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This is my supplement to the previous post, which gave a translation of Franco's note on another educational minchiate, this one from 1748-1750. I wanted to look as closely as I could at the Munich booklet Franco links to (dated by them at 1750), to see if there was anything anybody missed about the promised Minchiate. Its pages took some getting used to. Sheet 6 is first, then 7, and then 1 through 5 in order. The "Aviso" of the author is on p. 7 and in fairly big type. You can copy and paste text, so I did so, corrected it (and Franco after me), ran it through Google Translate, corrected that, and took a look. I will paste it onto the end of this post.

He indeed promises that one will be able to play both Tarocchi and Minchiate, and says that some of the cards are marked with the corresponding numbers for that game. I looked very hard and could not find any such numbers, unless he meant for the suit cards of sheets 6 and 7 - there is nothing for the 21 or 40 triumphs plus the Fool. Since he says that there are 160 cards in all, and in fact there are only 56 + 52 = 108, 52 are not there. He also says that the cards comprise three decks. From what we have, there are only two. So it is probably a subset of those second 52 that he intended to mark for Tarocchi and Minchiate - and with just a number.

Otherwise, the game is as before, where you read what is on the card as you play it. So we have a fairly good idea what the cards would have looked like - a lot of writing on them, with a small picture. Even the geographical cards were supposed to get pictures for the blank spaces below the writing, he says; but it never seems to have happened. (In the "aviso" I have highlighted in bold the most relevant parts.)

With the sheets as they are, however, it is quite possible to play minchiate: 108 cards are quite sufficient. 56 of them are suit cards, so all it takes is 41 of the others. The first 26 have the capital letters and the next 26 have the small letters. The alphabet then appears to have only had 24 letters, no J or W. He includes the ampersand and the diphthong AE for the last two, and in the small letters the same ae plus ai, with just writing. So the capital letters, most of them, can be one half and the small letters the other half, the order dictated by the order in the alphabet and whether capital or small. It's then just a matter of remembering the letters for the combinations.

These cards aren't that uninteresting, either, in that they are mostly pictures of rather vivid scenes, with commentary both from the Bible and Greco-Roman mythology. There is also a symbol inside the suit-sign (all of them roundish, so as to accommodate it) and an explanation at the bottom of what that symbol represents.

So in a sense he does deliver on what he promised, and if he didn't, we have a fairly good idea of what they would have looked like: something similar to the geographical cards, only with some small pictures, rather like on the historical deck discussed in a previous note.

Here is the "Aviso," on sheet 7, which is the only place I could find where he mentions minchiate. The original follows.
AUTHOR’S NOTICE

Geography has been summarized and reduced into verses, with the Treatise on Astronomy, in the clearest, easiest, and plainest way, and in the form of a Dialogue, to help the memory and intellect of children and anyone who wants to apply to it. Erudition was inserted into it, as it suited it. Some moral reflections have been scattered there, which never fail; and even a few jokes to amuse yourself. More than four thousand verses have been enclosed in one hundred and sixty Cards ordered and arranged in such a way as to form the elegant and pleasant Game of Tarocchi or Cannellini, which in Tuscany is called Minchiate; and also to form three Decks for any other Game as desired. In addition to having written at the top of each Card the Marks in the French and Italian style, and also the numbers of the Tarocchi and Triumphs advantageously; for other use, the large and small letters have also been placed in the order of the Alphabet, and the syllables, so that the youngest children can also learn to read by this means, as has been said in the Preface or Notice printed on the first sheet of the first Entertainment, which it is necessary to read carefully, to understand the Author's idea and this new method. The matter contained in the Body of Cards has been mentioned further above in other boxes, to make it easier. With these Cards it will not be objectionable to play for money (provided this is done with moderation) as is usual with other current Cards; indeed, if there are those who want to do it out of vice, then vice will not do it alone, and whoever loses on one side will always gain something on the other; because holding the Cards in one’s hand, and reading even fleetingly and without particular application, the names and qualities of the Countries, the situation, the size, the government, the Religion, the rarest and most valuable things, the distances of the places, the itinerary for going, and by reading various historical, philosophical, geological and astronomical eruditions both in Geography and in Astronomy, you will have the advantage of learning without realizing it, and without getting tired either in the schools or in Books; and so either he will come to make up for the loss if he loses money, gambling; or to make double profit, if he wins money. These same sheets, remaining entire, without being cut to form playing cards, can be used for another better purpose, attaching them to canvases, or cartoons, and keeping them displayed in schools, in houses, in the sacred cloisters, in the manner of paintings, for teaching purposes, of the Youth as well as the others mentioned in the aforementioned notice, to which it is essential to pay the most particular attention. And here at the same time it can be added, for greater clarification, that with these sheets it is also possible to play Goose and Biribissi, only that for the latter the divided squares are cut, folded, and placed inside the pallets to the number of 50 or 60 and then drawn by lot. And with Decks of Cards it will be possible to make the Triumph of some Kingdom, or of the Islands, or of the Rivers, etc. or of the Sun, or of the Circles, etc., or you can play the Game of Variety, or of uniformity in the form of Primiera and Flusso.
In the space that remains blank at the foot of each Card, once the work has been completed, the engraved figures must be placed, as will be done for the other Entertainments.
Anyone who wishes to receive fuller information on Geography can read the three volumes of the highly accredited and erudite Sig. Chiusole, and especially the last impression made by Gio. Battista Recurti; and he will also be able to take a look at Father Buffier's Tometto [little volume] printed by Francesco Pitteri, especially its description of France and its Geographical Tables, from which many verses were taken that were appropriate, marked with quotation marks.

AVISO DELL’ AUTORE

S’è compendiata, e ridotta in versi la Geografia col Trattato della Sfera nella maniera più chiara, facile, e piana, ed in forma di Dialogo, per ajutare la memoria, e l'intelletto insieme de’ Fanciulli, e di chiunque vuol’ applicarvisi. Vi s'è inserita dell’ erudizione, secondo che cadeva in acconcio. Vi s'è sparsa qualche riflessione morale, che mai non disdice; ed anche qualche facezia per dilettare. Più di quattro mila versi si sono racchiusi in cento sessanta Carte ordinate e disposte in modo da formarsene il leggiadro piacevol Giuoco de’ Tarocchi, o Cannellini, che in Toscana diconsi Minchiate ; e da formarsene altresì tre Mazzi per qualunque altro Giuoco a beneplacito Oltre ad essersi scritte in cima d'ogni Carta le Marche alla Francese, ed all'Italiana, ed anche i numeri de’ Tarocchi, e Trionfi vantaggiatamente, per farne altr'uso, si sono parimente poste le lettere grandi, e piccole coll'ordine dell’ Alfabeto, e le sillabe, affinchè i Fanciulli più teneri possano con questo mezzo imparar pur’ a leggere come s'è detto nella Prefazione, o Avviso stampato nel primo foglio del primo Trattenimento, che è necessario leggere con attenzione, per comprendere l'idea dell’ Autore, e questo novello metodo. Di più s'è accennata in cima in altri quadretti la materia contenuta nel Corpo delle Carte, per facilitare maggiormente. Con esse Carte non farà disdicevole il giuocare ancora per denaro (purchè ciò segua con moderazione) come suol farsi coll’ altre Carte correnti ; anzi se vi sarà chi far lo voglia per vizio, il vizio allora non farà solo, e chi perderà da una parte, guadagnerà sempre qualche cosa dall’ altra; perchè tenendo in mano le Carte, e leggendo anche alla sfuggita, e senza particolare applicazione, i nomi, e qualità de’ Paesi, la situazione, la grandezza, il governo, la Religione, le cose più rare, a pregevoli, le distanze de‘ luoghi, l’itinerario per andarvi, e leggendo ci più tanto nella Geografia, quanto nella Sfera varie eruditioni Storiche, Filosofiche, Geologiche, ed astronomiche, avrà il vantaggio d'imparare senz’ accorgersene, e senz’ affaticarsi o nelle scuole, o su Libri ; e così o verrà a risarcire la perdita se perderà denaro, giuocando ; o a fare doppio guadagno, se denaro guadagnerà. Questi Fogli medesimi restando intieri, senza tagliarsi, per formarne Carte di Giuoco potran servire ad altro fine sorte migliore, attaccandosi a tele, o a Cartonetti, e tenendosi esposti nelle Scuole, nelle Case, ne’ Sacri Chiostri, a modo di Quadri, per ammaestramento della Gioventù come pure s'è accennato degli altri nel citato avviso, al quale è indispensabile rivolgere la più particolare attenzione. E qui frattanto si può aggiungere, per maggior dilucidazione, che con essi fogli può giocarsi anche all’ Oca, ed al Biribissi, sol che per quest’ ultimo si taglino le Caselle divise si pieghino, e si pongano dentro le Pallette al numero di 50. o 60. per poi estrarsi a sorte. E co’ Mazzi di Carte si potrà fare il Trionfo di qualche Regno, o dell’ Isole, o de’ Fiumi ec. o del Sole, o de’ Circoli ec. o si potrà fare il Giuoco della Varietà, o dell’ uniformità a guisa di Primiera, e di Flusso.
Nello spazio, che resta in bianco in piè d'ogni Carta, dovranno poi, terminata che farà l'opera, situarsi le figure in Rame come si farà ancora per gli altri Trattenimenti.
Chi vorrà ricevere informazione più piena di Geografia, potrà leggere i tre Tomi del Sig. Chiusole sì accreditato, ed erudito, e spezialmente l'ultima impressione presso Gio. Battista Recurti ; e potrà anche dare un’ occhiata al Tometto del Padre Buffier stampato presso Francesco Pitteri specialmente nella descrizione della Francia, e nelle Tavole Geografiche ; dal qual Tometto si sono tolti molti Versi, che facevano a proposito, e si sono contrasegnati con virgolette.

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

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I left out one of the inventory studies from March, which I present now. The original is "Firenze 1420 e 1424. Naibi in vendita e naibi triste," at https://naibi.net/A/NAIBBI.pdf, dated March 13, 2024.

Again, words in brackets are mine, mainly for explanatory purposes, after consulting with Franco. Isolated numbers in the left margin correspond to the page numbers of Franco's pdf. Notes are at the bottom of each page.


Florence 1420 and 1424. Naibi for sale and worn-out naibi


Franco Pratesi

1. Introduction

This study can be considered the continuation of two recent ones on the section Magistracy of Minors before the Principality, in which packs of naibi were found in a shop in Ponsacco [note 1] and in a Florentine house of the Vecchietti family [note 2]. The continuation of the research was suggested by . . . mathematics. For a long time this same research had given null results, and arithmetic tells us that adding or multiplying zeros always gives zero. However, now that some specimens have been found, arithmetic tells us that it is possible to add them with similar ones - which it has finally become possible to find - in order to increase the total number. And so it happened. The archive is still the ASFi, the section is still the same. The registers examined in this case are two that I had skipped in the previous research: Magistracy of Minors before the Principality, Sample of inventories and revised data for the neighborhoods of Santo Spirito and Santa Croce, No. 157 from 1 October 1423 to 20 March 1425, No. 158 from 1 October 1425 to 20 March 1426.

2. The naibi for sale


In the first register, No. 157, I encountered a case of considerable interest in the inheritance of Antonio di Lapino from Chastel San Giovanni, who left eleven children. The inventory is introduced as follows, indicating that a previous inventory was copied into this register in 1425.
Inventory of said inheritance. That is, the merchandise was found in the shop “inside” Antonio until April 6, 1420, which was attributed to Michele d’Antonio di Lapino, his son and agent of said inheritance, as appears in the red book of reports 108 page 110.
I reproduce and transcribe the part of interest.
Image
ASFi, Magistracy of Minors before the Principality, N. 157, f. 260v
(Reproduction prohibited)
_______________
1. https://www.naibi.net/A/CURRADO.pdf
2. https://www.naibi.net/A/VECCHIETTI.pdf


2
4 boxes______________________________________________1.-
1 pound of spices at 3 soldi an ounce_____________________1.16
1 ounce of saffron_____________________________________-.16
8 mule harnesses at S. 6 1 each__________________________2.8
15 ox harnesses at S. 6 1 each___________________________4.10
9 pounds of cotton wool for doublets_____________________3.16
2 packs [mazzi] of needles______________________________1.12
1 wooden cutting board________________________________2.1.8
30 wooden soup plates_________________________________1.9
4 dozen earthen "jars"__________________________________.8
6 dozen glazed pots__________________________________+2.8
1 wooden ladle_______________________________________-.4
5 small jars containing "medicines" to be remade__________1.-
4 pairs [paia] of Naibbi_________________________________-.10
5 little boards_________________________________________-.10
4 pounds of yarn of more colors__________________________2.4
16 sheaths____________________________________________-.16
6 small knives_________________________________________1.-
4 pounds of cotton wool________________________________-.1.4
(Prices are usually in LSd. The dash stands for 0; the third term 0 denarii is implied.)

3. The worn out naibi

In the second register, N. 158, I found other naibi in the inheritance of Charlo di Mateo de lo Presto. The relevant inventory was composed on 8 October 1424. In this case, the inventory items are gradually grouped into portions, with a respective overall evaluation. The group of our interest is valued at ten soldi in total and contains ten items, with fourteen objects, as copied and transcribed below.
Image
ASFi, Magistracy of Minors before the Principality, No. 158, f. 79.
(Reproduction prohibited)
3 small jars
2 iron candle holders
2 wooden salt cellars
1 wooden inkpot
2 earthen soup plates
1 box
1 pair [paio = pack] of worn-out naibi
1 ladle
1 iron ladle [or trowel]
1 worn-out knife

3
The inheritance is richer than average and also includes numerous properties and land.
House with courtyard well and platforms and other buildings located in the parish of San Friano di Firenze.
A piece of the woods . . .
A farm with a master's house and a stable with certain farmhouses, around with plots of land worked and with vineyards, and woods located in the parish of Santa Maria a Charaia [Carraia] in Val di Marina . . .
Mill with one millstone suitable for grinding located on the river of Val di Bisenzio . . .
House located in the castle [fortified town] of Monte San Savino . . .
There follows, on some pages, a long list of minor properties of buildings and land.

4. Comments on the naibi inventoried


In the first register, four packs of new naibi were found for sale in a shop in San Giovanni Valdarno. Castel San Giovanni had been founded and built to a design by Arnolfo at the end of the thirteenth century and had proved to be a useful military garrison especially against Arezzo. At the time of interest here, San Giovanni had recently become the seat of the Vicar of the upper Valdarno, one of the few vicarates established in the peripheral but strategic areas of the Florentine territory. The Castel San Giovanni of the time is also remembered for the birth of Masaccio and, as far as we are concerned, of his brother Giovanni, an important painter in general and also in particular of trionfi playing cards.[note 3]

Of notable importance is the fact that in both cases these are inventories in which a commercial value is associated with the various items. Usually in these inventories, an overall estimate is made on the total value without going into detail on the value of the individual items, as found here. The four decks for sale in San Giovanni have their market value: two and a half soldi per deck, one and a half lira per dozen. These are figures that do not surprise us, based on what we know from other archives: [note 4] wooden blocks for printing on paper have existed for years and there are professionals in the new trade. From this point on, we will have to wait several centuries to encounter technical revolutions.

