Re: The 14 + 8 theory

Despite the uncertainty about the PMB, which I doubt will go away, I think that Nathaniel's 14-8 hypothesis is worth discussing now, apart from the composition of that deck. It overlaps with ideas that I have been promoting in several ways for several years, in that it postulates three basic components, namely imperatori, virtues, and Petrarchans, as well as the transformation of the theologicals into the celestials. The main difference is in how much of the various components - specific cards and their order - of each when. So I absolutely love this discussion, Nathaniel, for its potential to achieve greater clarity, given our common assumptions.

Let's see...

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
…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.).
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.

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 ( ... 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:
...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)
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.

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 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 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 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 ( For three, there was Aristotle in De Iuventute et Senectute
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 "organ of refrigeration" is the lungs, whose function, Aristotle thought, was to cool the body (see, where I get the quote from Aristotle). These nicely correspond to Love, the Chariot, and Time, now called the Old Man.

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:
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").
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.

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.

Re: The 14 + 8 theory

mikeh wrote: 15 Jun 2022, 12:30 Between Nathaniel and Huck (I am not sure about Iolon), I don't see why both of them can't be defending "the" 5x14 theory. 5x14 has more going for it than the PMB; if so, the PMB may be part of Huck's 5x14, but there can be other 5x14 theories where it doesn't matter, and part of our job, if we are serious about 5x14, is to set them alongside one another to see which has the most going for it, apart from being the one we like.
Hm ... Nathaniel gave a clear sign, that he didn't speak of the 5x14 theory, but of a 14+8 theory. He wasn't totally clear, what he meant with this. He made a note ...
But my ideas about 5x14 actually have very little in common with Huck's. The only thing we have in common in that regard is that we both think the 70-card deck in Ferrara had a 5x14 structure. We disagree completely about why it had that structure, and what trumps it would have had.

We disagree even more about the Visconti di Modrone deck (the Cary Yale) because I think that deck must have had at least 22 trumps.

The two 5x14-decks produced in Ferrara 1457 were probably made for the visit of the 13-years-old Galeazzo Maria Sforza in Ferrara ... likely these were made to satisfy the Milanese style of play. It's not necessary to assume, that these had the Ferrarese style.

From my viewing point the essence of the 5x14-theory is the PMB-1, the 14 trumps of the first painter. It is on my side assumed, that these 14 trumps meant a complete trump set and a complete 5th suit. The 70-cards note of Ferrara and the 14 pictures for Bianca Maria of 1441 have the role of "additional evidence" for the use of a "14", not more.
Dummett, Decker and Depaulis once (A Wicked Pack of Cards) claimed, that the set of 22 trumps (or 21 trumps + Fool) was ready in 1450. The only evidence for this construction was the complete PMB with 20 trumps, formed - according the opinion of accepted art researchers - by 2 different artists, one, who worked 1451 (proved by a letter) and another, who worked considerable time later (10-30 years later according different theories).

But ....
The 2 trumps in the Brera-Brambilla deck don't prove the existence of 22 trumps (or 21 trumps + Fool)
The 11 trumps in the Cary-Yale deck don't prove the existence of 22 trumps (or 21 trumps + Fool)
The 14 pictures for Bianca Maria Visconti 1441 at Ferrara don't prove the existence of 22 trumps (or 21 trumps + Fool)
The 16 trumps in the Michelino deck don't prove the existence of 22 trumps (or 21 trumps + Fool)
The 14 trumps in PMB-1 don't prove the existence of 22 trumps (or 21 trumps + Fool)
The 14 + 6 (= 20) trumps in the complete PMB don't prove the existence of 22 trumps (or 21 trumps + Fool)
The 16 trumps in the Charles VI deck don't prove the existence of 22 trumps (or 21 trumps + Fool)
The note about two 70-card decks produced in Ferrara doesn't prove the existence of 22 trumps (or 21 trumps + Fool)
Some other smaller decks also give no secure evidence about the existence of a deck with 22 trumps (orwith 21 trumps + Fool)

The first clear evidence ....
The earliest appearance of a 22 in that, what is documented as Tarot in 15th century, we have the Tarocchi poem of Matteo Maria Boiardo, which I personally date to January 1987, but I remember to have seen datings of 1460s and 1470s without much reasoning why the authors of this ideas took these positions.
I take the date January 1487, cause an illegitime daughter of Ercole d'Est, married in this month, LUCREZIA. She married Annibale Bentivoglio from Bologna and it is recorded, tha a lot poets made poems for her at this opportunity.
The poem of the 21st and last trump (naturally the most important place in this deck) of Boiardo was ...

