diary that in 1765 his Russian mistress frequently used a deck of playing cards for divination.
Le Bateleur: The Juggler from the Tarot of Marseilles. This card is often named The Magician in modern English language tarots
... it's wrong, that the Juggler comes from the Tarot des Marseilles ...
Picture-card packs are first mentioned by Martiano da Tortona probably between 1418 and 1425, since the painter he mentions, Michelino da Besozzo, returned to Milan in 1418, while Martiano himself died in 1425. He describes a deck with 16 picture cards with images of the Greek gods and suits depicting four kinds of birds, not the common suits. However the 16 cards were obviously regarded as "trumps" as, about 25 years later, Jacopo Antonio Marcello called them a ludus triumphorum, or "game of trumps".
... ah, I meet something of my own words some years ago, though rather taken out of context ...
Special motifs on cards added to regular packs show philosophical, social, poetical, astronomical, and heraldic ideas, Roman/Greek/Babylonian heroes, as in the case of the Sola-Busca-Tarocchi (1491) and the Boiardo Tarocchi poem, written at an unknown date between 1461 and 1494.
Two playing card decks from Milan (the Brera-Brambilla and Cary-Yale-Tarocchi)—extant, but fragmentary—were made circa 1440. Three documents dating from 1 January 1441 to July 1442, use the term trionfi. The document from January 1441 is regarded as an unreliable reference; however, the same painter, Sagramoro, was commissioned by the same patron, Leonello d'Este, as in the February 1442 document. The game seemed to gain in importance in the year 1450, a Jubilee year in Italy, which saw many festivities and the movement of many pilgrims.
... more or less my words, out of context...
Three mid-15th century sets were made for members of the Visconti family. The first deck, and probably the prototype, is called the Cary-Yale Tarot (or Visconti-Modrone Tarot) and was created between 1442 and 1447 by an anonymous painter for Filippo Maria Visconti. The cards (only 67) are today in the Cary collection of the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University, in the U.S. state of Connecticut. The most famous was painted in the mid-15th century, to celebrate Francesco Sforza and his wife Bianca Maria Visconti, daughter of the duke Filippo Maria. Probably, these cards were painted by Bonifacio Bembo or Francesco Zavattari between 1451 and 1453.
... Zavattari is considered for the Cary-Yale, not for Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi ...
 Of the original cards, 35 are in The Morgan Library & Museum, 26 are at the Accademia Carrara, 13 are at the Casa Colleoni and four: 'The Devil', 'The Tower', 'Money's Horse (The Chariot)' and '3 of Spades', are lost or else never made. This "Visconti-Sforza" deck, which has been widely reproduced, reflects conventional iconography of the time to a significant degree.
.... "Money's horse", oh, that's really inventive (and that's not the chariot, but the knight of coins), and a 3 of spades the deck hadn't indeed, but also not a 3 of swords ...
Hand-painted tarot cards remained a privilege of the upper classes and, although some sermons inveighing against the evil inherent in cards can be traced to the 14th century, most civil governments did not routinely condemn tarot cards during tarot's early history. In fact, in some jurisdictions, tarot cards were specifically exempted from laws otherwise prohibiting the playing of cards.
Because the earliest tarot cards were hand-painted, the number of the decks produced is thought to have been rather small, and it was only after the invention of the printing press that mass production of cards became possible. Decks survive from this era from various cities in France, and the most popular pattern of these early printed decks comes from the southern city of Marseilles, after which it is named the Tarot de Marseilles.