You start with an original order of:
Love, 4 cardinal virtues (in some order), First Chariot (Chastity), Death, Fame (Second Chariot), Time, Faith, Hope, Charity, First Eternity (Angel), Second Eternity (World).
A. One thing I like about this idea is that it gives an explanation for why, if Petrarch's poem was an influence, there are no cards called Eternity: it is because two cards fit that description.
That explanation won't work for Chastity and Fame, the two other Petrarchan triumphs that didn't become titles of cards. In fact, it would seem that "Chariot" would be undesirable for precisely that reason: two cards would fit that description. But would there have been two such cards in the same deck, both with females on them, both with golden discs, the only difference being that one had a sword and a golden disc and the other a baton and a golden, round jousting shield?
Among the two early Lombard cards, the Issy and the CY, one other difference was that Fame had four female attendants, whereas Pudicizia had one male groom. But historically male grooms were also associated with Fame, and flying putti attended her at her own level. It is still not easy to recognize which is Fame and which is Chastity. On the other hand, clearly the two cards, Issy and CY, come from different decks. If they are so similar that one has to be eliminated, why suppose the existence of two in the first place?
The problem is that Fame was, before the game Trionfi, always shown on a chariot. So she has to have one here. But Pudicizia, in the Cary-Yale, has the chariot. And Fame doesn't go in the same place in Petrarch's order as Pudicizia. So there is a dilemma, resolved in that rather difficult way you propose. But you don't mind, because in that way you get 7 Petrarchans to match 7 virtues. That doesn't remove the difficulty; it just transfers it to your ur-tarot as a whole.
Yes, there were two cards with chariots, one for Fame and one for Pudicizia (Petrarch's actual title, even if some manuscripts did put "Castita": chastity was one of her attendants): but they are in different decks. Hence the name "Chariot," applying to them both, one title but slightly different interpretations, referring to different Petrarchans in different decks: Pudicizia in the CY, Worldly Fame in other decks. The PMB neatly combines the two concepts: Fame for Pudicizia. It may well be that the Issy does the same. That is not even anti-Petrarchan: Petrarch did want to make Laura's Pudicizia famous. And perhaps, so as to make things less confusing to the players, concerned about order more than Petrarch, the two had the same place in the order, with Fame on a chariot where Pudicizia should have been.
About Fame having to be female. It seems to me that there are enough attributes of Fame in the Catania Chariot card to make the switch in gender while keeping the same allegory: Boccaccio had her with sword, golden apple, and chariot
That is what we see in the Catania as much as in the Issy. The Charles VI merely exchanges the sword for the halberd, a more plebian weapon. The globe, albeit with a cross on it, is also in the Rosenwald and the Rothschild sheet. It conveys fame - across all three continents, and virtuously earned - as much as dominion.…she sat on a triumphal chariot…held in her hand a shining sword …. in her left hand a golden apple…over the lady …was a verse written … ‘I am the Glory of the Worldly folk’” (Amorosa Visione VI:49-75, Hollander trans.).
I think that the reason for removing a card for Pudicizia in most decks was that there were already Temperance and Fortitude, which were close enough in meaning to Pudicizia that the latter would be overkill. So the cardinal virtues go where Pudicizia was, allowing the Chariot to be reinterpreted as Worldly Fame, sooner or later with a male on top, except in Minchiate, where the lady, naked except for a banner, clearly is not Pudicizia (which meant proper behavior, including dress, in matters relating to sex).
Which was first to be on the chariot? It requires some thought to realize that you don't need a special card to represent Petrarch's Pudicizia, a reason for the Chariot to have been originally Pudicizia and the World originally Fame. But the original designer might have already thought beyond Petrarch, and decided to put first Fame and then Time before instead of after Death, Fame now being the Chariot. I know of no relevant literary work in which Pudicizia gets a chariot; Worldly Fame, however, is given one by Boccaccio. Literary works had more diffusion than paintings.
We end up not being able to say which was in the ur-tarot. Well, maybe that's the way it has to be.
