Bohemia ... early playing card notes ; theme -1377

Added January 2017: The thread was renamed from "Bohemia ... in 1309 ; theme "cards -1377"" to "Bohemia ... early playing card notes ; theme -1377" with the intention to collect threads, where the topics are earlier than the year 1377 (early playing card documents); not included are themes, which don't relate to a very early origin of playing cards.
I intend to collect these threads via link at the thread "Collection Playing Cards before 1377 ; theme -1377"


Start original article:

Bohemia ... in 1309

Henry of Bohemia, also "Henry of Carinthia" (here name "von Kärnten"), was elected king of Bohemia in 1306 and again in 1307-10.

In his time the game with dice became very popular in Bohemia through his soldiers "from Tyrol and Carinthia", this story is variously reported in early Bohemian chronicles. Well, the game stayed popular a longer time in Bohemia, also, when Henry was gone.

One of the reports is given here, translated probably from "Kronika Czeska" (1541) to German language. It's from Wenceslaus Hajek or Hagek or Hageck (died 1553 in Prague) ...
... and a German translation was produced 1596-98 according worldcat, 1596 according Google.

Here's a version of 1718 (which differs likely not much to the edition of 1596 ... ): ... 00540.html


It's talked of dice, not of playing cards. What the Czech edition talked about I don't know.

In 1599 now another project was published ...
SYLLOGE HISTORICA, Oder Zeit vnd Ge||schichtbuch In dem die aller gedenckwirdigsten Biblischen/ vnd andere vornem[m]ste Weltgeschichte/ Aus den glaubwirdigsten Griechischen/ Lateinischen vnd Teutschen/ Alten vnd Newen Kirchen/ vnd Heidnischen Historicis, auffs aller kürsten zusammmen getragen/ vnd in ordentliche Jahruorzeichnis verfasset worden sind/ die sich innerhalb 5562 Jahren/ vom anfang der Welt/ bis zum 1599. Jahre nach Christi Geburt/ in allen vier Monarchen/ der Assyrier/ Persen/ Griechen/ vnd Römer/ Ach sonst bey Jüden/ Heiden/ Christen/ Saracenen/ Tartern/ Türcken/ Hunen/ Moscouiten/ Reussen/ Preussen/ Polen/ Sweden/ Dänen/ Englendern/ Hispanien/ Francen/ Welschen/ Teutschen/ vnd in newer Welt zu getragen haben. Alles mit sonderm fleiß/ vnd grosser mühsamkeit/ aus Authoribus zusammen gelesen/ vnd in vnterschiedene Jahrzeiten abgetheilet/ dergleichen zuuor im Druck nicht gesehen ist/ Darzu mit einem nützlichen Register verfertiget /
That's only the title. It's a chronicle of the world. The author called himself Georg Nicolaus.


It reports also the events of the year 1309 in Bohemia, but it's much shorter (Hajec had various pages for this year). Although it's shorter one detail is changed: Now it are dice AND playing cards.

Image ... ageNo=1187
Image ... ageNo=1188

It's difficult to read and one has to translate a few things, but "Kartenspiel" is very clear.

The author gives a reference to this note: "Hag." and "Franck." (all articles get references). At his author page he forgets to mention "Hag.", but from other references, where he writes "Hageck" it's clear, hat he means Hajek and his Bohemian chronicle. At the author's list appears a "Iacob Franck", which should be the "Franck" of his reference.

The Hajek text is known, at least in translation. It doesn't include the "Kartenspiel". The logical conclusion is, that Iacob Franck should have been the one, who added this detail. Franck gives more than one note to some of the articles and once he is noted for a text from 1591. So Iacob Frank should have been (likely) a living author in 1599.

This Iacob Franck is a riddle. Worldcat can't identify the author, and general internet has also trouble.

A "Johann Francken" appears at the title text (see above, at the bottom), but the real name should be "Johann Francke" (likely 1547-1625), a man, who was involved in many book productions since 1570. ... first_page

Iacob Franck looks like a cooperator to Georg Nicolaus and possibly he was a relative to Johann Francke or he was just Johann Francke himself. The publisher (and it seems, that he was occasionally also author) Johann Francke is topic in this research ... ... ke&f=false
... and he is suspected to have variously operated with pseudonyms.

Maybe Jacob Franck or Johann Francke had indeed better (or different) information to the situation of 1309 in Bohemia. Maybe he forged history a little bit.


Playing card history author Breithaupt (1784) noted (p. 113, note to page 9) ... ... el&f=false


Breithaupt found in the "Gesellschafter", Magdeburg 1783, the note with 1309 and Heinrich von Kärnten, though he addresses only the passage with the dice. ... edir_esc=y
... (contains no text)


Again 1309 and Heinrich von Kärnten (= Carinthia) in a text of 1808 ... &q&f=false


(the description is about tricks with a small ball, a game,which also said to have come from Italy as the Kartenspiel)

This author J. F. Schönfeldt seems to know the passage with "Kartenspiel" and "1309". The author has a German name and he writes in German, though he claims, that Bohemia was his home country.


I noted by worldcat ... ... ht=edition
... that J.F. Schoenfeld engaged for the production ...
Kronyka czeská.
Author: Václav Hájek z Libočan; Johann Ferdinand Schönfeld, Ritter von
Publisher: [Prague] : [Johann Ferdinand von Schönfeld], [1819]
That was a reprint of the original of the Hajek Bohemian chronicle of 1541. Perhaps it indeed contained the "Kartenspiel" for the year 1309 ?