As regards the second register, with the worn-out [tristi, literally “sad”] naibi, it had already been reported that “sad” was said for deteriorated objects of now very reduced value. In reality, for these worn-out naibi, included in a small group of objects valued together, it would not be easy to determine the corresponding value from the total 10 soldi, but the easy conclusion is that it was an infinitesimal economic value.

This is not surprising: let's even assume that someone had been willing to buy a deck of used playing cards without spending too much. However, no one would have purchased an incomplete deck or one with defective cards, which are now difficult to handle and which perhaps could be recognized individually from a distance.

Unlike some previous cases, here we are in a very interesting era: naibi are still naibi - not referred to as playing cards - and everyone knows them as such. A pack is found clearly damaged from use and preserved with other objects of little value; it could have already been years old when it was placed in that environment, and it had spent more time there, perhaps a long time. At most, it could even have been one of the first naibi decks to appear in Florentine houses.

Despite its low value, for us it remains quite valid as confirmation that the deck registered two years later in the Vecchietti house, in the center of Florence, was not a unique piece, and we can actually assume now that others were preserved in Florentine houses.

5. Conclusion

Two cases of naibi registrations in household inventories compiled for inheritance issues were presented and discussed. The first case concerns four decks on sale in 1420, for a total of ten soldi, in a shop in San Giovanni Valdarno; the second, a deteriorated deck present in 1424 in a private house, as in the inventories dozens could have been found, if not hundreds (and instead they are a real rarity, as also verified previously). It's not surprising
__________________
3. http://trionfi.com/ev07; https://www.naibi.net/A/207-SCHEGGIA-Z.docx
4. F. Pratesi, “Playing-Card Trade in 15th-Century Florence.” IPCS Papers No. 7, 2012.


4
that the value of the used deck was considered minimal, but then even new naibi were certainly not luxury objects, allowing that they might have been so previously.

Florence, 03.13.2024

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Here is another note, translated from "Firenze circa 1720. Minchiate e cavalieri senza cavalleria," https://www.naibi.net/A/CAVAL.pdf, this time about a game of minchiate in which tempers and objects fly, among so-called nobles. Again, numbers in the left margin are the page numbers of Fanco's pdf, notes are at the bottom of each page, and comments in square brackets are mine, for purposes of clarification, after consulting with Franco.

Florence circa 1720. Minchiate and knights without cavalry

Franco Pratesi


1. Introduction


The present study is in direct connection with two previous ones. The more recent one has in common the Lords of the Casino di Santa Trinita, one of the three companies of Florentine nobles that existed before the formation of the local Institute of Nobles; in that study I managed, with some difficulty, to find traces of the game that the nobles used to play.[note 1] Here [in the present study], too, we can see another with such results. The second study,[note 2] however, has in common with this one the fact that even a traditionally "quiet" game like minchiate could become the subject of arguments between personages worthy of the utmost respect. That study was based on documents preserved in the Riccardiana Library and which had already been partly discussed in my first study of interesting information on the history of playing cards, which dates back almost forty years.[note 3]

After a long time, I find a similar document in the Moreniana Library,[note 4] which could be considered a section of the Riccardiana if it were not that the two libraries (which have a concierge, reception, and reading room in common) are managed by different administrations: Riccardiana is state, Moreniana is municipal.

The manuscript in question, Moreni 335, is a voluminous collection of various materials with the title Scritture cavalleresche, presented as follows in the catalog:
335 Cart. Sec. XVIII, mm. 335x225. Carte 512, più 4 innum. agg. in princ. Composto di 8 inserti legati in Volume e fra loro divisi da copertine bianche agg. modernamente.

[335 Paper, 18th cent. 335x225 mm. 512 Folios, plus 4 unnumbered at the beginning. Composed of 8 inserts bound in volume and divided among them by white covers added modernly.]
We are interested in file IVc on legal matters and in particular its final pages, which contain two documents on an event that happened around a minchiate table, which I will transcribe in full below.
IV. c Francesco Maria Strozzi, Reports and opinions (350a - 379b).
1. Writing in support of an opinion given by the Ab. Pier Andrea Andreini on the duel (350a - 354b).
2. Report on a chivalrous opinion given in the case of Vitali and Centurioni (356a - 359b).
3. Opinion in the case of Dazzi and Papi (360a - 361b).
4. Differences that occurred between a Lady of the Ciardi house and one from the Porcellini house. Exposition of the fact signed by Lorenzo Porcellini.
5. Opinion on a foreign case sent (to Strozzi) by the Sig. Fiscal Auditor (364a - 365b) with the date 15 March 1722.
6-7. Question between March. [Marquis] Venturi and Cav. [Knight, or Sir] Bartolini due to card playing (376a - 379b): explanation of the fact sent to Strozzi by March. Cosimo Venturi. [note 5]
The nearby folios contain legal opinions of Francesco Maria Strozzi, an expert on the subject, on various cases that had been brought to his attention in the years around 1720. From this, we derive the authority of the personage, whose competence was evidently appreciated in many different cases. The only information I found about him is that he was also a member of the Academy of Graphic Arts,[note 6] but I can admit that I did not consider it necessary to conduct in-depth research on the matter.

Unfortunately in our case we do not find the decision, the final and decisive opinion on the dispute, but at least we can read two different versions of the fact of interest to us, first in a letter sent to Strozzi by one of the protagonists, then in a summary of the fact compiled by the expert himself, based on personal investigations and interviews.
_____________
1. https://www.naibi.net/A/TRINITA.pdf [translated at viewtopic.php?p=26392#p26392]
2. Rassegna storica toscana, 39 No. 1 (1993), pp. 181-191; https://www.naibi.net/A/50-PASSATEM-Z.pdf
3. The Playing-Card, 15 No. 2 (1986) 29-34; https://www.naibi.net/A/01-WHISTMIN-Z.pdf
4. https://opac.comune.fi.it/openweb/rt10bp/; https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblioteca_Moreniana
5. I manoscritti della biblioteca moreniana, Vol. 1, fasc. XIV Florence 1911, on p. 429.
6. https://www.aadfi.it/accademico/strozzi ... sco-maria/


2
The two documents are written in fairly clear handwriting (a couple of uncertain readings are indicated in quotation marks) and contain not only the month and day but also the time of compilation – unfortunately, the year is missing. From the documents preserved together, however, the date can be limited to an interval between 1715 and 1725.

2. The letter from Cavalier Venturi

The letter sheet contains the following address on the reverse.
In hand
Of the illustrious Signore Count Strozzi
My Most Respected Signore Signore Patron

/c.376r/ Florence on February 20th at 3pm
At the time, Signor M.e [Marchese = Marquis] Bartolini, surprised by the disgust of seeing one card less, and in the need not to count the points, particularly in a game that was very advantageous to him, Signori Cav. Naldini, and Cav. Venturi counted their cards, and having adjusted their values, Cav. Venturi turned around. to Sig. M.e Bartolini to also count with him what was necessary: when Sig. Cav. del Rosso said to Signore M.e, count the Verzicola first, Sig. M.e replied in anger it counts 60. 70, and turns to Cav. Venturi, who was about to score, said out loud. Oh, he doesn't want to give me credit for what counts for me. Replied Cav. Venturi, Say how much it counts, to which the Signore added, You make fun [of me]. Replied Cav. Venturi, it's your turn to say how much it counts, say how much it counts, and instead of receiving an adequate response, he was heard to reply: Oh, it's a gambling den game, I didn't think I was playing in a gambling den: having heard it, Cav Venturi, offended, immediately replied If you are speaking to me you are lying, and seeing Sig. M.e throw the Cards, he replied with the Candlestick, and putting his hand to his sword he stood in sight of Sig. M.e, and they were separated.
I Cosimo Venturi affirm.
3. The recapitulation by Francesco Maria Strozzi

This document completes the previous one, adding useful details for the reconstruction of the event (although sometimes it is not yet clear, at least at first reading, who does what, and whether there are one or two swords drawn). The sheet is folded into two columns, and after the heading, two lines into the left column – everything else uses only the right column.
/c. 378r/ Bartolini and Venturi
Florence on February 20th at 7½ pm
Event
On the evening of Thursday 16th of the current month of February, Sig. Cav. Naldini, Sig. Cav. Marco del Rosso, Sig. Cav. Cosimo Venturi, and Cav. Bartolini; on the right of said Bartolini followed Sig. Cav. Marco del Rosso, Sig. Cav. Venturi, Sig. Cav. Naldini playing Minchiate in the Casino; it happened that the Fola was put up for auction as usual and was bought by said Bartolini from Sig. Cav. Marco del Rosso, who united said Fola to Bartolini’s own Cards, acknowledged his 75 of Verzicola, which was placed on the Table, seen by the Signori Players, and the Game began, at the end of which Bartolini found himself with one less Card [typically due to a mistake in exchanging cards with the Fola] and was subjected to that punishment entailed by the common use of said Game [i.e. nullifying all his points for that hand].
Due to this inattention, Bartolini could not help but be annoyed at the stupidity he had committed, as he took the rest of the cards that were being played and threw them under the table, saying that he no longer wanted to use them. While /c. 378v/ the two Sig. Cav. Naldini and Venturi were counting their cards, said Bartolini requested that they please hurry because he didn't know where his head was, that once the hand was over he didn't want to play anymore; Cav. Bartolini observed that Sig. Cav. Naldini had adjusted his account and put into account the Verzicola counted by him at the beginning, and Bartolini asked Cav del Rosso for [credit for] the last trick, believing he had made it, but by the Sig. Cav. mentioned here, he was told he hadn't gotten [credit for] the last, because he hadn't taken the last, and Cav. del Rosso asked Bartolini to take 3 Resti [the amount of 60 points fixed for a game] and to give them to Sig. Cav. Naldini, [and] as [soon as] he [Del Rosso] advised him [Bartolini], he [Bartolini] did so.
Observed by Bartolini that Sig. Cav. Cosimo Venturi who said nothing in the said accounts, Bartolini said, Sig. Cav. Cosimo maybe my first verzicola doesn't count? In answering him, you didn't ask me; I would have served it /c.379r/ it's not up to me to remember. Bartolini replied, I didn't think to play [i.e. that I would be playing] in gambling dens, because it seems to me that there is too much rigor.
The resentful Cav. Venturi asked Bartolini if he was speaking about him, that he was surprised, and continued with other resentful words; Bartolini replied in general that he did not intend to offend anyone, and only that it seemed to him that there was too much rigor.
Cav. Cosimo again with resentment pressing him for a greater declaration; but Bartolini calmed down at this with the hope that here the Heat that is usually brought to the game would end. Bartolini's silence was not enough for the said Sig. Cav. Venturi, who was amazed at him, which said Venturi reproached, I don't know if he's mocking me; You say, if you are speaking about me, why do you lie about it; Bartolini replied that Men of Honor did not lie, the Cav Venturi replied, that he lied as much as one could ever lie with one's mouth full; As soon as Bartolini understood this way of speaking /c.379v/ he took the cards and threw them at Mr. Cav. Venturi, and in the same Act Bartolini rebutted the lie, getting up from his seat, having thrown said Cards, he took out his Sword, and was held back by those around him, and moving away, he saw a Candlestick in the Air thrown by Cav. Venturi, who saw him with Sword in hand, towards whom Bartolini went and being prevented by the Knights he put back his Sword, and having passed into other rooms and being sequestered, he was accompanied to his own House.
4. Comment on the two documents

Ultimately the fact in question is not very extraordinary. We know that while playing a game you can get excited to the point of losing control, it can happen. Indeed, it happens precisely when one is no longer able to participate in a game. . . for fun; that is, it could be said that if any game becomes so "serious" that it leads to furious arguments, it can no longer be considered a game. (Something similar happens in some ways when assets are committed in the game rather than little or no money, but this is an even different case.)

However, in the case in question there are some aspects that make the fact worthy of note. Perhaps the main one is that those who come to blows are not country villagers, who were used to making their own arguments with their hands before or instead of with their tongues. Instead, they are Florentine nobles, knights who are playing in an environment reserved specifically and exclusively for them. The grand ducal laws themselves took this situation into account: while in taverns and private gatherings there were strict prohibitions to be respected and also police inspections and denunciations, it was considered offensive to subject nobles to similar controls. It was taken for granted that such personages could and would exercise the necessary self-control so as not to give rise to scandals, brawls, or riots. Instead, here they are all knights, but evidently some lacked chivalry.

But it's not just the personages that are interesting. The type of game is also of interest, the traditional minchiate game. If it had been the game of Pharaoh, it would have been better understood that arguments could arise between the players, but minchiate is basically a game of pure leisure for staid people, perhaps even older ones. In the eighteenth century, the games that were fashionable, especially among young people, were faster and had a notable gambling component: the grand dukes of the Habsburg-Lorraine house later had to work hard to place increasingly strict limits on the use of cards for gambling games.

Finally, our attention inevitably focuses on the weapons used in the clash around the gaming table. There even appears a drawn sword! It is indeed a real weapon, which we could also have imagined absent in that exclusive environment. Furthermore, improper weapons appear, and among these, we understand that a heavy candlestick thrown with force could have caused serious injuries if not dodged in time. But for us, who are interested in playing cards, it is ultimately the use of cards as projectiles that ends up representing the most curious detail.

It is not the first time we have encountered a "game" of this kind, even if it is never described in the manuals dedicated to all possible card games. There are children's games (at least when there were children who played with figurines) based on throwing figurines, with figures of footballers or other well-known characters: the game consisted of collecting those figurines and then winning some from your classmates by throwing them further away from the launch line, or closer to a predetermined target. If one had played with playing cards in this way, one would have had to find a correspondence between cards won and other prizes as substitutes, because an incomplete deck of playing cards remains incomplete even by increasing it by a few scattered cards.

In any case, associating a playing card with its being thrown is rather instinctive, precisely due to the suitability of the material for this use. In this case, the protagonist basically controls himself enough: first, he throws the cards under the table (almost as if it were a classic warning shot) and only later, as the dispute continues, does he throw other things directly at the opponent, as had happened in the case of the previous study cited [of n. 2], when "the four cards, fluttering slightly, flew over the head of Sig. Buoninsegni, who dodged every blow by bending," and also then, coincidentally, it was high-class people who were playing minchiate.

5. Conclusion

Two documents on a gaming accident that occurred in the Santa Trinita Casino were presented and discussed. What makes the fact of particular interest is that [1] it was played in an exclusive environment reserved for a small company of Florentine nobles, and [2] the game was that of minchiate, two conditions not easy to connect with cards and even a candlestick taking flight, or with a drawn sword.