There are also, in most decks, two Eternities, as you say. One might also be Eternal Fame, but in most decks called World, perhaps because it could be confused with the other Fame, now called Chariot to be doubly sure there is no confusion. That World was associated with Fame is indicated by her polygonal halo, which can be seen on Pesellino's Triumph of Fame. Polygonal halos weren't only for virtues; for example, there is an Adoration of the Magi illumination where the Magi wear them (https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b ... f590.item/). It is true that in this deck it is only virtues that wear one. And yes, that suggests a desire to have all four virtues in this deck. That does not exclude Eternal Fame. As I already mentioned, she matches feature for feature the guide in Boccaccio's Amorosa Visione:
It is a nice thing about the title "World" that it allows for more than one interpretation, in this case, a spirit-guide for one tempted by worldly fame, another type of Fama, that of Eternal Glory, yet earned (at least in part, if Purgatory counts as earning) in this world....her blonde head / adorned by a crown more splendid / and fair than the sun / her comely / clothing seemed to me to be of violet hue. / Smiling, she had in her right hand / a royal sceptre, enclosed in her left / she held up a beautiful golden apple. (I.36-42)
So even with only one Chariot per deck, there are still 6 Petrarchans. But you, Nathaniel, require 7. Well, there is the Wheel of Fortune, which in your mind did "replace" Fame eventually. It is not in Petrarch, but to my mind it is a natural extension of his 6: like Desire, Death, Time, and Judgment, she is an unavoidable facts of life. And she isn't Fame, of either type.
There is also another move you could have made. With a game called "Imperatori" around, why can't at least one of the 14 be an imperator? The problem now is that doing so gets in the way of there being 8 Imperatori to add later. Well, perhaps Fortuna is an imperator, too, as much as the Devil. If it was not in Karnoffel, that would make 9 imperatori, the 9th an extension of the older game. Even if it wasn't one of those in Karnoffel, it was prominent enough in the culture. So there are two solutions, even if we don't know which of these choices would have been made first. I expect you don't like that solution either, but it gets you out of the difficulty of how to get 14 from 7 + 6.
Then, too, you would not have the awkwardness of going from 14 to 22 while still having to add two more cards, the Wheel and the Tower (it's not really 14 + 8; it's 14 - 2 + 8 +2). You have only to add the Tower, and since you have removed Prudence, it all works out. It can even replace Prudence in the order, if it was earlier with the Theologicals rather than the Cardinals, if now it occurs just before the Celestials, which replaced the Theologicals. Disasters from God lead the believer away from the Devil and toward a re-embracing of one's Faith.
B. In any case, you have 7 + 7 =14. Next problem: the order is rather difficult to remember, you say, and I agree.
Here it is again (I at least have trouble remembering it): Love, the 4 cardinal virtues (in some order), Chariot 1 (Pudicizia), Death, Chariot 2 (Fame), Time, Faith, Hope, Charity, Eternity 1, Eternity 2.
You say this is rather hard to remember, compared to the reordering that came later.
It does not seem to me that remembering the order of Petrarchans is any less difficult than remembering the order of cards with attributes corresponding to those six triumphs in the existing orders. Petrarch's order is quite logical.
Likewise, remembering the order of the cardinal virtues, whatever it was, isn't any harder to remember there than in any existing order, except that there are now three.
Remembering the theologicals' order is in fact easier in your proposed ur-order than it is in the one existing order we have, namely Minchiate, because Hope in the quotation from St. Paul that everyone knew isn't first, as it is in Minchiate.
What is difficult in your ur-order is that the cardinal virtues go in one place, not before or after the Petrarchans, but after just the first Petrarchan; then the theological virtues go in another, not after the cardinals but before the last two Petrarchans. Since both sets of virtues have to be practiced in our world in order to attain the goal of Heaven, they logically should go before Death. So I ask, in the ur-order, if four are in a row, why not seven?