Earlier we talked about Johann Petrasch and his Tarocchi poem, published in 1767 ...
In a small sentence the author notes a theory about the origin of playing cards or Tarocchi cards:
"Der an der Brenta ließ die erste Karte malen ... "
... somebody living at the Brenta (Italian river, which enters the Adria in the near South of Venice) commissioned the first painting of the cards.
From the perspective of Slavonia (historical region inside Croatia) it's likely logical to associate Venice as the location of the origin of either Playing or Tarot cards (perhaps he knew already the Venetian document of 1299 ?).
The Brenta runs down down from the Tyrol region. In the story of Heinrich von Kärnten, once king of Bohemia, he was ruler in Kärnten and in Tyrol. He might have been the one, which Petrasch meant with ""Der an der Brenta ließ die erste Karte malen ... "

Re: Bohemia ... in 1309

In the context of "1309" and "soldiers of Kärnten" I found the following text:

Geschichte Oesterreich's: seiner Völker und Länder und der Entwickelung seines Staatenvereines von den ältesten bis auf die neuesten Zeiten, Volume 2
Hermann Meynert
C. A. Hartleben, 1844 - Austria ... navlinks_s

The author ..
... which had the title "Doktor", made this book as part of a six volume work about the history of Austria and his countries (so also about Bohemia). Before (in 1835) he had already published about the history of Sachsen.
His son became a famous psychiater, who taught also Sigmund Freud.

So one has to consider, that this man was likely taken serious in his lifetime. German wiki notes, that his work is positively considered "als Nachschlagewerk bedeutende Geschichte Österreichs", which at least should mean, that it offered considerable details (which I can confirm for the moment).

Born in 1808, he lived in Dresden till 1836 and went then to Vienna, where he died in 1895. Both cities offered a lot of libraries with much old books, one should assume.
I've read some parts and a good part of his texts are impressive ... a lot of details. Though: he gives no references.

He wrote the following passage before the researcher Hübsch published his work to Bohemian trade and his curious notes about early playing cards in Bohemia (in 1849). Meynert in his "revolutionary" statements about early playing cards goes more far into the past then Hübsch did.


I try to translate:
"By the way, dice weren't unknown to the Bohemians at that time [in 1309], as the playing cards, which had come up in France not in the time of Charles IV [I think, he means emperor Charles IV, reigning 1346-78, but possibly he means the French king Charles IV the fair] but already in the time of Charles III, ...
[I first thought, that he meant Charles IV the Fair instead king Charles III of France, reigning 1322-1328, but no, he must have meant either Charles III the Simple, reigning as King of Western Francia from 898-922 and King of Lotharingia from 911 till 919–23, or the German Emperor Charles III the Fat 884-888
... which, however, didn't become so usual cause one knew nothing about the art of engraving and the painting of the cards was connected to high costs. Both games served already under King Wenzel I ...
[should be ...
reigning 1230-53]
as "Ordal" [trial by ordeal] or god's judgment. The disputing parties chose a jester, who threw the dice (Trucellarius), and the better eyes were taken as decision of a higher power. In a similar way card players (Triumphatores) decided the law. The winner celebrated his triumph against all arguments of his opponents, from which it developed to use of the expression trumps in the card game."
Well, that's a strong opinion. The expression "Trucellarius" is known to only by this work by Dr. Hermann Meynert. References and Footnotes are not given. In any case Meynert had no doubt, that Emperor Charles IV knew about playing cards.


I find in one of his texts, which treats juristic material called "" ... ... er&f=false
... following details.


This confirms the date "c. 1250" and it notes the above mentioned Bohemian King Wenzel I together with his son Ottokar II, who both give their allowance for the specific Iglauer laws.
These laws, from which I give here an excerpt (very archaic laws with rather bloody and crude solutions), contain the lighted words "Ordal" and "Kartenausleger", both confirming that, what Meynert above had stated about playing cards use in juristic cases in the time of King Wenzel I.


I translate the short passage:
As "Ordal" is taken the juristic duel in "Pfahldistanz" (duellum super falangas). The judgment through dice or card players was not allowed for foreigners and also not for local inhabitants.
So they preferred bloody solutions there. The terminus "duellum super falangas" is known to Google only by the words of Meynert.

The text ...
Sächsisch-magdeburgisches Recht in Ungarn und Rumänien: Autonomie und Rechtstransfer im Donau- und Karpatenraum
Katalin Gönczi, Wieland Carls
Walter de Gruyter, Jan 31, 2014 - Law - 223 pages ... ht&f=false

... gives some details to the related documents, and notes, that the Iglauer Right was imitated by other regions and that it survived in 11 manuscripts (counted and listed by a researcher Tomaschek). It refines the date "c. 1250" to "probably 1249" and notes, that Iglau likely got its city rights then.

I guess, that these texts (which also existed in Latin versions) are not online.


Iglau was a mining city, founded c. 1240 by King Wenzel I (also called "Vaclav") ... according English wiki.
Nowadays it has the name Jihlava.
German wiki tells, that the city already existed 799 and had mining industry for silver - according legend. Possibly there were destructions by the Mongols around 1240? It's called the oldest "Bergstadt" ("city with mining industry").

Bohemia / Prag ... in 1353

In various older playing card notes "synodical statute from Würzburg 1329" is noted as one of the earliest evidence for playing card use (I saw various German texts of early 19th century, which spoke of "Würzburg 1321", I don't know the reason). Referring to Schreiber in 1937, Stuart Kaplan, Tarot Encyclopedia I, contradicts this statement.

The relevant text is given at ...
Nova subsidia diplomatica ad selecta juris ecclesiastici Germaniae et historiarum capita elucidanda ex originalibvs et authenticis documentis congesta, Band 2
Stephan Alexander Würdtwein
Sumptibus Tobiae Goebhardt, 1783 ... um&f=false
Schreiber noted also ...
Synodicon Herbipolense: Geschichte und Statuten der im Bisthum Würzburg gehaltenen Concilien und Dioecesansynoden
Franz Xaver Himmelstein
Stahel, 1855 - 499 pages ... um&f=false

... and Himmelstein more or less had read the same, but added a footnote, in which he (likely) referred to card researcher Breitkopf, who had made up a hypothesis about playing cards, which were brought to Germany by returning soldiers from Italy, who had accompanied emperor Henry VII.
Breitkopf p. 35 ... &q&f=false
Schreiber ... ... 8Q6AEwAjgK
(not complete)

Depaulis commented Schreiber in "A Short Timeline of Playing Cards" in ...
Religiosus Ludens: Das Spiel als kulturelles Phänomen in mittelalterlichen Klöstern und Orden
Jörg Sonntag
Walter de Gruyter, Mar 27, 2013 - History - 300 pages ... um&f=false

So far, so good, this was all older playing card history.
The following one came to us in 2010 from a Czech playing card researcher Jan Klobusicky by private communication, who found it here ...

