From the research results of autorbis:
The beggar (of the socalled Mantegana Tarocchi) is meant as Momus, a Greek god
e-series = http://trionfi.com/mantegna/e/e-mantegn ... chi/01.jpg
s-series = http://trionfi.com/mantegna/s/s-mantegn ... chi/01.jpg
1. Luca Signorelli, "Education of Pan", a picture destroyed in WWII showed a similar type of beggar ... so demonstrating, that the motif was imitated in other art, likely with a specific idea ... the idea of this picture is in doubt, cause we cannot identify the meaning of the pictures or the story behind it, but Momus in a satire of Lucian criticised Pan ... so he may be one, who "educated Pan" ... if anybody has an idea, who the other figures are, we would be glad to hear about it.
The picture is dated to ca. 1490, that's a time, when Lucian texts became popular. 1494 Botticelli picture of Lucian's Calumnia, 1496 first large Lucian-print after a smaller print of 5 or 6 short stories by Sweynheim + Pannartz 1470 in Rome. As Sweynheim is suspected (by us) to be the engraver of the Mantegna Tarocchi, see ...
.. the choice of the beggar motif on the base of Lucian's texts is imaginable.
2. A Dutch painter, Maerten Jacobsz van Heemskerck, painted 1561 the following picture
which definitely shows Momus on the base of the same above mentioned Lucian story, in which the gods are criticised. He looks more different as the Mantegna Tarocchi beggar, but definitely it has beggar attributes.
Heemskerck was 1532 - 37 in Italy and had oportunity to study mythology there, which he painted excessively in the later Dutch renaissance phase.
3. In general Iconography it is stated, that the Momus iconography jumped between an old beggar-like representation and "young-fool-show".
4. Leon Battista Alberti wrote between 1443 - 1450 a very interesting book to Momus, a hardcore-satire of his time, based upon Lucian-motifs (which he likely learnt about in Ferrara-circle (where short before the first Tarot decks are noted) . The book didn't spread very far, only insiders did knew about it. Alberti wrote two other texts based on the Lucianic style, it's not too much to say, that Alberti was fond of Lucianic reading.
When in 1470 Sweynheim and Pannartz in Rome made the first small Lucian edition, Alberti was in Rome and short before the end of his life (died 1472). It's likely, that Alberti gave some commentaries to this and talked about his early work.
5. Alberti's text is really funny and it's a good hint to read the following page just cause the fun of it.
It gives an introduction of the text and some of the starting text (it's a recent translation). The introduction is very good, it describes the text and gives good biographical data. One passage of the described Alberti-text says (and that's the deciding point):
[2nd book .. After some adventures on earth Momus is back on Olymp and dining with Zeus] "Momus continues to recount his terrestrials adventures. Listing the different mortal jobs he tried - craftsman, soldier, king - he explains that nothing satisfied him until he discovered the career of the beggar. Momus argues that beggar have no business concerns, no troublesome political or social affilations , and no need for possessions; they lack all responsibility and can travel freely. Momus' ironic wit earns Jupiter's favor and as a result the other gods also start to cultivate Momus' friendship."
...he discovered the career of the beggar. Momus argues that beggar have no business concerns, no troublesome political or social affilations , and no need for possessions; they lack all responsibility and can travel freely. ###
That's the point - the Mantegna Tarocchi beggar is Momus.
Additional info: When you read the description of Alberti's text carefully, you will find, that the god Stupor is mentioned. Now it is so, that the fool of Tarot, as we can see it in the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo-deck, which is dated for the year 1452 for the moment, more or less definitely is a descendant od Giotto's 14 pictures in the Arena-chapel and that it's meaning is Stupidity. Alberti's Momus has wit, he isn't stupid.
Trionfi.com's theory says, that in 1452 only 14 trumps existed and the number 14 is already mentioned in the document of 1.1.1441 in Ferrara, in a time, when Alberti often was a guest in Ferrara.
..it's not proven, but likely the deck of 1.1.1441 also had a fool, likely a stupid fool. So ... somehow Alberti's text is a protest against the stupid fool and a manifest for the clever fool - which is Momus. And Lucian. And Alberti.