Tarot de Paris 1559 ...

I think, that the Tarot de Paris is well known, and needn't to be introduced. The general assumptions are, that it was made 1600 or early 17th century.
I'll contradict this, and suggest a production in 1559, based on the following considerations (which will not be finished in one post).



The heraldic of the Tarot de Paris was partly identified by Michel Popoff in a Bibliothèque Nationals catalog, "Tarot, Jeu et Magie". As I got it, also Thierry Depaulis contributed to this text.
1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 coins make 55 heraldic signs to give some messages, what the artist might have intended in with his deck.
The 2 of coins, often used to design the producer, has 2 "messages": Gonzaga (above) and Strozzi (below). Strozzi is easy to decipher, Gonzaga is difficult.


This seems to be some Gonzaga basic heraldic


This is, what became of it in the case of Gonzaga-Nevers (state 1595):


(both shields from http://www.europeanheraldry.org/mantua.htm )

With goodwill I recognize ...


... an imperial double eagle and twice I would assume the horizontal Gonzaga-basic-stripes. The Imperial double-eagle at the head of the coin is the only one in all the 55 signs. With the blue frames I recognize further details of the eagle.
As we will see later, this is not a "German Imperial eagle", but a double headed eagle of the Paleologi, the earlier regents of Constantinople.

Now one has to consider, that the heraldry during a biography of a speciic person can change, especially in the case of the duke of Nevers-Rethel, who hadn't Nevers and Rethel before he married.
I don't know, how Michel Popoff made his identifications, but he writes: This is Gonzaga heraldic.

This article is of interest and it leads in the Gonzaga-labyrinth
On 8 Apr 1530, his son Federico II Gonzaga (d. 1540) was made duke of Mantua by the Emperor Charles V and was granted a crest: on Mount Olympus an altar and above it the word FIDES. In 1531, Federico II married Margherita Paleologo (d. 1566), heiress of Montferrat, in 1531, and the marquessate of Montferrat was attribute to him by Charles V 3 Nov 1536, after the death of the last male of the Paleologo line in 1533. Consequently, the arms of the Paleologhi were quartered with those of Gonzaga on the escutcheon of pretence: Quarterly gules a double-headed eagle displayed or (Paleologhi), per pale Jerusalem and Aragon, per pale Saxony and Bar, and Gules a cross between four letters B addorsed or (Constantinople); overall argent a chief gules (Montferrat). Federico II was succeeded by his sons Francesco III (d. 1550) and Gulgielmo (d. 1587). Monferrato became a duchy in Dec 1575. On that occasion, Emperor Maximilian II granted to Gulgielmo that the eagles be displayed and affronty. The escutcheon or pretence was changed to quarterly of nine in three rows of three, Byzantium, Bohemia, Gonzaga, Jerusalem, Aragon, Montferrat, Saxony, Bar, Constantinople. On 20 July 1588 Emperor Rudolf II granted to Guglielmo's son Vincenzo I (1562-1612) the right to an escutcheon of Austria surmounted by an archducal coronet in point of honor, above the escutcheon of pretence. On 25 May 1608 Vincenzo I created the Order of the Redemptor or of the Most Precious Blood (approved with some reluctance by pope Paul V); its collar henceforth surrounded the Gonzaga arms. Vincenzo I was succeeded by his sons Franceso IV (d. 1612), Ferdinando (d. 1626) and Vincenzo II (d. 1627), on whose death the senior line became extinct.

The junior branch of Gonzaga-Nevers succeeded after a brief succession war with the Guastalla branch (the Gonzaga-Nevers sold their French inheritance of Nevers to cardinal Mazarin in 1659). This branch was issued from Ludovico (1529-95), third son of Federico II, naturalized French in 1550, married in 1565 to Henriette de Clèves, heiress of the duchy-peerage of Nivernais, countess-peer and then duchess-peer of Rethelois in 1581. Ludovico was the very first knight to be received in the Order of the Holy Ghost in 1578. His arms were:Quarterly: 1, Gonzaga-Mantua (argent on a cross patty gules between four eagles displayed sable affronty an escutcheon bearing quarterly gules a lion argent tail forked gorged or, and barry of six or and sable; 2 and 3, quarterly of seven in one row of 4 and one row of 3, Clèves (gules an escarbuncle or), La Marck (or a fess chequy argent and gules), Artois (France ancient on a label gules three castles or on each pendent), Brabant (sable a lion or langued gules), Nevers (France ancient a bordure gobony argent and gules), gules three or (Rethel), Albret-Orval (quarterly France and gules a bordure indenty argent); 4, quarterly of six in two rows, Paleologue, Jerusalem, Aragon, Saxony, Bar, Constantinople, over all Montferrat. Over all France a bordure gules bezanty (Alençon).

His son Charles I (1580-1637) became duc de Nevers and Rethel in 1595, and duke of Mantua in 1627. By Catherine of Lorraine (d. 1618) sister of the duc de Mayenne, he had François de Paule (1606-22), duc de Mayenne, Charles (1609-31), duc de Rethelois, and Ferdinand (d. 1631), duc de Mayenne. By Maria of Gonzaga (daughter of Francesco IV) Charles had Charles (1629-65), duc of Rethel, Mayenne, Nevers (all of which were sold to cardinal Mazarini in 1654 and 1659), duke of Mantua, naturalized French in 1646. By Isabella Claire of Austria (d. 1685) he had Charles IV, last duke of Mantua (d. 1708), without issue. In 1707 Mantua was conquered by the Austrians and annexed to their Northern Italian domains in 1713, while Monferrato was handed over to the kingdom of Piedmont.

Another branch of the Gonzaga family, issued from a younger son of Francesco II in the 16th century, was given the county of Guastalla by Charles V in 1541. It was made a duchy by the emperor Ferdinand II in 1621. Guastalla was conquered by Spain in 1745 united to Parma-Piacenza in 1748. Other branches were the dukes of Sabionetta and princes of Gazzolo (from a son of Ludovico II) and the counts of Novellare (from a son of Luigi, the founder of the dynasty).

The heraldic information is from Giancarlo Malacarre and Rodolfo Signorini: Monete et Medaglie di Mantua e dei Gonzaga dal XII al XIX secolo. The information on the Nevers branch is from Levantal, the arms from Popoff.
Popoff is mentioned, so one should assume, that Popoff is indeed a Gonzaga-specialist
Michel Popoff, né le 27 juillet 1942, est un bibliothécaire et historien français, spécialiste de l'héraldique.
Il actuellement président de l'Académie internationale d'héraldique.
Michel Popoff a été conservateur en chef au Cabinet des Médailles de la Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Il est auteur de travaux de référence et d'éditions de documents sur l'histoire de l'héraldique.
Well, I didn't care too much about this question, how this shield could be really from Gonzaga. First I realized, that the Gonzaga shield in the Tarot de Paris was perfect to fit in my other considerations about a distribution of Tarot in France.
My second attention went to the Strozzi shield. Why Strozzi?


The Strozzi were a big family and in c. 1430 they were considered to be more rich than the Medici in Florence. After Cosimo di Medici returned back from exile in 1434 a lot of the Strozzi had to leave Florence and had to live elsewhere. The Ferrarese branch was involved in Trionfi deck production. Tito Vespasiano Strozzi (poet) was the long living uncle of Matteo Maria Boiardo (died likely 1505). His son Ercole Strozzi was murdered 1508 under not very clear conditions in Ferrara. A lot of suspicion went on duke Alfonso d'Este, who in 1505 had ordered the production of Tarochi cards ... the first time, that a Taroch or Tarot word appeared in context to playing cards. A possible background was an often discussed erotic relationship between Pietro Bembo and Lucrezia Borgia, in which Ercole Strozzi might have served as a secret messenger.
The victim was stabbed with a knife 22 times (maybe true or may be "intentional legend"). "22" is the number of the Tarot card trumps. It happened in June 1508, and in April 1508 Lucrezia had given birth to Ercole d'Este, the heir of Ferrara.

