Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

Playing Cards

7/01. Milano 1794: uno sconosciuto libro sui tarocchi (01.07.2023)
7/02. Idee di un egiziano. Cremona 1795 (05.07.2023)
7/03. Per chi tarocca ‒ Milano 1793 (10.07.2023)
7/04. Il Giuoco de’ tarocchi ‒ Milano 1789 e 1792 (11.07.2023)


1. Sul più antico libro di dama stampato in Italia (15.06.2023)
2. Dama a Bologna nel 1700: Regole e Avviso damesco (20.06.2023)
3. Un antico manuale manoscritto sul gioco di dama (30.06.2023)


Michael S. Howard has translated "7/02. Idee di un egiziano. Cremona 1795" ... ... 07/16.html
and written a commentary in our Forum ... "Egypt in Cremona, by way of Isodoro Bianchi1"
Last edited by Huck on 13 Sep 2023, 06:56, edited 2 times in total.

Franco Pratesi, new publications (August/September 2023)

2023 August/September

Playing Cards
7/05. Carte e tarocchi a Sassari all’inizio dell’Ottocento (02.08.2023)
7/06. Più edizioni lombarde da Court de Gébelin (03.08.2023)
7/07. Regole Generali sopra il Gioco delle Minchiate (10.08.2023)
7/08. Istruzioni per il gioco milanese di tarocchi (1793-1827) (18.08.2023)
7/09. Brescia 1786 – Almanacco sul tarocco (20.08.2023)
7/10. Quattordici minchiate del Settecento (20.08.2023)
7/11. Triompho e Lamento: Tarocchi in Vaticano (05.09.2023)

4. Le curiosità damistiche di Adriano Chicco (11.08.2023)
5. Notizie sul Dott. Cosimo Mancini (16.08.2023)

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

Huck, thanks for drawing our attention to this. There is a lot of interesting material there. I particularly like the transcriptions of the two poems from the Vatican library - I had made my own transcriptions already, from the images on the Vatican website, but a few lines in the Cesena poem were too illegible in the Vatican images for me to work out every word, so this is very helpful.

Pratesi's transcription is admittedly not quite perfect. I haven't checked all of it yet, but it contains at least one important error, namely "Nile" instead of "Thile" in the Wheel of Fortune stanza in the Cesena poem. The word is definitely Thile, as can be seen by comparing the initial T with other instances of capital T and capital N elsewhere in the poem. This matters because this line is the clearest indication of the debt this poet owed to Pomeran, which I discussed in this post here: viewtopic.php?p=25740#p25740

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

Rota di fortuna M. faustina toschi
Faustina ne vien per cui risplende
Virtu quanta altra sia dal gange al Nile,
Principio ver dove mia lingua prende
Novo oggetto d’amore e nuovo stile
Cosi suoi begli occhi ogni vile alma accende,
E fa co’l dir ogn’ aspra fiera humile.
Tal che nocer non puoli cosa alcuna
Poi che pel crin tien presa la fortuna.
hm ... "gange" seems to be understandable as Ganges (in German), the Indian river, "Nile" as Nil (in German), the Egyptian river.
How does the text improve, if we assume "Thile" instead of "Nile"?
The automatic google translation makes ...
"How much more virtue there is from the Ganges to the Nile" .... from the full line.
For "Thile" I find nothing.
Well. there is a small river "Thiele" in Germany with a total length of 7,2 km. But I have doubts, that this was the object in the poem.

Ah, you speak of "Thule (altgriechisch Θούλη Thoule, auch Tuli, Tile oder Tyle)" ....

Well, does this change much? From Thule to the Ganges it is very, very far and from Nile to Ganges it is only very far, but Nile and Ganges have the advantage, that both are long rivers.
Last edited by Huck on 15 Sep 2023, 07:27, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

Huck, when you read anything I post, it really helps to follow the links I provide and look at what is there. That is why I provide the links, after all: because there is important information at the other end of the link. I don't just put them in because I think they look nice.
In this case, the earlier post that I linked to gives you the full explanation of why Thile is important, and what it means.