Florence, 03.27.2024

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

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With this note and another note to follow, we move to the Kingdom of Sardinia in the early years of the 19th century. The original title is "Carte e tarocchi a Sassari all’inizio dell’Ottocento," posted at https://www.naibi.net/A/TASASSA.pdf on Aug. 2, 2023 - so I am going back and picking up notes of Franco's skipped earlier. Again, the numbers by themselves in the left margin are the page numbers of Franco's pdf. The illustration is an addition for THF, following the dictum that a picture is worth many words. I have also taken the liberty of putting Fanco's itemization of his descriptions of the cards in bulleted list format, for easier reference. The text itself follows Franco's.

Cards and tarot cards in Sassari at the beginning of the nineteenth century

Franco Pratesi


1. Discovery and investigation of the cards


During a search on the Manus Online catalog dedicated to Italian manuscripts, I identified an unusual set of playing cards preserved in Sassari. In the history of ancient playing cards, some are quite often encountered that were used to strengthen the bindings of old books; in this case, the number of cards is higher than average. A particular interest is represented by the presence of tarot cards, also because we know very little about their diffusion in Sardinia. I then asked the University Library of Sassari for information. After a few exchanges of e-mails it turned out that the manuscripts and cards searched for were not kept in the Library of the University of Sassari but in the University Library of Sassari, with a different administration than the previous one; so, after a couple of confusing requests, I was kindly directed by the librarian of the first to Dr. Deiana, librarian of the second.

At this point, I was only looking for a manuscript with associated playing cards, ms. 72/II. Once in contact with the right person, I checked again and found, again with Manus Online, the five cases indicated below. Dr. Deiana thus had to engage in an unusual search, finding three of the five envelopes or boxes with playing cards attached to the manuscripts; he then sent me the three relevant scans, with an undertaking on my part not to publish or distribute them.

If I were an expert on the subject, it wouldn't be a big deal because I could describe every detail useful even without presenting images. But knowing my limitations I believe that the best solution, and perhaps the only one will be to contact Doctor Deiana directly to complete the following summary description. For my part, I asked that they at least make the scans available to scholars on the Library's web pages. This study may be the first of two, with the second accompanied by figures and further information (hopefully including other playing cards), or there will remain half a study to be completed by whoever will take care of it.

2. Cards of manuscript 72/I

I begin the description, and I will also do so in subsequent cases, by reporting what is found in this regard in the Library catalog.
During the phases of restoration, 9 printed cards, 4 printed fragments and 5 woodcut playing cards were recovered inside the cover, one of which bears the writing “Fabbrica di Giacomo Drago” now preserved in the folder with location ms. 72/I, prog. 21/I, shelf 6, Manuscripts and Rare [Books] Room of the University Library of Sassari.
They are five cards more or less widely cut out at the margins.
  • The top three are a 7 of diamonds, an Ace of clubs, and an 8 of cups from a tarocchi deck.
  • The bottom two are a Jack of Spades and a Queen of clubs [in what are called “French suits” – the usual ones in 52-card decks today].
On the Jack, in a scroll at the bottom between the legs, we read, with difficulty, IN FINALE. On the Queen we read, vertically rising on the left margin, BRICA DI GIACOMO DRAGO. This card has been cut generously on the right and bottom, but completing the word FABBRICA [factory] is an immediate result.


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3. Cards of manuscript 72/II
During the phases of restoration, 14 parts of a printed antiphonary, 9 manuscript fragments, 5 woodcut playing cards from the "Fabbrica di Giacomo Drago" and one tarocco were recovered inside the cover and are now preserved in the folder with location ms. 72/II, prog. 21/II, shelf 6, Manuscripts and Rare [Books] Room of the University Library of Sassari.
They are six cards, three upper, three lower. From left to right:
  • above: Queen of Hearts, Queen [actually King of hearts, Franco says in the sequel essay] (the suit cannot be seen because from the middle of the face upwards the figure is as if erased, becoming completely white, but without a clear margin between the two areas), King of Clubs.
  • below: VIII Justice and III of batons from a tarocchi deck; King of hearts.
The most unusual detail is the model used for the batons, which has nothing to do with the knotty sticks prevalent at the time [in Spain and at least southern Italy]; however, they also do not resemble the scepter-sticks of the oldest specimens. They rather resemble thin and long canes, decidedly straight but with widening ends [as in the Tarot of Marseille]. On the one hand, they can recall some previous decks of even a century or two earlier [than the beginning of the nineteenth century]; on the other hand, they are similar to Ligurian-Piedmontese tarot cards even from a few decades later (for example the 5 of batons from the deck by [Giovanni Battista] Guala, in Ghemme [a town in Piedmont], shown in a book that we will find again). [note 1]
FIVE OF BATONS.jpg FIVE OF BATONS.jpg Viewed 3655 times 4.67 KiB
From G. Berti, M. Chiesa, Th. Depaulis, Antichi Tarocchi liguri-piemontesi., p. 88.

4. Cards of manuscript 75/III

During the phases of restoration, 16 printed cards and 31 hand-painted woodcut playing cards were recovered inside the cover, now restored and preserved in the folder with location ms. 75/III, prog. 10, shelf 6, Manuscripts and Rare [Books] Room of the University Library of Sassari.

There are 32 cards collected in four rows of eight; I will indicate them from top to bottom and from left to right.
  • First row: 6 of spades, 2 of spades (fragment of width reduced to half with cuts from the two edges), 7 of hearts, 2 of hearts (deleted at the bottom, less probably a 3), 2 of clubs, 4 of Clubs, 7 of Clubs, Ace of Hearts.
  • Second row: 7 of spades, 3 of diamonds, 5 of spades, Ace of clubs, 2 of diamonds, Ace of spades, Ace of spades, Ace of diamonds, 4 of hearts.
  • Third row: 4 of spades, 7 of hearts, 3 of clubs, 3 of diamonds, 2 of spades, 7 of hearts, Jack of hearts, King of clubs.
  • Fourth row: Jack of diamonds, Queen of hearts, King of diamonds (white card above shoulder height of the face, suit not visible), Queen of diamonds, Queen of diamonds, King of hearts, King of spades, King of clubs.
Many of these cards are slightly cropped at the edges, while some are significantly cropped, vertically or horizontally. In the case of the same card present twice, the situation is different: for the two Kings of diamonds minimal differences are observed that may result from a different state of conservation, but for the two Queens of diamonds the colors were chosen differently in the corresponding, areas and the woodcut design is also very similar but not identical.

The number cards [in the French suits] are usually of very low quality, so much so that they almost look like elementary school exercises; this may be partly due to wear, but there is no glimpse, even originally, of a good level of craftsmanship with the correct use of the typical stencils. Something like this would have been more normal for ordinary cards from a century or two earlier. The same coloring process, however, is of at least sufficient quality in the case of the court figures, with correct coverage of the pre-established areas; however, even in the court cards the suit-signs are painted freehand. Beyond the typical characteristics of these decks and the particular workshop from which they come, the general type is what is internationally called the Dauphiné/Piedmont pattern, most widespread in the eighteenth century in Piedmont, regardless of whether the origin was from the card makers of Grenoble, Lyon, or Turin.
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1. G. Berti, M. Chiesa, Th. Depaulis, Antichi Tarocchi liguri-piemontesi. Turin 1995 on p. 88.

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5. Cards not found

According to the catalog, in addition to the playing cards found and briefly described above, there should be others.
Ms. 56-a-bis - Ms. 56 is a miscellany collected by p. [padre?] Antonio Sisco; the parts each have their own signature with a letter subordinate to the number, from A to N. The manuscript 56-a-bis is preserved in the same box; it is a folder with the parts of the cover of the manuscript inside. 56/a: five fragmentary folios handwritten by Sisco; a “4 of Coins” playing card handwritten on the back; two marbled cards; fourteen printed music sheets. All the cards have been restored and show a pencil numbering given by the restorer; total 22 cards.

Ms. 68 – During the restoration phases, a small stack of 8 printed cards and 22 hand-painted woodcut playing cards was recovered from inside the deck, now restored and preserved in the folder with location ms. 68, shelf 6, Manuscripts and Rare [Books] Room of the University Library of Sassari.
There are also at least four other manuscripts with the same characteristics of having associated folders with fragments of cards found in the covers at the time of the restoration. These are the following: ms. 34+35, ms. 48, ms. 81/1-2 and ms. 167n; In these cases, however, the catalog only indicates "cards" [carte, also meaning “pieces of paper” or other types of cards] without the specification "playing." I asked the librarian to do a check and the search has so far turned up no information on any playing cards.

6. Comparison with the Recchi tarocchi of Oneglia


In the tarot literature, there is only one potentially similar precedent. This time the Tarot History Forum was useful to me [note 2]. Searching for information on Sardinia, various entries appear, and in particular a discussion based on a short passage from the highest authority on the subject. Given the importance of both the author and the Liguria-Sardinia relationship, I copy it below.
Finally, from Oneglia in Liguria comes the only example known to me of a tarot deck with Spanish suits. It is the work of Giacomo Recchi, whose name and city appear on a panel of the Ace of Coins; one example is in the collection of Stuart Kaplan, who dates it to around 1820 due to the tax stamp of the kingdom of Sardinia, used from 1815. The deck, engraved on copper, is made up of seventy-eight single-headed cards. The trumps were adapted from the first version of the Piedmontese Tarot; their inscriptions, like those of the suit figures, are in French. There are Roman numerals in a panel on top of the triumphs and on the sides of the numeral cards. Death (XIII) is unwritten; the Devil (XV) has a face on his stomach and is not wearing a hat. The suit cards are adapted from the designs of the famous 1810 deck, also engraved on copper, by Clemente Roxas of Madrid. Since that deck is the prototype of the current standard model of the normal deck in Sardinia, it is almost certain that Recchi's deck was intended for that island, where Tarocchi is still played today. [note 3]
This tarot deck was auctioned with the part of the Kaplan collection to which it belonged and a black and white reproduction of 20 cards can be found in his Encyclopedia [note 4] and, in color, of 13 cards and a back in the auction catalog. [note 5] This allows for a fairly safe comparison.

We cannot expect a big difference between Oneglia and Finale. Both cities produced far more playing cards than would be required by the city's market. Most of the production was directed towards nearby and even distant countries, even as far as the Americas in some cases. In particular, they often served as contraband goods to avoid paying the stamp
_____________________
2. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1212&p=19699&hilit=Sardinia#p19699
3. M. Dummett, Il Mondo e l’Angelo. Naples 1993, pp. 406-407.
4. S. R. Kaplan, The Encyclopedia of Tarot Vol. II, New York 1986, on p. 358.
5. Historic Cards and Games. New York 2006, on p. 37.


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tax that almost all states had imposed on playing cards. (Decks also arrived in Florence, as I encountered in the archive documents.)[note 6]

The peculiarity of the Ligurian tarot deck produced for Sardinia is a modification of the standard cards to bring them closer to Spanish use, as has been reported for other regions of southern Italy and the islands. From the few tarot cards present in Sassari it is not easy to arrive at detailed and precise conclusions, but one can already point out a fixed point: these tarot cards have little or nothing in common with the Recchi di Oneglia ones; moreover, no Spanish modification is observed here.

7. Information on other tarot cards from Giacomo Drago's factory in Finale Ligure

Thierry Depaulis has conducted basic studies on playing cards and card makers in Piedmont and Liguria.[note 7] Of particular interest in defining the provenance of the Sassari cards is a piece of information which in another of his writings we find on the card maker involved.
Also in the Finale area we find manufacturers whose production we know: Giacomo Draghi – who signs a deck of tarot cards around 1805, when Liguria was French, “Jacques Dragau” – and his successor Paolo Drago (around 1830) . . . [note 8]
Thanks again to Tarot History, [note 9] I was able to follow the traces of a tarot deck "Per Giacomo Draghi": this too belonged to the Kaplan Collection and is described in his Encyclopedia, including a full-page illustration with the black and white reproduction of 20 cards.[note 10] Between these and the Sassari cards there is only Justice in common. The two Justice cards are clearly very similar, although stating that they are from the same woodblock is not entirely certain for me (for example, the facial features may appear slightly sharper in the Kaplan card, but the comparison presents itself as a puzzle game of difficult solution). [Franco says that the part of the card with the title is cut off, so it is unclear whether the language was Italian or French.]

In conclusion, the comparison with the Draghi-Kaplan deck, unlike that with the Recchi deck, confirms for the Sassari cards not only the place of production, which was indicated, but also the date, with an uncertainty of just a few years.

8. Discussion, hypotheses and conclusions

To explain the situation that led to the discovery of these playing cards in Sassari, several hypotheses can be put forward. However, the production date of these cards already allows us to exclude many possibilities; meanwhile, the date of 1986, in which they were accidentally discovered during restorations, is obviously of no importance, being a couple of centuries later. Furthermore, at the other end of the times connected to the manuscripts, we can exclude a direct involvement of their compiler.

Although not involved with playing cards, the Friar-Minor [Franciscan] Antonio Sisco, author of these manuscripts, deserves some attention. He was certainly an important figure: born in Sassari in 1716 into a wealthy family, he studied in Assisi and Turin, where he graduated before returning to Sassari in the Convent of the Minors of Santa Maria di Betlem where he stayed until his death; he had been promoted to provincial and then general commissioner of the order, qualifier of the holy office and examiner of the diocese of Porto Torres. His activity as a writer was extraordinary, both as a copyist of works by other authors and as an author of his own works.

If we search for his name among the manuscripts of Sassari, Manus Online presents us with 120. In this incredible number of manuscripts compiled by him there are several of our interest because there
______________
6. F. Pratesi, The Playing-Card, 21 No. 4 (1993) 126-135.
7. Th. Depaulis, Cartes et cartiers dans les anciens états de Savoie (1400-1860). IPCS Papers No.4 2005.
8. G. Berti, M. Chiesa, Th. Depaulis, Antichi Tarocchi liguri-piemontesi. Turin 1995 on p. 22.
9. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=754&p=10768&hilit=Draghi#p10768
10 S. R. Kaplan, The Encyclopedia of Tarot Vol. II, New York 1986, on p. 350.


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playing cards (from a later period) were found inserted as reinforcement of the cover. Finds of this kind are known from various times and locations, even preceding a couple of centuries. In short, the use of playing cards to reinforce bindings is not a strange thing. The unusual thing is that everything comes from a convent of Friars-Minor.

In those years, Sassari was emerging from a very turbulent period in which repeated episodes of civil war between Sassari and Cagliari had been added to the consequences of the battles between the Piedmontese and the French. After the most eventful years, the newfound peace did not coincide with a flat return to the old days and the winds of renewal continued to blow. On the specific situation in the convent of the Friars-Minor of Santa Maria di Betlem in Sassari, without studying it further, I can now only imagine something plausible.

The overcoming of the revolutionary ideas coming from France must have felt like a relief. It was possible to return with conviction to traditional teachings, and in this field the numerous manuscripts left by the general commissioner Antonio Sisco could be useful and deserve a partial restoration. Many had been written specifically with a view to teaching, and the author's fame must have still been alive. In particular, it still appears necessary to assume that, decades after the author’s death, the Friars Minor of Santa Maria di Betlem decided to have his manuscripts bound, which then remained at the disposal of the same convent until the suppression of the order in 1855.

