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kwaw  kwaw is offline
Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
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Originally Posted by GnosticTarotCards View Post
"As for this atout, we number it zero, though it is placed it in the order of cards after the twenty-first, because it does not count when it is alone, and possesses ontly the value that it gives to the others, precisely like our zero: showing thus that nothing exists without its folly."

Court de Gebelin - game of tarots 1781
Thanks for the correction. (I should have recalled, my own partial translation is over at tarotpedia!). Memory confused by the fact he discusses it first as part of the allegorical sequence (0, I, II, III). The original doesn't say 'in the order of the cards' btw, but 'in play' or 'in the game':

"As for this atout, we call him Zero, although in the game* one places it after the XXI, because he does not count when he is alone, & his only value is that which he gives to the others, precisely like our zero: showing thus that nothing exists without its folly."

*or, although one places it in play/in the game after the XXI

"Quant à cet Atout, nous l'appellons Zero, quoiqu'on le place dans le jeu après le XXI, parce qu'il ne compte point quand il est seul, & qu'il n'a de valeur que celle qu'il donne aux autres, précisément comme notre zero: montrant ainsi que rien n'existe sans sa folie."

In the same book, in Mellet's essay, Mellet also says that the fool follows the bateleur, as per my previous quote:

"First, the Juggler holding the rod of the Magi, working miracles to deceive credulous people.

He is followed by a single card representing the Madman/Fool who carries his bag or his defects behind him, while a tiger or the remorse's, devouring his haunch, delays his march towards crime..."

Premiere, le Bateleur tenant la verge des Mages, fait des miracles & trompe la crédulité des Peuples.

Il est suivi d'une carte unique représentant La Folie qui porte son sac ou ses défauts par derriere, tandis qu'un tigre ou les remords, lui dévorant les jarrets, retarde sa marche vers le crime...

In terms of discussing the allegorical sequence, both Gebelin and Mellet place the fool before the numbered cards in ascending order, or after them in descending order, i.e., before of after I - the Juggler.

As to why Mellet discusses them in reverse order, Gebelin explains:

"We will start with number I and proceed to XXI, as the current use is to start with the least number and proceed to the highest. The Egyptians however commenced the count from the highest and proceeded to the lowest. Thus they sang the octave while going down, & not while going up like us. In the essay following this one the Egyptian custom is followed, & the greater account is shown thereby. Thus both approaches will be covered: ours as most convenient when one wants to consider each card by itself: & the other more useful in better conceiving the whole and their relationships."

I agree it is as silly thinking of the attributions between the cards and hebrew letters as being one based on number - as no such relationship can exist beyond one to ten. It as silly to think of the relationship between O=1 as it is think it is between 0=300 (or 400). At least Mellets attributions have the virtue of not attempting or implying any such correlation.

I don't think anyone has ever disputed he is a cipher!

Essere come il matto fra tarocchi (esser per tutto)
Like the fool of the tarot - here, there and everywhere!

(Old Italian Proverb:
A dictionary of the English and Italian languages
, 1760
By Giuseppe Marco Antonio Baretti)
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