Fortezza d’animo in LUCREZIA liete
Exequie fece: pe purgar sua fama
Se occise, a l’offensor tese atra rete
Dando exempio a chi 'l nome e l'onore ama.


There are other reasons for this date of a Tarocchi with 22 cards. One lies in the condition, that Boiardo was the cousin of Pico de Mirandola and Pico published his famous work about Kabbala in December 1486 in Rome and the number 22 had in this text a significant role. So we have this activity ...
December 1486: Pico publishes a very important work with some relations to the number 22
End of January 1487: Lucretia's wedding, Boiardo makes a poem with 22 Trionfi trumps
... there is a very short time between Pico's publication and the wedding of Lucretia.

Other notes
Der erste Hinweis auf die Anwesenheit von Juden in Scandiano erscheint in einer notariellen Urkunde vom 2. September 1478, in der ein Versprechen erwähnt wird. Die Juden wurden höchstwahrscheinlich mit der Ankunft von Matteo Maria Boiardo als Feudalherr der Stadt nach Scandiano gerufen. Am Ende des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts geht aus notariellen Urkunden hervor, dass eine jüdische Familie, die von Bonaventura di Leuccio, in Scandiano lebte. Im Jahr 1494 erscheint die Familie von Samuel da Fano auch als Einwohner von Scandiano. Stattdessen ließen sich zu Beginn des 17. Jahrhunderts zwei Familien aus Ferrara in Scandiano nieder, die großen Einfluss auf die Gemeinde haben sollten: die Bonarroi und die Corinaldis. Die Nachkommen der Bonarroi werden bis zur zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts in Scandiano leben, die Nachkommen der Corinaldis bis 1925. Zwischen 1665 und 1667 ließ sich auch der Vorfahr einer anderen einflussreichen Familie, Abram Almansi, in Scandiano nieder. Ende 1600 lebten in Scandiano 625 Menschen, darunter 25 Juden, und ein Jahrhundert später, 1785, erreichte die skandinavische Bevölkerung 929 Einwohner, darunter 122 Juden. ... +Scandiano
automatic translation
The first reference to the presence of Jews in Scandiano appears in a notarial deed dated September 2, 1478, in which a promise is mentioned. The Jews were most likely called to Scandiano with the arrival of Matteo Maria Boiardo as feudal lord of the city. At the end of the fifteenth century, notarial deeds show that a Jewish family, that of Bonaventura di Leuccio, lived in Scandiano. In 1494, the family of Samuel da Fano also appears as residents of Scandiano. Instead, at the beginning of the 17th century, two families from Ferrara settled in Scandiano, who would have a great influence on the municipality: the Bonarroi and the Corinaldis. The descendants of the Bonarroi will live in Scandiano until the second half of the 19th century, the descendants of the Corinaldis until 1925. Between 1665 and 1667 the ancestor of another influential family, Abram Almansi, also settled in Scandiano. At the end of 1600, 625 people lived in Scandiano, including 25 Jews, and a century later, in 1785, the Scandinavian population reached 929 inhabitants, including 122 Jews.
compare also:
Storia degli ebrei di Scandiano
by Daniela Bergonzoni
Casa Editrice Giuntina, 1998 ... o"&f=false


Pico de Mirandola composed a "triunfi carte poem" at an unknown date before 1486 ....

discussion ..... posting.php?mode=edit&f=11&p=17590
Sonetto 28
Amor ben mille volte e cun mille arte,
come uom sagio che amico se dimostra,
temptato ha pormi ne la schera vostra,
che empieti de triunfi soi le carte;
ma la ragion di Lui m’era in disparte,
che la strata dil cel vera mi mostra:
così l’uno pensier cun l’altro giostra
e ‘l cor voria partir, né pur si parte.
Onde ancor né gioir nostra alma o trista
far può Fortuna, e furno in grande errore
gli ochi, se lo contrario a lor pareva.
Gelosia forse, che ‘l nostro Signore
seguir suol sempre, offerse cotal vista
al cor, che di Madonna alor temeva. ... e-volgari/

