Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

Thanks for the link to Lipincott, Phaeded. I didn't know it, and it looks good.

I will have to wait until I can get a copy of Kaplan from a local library before I continue the discussion about the Sefer Yetzirah, Huck. Thanks very much for the specific references.

I have followed up on a few things that I had left dangling in earlier posts on this thread or dealt with too hastily.

On the origin of French suits, I was hoping for enlightenment from Trevor Denning, Playing Cards of Spain. He didn't help, except for declining to make any pronouncements. I edited my previous post to that effect, giving a couple of quotes from the book (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1019&p=15465#p15465) which emphasize the haziness of this area. At least he doesn't endorse Dummett's view.

On the occurrence of "carte" in Pulci's, Morgante:, I had dismissed the idea that it could mean "cards" (as opposed to "charts", which is how the translator renders the word). However upon further investigation I cannot rule out a double meaning. Pulci often makes allusions to present situations in describing the events of Charlemagne's time. For example, one of the characters is the underhanded Saracen king Marsilius, a name Pulci didn't invent. But he makes comments that seem to refer to Marsilio Ficino, a person whose influence on Lorenzo he resented, as too intellectual. Pulci says (XIII, 37):
When King Marsilius saw the cavalier,
to himself he said, "Oh, help me, god Mahound!"
But our Rinaldo's might was such that neither
Plato nor Trismegistus could have helped.
The translator (p. 823) cites Paolo Orvietto, who maintains that "in these lines Pulci is unquestionably talking about Marsilio Ficino" ( ... to&f=false).

With this in mind, I looked at the occurrences of "charts"in the poem, helpfully snipped at ... ts&f=false. The first, "future seeing charts" on p. 42, is at III, 31. The second, "it had been predicted by the charts" on p. 700, is at XXVII, 137. The third, "old magic charts" on p. 452, is at XXI, 53. The fourth "certain charts that needed deftly practiced exorcisms" on p. 496, the one I started with, is at XXII, 102. The word translated as "charts" is always "carte".

In every case, it would make sense--except that cards didn't exist in Charlemagne's time--to say "cards" instead of "charts".

Also, in every case the person concerned is the good necromancer Malagigi. That is, while it is bad to summon up devils, it is good if the devils carry out good commands. Often Malagigi just uses his magic to play pranks on his friends. But at the end Malagigi actually saves the day by having his devil (given the name of an obscure Egyptian god) transport Rinaldo by air from Egypt to the decisive battle at Roncevalles. Although he can't prevent the death of Orlando, Rinaldo;s prowess weakens the Saracens sufficiently that Charlemagne can overcome them later.

We have to bear in mind that Luigi Pulci's nickname, to all, was "Gigi"; and it was he who devoted himself to the occult arts for 20 years, starting around 1453 ( ... lt&f=false; Ageno on p. xii of her edition of the poem quotes from several letters to Lorenzo, which I will try to translate). So "Malagigi" is "bad Gigi", i.e. "bad Pulci". There may also be magical connotations to "Gigi". Plato had the supposed ring of Gyges, which could render one invisible. Giordano Bruno had "Giges" as the inventor of pictures (Yates, Art of Memory, p. 220).

At XXI 47 Pulci speaks of, among other evil spirits, "Bileth, who broke the almandal with certain snails". "Almandal", the translator says, is "the Arabic name given to the magic square used to conjure up all sorts of devils".At the corners were four iron bars with "rolled up green white, red, and yellow silk drapes attached"; these are the "snails" (translator's notes p. 871). I am not sure if this "magic square" was an object or a space, and if an object, what it was made of. If it is an object with an image on it, we are getting close to cards.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

To see into the future, astrological charts, at least, would be meant, not necessarily with diagrams but at least with tables of figures. In another place Malagigi's demon says he can't see into the future by means other than those that human astrologers use (XXV, 135: ... le&f=false). If demons could see the future, he argues, Satan wouldn't have rebelled in the first place (XXV, 145: ... re&f=false).

But I can't see how astrological charts would need exorcisms. Here is that stanza again:
Malagigi non volle gittar l'arte
Però che ne facea gran conscienzia
E non si può far sempre in ogni parte;
Convien ch'a molte cose abbi avvertenzia
E veste consacrate e certe carte
Esorcizzate con gran diligenzia,
Pentacol, candarie, sigilli e lumi,
E spade e sangue e pentole e profumi."