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

Huck wrote: 15 Sep 2023, 06:21
Rota di fortuna M. faustina toschi
Faustina ne vien per cui risplende
Virtu quanta altra sia dal gange al Nile,
Principio ver dove mia lingua prende
Novo oggetto d’amore e nuovo stile
Cosi suoi begli occhi ogni vile alma accende,
E fa co’l dir ogn’ aspra fiera humile.
Tal che nocer non puoli cosa alcuna
Poi che pel crin tien presa la fortuna.
hm ... "gange" seems to be understandable as Ganges (in German), the Indian river, "Nile" as Nil (in German), the Egyptian river.
How does the text improve, if we assume "Thile" instead of "Nile"?
The automatic google translation makes ...
"How much more virtue there is from the Ganges to the Nile" .... from the full line.
For "Thile" I find nothing.
Well. there is a small river "Thiele" in Germany with a total length of 7,2 km. But I have doubts, that this was the object in the poem.

Ah, you speak of "Thule (altgriechisch Θούλη Thoule, auch Tuli, Tile oder Tyle)" ....

Well, does this change much? From Thule to the Ganges it is very, very far and from Nile to Ganges it is only very far, but Nile and Ganges have the advantage, that both are long rivers.
Yes, "Thule" most commonly in English.

Nathaniel's reading is correct, though, since the phrase "da/dal gange a tile/thile", "gange al tile" is proverbial and frequently used in Italian poetry.

It means "from one end of the earth to the other."

The first example that came up for me was in a sonnet by Flaminio de Birague, 1585 -

Fratello mio che con si dolce stile,
Della Gallica lingua, i stral’ pongenti,
Canti d’Amor e le sue fiamme ardenti
Che chiaro ti faran dal Gange al Tile. ... atello.pdf

Even Petrarch uses a version of it, Trionfi, Love IV, 114 -

Or quivi triunfò il signor gentile
di noi e degli altri tutti ch' ad un laccio
presi avea dal mar d'India a quel di Tile:

Here then to triumph came the mighty lord
Of us and all whom with the selfsame snare
He had caught, from Thule to the Indian sea:

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

Huck wrote: 16 Sep 2023, 09:17 .... :-) ... well, Petrarca wins a free aeroplane trip from Ganges to Thule .... the world of Italian proverbs has a progress ....

Image ... _view.html
Some identify Thule with Shetland, some even Iceland. If he were anything like Poggio, though, Petrarch wouldn't have liked living in England.

"... what is this foolishness of mine to have left my native land, my friends, my relatives, and the other things which ought to be sweeter to us than life itself, without which, indeed, life cannot be sweet at all, to sweat and to freeze to acquire those things which will be more of a burden than a benefit?"

- from a letter written to Niccolò Niccoli from London, in the winter of 1419-1420. Translated by Phyllis Walter Goodhart Gordan, Two Renaissance Book Hunters: The Letters of Poggius Bracciolini to Nicolaus de Niccolis, Columbia UP, 2018, pp. 31-32. Gordan adds the note: "This was a favorite theme of Poggius' during his years in England: see Letter V... Letter VIII, Letter X, Letter XI, Letter XII, Letter XX, Letter XXI."

But Poggio loved the baths of Baden in May, 1416, and the general lifestyle of the Germans, when he was there for the Council of Constance. But much to his chagrin, he could not flirt with the women:

“They often have picnics by subscription in the water, with the table set floating on the water, and men are usually present at these. We were once invited to join in this practice in the house where we bathed. I paid my share but did not want to participate though asked again and again, not that I was moved by any undue modesty, which is considered cowardice, or provinciality, but by my ignorance of the language. For it seemed to me ridiculous that a man from Italy, ignorant of their language, should sit in the water with a lot of women, completely speechless, while the day was wasted by everyone's drinking and nibbling.”

