## Bolognese sequence

### Re: Bolognese sequence / Holy Cow "22"

141
Well,

you repeat the argument "it is a rule, that decks are incomplete" so often, that it appears, as if it is the only argument you have. And you're cutting the world of corresponding information in a manner, that I already described as a woodcutter-technique, you reduce it to that, what fits into your theory.
Your mathematical method, according which you feel justified to speak of a "rule", is very doubtful ... and you seem to avoid to extend your statistical data to the real existence of decks of not Italian origin of the same time, so as if it is proven fact, that Italians steal more cards from complete decks than Germans.

In the comparable German group you've maybe 20-25% complete or nearly complete decks. If you apply this value to the Italian group of perhaps 15 decks, this would mean, that 3 or 4 of them "should be" complete/nearly complete, but fact is, that only one is nearly complete (PMB) and if I count the Sola-Busca Tarocchi to it, I would have a 2/16. Both results are not a statistical sensation or in any way extreme unusual, so that anybody with some background in statistic on the base of such limited data would speak of a "rule".
It's roughly comparable to the situation, that you roll a dice 30 times and have 5x the "6". And then you roll it 15x, and then you have it only once or twice. Not very remarkable - even if you roll it 15x and have no 6, it wouldn't be very unusual. The whole matter tells us, that it is generally rare, that old decks are complete. But some are.

I've seen listings of gambling houses with roulette-results. It's possible, though rare, that between 400 throws at the evening a single of the 37 numbers occurs never at an evening, although the average is about 11x. And normally you nearly always have numbers, which appear only 2x or 3x, others have 20 and even better appearances.

Your "rule"-statement comes - IMHO - not from a serious method. Additionally you might extend your data for instance also to the presence of complete Mantegna Tarocchi sets between other, not complete sets. Complete series are not rare and in no case impossible.

As a friend: Your argument is simply weak.

Well, but it's your argument and you're responsible for it. And it is not my role in a case of "assumption versus assumption" to have the independent evaluation.

So good luck with this idea.

### Re: Bolognese sequence

142
hi Robert,
robert wrote: Whether a "combined effort" or replacement cards, the thought that the "16 Bembo cards" were once considered a complete group seems incredibly unlikely to me.
.. it are 14 Bembo cards, not 16, therefore 5x14-theory.

Cary-Yale Tarocchi and Charles VI deck are considered to have developed from a 5x16-family of games, which had the interest to combine chess and cards (16 = number of chess figures).

The Bembo deck = "Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi by first painter" hadn't these chess interests. It was oriented towards a usual card deck form, 4x14.

### Re: Bolognese sequence / Holy Cow "22"

143
Huck wrote: you repeat the argument "it is a rule, that decks are incomplete" so often, that it appears, as if it is the only argument you have. And you're cutting the world of corresponding information in a manner, that I already described as a woodcutter-technique, you reduce it to that, what fits into your theory.
I only repeat it because you bring it up repeatedly and seem to misunderstand what I mean by "rule". In this case, it is just a fact, as you see on the chart, that ALL of the decks are incomplete. You wish to argue that in two cases, the trumps are complete while the suit cards aren't. But in any case, a simple statement of fact, as entire decks, they are all incomplete. There is no argument here - it is just the truth. You argue a special exemption for the suit of trumps - it is up to you to convince people the trumps are not subject like the suit cards to loss in these two cases.

Woodcutter or razor - it is the reduction to the simplest necessary argument. All of the decks can be explained as having lost cards, and being originally complete. No other argument is necessary, since the loss is demonstrable and proven. Arguing that the trumps in two specific cases are fully preserved despite being standard in every other way, is special pleading. And you make the special plea that there are analogues in other kinds of games, and that the trumps as such make a coherent narrative. But since the simpler argument is lost cards, it really is special pleading.
Your mathematical method, according which you feel justified to speak of a "rule", is very doubtful ... and you seem to avoid to extend your statistical data to the real existence of decks of not Italian origin of the same time, so as if it is proven fact, that Italians steal more cards from complete decks than Germans.

In the comparable German group you've maybe 20-25% complete or nearly complete decks. If you apply this value to the Italian group of perhaps 15 decks, this would mean, that 3 or 4 of them "should be" complete/nearly complete, but fact is, that only one is nearly complete (PMB) and if I count the Sola-Busca Tarocchi to it, I would have a 2/16. Both results are not a statistical sensation or in any way extreme unusual, so that anybody with some background in statistic on the base of such limited data would speak of a "rule".
I don't know offhand how many German cards and decks are preserved from the 15th century, but I think it must be much more than any other kind of cards. If 50 German decks are preserved, partially or fully, that is more than twice what we have for Italy. Therefore the margin of probability drops to half - 5-12.5 percent, or less, which is pretty much in the margin of error for nothing at all, since the samples are not very large. I.e. 10% of 20 decks overall, for Italy, is only 2 decks, and we do indeed have exactly 2 "complete or nearly complete" Italian decks.