I found a Strozzi-Gonzaga marriage, though at the level of lower nobility and with only distant relationship to the reigning house. The man (Pompeo Strozzi) worked as an important ambassador for the Mantova Gonzaga house in Rome in the 1570s and died 1582. He was considerable rich and had an impressing inventory then. One of his sons got the title later and helped to get Nevers house back (1627) to Italy and Mantova. The whole activity caused a major war (Mantovan succession war 1627-31) and the heavy destruction of Mantova in 1630 by troops of the emperor. Mantova and the Gonzagas were robbed in great dimensions, the Strozzi-Gonzaga also were victims.

I couldn't find enough indications, that this part of the Strozzi-family had much to do with Nevers-Rethel and France, there's just this interaction in 1627. So I gave up to consider this possibility.

Long after the Strozzi were exiled, there were given an allowance for some family members to come back. Then some marriages between Medici and Strozzi took place, but nonetheless hostility returned back in 1537, after the duke of Florence, Alessandro Medici, had been assassinated by a relative.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alessandro ... f_Florence

Cosimo I de Medici could win the succession and became grand duke of Toscana, inside the connected fights ....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filippo_St ... he_Younger
Filippo Strozzi the Younger (1489 – December 18, 1538) was an Italian condottiero and banker, the most famous member of the Florentine Strozzi family in the Renaissance.
Born in Florence as Giambattista Strozzi, he was rechristened by his mother with the name of his father Filippo Strozzi the Elder, who had died two years after his birth.

Filippo Strozzi began his career as treasurer at Ferrara in 1513, and soon became a prominent figure in Florence's politics and economics. Although in natural competition with the other main family of the city, the Medici, he managed to ally with them through his marriage when the Medici were living in exile. When the latter returned in Florence, Strozzi obtained important political and diplomatic positions. However, when Lorenzo was replaced by Leopoldo and Alessandro de' Medici, he and his son Piero started to be looked as enemies by the new lords. Rumours about alleged Piero's (who was indeed son of a Medici) claims about the lordship of Florence reached Pope Clement VII who menaced the Strozzis of punishments. When Clarice died, the strain became unbearable: therefore Filippo and Piero self-exiled to Rome, in order to escape a likely attack from the ruthless Alessandro.

In Filippo's house in Rome Catherine de' Medici, the future queen of France, and Lorenzino de' Medici were educated. It is likely that Filippo himself prompted the latter to his assassination of the tyrannic Alessandro (1537). In the same year the Strozzi assembled an army, including numerous other Florentine exiled, and marched against Florence from France. the Strozzi army was first halted at Sestino by troops hastily mustered by the new Medici lord, the future Cosimo I. The decisive battle occurred on August 1, 1537 at Montemurlo. Cosimo's army, supported by Spanish troops, was victorious. Filippo Strozzi was imprisoned, while his sons escaped to Venice and then to France.

Detail over Strozzi's end are unclear. He died in the Fortress of San Giovanni Battista, in Florence, by suicide or killed by order of Cosimo de' Medici.
Filippo Strozzi had his famous Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, begun by his father, completed in 1534.
Two of the Filippo-Strozzi-sons died 1537, two others started a greater military career in France (their father had had also some condottieri experience). The two sons are ...

Piero Strozzi, the older son, Mareshal of France (1500 or 1510 - 1558), died during the siege of Calais

Leone Strozzi, 5 or 15 years younger than Piero, died in a sea battle 1554

Leone Strozzi with Malta cross
Leone Strozzi
Fu cavaliere dell'Ordine di Malta dal 1530, poi Priore di Capua e Commendatore di San Jacopo in Campo Corbolini.
Nel 1536 venne nominato Capitano delle galee di Malta, incarico che ricoprì di nuovo nel 1552. Alla morte del padre (1538), volle proseguire la sua azione antimedicea, diventando filofrancese in contrapposizione alla politica filoimperiale di Cosimo I de' Medici.
Fu ambasciatore dell'Ordine a Costantinopoli nel 1544. Fu anche Comandante nella marina da guerra francese. Si distinse in numerose campagne militari nelle guerre contro la Spagna e l'Inghilterra. Non si sposò e non ebbe figli.
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leone_Stro ... ottiero%29
After his father's defeat in the Battle of Montemurlo, Strozzi fled with his brothers to France, at the court of Catherine de' Medici. Later he fought against Cosimo I de' Medici at Siena, but was again defeated.

In 1530, Strozzi became Knight of the Order of Malta, for which he was Prior in Capua. In 1536, he was named commander of the galleys of the Order, a position he held again in 1552. In August 1547 he captured St Andrews Castle in Scotland from the Protestant Lairds of Fife who had killed David Beaton. The lairds knew an expert was in the field when they observed cannon being winched into position with ropes rather than exposing the besiegers to their fire.
Strozzi died in the siege of Scarlino, in Tuscany, during the unsuccessful defence of Republic of Siena against Florence and the Holy Roman Empire, shot by an arquebus ball.
He [Pierro Strozzi] obtained a pyrrhic victory at Pontedera on 11 June 1554, but his army could not receive help from the ships of his brother Leone (who had been killed by an arquebus shot near Castiglione della Pescaia) and he was forced to retreat to Pistoia.
Piero had some more successes than Leone. In 1554 he became Mareshal of France. From a dictionary ...


Pierro Strozzi and Leone both were dead in 1659, logically they couldn't have influenced anything with the Tarot de Paris in 1559 or in c. 1600 or later. But there was a son, Philippe, in 1559 just 18 years old, well, of a similar age as the young Louis Gonzaga (20 years old). Philippe had already gotten some military merits in Piedmont (note "Piedmont") and during the successful siege on Calais ...
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Si%C3%A8ge ... %281558%29
... which was taken at 7th of January 1558 after Calais had been in English hands since more than 200 years under the generals duke of Guise and Piero Strozzi, Philippe's father ... well, this was a big success ... .


.... http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... Calais.jpg

Philippe's father, uncle and grand-father were French war-heroes, naturally one would have expected in 1559 similar strong activities from Philippe in later years ...


... but in year 1559, there was made a peace treaty between France and Habsburg in April 1559 and tournaments and festivities for the knights in the following months.
Unluckily one of the tournaments had a most tragical end, cause at 30 June 1559 at the Hotel des Tournelles ...
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... nelles.jpg
... the French king Henry II was mortally wounded


... and died 10 days later. The festivity seems to have been the celebration of the wedding of his daughter with King Philippe II of Spain, which naturally had been part of the peace conditions in April.

If one thinks about the idea, that the Tarot de Paris had been made in 1559, then this months between peace and death of the king seem to be the right moment, when two young Italians - Gonzaga and Strozzi - arranged an Italian gift for the French society. As already said, the suit of coins has 55 places to celebrate somebody in this deck, but there are only 3 Italian signs recognized by Popoff, two for Strozzi and Gonzaga and one for Milan, which once had been France. Well, and it seems somehow logical, that Italians made this deck and it seems somehow logical, that the producers appeared at the 2 of coins. And the Tarot of Paris is one of the most amusing between the old decks, and it's easily acceptable, that it was arranged in the spirit of two rather young men in good condition and with some humor and without fear about some satirical ideas.


With the research of Philippe Strozzi, who died in 1582, ...
... I started to give up in my attempt to identify the situation "around 1600 or later". I didn't see a Gonzaga-Strozzi connection, which might have cooperated in this time. So ... from this viewing point, the deck might have happened between 1457 (the date, when Ludovico Gonzaga appears first in France and 1582 (the year, when Philippe Strozzi died).