(Malgigi did not want to use his art,
most scrupulous about it as he was;
nor could he use it indiscriminately.
He had to be concerned with many things--
the proper holy vestments, certain charts,
that needed deftly practiced exorcisms, [literally, "exorcised with great diligence"]
pentacles, instruments, and seals and tapers,
and swords and blood and pots, and aromatic vapors.)
An exorcism draws demonic power out of something (modern dictionaries say "expel, force to leave", but in a context of sorcery "draw out" would seem to be the object). "Pages" or "sheets" would work, if it can be said (I think it can, but it is a bit odd-sounding) that pages or sheets can be exorcised. These pages would not be normal ones, however; they'd have to have diagrams, pictures, or things written in magical alphabets on them, I'd think. But also, I would think that the Devil card, in the ritual in Venice ( ... 23&lng=ENG), would have been an object of exorcism. That the thing about cards: unlike astrological charts, not only do they predict the future, but demonic power can be drawn out of them.

I am not arguing that such a meaning is implied in the sense of logically implied. It's a poem. I'm talking about a possible nuance, that seems to work for all the appearances of "carte" in the poem.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

Huck said at one point (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1019&p=15555&hilit=Morgante#p15555)
For 1466 we've Luigi Pulci involved, who mentioned the game in a letter. Pulci was quite another type than Ficino, and Pulci and Ficino later were strong foes.
Lorenzo (still rather young) and Pulci were close in this time, some time later persons of the Platonic Academy didn't love the influence of Pulci on Lorenzo. Pulci was accused of sorcery, partly in context of a few funny scenes in the Morgante around the magician Malagigi (around 1474/75).
Pulci had to leave Florence and had a bad time then.
About sorcery, there is the poet's own confession, in Canto XXIV, stanzas 112-113 ( ... co&f=false). I think it is mistranslated in the first part:

"Little by little I discover, then,
that I have visited the Sibyl's cave,
which I had once considered but a joke;..."

(The Italian is: "Così vo discoprendo a poco a poco
ch'io sono stato al monte di Sibilla,
che me pareva alcun tempo un bel giuoco;...

I think that means: "So Little by little I discover
that I have been to the Sibyl's mountain [or can "monte" mean "cave"?]
which had appeared to me once a good game;...)

and still within my breast some spark remains,
for those enchanted waves I'd like once more to see,
which Cecco d'Ascoli has made so dear to me.

Moco and Scarbo, then, and Marmores,
and the bifurcate bone that closed at last -
such things I longed for as a man in love:
here were my Muses: my Parnassus, here.
I do admit my fault, and will someday
ask mighty Minos's pardon, recognizing
the truth with all those men who err from ignorance--
pyrmonacers, hydromancers, geomancers.

Pulci visited the Sibyl of Norcia's cave in December 1470 or shortly thereafter. He promised Lorenzo to bring him some truffles after his return from Norcia to visit the sibyl ( ... ia&f=false). Cecco d'Ascoli was a professor of astrology at Bologna, forced to leave in 1324, moved to Florence, was burned alive as a heretic there in 1327. His major work is the Acerba, "for a long time considered to be an important text by all those interested in magic" the translator says, p. 896; it tells how the demons Moco, Scarbo, and Marmores can be evoked. The "birfurcate bone" is from the breast of a rooster that has been bewitched. When placed in a fire it can answer a wizard's questions by opening or closing itself.

In reference to demons evoked by Malagigi, they correspond to demons mentioned by Pulci to Lorenzo in letters.Ageno writes (p. xii):
Probabilmente fin dal 1453 Luigi era stato iniziato alle pratiche di magia. Una lettera mandata al Magnifico durante il bando (febbraio 1466) si conclude con queste parole °Idio ci aiuterà, o Salay° (Lett. IV, p. 40); e in una successiva il Pulci confessava, °Stima che Salay ancora di noi voglia la sua parte° (Lett. VI, p. 49). Nellà agosto dello stesso anno, durante una malattia, dice cherzosamente: "Qui con certi alberelli e consigli di Salay mi governo" (Lett. VIIII, p. 53); nel novembre, sempre al Magnifico: "Non posso ad altro pensare che a te e a Salay da un tempo in qua" (Lett. IX, p. 56).