The whole letter is worth reading, it seems like Poggio had found heaven. From the same book, pp. 24-31

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

I have put up translations of two of Franco's August notes. For "Più edizioni lombarde da Court de Gébelin" as "More Lombard editions from Court de Gébelinm" see ... -o_15.html

I also have written some comments intended to extend Franco's investigation relating in particular to Cicognara's report of an 1814 document, at viewtopic.php?p=26231#p26231. It seems to me that more information about it can be gleaned from what Cicognara says immediately after the passage he quotes.

In addition, for "Brescia 1786 – Almanacco sul Tarocco", see "Brescia 1786 - almanac on the tarot" at This time I had just a few comments, which I appended to my blog entry.

Both essays are of interest in relation to cartomancy in Lombardy in the 18th and early 19th century, both before and after the influence of de Gebelin and the French invasion, assuming "cartomancy" just means divination with playing cards, including sortilege, and however playful.

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (September - December 2023)

10 .... 7/11. Triompho e Lamento: Tarocchi in Vaticano (05.09.2023) .... 7/12. Carte e tarocchi alla fine del Settecento in Sardegna (17.09.2023) ....7/13. Due poesie del Seicento sulle minchiate (24.09.2023) ....7/14. Giuochi che si fanno con le carte nel Seicento (16.10.2023) ....7/15. Firenze Tre libri di conti del Quattrocento (18.10.2023) ....7/16. Cortona 1767-1781 Carte da gioco in Dogana (25.10.2023) ....7/17. Firenze 1781: riforma del bollo sulle carte (31.10.2023) ....7/18. Fabbrica di carte da gioco Vindobona a Fucecchio (18.11.2023) ....7/19. Firenze 1766 - Domenico Aldini sotto inchiesta (21.11.2023) ....7/20. Minchiate. Riflessioni sul design (02.12.2023) ....7/21. Settecento a Firenze: Conversazione del Casino di Santa Trinita (02.12.2023)
... of special interest .... ....7/22. Firenze 1462: carte da gioco in una merceria (02.12.2023)
... I attempted to translate this last text with the help of the Google Translator


Likely this translation has various errors. MikeH, posssibly you could have an eye on it.

Florence 1462: playing cards in a haberdashery
Franco Pratesi

Page 1
1. Introduction
After a long break I started visiting the State Archives of Florence again. The collections of preserved documents are so numerous and rich in information that studying in that environment it is very promising for useful findings, whatever the specific sector of research. There is also a further possibility, impossible to encounter in any home search on recently digitized databases. In the ASF you can meet scholars and researchers willing to share the results of their research: years ago I happened to meet one of them, Lorenz Böhninger, who informed me of his discovery with interesting news for the history of playing cards. Footnote 1)
After some time, a friend once again reported to me a discovery of his, an inventory of one haberdashery in the Antecosimian Notary. Over many years I have had the opportunity to investigate many ASF funds, but I have always stayed away from the Notary. In truth I also looked for something in that fund, however
example by searching for Giusto Giusti's documents (Footnote 2), but I have done it in a limited number of cases and for one precise reason. I have more than one justification for this laziness of mine. They play against one research in that fund the enormous number of preserved documents and, even more, the fact that usually yes these are protocols or abbreviations, copies of deeds quickly written by the notary to keep them in own books, and therefore easy to read... only for those who wrote.
As if that wasn't enough, I had the opportunity to talk about it with a scholar who had professional reasons leafed through hundreds of these books. To my question if you had come across any news on playing cards, she replied that it had never happened to her. Here the question is complex, because in the old literature we read that some scholars reported having found numerous attestations on the naibi themselves in that fund, without it being of any interest to them for their research, and without anything indicated precise references. One possible explanation is that if an archivist comes across terms
like naibi, or even trumps, or germini, he will hardly be able to connect them with playing cards if any of thesehe doesn't know ancient history.
In many inventories of the period that I have examined in other collections, playing cards are never present, or almost never. I would have concluded, on a statistical basis, that decks of playing cards were only preserved in the taverns, where the players borrowed them for a match, or, if they were present in the
private homes, were considered perishable goods - in short, non-inventoriable, valueless material.
Obviously the situation is different if the inventory concerns what is stored in a haberdashery, or (a case which has not yet occurred in the fifteenth century to my knowledge) in a paper maker's shop. However, my friend found playing cards with their "modern" names in the fifteenth century, and also trumps. This discovery concerns the inventory of a haberdashery, and of I'll just look at the playing cards for this one.