A further hypothesis, which seems reasonable to me, is that the Friars Minor asked for the restoration from a local craftsman, who could conveniently dispose of old playing cards that had nothing to do with the convent. (If the friars had done the work themselves it would not change the substance, except that some other hypothesis would have to be formulated on the use and local origin of the playing cards.) This obviously could not have happened in any case before the years around 1805, when the cards were produced, but also not many years later, considering the short lifespan of these objects in common use.

Of course, the historical importance of the playing cards found appears infinitesimal in the context of municipal events, but for the history of games it retains some importance, if only as a further rare testimony to the use of tarot cards in Sardinia. In conclusion, the cards examined were certainly produced in Finale Ligure at the beginning of the nineteenth century but were used in Sardinia - which does not mean produced for Sardinia. The 3 of batons tarot card is enough to indicate that something similar is found in various types of Ligurian and Piedmontese tarots of the time, but not in other areas where knotty sticks had long established themselves.

Florence, Aug. 2, 2023
Last edited by mikeh on 26 May 2024, 12:41, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

65
This is the sequel to "Cards and tarot cards in Sassari at the beginning of the nineteenth century," the translation of Franco's note posted immediately before this one in this thread. The present note was originally entitled "Carte e tarocchi alla fine del Settecento in Sardegna," dated Sept. 17, 2023, at https://www.naibi.net/A/SARDCAT.pdf. As usual, the numbers by themselves in the left margin are the page numbers of Franco's original pdf. The notes are at the bottom of the corresponding page, except those to the poem at the end, "The Fool of the Tarot," where they are at the end. Comments in square brackets are mine, in consultation with Franco, for explanatory purposes to non-Italian readers.

Cards and tarot cards at the end of the eighteenth century in Sardinia


Franco Pratesi

1. Continuation of the previous study


In my previous study on the playing cards found in the University Library of Sassari, some information and descriptions were left incomplete.[note 1] Above all, there was the hope of finding more playing cards. In fact, I list separately everything the librarian Deiana and his colleagues managed to track down following my repeated requests. The manuscripts involved are more than I had found in the catalogs, but the overall number of playing cards is lower than I had hoped, also due to the failure to find the twenty-two cards that were reported as associated with Ms. 68.

However, I gave up on completing the program of presenting some figures because, following new provisions of the ministry, I have already spent enough to receive the new scans. It wasn't easy, but the state bureaucracy is getting even worse and, also taking into account the ministerial decree of 11 April 2023, the following was written to me from the library. “The reproductions will be sent for study purposes and cannot be published in any way, either online or in paper form in any medium, unless subsequently and after obtaining authorization from the Ministry of Culture.” Let's imagine. Rather, I would like to take this opportunity to correct an error in the previous description of the cards of manuscript 72/II: instead of a Queen, the card whose suit is not seen is actually a second King of hearts.

2. List of cards found in the new search
  • 10. E. 15 – 3 of clubs. Central vertical fragment. On the back, white, “Dr. Giuseppe Della Chiesa.” Another small fragment with mutilated writing that cannot be deciphered.
  • 10. C. 5(2) – Jack, with suit canceled. Top left corner cut. Overwritten in large, clear handwriting: “5 di Denari” [5 of diamonds]. Back with approx. 20x11 repeated rows of a geometric pattern like a trident without a handle. Small white fragment with the writing “Velas a quatro à libra” [Velas {Sails?} at four for a pound] with numbers.
  • III. 10. F. 15 – 10 of hearts. The ten suit-signs of hearts are more regular than usual; only the edges are not as clear as they could be if they used the stencils well. A scan of the back is missing.
  • I. 5. B.17(I) – 4 and 3 of diamonds. Multiple pages of a religious book in Latin, breviary type. A piece of paper written in Spanish.
  • I. 5. B. 16(II) – 6 of diamonds, with good design, colors partly altered. Without scan of back.
  • 10. D. 30 – 9 of clubs, design not perfect but better than usual. Thin stems. Without scan of back.
  • III. 19. C. 12 – 9 of clubs; the flower stem is almost as thick as the petals. White back with writing “Caratter Giraldy” [Character Giraldy].
  • 55. A. 5(2) – 3 of clubs (more like the second 9). White back with “Il Vescovo di Bisarcio” [The Bishop of Bisarcio – Bisarcio was a diocese in Sardinia, including Sassari, until it was merged with another in 1503] printed in the center, inserted in a rectangular frame.
  • II. 1. G. 5(IV) – Queen of diamonds. Intact, well preserved, colors included. White back with handwritten: “Dr. Giorgio Pilo Boÿl.”
  • II. 1. F. 1(I) – 8 of diamonds; the position of the diamonds is not perfectly symmetrical and the edges are not clear. On the white back we read: “Il P. Solinas Carmelitano è venuto per congedarsi” [The Carmelite Father Solinas has come to say goodbye].
  • I. 18. B. 13(1) – 8 of diamonds, only half a card, vertically, better design. Two or three words, undeciphered, high on the white back.
    ______________
    1. https://naibi.net/A/TASASSA.pdf.

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  • 10. C. 5(9) – 3 of clubs, thin stem, overwritten with numbers and “unger.” The white back has been entirely printed with, within two frames, "GIAMMARIA COLLI CARBONI prega V.S. si degni onorare il suo atto pubblico di Licenza in Medicina il dì 14. Luglio a ore 7. di mat. 1790 [please Your Lordship deign to honor his public act of Licentiate in Medicine on 14th July at 7 in the morning. 1790”]
  • II. 21. F. 25 – 10 of diamonds. The edges of the ten diamonds were highlighted with a dark line, and an empty and less regular eleventh diamond was added in the center. On the white back we read “Il R. re del Sem. rio In Congedo” [The Rector of the Seminary on Leave] and some numbers.
  • I. 22. N. 8(I) – 2 of hearts and Queen of spades. Well preserved. Respectively on the white back we read, on three lines drawn with the ruler like others at the edges as a frame: “Dettori d.e S.le Pie prega VS. Ill.ma / Ill.ma / dell’intervento alla sua prolus. pub. / in Matem.ca il di 6. 9bre” [Dettori of the School Pie prays Your Most Illustriousness for intervention at his public prolusion / in Mathematics on the 6th October”]. The other, on three fairly well aligned lines “Francesco Paý prega V.S. Ill.ma / dell’intervento alla sua pub. prelus. / in Js. Canoni il giorno 5 9bre [“Francesco Paý prays to your Most Illustriousness / for intervention on his public prolusion / in Canon Laws on 5th March”].
  • 9. C. 5(1) – 8 of hearts plus fragment. On the white back we read “ Cavag re Guibert” [Knight Guibert] and perhaps “ Cavalleglieri” [Knights] scrawled above.
  • I. 14. A. 4 – King of an unrecognizable suit. All the card, although complete, is very worn. The back, also poorly preserved, is decorated in six not exactly parallel rows on the long side, of about 5 flowers [each] with four cross-shaped petals, without color.

3. Comments and hypotheses

I will not repeat here what has already been written in the study cited on these manuscripts, on their restorations, on their author. This time there are no explicit clues about the production of these playing cards: no name of city or factory. Both for their appearance and for some dates that can be read in the added writings, it must be concluded that in general these cards were produced before the Draghi tarot already encountered: from around 1805 we jump here at least to the previous decade, up to the year 1790 expressly indicated in one case (which however suggests a few years earlier).

In the previous study I had stopped at this point. “On the specific situation in the convent of the minor friars of Santa Maria di Betlem in Sassari, without studying it further, I can now only imagine something plausible.” An open question then was what could have induced the Friars Minor to restore many, or perhaps all, of Antonio Sisco's numerous manuscripts in a very limited period corresponding to the dates of those playing cards. Now the period in question expands and there is no longer a single event to search for; the other question then becomes prevalent, that of the origin of the playing cards.

In any case, I tried to find out more about the environment, and in particular I consulted two fundamental books on the Friars Minor in Sardinia and on the Convent of Santa Maria di Betlem itself (see Figure). The information collected in these two books is innumerable, and among other things we even find information on the author of the manuscripts, Antonio Sisco, on his life and his activities. However, I have not found the answer to my two perplexities: what happened to have the manuscripts restored, and where the playing cards came from. Later I even wrote to the library of the same convent asking for information on the matter; I haven't had any answers from there either, at least so far. So let's leave aside the opportunity for restoration and limit ourselves to the use, or rather uses, of the playing cards.

The cards listed in this study forced me to take some steps forward compared to previous hypotheses. The uncertainty that I had encountered regarding the origin of the cards, from the workshop of a craftsman or from the convent, I now have to resolve in the sense that what is read on the cards cannot have come from the workshop of any craftsman outside the convent, and therefore we just have to understand better the use of these cards within the convent itself. The visible use is mainly as business cards or, in any case, blank cards on which to write any useful information. This is not a strange thing, and there are many examples of this kind known. Of course, however, no one buys a deck of cards to use as business cards! That is the logical end of a deck that has already been used for a long time, with worn and recognizable cards, and perhaps now devoid of some cards and unusable for games. In short, it can be explained, especially if you consider that the cards in various decks of the time

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actually had white backs. One problem remains, however: the fact that the subjects of the action are the friars minor, and their environment in Sassari.

A hypothesis that could hardly find explicit confirmation from the environment today is that in some period of time and in some way those clerics had become fanatical card players. In itself this would not be surprising; among card players, clerics are mentioned several times, in news and fiction, also from that historical period. I found a symptomatic example in the rules of the Stanze del Cocomero in Florence of 1796, and therefore practically in a time very close to the one implied here: the gaming rooms had become so crowded with clerics that it was decided to limit access. “With the object of removing the intolerable abuse and indecent manner that has been introduced, as is clear from seeing almost every evening the Academic Conversation held in the rooms attached to the Royal Teatro del Cocomero filled with priests admitted to the same always dressed in country attire, and with sometimes very torn clothes..." [note 2]

Those from Sassari, however, were not "normal" clerics, they were friars minor [Franciscans]. It so happens that the most typical and famous example of their approach with playing cards was already that of Saint Bernardino of Siena: he too used playing cards and taught the world that the most appropriate use, however unusual, was to make a rich collection of them and then burn them in a beautiful bonfire in the main square of the city. This was the typical use of playing cards by the Friars Minor! Bernardino would turn in his grave if he discovered that some of his brothers were using cards to play.
Image

So perhaps the hypothesis that remains the most suitable is to assume that the friars obtained used decks of cards, no longer usable for playing, and transformed them into objects of stationery, to be used as tickets for announcements and various information. Among these uses, the use of the white backs of the cards as printed note cards appears significant; a note card with a printed announcement is not produced in a single copy, and so it is even better understood how the demand for that specific material for such use could even be considerable.

4. The Poetic Freddura [witticism, especially one using plays on words]

I intend to conclude this study by introducing a new topic, which brings a further contribution to the diffusion of the tarot in Sardinia, which is still little studied. The new document presented here, Il Folle dei Tarocchi, is a poetic composition, also preserved in the University Library
_____________________
2. https://naibi.net/A/3012-CLERGY-Z.

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of Sassari. The collection in which it is found is the Devilla Donation, made up of the collection assembled by Giuseppe Devilla (1869-1955), head doctor at the municipal hospital of Sassari.

The manuscript in question ‒ DD ms. 6 ‒ is a small fascicle of twelve sheets stitched together, about which we read the following internal description in the catalog: “ff. 1r-7r: Manifesto Justifying the Popular Emotion that occurred in Cagliari on 28 April 1794; f. 7v: “Copy of Vittorio Amedeo's deed”; ff. 8r-9v: copy of the “Questions of the Ecclesiastical, Military and Royal Parliaments of the Kingdom of Sardinia”; f. 10r: poetic composition “The Fool of the Tarot”; c. 12r: “Circular of the Royal Audience of Cagliari to the Ministers of Justice of the Kingdom of Sardinia”; Attached are a double folio and a sheet of paper with notes also relating to the Cagliari riots.”

The documents preserved together would therefore also indicate a date around 1794 for the poetic composition and Cagliari rather than Sassari as the provenance. Due to the very conflicted political situation of those years, I imagined that a poetic composition on the Fool of the Tarot would be based on a rigid criticism of some ruler or military commander, possibly in sarcastic form. Instead, we read at most a rather uncertain reference to the "madness" of the rioting crowd. Perhaps the reader of the time could glimpse one or more personages and related underlying facts, which today are difficult to derive from these verses for anyone other than a scholar specializing in those local events. In short, it may be that the poet's reflection was triggered by the madness of the events, or even of some personage involved, but in this case his reaction is not sufficiently explicit for us.

We are therefore all the more interested in the Fool of the Tarot in itself, as a tarot card, whatever the underlying references. It must then be recognized that no important information can be gleaned from poetry about the game of tarot. Certainly, there are references to the manner of play, and obviously to the role of the Fool in the game; we come across details on the value of the cards (such as, for example, the five points for the Fool versus the single point for the Virtues); however, it is already known from numerous other sources. What ultimately remains of interest is the association between tarot and Sardinia: surely, this same poem would not have made sense if the game of tarot in Sardinia had been little or not at all known. Tarot in Sardinia is a topic that has received very few studies, and it is not clear whether the studies are few because there are few known documents of the time, or vice versa, if the known documents are few just because the topic has not yet received enough attention from scholars.

Florence, Sept. 17, 2023
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The Fool of the Tarot

Poetic Freddure [witticism, especially involving plays on words]
[Translator's note: Franco's notes a-f appear at the end. In the original, lines periodically start further into the left margin. That doesn't work on THF, so I have made stanza breaks there instead.]

Ride, si sapis - Mart. [note a]

I do not ask you, oh friendly Muses
Golden plectrum [lyre pick], noble inspiration;
Stay also please on the open
Peaks, Apollo my Master;
Because I don't sing about loves, or weapons,
Topics too good
Of sweaty heroic poems,
But for now in the Brain
Quite the opposite boils over in me
And I want to sing about a Fool

Don't let anything fly in your nose
By mistake, or foolish doubts,
Let everyone be persuaded,
That of the fool of the Tarot
I'm just speaking of here,
Nor of any living fool
I think to make an apologia [i.e. defense],
And I swear to you by my faith,
That I keep inside my chest
For the fools also respect.

The Fool was born . . . we don't know
How, when, which country
Gave birth to such a rarity,
No disputes ever arose
Of his homeland, of his cradle,
This has so far mattered not at all.