If anybody is interested to look for alternative situations, here is an usable article to the Strozzi family.

http://books.google.com/books?id=8Ok-AA ... zi&f=false










(will be proceeded with the next post)

Re: Tarot de Paris 1559 ...

The first article focussed on the Strozzi family, the second attempts to show the familiary background of Ludovico Gonzaga, who is under suspicion to have influenced the production of the Tarot de Paris in 1559. I start - a little unusual - with the cardinals of the family.
One of these cardinals had been of very high importance in the year 1559.


Gonzaga Cardinals

1. GONZAGA, Francesco (ca. 1444-1483)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesco_ ... 44-1483%29
Son of Ludovico III "il Turco", Marchese di Mantova from 1444-78, and Barbara von Hohenzollern (*1423 +1481)

He was made cardinal deacon 1461, when he was about 17 years old. It's stated, that he suggested Mantova as the location for the congress of Mantova in 1459 (likely he just became cardinal so early, cause Mantova had organized the congress). He became famous, cause the frescoes of Mantegna in Mantova in the Camera degli Sogli celebrated, that he became cardinal. When he came to Rome he impressed with a lot of money and possessions. He died early, with 39 years.



2. GONZAGA, Sigismondo (1469 - 1525)
nephew of cardinal Francesco Gonzaga (first Gonzaga cardinal). Son of Federico il Gobbo (Marchese of Mantova 1478-1484), brother of Francesco Gonzaga, also Marchese of Mantova (1484 - 1519), who had become husband to Isabella d'Este in 1489.
He was made cardinal in December 1505 ... this date is "very suspicious"

Pope Julius had become pope in 1503. For Ferrara it was suspected, that duke Ercole 'Este would die soon. Pope Julius wasn't happy, that Alfonso, oldest son, should become the new duke and attempted other political solutions, which favored Ferrante, Alfonso's brother. This didn't work out, Ercole died and Alfonso became duke of Ferrara with the minor result, that he produced Tarochi decks in June 1505 (that's the objerct, what's here interesting). But there was trouble between the sons of Ercole.
In November 1505 cardinal Ippolito made a bloody attack on the eyes of Giulio, illegitimate son of Ercole, and so his half brother. Giulio became at last half blind. Ercole didn't rule this case really, and in the course of the development Giulio and Ferrante made a stupid attempt to kill Alfonso (if this happened with involvement of Julius, isn't known). Both were captured and sentenced to death, but Alfonso changed this to prison. The both brothers lived in the Ferrarese castle, right below the kitchen, Ferrante died 1540 (after 24 years below the kitchen) and Giulio was released in 1559 (53 years below the kitchen), just again this 1559 (this had a logical reason, cause in this year Ercole II d'Este died, duke of Ferrara, son of Alfonso, who made Tarochi cards 1505; 3 October 1559, so 3 months later than the tournament of Paris). This happened in September 1506. 2 months later Pope Julius conquered Bologna (surely already a longer secret objective of him) and the distance between Bologna and Ferrara are only 40 km.

So what means it, that Pope Julius just in the month December 1505 declared Sigismondo Gonzaga in hasty steps to a cardinal?
Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of December 1, 1505; published, December 12, 1505; received the red hat, December 17, 1505
And - accident or not - just in this time, there's a "Taraux" document in Avignon at 6th of December 1505 and a further Tarochi document in Ferrara at 26th of December.
The Ferrarese document might be well relate simply to "Christmas" and the general custom to play games in this time, the Avignon document is in Latin and speaks of "quatuor duodenis quartarum vulgo appelatarum taraux" and in its center is great paper manager Jean Fort. who is also active with playing cards. The item 48 (4x12) taraux cards is only one between many others, which are noted at a greater list.

For the Avignon production ... there's the condition, that Pope Julius very long time was the most important man in this papal state and that Rovere heraldic appears at still extant Tarocchi cards (Leber Tarocchi and six Cicognara cards).

If this "somehow" relates to the Taraux cards from Avignon is not clear, it's just as suspicious as this very quick career of Sigismondo Gonzaga just in this same month of December 1505.
Sigismondo had experience in military actions and that seems to be a quality, which Julius needed. And Julius rather commonly bought friendship with cardinal titles, that wasn't unusual (he made this also with cardinal Gurk).
I talked about all this already here ...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=610&p=9028&hilit=+ ... gnon#p9028
... but I didn't note this aspect of the cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga then, as far I remember.


3. GONZAGA, Ercole (1505-1563)

A nephew to cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga. Different to the long pause between the first Gonzaga cardinal and the second (22 years), it took only two years to replace the Mantova cardinal (1527 position), likely due to the stll rather dominant influence of Isabelle d'Este (his mother), and possibly also due to the Sacco di Roma, which took place in the same year.
The disasters of the Holy League imposed on Pope Clement VII the need to raise money for the defense of Rome. On May 3, 1527, the pope offered for sale five cardinal's hats. Each of the hats brought 40 gold ducats to the papal treasury. Isabella d'Este, who was in Rome at the time, bought from the pope, in the Palazzo Colonna, a cardinal's hat which later was imposed by Marquis Federico I on Ercole in Governolo.
I don't know this story from elsewhere ... http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios1527.htm#Gonzaga . Possibly nobody wished to become cardinal in this dangerous situation.

The oldest son, Federico Gonzaga II, of Isabella d'Este and Francesco Gonzaga (who in 1495 became the hero of all Italy at the battle at the Taro river), became duke of Mantova 1530, after he became Marchese of Mantova in 1519 (19 years old).


The second, Ercole, became cardinal (22 years old) ...


... and the third, Ferrante Gonzaga, became a famous condottiero. A classical high-family-model, one for the throne, one for the church and the 3rd for the fights.


The oldest son married "twice" and the both were sisters ...
Maria, Mgvne of Montferrato (1533-60), a nun in Casale, *Casale 19.9.1508/09, +Casale/Mantua 15.9.1530; m.1517 OR (only proposed) to Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantova (*Mantua 17.5.1500, +Mantua 28.6.1540)

Margherita, Mgvne of Montferrato (1533-66), heiress of Montferrat, *Casale 11.8.1510, +Mantova 28.12.1566; m.Mantova 3.10.1531 Federico II Gonzaga, Duca di Mantova (*17.5.1500 +28.6.1540)
... says euweb, but contradicts itself with "(1533-1560)" and "+Casale/Mantua 15.9.1530" in the case of the older Maria.

The true story is found in the life of the mother of the two girls, Anne d'Alencon.


Anne d'Alençon (Italian: Anna d'Alençon) (30 October 1492 – 18 October 1562), Lady of La Guerche, was a French noblewoman and a Marquise of Montferrat as the wife of William IX, Marquis of Montferrat. She acted as Regent of the Marquisate of Montferrat for her son, Boniface from 1518 to his death in 1530.
Anne was the third child of René, Duke of Alençon and his second wife Margaret of Lorraine, daughter of Frederick, Count of Vaudémont and Yolande of Anjou. Her father died two days after her birth.

She was betrothed to William IX, Marquis of Montferrat of the Palaiologos family in 1501 and married him on 31 October 1508, the day after her sixteenth birthday, in the church of St. Sauveur in Blois. She bore her husband three children: Maria (1509–1530), Margherita, (1510–1566), and Boniface (1512–1530), William's heir who became Boniface IV of Montferrat.

In 1517, her eldest daughter, Maria, was betrothed to Federico II Gonzaga, son of Isabella d'Este, who later became Marquis and Duke of Mantua. The marriage contract was annulled, however, after Federico accused Maria of attempting to poison his mistress Isabella Boschetti, wife of the Count of Calvisano.

On the death of William in 1518, the infant Boniface inherited the Marquisate. Anne, however, acted as regent until his unexpected death in June 1530 and she remained involved in the government of Montferrat when Boniface was succeeded as Marquis by her brother-in-law John George, previously commendatory abbot of Lucedio and (unconsecrated) Bishop of Casale.