Germany has the most cards, and most variety of cards, from the 15th century - you can't just compare "Germany" with "Italy", or "Germany" with "France", or whatever. The real number has to be compared as well. The larger the sample, the more chance of being preserved.
Your "rule"-statement comes - IMHO - not from a serious method. Additionally you might extend your data for instance also to the presence of complete Mantegna Tarocchi sets between other, not complete sets. Complete series are not rare and in no case impossible.
The reason complete sets are not rare is because they came in sheets, and were not intended to be cut up as cards.
As a friend: Your argument is simply weak.
Thanks, but I disagree.
Well, but it's your argument and you're responsible for it. And it is not my role in a case of "assumption versus assumption" to have the independent evaluation.

So good luck with this idea.
Thanks. True, you can't be independent. We have to see which theory gets the most votes. That doesn't mean the loser will stop believing he is right, and he might be.

### Re: Bolognese sequence

144
Huck wrote:hi Robert,
robert wrote: Whether a "combined effort" or replacement cards, the thought that the "16 Bembo cards" were once considered a complete group seems incredibly unlikely to me.
.. it are 14 Bembo cards, not 16, therefore 5x14-theory.
Hi Huck,

Sorry, that was a typo.
Huck wrote:Cary-Yale Tarocchi and Charles VI deck are considered to have developed from a 5x16-family of games, which had the interest to combine chess and cards (16 = number of chess figures).
Considered by you in your theory, but not by me. I think it far more likely that the Charles VI are remaining cards from 22 trump decks. The Cary-Yale is a mystery. It might have been a 5x16 deck, but it might have been a 25 or 26 trump deck as well. We don't know.
Huck wrote:The Bembo deck = "Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi by first painter" hadn't these chess interests. It was oriented towards a usual card deck form, 4x14.
It's part of your theory, but I really don't find it convincing. I think it far more likely in each of these cases that cards are simply missing... which we know happened as the standard just by looking at Kaplan's chart. None of these old Visconti decks or the Charles VI are complete decks, so why on earth would I assume that the trumps were intended to be of this reduced size? It doesn't make sense to me. The Michelino, the Cary Yale, and the "70"s (whatever they were), are not standard 22 decks, but I think you go too far when you try to include the Visconti Sforza and the Charles VI in that type of group.

### Re: Bolognese sequence

145
robert wrote:
Huck wrote:The Bembo deck = "Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi by first painter" hadn't these chess interests. It was oriented towards a usual card deck form, 4x14.
It's part of your theory, but I really don't find it convincing. I think it far more likely in each of these cases that cards are simply missing... which we know happened as the standard just by looking at Kaplan's chart. None of these old Visconti decks or the Charles VI are complete decks, so why on earth would I assume that the trumps were intended to be of this reduced size? It doesn't make sense to me. The Michelino, the Cary Yale, and the "70"s (whatever they were), are not standard 22 decks, but I think you go too far when you try to include the Visconti Sforza and the Charles VI in that type of group.
Well, there is no definite evidence for an early existence of the 4x14 + 22 - structure, so it's a natural action to research, if such compositions like the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo-parts (14+6 trumps) and Charles VI (16 trumps), which by others are carelessly skipped in the box for incomplete decks, could offer alternative and different views on the genesis of the final Tarot structure. And indeed they offer interesting views, which one naturally only learns, if one puts some energy in the question ... would you suggest, that world would be better, if a researcher misses such alternatives, if he meets them? Just living in the believe, that "Dummett is always right", closing the eyes and there's then the great adventure of reality, the great unknown Tarot origin, the ultimative mother deck, which dropped from heaven and nobody knows where and why?

Well, this unknown Tarot origin has one big disadvantage: it can't be researched. It's unknown. So one better starts from that, what is known. For instance the Charles VI. deck or the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi.

Is it given by evidence, that in the time of the assumed production of Charles VI. or Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi decks existed which used the 4x14+22-structure? No ... if you've another opinion, show the evidence.
Once you've started to think logical (something, which is not there, is not there ... the Charles VI has only 16 trumps and that's proven and the alternative is fiction and mediation on the completeness of decks and not more, the PMB had once only 14 cards and these are proven), will you make a retreat and not research the case?
Well, maybe you don't feel like a researcher and you think this detail totally not interesting and anyway, you've with your time better things to do. It's okay ...