Nor like in times gone by
For Homer, for Torquatus
Tomes were printed in folio
Without ever resolving the dispute,
I will answer you as soon as possible,
That he was already of this World
By secure tradition
A citizen, my Champion,
No one dares to doubt,
Of the Most Noble House
Of his very famous blood,
And although the times and troubles
Then tore him up a lot,
An undeniable argument
I feel like producing for you here,
That will make you experience first-hand
The splendor of this Insane one.
He has nothing, everyone sees him
From his tattered trousers,
He knows nothing, everyone believes this,
What did he ever write? What did he ever read?
He goes away like a Rascal
Poorly dressed and penniless

For companion having a Cat [note b]
That follows him at every turn,
He makes a ridiculous impression,
He even lacks imposture
Yet despite this he shines
Among the primary seven honors [with the Bagatto, the Angel, and the four kings]
Of the Tarot, nor does he depend
On any of the Superiors;
Therefore in just consequence
Of being without any merit
It is suitable to say that he is raised up
For his Lordship alone.

While one day in Parchment
I was reading certain annals
So ancient, that with great difficulty
The Characters were visible,
I found that this Crazy One
Was already a man of the Palace
Who also had the good luck
To serve in a Court.

That this story is true
I dare not assure it,
I know that [the story] says King Midas
Had the pleasure of honoring him
With a discreet Charge,
And he made him his Poet.

It says more, that on that great day
That the great Jupiter adorned him
With two donkey ears, [note c]
Between joy and between affairs
Spitting in someone’s face,
He recited spontaneously
Beautiful Sonnets and Madrigals
On the Royal ears,
So that among wreaths, gems, and gold
Four handsbreadths came out,
And then thanks to this
Good Midas deigned
To place him among those seven
Which the Tarot puts first
With distinguished privilege.
May no one dare to insult him,
And although full of audacity

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No one accuses [also = declares, in the game] him, although he does
Good or bad, as he please
He can never be captured.

Three virtues in the gathering
Of the Tarot are in use
That is, Justice and Temperance
And she who with a strong arm
Tears the muzzle of the Lion.
But my famous little Crazy one,
Despises them, tramples them
He doesn't let them raise their crest.
Those only count for one point,
He for five, wretched ones,
They moan under sad laws,
By the Bagatto [Magician] finally seen as evil [he fears being taken by these lesser-counting cards].

Oh wretched custom!
Of the Regiment of cards
If the stupidest is lucky,
It's a sin to be talented,
While a man with a shaved head
Is the Master of the House.

What's worse is this unworthy one:
He is an unbelieving, profane one,
He turns to the Pope, and to the Triregnum [papal crown]
Often indeed his backside.
Also to the Angel, who from the Tomb
Extracts the dead with the Trumpet [note d]
He laughs in his face, and turns away,
And he doesn’t listen to the words

Of the Empire, the four Kings;
Wretched as he is,
He doesn't deign to obey,
So he wants to come to the square
In universal spite
With a National cap [note e]
Instigated by the Devil
This madman makes mockery
Even to Holy Matrimony
He’s causing trouble,
So that if the King husband
Sometimes feels a little itchy
To hug his wife
He takes her away from his embraces,
Even the most allowed ones;
These are things for stoning.
Even though suffering such a scoundrel
As the Page and the Knight
Now he joins, now he separates,
Wherever he touches he always stings,
And he distorts other people's accounts
Between twenty-one and twenty-two.

How many messes does this one cause
To one who plays too quickly:
Not paying attention to the future
He leaves him in his hand to die; [note f]
Or by too much greed
For a little woman or for a Page
He gives place to his companions
To save some ruler
Among the bile, among the laughter.
Then when in two divided
The power lies in the game,
This man without manners,
If whoever plays has no head,
To the party goes the money [The money gets lost].

This is so true, or rather too true,
That even fools of Cardboard
Are a harm, are a hindrance;
To wise and good heads,
The example lies in this game:
Whoever extracts himself doesn't do little.

(University Library of Sassari,
Dono [Donation] Devilla, DD ms. 6)
____________________
Notes on the Poetic Freddura

a.
"Laugh, if you know," from Martial, with the meaning that those who know the situation thoroughly are also allowed to laugh at it. There is also the play on words of reading si sapis as sis apis, be a bee, become active and industrious like a bee.
b. In many decks the cat, or an animal that resembles it, is actually seen; in some cases, it follows the Fool closely, in others, it even bites his calf or buttocks.
c. This detail could be typical of the tarot if similar objects, such as locks of hair or cap rattles, were seen as donkey ears.
d. The Last Judgment card, with the dead being resurrected; in other regions it had become the Angel [and perhaps also here?], or [in minchiate] the Trumpets, depicted standing above the world.
e. This seems to be a reference to the local political situation in those years.
f. The Fool cannot be captured, but if in the end the losing pair has not made any tricks it also loses the Fool.

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

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And "Atlante" is Italian for "atlas." The article is about a pack of geographical cards, with maps and information about various places. Corsica is simply one of the places, nothing about playing cards there. I will be posting a translation of that article soon, on another Pratesi thread I am starting, this one for Playing-Card articles starting in 2018. Added later: that thread starts at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2737.

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

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I am now back, for the moment, to posting translations of notes first appearing on naibi.net. Although not articles in The Playing-Card, the next few (three so far) will be about more 18th-century booklets or manuscripts on how to play minchiate (following the six that he reviewed in the Playing-Card articles), translations of which have been posted here in the thread viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2737. The first of these new ones is a translation of one that Franco posted on March 14, 2024, "Minchiate – Una copia manoscritta della nota di Paolo Minucci," at https://www.naibi.net/A/UGHI.pdf.

As usual, the notes in brackets are mine for explanatory purposes, added in consultation with Franco. The numbers by themselves are page numbers in Franco's Italian pdf on naibi. net, and footnotes are at the bottom of the corresponding pages.

In Franco's original pdf, the handwritten copy is on one side of the page and the printed version on the other side. The Forum software does not allow such a presentation to my knowledge, so instead I present the two paragraph by paragraph, with the manuscript in italics and the printed version underneath it in normal Roman type.

Minchiate – A handwritten copy of Paolo Minucci's note

Franco Pratesi

1. Introduction

We can start with a note by Paolo Minucci included in Lorenzo Lippi's Malmantile racquistato. [note 1] The poem, which had had an uncertain reception in the posthumous edition of 1676, had lasting success after the second edition appeared in 1688 with the notes that Minucci had inserted to make that text better understandable, so rich in Florentine idiomatic expressions. [note 2] If the book is known by all lovers of Italian literature, Minucci's Note, in which he explains - for non-Tuscans - how to play minchiate, is a milestone in the specific literature of this game.

Minucci's Note represents not only the oldest text detailing the rules of the game but also the main testimony to the particular way in which it was practiced in Florence, where two, three or four players could play. The four-person variant was the most frequent, but everyone played for themselves and it was possible for one of the four not to participate in the game, paying a penalty that varied with location [around the table]. In the eighteenth century, several printed books on minchiate appeared, but as a rule, only the subsequent editions were printed in Florence. The game they described was, exclusively or almost exclusively, one played by four players divided into two pairs.

The present study is based on an unknown manuscript text on the game of minchiate. The eighteenth-century document found was bound in a book from the Ughi collection of the State Archives of Florence (ASFi). The examination of the text has highlighted that it is a copy of Paolo Minucci's Note.

2. Notes on the Ughi archive

The ASFi Ughi collection is part of the family archives. The Ughi family was a notable family in Renaissance-era Florence and with some branches in subsequent centuries as well. As usually happened in important families, various documents and papers were preserved in a family archive that grew with the succession of generations. In the mid-eighteenth century the most important branch of the family became extinct and the Ughi archive began a series of transfers, with more passages than usual, especially due to the subsequent extinctions of the families in which it found itself.

The first transition was from the Ughi family to the Lorenzi family, when in 1750 Minerva Ughi, the last of the family, married Luigi Lorenzi. After the death of their son Francesco Orlando, the last of the
Lorenzi family, the two archives Ughi and Lorenzi merged through the nephews (children of his sister Luisa Lorenzi) into the archive of the Barbolani da Montauto family and from here - after the death in 1802 of the last descendant of that branch of the family - into the final family, that of the Velluti Zati, dukes of San Clemente.

Of all this set of family archives, the Ughi is the only one of interest here. After being moved to Anghiari from Palazzo San Clemente in Florence, it was again separated from the archives of the other families and purchased by the ASFi in 1985. For a description of the collection, you can read Daniela Sara's 2004 Preface to the Inventory N/431 of the ASFi.
A substantial part of the documentation refers to the patrimonial administration, which can be divided into domestic administration of the family [domestica], of the farms, and of the religious bodies under the family’s patronage. Two other substantial documentary nuclei concern procedural documents and contracts, wills, and legal writings. The rest of the documentation includes correspondence, scholarly and literary writings, memoirs and memories, plans, inventories, documents relating to different families. It also includes a group in parchment [contracts or similar texts, usually on one sheet, a few of two or more].
___________
1. Malmantile racquistato. Poema di Perlone Zipoli con le note di Puccio Lamoni. Florence1688, pp. 408-411.
2. https://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/lo ... %20Lorenzo

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There are a total of 697 pieces including envelopes, registers and boxes and the documentation covers a very extended time span, from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. It may be surprising that the Ughi archive contains documents subsequent to the extinction of the main branch of the family, but there must have been valid reasons for the inclusion of subsequent documents from other families, or secondary branches of the same, during the separation between the various families of the composite archive.

3. Examination of the book


In the same Inventory indicated above, recently made accessible on the Internet, on the book in question we read, among other things, the following.
Definitive Number: 683 - Provisional Number: 451
Date: 18th century
Attributed title: History of the nobility of Florence, by Piero Monaldi, manuscript copy;
Report [Relazione] of the happy life and death of Lady Supplizia Horida Lazzari, a Florentine noblewoman from Città di Castello, occurred on 28 May 1717, manuscript copy;
Histories and origins from which some of our Tuscan proverbs originated, manuscript copy;
Dialogus Gnocchus, et Maccharo, manuscript copy;
Of the game of minchiate, and the way to play it, and what cards make it up, manuscript copy
Original title: “Piero Monaldi. History of the nobility of Florence (. . .)” Cover [i.e. title on cover]
Description: Cart. Reg. of cm. 32 × 22 bound in cardboard; 140 pp., coeval numbering, followed by many pp. written and some pp. blank, unnumbered
Image
ASFi, Ughi, 683, Cover (Reproduction prohibited)
The attachment UGHIfig1.png is no longer available

It is not clear from the description that Monaldi's History constitutes the essential part of the book; not only because it is indicated as the title on the cover, but also because it constitutes the main part of the volume with all 140 numbered pages dedicated exclusively to this work. The sequel to the book is made up of loose installments, bound together with the main work without page numbers. The reason for this association of documents remains unclear, but it would seem that the aim was to find a lasting preservation for these added documents, which otherwise would have soon been dispersed.

The Report [Relazione] occupies 24 unnumbered pages, the Proverbs 22 and 6 blank, the Dialogus 8, and the Game 8, with an unrelated poem at the last. The size of the paper used for Report and Game is smaller, with pages measuring 28x21cm.

3
The Report is the only document with two precise dates, May 28, 1717, the date of the protagonist's death, and a second in the year 1723, which can be read at the end. In fact, even these years only provide us with a starting date, because the text could have been written, or copied, after an unknown number of years. Furthermore, even if we set such a date for this document, little is defined for us about the others present together, which could be not only independent, but also compiled at different times, before and after.

The History deserves a more in-depth examination, precisely as the main work of the book. Searching for traces of the original, we are lucky to immediately find an example in the digitized catalogs. [note 3] Indeed, we are surprised by the very different dimensions of this copy, a volume of almost 400 pages measuring 42.5x27 cm. Only direct examination of this large and heavy manuscript allows us to understand that the copy from the Ughi archive is simply the first part of the original, which continues with a very long reasoned list of the main Florentine families and the description of events and particular details of history and city life. The date of the original is taken from the text in the interval 1589-1609, but several citations that can also be found online set the compilation to 1607 (although it is not of the original of this work that a precise definition would be useful here). I was also able to examine other copies in the Moreniana Library, where at least four thick manuscripts are preserved, more or less complete. [note 4]

The other texts linked together contain no clues to the dates of compilation. Perhaps an examination of the handwriting by an expert could distinguish only two hands in the writing of all these parts. Some uncertainty also derives from the location of the volume in the archive, one of the last, number 685 out of 697, with contents indicated as Miscellaneous. Specific studies by experts would be useful, but the contents of the book are not such as to lend themselves to in-depth academic research. Of the whole book, the part of specific interest to me is only the last seven pages, with the Game.

4. Game of Minchiate

I was able to verify that the text of the final part of the Ughi manuscript corresponds exactly, except for minimal differences, to that of Minucci's printed note on minchiate, and therefore, I report them both below, with the handwritten copy on the left and the corresponding text printed in 1688. [In this translation, the handwritten copy is in italics, followed by the printed text in normal Roman font.]

The handwriting of the manuscript can be read quite easily, but sometimes the clarity is disturbed by the ink on the back side, which in large part runs through the page. You encounter the usual uncertainties about the use of capitalization and punctuation; in short, I do not guarantee absolute fidelity in the transcription, which in any case does not appear indispensable here in general terms. To facilitate reading I have inserted more paragraphs than can be read in the two cases.

An unclear point concerns the first distribution of the cards. When playing with four players, twenty-one are usually distributed to each, and the remaining thirteen are usually examined by recovering the counting cards present. Here nothing is said about the fate of these thirteen cards, and it would seem that no one could look at them or take them (although the possible absence of some of the counting cards in the game would lose a considerable part of its interest). But one thing remains clear: in the case described, the distribution is typical of the game with three people instead of four, because twenty-five cards are distributed to each, with therefore twenty-two remaining out of play. This distribution is evident in the printed note: first twelve, and then thirteen are distributed, of which the last one is uncovered, and at the end of the text, 25 is found in parallel as the overall number. In the manuscript, it is also clear that the three-player game is implied, because two deals of twelve cards are indicated [in the earlier discussion of the deal], followed, one can imagine, by a third deal with an exposed card.
______________
3. Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Conv. Soppr. A.I.774
4. Biblioteca Moreniana, Mss. Mor. 201, 202, 203; Palagi 50.

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The Game of Minchiate, and the way to play it, and what cards make it up.

The game of minchiate, very popular in our Tuscany, also called Tarocchi, Ganellini, or Germini, is made up of 97 cards, of which 56 are called cartacce [suit cards], and 40 are called Tarocchi, and one is the Fool.


MINCHIATE

It is a very well-known game, also called Tarocchi, Ganellini, or Germini. But because it is little used outside our Tuscany, or at least differently from what we use, for the sake of understanding the present Octaves I consider it necessary to know that the game of Minchiate is played in the manner shown below. This game is made up of ninety-seven cards, of which 56 are called Cartacce [suit cards, but also a term in other contexts meaning “waste paper”; so here, worthless cards, except the kings], and 40 are called Tarocchi and one that is called the fool.

