Re: The Alessandro Sforza Temperance card

mikeh wrote:
Temperance holds a torch and pours out a jug full of water, for, as Julianus Pomerius says: "Ignem libidinosse voluptatis extinguit". Footnote: De vita contemplativa lib. III, cap. 19 (Migne P. L. 59, 502)
I could not find Migne listed in his bibliography, to decipher the "P. L."
"P.L." stands for Patrologia Latina, the overall name of the series (the other big one is Patrologia Graeca)

All of the volumes are online, usually in multiple copies. Here are some links to all of the PL volumes - ... -page.html

Here is a list for PG (the main value (for me) of Migne's Greek editions is that they are accompanied by Latin translations in parallel columns, making references easy to find): ... a-pg-pdfs/

Nice text reference, btw. It's a good gloss on the card: Temperance "puts out the fire of lustful pleasure" ("libidinosse" should be "libidinosae"). ... col502.jpg

Re: The Alessandro Sforza Temperance card

mikeh wrote: Between Phaeded's analysis of what is in the hands, and mine of what the stag means, I think we now have a fairly complete interpretation of the Alessandro Sforza Temperance card. The extinction of the sexual appetite and a longing for God. In Platonic terms (the Symposium), it is the transmutation of vulgar love into celestial love, Aphrodite Pandemos into Aphrodite Uranos, Göttliche Liebe.

This, it seems to me, is especially suitable for a Temperance card that either immediately precedes or follows the Death card, as it seems to relate particularly to old age, and so the soul just before or after death; in the latter case, not only are the bodily appetites extinguished, but the body itself.
.... :-) ... I wonder, what Alessandro Sforza would have said, if he could read this.

"Erotic decks" are quite common in the history of playing cards, though they didn't often survive. That, what we have as Alessandro Sforza Trionfi card fragment (likely modified Charles VI) has more than one "naked body" ...


... and the hand without person holding the cup looks like a masturbating gesture.

Re: The Hermit

Of course, the Triumfi cards represented Time.
Then on the vulgar cards he became the old man, the hunchback.

My hypothesis is that we have with the Hermit the second face of Dame Prudence.

Here are two examples.

Prudentia on the tomb of the Duke of Bretagne in Nantes.
Image ... CN2047.JPG

Prudentia in Raphael's fresco in the Vatican. ... el_056.jpg

We can note on this fresco the torch raiseded in front of the old man's face, allowing him to light up in the light of the experience. ... 511%29.jpg

Re: The Hermit

Prudentia had occasionally 2 or 3 faces. This doesn't mean, that Father Time became her second face generally, I would think. Actually the typus with 2 or 3 faces is rare. More often appears the attribute "mirror", which also generates a second face. Or the viper or dragon, which then was the second face. The missing Prudentia in Tarot disguised possibly more as Fame or World and with that as the highest trump.
Father Time is possibly more connected to the Trio Sun, Moon and Star (cause these are the objects, how we measure time).

Re: The Hermit

Some people in the early centuries definitely did associate the Old Man card with prudence after it lost the attributes of Time. The clearest example is Francesco Piscina's Discorso sopra l'ordine delle figure de Tarocchi, from Piedmont in 1565:
il Vecchio Gobbo vien poi carco d' affanni e pensieri che vince e supera la Fortuna, il qual ci vol significar un prudente conseglio, col qual si vince ogni Fortuna [...] conciosiache un saggio e prudente superi il suo Fato e Destino, che par non so che di più d' humano, quanto maggiormente signoregiara e sarra vincitore della Fortuna, la quale e terrena, e per nulla [17] quasi da prudenti riputata, il Vecchio dico è posto per un considerato conseglio & ottimo giuditio, avvengha che sia proprio degl' huominii invecchiati e maturi il consigliar bene. Posciache accada che quel ch' essi dicono l' habino più volte per isperienza provato

Then the Old Hunchback comes, charged with troubles and thoughts, and he wins and surpasses Fortune. He represents a prudent counsel, with which you can win any Fortune [...] a wise and prudent man wins over his Fate and Destiny, for [in him there is] something that is more than human, as much as he is a winner of Fortune, which is earthly and considered to be almost nothing [17] by the prudent. I say the Old Man represents a well pondered counsel and an excellent judgement: it happens that it belongs to old and mature men to give good advice, because it is the case that they have experienced many times whatever matter they talk about.
[translation by Marco Ponzi, as revised in Ross S. Caldwell, Thierry Depaulis, and Marco Ponzi, Con gli occhi et con l'intelletto: Explaining the Tarot in Sixteenth Century Italy (, 2018) ]

So yes, people did associate the virtue of prudence with the Old Man image. At the same time, I think it's fairly clear that people at this time (including Piscina) did not generally view the card as a personification of Prudence, as such, and consequently they did not call the card Prudence, but instead always used names like Old Man or Hunchback.

Re: The Hermit


In my hypothesis, Father Time does not directly become the second side of Prudentia.
I believe that when the cards left the ducal courts to be nothing more than simple pieces of cardboard (often badly printed and badly colored), they fell, in the gambling dens, into the hands of players who knew nothing about Petrarch and his Triumphs.

They gave them the name of what they saw there: "Il Vecchio" or "Il Gobbo".
And the following cards have conformed to these new names.

Finally, later, somebody rehabilitated the character by giving him a new attribute.

But Father Time had long been forgotten.

P.S .: It is not a dragon or a viper that we find at the foot of Prudentia but a snake; because Jesus said: “So be careful like serpents. (Mat. 10:16)

Re: The Hermit


What I replied to Huck above, applies to the tarots of Pavia or Milano.
The Minchiate comes from Florence (cf. Depaulis in "Le Tarot révélé") and has therefore experienced a different evolution.
There is always “Il Gobbo” or “Il Tempo” but not our Hermite.

Prudentia can therefore be added.