Concilia pragensia 1353-1413, prager Synodal-Beschlüsse, zum ersten Male zusammengestellt und mit einer Einleitung versehen von C. Höfler...
Constantin Höfler
Druck der Gerzabek'schen Buchdruckerei, 1862 - 116 pages ... ue&f=false
That's 1353 in Prague, and for 1354 we've the statement of the researcher Hübsch ... "Auch ein Kartenmaler namens Jonathan Kraysel aus Nürnberg kommt 1354 in Prag vor." (Also a card painter with the name Jonathan Kraysel from Nuremberg appears 1354 in Prague.)

Added at 31.01.2021:
Jan Klobusicky in a later communication added the following information to the text
"MS III G 16 is a miscellanea of many authors (Jacobellus de Misa, Johannes Hus, Bernhardus Claraevallensis, Augustinus, Simonus de Tissnow, Laurentius de Brezova, Johannes Wyclif, Johannes Příbram, Petrus de Uniczow, Jacobus de Voragine, Conradus Waldhauser, etc.) I mean the MS have a Utraquist origin and our text 98v-99v: [Statuta Pragensis archidioecesis de anno 1353] is input as some old rule of law. An original document since 1353 maybe was lost by Husitic rebellion."
"Manuscript III G 16" ... "was written since 1409 to 1437".
Full text of “Concilia Pragensia” is on ... ry_r&cad=0

Bohemia ... 1249 Trucelarius and Triumphatores

Meynert mentioned in 1844 the appearance of Trucelarius and Triumphatores in the Iglauer Stadt- and Bergrecht, and connected the words to dice and cards.


I found:
Die karolinische Zeit, oder der äußere Zustand und die Sitten und Gebräuche Prags und Böhmens überhaupt, vor und insbesondere während der Regierung Kaiser Karl des IV ...: mit 3 Kupfertafeln
Julius Max Schottky
Mayregg, 1830 - 491 pages ... en&f=false



The same story, more or less. He notes "Voigt" as his source.

Über den Geist der Böhmischen Gesetze in den verschiedenen Zeitaltern: eine Preisschrift
Adaukt Voigt
Walther, 1788 - 217 pages ... el&f=false

Voigt has two interesting passages




This text refers to "du Fresne" and "Glossario" ... Charles du Fresne du Cange has different versions. I take this one ...

Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae Latinitatis, Volume 5
Charles du Fresne du Cange
Osmont, 1734


Alea means usually dice, occasionally also cards.



Voigt says this inside a list of juristic expressions. I don't know, if the interpretation is correct, that Ludus deciorum might mean cards.


IGLAU 1249

Well, I found something, which looks like the city rights of Iglau in 1249.

Codex juris Bohemici: Aetatem premyslidarum continens
I.L. Kober, 1867 - Law ... 49&f=false

It is on the pages 82-119, a longer Latin enterprise.
It seems to be the two Latin versions I've read about, which are compared with each other. Point XLVI speaks of "Duello" and "duelli" and addresses God in personal speech, possibly that's the relevant part, but I find nothing about Triumphatores or similar.

I could need some help here, my Latin isn't so good.


... :-) .... well, "Triumphatores cards" in 1249 (connected to some sort of god divination in juristic cases) and "Trionfi cards" in 1440, that would be something. Naturally only, if it's true.

Added later:

Aaaaahhh ... I got it (p. 86, point II)


Well, it's a little bit different, but it's there: twice trucelariis and truffatoribus and truphatoribus ... well, they had the text not only in Latin, but variously, so likely there's something, which made the connection to "triumphare" more obvious ... totally 11 times, as the report stated.

The following is a version made by Tomaschek, who made the list of the 11 sources: ... us&f=false



Slightly different only.

Re: Bohemia ... truffatore

My Latin is very bad ...

... but when I note, that the Italian Truffatore means "cheat, swindler, fraudster" and "truffare" in Italian and Latin means "to swindle, deceive, cheat or dupe" I get the idea, that the word "truffatoribus" might have been not correctly identified in this context.

Well, if there are not other arguments in this evaluation, what I don't know.
The methods of the "Trucularii" and "Truffatoribus" are not allowed in Iglau, which sounds understandable, if I assume, that these words are negatively connotated.
Maybe the Austrian researchers were inspired by the idea, that "Trionfi" might be playing cards? Well, we know, that there were likely no Trionfi cards long before 1440, but they didn't know it.

Re: Bohemia ... Truffatore=Tewscher=Täuscher=Cheater

Well, my suspicion was right ...

Tomaschek, the more serious researcher, at page 209/210 talks about the relevant passage a longer time and presents the text together with the same of a German edition and ... ... &q&f=false
... there "trucelariis and truphatoribus" are modified to a very old German "czeppflern and tewschern", which I after some deep consideration could identify as "Täuscher" (= "cheater") and "Zäpfler" (= "innkeeper"), whereby Zäpfler is not a common word today, but near enough to the verb "zapfen" to be recognized (beer "zapfen", Bier wird "gezapft"). The whole sentence says, that you shouldn't use Zäpfler or Täuscher as witnesses in a juristic case, but 3 trustworthy pious men.



Grimm's Worterbuch, focussed on writing forms between 15th and 18th century gives consequently Trufator as an expression, which means "Täuscher". Zäpfler is expressed as German "Wirt" and Latin "hospes, pl. hospites". ... 4#XGT01724

TÄUSCHER, m. einer der täuscht, mhd. tiuscher, teuscher, md. tûscher trufator Lexer 2, 1448:
du trieger, teuscher, bescheisser und besaicher. fastn. sp. 254, 14;

ZÄPFLER, m., = zapfenwirth (s. d.), auch zapfel u. zapfelwirth Unger-Kh. 641b; Fischer 6, 1051.