The 56 cards are divided into four species, which are called suits, which in fourteen are depicted with coins (which Galeotto Marzio says <to be> ancient peasant loaves of bread), in 14 [with] Cups, in 14 [with] Swords, and in 14 [with] Batons, and in each card of these suits it begins from one, which is called the ace, up to ten, and in the eleventh there is a Jack, in the 12th a Knight, in the 13th a Queen, in the 14th a King, and all these suit cards outside the Kings are called cartacce.

The 56 Cards are divided into four species, which are called suits, which in fourteen are depicted with Coins, which Galeotto Marzio said were ancient peasant loaves of bread) in 14 [with] Cups, in 14 [with] Swords, and in 14 [with] Batons, and in each card of these suits it begins from one, which is called an ace, up to ten and in the eleventh a Jack is depicted, in the 12th a Knight, in the 13th a Queen, and in the 14th a King, and all these suit cards outside the Kings are called cartacce.

The 40 are called Germini, or Tarocchi, and this word Tarocchi, according to Morosino, comes from the Greek Etharocchi: which word, he says with Alciato, denotantur sodales illi, qui cibi causa ad lusum conveniunt. But I don't know what that word is; I know well, that hetheroi and hetharoi mean sodales; and from this word reduced to the Latin custom can be made hetaroculi, that is, companion the Germini, perhaps from Gemini the celestial Sign, which is the greatest with a number among the Tarocchi. In these cards of tarocchi various hieroglyphs and celestial Signs are depicted, and each one has its number, from one to 35, and the last five up to 40 have no number, but their superiority is distinguished from the figure imprinted on them, which is in this order Star, Moon, Sun, /p. 2/ World, and Trumpets, which is the highest and would be number 40.

The 40 are called Germini or Tarocchi, and this term Tarocchi, according to Monosino, comes from the Greek Etarochi: which word, he says with Alciato, denotantur sodale illi, qui cibi causa ad lusum conveniunt. But I don't know what that word is; I know well, that Heteroi and Hetaroi means sodales; and from this word diminished by the Latin custom, they can be called Hetaroculi, that is, Companions. Germini perhaps from Gemini, a celestial sign, which among the Tarocchi with num. is the highest. In these cards of Tarocchi are depicted various Hieroglyphs and celestial Signs: and each has its number, from one to 35, and the last five up to 40, have no number, but their superiority is distinguished by the figure impressed upon them, which is in this order Star, Moon, Sun, World, and Trumpets, which is the highest and would be number 40.

The allegory is that since the stars are overcome in light by the Moon, and the Moon by the Sun, so the World [Mondo also = Cosmos] is greater than the Sun and the Fame depicted with the Trumpets is worth more than the World; so much so that, even when man has left it, he lives in it by Fame when he has done glorious deeds. Petrarch similarly in the Triumphs makes of it [ne] like a

The allegory is that since the stars are overcome in light by the Moon, and the Moon by the Sun, so the World [Mondo, also = Cosmos] is greater than the Sun, and Fame, represented by the Trumpets, is worth more than the World; so much so that even when a man has left it, he lives in it by fame, when he has done glorious deeds. Petrarch similarly makes in [ne’] The Triumphs like a
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game, because Love is surpassed by chastity, chastity by death; Death by Fame, and Fame by divinity, which eternally reigns.

game, because Love is surpassed by Chastity, Chastity by Death, Death by Fame, and Fame by Divinity, which eternally reigns.

Card 41 is not numbered, but the figure of a Fool is imprinted on it, and this fits with every card, with every number, and is surpassed by every card, but it never dies, that is, it never passes into the hands of the opponent, who in exchange for said Fool receives another cartaccia from the one who dealt the Fool, and if at the end of the game this one, who gave the Fool, has never taken cards from the opponent, it is appropriate that he give the Fool [to the opponent], having no card to give him in its place, and this is the case in which the Fool is lost.

Card 41 is not numbered, but the figure of a Fool is imprinted on it, and this fits with every card, and with every number, and it is passed, from each card, but it never dies, that is, it never passes into the opponent's pile [of cards won], who in exchange for said Fool receives another cartaccia from the one who gave the Fool, and, if at the end of the game this one who gave the Fool has never taken cards from his opponent, it is appropriate that he give [up] the Fool to him, having no other card to give in its place, and this is the case in which the Fool is lost.

Of the Tarocchi, others are called Noble, because they count (that is, whoever holds them wins those points that they are worth), others ignoble, because they do not count. One, two, three, four, and five are Nobles, [of] which card one counts five and the other cards count three each.
The numbers 10, 13, 20, and 28 up to and including 35 count five each, and the last five count 10 each and are called Arie [Airs]. The Fool counts five, and each King counts five, and they are also among the Noble cards.
/p. 3/ The number 29 does not count except when it is in the verzicola, [in] which [it] then counts five, and one time less than its companions respectively.


Of such Tarocchi, others are called noble because they count (that is, whoever holds them wins those points that they are worth), others ignoble, because they do not count. One, two, three, four, and five are Nobles, [of] which card One counts five, and the other four count three each.
The numbers 10, 13, 20, and 28 to 35 inclusive count five each, and the last five count ten each, and are called Arie [Airs]. The Fool counts five, and each King counts five, and they are also among the noble cards.
The number 29 does not count except when it is in the verzicola, [in] which [it] then counts five, and one time less than its companions respectively.

From said noble cards, the verzicole are formed, which are orders and sequences of at least three equal cards, such as three Kings, or four Kings, or three low-level [andante] cards, such as the one, two, three, four and five; or composed as one, 14, and 28; one, Fool and 40 which is the Trumpets; 10, 20, 30, or 20, 30 and 40. And these verzicole must be shown before the game begins, and placed on the table, which is called declaring the verzicola.

From said noble cards, the Verzicole are formed, which are orders and sequences of at least three equal cards, such as three Kings or four Kings; or of three low-level [andanti] cards, such as the One, two, and three, four, and five; or composed, such as one, 13, and 28; One, Fool and forty, which is the Trumpets; Ten, 20, and 30; or 20, 30, and 40. And these verzicole must be shown before the game begins, and placed on the table, which is called declaring the Verzicola.

The Fool fits with all the verzicole, and counts doubly or trebly, as do the others that are in a verzicole, which exists without the Fool, and never forms a verzicola, except in the one, Fool, and Trumpets..

The Fool fits into all the verzicole, and counts double or triple, as do the others that are in a verzicola, which exists without fool and never forms a verzicola, except in the one, fool, and trumpets.

Of these verzicola cards, the number that they are worth is counted three times, so when the opponent does not spoil it for you by killing one card or more with superior cards, which in this


Of these verzicola cards, the number that they are worth is counted three times, when, however, the opponent does not spoil it for you by killing one card or more with superior cards, which in this case,
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case, those that remain count twice, if therefore they do not remain in sequence of 3. For example at the beginning of the game I show 32, 33, 34, 35; if the 33 or 34 dies to me, which breaks the sequence of three, the verzicola is damaged, and those that remain there only count twice for one, but if the 32 or 35 dies to me, the sequence of three remains for you and consequently it is a verzicola, and their value counts three times for each one.

those that remain count twice; if, however, they do not remain in a sequence of three, for example: At the beginning of the game, I show 32, 33, 34, and 35. If the 33 or 34 dies to me, that breaks the sequence of three, the verzicola is spoiled, and those that remain in it count only twice for one, but if the 32 or 35 dies, the sequence of three remains for you, and consequently, it is a verzicola, and their value counts three times for each one.

The Fool, as has been said, does not make a sequence, but always counts its value two or three times, depending on how the verzicola counts, whether the damaged or saved. And when there is more than one verzicola, the Fool goes with all of them, but only once counts three, and the rest count two; and this is meant of the verzicole augmented [aumentate] and shown before the game begins, because those made with the cards killed of the /p. 4/ opponents, which would be if, having the 32 and 33, I killed the opponent’s 31 or 34, and made the verzicola, and this counts twice.

The Fool, as has been said, does not make a sequence but its value always counts twice, or three times, depending on how the verzicola’s value counts, whether damaged or saved; and when there is more than one verzicola, the Fool goes with all of them, but only once counts three, and the rest counts two; and this means the verzicole declared [accusate] and shown before the game begins, because those made with the cards killed by the opponents, as would be, if, having the 32 and 33, I killed the opponent’s 31 or 34, and made the verzicola, and this counts twice.

When one of the noble cards is killed, each opponent marks [segna, i.e. scores] as many marks [segni] or points to the person to whom it died as the card was worth [on how this works, see my quotation from Dummett and McLeod at the end of this post], except therefore those which have been shown in verzicole, of which, being killed, nothing is scored (except by the one who by privilege does not play) because such marks are gained by the adversaries in the reduction of the value of that verzicola, which will have to be counted three times, and dying it counts two: and the 29, the verzicola dying where it entered, counts only five.

When one of the noble cards is killed, each opponent marks [segna, i.e. scores] as many marks [segni] or points to the person to whom it died as the card was worth [on how this works, see my quotation from Dummett and McLeod at the end of this post]; except, however, those which have been shown in verzicole, of which, being killed, nothing is scored (except by the one who by privilege does not play), because such marks come from the adversaries gained in the reduction in the value of that verzicola, which should count three times, and dying, counts two: and the 29, the verzicola dying where it entered, counts only five.

The other cards, which are called ignoble cards, and cartacce, do not count (although they sometimes kill the noble cards, which count as tarocchi; from the number six onwards they kill all the little ones [piccini], that is, the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; and those from 14 onwards also kill the 13, and from the 21 they also kill the 20, and every tarocco kills the Kings), but they serve to rigirare [move the cards in a way that controls] the game; which game is not used among us, except in four people at most, and then 21 cards are dealt to each; and when playing with two or three people, 25 are given. And when playing with four people, the first person who follows after the one who has shuffled the cards on the right hand (which is said to have the hand) has the right not to play, and pay thirty marks to the one who in the game takes

Then the other cards, which are called ignoble cards, and cartacce, do not count (although indeed they sometimes kill the noble ones, which count as tarocchi; from the number 6 onwards, they kill all the little ones, that is, the 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; from the 14 onwards they also kill the 13, and from the 21 onwards they kill the 20, and every tarocco kills the Kings), but they serve to rigirare [move the cards in a way that controls] the game; which game is not used among us, except in four people at most, and then 21 cards are given to each: and when two or three people play, 25 are given. And playing in four people, the first who follows on the right hand after the one who has shuffled the cards (who is said to have the hand) has the right not to play, and pays thirty marks to the one who
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the last card, and this one who takes the last card (who is said to make the last) earns from each of those who have played ten marks. The one who does not play still wins those of the dead, that is, he also marks the value of the card to the one to whom said card is /p. 5/ killed.

in the game takes the last card, and this one who takes the last card (who is said to make the last) earns from each of those who have played ten marks. The one who does not play still gains from those of the dead; that is, he also marks the value of the card to the one to whom said card is killed.

If this first player plays, the second has the right not to play by paying 40 marks, if the second plays, the third has said right by paying 50 marks; if the third plays, the option passes to the fourth, who pays 60 marks as above. But if there are only three people playing, there is no option not to play.

If this first player plays, the second has the right not to play, paying 40 marks; if the second plays, the third has the said option, paying 50 marks: if the third plays, he passes the option to the fourth, who pays 60 marks, as above. But if there are only three people playing, there is no option not to play.

Once the cards are shuffled, one of the players, who is on the left hand of the one who shuffled, cuts [alza, literally, “raises”] a part of it, and if, turning to the bottom of that part of the deck which remains in his hand, there is one of the noble cards at the bottom of that part of the deck, or a card from 21 to 27 inclusive, he takes it and continues to take them until he finds an ignoble card there. The one who has shuffled the cards after having given the first round to each person and himself 12, and 12 the second, and having revealed the last card to everyone, reveals it also to himself the same, and then looks at the one that follows, and he takes it if it is a noble card, or a tarocco from 21 to 27, and continues to take as above, and this is called robbing, and these cards which are robbed, and which are revealed, being noble, earn to him who robs them as many tokens as they are worth; and those who rob them must discard, i.e. take away from their hands, as many cards of their choice as they have robbed, and reduce their cards to the number adequate to that of their companions; and whoever does not discard, or due to another accident of badly counted cards, ultimately finds himself with more cards, or with fewer than his opponents, due to his mistake, does not count the points which his cards are worth, but goes out of play.

Once the cards are shuffled, one of the players, who is on the left hand of the one who shuffled cuts [alza, literally, “raises”] a part of them: and if, turning to the bottom of that part of the deck which remains in his hand, there is one of the noble cards, or a tarocco from 21 to the 27 inclusive, he takes it, and continues to take them until he finds an ignoble card there. The one who has shuffled the cards, after having given the first turn twelve to each person and to himself, and the second turn thirteen, and having revealed the last card to everyone, reveals it to himself the same, and then looks at that which follows, and takes it, if it is a noble card or a tarocco from 21 to 27, and continues to take as above, and this is called robbing, and these cards, which are robbed and revealed, being noble, earn the person to whom they are revealed, or who robs them, as many tokens as they are worth; and those who rob them must discard, that is, take away from their hands as many cards of their choice as they have robbed, so as to reduce their cards to the number adequate to that of the companions; and whoever does not discard, or due to another accident of badly counted cards, ultimately finds himself with more cards, or with fewer than his opponents, due to his mistake does not count the points they are worth, but goes out of play.

The one who deals more or less than the established number of cards pays 20 points to each of his opponents; to whoever if finding more, must discard those he has more; /p. 6/ but he cannot make a vacancy, that is, there must remain some of that suit left over which he discards; if he has less, he must take them out of the residual [dal monte, literally, from the mountain] at his choice, but without seeing inside, that is, asking for the fifth or sixth etc. of those that are in the residual [mountain], and the one who shuffled

The one who deals more or less than the established number of cards pays 20 points to each of his opponents, and whoever has more in his hand must discard the ones he has more; but he cannot make a vacancy, that is, some must remain of that suit which he discards; If he has less, he must take it from the residual [dal monte, literally, from the mountain] at his choice, but without seeing inside, that is, asking for the fifth or sixth, etc. of those that are in the residual [monte], and that one, who
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the cards (which is called making the cards), gives him who made the cut that which he asked for.

The game begins by showing the verzicole that one has in one’s hand, and then the first person after the one who shuffled the cards, to his right hand, places a card on the table (which is called giving). Those others who follow must give of the same suit, if they have any, and if they do not have any, they must give a tarocco, and this is called not responding, and giving of the same suit is called responding.


shuffled the cards (which is called making the cards), gives him who made the cut that which he asked for.

The game begins by showing the verzicole that one has in his hand, then the first person after the one who has shuffled the cards to his right hand puts a card on the table (which is called giving), the others who follow must give of the same suit, if they have any; and if they do not have any, they have to give a tarocco, and this is called not responding, and giving of the same suit is called responding.

Whoever does not respond, and has in his hand the suit that was placed on the table, pays sixty points to each, and returns that noble card which he had killed. For example [Ex. gr.], the first gives the King of coins, and the second, although he has coins in his hand, gives a Tarocco, above the King, and kills him. Discovered having coins in his hand, he returns the King to whoever it was, and pays his opponents 60 points each, as has been said.

