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Aerin  Aerin is offline
Seeker, Patterner, Questioner, Dreamer
Join Date: 26 Mar 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 7,266

Originally Posted by Le Fanu
Ah, now I see what you're saying. I misunderstood your first post. My understanding is that, yes, the Italians invented the gaming tarot, like the Visconti-Sforza etc, but the Marseilles took it and made it a divination tool (of course nobody knows, but this is what I get from my reading about the historical tarot). The Marseilles is thus held up as significant because it was the beginnings (?) of tarot as divination, whenever that happened (18th Century? 19th Century? Papus?)

Decks like the Ancient Italian (1880) must have come along when people already knew that tarot could be used, in fact, had been used, for cartomancy. But it pointed back to the symbolism of Marseilles rather than the courtly Italian decks of the 1400s.

But none of us really know, do we?
Oh I SEE. Same page now

I'm glad none of us really know then, although I have seen the 'Marseilles came first and is the only true tarot' represented as uncontravertable fact .....

There's some interesting stuff here I just found:

Topic: Tarot and divination
Inaccurate: Tarot was not used for divination before Etteilla and Court de Gébelin around 1781.

Current Historical Understanding: There is evidence of such use, but it is fragmentary and suggestive rather than conclusive. Tarot was used as early as the 16th century to compose poems describing personality characteristics (tarocchi appropriati). In one case (1527), the verses are presented as relating to the person's fate. There are records of divinatory meanings assigned to tarot cards in Bologna early in the 1700s. This is the first unambiguous evidence of tarot divination as it is commonly understood. However, it is known that ordinary playing cards were connected with divination as early as 1487, so it is reasonable to conjecture that tarot was also. From the 1790s with Etteilla's deck we find tarot design being modified specifically to reflect divinatory and esoteric meanings.

So the Ancient Italian would come well after people had started to modify tarot design as suggested. Although nothing to say that they actually DID do that, since as you say we don't really know.

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