The only evidence for the Theologicals is the Cary-Yale, an eccentric deck, where we have no idea where the theologicals were placed in the order, and Minchiate later, also eccentric, but at least with numbers on the cards. How far back does Minchiate go? To me it is undetermined, because it may have evolved from a smaller deck to a larger, just like Tarocchi. In that sense, the CY could have been a Minchiate. That Germini and Minchiate were the same game is indicated by the mid-16th century Florentine poem about street prostitutes, clearly calling the game "Germini" (it is on Andrea's site) with Minchiate's triumphs, and Berni's 1526 reference, in his comment on Minchiate, to the zodiac:
The problem then is how to account for the Theologicals' switch to later in the deck. Well, it is simple. The cards that are in Minchiate only are given their own section, for the convenience of players of both games (which surely existed simultaneously). That is why Prudence is where it is. But why should they need separating at all? Well, they have to do with Eternity, as does Prudence, I think you say. I am not convinced, since they are virtues that must be practiced before death, if they are to count in eternity. But in any case they are harder to remember where they go if they are separated off.. . . the proper face of Tarocco, for one pleased with this game, is that Tarocco means [literally, wants to say nothing other than] stupid, foolish, simple, fit only to be used by Bakers, Cobblers, and the vulgar, to play at most the fourth part of a Carlino [a coin], at tarocchi, or at triumphs, or any Sminchiate whatever, which in every way signifies only foolery [minchioneria] and idleness, feasting the eye with the Sun, and the Moon, and the twelve [signs], as children do. (trans. Singer, Researches into the History of Playing Cards, p. 28, in Google Books.)
The series is also easier to remember if the theologicals aren't there at all for a while, or at least not in their later place. But which has fewer difficulties? Let me compare ur-Tarots, yours (in either formulation, all 7 together or 4 in one place and 3 in the other) and mine.
C. My alternative is not new, just restated without my supposed Marziano grid, which is unnecessary for this purpose (in fact, unnecessary in general: it just works well with what I am about to say). I have formulated a series of reasons - nine or ten - for why it is preferable to yours, and with more arguments. Since many of them have to do with the relationship to Imperatori, and we know little about that game, much is speculative. However, my arguments avoid the difficulties I've presented of Nathaniel's origin story, and I think the difficulties of Nathaniel's conception of Imperatori. Some of my arguments I've given before and some are new.
Stage -1. The Game of Imperatori (I will capitalize the names of games): 4 Emperors plus 4 seconds-in-command, each matched with a suit. No other order necessary. (For my postulated game of Imperatori, see viewtopic.php?p=24950#p24950.)
Stage 0. Four papi (i.e., 2 seculars and 2 spirituals), no order; and higher than them, the four cardinal virtues, no order. Same game, four different cards. Allegorically, shows the primacy of the virtues over everyone. Not an actual game for selling or renting, just a developmental stage, like of a child in the womb.
Stage 1. Four papi, no order; four cardinal virtues, hierarchical; six Petrarchans, hierarchical. There is really no reason to have Love before the virtues. Love needs the virtues not to be destructive. This is the 14 card ur-tarot. Still perhaps not an actual game people pay money for.
Stage 2. Altering Petrarch and the order: Four papi, no order; Love, Virtue (in four hierarchical expressions, substituting for Pudicizia), then Worldly Fame/Achievement (accomplished before death), Time (of an individual life), Death, Eternal Fame, Eternity (as end of Time).
This is the Bolognese order for just those cards. If you are bothered by the Last Judgment being last, feel free to reverse them. Eternal Fame is exemplified in the Catania and Charles VI decks by the World card, who in the latter even has the polygonal halo often seen on Fame in the Petrarch illustrations, and fits the Boccaccio's description of the guide in Amorosa Visione. Angels took one to heaven, and in classical times Mercury. Jesus in triumph might have counted as well. In Minchiate the Angel card became Eternal Fame.