MikeH ....
Added next day (2nd of 2 additions): What does create a problem is if the 14 surviving trumps of the PMB are construed as somehow the original or standard 14, or close to it (e.g. instead of Fortitude as the one cardinal virtue, it was Justice). That presents a problem for anybody who supposes that more than one virtue was part of the ur-tarot. My view is that if the PMB 14 were complete, the 14 triumph game using these cards would have been a variation on an earlier one of 14 - or more likely, several, with slightly different cards at different places or times - perhaps a fad of the 1450s, and perhaps just in the B region, and that games with other cards, and/or more of them, including all 3 of the usual virtues and the World, were also played then, even in Ferrara. Or perhaps that 14 have survived is just coincidence. But I am open to other views.
Well ... let's see, what we got from Pico and the Boiardo poems ....

Re: The 14 + 8 theory

Huck wrote,
From my viewing point the essence of the 5x14-theory is the PMB-1, the 14 trumps of the first painter. It is on my side assumed, that these 14 trumps meant a complete trump set and a complete 5th suit. The 70-cards note of Ferrara and the 14 pictures for Bianca Maria of 1441 have the role of "additional evidence" for the use of a "14", not more.
Yes, your 5x14 is different from Nathaniel's 5x14, and also from Phaeded's 5x14 and my 5x14.

As I understand yours, Huck, it is primarily that 5x14 decks existed in northern Italy in the period between 1440 and 1457. I don't know if you want to say that 5x14 was the original structure of the tarot or not. Since you say that the CY was a 5x16, perhaps you want to leave it open, I don't know. On the other hand, 14 cards per suit was usual, at least in tarot decks that we know about, so more likely 5x16 was the exception and 5x14 was the rule.

If it is true, as it very much seems to be, that the PMB was produced for a family in Venice, it may well be that the PMB and the other evidence only applies to the B region of Ferrara and Venice. Perhaps that is enough.

In my view none of the three pieces of evidence is conclusive. We cannot even say that they convey a probability that 5x14 decks were produced. They are simply reasons for making what is therefore a reasonable hypothesis. It is a stronger hypothesis than, for example, the hypothesis that playing cards entered Europe from the north, because it is fairly certain that the dates, 1-1-1440, 1450-1460, 1457, are accurate, unlike those in northern Europe for playing cards. But we can give no probability weak or strong for either - nor for any other number, including 22.

It may well be that the 14 figures were something else.

It may well be that some of the PMB original cards are lost.

It may well be that the 70 card triumph decks in 1457 were 4x12 plus 22, that is, they were without queens and tens, as Franco has argued. There is evidence for the omission of tens early on, admittedly from Spain and not Italy.

But the coincidence does count for something.

I count Phaeded and Nathaniel as having 5x14 theories, too, because they also argue for such decks. And they are quite specific that these are for the original tarot. Phaeded finds 7 virtues everywhere in Florence, in Dante, and strongly suggested in the CY, therefore also the BB; he also finds 7 other triumphal subjects in Dante. In evidence he gives the CY, which has 4 virtues, including what is usually called the World as Prudence, so probably the three others, and in addition 7 other subjects found either in the BB, the CY, or both, as well as in Dante. My argument against him is that one can find a great many things in Dante, besides what is in the BB and CY. There is nothing in the Divine Comedy that singles out those 7 non-virtues in particular as subjects. Phaeded does not think that the PMB first artist cards reflect the original composition of the tarot.

I am not clear as to what Huck thinks the original composition of the tarot was. Do the PMB first artist cards reflect it? Or could it have been something else? It would help to have that clarified, as well as an original order, if any.

Nathaniel finds the argument for 7 virtues in the ur-tarot to be persuasive, too, but thinks that 7 can be derived from Petrarch, too, allowing 2 cards with chariots on them, for Chastity and Fame, and 2 cards for Petrarch's Eternity. That is 14, and he allows Huck's evidence, too. Like Phaeded, he does not think that the PMB reflects the original composition of the tarot. But he disagrees with Phaeded about the identity of a few of the non-virtues. He does not think the Empress and Emperor were part of the original tarot, nor the Wheel, because the original stimulus was the seven virtues and Petrarch's Trionfi.