In the last part to the point Tomaschek reports his knowledge about the confusion caused by the two words. He relates it to ...

Monumenta historica Boemiae nusquam antehac edita, quibus non modo patriae, aliarumque vicinarum regionum, sed et remotissimarum gentium historia mirum quantum illustratur, Volume 4
Gelasius Dobner
Literis Johannae Sophiae Clauserianae, 1779 - Bohemia (Czech Republic) ... us&f=false

... which rather innocently gave the base for some new ideas about early playing cards with 5 footnote lines with Latin word explanations.



Re: Bohemia ... researcher Hübsch

Researcher Hübsch wasn't affected by the ideas about playing cards in 1309 in Bohemia, brought by soldiers from Kärnten and Tyrol (as it appeared in the World chronicle of 1599, noted some posts ago), and he wasn't involved in the ideas based on the wrong reading of the document in Iglau 1249 (as reported above).

Hübsch in his book about trade says not much about playing cards, but enough to assume, that he knew a series of documents, which gave him confidence about his judgment.

Hübsch''s work was known to playing card research, he was mentioned in an article of the IPCS in the year 2000 (Zdenik Stahlavsky: An Introduction to Playing Cards from the Czech Lands, IPCS XXIX/2, p. 65-69) ...


But I wasn't aware of it in 2007, when detected the source by research in 2007 and published about Hübsch ( ). As far we could observe the publications of IPCS, there was no reflection on the short note.

The year "1364" given in the article was definitely wrong, "1354" was noted by Hübsch as the year, in which card painter Jonathan Kraysel appeared in Prague . The reference given in the article to "F.Zuman" in 1929 we couldn't follow, perhaps we once find an opportunity.
Hübsch is noted in his publications as F.L. Hübsch. Stahlavsky calls him Joseph Hübsch.


This are the relevant passages in ..

Versuch einer Geschichte des böhmischen Handels ...
F L. Hübsch (1849) ... edir_esc=y

1. Page 134


2. Page 182 ff.


3. Page 242


Re: Bohemia ... Hübsch (1)

Versuch einer Geschichte des böhmischen Handels ...
F L. Hübsch (1849) ... edir_esc=y

1st quote, Page 134



The passage is already well known in this thread, actually the starting point for "Bohemia ... in 1309". Hübsch has the note without "Kartenspiel" as many others, but he refers not to the mentioned Hajek, but to Henrico Roch and a chronicle. And this source has a special remark, which wasn't used by Hübsch in his few words about playing cards.

"Neue Laußnitz- Böhm- und Schlesische Chronica/ Oder Allerhand Denck- und Merckwürdiger Unglücks- und Trauer-Fälle/ so sich in dem Marggraffthum Lausitz/ dessen angräntzenden benachbartem Königreiche Böhmen/ und Fürstenthümern Schlesien/ in den nechsten dreyhundert und Sechs und Achtzig Jahren begeben und zugetragen : Theils aus gelehrter Leute Schrifften/ theils aus guter Freunde communicirten Manu-Scriptis, theils auch aus eigenen Collectaneis, in eine richtige Jahrgängige Landschaffts-Ordnung gebracht und auffgesetzet / Von Heinrico Roch, I.C. & Reip. Pat. Senatore" (in the year 1687) ... iew/521031

This chronicle is focussed on tragical and curious events (Allerhand Denck- und Merckwürdiger Unglücks- und Trauer-Fälle) from Bohemia (Böhmen), Lausitz and Silesia (Schesien).
The interesting part in this book is not the note about the dice game in 1309, but the first note of the Lausitz chronicle, and the first note of the Silesian chronicle.

I worked earlier on it:

First note of the Lausitz-chronicle:


... reports the death of 3 card players killed by lightning in a house "am Ringe" (a street name, it still existed in 16th century and possibly also today in Polish form) in the year 1303.

If this would be true, it would mean, that playing cards existed in 1303, and a lot of modern playing card researchers would be rather astonished, as generally all playing cards in Europe before 1370 are regarded with much suspicion, connected to theories, which declare them an error or forgery.

However, the note is suspected to be wrong already by a second note in the same book.


... reports the death of 7 dice players by lightning in Kotwitz (identified as modern "Cottbus") in the same year 1303.

Two groups of players killed by lightning in the same year 1303 looks like a literary construction for special interests, for instance by religious preachers against gambling, who often used real or fictious lightnings to express ideas about God, that he would judge sinners with this instrument. Such constructions were gathered in Donner (= Thunder) books, and they are full of suspicious stories. sometimes referring to real events, but even in this case inflicting the story with religious interpretations.

Nonetheless, if it is a forgery, then the time of forgery would be interesting. If one can reach a date date before 1370, it anyway would woud give some light on the reality of the early playing card distribution.

A second text was found, telling the same story, slightly modified:

Image ... nfo/661672
at page 14 (click "Inhalt des Werkes" and "Abschnitt" and chose page "[16] 14]" in the box of the pages)