Why would anyone have wanted to change Petrarch's order, stage 1, into something it's not, stage 2? Well, it strikes me that the new order might have been influenced by the "stages of life" motif, which had various numbers of stages. Wikipedia says that the most popular number was three or four. Seven was also popular, and Wikipedia shows a 1482 German illustration with ten, the last being a skeleton in a coffin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_the_world%27s_a_stage). For three, there was Aristotle in De Iuventute et Senectute
The "organ of refrigeration" is the lungs, whose function, Aristotle thought, was to cool the body (see https://journals.openedition.org/etudesanciennes/1040, where I get the quote from Aristotle). These nicely correspond to Love, the Chariot, and Time, now called the Old Man.Youth is the period of the growth of the primary organ of refrigeration, old age of its decay, while the intervening time is the prime of life (De Iuv. 479a 31-32, trans. Ross).
The problem about my stage 1 being an actual game, in the sense of enough people spending money to play it, is that once it is played, to get to stage 2 the order must be changed a lot, and players don't like that. But it might have been a "limited audience" experiment as stage 1, with people of nimble minds, then adapted to stage 2 for broader use. There could even be a deck that fit either order, perhaps the Issy.
Stage 2 is as easy to remember as stage 1, for people who aren't attached to Petrarch's order. Turning the Chariot into Worldly Fame before death serves a political point: that serving society, in war or other achievements, brings the reward of fame, or at least a good reputation, which in itself reflects virtue, and can be enjoyed in one's own lifetime as well as outliving one. Putting Time before Death makes it more relevant to the individual life, reminding us that we only have so much of it.
Stage 3. The 4 papi get put into a hierarchy, as in the Rosenwald and maybe Florence. A natural tendency.
Stage 4. Then, or as an alternative to 4 papi, somebody thinks the theological virtues should be included, and there should be only one spiritual papa, placed over the imperials. So the theologicals go where they go, for 16 or 17 cards: 16 if one imperator is eliminated. Or 14 cards, with just one imperator. So a proto-Minchiate is born.
Stage 5. The game goes to Milan, from either Bologna or Florence (or back to Milan, if stage 1 was played there experimentally), where the wheel is added, and the order changed (OK there, because most people haven't played the game), for 14 cards, and the theologicals added and the Pope removed, for the 16 card game. The 16 card game, at least, puts the Chariot as Pudicizia and has the World card as simply Fame, whether worldly or eternal. I tend to think that the game went to Milan before the papi were put into a hierarchy, because it explains why they aren't in Piedmont, even though the virtues there are in the Lombard order.
Now we are at the BB and CY. We know that the Brera-Brambilla had the Wheel. It also had 14 cards per suit. So it might well have had 6 Petrarchans, 4 virtues, and 3 Imperatori besides, on the principle of the same number of triumphs as cards in a regular suit. Or 4 Imperatori and 3 virtues, although I don't think so, because the CY had all 7. The virtues could be reduced to just the 4 cardinals, but not likely from 7 to 3.
There is room for both Time and the Wheel in the BB if there are 3 papi and no theologicals. There is also room for Time in the CY, because that deck would have had at least 16 triumphs, on the same principle as the proto-Minchiate, also that of Marziano's 16. (Here I am responding to Phaeded, who seems to insist that the CY, even with an extra 2 cards per suit, would nonetheless have had 14 triumphs.) With 16, the CY would have had just 2 papi.
I see no reason why the latter principle would not have held in Florence, for decks with 7 virtues, i.e., 16 triumphs (3 papi, 7 virtues, 6 Petrarchans): the same number as the CY, perhaps with the Pope instead of the Wheel. With only 4 virtues, there would again be 14 triumphs, this time matching the number of cards per suit. There would be room for either 3 or 4 papi, depending on whether the Wheel was included.
Why not 22 (or more) in the CY? That is two questions. First, why not more than 22? It is odd that all three of the celestials would be missing. Among the fragmentary Tarocchi decks, none have both a theological and a celestial. In Minchiate the extra virtue cards go precisely where the celestials go in the tarocchi sequence. I also see a visual resemblance between CY Hope and the PMB Star, Faith and the Moon, and Charity and the Sun (assuming that the "replacement" cards look like the cards they replaced). It is likely that the one set replaced the other. Well, that would explain why not more than 22. But not yet why less than 22.