That Nathaniel adds 8 to that 14 does not negate that he admits of 14 triumph decks early on. All of you (and myself, too) acknowledge that 8 were added. And in fact, as I have said, his is not really 14 + 8. It is 14 + 1 (wheel) + 8 (imperatori) -1 (prudence). Your theory seems to me more 14 + 8 than his, in that the PMB has 14 and by 1486, in your estimation there were clearly 22, and you have no theory about what happened in between, except for a couple of 16 triumph luxury decks.

In this connection it seems to me impossible that the ChVI could have had only 16 triumphs, because the very similar Catania deck had an Empress. If so, that gives the ChVI at least 17.

My own hypothesis is yet another variation on the theme of the 5x14. I hold that the original composition was most likely 4 + 4 + 6, that is to say, 4 imperators, 4 cardinal virtues, and 6 Petrarchans. It might also have been 6 Petrarchans, 7 virtues, and 1 imperator. Or 3 imperatori, 7 virtues, and 6 Petrarchans. I do not hold that 14 was universal and exclusive at one time. I do think that there are more reasons for 14 than for other numbers, except 16 if the theological virtues were present. By Petrarchan" I mean either one of Petrarch's six or something derived from one of the six, perhaps using imagery from Boccaccio's Amorosa Visione.

It might even have been 8 triumphs to start, meaning just the cardinals and papi. I doubt if it would have been called "trionfi" then, because that name suggests Petrarch. I do not exclude 4 virtues plus 6 Petrarchans, for 10 altogether, but it does not seem as likely as 8.

My view is that the CY probably had 16 triumphs and the BB 14 (omitting the theologicals and adding one papa). As for the PMB, it might have had 14 triumphs, lacking any virtues, but there also would have been been decks composed differently, with at least 3 cardinal virtues, and probably others.

About when there were first 22, judging from the political situation, one of unity among formerly contending powers, I would guess sometime in the 1450s. It might also have been 22 from the beginning, although there are many reasons for thinking otherwise: the same reasons that favor only 4 (or fewer) imperatori and 4 rather than 7 virtues, and 6 rather than 7 Petrarchans, which also excludes the Wheel (not a Petrarchan). I gave about nine arguments on this in my previous post, many of which apply to the 22 triumph hypotheses.

Nathaniel finds the original order of some importance. Phaeded does not. I do, but not in a precise manner, because it is not clear when decks started being made commercially (I include luxury decks) as opposed to experimentally). But four papi followed by four virtues followed by six Petrarchans is the most straightforward. I am not clear on what Huck thinks about the order of the 14 PMB triumphs. On my view, it would depend on where the game was played, whether in A, B, or C region, simply taking the order there, for the 14 surviving cards.

I am very curious about whether the pigment analysis of the PMB cards showed anything interesting. I unfortunately have the bad habit (it's happened before) of unconsciously supposing that when it is 9:30 am in New York it is 12:30 pm on the west coast. Actually, when it is 12:30 pm on the west coast it is 3:30 pm on the east coast. Since the meeting ended at 2:30, when I eagerly clicked on the zoom link, it had already expired. I realized immediately what had happened.

Re: The 14 + 8 theory

mikeh wrote: 27 Jun 2022, 12:58 I am very curious about whether the pigment analysis of the PMB cards showed anything interesting. I unfortunately have the bad habit (it's happened before) of unconsciously supposing that when it is 9:30 am in New York it is 12:30 pm on the west coast. Actually, when it is 12:30 pm on the west coast it is 3:30 pm on the east coast. Since the meeting ended at 2:30, when I eagerly clicked on the zoom link, it had already expired. I realized immediately what had happened.
Yes, it definitely did. We found out that the golden background on the original trump and court cards is made out of an alloy of gold and silver. The background on the six added trump cards is made out of pure gold. And also the gold leaf that has been used for the symbols on the pip cards is made out of pure gold. For me this makes it evident that the pip cards were not made at the same time as the original 14 trump and 16 court cards. I discussed this on this forum, on the Facebook Tarot history group and on my website. The implications are enormous.