### Re: Bolognese sequence / Holy Cow "22"

146
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: I don't know offhand how many German cards and decks are preserved from the 15th century, but I think it must be much more than any other kind of cards. If 50 German decks are preserved, partially or fully, that is more than twice what we have for Italy. Therefore the margin of probability drops to half - 5-12.5 percent, or less, which is pretty much in the margin of error for nothing at all, since the samples are not very large. I.e. 10% of 20 decks overall, for Italy, is only 2 decks, and we do indeed have exactly 2 "complete or nearly complete" Italian decks.

Germany has the most cards, and most variety of cards, from the 15th century - you can't just compare "Germany" with "Italy", or "Germany" with "France", or whatever. The real number has to be compared as well. The larger the sample, the more chance of being preserved.
German decks in 15th century aren't so much, if I don't count possible doubles, about which I don't know.
More or less this list should be correct, at least till the mid 1990's.
http://trionfi.com/0/p/25/

Of course: "The larger the sample, the more chance of being preserved" and also "The larger the sample, the better the chances to get an accurate statistical picture", though these chances might be small anyway, the number is also with German decks too small.

### Re: Bolognese sequence

147
Ross: Thanks for your well-articulated reply to my objections (back on p. 13, viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&start=120#p5508). I was a little annoyed at first, because I wasn't arguing that the other decks were complete as we have them, just that some might have been of other numbers besides 22, a number that didn't seem very natural to choose. (Yes, I know that Occam's razor would say that either the decks are complete as we have them (one "simple"--or simplistic-- solution) or they were all 22 (another "simple" or simplistic solution). I would rather argue from the real world, which is usually not simplistic (or "simple," as some might say).

Later you did address my concerns. I have been thinking about your arguments. I still have problems with them. Ross said
Who would have had the power - what "Central Tarot Authority" - to make sure everyone changed to the new standard every time new cards were added to the trump series? It's silly to think so. The simpler view is that each place received a version, either the original standard or an adaptation of it, and developed its own manner of play and ultimately redesigned the cards if the local market was big enough for a local cardmaker to need to make it. The differences among all the traditions are more of degree than kind, and all stick to the normal number.[
Ross said,
Cardplayers don't like novelty for the sake of novelty; they get good at a game and like their cards as they are. On the iconographic level, it is hard enough to play with un-indexed cards - you have to get very used to the cards before play becomes natural, to the very subtle indications, since you can't see the whole of the cards in your hands, just a part of each of them - if new and unfamiliar images were added willy-nilly over a period of a few decades, it is hard to see how the game could have survived.

On a practical level, it would demand that new plates were carved every time a new set of cards were added, and old ones, still fresh (since they last decades), thrown away.
Ross said,
What would be really strange is that everybody would end up with the same number in the end, if there were multitudes of various versions, with different numbers and subjects of trumps, spreading all over the place for several decades. Who centralized, standardized, and propagated this official version in different kinds, and managed to supress 100% of the local variants in 14, 15, 16, 17, 20 etc. numbers of trumps? (and different subjects, presumably).
I say: Starting out with 22 doesn't make it any more likely that the number will stay at 22. I have been reading about the history of Rugby and American football. the same game was played for years at Rugby School. But when it spread to other schools, the rules started to change. Even the establishment of a central authority couldn't stop it: there was a "great schism." When it spread to another continent, the rules changed even more, into a game that wasn't even Rugby.

In tarot, players wouldn't have liked to come to a new place and find not only that the cards looked different, but they had a different order in the trump sequence, yet with no indication on the cards to remind them of what the order was. Yet that is exactly what happened. People also wouldn't like the rules changing, which of course they did if the "four papi" rule was an original rule. Whether they are playing with a few cards more or less is less important. In fact, if adding a card makes the game more interesting, they would welcome it. For example, American card companies added the Joker in the 19th century. That made some trick-taking games more interesting.

Adding a card doesn't mean that you have to change all the plates. You just make up one more plate. It might, however, mean that people would have to buy whole new decks, if you declined to sell just the new cards. So you get more business, at little trouble, by changing the deck slightly every so often.