A pratiche magiche accennano certamente le ottave 47-49 del cantare XXI, scritto nel 1471.

(Probably as early as 1453 Luigs had been initiated into the practice of magic. A letter sent to the Magnificent during the interdiction (?) (February 1466) ends with these words "God will help us, or Salay" (Lett. IV, p. 40). and in a subsequent one Pulci confesses "Estimate that Salay still wants his part from us" (Lett. VI, p. 49). In August of the same year, during an illness, he says jokingly: "Here with some saplings and advice from Salay I am governed" (Lett. VIIII, p. 53); in November, again to the Magnificent: "I cannot think of anything else but you and Salay from a time past (for a long time?)" (Lett. IX, p. 56).

Octaves 47-49 of Canto XXI, written in 1471, certainly mention magical practices.)
. These stanzas mention "Salayè, who, when he heard his fall but mentioned, by new wrath was stirred", referring to the fall of the rebel angels; and also several other demons. See the snippets at ... ye&f=false. I am not sure about the translation of "alberelli" as saplings. Altogether there are seven of the letters, the translator says.

And here is a snippet about Pulci's "profound knowledge of the cabala" from Florentine Jews (except that it leaves out the last word, "cabala", which I get from p. xxi of the print version): ... ws&f=false. The translator refers us to pp. 64-71 of Walser's "highly regarded" essay, Lebens- und Glaubenprobleme aus dem Zeitalter der Renaissance: Die Religion des Luigi Pulci, ihre Quellen und ihre Bedeutung, Marburg: a.n. Lahme Envert, 1927.

I see no mention of Pulci's being forced to leave Florence. He went on frequent missions to other cities for Lorenzo but seems to have continued to live in Florence. Of course he did die in Padua, buried in unconsecrated ground.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

mikeh wrote: I see no mention of Pulci's being forced to leave Florence. He went on frequent missions to other cities for Lorenzo but seems to have continued to live in Florence. Of course he did die in Padua, buried in unconsecrated ground.
Well, try combinations of keywords Sanseverino - Pulci - Ficino - 1474 - 1475 - 1476

Here's one of the results: ... no&f=false

He didn't live mainly in Florence, but in the Mugello, I think.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

"Germini' {growth, sprouting, putting forth shorts} is an attribute/epitaph of Thalia, {Thalia, the Blooming*}, the Muse of Comedy. In his commentary on Dante's Comedy, Boccacio quotes Fulgentis when discussing the Muses:

""La quarta ha nome Talia, cioè capacità quasi come l'uom dicesse Tithonlia cioè pognente cosa che germini."

After Fulgentis:
""Talia, id est capacitas uelut si dicatur tithonlia, id est ponens germina..."

{Thalia, that is, growth, as if she were called Tithonlia, that is putting forth shoots..."}
“Some of these correspondences work better than others, but the most remarkable is in the reappearance of Thalia, no longer silent in the Earth as Dante, forgetful or unaware of the continuing creative role of Beatrice in his life, was forced to silence, but placed as the middle figure of the three Graces in the very position occupied by Beatrice in the trinity of Ladies, in what is in fact a type of the place of Christ between Mary (the Father) and Lucia (the Holy Spirit). Comedy, says Dante in his letter to Can Grande, begins in sorrow and ends in joy; the lowly humble Muse Thalia is reborn from Silence and appears ascended to her rightful place in the Empyrean of Christian poetry.”

Dante the Maker by William Anderson, p.328
Thalia is not only the muse of poetry, but of pastoral (bucolic, georgic) poetry; one of the justifications for Dante writing in the vulgar tongue (as rustics do). In that comedy starts in sorrow and ends in joy, Dante's comedy is called such because it starts in hell and ends in paradise. (The tarot sequence too, as a Christian salvation theme, begins with low, humble, fallen everyman--and ends in his Glory through Christ, and is as such a 'divine comedy'.)