Boniface's death also rekindled Federico II Gonzaga's interest in marrying Maria. On the latter's unexpected death in September 1530 his attentions turned to the second daughter, Margherita. Having weighed up the various proposals for Margherita's hand, Anne opted for the link with the House of Gonzaga and the marriage was concluded in October 1531.

In 1533 the Marquis John George died, leaving one natural son, but no heir. A dispute over the succession to the Marquisate, an imperial fiefdom, ensued, the contenders being the Gonzaga, the Marquis of Saluzzo and the House of Savoy, all of whom were able to make plausible claims. Meanwhile the Montferrat was effectively under Spanish domination. In 1536 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor assigned the fiefdom to Margherita Paleologa and her husband, Federico II, Duke of Mantua. Anne, however, returned as de facto ruler. In 1540 Federico II died at Marmirolo and was succeeded by his seven year old son Francesco as Marquis of Montferrat and Duke of Mantua. Margherita Paleologo Gonzaga became regent, together with her brother-in-law Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga.

On retiring from public life Anne d'Alençon entered the convent of Dominican Sisters of Catherine of Siena which adjoined her palazzo in Casale Monferrato. She died on 18 October 1562, shortly before her seventieth birthday.
In 1525, following the Battle of Pavia, Anne's brother Charles IV, Duke of Alençon died leaving his personal property to Anne and to her sister Françoise d'Alençon. (This inheritance was disputed unsuccessfully by Charles's widow, Marguerite d'Angoulême, sister of Francis I, King of France.) Anne in turn assigned these assets to Isabella Gonzaga, the eldest daughter of Federico and Margherita. Isabella having renounced the inheritance, Margherita succeeded in having them transferred to her third son Ludovico, later Duke of Nevers and founder of the Gonzaga Nevers branch of the House of Gonzaga.
Ludovico is the person, who seems to be responsible for the Tarot de Paris in 1559

From ...
http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/lud ... di-nevers/
... we get the following information:
Ludovico Gonzaga duca di Nevers. - Figlio (n. 1539 - m. Nesle, Péronne, 1595) di Federico II duca di Mantova e di Margherita Paleologo, fu nominato dalla nonna materna Anna d'Alençon erede dei beni che ella aveva in Francia, e fu inviato (1549) alla corte del re Enrico II. Divenuto ben presto influentissimo consigliere di Caterina de' Medici, sembra sia stato fra i fautori della strage di s. Bartolomeo. Luogotenente del re Enrico III in Italia, si oppose vanamente alla promessa restituzione delle basi francesi in Piemonte a Emanuele Filiberto. Sposo di Enrichetta di Clèves, che gli portò in dote i proprî beni, duca di Nevers, del Maine e di altri feudi, pari di Francia, L. fu uno dei più potenti principi del reame.
... so it's said, that Ludovico was invited to the French court by Henry Ii, king of France, in 1549 (I remember dark to have read that he was first send to Monferrat). Lodovico (* 1539) was then just 10 years old.
In other lists Alencon was considered "Frech crown domain" since 1550, not property of Ludovico. It was given in 1566 to the youngest son of Henry II and Catherina de Medici, Francis.
Lodovico was one year, when his father died. The reign in Mantova/Monferrat was then taken by the cardinal-uncle Ercole Gonzaga and Ludovico's mother and both kept on it till 1566, when the second son of the former duke of Gonzaga had reached the age of 22 (the oldest duke's son had died with 17 years, short after he had married an Austrian princess).
B1. Francesco III, Duca di Mantova, Marchese del Monferrato (1540-50), *Mantova 10.3.1533, +Mantova 22.2.1550; m.27.10.1549 Katharina von Habsburg (*15.9.1533 +28.2.1572)
B2. Guglielmo I, Duca di Mantova (1550-87), Marchese del Monferrato (1550-74), 1st Duca del Monferrato (1574-87), *Mantova 24.4.1538, +Goito/Bozzolo 14.8.1587; m.Mantova 26.4.1561 Eleonora von Habsburg (*2.11.1534 +5.8.1594)
Both Mantova dukes married princesses from the house of Habsburg ... this in a time, when Habsburg had a series of wars with France, and in France was the young Ludovico, their brother, quasi as an hostage of the Gonzaga family.
I've no information, how Lodovico felt in this time (it's difficult to get anything about it). The first notice of him (for the moment) is, that he fought at the battlefield of St. Quentin in 1557 and became a prisoner in the lost battle for the French. At the other side a leading commander had been his other uncle, Ferrante Gonzaga, the condottiero. There's a story, which relates, that Ferrante offered to the prisoner and nephew Lodovico freedom, if he would change the sides, but young Lodovico (18 years old) refused. Lodovico preferred, that a ransom was paid and that he was released to the French side again.
Actually Ferrante dropped from the horse and died. Or he was tired from all this fighting and died anyway. There are difficulties to decide, which of the legends is true.

After all this in 1559 the current pope died, two months later than the French king Henry II had his deadly accident. Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, Lodovico's uncle, is said to have had the best chances to become new pope ... (here the Conclave report)
... indeed. But another one was finally taken.
The Conclave needed a considerable time with a finished election at 25 December 1559. In this period Lodovico might have been considered as a future "pope nephew" and the past had shown, what might become out of pope nephews: Pope Paul II, Girolamo Riario, Giuliano Rovere alias Pope Julius, then also Cesare Borgia not as a nephew but a son. Anyway, this didn't happen, Ercole Gonzaga wasn't chosen. Nonetheless, it seems clear, that Ercole had been the most important cardinal between all the Gonzaga cardinals and also one of the most important heads in the Gonzaga family.

Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga died in 1563, and with this Ludovico's hopes to become pope nephew were finished. He married.

There are some further Gonzaga cardinals, they do not relate very much to the story "before the Tarot de Paris":

4. GONZAGA, Pirro (1505-1529)
created cardinal 1527 after the sacco di Roma, from a sideline of the Gonzaga family

5. GONZAGA, Francesco (1538-1566)
created cardinal 1561 as a nephew of cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, and son of Ferrante Gonzaga, the condottiero; died during the conclave 1565/66

6. GONZAGA, O.S.Io.Hier., Giovanni Vincenzo (1540-1591)
created cardinal in 1578 as brother Francesco Gonzaga, son of the condottiero Ferrante Gonzaga and as nephew of cardinal Ercole Gonzaga. Member of the Maltese knight order, assisted before the current duke of Mantova.

7. GONZAGA, Scipione (1542-1593)
"He spent his youth in the household of Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga"; created cardinal 1587 from a Gonzaga side line

8. GONZAGA, Ferdinando (1587-1626), duke of Mantova (1613-1626)
created cardinal in 1607 as son of the duke of Mantova, finished his state as cardinal and became duke of Mantova himself in 1613. In 1626 he was followed by his younger brother, who lived only one year as duke till 1627. Then Charles, duke of Nevers-Rethel, was called from France to take the dukedom of Mantova and Montferrat - this caused the succession war of Mantova 1627-31.