Like Nathaniel, I favor that the Wheel was not part of the original set. With 8 cards (4 papi and 4 virtues) besides the Petrarchans (as opposed to 7 if they were all virtues), it is one card too many. It is particularly likely to have been added in Lombardy because its ruling family, the Visconti, had a large fresco of one in their castle on Lake Maggiori. For why the Wheel was added, we can say: Visconti preference or superstition. You don't want to offend Fortuna. Alternatively, a Marziano-type grid requires it if there is to be a virtue in every suit-extension.
So now I want to present arguments, at this stage of 14 for why the four other "imperatori" of Nathaniel's (Fool, Devil, Pope, Emperor) wouldn't have been added as part of a later group of 8.
First, yours is somewhat more difficult to remember, because it seems rather arbitrary that 6 of the imperatori would come before Love and then 1 just before Death and then 1 just after. If each of the later 4 has a particular feature that tells players where it goes, and not added all at once, it is easier. The Bagatella is the little one, so first; the Fool (in this resembling the infant) is not a regular part of society; the Hanged Man is on the point of death; and the Devil part of a different sequence, going from poor, deceptive light to maximal light, or from the center to the periphery, easier to remember as part of that sequence. And of course there is the problem of remembering where the theologicals go.
Second, if Imperatori and Trionfi had two separate artists dedicated to them in Ferrara, one for each game, I cannot see that the cards of Imperatori were merely a subset of the Tarocchi. I do not exclude that one or two of Tarocchi's trumps were taken from Karnoffel, i.e. the Emperor and maybe the Pope. But more important would be the idea of trumps, and perhaps even two types of trumps, full and partial, with approximately four of each. (As partial trumps, the second in command in each suit would not only not be able to overcome the first in command of any suit, but perhaps also the Kings, for example.)
A third reason for thinking the "bad" imperatori of Trionfi and Karnoffel (Devil etc.) wouldn't have been there at first - and this applies to the game of Imperatori as well as Trionfi - is that in a sense making them trumps put them above the rest of society, even kings, which is kind of a strange status for a madman, a street hustler, and a traitor. And the Devil, while a mighty power, is low in status, as low as you can get, literally so in Dante. So a card maker who made them trumps is thereby risking the wrath of the ruler, especially Filippo but also other hereditary rulers (or, in Florence, the nobly rich). Once the game is established and popular, it is easier to add such cards.
If there were any "bad" imperatori in the game of Imperatori, they would have been the heads of "bad" empires, i.e. oriental or Muslim ones. (I have described how I see Imperatori at viewtopic.php?p=24950#p24950.) Such empires are reality.
I take more and more seriously the idea that the game of Imperatori did not rank its imperatori except as first and second in each suit, and, when an imperatore was led, decided the winner by the one last played, among those of the same rank, and the higher rank if they were different. In the same spirit, if they were ranked at all, it would have been in a way that the sum of their ranks would have been equal. (So, with four papi divided among two empires, spiritual and secular, it would not be 1Empress, 2Emperor, 3Popess, 4Pope, because this gives the spiritual a sum of 7 and the secular a sum of 3. But the Rosenwald ranking 1Popess, 2Empress, 3Emperor, 4Pope passes: both spiritual and secular have the sum 5.)
Literally speaking, there are only 2 imperatori, the Empress and Emperor, so a deck like the Cary-Yale could have gotten away with just them. In Guelf Florence, there is a good allegorical reason for adding the Pope, to assert his authority over both. There are also good allegorical interpretations of 4 imperatori. One is pope, antipope, emperor or emperor-elect approved by the pope, excommunicated emperor. Another is Pope plus Emperor in Rome, Patriarch plus Emperor in Constantinople.