2. Comment on the recorded data
The occasion for drawing up the list of goods contained in the haberdashery in question is the death of the haberdasher, Matteo di Paolo Corsellini, and the need to list all the goods in the shop to pass them on in inheritance and satisfy creditors. In this circumstance you can be sure of the correspondence between
goods listed and goods actually contained in the shop. I copy below from the inventory of 1462 (Footnote 3) only items of specific interest to playing cards.

1 The Playing-Card, Vol. 44, No. 1 (2015) 61-71.
2 ;
3 ASF, Antecosimian Notarial, 17967, cc. 240r-242v.

End of page 1
Page 2
Document text:
65 paia di carte da giuchare del dona
17 paia di carte di Meo di Tingho meçane
2 paia di trionfi g° da Giovanni
10 paia di trionfi piccoli g°
11 paia di carte meçane da g°
5 paia di carte piccole d.g°
12 d. di carte picole rimbochate da giuchare
3 paia di carte g° doppie del dona
1 cassetta di piu naibi spaiati

65 pairs of donata playing cards
17 pairs of Meo di Tingho meçane cards
2 pairs of trumps g° by Giovanni
10 pairs of small g° trumps
11 pairs of day mechanical cards
5 pairs of small d.g. cards
12 d. of small rolled up cards to play
3 pairs of double g° dona cards
1 cassette of several unpaired naibi
That a deck of cards was referred to at the time as a pair is known from many other documents. I think that the abbreviation g° stands for “game”, that is “to play”. The cards tucked in were the ones in which the margins of the larger rear sheet were folded and glued onto the front sheet of the paper, making the union of the two glued sheets more stable, usually together with an internal cardboard.
The abbreviation d is perplexing. which in cases of this kind is always met by the dozens - even in this inventory there are many - so much so that one suspects that by writing d. had understood pair instead of dozen, because in this context it is more reasonable to expect twelve decks of cards
rather than 144.
As you can see, more than one hundred decks of playing cards are listed in the inventory, divided by type and origin. A notable part is made up of the "dona" cards. I guess Dona is simply the nickname for Donato, as he is called, even in recent times, especially between friends and close acquaintances. It is not possible to trace from this name to the character involved, who could be a card maker unknown to us, or a retailer, including playing cards, typically a haberdasher and colleague of Corsellini. Among Dona's cards, the ratio of 65 to 3 cards to cards doubles suggests that the latter were of a more expensive and less used type. In the past I had met the "double Naibis" several times and I had also discussed various possible hypotheses in this regard. (Footnote 4)
The “unpaired naibis” are quite surprising, starting with keeping the name in a context in which the "cards to be played" already appear. The different term used would suggest leftovers from an older card model, now outdated by the fashions of the time. The term "unmatched" however it would be better explained if applied to a set of individual decks complete with different invoice rather than individual cards. Incomplete decks are not compatible with the game and more (?)
On the other hand, storing spare cards in the shop to replace any damaged or lost cards for customers seems unlikely.
A particular case, and probably the most important of all, is that of the two decks of trumps of Giovanni. In this we find more very interesting data. We begin with the reduced number of two decks. This fact is enough to make us understand that it was something different than usual, different too from small triumphs, five times more numerous, which were also based on the same model.
We do not know the exact number of cards in the triumph deck of the time. Experts debate the question with hypotheses ranging from a deck of 70 cards consisting of the four standard suits and a fifth new superior "suit", all five of 14 cards, up to the 78 card deck that we know afterwards. In any case, it was a deck used for a particular game, with few or no variations, and which certainly required a greater commitment to manufacturing. From other sources we know that
the cost of these decks was higher and we also know that they were produced in rather limited quantities, facts which are confirmed here.
Of further interest is the name of Giovanni due to its origin. You can't be sure one hundred percent on the identity of this Giovanni, but in fact there was a famous Giovanni at the time, ....