9. GONZAGA, Vincenzo (1594-1627), Duke of Mantua (1626-27)
created cardinal in 1615, but didn't behave like a cardinal; he lost the position in 1616


Gonzaga: Major house Mantova



Gonzaga: German Marriages

The important Gonzaga marriages to Habsburg, combined with some dates to the Mantova-Germany relationship:

Early Connections
E3. LUIGI I (Lodovico), Podesta di Modena 1313, Podesta di Mantova 1318, Podesta di Parma 1312, Signore di Mantova e Capitano del Popolo (1328-60), vicario imperiale 1329, *1268, +18.1.1360; 1m: Richilde Ramberti (+1318); 2m: Caterina Malatesta, dau.of Pandolfo I Signore di Rimini; 3m: 1340 Novela Malaspina, dau.of Marchese Spinetta
F1. [1m.] Filippino, Vicario Imperiale di Reggio 1349, +5.4.1356; 1m: 1322 Anna di Dovara, dau.of Buoso di Dovara; 2m: 9.2.1354 Verena von Habsburg-Laufenburg
G1. [1m.] Gigliola, +1354; m.Matteo II Visconti Signore di Milano (*ca 1319 +26.9.1355)
G2. [1m.] Verena/Isabella; m.9.2.1354 Rudolf IV von Habsburg-Laufenburg (+IX.1383)
F2. [1m.] Guido I, Podesta di Mantova 1328, Signore di Mantova e Capitano del Popolo (1360-69), Signore di Reggio (1335-69), *1290, +22.9.1369; 1m: Agnese Pico, dau.of Francesco I Signore di Mirandola by Beatrice di Sassuolo; 2m: 1340 Camilla Beccaria dei Signori di Pavia; 3m: Beatrice de Bar (?), dau.of Comte Edward I de Bar by Maria de Bourgogne;
15th Century
D1. Ludovico III "il Turco", Marchese di Mantova (1444-78), *Mantova 5.6.1414, +Goito 12.6.1478; m.Mantova 12.11.1433 Barbara von Hohenzollern (*1423 +7.11.1481)
E1. Federico I "il Gobbo", Marchese di Mantova (1478-84), *Mantova 25.6.1441, +Mantova 14.7.1484; m.Mantova 10.5.1463 Margerita von Bavaria-Munich (*1.1.1442 +14.10.1479)
E8. Barbara, *Mantova 11.12.1455, +Böblingen 31.5.1503; m.Urach 12.4.1474 Eberhard I von Württemberg (*11.12.1445 +24.2.1496)
E10. Paolina, *1464, +1495/96; m.11.7.1476 Leonard/Gustav I von Görz (*1440, +12.4.1500)
A1. Federico II, Marchese di Mantova (1519-30), 1st Duca di Mantova (1530-40), Marchese del Monferrato (1533-40), *Mantova 17.5.1500, +Marmirolo 28.6.1540; m.Mantova 3.10./16.11.1531 Margherita Palaiologina (*11.8.1510 +28.12.1566), heiress of Montferrat
B1. Francesco III, Duca di Mantova, Marchese del Monferrato (1540-50), *Mantova 10.3.1533, +Mantova 22.2.1550; m.27.10.1549 Katharina von Habsburg (*15.9.1533 +28.2.1572)
B2. Guglielmo I, Duca di Mantova (1550-87), Marchese del Monferrato (1550-74), 1st Duca del Monferrato (1574-87), *Mantova 24.4.1538, +Goito/Bozzolo 14.8.1587; m.Mantova 26.4.1561 Eleonora von Habsburg(*2.11.1534 +5.8.1594)
C3. Anna Caterina, *Mantova 17/27.1.1566, +Innsbruck 3.8.1621; m.Innsbruck 14.5.1582 Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, Graf von Tirol (*14.6.1529 +24.6.1595)
D6. [2m.] Eleonora, *Mantova 23.9.1598, +Vienna 27.6.1655; m.Innsbruck 4.2.1622 Emperor Ferdinand II von Habsburg (*9.7.1578, +15.2.1637)
E1. Eleonora, *Mantova 18.11.1628, +Vienna 6.12.1686; m.Wiener Neustadt 30.4.1651 [Gonzaga-Nevers-line]Emperor Ferdinand III von Habsburg (*Graz 13.7.1608, +Vienna 2.4.1657)
E2. Carlo II, Duca di Mantova, Duca del Monferrato (1637-65), *Mantova 31.10.1629, +there 14.8.1665; m.7.11.1649 Isabella Klara of Austria, dau.of Leopold of Tyrol (*12.8.1629 +31.10.1685)

Re: Tarot de Paris 1559 ...

Riddle of the backs

it will be changed, if the picture turns clearer ...
it isn't so easy, to take up the history of the Maltese knights very quickly


Ross was so friendly to make available to me all three backs, of the Noblet Tarot, Vievil Tarot and the Tarot de Paris (partly once collected by JC Flornoy) ... http://www.tarot-history.com/Jean-Noble ... age-2.html
All are very similar, just that there are differences in the size and the color:



Here's the Tarot de Paris back (from the Grimaud reproduction)

All use the cross of the Knights Hospitaller ...

Is that really the Knights Hospitaller cross?


5 "errors" ... I searched for something similar in the web, for instance here, ...

Article to the Malta-cross

... and I found nothing. With much goodwill the playing card Malta cross is similar to an older Languedoc-cross ...

http://www.languedoc-wines.com/english/ ... citane.asp

This was even used in the region of Marseille, but the similarity is very vague.

It came to my mind, that the Andreas cross in the middle of the Malta cross at the playing cards appeared in two grandmaster shields of the Malta order:

Piero del Ponte (in the middle, grand-master 1534-35) and Claude de la Sengle (right, 1553 - 1557)

Piero del Ponte came from Piedmont (a region, which might have had Tarocchi cards), Claude de la Sengle had been a man of some culture (he sponsored public libraries) and perhaps some intention to create some personality cult (he founded a city, which got his name).

Shield of Piero de Ponte

Shield of Claude de la Sengle

I took a look at the development of the Maltese knights during 16th century.
In short:
  • The knights were in Rhodos till 1523.
    They got Malta in 1530, in a pause of the French Habsburg wars (peace 1530)
    Piero de Ponte - new grandmaster 1534, was from Piedmont (mostly the grandmaster were from Southern parts from France) and had not much time to change to change much. In 1535 the Habsburg-France war revived.

    In 1536 a Spaniard (the war Charles V. - France was still going on) was chosen as grandmaster. He reigned very long, 17 years. Very much hospitallers were discontent with him. The order wasn't allowed to act in the wars between Christian princes, but in this period France had occasionally an alliance with the Osmans, which were the natural foes of the hospitallers. The political fights in these years are difficult to understand. In 1538 was peace again, but war raised again 1542-44/46 and 1551-1559.


    In 1553 The Spanish grand-master died, and a French grandmaster, Claude de la Sengle, was chosen (with andreas cross in his heraldry. He had 4 years and made a lot about building projects in Malta.

    In 1554 the Maltese knight Leone Strozzi died ... who had possibly influence on the Tarot de Paris.

    In 1557 the French Jean Parisot de la Valette became grand-master. He became a dominating figure, cause he was able to survive the attack of a large Osmanic armyin 1565.

    In 1559 The Tarot de Paris is assumed to be made under participation of Gonzaga and Strozzi.

    In 1578 the French king Henry III founded a new knight order, replacing the St. Michael's order of 1469, founded by Louis XI. A specific heraldic symbol has great similarity to the cross of Malta.