Whoever does not respond, and has in his hand the suit that was placed on the table, pays sixty points to each, and returns that noble card which he had killed; for example, the first gives the King of Coins and the second, although he has coins in his hand, gives a Tarocco, above the King, and kills him; discovered that he has coins in his hand, he returns the King to whoever it was, and pays his adversaries sixty points each, as has been said.

Every tarocco takes all the suits, and among them the larger number takes the smaller, and the fool never takes, and is not taken, except in the case mentioned above.

Every tarocco takes all the suits, and among them the larger number takes the smaller, and the fool never takes, and is not taken, except in the case mentioned above.

So it goes on, giving the cards, and the first to give is the one who takes the cards given, and everyone tries to take the cards that count from the opponent, and when they have finished giving all the cards they have in their hands, each one counts all the points, as many cards as he has more, then counts all his honors, that is, the gross count of the noble cards and verzicole that are found in his cards, and marks to the opponent as many points as his honors count /p. 7/ more than his, and every sixty points a token [or mark] is set aside [si mette da bando un segno], which is called a sixty, and these sixties are valued according to the agreement.

So it goes on, giving the cards, and the first to give is the one who takes the cards given, and everyone tries to take the cards that count from the opponent, and when they have finished giving all the cards they have in their hand, each one counts the cards they have taken: and having more than his 25, he marks as many points to the one who has less as many cards as he has more; then he counts his honors, that is, the value of the noble cards and verzicole found in his cards, and marks as many points to the opponent as he counts more with his honors, and every sixty points a token [or mark] is set aside [si mette da banda un segno], which is called a sixty, and these sixties are valued according to the agreement.
Apart from the technical details, in which it is rare if not impossible to find significant differences, it remains important to understand the meaning of this manuscript copy. Unfortunately we do not find any of the answers we would need, and therefore several questions remain open.

We have seen that the Florentine minchiate players, who played the oldest and most traditional game for them, did not soon produce printed books with the rules of the game. Why? Here the answer seems easy: because they didn't need it, since it was an experience consolidated over several centuries. It is therefore not surprising if the first instruction booklets for playing were written elsewhere and printed in Rome, Livorno, and then even in Dresden.
Image
ASFi, Ughi, 683, First page on the Game of Minchiate (Reproduction prohibited)
Minucci's Note had as its main purpose that of making Lorenzo Lippi's poem better understandable to non-Tuscans. So why is it precisely in Florence (and there are no other probable locations involved, and certainly not outside Tuscany) that it is considered useful to copy Minucci's Note? For personal use, to clarify some doubts in the game, or even to learn it? At the request of someone curious for information on that strange local game? To support a traditional way of playing against different variants recently introduced? To teach the first elements to some of the many foreigners passing through?

I think it is impossible to resolve the various questions that remain open. Help that could limit the horizon of hypotheses would come from a precise dating of the manuscript. For the sake of thoroughness, in case it could be useful, I also transcribe the poem added separately on the last page of the Game. [The translation follows the Italian original.]
Ciascun gl’occhi del corpo, e della mente
Ponga a quello, che per noi se gli dimostra,
E vedrà spessamente,
E per vizio, che assai regna all’età nostra:
E quanto poca gente
La verità conosce in questa vita,
E del suo bel color vada vestita.
Color, che a lato della Calunnia vanno
Fede del falso con lor sottil’arte
Appresso il Rè le fanno,
La verità celando a parte, a parte
L’un da se è l’inganno,
L’altro è la fraude, e così tutt’e tre
Fanno al Signor parer quel che non è.

Everyone the eyes of the body and of the mind,
Should point to what is demonstrated to us,
And he will see often,
And by [due to?] vice, which reigns greatly in our age:
And how few people
The truth know in this life,
And she should be dressed in her beautiful color.
Those who go to the side of Calumny,
Faith of the false, with their subtle art,
They make her [faith of the false] near the King,
The truth hiding apart, apart [like “da parte a parte,” from one side to another, i.e. everywhere?]
The one from itself is deception,
The other is fraud, and so all three [including calumny]
Make the Lord appear to be what he is not.
In the absence of useful information, only one impression remains: that the game whose rules it is considered appropriate to copy had already changed substantially at the time the Note was transcribed. By now, for a more or less long time, that traditional Florentine variant had already been surpassed in use by a new way of playing, four in pairs and also with the use, in some way, of the thirteen cards advanced in the initial distribution. [note 5] As regards the game in pairs, rather than talking about a novelty for Florence we should talk about a return, as that way of playing had already been documented centuries before. [note 6] In fact, the game in pairs presents evidently advantageous characteristics such as simplification in scoring, which in the Note variant requires a continuous passing of marks [segni] among all players even during the game; above all, in particular, an easier welcome in a lounge or in a typical eighteenth-century "conversation" room with the presence of both gentlemen and ladies at the gaming table. Only in this way can we explain the subsequent fashion of minchiate, also among some European courts.

5. Appendix

I would like to take advantage of the opportunity to report new findings on minchiate by also indicating three editions on the game that had not been possible to identify in two recent studies.

The first study concerned Il Capitolo delle Minchiate [The Chapter of Minchiate], [note 7] and in this regard, I can point out another edition of 1777, preserved in the Biblioteca Universitaria di Genova [University Library of Genoa] and now traceable in the digitized historical catalogs of the ICCU. [note 8]

The second study was entitled Minchiate le Regole Generali di Roma e Macerata [Minchiate the General Rules of Roma and Macerata]. [note 9] In this case, an edition that was searched for in vain for a long time has been included in the OPAC. Very few copies of all or almost all the booklets of this kind are preserved, scattered in distant libraries; of this one, Roman of 1773, not even a single example had been identified. Now we see that the Biblioteca dell’Istituto Campana a Osimo [Library of the Campana Institute in Osimo] has one. I reported the rarity of the book to the librarian and she confirmed her intention to digitize it and put a copy online on the library website. If the operation is not yet completed, just wait a few weeks. Furthermore, again in OPAC, a second copy of the first Roman edition of 1728 appeared in the meantime, preserved in Italy precisely in the Biblioteca dell’Istituto Centrale per Il Patrimonio Immateriale - Ex Biblioteca dell’Istituto Centrale per la Demoetnoantropologia [Library of the Central Institute for Intangible Heritage - Former Library of the Central Institute for Demoethnoanthropology], in Rome. By continuing in this way with the digitization of catalogs, even of minor libraries, we can have confidence in other future discoveries.

Florence, 14.03.2024
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5. M. Dummett, J. McLeod, A History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack. Lewiston 2004, pp. 329-353.
6. The Playing-Card, 16 No. 3 (1988) 78-83; https://www.naibi.net/A/08-FLOLITE-Z.pdf
7. The Playing-Card, 47 No. 2 (2018) 103-113; https://www.naibi.net/A/80-CARDS.pdf
8. https://cataloghistorici.bdi.sbn.it/fil ... GRP=950221
9. The Playing-Card, 48, No. 3 (2020) 96-102; https://www.naibi.net/A/84.pdf


Additional note from the translator, on the scoring system that was customarily used during play, i.e. before the end of the hand (see above "points to the person to whom it died"). Dummett and McLeod, A History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack, 2005, p. 338, offer a more detailed account than Minucci, which is at least consistent with what he says, if not of precisely the same game (partnership rather than everyone for oneself):
There are several possibilities of gaining points before the end of the hand: for a counting card exposed as the last card dealt to either of the partners, for counting cards robbed from the pack, for versicole declared during the first trick, or for causing the deaths of the opponents' counting cards (i.e. capturing them). The amounts scored in any of these ways during the hand are recorded as the amount by which one side is ahead of the other. So at any stage, one side has a positive score and the other a zero score, points gained by the side currently behind the other are subtracted from the score of the leading side. For example, the third player (left of the dealer) robs the III, so his side (side A) marks 3 points. The first player's exposed card in the deal is the XIII, so side A changes its running total to 8 points. Now the dealer robs the XX, so side A reduces its total to 3 points again. The third player declares a versicola of the I, II and III (11 points), and side A's score is raised to 14 points, but the dealer declares the XX, XXX, and Trombe (20 points), so side A's score is deleted and side B scores 6 points. In the play, side A captures the XXVIII, reducing side B's score to 1 point; later, side A captures the Luna, wiping out side B's score and marking 9 points.
In this example, there are only two sides to contend with. In the everyone-for-oneself game, there will be two, three, or four sides involved. But the principle is the same.
Last edited by mikeh on 16 Jun 2024, 03:59, edited 3 times in total.

Re: Franco Pratesi, new publications (since 2023)

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This translation is of a second manuscript version of Minucci's Note, this one by Minucci himself, apparently a first draft of the printed version. On naibi.net, Franco puts the two side by side for comparison purposes. This forum does not have the software for such presentation, that I am aware of, so instead I put them after each other, paragraph by paragraph, with the manuscript paragraph in italics and the printed version in normal Roman. This printed version should be exactly the same as the printed version transcribed in the note immediately before this one in this thread.

Franco's original is "Minchiate – Nota autografa di Paolo Minucci," posted on June 1, 2024, at https://www.naibi.net/A/MINUCCI.pdf. As usual, comments in square brackets are mine in consultation with Franco (often simply transcribing his suggestions, or translating them into English) for clarification purposes. The numbers by themselves in the left margin are the page numbers of his Italian pdf, and his footnotes are at the botttoms of these pages.

Minchiate – Autograph note by Paolo Minucci

Franco Pratesi

1. Introduction


In a recent study I presented a manuscript copy of Paolo Minucci's Note included in Lorenzo Lippi's Malmantile racquistato. [note 1] That copy had minimal differences from the printed one, and ultimately both the copyist and the purpose of the copy itself remained unknown. This time I present another manuscript version of the same Note, which, however, has a very particular merit: it was inserted by Paolo Minucci himself into his manuscript copy of the Malmantile, in two volumes, in which his own handwritten annotations are present. The work is preserved in the Central National Library of Florence, in the Magliabechiana collection. [note 2]

So I can use the printed text from 1688 again [note 3] (the second edition after that of 1676, but the first with Minucci's Note), comparing it this time with its original manuscript version. I can immediately anticipate the result: the comparison was rather disappointing, because the manuscript does not bring us additional information, and indeed appears to be a significantly reduced version.

Despite this, I considered it useful to copy and transcribe the handwritten note, also because it documents an initial variant of it. The additions to the manuscript version can thus indicate clarifications deemed necessary at a later time and inserted, most likely with the assistance of other game experts who were friends of Minucci himself, starting with Filippo Baldinucci. [note 4]

2. Copy of the handwritten note compared with the printed version
[In what follows, the paragraphs of the handwritten note are in italics and the paragraphs of the printed version, following the others, in normal Roman type]
Image
Florence, BNCF, Magliabechi, Cl VII 207, f. 71r.
(Reproduction prohibited)
____________________
1. https://www.naibi.net/A/UGHI.pdf
2. BNCF, Magliabechi, Cl VII 207.
3. Malmantile racquistato. Poema di Perlone Zipoli con le note di Puccio Lamoni. Florence, 1688, pp. 408-411.
4. https://www.google.it/books/edition/Poe ... frontcover, p. 247.


2
Minchiate.

It is a very well-known card game, also called Tarocchi, Ganellini, and Germini. But for the sake of understanding the present Octaves, I consider it necessary to know that this game of minchiate is played with 97 cards in the manner shown below.


MINCHIATE.

It is a very well-known game, also called Tarocchi, Ganellini, or Germini. But because it is little used outside our Tuscany, or at least differently from what we use, for the sake of understanding the present Octaves I consider it necessary to know that the game of Minchiate is played in the manner shown below. This game is made up of ninety-seven cards, of which 56 are called Cartacce [suit cards, but also a term in other contexts meaning “waste paper”; so here, worthless cards, except the kings], and 40 are called Tarocchi and one that is called the fool.

This deck of cards is made up of 14 cards of coins, 14 of cups, 14 of swords, and 14 of batons, and in each card of these suits starting from one to ten, then the jack, the knight, the queen, and the Kings, and such cards are called suits, that is, suit of cups, suit of swords, etc.; and they make the number 56.


The 56 Cards are divided into four species, which are called suits, which in fourteen are depicted with Coins (which Galeotto Marzio said were ancient peasant loaves of bread), in 14 [with] Cups, in 14 [with] Swords; and in 14 [with] Batons; and in each card of these suits it begins from one, which is called an ace, up to ten and in the eleventh a Jack is depicted, in the 12th a Knight, in the 13th a Queen, and in the 14th a King, and all these suit cards outside the Kings are called cartacce.

The other 40 cards are called germini, or Tarocchi, and this term Tarocchi, in which various hieroglyphs and celestial signs are expressed, and each has its number from one to 40, and in addition to these there is one inside of which the figure of a fool is imprinted, and this is not numbered, because it fits with all the cards and every number.

The 40 are called Germini or Tarocchi, and this term Tarocchi, according to Monosino, comes from the Greek Etarochi: which word, he says with Alciato, denotantur sodale illi, qui cibi causa ad lusum conveniunt. But I don't know what that word is; I know well, that Heteroi and Hetaroi means sodales; and from this word diminished by the Latin custom, they can be called Hetaroculi, that is, Companions. Germini perhaps from Gemini, a celestial sign, which among the Tarocchi with num. is the highest. In these cards of Tarocchi are depicted various Hieroglyphs and celestial Signs: and each has its number, from one to 35, and the last five up to 40, have no number, but their superiority is distinguished by the figure impressed upon them, which is in this order Star, Moon, Sun, World, and Trumpets, which is the highest and would be number 40.

The allegory is that since the stars are overcome in light by the Moon, and the Moon by the Sun, so the World [Mondo, also = Cosmos] is greater than the Sun, and Fame, represented by the Trumpets, is worth more than the World; so much so that even when a man has left it, he lives in it by fame, when he has done glorious deeds. Petrarch similarly makes in the Triumphs like a
3
game, because Love is surpassed by Chastity, Chastity by Death, Death by Fame, and Fame by Divinity, which eternally reigns.

Card 41 is not numbered, but the figure of a Fool is imprinted on it, and this fits with every card, and with every number, and it is passed, from each card, but it never dies, that is, it never passes into the opponent's pile [of cards won], who in exchange for said Fool receives another cartaccia from the one who gave the Fool, and, if at the end of the game, this one who gave the Fool has never taken cards from his opponent, it is appropriate that he give [up] the Fool to him, having no other card to give in its place, and this is the case in which the Fool is lost.

Of such cards, others are called noble because they count; that is, whoever has them in his hand wins those points that they mark, and these are the nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, of which the one counts five, and the other four count three each.

Of such Tarocchi, others are called noble because they count (that is, whoever holds them wins those points that they are worth), others ignoble, because they do not count. One, two, three, four, and five are Nobles, [of] which card One counts five, and the other four count three each.