* θάλλειν, thállein - to flourish, to be verdant.
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: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

Huck wrote
He didn't live mainly in Florence, but in the Mugello, I think.
I hadn't checked the biographies, just the editor's introduction, which wasn't very clear. The one at makes it clear that he was exiled from Florence from 1459 to 1466, apparently related to his brother's financial difficulties, for which the creditors came after Luigi. I seem to recall from somewhere that Lorenzo played a role in making it safe for Luigi to return. For the next 8 years or so he was based in Florence but went on many diplomatic missions for Lorenzo. Then in 1473 he went to serve Sanseverino. But he continued the friendship with Lorenzo all his life and went to Florence when he could.

It seems to me that in each case his leaving had to do with finances and not with his beliefs or practices. His formal return to the Catholic fold is dated from 1473 because that is when, at Lorenzo's sister's urging, he attended mass at Easter. So he must have gone to confession, too. And before that, apparently since 1453, he hadn't attended mass, I would assume. At some point, 1479 or later, he wrote a 337 line poem in terca rima known as the Confessione repudiating his past. However it was widely believed, and still is, that he still wasn't much of a Catholic. Walser speaks of a possible threat of excommunication, a possibility that the translator says "is not easily discarded".

It is especially clear that Luigi was engaging in some sort of occultism at the time he wrote about playing "Minchiate" with Lorenzo, and that he freely shared this fact with Lorenzo.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

Another loose end I want to try to come closer to tying up has to do with Cordovero's view of the Kabbalist "tree" and its various versions. The work that Matt uses in The Essential Kabbalah to represent Cordovero's views is the Or Ne'erav, which Wikipedia says is "an introduction to the methods explicated in Pardes Rimonim", i.e. Garden of the Pomegranates ( Both Matt and Wikipedia refer us to Robinson's Moses Cordovero's Introduction to Kabbalah, 1994. Matt specifically cites pp. 111-46. Many of these pages are in Google Books. One of the two most relevant passages is on p. 119, the part highlighted at ... le&f=false. Here you can read the context on both sides. In case this link goes away, I will give it in Matt's translation (p. 42), which is essentially the same as Robinson's:
Among the Kabbalists, the most widely accepted depiction of the sefirot is as follows: Keter, Hokhmah, and Binah in the form of a triangle. Beneath them, also int he form of a triangle, Hesed, Gevurah, and Tiferet, followed by another triangle of Netsah, Hod and Yesod. Centered beneath them is Malkhut.
Then later Cordovero is more explicit about the paths, starting on the bottom of Robinson p. 120. There are no letter assignments. The part on Malkhut, p. 121, unfortunately is not included in the Google Books pages. Here is the continuation from where p. 120 leaves off; he has already enumerated the three highest paths and three of the next four (I am using Matt's translation, p. 42f, putting in bold the key part; there are 22 paths but no letter assignments):
...Hokhmah to Tiferet totaling four.
One from Binah to Hesed, one from Binah to Gevurah, and one from Binah to Tiferet, totaling three.
One from Hesed to Netsah, one from Hesed to Gevurah, and one from Hesed to Tiferet, totaling three.
One from Gevurah to Hod, and one from Gevurah to Tiferet, totaling two.
One from Tiferet to Netsah, one from Tiferet to Hod, and one from Tiferet to Yesod, totaling three.
One from Netsah to Hod, and one from Netsah to Yesod, totaling two.
One from Hod to Yesod, and one from Yesod to Malkut.
Malkhut receives solely from Yesod, through whom she receives from them all. Without him, she cannot receive from any of them;
without her her, none of the sefirot can emanate to the lower worlds, for she is the essence of these worlds, conducting them. These are the major channels; their facets are infinite.
As you can see, he allows for other possible ways of configuring the paths; but he is giving what he calls "the most widely accepted" version. Not only that, he emphasizes that there is only one path from Yesod to Malkhut. I think that the reason there is only one pathis that Yesod, as he says, is "the mystery of the covenant" (p. 46; Robinson, p. 129). The covenant is the essential link between the upper sefirot and the worlds below, sealed by male circumcision. It is that doctrine that Gikatilla also articulates and which I think that Pico and Reuchlin received, which Pico makes equivalent to baptism in Christianity (as I argued at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1019&p=15497&hilit ... ion#p15497). His particular stress on the point suggests that there were other views as well within Jewish Kabbalah. However I see no sign of them in 15th-16th century Christian Kabbalah.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