    In the following years it seems, that the Tarot activities in France increase strongly.
List of Ross
1505. Avignon. Taraux (anonymous account-keeper; Chobaut, Depaulis)
1534. Lyon. Tarau (Rabelais (southerner) MA 131)
1553. Paris. Tarault (Estienne; MA 131)
c.1560. Paris. Tarot. Tarots (Neux, Depaulis (VxP); MA 131)
c.1560 Paris. Tarots (Christophe de Bordeaux; MA 132)
1564. ?. 1565. Lyon. Tarots (Ps.(?)-Rabelais; MA 132)
1576. Paris. Tarot (Champenois (Straparola) ; MA 132)
1578. Lyon. Tarots (Guil. des Autels; MA 132)
1579. Paris. Tarots (Ladurie; MA 132-3)
1579. Saint-André (Toulouse). Tarots (Garrisson-Estè be (1980); MA 133)
1583. Paris. Tarots (Tabourot; MA 133)
1583. Paris. Tarot (Gauchet; MA 133)
1583. Paris. Tarotz (Henri III; MA 133-4)
1585. Paris. Tarots (Perrache; MA 134)
1585. ?. Taraux (Cholières; MA 134)

1592. London. Tarots (Delamothe; MA 134)
1595. ?. Tarot (Le Poulchre; MA 134)
1607. Oxford. Taraux (Cleland; MA 134-5)
1622. Paris. Tarots (Garasse; MA 135)
1622. Lyon. Tarotz (D'Allemagne II, 246)
1637. Paris. Tarots (De Marolles)
1650. Lyon. Taros (D'Allemagne II, 258)

Life descriptions of the relevant grand-masters:

Jean Parisot de la Valette (1557 - 1568) - South-Western France

Claude de la Sengle (1553 - 1557) - France

Juan de Homedes y Coscon (1536 - 1553) - Spain

Didier de Saint-Jaille (1535 - 1536) -

Piero de Ponte (1534 - 1535)

Philippe Vielliers de L'Isle-Adam (1521 - 1534)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe_V ... 7Isle-Adam

Fabrizio del Carretto (Genova; 1513 - 1521)

Guy de Blanchefort (1512 - 1513)

Emery Amboise (15 - 1512)


Earlier grandmaster (mostly from "Southern France")

25 - Foulques de Villaret (1305–1319) - Southern France
26 - Hélion de Villeneuve (1325-1346) - Provence
27 - Dieudonné de Gozon (1346-1353) - Southern France
28 - Pierre de Corneillan (1353-1355) - Southern France
29 - Roger de Pins (1355-1365) - France ?
30 - Raymond Bérenger (1365-1374) - France ?
31 - Robert de Juliac (1374-1376) - France
32 - Juan Fernández de Heredia (1376–1396) - Spain
33 - Riccardo Caracciolo (1383–1395) anti-grand maître à Rome - Italy
34 - Philibert de Naillac (1396-1421) - Western France
35 - Antonio Fluvian de la Riviere (1421-1437) - Spain, Aragon
36 - Jean de Lastic (1437-1454) - Southern France
37 - Jacques de Milly (1454-1461) - Southern France
38 - Piero Raimondo Zacosta (1461-1467) - Spain, aragon
39 - Giovanni Battista Orsini (1467-1476) - Italy ?
40 - Pierre d'Aubusson (1476-1503) - mid France

The "Tongues" of the Knight Hospitallers - the Hospitallers had an international structure
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongue_%28 ... italler%29

About the French Osmanic alliance:


Franco-Ottoman alliance:

Suleiman's progress:


Later than 1578

In 1582 the French king Henry III honored Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette with the title "duke of Epernon" ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Louis ... La_Valette
... who was according ...
a distant cousin (through their mutual ancestor Almaric de Valette) of Jean Parisot de La Valette, the grandmaster and great hospitaller hero in 1565, at the siege of Malta.

Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette and the Mignons
"The name Mignons began, at this time, to travel by word of mouth through the people, to whom they were very odious, as much for their ways which were jesting and haughty as for their paint [make-up] and effeminate and unchaste apparel...Their occupations are gambling, blaspheming... fornicating and following the King everywhere...seeking to please him in everything they do and say, caring little for God or virtue, contenting themselves to be in the good graces of their master, whom they fear and honor more than God."
Then there took place a "duel of the Mignons"
The Duel of the Mignons

In April 1578, the rival court parties of Henry III and Duke of Guise [brother-in-law to Lodovico Gonzaga] decided to reenact the battle of the Horatii and the Curiatii. [see ...
..] On 27 April, Jacques de Caylus, Louis de Maugiron and Jean d'Arcès (representing the party of the King) engaged in battle with Charles de Balzac, Ribérac, and Georges de Schomberg (representing the party of the Guises). Maugiron and Schomberg were killed in the battle, Ribérac died of wounds the following noon, d'Arcès was wounded in the head and convalesced in a hospital for six weeks, while Caylus sustained as many as 19 wounds and died after 33 days of agony. Only Balzac got off with a mere scratch on his arm.
This meaningless loss of life impressed itself on the public imagination. Jean Passerat wrote an elegy, Plaintes de Cléophon, on the occasion. In the political treatise Le Theatre de France (1580) the duel was invoked as "the day of the pigs" who "killed each other in the precinct of Saint Paul, serving him in the Muscovite manner".[6] Michel Montaigne decried the event as "an image de cowardice", and Pierre Brantôme connected it with the deplorable spread of the Italian and Gascon manners at Henry's court. The incident accelerated the estrangement between the two Henrys.
Reading "spread of the Italian and Gascon manners" it comes to mind, that the number of Tarot notes in France makes quite a jump ....


Money in Malta

A tarì (طري lit. "fresh", or newly minted money in Arabic) was the Christian designation of a type of gold coin of Islamic origin minted in Sicily, Malta and South Italy from about 913 to 1859.

In the Islamic world, this type of coin was designated under the name "ruba'i", or quarter-dinar, as it weighed 1.05g of gold. The ruba'i had been minted by the Muslims in Sicily, unlike the Muslim rulers of North Africa, who preferred the larger dinar. It became highly popular as it was smaller and therefore more convenient than the large-sized 4.25g dinar.

The tarì were so widespread that imitations were made in southern Italy (Amalfi and Salerno) from the mid-tenth century, which only used illegible "pseudo-Kufic" imitations of Arabic. When the Normans invaded Sicily in the 12th century, they issued tarì coins bearing legends in Arabic and Latin. Roger II of Sicily issued such coins, becoming the only Western ruler at that time to mint gold coins. Their title was 161⁄3 karat, with some adjunction of silver and copper. The tarì were also produced by the Hohenstaufens and the early Angevins.

The tarì coins were generally minted from African gold obtained from Misrata or Tunis in Northern Africa in exchange for grain.
I saw in a German wordbook the singular form "Taro" for this coin. In the German wikipedia article, which has some more information, it's stated, that in 12th century Roger of Sicily became the first Western ruler, who minted gold coins. The use was later taken by the Hohenstaufen (emperor Fredrick II., who reigned the Empire from Sicily) and then by the Angevins, who had property in Sicily and Naples (well, people from France).

Then the coin name came out of use, but the term reappeared, when Spain took Naples at begin of 16th century. Then it was a silver coin. The same term was used by the knights of Malta, when the hospitaller knights got the possession of the island Malta (1530).


Heraldic sign of the ordre l'esprit, founded 1578 by French king Henry III


... definitely similar to cross of the Malta knights.


Leone Strozzi, hospitaller knight


Re: Tarot de Paris 1559 ...

Very interesting, Huck.

Huck wrote,
I think, that the Tarot de Paris is well known, and needn't to be introduced.
I for one am quite ignorant of the Tarot de Paris's pip cards and courts. I can't evaluate your ideas about the heraldics properly without seeing the other pips and courts, not just the one you give us. There might be things on them that contra-indicate your proposal. I can't find these cards on the Web, but perhaps I don't know how to look.

Others might be in the same predicament.

Huck wrote,
Two of the Filippo-Strozzi-sons died 1537, two others started a greater military career in France (their father had had also some condottieri experience). The two sons are ...

Piero Strozzi, the older son, Mareshal of France (1500 or 1510 - 1558), died during the siege of Calais
The word is either "Marshal" or "Maréchal," in case anyone wants to do searches for this term. It is an honorific given by the King whenever merited.

