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Huck  Huck is offline
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,682

hi Stephen,

I'm ready with the arrangement of the Nouvel Eteila for the moment. Thanks for your understanding. Happy Christmas

Originally Posted by MikeH View Post
Huck wrote

We are dealing with the origin of oracle decks. I don't know of any before the 66 card one in 1790, which indeed is unique to a particular family. Other things being equal, it would seem to me that a 66 card deck in 1790 followed by a 42 card deck in 1825 would suggest the obvious as the most plausible hypothesis, that the deck was simply reduced from 66 to 42. By 1825 there were other oracle decks in commercial production, and they had 42 cards. I expect there was a method of divination that fit 42 cards.
Hooper conservation cards in 1775 ... but likely also others. Already rather near to that, what we see in the 66-cards deck. Lenthall was also very early. England conquered France in wars, and English game books conquered European playing card tables.

Casanova and his Russian girl from 1765. The girl was 14 and had the background of a farmer's daughter. Where did she learn that?

There's the story, that a Florentine man invented coffee-rest-reading. The number 35 appeared in coffee-rest-reading, also in the Bolognese document (Pratesi). 35 is the number of Minchiate trumps, if you leave unnumbered trumps aside. It wouldn't be a wonder, when coffee-rest-reading and card divination went together. Minchiate more or less was limited to Italy, coffee-rest reading had better chances to spread to the Europe outside of Italy.

The origin of the 66 card deck is another issue. Whether there were already standard oracle decks in production is purely hypothetical, and I can't see how comparative probability or plausability can be assigned. A relation to the 42 special cards of the Minchiate Francesi is possible and can be explored. The four card sequence at the beginning of the 66 card sequence corresponds nicely to cards 2-5 of the Florentine Minchiate (although not of the French).

However Etteilla, too, used motifs from the French Minchiate, as I think you have shown elsewhere, and there are the obvious similarities to the conventional tarot sequence. Given the geographical proximity of Saint Priest to Lyon and Gronoble, where Etteilla followers lived, and other coincidences. I would think a relation to Etteilla is a reasonable possibility. 66 is twice 33, the number of cards in the Petit Etteilla, a good source of divinatory meanings, especially if you count upright and reversed meanings as two separate cards (the 66 card deck has no reversed meanings). For pictures, there are the keywords for inspiration, as well as Etteilla's tarot and the usual Marseille and Besancon images. These have yet to be explored as possible sources.
I agree, that the 66-cards-deck came "after Etteilla", cause the title "ministre interieure" was given for the first time in 1788. De La Salette knew Etteilla in 1788, and in 1788 Etteilla came on the market with his deck (if I see this right).

But I think, that the 42-cards version (Moscow 1825) might have existed earlier. It looks a little bit like a mutated profession (or social ranks) deck. Or a deck of costumes.

Well, Merry Christmas, everyone. Perhaps there comes time for a Christmas Truce.
Me too ... :-)
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