Roch had noted as source: "Helandi Donnerpredigt". I found:
Heland, David:
Est Visa Dei Gloria, In Fulgurita Curia. Man sahe GOttes Herrlichkeit/ Ins Donnerschlags Gefährlichkeit. Nemlich: Es entstund zu Cotbuß in Nieder-Lausitz/ Ao. 1664. d. 7. Julij ... ein ... Donnerwetter/ welches den Thurm des Rathhauses ... einen sonderlichen Schlag that. Dannenher veranlasset ward die gewaltige Donner-Predigt ...
Guben 1664
I noted in June 2010 [ viewtopic.php?f=11&t=528#p7328 ]:
Heland used "Cotbuß" as city name for the location of the dice player (Cottbus nowadays), Roch used "Kotwitz" (which even might be another location), so it seems NOT plausible, that Heland's text should be the single source of Roch for the story. Heland's choice of the presentation leaves the question open, if the playing card story happened 1303 (but the dice player's story happened 1303), in Roch's presentation both happened 1303.
In these days (April 2015) I found a 3rd note:
Geistliches Donner- und Wetter-Büchlein: Das ist: Einfältige Erinnerung vom Donner, Blitz, Straal, Hagel und schädlichen Wettern ... : Auß underschiedlicher hocherleuchter und wolversuchter Schrifft-Lehrer Bet-Büchlein zusamen getragen von neuem wiederum durchsehen und vermehret
Bonifacius Stöltzlin, Johann Michael Dilherr
Wagner, 1692 - 364 pages ... 22&f=false

I found a 4th ...
Das Spiel-süchtige, sieben-fächtige Polysigma der Bösen Spiel-Sieben, in sich begreiffende die Spiel-Schande, Spiel-Sünde, Spiel-Schertz, Spiel-Schäden, Spiel-Straffen, Spiel-Schläge, Spiel-Sprüche
Georg Wesenigk
Zimmermann, 1702 - 176 pages ... 22&f=false
... gives a reference to a 5th " PYROLOGIA Das ist: Die Göttlichen Feuerwercke Theils in der Natur / Mehrentheils aber an Des Nachbars Brennendem Hause" by Johann Caspar Crusius (1675)

I found a 6th source, though this only referred to the dice player story with no word about the card players in Brieg.

Antimonomaxia oder Gewissensfragen, Was von Duellen, Außforderungen ... zu halten (etc.)
Michael Freude
Balthas. Christoph. Wust, 1682 ... 03&f=false



The author referred to a source. I identified the text in the register of the text:

Conradi Dieterich, "Conciones super Sapientiam", Ulm/1641. in fol.

I searched for the text and didn't find it.
The author Conrad Dieterich was a respected man (finally "Superintendent" in Ulm, before Dekan and Prorektot at the university in Gießen) with many successful publications. He died 1639.
So his information must have existed before 1639 (if the Kartenspiel note of Brieg 1303 belonged to it, stays hidden). It's for the moment the earliest (possile) reference.

The dice note (without Kartenspiel) became then rather popular:

Modern source:
Richard von Cottbus gründet das Franziskanerkloster. Es befand sich an der nördlichen Stadtmauer, noch heute zeugt von ihm die Klosterkirche. Anlaß für die Gründung war vermutlich der Dank Richards an seinen Vater, denn das Kloster wurde von ihm mit reichem Grundbesitz ausgestattet, so z. B. die Dörfer Sandow, Brunschwig, Schmellwitz, Ostrow und halb Döbbrick. An der heutigen Klosterkirche ist noch immer die Jahreszahl 1303 zu lesen. Damals sollen Würfelspieler bei ihrem unchristlichen Spiel in der Kirche vom Blitz erschlagen worden sein. ... &Itemid=20

That's from a modern webpage. The Heimatverein Cottbus reports, that Richard of Cottbus founded a cloister for Franciscans (according other opinions this was Fredehelm of Cottbus). From the cloister still the church exists. On the church one can still see the year number 1303. The Heimatverein notes as a legend, that at this time 7 dice players, who played in the church, were killed by a lightning.

Image ... he&f=false

This text from 1790 reports that under the roof of the church at the Mittagsseite (south side) "Pasch würfel" (usually two dice, which show the same number, but it is only one) with a Wetterstrahl (= lightning) were pictured close to the year number 1303.

This text (p. 125) ...
André Micklitzka
Trescher Verlag, 2013 - 151 pages ... he&f=false
... confirms, that lightning and dice are still there. It claims, that the picture is at South-East side.

I finally found a picture of the dice with lightning, as it exists nowadays:

Image ... 49,4880863

It doesn't look like "made in 1303". I've read somewhere, that an earlier painting was restaurated during 18th century, but even that seems not plausible for this state. It looks like restaurated after WW-II in my opinion.


Brieg had also a Franciscan cloister, already in 1270.
Ehemalige Franziskanerkirche St. Peter und Paul

Den Quellen zufolge gab es in Brieg schon um das Jahr 1270 ein Franziskanerkloster. Die 1285 erstmalig erwähnte Klosterkirche wurde in vier Bauphasen errichtet. Nach der Reformation wurde die Kirche vom Orden verlassen, 1582 ließ Herzog Georg II. sie zum Zeughaus umbauen. Auch in den nachfolgenden Jahrhunderten (bis in die 1980er Jahre) diente der Bau als Lagerraum; zu diesem Zweck wurden Zwischendecken eingezogen und Dächer abgesenkt. Nach dem Oderhochwasser von 1997 stürzte der südliche Turm ein.

A Franciscan church for Peter and Paul in Brieg was left by the order after the reformation and served as a Zeughaus and storehouse. A tower collapsed in the year 1997 during the flash flood of the river Oder.

The article confirms the existence of an Franciscan cloister in Brieg in 1285 (and also confirms, that the cloister in Cottbus hadn't been founded yet) and also gives evidence, that the Franciscan had been well established in the region, though with local problems between Polish and German monks in the cloisters.


Franciscan orders were themselves under critique during 14th century from the side of the papal establishment.
The order recovered to its earlier acceptance with the engagement of San Bernardino in 15th century. One intensive point of Bernardino's success story had been Bernardino's fight against gambling. Bernardino died 1444 and had been already canonisized in 1450. San Capristanus proceeded his work and the Franciscans reached in 1471, that a Franciscan became pope himself in 1471: Sixtus IV (1471-1484).