Strozzi was given the title in 1554. The person made Marshall immediately before him, in 1550, was Charles I de Cossé, Count of Brissac (1505–1563). In relation to him,Tarotpedia says,
From "Scrittori Piemontesi, Savoiardi, Nizzardi, registrati nei cataloghi del vescovo Francesco Agostino Della Chiesa e del monaco Andrea Rossotto. Nuova compilazione di Onorato Derossi", 1790

Francesco Piscina from Carmagnola, scholar of laws, wrote in Italian a "Discourse about the meaning of tarot", which was published in Mondovì, and a "questione an statuta feminarum exclusiva porrigantur ad bona forensia" which was published in the same place in 1570. He also wrote an elegant funeral oration in praise of Carlo di Cosse, Lord of Brisac, general captain of His very Christian Highness in Italy; the manuscript of the text is kept in our library. [He also wrote] some legal counsels, which are seen published in various books together with writings by other excellent experts in legal matters.

Thierry Depaulis suggests that the "Lord of Brisac" likely is Charles de Cossé, comte de Brissac (1505-1563), who was promoted Marshall of France in 1550 and was made Governor-General of Piedmont, then occupied by the French. He thus represented His Very Christian Majesty (Sa Majesté Très-Chrétienne), a title the kings of France took for themselves.
http://tarotpedia.com/wiki/Francesco_Pi ... corso_1565

Is there any way that this "Lord of Brisac" plays a role in the story of the Tarot de Paris?

Re: Tarot de Paris 1559 ...

This information about Brissac is till now a not observed interesting relation from my side.

I can contribute to this, that the Malta grandmaster 1534-35, Piero de Ponte, also called Perin (Perrin) Dupont, was from Piedmont (which was unusual for a grandmaster) and that the following grandmaster Didier de Saint-Jaille was born in Toulon (Provence, near to Piedmont) and belonged to the Provencal-tongue group (which was also unusual). He was also only for a short time grandmaster. Then followed the not loved Spanish grandmaster (1536), who stayed in this position long 17 years - also unusual.
From all three elections one can read, that there was a change of orientation in the order, naturally clearly referring to the successes of emperor Charles V. and the losses of French king Francis in the 1520s.
And in the same time started some cooperation between France and the Osmanic Sultanat. The Osmans had taken Rhodos in December 1522, which had been long time possession of the hospitallers. A lot of the knights died, and finally they were allowed to emigrate mainly to Sicily, but somehow they were homless. After 7 years (Habsburg-France peace 1530) they found their new home Malta (which naturally needed some building activity to become a real replacement for Rhodos). Sicily was Spanish, likely the knights adopted a good part of Spanish custom and rules, for instance the Taro or Tari (the specific coin).
Then France turned to the Osmans, and I can't imagine, that the original hospitallers could take this step very easy. In contrast Charles V. did fight the Osmans. The hospitallers had the rule to stay neutral in the fights between Christian princes ... but the case was difficult, so that we likely had a Spanish orientation till 1553, which turned to its opposite, when in 1553 (inside a war between France and Spain) the grandmaster became again a man from France. The earlier Spanish grandmaster was attacked and parts of his earlier decisions were drawn back.
For the Piedmont question we have, that the war 1535-1538 made greater parts of Piedmont and Savoy to a part of France. I still search a map, which makes the state of this moment 1538 obvious to me.


The peace of Nancy settled this state till 1559 ... occasionally were fights in Piedmont, for instance I know, that the young Philip Strozzi fought in Piedmont (1557 ?). Then Savoy earned back full autonomy.

I don't claim to know these many confusing changes and wars very well, I just attempt to get my personal orientation (as I said, I don't know 16th century France by far not so well as I know 15th century Italy). I just work on a way to show that the Tarot de Paris is from 1559.

The German biography says, that Charles I de Cossé had the favor of Diane de Poitiers ...


... and Diane had the great favor of French king Henry II. The much longer French biography relates this favor of Diane for Charles I de Cossé only very short [for 1547] and the French wiki-biography of Diane does not talk about it.

Diane had been 19 years older than Henry II ... their affair likely caused a lot of talking, especially at the side of the enemy, I would assume.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de ... of_Brissac
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_I. ... de_Brissac
In the Italian War of 1551–1559, as Maréchal de France (1550) Brissac was sent as governor to French-occupied Piedmont, where he distinguished himself by the strict discipline kept in the occupying army, maintained in fighting trim by regular military exercises and forbidden to harass peasant, merchant or bourgeois, which was considered remarkable at the time.
In 1551 Brissac established himself at Chieri and several other Piedmontese cities, obliging [condottiero Ferrante, uncle of Lodovico] Gonzaga to raise the siege of Parma. In 1553 he took Vercelli, and pillaged the treasury of Charles III, Duke of Savoy, which had been transported there as an impregnable place of safety. Though he was unable to take the citadel for lack of cannon, the energetic presence of Brissac in Piedmont forced the Duke to reinforcee his garrisons, weakening his forces in the field, as Brissac hoped. Perennially short of cash from the king of France, Brissac held his troops together through the force of their loyalty to him. In 1554, he occupied the hilly district of Langhe and finished his campaign with the conquest of Ivrea, which opened a route for the auxiliary Swiss forces. In 1555 by a daring move, he surprised and took Casale [capital of Monferrat, which belonged to the Gonzaga], where the nobles of the Imperial forces, gathered for a festive tourney, had barely time to fortify themselves in the citadel. Brissac, forbidding his troops to pillage the city, secured the capitulation of the fortress and all its armaments, and paid his soldiers through the ransom of their captives. Henri II made a present of his own sword to Brissac.

http://books.google.com/books?id=P3Tyl- ... le&f=false

So it seems, that Brissac was really of importance, especially for the fights in Piedmont. As the young Philippe Strozzi is said to have fought in Piedmont, it seems clear, that there was a relation Strozzi-Brissac. Brissac naturally was moved in 1559 from Piedmont to other regions ... but likely he had some presence at the peace festivities in 1559 Paris. He became Comte of Brissac in 1560, and later in 1611 Brissac became a duchy.

If Piscina is said to have made the funeral oration for Brissac, then it seems probable, that Piscina accompanied Brissac to France (?).


Well, I didn't show the pictures of the deck till now as I was just working about the weaknesses of my position ... :-) ... following the old Go-game-advice, that "before you attack, you should protect your weakness".

A major point for my suggestion, that the Tarot de Paris is from 1559, is - beside Strozzi and Gonzaga heraldic at the 2 of coins - heraldic expert Popoff's opinion, that there is Henry II's "chiffre" (died 1559) and there is Diane de Poitiers' "chiffre" (died 1566) heraldic on the deck and that there is no identification of heraldic or "chiffre" of a later French king.

If Popoff's heraldic analysis is true, then it seems not probable, that this design of the coin suit was made after 1559 or better after the death of Henry II. That are the major points. Diana's chiffre appears at the 9 of coins, that of Henry at the 10 of coin.

Chiffre of Diane (confirmation)


the sign at the card as the first or last sign, 9 of coins



Chiffre of Henry (no confirmation)

the sign at the card as the first or last sign, 10 of coins






There is no direct confirmation (I found none), but the letter "H" for Henry is easily recognized. A "H" is also hidden in the double-D and in another picture at the left bottom. So it seems, that Henry used various chiffres.
I found, that the double-D (D as Diane) was already used at the triumphal entry to Lyon in 1548. "H" and the turned "c" as a small moon might point to Henry and Catherina, his wife.


... but this picture on a cannon is said to refer also to Diane and this is said to refer to Diane (as "moon goddess")








Re: Tarot de Paris 1559 ...

Huck wrote:all three backs, of the Noblet Tarot, Vievil Tarot and the Tarot de Paris (partly once collected by JC Flornoy) ... http://www.tarot-history.com/Jean-Noble ... age-2.html
All are very similar, just that there are differences in the size and the color
it seems the Noblet back is the one redrawn by J-C.Flornoy, and the two reproductions (Heron for Vieville and Grimaud for Parisian anonymous) may not be accurate in size.
Did you check from the BNF pictures ?
Noblet http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir
Vieville http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir which at first sight looks identical to the previous size, since the Vieville is bigger than the Noblet you can count there are more rows.
here with a scale http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir
Alas I don't find online version of the Parisian anonymous backs.