Yet many people would still prefer that the game remain, as much as possible, the same from city to city. As I have said, a certain original number doesn't do the job. What makes for standardization are a number of factors other than a "central tarot authority." Supply and demand is one of them. If a certain sequence is more popular to more people, because of its good ideas, or its coming from a place with more players, or its cheaper price, more aesthetically pleasing look, etc., it is more likely to survive. Writing down the order of the sequence is another factor. Rugby, for example, really got off the ground when some students wrote down the rules. Likewise the "Steele Sermon" would have done much to promote that particular order. Fear of authorities is another factor. If authorities everywhere had jailed people who made certain cards, it would have been standardized without those cards. Likewise if the devil becomes more popular, for example after the "hexenhammer" edict and the resulting witch-hunts, adding a "devil" card might be the thing to do, to win favor with the authorities and respond to popular sentiment. When one manufacturer does it, others follow. Monopolization is another factor: one supplier, or group of suppliers (the German print shops, let us say, or the ones in Lyon) floods the market, undercutting its rivals temporarily in price, to achieve dominance. Being associated with a particular army might help. Or one company joins with another and produces a deck that reflects the cards of both. I really can't say what the scenario was in Italy, France, and wherever else cards were produced before we start having evidence of 22 trumps as dominant.

Think of the forces tending toward standardization in the rules for operating personal computers. I only know the US. In the beginning, there were all kinds of operating systems. Then monopolization by IBM tended to wipe out all except one that had especially good ideas, Apple. Microsoft got an edge by being the only company that bothered to design software for the cheapest possible entry level machine, which people would buy and thus get hooked into Microsoft and IBM (I get this from a Silicon Valley software engineer, although I was one of the people that bought that cheapest model). The cloning of IBM machines made them cheaper and further expanded Microsoft. Windows was Microsoft's way of stealing one of Apple's good ideas. Meanwhile Apple developed programs to enable its users to use PC software. So the machines get more and more standardized, at least in how people use them, without any official rule-making body. At the same time software gets outdated, unusable even; so people have to keep buying new computers.

However you might be right about Bologna being first, and having 22 trumps from the beginning. I am not against that. I am just against applying "Occam's razor" as opposed to examining possibilities and gradually ruling out some and supporting others empirically, while saying "I can't say" otherwise. You have a reasonable proposal, one that stimulates my imagination to look for more corraboration. So I want to get back to discussing it, even to the extent (in this post at least) of ignoring all the other decks I can think of in other cities after 1442.

There may have been good reasons for choosing 22 trumps in 1438 or so. I hadn't read Vitali's article on tarot origins (http://www.associazioneletarot.it/The-H ... 1_eng.aspx. He cites Origen on the number 22: the 22 books of the Hebrew Bible correspond to the 22 Hebrew letters. Given the thriving Jewish population in Bologna, Kabbala, with its 10 sefiroth and En Sof, might also be relevant. So I am back to that old issue, after I thought I had safely buried it. (I wasn't convinced by Ross's arguments on the thread "Tarot and Kabbalah." But I won't discuss them here; I posted my own thoughts there. On Bologna and the 5x14 theory, another Vitali essay is worth reading, http://www.associazioneletarot.it/Bolog ... 9_eng.aspx.)

One concern I had was about who in 1438 or so might have sponsored and designed the cards. I liked Ross's suggestion that maybe the tarot came out of the Law Faculty at the University. The Law Faculty had a particular connection to Antongaleazzo Bentivoglio, Ross's candidate for "hero" in the deck. He got a Doctorate in Civil Law from there in 1414 and was a lecturer in that faculty 1418-1420 (Ady p. 11). He was paid one of the highest salaries of the time, 300 lire, suggestive of his importance at the University ("Bologna's Bentivoglio Family and its Artists: Overview of a Quattrocento Court in the Making," by David J. Drogin, p. 76, in Artists at Court: Image-Making and Identity, 1300-1500, ed. Campbell).

Another thing is that there would have been precedents in allegorical visual art connected with that particular faculty. There was a tradition in which professors who dominated both university and civic affairs commissioned tombs with reliefs and little statues on them (Drogin p. 76). The tradition may have been started in 1300 by one Rolandino Passeggeri, a professor of civil law, who "accumulated enough power to effectively control the city." The tombs invariably showed books and a professor lecturing to his students. Here is a later such tomb, done in 1430-1435 by Jacopo della Quercia and workshop (Drogin p. 75):

I seem to see the figure of Justice on the right, so it was probably for someone in the Law Faculty. The other figures look Christian. So we have a Roman/Christian tradition in which artists would have had drawings and other models to work from. The unbearded figure with the book in the center bottom bears a similarity to the Popess. And of course, for tarot, there was also the "Inferno" fresco in the Basilica, with its Hanged Men and man-eating Devil (http://unpoliticallycorrect.ilcannocchi ... 062602.jpg).