I collected a lot of items for this theme:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=740&p=10616&hilit= ... ans#p10616

St. Capristan had been also in the region of Cottbus and Brieg. He arranged his greatest show in Breslau, close to the both other cities and the largest town in this region:
John of Capistrano in Wroclaw [= Breslau]

Sent to Bohemia as a ‘Master Inquisitor’ to eradicate heresy, the famous Franciscan priest John of Capistrano (1386-1456) was invited to Vretslav (as Wroclaw was then known) where he enjoyed an enthusiastic reception upon arrival in early 1453 at the age of 67. Ascertaining the ostentatious wealth of Vretslav’s burghers, the ghoulish Capistrano began a series of sermons in St. Elizabeth’s Church decrying the extravagance of wealth and condemning its display. According to city records, so compelling was his oratory that the church could not contain the crowds he drew and he took to preaching from the window of his lodgings at Plac Solny 2 overlooking the square below where his followers piled whatever fine items they had and burned them. Condemning excessive dress, drinking and eating as vice, Capistrano convinced his congregation to add playing cards, dice, board games and other items to the daily bonfires. Soon exhausting the topic, Capistrano turned to his three favourite objects of derision: Hussites, Turks and Jews. Finding none of the former two in Vretslav, it was the Jews that received his most spirited slandering. A rumour of Jewish desecration of the eucharist soon circulated and city authorities used it as a pretence to arrest the city’s Jews and confiscate their property. Capistrano himself oversaw the interrogations during which they were tortured until a satisfactory confession could be extracted, and then condemned to death. The first fourteen victims were tied to wooden boards on the market square, where their flesh was removed with hot tongs before they were quartered alive. According to city records, the rest of the condemned were given the opportunity to convert to Christianity or die. Some, including the Rabbi, instead chose suicide. However 41 others were burned at the stake on Plac Solny on July 4th, 1453. His work accomplished Capistrano took his services elsewhere and was soon sent by the Pope to lead a crusade against the Ottomans at the age of 70. Earning the nickname ‘the Soldier Saint’, Capistrano shortly contracted bubonic plague and died, after which a long line of miracles were accredited to him. He was canonised in 1690 as the patron saint of jurists. ... law_72729f

Summary ... to Hübsch (1)

SUMMARY to Hübsch (1)

Considering all this, what I've collected in this last post, I got the opinion, that it might be easily wrong to assume, that the note about card players in 1303 in Brieg would be a correct statement.

A natural explanation for the lightning at the church (Cottbus) and the card players in Brieg killed by lightning in the same year 1303 would be, that in the time of Capristanus these notes were invented for propaganda reasons, possibly partly based on older legends or earlier forgeries in the past.

The rulers of Brieg were in a political crisis called "Liegnitzer Lehnstreit" (1449-1469) ...
... and during the disputes ...
Nachdem Herzog Heinrich X. 1452 starb, kämpfte sein Bruder Johann I., dessen Frau Hedwig mit ihrem Sohn Friedrich I. aus der Stadt verwiesen worden war, bei Waldau nordwestlich von Liegnitz mit Waffen um sein Recht, wurde jedoch von seinen Gegnern geschlagen. Neben einer Geldstraße musste er am 19. September 1452 formal auf sein Recht verzichten. Da er trotzdem seine Hoffnung nicht aufgab, suchte er weiterhin Kontakt zu den Liegnitzer Zünften und schloss sich der Capistran-Bewegung an, die sich gegen Böhmen wandte. Seine Bemühungen führten nicht zum Erfolg, da er schon ein Jahr später starb.
Johann I stood at the side of the Capistranus movement ... ... %C3%BCben)
... but he died after 21st of November 1453

So Capristanus had rather free hands to interpret earlier reality in the period.
All evidence (at least for the moment) - perhaps beside the lightning-with-dice picture - is from 17th century on, possibly born during the 30-years-war in Germany, a very nasty phase, which possibly indirectly caused the series of many collections of tragical events in curious books in the following time.

In the case, that it would have been totally invented:
1303 had been the year, when Pope Bonafacio VIII had died, a pope connected to scandals and a foe to Dante, who prolonged his bad memory. Possibly a reason to chose just this date?

Franciscan popes:

The Franiscans were very successful during 13th century and reached soon, that one of them became pope:

Nicholas IV (1288-1292)
... followed by Pope St Celestine V, who was tricked by Bonifacio VIII to abdicate. Then follwed Bonifacio VIII, the bad pope, who died 1303. In this period started the trouble with the Fraticelli:
Angelo da Clareno and the first group of Fraticelli

The first Fraticelli group was begun by Brother Angelo da Clareno (or da Cingoli). Angelo and several brethren from the March of Ancona had been condemned (c. 1278) to imprisonment for life, but were liberated by the general of the order, Raimondo Gaufredi (1289–95) and sent to Armenia, where the king, Hethum II, welcomed them. The local clergy, however, were less enthusiastic, and following popular agitations against them they were exiled from Armenia towards the end of 1293.[2]

They returned to Italy, where in 1294 Celestine V, noted for his asceticism but whose pontificate lasted scarcely six months, willingly permitted them to live as hermits in the strict observance of the Rule of St. Francis. After the abdication of Celestine V, his successor, Boniface VIII, revoked all Celestine's concessions, and they emigrated to Greece, where some of them attacked the legality of the papal action. As the pope, through the Patriarch of Constantinople, caused active measures to be taken against them, they fled to Italy, where their leader, Fra Liberatus, attempted a vindication of their rights, first with Boniface VIII (d. 11 October 1303), and then with Benedict XI, who also died prematurely (7 July 1304). On his journey to Clement V (1305–14) at Lyon, Liberatus died (1307), and Angelo da Clareno succeeded to the leadership of the community. He remained in Central Italy until 1311, when he went to Avignon, where he was protected by his patrons Cardinals Giacomo Colonna and Napoleone Orsini Frangipani.

Early in 1317 John XXII, pursuant to a decree of Boniface VIII, declared Angelo excommunicated and placed him in custody. He defended himself ably in his "Epistola Excusatoria", representing himself as a zealous Franciscan, but John XXII refused to admit his plea, Angelo being a Celestine hermit, and in the decree "Sancta Romana et universalis ecclesia" (30 December 1317) refused to authorize the congregation of which Angelo was head.