In "Tarot, jeu et magie", the three backs are described as "motifs hexagonaux avec « croix de Malte »" (hexagonal pattern with « Maltese cross » ).


Re: Tarot de Paris 1559 ...

hi, Bertrand
Bertrand wrote: In "Tarot, jeu et magie", the three backs are described as "motifs hexagonaux avec « croix de Malte »" (hexagonal pattern with « Maltese cross » ).
Well, they may say, what they want, but it isn't the Maltese cross. I accept, that it is a variation of it.


5 or 2 mistakes

Well, according this source
http://codicon.digitale-sammlungen.de/B ... ?prozent=1
Maltese Order heraldic 1500-1555 till Claude de la Sengle
and some details from the German wikipedia ...
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geschichte ... iterordens
... which says, that the typical Maltese cross was formed indeed in the Maltese period, I conclude (under not totally sure conditions), that till 1555 the cross of the Rhodesian knights had been in this way:



This type of cross seems to go back to 13th century. The 8 ends were considered to the "8 tongues" of the order ...
in the year 1301:
Provence: South of France with Toulouse and Saint-Gilles
Auvergne: central France with Bourganeuf
France: Groß-Priorat Frankreich mit Northern and Western France - 1317 parted in Aquitaine (Poitiers), Champagne und France
Spain: with Aragon (Amposta), Catalonia, Castile and León, Navarra, and Portugal, parted 1462 in Aragon (Amposta, Catalonien and Navarra) and Castile (Castile, León and Portugal)
Italy: with Messina, Barletta, Capua, Rome, Pisa, Lombardy und Venice
England: with England, Scotland and Ireland
Germany: with Bohemia, lower and upper Germany, Dacia (= Danes), Sweden, Poland and Hungary
... and the 4 basic ends as the 4 cardinal virtues.

However, when I look at the picture of Leone Strozzi (died 1554), we see relative clearly something, which might be identified with the Maltese cross, as it is commonly known to us.

Well, maybe a later picture .... or?
The Grand Master was to face more trouble because the Prior of Capua Fra Leone Strozzi betrayed the Order and Malta. Having escaped from a prison in Sicily, Strozzi requested the command of three galleys to fight Dragut. The squadron left Malta on 19 April 1554 and instead joined forces with France, a situation that embarrassed the Order as France and Spain were at loggerheads. Consequently FraLeone Strozzi was dismissed.
This happened in the time of Claude de la Sengle. Leone Strozzi died in the operation, which intended to help his brother Piero Strozzi in the defense of Siena.

The pictures at this page show Claude de la Sengle ...

... but also already JUAN D'HOMEDES (1494 - 1553) ...

... with the Malteser cross, but both pictures look like "later pictures".

But the half-German-half-Farnese source for the older Hospitaller cross as above shown ...
see description http://codicon.digitale-sammlungen.de/i ... %20269.pdf
... seems to me also not trustable. The situation of the order is so, that various active forces (Spain, France, German protestant hospitallers, German Catholics, papal interests) try to manipulate and use the order and its many possessions to their own interests. And they likely would have also forged heraldic elements, if it would have served their interests. In around 1555 there's simply war. German-Spanish interests might have been, that the order stayed in its tradition (8 tongues), French interests might have been to initiate some French symbols.
In 1538 a German protestant branch is developed, in 1581 it is thrown out of the general order ... in the opinion of Malta knights perspective.

It would make sense to assume, that the observed playing-card-backs Maltese cross belonged to this fighting phase, in which the later Maltese cross "developed" and got some "standard".

If I assume - with good reasons, I would assume - that the Tarot de Paris was generated 1559 and then really got these specific backs, it might have given birth to a French Tarot card backs tradition, which still lived around 1650/60 and caused the appearance of the backs of Vievil and Noblet.


We have the Occitan or Languedoc cross, which is also called "Toulouse cross"
https://www.google.com/search?q=Longued ... hQf1x5yqAw


Toulouse version

The later Maltese cross has similarity to this South-French symbol. Many grandmasters of the order came from Southern France.
King Henry III used it for his knight order founded 1578. Even the Huguenots (later) used it, many of them (also) came from the Languedoc region.


Re: Tarot de Paris 1559 ...

Huck wrote:hi, Bertrand
Bertrand wrote: In "Tarot, jeu et magie", the three backs are described as "motifs hexagonaux avec « croix de Malte »" (hexagonal pattern with « Maltese cross » ).
Well, they may say, what they want, but it isn't the Maltese cross.
I definitely agree on that point, and T.D probably does too as he uses quotes around «maltese cross». (quotes that I understand as "a kind of" or "something resembling" a maltese cross).
I accept, that it is a variation of it.
Of that I'm not convinced. Crosses have lots of small variations that make them another type of cross, for instance a jerusalem cross is a variation of the cross symbol, but it is not a maltese cross.

Neither a languedoc cross (which is a croix pattée) is the angular cross found at the back of those parisian cards, although this last one might be called pattée but not cléchée. And then there is this central circle with the sautoir or Saint-Andrew's cross...
This type of cross seems to go back to 13th century. The 8 ends were considered to the "8 tongues" of the order ...
8 and not 12.
It would make sense to assume, that the observed playing-card-backs Maltese cross belonged to this fighting phase, in which the later Maltese cross "developed" and got some "standard".
that would be assuming a bit quickly that this cross is maltese, which would need more positive arguments still lacking (and IMO that's a red herring)
We have the Occitan or Languedoc cross, which is also called "Toulouse cross"
A familiar item for those who come from Toulouse (where you can hear and read lots of bullshit about it, such as its origin from the cathars) or for those living nearby (as certain tarot historian writing on this forum if I remember correctly).
It is actually an emptied cross, so quite different, even if it may have existed as a full cross. Still Its origins are unclear so it won't help much, and it differs slightly from our "tarot back" cross.

Regarding the link between the Maltese cross and the Languedoc cross, I don't believe in any hidden link other than they are both crosses, and cross is an extremely common symbol, found in every culture, so inferring links from vague geometrical ressemblances is a bit risky.

If a perfect match was found, it might be worth investigating a bit, still with many chances of coincidences, but we're not even there neither with the maltese cross nor with the Languedoc cross.


Summary: Tarot de Paris (for the moment)


For the dating of 1559 for the Tarot de Paris are necessary the arguments related to the cards 2 of coins, 9 of coins and 10 of coins. I see involved the persons Louis Gonzaga (20 years old), Philippe Strozzi (18 years old), Henry II and Diane de Poitiers.

Other possible arguments (either Pro or Contra might be in the other pip coin cards 3-4-5-6-7-8).
I'll present them below inclusive the commentary of Popoff. Further I add a few cards, which carry an inscription ....

The question about the backs with "Maltese cross" is rather complicated. Somehow it's possible, that they mean nothing at all, but perhaps there's an indication (just a suspicion), that perhaps the Strozzi family with Leone
Strozzi as Maltese knight before the Tarot de Paris (1559) engaged in Tarocchi card import from France to Italy. The nearness in time and style of Tarot de Paris (1559) to the Tarot de Lyno (Catelin Geofroy 1557) perhaps indicates, that already this deck might have been influenced by Gonzaga or Strozzi family or a related person. Of special interest might be also the person Charles de Cossé, Count of Brissac, as governor of Piedmont with possible influence on Piscina, who wrote about Tarocchi cards in 1565.



1 : Écosse
2 : Portugal
3 : Évreux-Navarre (les quartiers sont inversés)


















Two other cards with inscriptions:


The suit signs of cups shows at all number cards different cups. The suspicions is given, that the specific cups might refer to the corresponding heraldic design indicated in the coins suit ...

The Strozzi have 3 moons in their shield ... the corresponding cup shows a moon on the top of it.