In the years 1438-1440, one principal source of commissions for artists would have dried up, i.e. the Papacy. And due to the instability, private patrons might have been spending less. So designers would have been looking for other venues.

As it happens, this particular tomb did not get used by its intended owner, Jacopo Vari, due to the artist's death with unpaid debts. It reverted to the Fabbrica di San Petronio and was acquired by the Bentivoglio some time after 1442 (Drogin p. 77). They used it as a tomb for Antongaleazzo, since he'd been a member of the university faculty. They were using that baclgrpimd to show how his tenure as "first citizen" was one in a long line of "professor-rulers of Bologna" (Drogin p. 77).

It is not clear where this tomb was placed after the Bentivoglio acquired it. By 1490 it was outside the Bentivoglio Chapel of San Giocomo Maggiore (Drogin p. 88). Perhaps it had been there a long time. All the artworks inside that chapel are also of interest from a tarot perspective, especially a "Triumph of Fame" by Lorenzo Costa, done 1490 (Drogin p. 88). It illustrates the same theme of "Fortuna vs. Sapienta" that was featured in that year's St. Petronio Day tournament (Petronio was Bologna's patron saint; for details, see Ady p. 171, which I quoted at length at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&start=80#p5372). In the chapel on the wall to the right of the fresco is the tomb of Annibale I, showing him as condittiere, i.e. devotee of fortune; on the left, outside, is the tomb of Antongaleazzo as scholar, devotee of knowledge or wisdom. These were the two main types of fame enumerated by Petrarch and illustrated in the fresco (Drogin p. 88). Giovanni II, the commissioner of the painting and the chapel, wished to show his "equal interest in the active and contemplative life, or litterae and arma, qualities combined in the ideal prince," Drogin concludes, following Niuwenheizen ("Worldly Ritual and Dynastic Iconography in the Bentivoglio Chapel in Bologna 1483-1499," Mededelingen van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome 55, 1996, pp. 187-212).
The contrast between the older scholar lying down on the one tomb and the younger condittiere charging on the other also suggests the old emperor/young emperor and old pope/young pope theme of the "four papi," even though all at the chapel are clean-shaven: beards merely make the contrast clearer. The contrast is also in the ages of Antongaleazzo and Annibale; the first was probably around 40 entering Bologna in 1435, given that he got his degree in 1414 and married in 1420; the second was 25 at his entry in 1438.

Perhaps someone knows where on the Web someone has connected this fresco, which does have bearded scholars and unbearded soldiers; I couldn't find anything on this one (as opposed to a "Triumph of Death" that is also there). It resembles the Charles VI, d'Este, and BAR World cards. It looks to me to reflect imagery in Ferrara, where Costa was from, as well as Bologna. If it (the "Fame" fresco) hasn't been discussed already, I will post it, and the art historians' analysis of it, on the "World" thread.

### Re: Bolognese sequence

148
Hi Mike, thanks for your thoughtful response. I'm going to bed now, it's nearly 1AM here, but hopefully I'll be back tomorrow after consideration of your post.

### Re: Bolognese sequence

149
mike wrote: Perhaps someone knows where on the Web someone has connected this fresco, which does have bearded scholars and unbearded soldiers, with tarot imagery; I couldn't find anything on this one (as opposed to a "Triumph of Death" that is also there). It resembles the Charles VI, d'Este, and BAR World cards. It looks to me to reflect imagery in Ferrara, where Costa was from, as well as Bologna. If it (the "Fame" fresco) hasn't been discussed already, I will post it, and the art historians' analysis of it, on the "World" thread.
This was intensively discussed at Aeclectic in Winter 2007/2008, also with pictures. Though it might be a little difficult to find it.

### Re: Bolognese sequence

150
Huck wrote:
mike wrote: Perhaps someone knows where on the Web someone has connected this fresco, which does have bearded scholars and unbearded soldiers, with tarot imagery; I couldn't find anything on this one (as opposed to a "Triumph of Death" that is also there). It resembles the Charles VI, d'Este, and BAR World cards. It looks to me to reflect imagery in Ferrara, where Costa was from, as well as Bologna. If it (the "Fame" fresco) hasn't been discussed already, I will post it, and the art historians' analysis of it, on the "World" thread.
This was intensively discussed at Aeclectic in Winter 2007/2008, also with pictures. Though it might be a little difficult to find it.
It was this thread, where Michael presented older opinions and a superb personal analysis of the diptych:
"Costa's Triumphs in Bentivoglio's Chapel"