A fourth reason for thinking that it was only 4 imperatori at first (in Tarocchi), the "good" ones, is my principle that in general, the more variation there is in the placement of a subject in the order, the more likely it is to be early rather than late, the only exceptions being those at the divide between the sections that seem to have been respected (as Dummett discovered), i.e. the Pope as the highest of the 4 imperatori, and Death as the dividing line between the here and now and the far away, in space or time. The reason for this is that earlier the centers were more interested in asserting themselves against their enemies, tending toward differentiation, but with the Peace of Lodi in 1453 they were more interested in cooperation for mutual benefit, which tends toward standardization. (I do not accept Dummett's argument that the different centers did not know other centers' order: interaction was not so meager that it would have been hard to find it out.) The Popess, Emperor, and Empress are in all sorts of variations. But the Fool, the Bagatella, the Hanged Man, and the Devil are always have the same place in the order, in the sense of what is before and after (or not, in the case of the Fool). So these "bad" imperatori would come later.
This criterion of greater disarray meaning earlier, except for natural dividing points between Dummett's three sections, also applies to the virtues. The cardinals are extremely variable, but not the theological virtues, nor the celestials, if indeed they succeeded the theologicals in some decks (that prudence is with them can be explained by a later desire to put the special cards of that deck all together, flanked on both sides by those of Tarocchi). That they are all together, as opposed to with the cardinals, suggests that they were added in a separate operation. So that is a fifth argument.
A problem for my criterion is that Time is inevitably, in the orders, immediately before the Hanged Man, whereas the Wheel is somewhat variable. It seems to me that it is the Chariot that is variable rather than the Wheel. But in general, the order of the Petrarchans does not change, such is the power of Petrarch's sequence as modified by "stages of life"; the only exception is the last two, and that is because, as Nathaniel says, there are two cards for Eternity, or as I add, everywhere except the CY and, more ambiguously, other type C decks, Fame having moved to the Chariot. In any case, Nathaniel and I are in agreement that the Petrarchans were in the Tarot from the beginning.
Another argument: with 4 imperatori, there is a nice symmetry with 4 virtues. That is not an argument for preferring my account, since Nathaniel's also has its 7-7 symmetry, so I won't give it a number. But the game of Imperatori could be played with that combination 4 + 4. It is an easy transition. I give that as my sixth argument.
A seventh argument is that with imperatori from the beginning, there is room for flexibility. A deck with 1 imperator is fine (with all 7 virtues), and likewise with 2 and 3, depending on how many are needed to add up to the desired number, the same as the number of cards per suit, or the number of trump-like cards in Marziano's game.
For just the 4 cardinal virtues at first, as opposed to the 7, an eighth argument is that they go with 4 suits (like 4 papi): the 4 virtues take the place of the 4 "bads" and speak of higher things than imperatori. The attributes for the cardinal virtues have distinctive correspondences to the four suit-signs: cups for Temperance, swords for Justice, sticks and stick-like columns for Fortitude, and round objects, mirrors, for Coins. Such correspondences are found in the two sources that Moakley found: a funeral oration for Giangaleazzo Visconti and a "game of the king" devised by Innocenzio Ringhieri. This isn't true of the theologicals.
Finally, here is something that is more of a perspective than an argument, but I will give it anyway. People who would have played the game, like Brunelleschi, also wrote sonnets to each other, and not love sonnets either (see my post at viewtopic.php?p=24966#p24966). Sonnets have the structure ABAB ABAB CDC DCD. 4 + 4 + 3 + 3: the same as 4 imperatori, 4 virtues, 3 good Petrarchans, 3 bad Petrarchans (or, 3 in life, 3 after life). Also, the ABs are 8 lines, the CDs 6 lines: 8 of imperatori, 6 of Petrarch. Constructing a sonnet with the right rhyme-words is like playing your triumphs properly in the game. For more on this, see my recent post at viewtopic.php?p=24974#p24974.
Stage 6. The Bagatella is added to the series, as 1st, and Prudence, thereby become 12th in the order, is changed to the Hanged Man, for 16 in the Tarocchi.
The Bagatella is likely to have been added in Ferrara, because only the spelling "bagatella" has the precise double meaning needed, between "trifle" and "prestidigitator", a spelling that pre-existed the game. This is in spite of the incredible awkwardness, grammatically, of the Steele Sermon's "El Bagatella": masculine article, feminine ending. In Florence and Lombardy, by the 16th century, the spelling was "bagatello." It mostly remained "bagatella" in Ferrara. With that double meaning, it is then easy to remember that the man with the cups and balls is first, because his title means "little thing," while also not nothing, which the Fool will be, in trick-taking.