Angelo submitted temporarily, but in 1318 fled to Central Italy, where, acting as Minister General, he assumed charge of the congregation dissolved by the pope. He appointed provincials, ministers and custodians, established new friaries, arrogated all authority, issued pastoral letters, and received novices—in a word, he founded an independent Franciscan Order, the Fraticelli.
The Fratecelli became an enduring problem ...

Then followed ...
Antipope Nicholas V (1328-1330), a Franciscan
... who took side with emperor Ludwig IV, the Bavarian against pope John XXII,_ ... an_Emperor

Fraticelli and the Franciscan antipope caused, that the Franciscan order earned a difficult state during 14th century. Matters improved, when the Franciscan San Bernardino proved to be an excellent preacher attracting occasionally 100.000 visitors (if one could trust the reports). He started this career in 1417 in the mid of the council of Constance, which also had 100.000 of visitors, from which about 4000 were prostitutes (if one can believe the reports).

San Bernardino got accusations under pope Martin V (1418-1431), but was treated friendly by pope Eugen IV (1431-1447). San Bernardino died 1444 and became saint 1450 in the Jubelee year very quick. The Franciscans were on their way to reach a new climax. Capristanus as one of his best pupils was send to Germany, which recently had been rather opposed against the council of Ferrara/Florence and to a great part had favoured for some time the antipope Felix. This was in 1452, after the coronation of the new emperor Fredrick III, who had changed the sides from the council of Basel to Pope Eugen and Enea Peccolomini.

Well, a good time for some lightning strokes in the year 1303.


Beside this there are more trivial possibilities of a later forgery. It's astonishing, that all notes are from 17th century and the start of the development isn't clear. Something should be in the text of Conrad Dieterich.

But still it's possible, that there was something in Brieg, maybe not immediately in 1303, but perhaps a little later.
Hübsch (in his later parts) notes, that there were "sichere Nachrichten" (secure notes) for playing cards in Bohemia in 1340, but before this there were already "Urkunden" (it sounds like official documents) about playing cards played by Polish nobility.

Inside the many possible contacts between Poland and Bohemia there's one man Boleslaw III the Generous ... ... e_Generous
... who (still rather young thn, bt an important heir) in 1303 went from Brieg to Prague to marry the king's daughter of Bohemia. He even was considered a possible future king of Bohemia in 1305 (the kin died), but others were chosen. One could call him a Polish noble man, though he had an orientation to Bohemia.
He loved life and money, which he needed for this life, and made a lot of curious things. In his late biography he had been excommunicated for long years, though he finally was reduced to the region of Brieg, which he loved most of his dominions.
He was twice excommunicated by the Church for these dilapidations: first, for the delay in paying the Tithe in 1337, and secondly, when he sequestered Church property in 1340. The excommunication was only removed on his deathbed thanks for the insistence of his sons. Despite his unstable relations with the Church, Boleslaw was quite generous to it, contributing to the growing importance of the Monastery of Lubiaz and founded two monasteries, one Franciscan and another Dominican, in Brieg.

There's one curious year in the description of Bohemia by Hajek: 1329. This was an especially "lucky year" for Bohemia, most other years in the period of King John were "not good" and some were "really bad".
see: ... 00&f=false
page 532, starting "year 1329"

There's a sudden richness in Bohemia, and the people reacted with interests in luxury: they bought nice clothes and they styled their hairs in a manner never seen before.
This year followed a dominant participation of John the Blind in a very successful crusade of the German knight order against Lithuania. Also Bohemia was enlarged, they got more territorial rights in Silesea (which was an enduring development). These territorial wins in the North-East and the military campaigns naturally led to cultural exchange and new customs in Bohemia ... that's, what I conclude.

"From North-East" would mean "possibly" from Silesia, Poland, state of the German knight order or Lithuania. All these were connected to the military action of King John in 1428/29.

About the master of the German order knights, Werner von Orseln, (reigned 1324-30) we have the note from chess researcher van der Linde ...
.. that he allowed chess, but prohibited playing card and dice games. Unluckily these statutes are considered to be "later forgery" to get a territorial advantage for the knight order.
... reported at
If the suspected forgery had anything to do with the considered card playing prohibition I don't know.

If - curiously - the German knight order had playing cards in the 1320s and the West European countries hadn't them, then it naturally would have to do with the trade of the Baltic Sea (Ostsee), which was managed by the Hanse. The Hansa and the knights had natural close cooperations. If some playing card decks reached the region on the way of the old trading routes along the Russian rivers via Nowgorod (full of German trading companies once).
The Hanse founded a "Kontor" in Nowgorod (a trade station in foreign countries) around the mid of 13th century, totally the Hanse had 4 of them (London, Brügge, Bergen and Nowgorod). In Nowgorod it was called "Petershof", but it presented an own quarter of the city, protected by a palisade and it had only one entrance and an own church "St. Peter". Usually around 200 merchants were present, together with their helpers (two were allowed for each merchant). The merchants of Lübeck gained an important position there since 1293, freeing themselves from the dominance of the Gotlandish Kontor.
The merchants either stayed the full summer (Sommerfahrer) or the full winter (Winterfahrer). The major export products were animal coats and wax, naturally not playing cards.

The Mongols knew about the strategical value of trade and promoted it by improving the conditions of the silk route.
Though the connections to European countries were mostly reached by the Goldene Horde and the island Krim and the republic of Genova (1257 Chinese silk on the Genuese markets, 1263 Genova was allowed to build a station in Caffa) and the North was more used for robberies and slaves, one cannot exclude, that some playing cards went this way. Although the trade connection to Genova and its colonies was occasionally disrupted (siege of Cappa in 1307/08, the Portoguese finally burnt their place; another attack in 1347 brought the plague to Europe), this was a long time a reliable way.