mikeh wrote:His particular stress on the point suggests that there were other views as well within Jewish Kabbalah. However I see no sign of them in 15th-16th century Christian Kabbalah.
The two trees are in Pardes Rimmonim, in which Cordovero provides an extensive overview of pre-Lurianic Kabbalah (as well as Lurianic); according to several sources, Kircher was the first Christian writer to make use of Pardes Rimmonim (from which he quotes at length). PR was printed in Krakow in 1592, however Kircher studied it in manuscript form, from a manuscript in the College of Neophytes,* dated 1548.


*Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Neofiti 28. (There are annotations on several pages in Kircher’s own hand).
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: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

When I went through various versions of Pulci's life (some years ago meanwhile), there were many contradictions, I remember. It took long, till I realized the crisis between Pulci and Ficino and its importance, not every researcher had realized it. Pulci's function for the Medici since 1460 seems to have had gained its force by the condition, that Pulci's mill was close to the Medici villa-castle in Caffaggiolo. Michelozzo started in Medici commission to work on Caffagiolo about 1452/53 and 1458 it seems to have been the time, when the villa became of some use, but more for Lucretia Tornuabuoni and the children than for the older male Medici ... Caffaggiolo is about 40 km from Florence, and the Medici were often sick then. 40 km is a lot in mountain regions, especially if you don't have a good health. Careggi is only about 7 km.
That are rather practical conditions, which say, that the Medici-Pulci relations likely depended on the stays in the Mugello. But all the biographies and the Morgante versions didn't tell anything about this detail.

Then I found a research, which had rather exact results for the developmemt of the Morgante. Around 1463 something like 15 and a half canto (or something like this) were ready, and then the production was stopped and proceeded in very low steps only. Somehow this must refer to the condition, that Lorenzo had reached an appropriate age, in which he got more responsibilities, and the childish poetical experiment with "Morgante" went to the background. I've for the moment no idea, where the link to this very good research has gone to.

"Matteo Franco" and "Pulci" had a fight with sonnets, which was published as a selection in 1759.
"Sonetti di Matteo Franco e di Luigi Pulci assieme con la Confessione ." This was part of the aggression between Ficino and Pulci, Matteo Franco stood on the side of Ficino. Matteo Franco mainly got his fame from this fight. Some researchers didn't realize, that this conflict was rather serious, and interpreted it as poetical fun.

Pulci stood more for "the man from the country, who had difficulties to get some Latin together". But although Pulci's bad financial conditions and his lower stand in the society by the family debts he gained some influence on the young Lorenzo, and when Lorenzo surprizingly became a man of power, others got envy about Pulci and his close relation to Lorenzo, especially from the side of the noble and intellectual Platonic academy and all their fine words, who wished to gain Lorenzo for the high aims of Renaissance. That's also the story.

Villa Torre Palagio (in the Mugello)
Le prime notizie sulla villa si ritrovano in un documento datato 1427 nel quale Jacopo di Francesco Pulci denuncia al catasto fiorentino la proprietà di una fortezza posta nel Comune di Latera di Mugello. Dall'antico palagio fortificato rimane una corte quadrata, un loggiato con colonnette, un antico pozzo e un frammento di torre. Dal 1457 al 1466 la fortezza fu ritrovo di letterati e dotti umanisti quali Luigi Pulci, Lorenzo il Magnifico, Mariotto Davanzati, Bernardo Gianbullari.

Qui furono scritte canzoni d'amore e poemi tra cui: La Nencia da Barberino e La Beca da Dicomano. Nel 1490 Antonia, vedova di Bernardo Pulci, vendette la proprietà a Piero di Francesco Bettini e questi ai Marchesi Guadagni che la trasformarono in una villa come è indicato da una lapide sul portone d'ingresso.

La villa è stata ristrutturata nel XIX secolo presentandosi come la possiamo vedere oggi.
The Pulci had something there, and it wasn't too small (maybe not in a very good state). But they hadn't luck with the business.