In all these places adding the Bagatella (or -o) would make the Hanged Man 12th in the order, assuming 4 papi in both Ferrara and Lombardy and 3 in Florence. 12 is important because it is the number associated with the Hanged Man in the gospels, an association likely well known in the culture, judging by the story about the Hanged Man poster against Muzio "Sforza" Attendola, for his "XII treasons," etc. Yes, 13 was the number of the "siege perilous" at the Round Table, associated with both Judas and Jesus, differently in different places. What is common to Judas and Jesus is their untimely Death in those stories, and that is card 13. But neither Death nor Judas, must have been well known associations, at least in Italy, if a wedding banquet attended by Ginevra Sforza in 1475 could have 13 at the head table. In that context an association with Jesus as 13th at the Last Supper is possible, with perhaps also the idea of self-sacrifice for the good of one's people.
To justify the Hanged Man at 13 you perhaps appeal to the ordinal numbering of the Rosenwald and Bolognese sequences, also in Florence if there were four papi. But there is no number on the Rosenwald Hanged Man. Why so, unless the person doing the numbering realized that the Hanged Man, like that of Death, wouldn't get his customary XII? As for the Bolognese order, it seems to me that when numbers were put on the cards around 1700, at the time double-headed cards were introduced, it may have been done precisely so that the numbers would correspond to those of Minchiate, a deck we know was made in Bologna as well as Florence. Or the card may have already been associated with 12, and 13 with Death.
For Florence, if there were once four papi, there are two possibilities besides what you propose: either the Bagatella wasn't there before the Hanged Man was added, or else he was deliberately skipped so as to make the Hanged Man 12 and Death 13. In my view the former is more likely, because of his name in Minchiate: he is "Papa 1." Why such a name unless there were originally 4 papi? Since the game awarded extra points for combinations of 4 papi, he replaced the Popess at the time the Hanged Man was added. (There is also the question of why Love was papa 5, but my explanation would take us too far afield.) Either seems at least as likely as what you propose.
I know that Nathaniel does not consider the PMB to have been originally a 14 card deck, but let us take it into account as well. If the PMB 14 corresponded to a card sequence in Ferrara then, the Hanged Man could have been at most 12th and Death 13th, since the Angel was surely at or near the end of the supposed 14. Being before Death, the Hanged Man could not have been 13. If there was such a 14 card deck in Ferrara, let me emphasize, I think it would have coexisted with other versions with more than one virtue in them. There were four virtues in the CY, and even if the PMB Justice card was "really" Fame, it is also a variation on the standard image of Justice invariably represented as such elsewhere. (I will say more about how the PMB 14 fit in a Ferrarese/Venetian context in a moment.)
In any case, there is a pattern in the B order, regarding the 4 virtues, if the 5 cards from Devil to Sun are not yet there:
B order: . . . Temperance, Love, Chariot, Fortitude, Wheel, Time, Hanged Man (Prudence originally?), Death, Angel, Justice,[/b] World.
The pattern starts out with the second virtue two cards further than the first one. But then we would expect Prudence instead of the Hanged Man. If that card originally was Prudence, the pattern is saved. That the Hanged Man substituted for Prudence is also suggested by Imperiali's "Risponsa" to Lollio's "Invettiva", putting "prudence" where "hanged man" should go. Descending from the World and then Justice, the highest cards in Ferrara, the poem arrives at Death, after which we would expect the Hanged Man. But instead we see:
What is written is prudenza, yet the Hanged Man is also suggested: the “dance” would seem to be on the gallows. We should not suppose that “scales” indicates the Justice card, because that card has already been named; the scales rather are what balance prudence against malice. Piscina associated prudence with the same card, as well as the one before, saying of the latter that it signifies “a prudent counsel,” while the former is for those “that despise prudent advice" (trans. Caldwell, Depaulis, and Ponzi). All this depends on there being a Bagatella, to take advantage of the Hanged Man's numerological association.Then comes Death, and takes another dance,
And prudence, and malice below,
And each one appears on the scales.