The Mamluks had a lot of battles against the Mongols and they were able to stop them.
Mamluks and the Mongols
When the Mongol Empire's troops of Hulagu Khan sacked Baghdad in 1258 and advanced towards Syria, Mamluk Emir Baibars left Damascus for Cairo where he was welcomed by Sultan Qutuz.[21] After taking Damascus, Hulagu demanded that Qutuz surrender Egypt but Qutuz had Hulagu's envoys killed and, with Baibars' help, mobilized his troops. Although Hulagu pulled the majority of his forces out of Syria to attend the kurultai when great Khan Möngke died in action against the Southern Song, he left his lieutenant, the Christian Kitbuqa, in charge with a token force of about 18,000 men as a garrison.[22] Qutuz drew the Ilkhanate army into an ambush near the Orontes River, routed them at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 and captured and executed Kitbuqa (see Qutuz).

After this great triumph, Qutuz was assassinated by conspiring Mamluks. It was said that Baibars, who seized power, was involved in the assassination. In the following centuries the rule of mamluks was discontinuous, with an average span of seven years.

The Mamluks defeated the Ilkhanates a second time in the First Battle of Homs and began to drive them back east. In the process they consolidated their power over Syria, fortified the area, and formed mail routes and diplomatic connections between the local princes. Baibars's troops attacked Acre in 1263, captured Caesarea in 1265, and took Antioch in 1268.
Mamluks also defeated new Ilkhanate attacks in Syria in 1271 and 1281 (Second Battle of Homs). They were defeated by the Ilkhanates and their Christian allies at the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar in 1299, but soon after that the Mamluks defeated the Ilkhanate again in 1303/1304 and 1312. Finally, the Ilkhanates and the Mamluks signed a treaty of peace in 1323.

Once, about 650 years ago, there was a city ...
... estimated are 600.000 inhabitants (English wiki) ... one of the most populated places in the world.
This source speaks of 75.000 ... ... php?t=2428
it was full of wealth, luxury, and splendour, but it also commanded fearsome military might. It was indeed a lrage city, by the standards of the Middle Ages, boasting a diverse population of 75,000 people.

It was Sarai Batu, the capital of the Golden Horde, a powerful multi-ethnic empire controlled by the Tatars, of which much of modern Russia was a part.

Today, in a bid to attract tourists, the governemnt of Astrakhan oblast has invested money and put together a team of arcaheologists, engineers, architects, and such for the purpose of unearthing the remains of Sarai Batu and rebuilding it to its former glory.

It was a very complex city. Within its walls, lived a dozen ethnic groups: Bulgars (Tatars, Bashkirs), Mongols, Alans (Ossetians), Circassians, Russians, Byzantians (Greeks). Each group lived in its own quarter.

The difference between 75.000 and 600.000 goes back to the condition, that there were two Sarai, Sarai Batu (old Sarai, 75.000) and Sarai Berke (New Sarai, 600.000), not too far from each and at the same river. ... lden-Horde
More or less, both disappeared.

How much of the modern Westrn people know about the former existence of Sarai? I personally didn't till recently. If such a big city could disappear from the public attention, what could we say about playing cards in Sarai?
For playing cards we have about 50 European notes in the "accepted time" (1370-1400; so wrote Depaulis recently, but this means, less than 2 in a year). Could we claim from this number, that there were no playing cards before? Hardly not. For the Trionfi decks we have about 200 documents for the first 25 years, but we can't be sure, if there was nothing before.
Matters are less well recorded in the previous time, how many decks must have reached Euope, before somebody wrote it down on a document, which indeed can be accessed by a playing card researcher in 2015? And if it is written down and it becomes known, how much chances it has against the critical arguments of modern playing card research?

Hübsch had stated, that Bohemia had playing cards before 1340, and that Polish nobility played before with them. Beside of that he notes various observations, which he claims to have been made in the archive of the city council of Prague. Master Ingold wrote in 1432, that he had read a book, which stated, that the cards were in Germany in 1300. Somebody has stated, that in 1303 playing cards were in Brieg. The Werner von Orseln document lets assume, that the German knights had playing cards in the 1320s. A Prague synode in 1353 has a "cartarumque". All forgeries or misunderstandings?

Re: Bohemia ... Hübsch (2)

Back to Hübsch and his next statement, which relates to playing cards.

Versuch einer Geschichte des böhmischen Handels ...
F L. Hübsch (1849) ... edir_esc=y

2. Page 182 ff.
The passage is mainly about chess. The only note about playing cards assumes, that the playing cards were not made by woodcut, but drawn by hand. They were imported from Nuremberg, where they already presented a "gangbaren Erwerbszweig", which means, that somebody could live from the production of cards (in Nuremberg). This is not confirmed by modern playing research for this early time, but later Hübsch offers details to his opinion.
Hübsch notes the opinion, that already stencils were used for the production.

Hübsch makes some remarks, from which I conclude that he knew the "De Ventula" text. ... =90#p16354
I didn't know it, so I had to discover it.

Has doubts about chess at the Frankish court (which more or less is also a modern viewing point).

Hübsch knows about a worthwhile chess board, which was given by a Hungarian king Robert to John the blind in 1335. It's true, that John the Blind met the Hungarian king (Charles I, but also named Charles I Robert) in 1335 for a peace contract. Researching the case I found a Hungarian chronicle written in the Matthias Corvinus time which reported the story. ... la&f=false
A contemporary chess book (1839 by Massmann) noted also "König Robert von Ungarn) ... 35&f=false

A Spanish chess-pdf called the note the oldest reference to chess in Hungary. For Bohemia it gives a dictionary with a list of chess termini from 14th century (which I don't know) ... EUROPA.pdf
En Hungría la primera referencia escrita es relativamente posterior a las de sus vecinos.
En 1335 el rey Roberto envía al rey Juan de Bohemia como regalo “tabulae pro scacis”.

En Checoslovaquia, un diccionario del siglo XIV da toda una lista de términos
autóctonos de ajedrez con sus distorsionados precedentes latinos.
It's my impression, that Hübsch had some studies about the history of the chess game, his statements are not done careless.