Footnote 4: ;

End of Page 2
Page 3
.... which in his vast and varied production appears to have also produced decks of triumphs. (Footnote 5) It would be
none other than Giovanni di Ser Giovanni from Castel San Giovanni, known as Scheggia, the brother lesser (?) than Masaccio. (Footnote 6)

What remains are the decks of cards of uncertain origin and the seventeen decks of Meo di Tingo. Looking for a Meo by Tingo in the usual repertoires, even online, we find several, but some are clearly from years too far away. The one on which it is most common to find news is the Meo di Tingo di Brucianesi,
who was responsible for the transport of the Portinari triptych from Pisa to Florence by water in 1483. (Footnote 7) Not in this case it would be a papermaker, not even a haberdasher, but a carrier who appears in any case involved with the transport of works of art - at least on that occasion.
You could then imagine an ancillary activity of him as a distributor of packs of cards in the various locations that he attended for work; however, the different profession and the years between this inventory and the transport of the triptych are such as to leave strong doubts about a hypothesis of this kind.

3. Other people involved
There are two other people involved, the notary and the haberdasher. The notary, Donato Rimbotti, has some interest, because he was a notary from San Miniato. It would seem easier for a Florentine notary to operate in the countryside or vice versa, but from reading the notarial deed it is certain that this haberdashery was located in the center of Florence.
The haberdasher had a surname - which in itself was indicative of a higher family level to the average ‒ by Corsellini. In the Florentine Land Registry of 1427 there is another Corsellini, Bonacorso, for the son of a Paolo and moreover a haberdasher. (Footnote 8) One can then think of the same haberdashery with the
ownership passing from an older sibling to a younger sibling; such a direct kinship remains however impractical, due to the temporal distance of several decades. If the relationship existed, how (?). Probably, it was of a different type. Interestingly, however, this Bonacorso Corsellini was not a any haberdasher: at 74 years old and with an income much higher than average he was the head of a family of eighteen people; it could be a kind of family clan in which several related families practiced the same profession of haberdashers, with greater or lesser success. Ultimately, stop the profession remaining, it is of secondary importance whether it involved one or more workshops.

4. Conclusion
Some news of playing cards and trumps present in a haberdashery in 1462 have been commented on upon the owner's death. Considering the research sector, the main people involved are obviously the paper makers, but of these we only have Scheggia (if it is him, as is probable). (?) sufficient information, because among his works there are several that were highly appreciated at the time and have been the subject of multiple studies, including recent ones; therefore, consider him a manufacturer of playing cards seems very reductive. The most interesting data here, however, is the presence of almost produced triumphs certainly from him. The fraction of these special cards out of the total is in agreement with the recorded data in other documents of the time preserved - in reality in rather limited numbers - which confirm the greater value and lower production of these papers. On the other two nominees, Dona and Meo di Tingo, I found no news for the first and very uncertain news for the second; specifically, not it is not at all certain that they were paper makers.

Florence, 02.12.2023

6 L. Bellosi, M. Haines, Lo Scheggia. Firenze 1999.
7 C. De Benedictis (a cura di), Il Patrimonio artistico dell'Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova di Firenze. Firenze 2002.
8 ... d=50000028

End of text