But the wise old man beats Fortune…
(Translation and original in Andrea Vitali's online essay "The Hanged Man and Prudence").
If the five from Devil to Sun are not there (as I have given it above), the pattern in Ferrara extends even to Justice, a good reason for thinking that's the way it was, in a 16 card sequence including the World at the end. It could have been preceded by a 14 card sequence with Prudence in place of the Hanged Man, still with a virtue every third card. The PMB's 14 could then have borrowed 3 cards of the 16 (Fool, Bagatella, and Hanged Man), removed Fortitude, Temperance, and World, and changed Justice to Fame, for a virtueless sequence. If, as I hypothesize, Imperatori connected particular imperatori with particular suits, 2 to a suit, such a virtueless tarocchi might still connect triumphs to suits, 3 to a suit with 2 left over, in a Marziano-style grid. The game of Imperatori was still played in 1440s and 1450s Ferrara. It would be easy enough the play a more complicated version using tarot cards.
In the C order, the pattern of the virtues is, without the Wheel, every 2nd card a virtue:
C order: . . . Love, Justice, Chariot, Fortitude, Time, Hanged Man (Prudence?), Death, Temperance . . .
Again, the hole is where the Hanged Man is. If the Wheel were there, it would be alternating virtues and Petrarchans, except for that one card, and again, once the Bagatella was added, the Hanged Man would be 12. Since the Wheel certainly was in Milan by the time of the Brera-Brambilla, the pattern of alternating virtues and Petrarchans either was established earlier, or else for some good reason the Wheel needed to be added, even though the pattern would be broken. In the "From Marziano to the Ludus Triumphorum" thread I have suggested that the reason might have been to satisfy the requirements of a Marziano-style grid, when the theological virtues are absent.
In the popular deck of Ferrara, the pattern is maintained only if there are no cards between Death and Angel, with the fourth virtue following. That does not have to be true in either C or A. In A there can be no pattern, since the virtues are one after the other; in C the cardinal virtues stop before the part from Devil to Sun. But if those cards were absent in Ferrara, then likely the same in the C and A regions, because they, or at least A, probably had the game before Ferrara did.
Since the Devil would have broken the pattern of a cardinal virtue every third card, to the extent that the pattern of a virtue every third card in Ferrara is probable, it is improbable that the Devil was added at the same time as the rest of what Nathaniel considers imperatori. That is my last argument at this stage.
Stage 7. Then, in some region, there are five cards between Death and the two at the end. The celestials match the three theologicals; so replacing the ones with the others will eliminate one of the games, except in the A region. And along with them - maybe even earlier, because of where they are in Minchiate - the Devil and Tower are put in, too. In the Tarocchi, they make sense as filling a gap (that is how Nathaniel treats the Tower, but not the Devil.) But since they are before the theologicals in Minchiate, it might be that those two came earlier, starting in the proto-Minchiate. It is not hard to remember where they go, whether as five or as two low and three high: they make sense either way. For Piscina (where there are no Air and Fire cards) they represent the spheres of air and fire, as the two Platonic means between earth and the heavens. Towers are man-made objects known to catch lightning bolts coming from the sphere of fire. There is also the Divine Comedy, which had the Devil's Hell and the fires of Purgatory before the celestial spheres. The Mountain of Purgatory, with fire on top, is a kind of tower. There is the Book of Revelation, with its devils, lightning-toppled towers (in medieval illustrations), hailstones, and fireballs (both as in the Cary Sheet), before the woman clothed with the sun appears. In the case of Minchiate, where Prudence and the theologicals follow, it can be said that for fear of such disasters, which can come at any moment, that people should always be devout.
If these stages seem like too many, bear in mind that three or four cities are involved, each with its contribution and corresponding trace in the sixteenth century lists, and two types of decks.
I do not claim to have proven anything. I am just giving reasons for preferring some other origin story to Nathaniel's, even though his view of the tarot as a combination of virtues, Petrarchans, and imperatori, added in stages, is something I support.