The no. 10, the 13, the 20, and from the 28 up to the 40 inclusive, count five each, except the last five which count ten and are called arie, and the 29, which does not count except when it is in the verzicola. The four kings, and the fool five each.

The numbers 10, 13, 20, and 28 to 35 inclusive count five each, and the last five count ten each, and are called Arie [Airs]. The Fool counts five, and each King counts five, and they are also among the noble cards.
The number 29 does not count except when it is in the verzicola, [in] which [it] then counts five, and one time less than its companions respectively.

From these noble cards Verzicole are formed, i.e. sequences of at least three cards, such as one, two, and three, etc. The one, the fool, and the 40 is a verzicola. The one, the 13, and the 28 is a verzicola. The ten, the 20, and the 30, or the 20, 30 and 40 is a verzicola. Three kings, or four, are a verzicola.


From said noble cards, the Verzicole are formed, which are orders and sequences of at least three equal cards, such as three Kings or four Kings; or of three low-level [andanti] cards, such as the One, two, and three, four, and five; or composed, such as one, 13, and 28; One, Fool and forty, which is the Trumpets; Ten, 20, and 30; or 20, 30, and 40. And these verzicole must be shown before the game begins, and placed on the table, which is called declaring the Verzicola.
The Fool fits into all the verzicole, and counts double or triple, as do the others that are in a verzicola, which exists without fool and never forms a verzicola, except in the one, fool, and trumpets.

These verzicola cards are counted three times in number, when they are not taken by the opponent with a superior card, which is called killing, and when they are killed, those

Of these verzicola cards, the number that they are worth is counted three times, when, however, the opponent does not spoil it for you by killing one card or more with superior cards, which in this case,
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cards that remain of that verzicola are counted twice, and the fool does the same effect with all the verzicole.

those that remain count twice; if, however, they do not remain in a sequence of three, for example: At the beginning of the game, I show 32, 33, 34, and 35. If the 33 or 34 dies to me, that breaks the sequence of three, the verzicola is spoiled, and those that remain in it count only twice for one, but if the 32 or 35 dies, the sequence of three remains for you, and consequently, it is a verzicola, and their value counts three times for each one.

If the fool or other cards enter more than one verzicola, it will count twice more per verzicola, in addition to the three mentioned, when, however, they are in one’s hand at the beginning of the game, because the verzicole made in playing are only counted two times.

The Fool, as has been said, does not make a sequence but its value always counts twice, or three times, depending on how the verzicola’s value counts, whether damaged or saved; and when there is more than one verzicola, the Fool goes with all of them, but only once counts three, and the rest counts two; and this means the verzicole declared [accusate] and shown before the game begins, because those made with the cards killed by the opponents, as would be, if, having the 32 and 33, I killed the opponent’s 31 or 34, and made the verzicola, and this counts twice.

When one of these noble cards is killed, each of the players scores, or wins, for the one that was killed, as many points as the dead card counts, except for those that are in the verzicola, of which, being killed, the companions are not marked [non si segnano], nor do they win anything.

When one of the noble cards is killed, each opponent marks [segna, i.e. scores] as many marks [segni], or points to the person to whom it died as the card was worth [for a fuller explanation see the quotation at the end of my previous post in this thread]; except, however, those which have been shown in verzicole, of which, being killed, nothing is marked (except by the one who by privilege does not play), because such marks come from the adversaries gained in the reduction in the value of that verzicola, which should count three times, and dying, counts two: and the 29, the verzicola dying where it entered, counts only five.

The other cards are called ignoble cards, and do not count but only serve to rigirare [move the cards in a way that controls] the game; which game cannot be played with more than four people, who then are given 21 cards; and if there are two or three players playing, 25 are given to each.

Then the other cards, which are called ignoble cards, and cartacce, do not count (although indeed they sometimes kill the noble ones, which count as tarocchi; from the number 6 onwards, they kill all the little ones, that is, the 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; from the 14 onwards they also kill the 13, and from the 21 onwards they kill the 20, and every tarocco kills the Kings), but they serve to rigirare [move the cards in a way that controls] the game; which game is not used among us, except in four people at most, and then 21 cards are given to each: and when two or three people play, 25 are given. And playing in four people, the first who follows on the right hand after the one who has shuffled the cards (who is said to have the hand) has the right not to play, and pays thirty marks to the one who
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in the game takes the last card, and this one who takes the last card (who is said to make the last) earns from each of those who have played ten marks. The one who does not play still gains from those of the dead; that is, he also marks the value of the card to the one to whom said card is killed.

If this first player plays, the second has the right not to play, paying 40 marks; if the second plays, the third has said option, paying 50 marks: if the third plays, he passes the option to the fourth, who pays 60 marks, as above. But if there are only three people playing, there is no option not to play.

Having shuffled the cards, one of the players, who is next to the one who shuffles, cuts a part of them [alza, literally “raises”], and if turning it over at the bottom of the pack [the raised part] one of said noble cards, or a tarocco from 21 to 27 inclusive, is revealed, he takes it, continuing to take them all until he finds an ignoble card, and likewise the one who shuffled the cards, who finally turns over one of the noble cards, or a tarocco from 21 onwards, continues to take from it as the one who cut [or raised] did; and if they are noble cards, both the one and the other [player] mark the points to each [of the players], whatever that and those cards which he has removed count, and this is called robbing; and the one who robs must discard, that is, he throws away [puts in the residual pile, the mountain] as many cards as he robbed, to be reduced to the number appropriate to the opponent's cards.

Once the cards are shuffled, one of the players, who is on the left hand of the one who shuffled cuts [alza, literally, “raises”] a part of them: and if, turning to the bottom of that part of the deck which remains in his hand, there is one of the noble cards, or a tarocco from 21 to the 27 inclusive, he takes it, and continues to take them until he finds an ignoble card there. The one who has shuffled the cards, after having given the first turn twelve to each person and to himself, and the second turn thirteen, and having revealed the last card to everyone, reveals it to himself the same, and then looks at that which follows, and takes it, if it is a noble card or a tarocco from 21 to 27, and continues to take as above, and this is called robbing, and these cards, which are robbed and revealed, being noble, earn the person to whom they are revealed, or who robs them, as many tokens as they are worth; and those who rob them must discard, that is, take away from their hands as many cards of their choice as they have robbed, so as to reduce their cards to the number adequate to that of the companions; and whoever does not discard, or due to another accident of badly counted cards, ultimately finds himself with more cards, or with fewer than his opponents, due to his mistake does not count the points they are worth, but goes out of play.

The one who deals the cards always reveals everyone's last card, and if it is noble, the one to whom it is revealed marks to each one what it counts. Whoever does not discard, or is ultimately found with one more or less card, does not count the points of his cards, but goes out of play due to his mistake:


The one who deals more or less than the established number of cards pays 20 points to each of his opponents, and whoever has more in his hand must discard the ones he has more; but he cannot make a void, that is, some must remain of that suit which he discards; If he has less, he must take it from the residual [dal monte, literally, from the mountain] at his choice, but without seeing inside, that is, asking for the fifth or sixth, etc. of those that are in the residual [monte], and that one, who

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Whoever deals the cards badly, either more or less than the perfect number, either to himself or to his opponents, pays 20 marks [points] each.

shuffled the cards (which is called making the cards) made the cut, gives him that which he asked for.

The game begins by showing the verzicole that one has in his hand, then the first person after the one who has shuffled the cards to his right hand puts a card on the table (which is called giving), the others who follow must give of the same suit, if they have any; and if they do not have any, they have to give a tarocco, and this is called not responding, and giving of the same suit is called responding.

Whoever does not respond, that is, in playing does not throw on the table the suit if he has any such card that the first player gave, pays 60 points to each of them, and returns those that he has killed to whoever it was.

Whoever does not respond, and has in his hand the suit that was placed on the table, pays sixty points to each, and returns that noble card which he had killed; for example, the first gives the King of coins and the second, although he has coins in his hand, gives a Tarocco, above the King, and kills him; discovered that he has coins in his hand, he returns the King to whoever it was, and pays his adversaries sixty points each, as has been said.

Every tarocco takes all the suits, and among them the larger number takes the smaller, and the fool never takes, and is not taken, except in the case mentioned above.

And so the game is played, giving the cards on the table one at a time, and each one tries to take from his companion the cards that count, and this taking is called killing, and at the end of the game, that is, when all the cards that count have been given that each one had in his hand, he marks the points which he advances to the companion, and every sixty points one mark [or token] is set aside [si mette da parte un segno], which is called a sixty. And this seems to me to be enough to facilitate the understanding of the present octaves.

So it goes on, giving the cards, and the first to give is the one who takes the cards given, and everyone tries to take the cards that count from his opponent, and when they have finished giving all the cards they have in their hand, each one counts the cards they have taken: and having more than his 25, he marks as many points to the one who has less as many cards as he has more; then he counts his honors, that is, the value of the noble cards and verzicole found in his cards, and marks as many points to his opponent as he counts more with his honors, and every sixty points one token [or mark] is set aside [si mette da banda un segno], which is called a sixty, and these sixties are valued according to the agreement.
3. Comments on the comparison

Some additions in the printed edition which are of some interest can be found immediately at the beginning with two short asides; the first “is little used outside our Tuscany or at least differently from what we use”: it broadens the horizon to consider minchiate outside its area of origin, and it is important to point out to us that the vogue for minchiate had not yet begun in Rome, from where it then took off across the whole of Europe. The second is the simple addition that the lowest cards of the deck

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“are called cartacce,” a generic term useful for distinguishing them, but which was not present in the manuscript.

Of another type of interest, so to speak humanistic, are three subsequent additions which with short intervals present us with information of an academic type, clearly added by some scholar ready to exhibit his culture, both in the case of a suit of “Coins that were said by Galeotto Marzio to be ancient peasant loaves of bread,” and above all for the name of tarocchi, “Monosino says it comes from the Greek Etarochi” and everything that follows. Shortly afterwards, this time without resorting to citations from ancient authors, our erudite commentator also ventures to explain the order of the Arie: “The allegory is, that since the stars are overcome in light by the Moon,” and so on. I imagine it is the same academic commentator who, after these interventions, feels satisfied and leaves the field free for further additions of only a technical nature.

The first such addition concerns the Fool's properties. The different ways of playing it are better specified and the particular condition that occurs when it remains with the player until the last hand is added. After a brief addition that clarifies the particular role of tarot 29 (the details of which were not available in the autograph version), we find other information on the Fool relating to its inclusion in the verzicole. Then, speaking about the verzicole, we find the definition of damaged verzicole, also clarified with a specific example.

Very important is the subsequent addition on the conditions for not playing, first mentioned in passing and then described in detail (after a further clarification on the characteristics of tarot 29), with the points being lost, depending on the position at the table, in favor of who makes the last trick. Obviously, these conditions are only important in the everyone-for-oneself game, which is the one covered in the Note. The rules for penalties in case of errors in the discards are then added.

We then move on to examine the course of the game, starting from the distribution of the cards, and here we find some additions on initially declaring verzicole and on the definition of responding to the suit played. Unusually, there is additional information in the manuscript version on the way of dealing the cards, which only here is indicated "one at a time" [a una per volta] which is also in contrast with other ways of dealing indicated in subsequent manuals. [This was a wrong reading, due to the verb “dare” that is only used for the initial deal.--FP. The correct reading: Unusually, Minucci calls the process in a trick where each player puts down one card that of “giving [dare] the cards on the table one at a time.”--MH] Conversely, the number 25, of cards that each player is entitled to, is only present in the printed version, but we know that this number corresponds to the game with three players and not four players.

The indications on the course of the game are completed, in particular on how the tarocchi are played and how the Fool is played. As might have been expected, we encounter the last significant addition when explaining the final count, with several more details than the manuscript version.

In addition to these differences that emerge from the comparison, there is some information present in both the printed and manuscript versions that require some further comment. We begin immediately with the initial definitions in which, rather unusually, we find the name Germini associated with that of Tarocchi (and not that of Minchiate as usual) to indicate only the superior cards.

Another point concerns the ignoble cards, for which it is rightly specified that they are used to rigirare [move the cards in a way that controls the game], and the difference between the scoring value and the order of taking is clarified, such that an interesting characteristic of the card game derives from the fact that the worthless ones are able to capture noble cards.

You may also notice absences of rules that would be useful but are not found in either of the cases. For example, strangely, no mention is ever made of the fola, who would be responsible for looking at it and withdrawing the counting cards present. Another significant absence is the indication of the game of four in pairs, which in the Florence of the time had probably fallen into disuse, before a subsequent revival.

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4. Information on the author


The main source for finding information on Minucci is the Biographical Dictionary of Italians. [note 5] You can thus find all the essential information you are looking for.
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Portrait of Paolo Minucci [note 6] Paolo Minucci was born in Florence in 1626 into a family of patrician origins from Volterra. From a branch transplanted to Radda in Chianti, the grandfather emigrated to Florence, obtaining citizenship for himself and his descendants, and therefore access to political offices. Paolo followed in the footsteps of his father (deceased in 1642) who was a doctor of laws and notary: he studied in Pisa and graduated in law in 1647. Upon returning to Florence, he was part of an academy protected by Cardinal Giovan Carlo dei Medici founded by Salvator Rosa, who together mainly with Lorenzo Lippi became a great friend of Paolo.

In 1656 he entered the service of Prince Mattias dei Medici, governor of Siena, to whom he sent reports and notices from Florence in connection with diplomatic offices. His position led him to relations and missions with Poland, because Prince Mattias was one of the candidates for succession to the Polish throne. In particular, between 1658 and 1659 he was entrusted with a mission to Poland which lasted several months, allowing him to establish personal relationships with court figures with whom he maintained relationships even later.

After returning to Florence he married Clarice Nelli in 1662, with whom he had at least four children. In the following years, he held various public offices, and after the death of Prince Mattias (1667), he continued to carry out secretarial functions with Grand Duke Ferdinand II, still using his experience in relations with Poland. In addition to this specific diplomatic competence, his humanistic erudition and interest in scientific experiments were also appreciated at court.

His annotations to his friend Lippi's poem, commissioned by Cardinal Leopoldo dei Medici, were much appreciated. He then retired to Radda in Chianti, where he died in 1695.
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5. https://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/pa ... ografico)/
6. Dal Malmantile, edition of Florence 1731.

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From other sources (perhaps too malicious) we get an image of his less busy life, which continued the youthful habits of his lifelong friends.
He was a great eater and drinker, and frequenting taverns and wine shops, he was unable to advance in his career as his fine intelligence and learning required.
Secretary of the Medici Princes, he was forced, due to his many debts, to abandon his honored office and retire with his entire family to Radda, from where his grandfather had emigrated.
Paolo Minucci was tall, fat, with black hair, an olive complexion, and easy to get into sacris, since every little thing that didn't go his way made his eyes wide and he became red like scarlet. [note 7]
As often happens, these will be different and contrasting aspects of the same truth, to be reconstructed in a balanced way.

Florence, 01.06.2024
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7. https://www.google.it/books/edition/Gen ... frontcover