In previous posts I advanced some hypotheses I want to explore further, in relationship to their corresponding iconography. (1) The sequence in a Milanese pattern, one conforming to the Cary-Yale as it is structured in the notes conveyed to Yale by the Cary family, would have come to Florence separated from its interpretive scheme, and therefore Florence would have constructed one of their own with the same cards, a predecessor of both the minchiate and the Florentine tarot. The minchiate keeps all 16 of the Milan cards, while the Florentine tarot rearranges, adds to, and subtracts from, the Milan 16. (2) At some point, perhaps more than one, the Florentine deck then would have influenced, in its subjects, the tarot in Milan, including at some point an exchange of Hope, Faith, and Charity, for the Star, Moon, and Sun of Florence. The changes in the tarot are essentially the result of a change in the market for the cards, from one ruler and his designated favorites to a mass market.
I now want to go into more detail, especially regarding changes in subject and iconography.
First, as I have said, the sequence would have dropped the complex Marziano-inspired structure of four groups of four governed by the four cardinal virtues hypothesized for Milan. Instead, it is a progression through life. The Emperor and Empress would have represented the protagonists; they are like the prince and princess in fairy tales. They marry (Love) and have triumphs (Chariot), in the course of which they exercise Temperance, Fortitude and Justice. They experience reversals (Fortune), grow old (Old Man), die (Death), live on in memory (if not fame) (World), and rise to heaven at Judgment Day (Angel).
That the Chariot card in Florence changes to a male triumphator (http://www.trionfi.com/0/j/d/rosenwald/p/07.jpg
) shows the card makers' irreverence for Petrarch's and Boccaccio's poems, which have no such charioteer. However the triumphator would have already been familiar from illustrations of Petrarch's Of Illustrious Men
, and accounts of Roman triumphal processions, where the triumphator was in a chariot. Time, a distant abstraction in Petrarch, is moved before Death as the "Old Man." Fame exchanges the CY's trumpets for a globe and scepter, and the lower scene of the Cary-Yale (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Lu-6PwakMv...orld%26det.jpg
) shrinks and elevates so as to become a globe in the clouds (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5e7P4Y3Wo3...DesteGring.JPG
). With such features, it is natural to call it "World", ambiguous--like people after death--between achievement in this world and in the next.
Putting the virtues together. usually in the order Plato had them in the Republic
, from Dummett's Game of Tarot
), shows the indifference to or ignorance of the Marziano-style structure and a sense of wanting to make the meaning of the sequence clearer, surrounded by cards pertaining to life in this world. Love keeps to the chivalric tone of Petrarch while freeing it from the CY's suggestion of the marriage of state (the handshake and the heraldics): the Charles VI tarot has several couples and no suggestion of marriage (http://www.letarot.it/cgi-bin/pages/...Foto%205.jpg);
the Rosenwald has a man kneeling before his beloved, with Cupid overhead; the minchiate shows a man being crowned by a woman, apparently drawing on the theme from chivalry of the lady bestowing a token on her chosen knight (http://www.tarot.org.il/Minchiate/Minchiate06.jpg
). It also justifies incorporating him as one of five "papi" (as described in Wikipedia's article on minchiate); from a look at the others, it would seem that the Pope has been discreetly dropped and the two clean-shaven figures have undergone a sex-change (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mYb_7qY6D2...e-correr-0.jpg
But what about Prudence? Why was it dropped from the tarocchi and, although retained in minchiate, put in with the theologicals? The hypothesis I have suggested offers a plausible answer to this frequently asked question. First, what might the card have looked like in Milan? Dummett suggested that the Popess card of the PMB replaced the Prudence card ([i[The Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards[/i], 1986, p. 106, Il Mondo e l’Angelo
, 1993, p. 418). This makes sense, and not only because the four surviving virtues of the Cary-Yale, along with presence of the other two in other 15th century tarots, suggest its presence in the CY. Another reason is that in fact the cross-staff and book of the PMB Popess (you can see her at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_High_Priestess
) were typical medieval attributes of Prudence and Wisdom, listed as such in Adolph Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Mediaeval Art
London, 1939, index entries under "attributes" for “book,” and “cross-staff” (examples are https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4q3-TmEbh...07006-pDET.jpg
, 9th century, and https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3tLOJ7Fjm...orimondo-8.jpg
, 13th century); the only other virtue with these attributes was faith, and that rarely. So it makes sense that the Prudence card would have had the attributes of cross-staff and book.
It seems to me that Florentines might have found such a card confusing when playing the game, because there would have been another card also with a lady holding a cross-staff, the theological virtue Faith, which in the Cary-Yale also had a woman with a cross-staff. In Florence the attributes of Prudence were typically looking-glass and serpent, as displayed on Pisano's famous baptistry doors, c. 1350, known to everyone in the city (https://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/...thdoors.html);
it is also how Lo Scheggia (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...rt_Project.jpg
) and Pesselino (http://emerald.tufts.edu/alumni/maga.../marriage.html
) portrayed Prudence on wedding chests of c. 1460. It is true that in Florence Prudence and Wisdom were also shown with book and staff, sometimes topped with a cross (e.g. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3tLOJ7Fjmd...orimondo-8.jpg
, in the Laurentian Library, Florence, Bibbia Mugellana
2, f. 189). But this image is in an illuminated manuscript, known only to lovers of expensive books. In Florence, for a mass market, one or the other of the two cards, Prudence or Faith, needed either to be dropped or changed.
My proposal is that when the Pope was added to the tarot (more about that later), it made sense to re-christian, so to speak, the card as his wife the Popess, dropping the cross-staff in the process and adding the three-tiered crown, so as to avoid the confusion with Faith, presumably still in the deck. However since the Faith card in the tarot was in fact at some point dropped, or changed into something else, along with Hope and Charity, that may have happened in some decks, before standardization. Whatever happened to Faith would have probably happened to the other two at the same time, because the three were lumped together.
I notice that in the "Marseille" style cards the Popess has a book and no staff; in the Rosenwald (https://tarotmeditations.files.wordp...pg?w=143&h=250
) the staff is replaced by a key. In the Metropolitan/Budapest sheets (Ferrara/Venice), she has a staff--a crozier---and a key; there may or may not be a book (https://tarotmeditations.files.wordp...pg?w=145&h=250
) These might be two variant ways of removing one of the attributes of Prudence so as to transform the card. It was OK to keep the staff in Ferrara/Venice; it no longer had a cross, and probably the Faith card and the other twohad already been dropped/changed. In Milan's PMB, she had both attributes of Prudence; perhaps Faith had been dropped/changed by then.
In minchiate, on the on the hand, Prudence was retained but redesigned to have the attributes of looking glass and serpent. That it was put in with the Theological Virtues as number 17 might be explained as the reinsertion of one part of what had been removed from the tarot. Putting it between two other theological virtues makes it clear that they are all part of what the minchiate insisted on retaining, without disturbing the part of the sequence that was in common with the tarot deck.
One other virtue in Milan may also have been difficult to recognize in Florence. Fortitude was not typically portrayed in Florence with a lion, but with a drawn sword or a column. However the story of St. Mark and the lion was well enough known to make the association, as were those of Hercules and Samson. It was easy enough for card makers to adapt the card to Florentine taste, showing Fortitude with a column instead of a lion.
As for book and staff, in minchiate these attributes were transferred to the Faith card, but turning the book into a "tablet of the law" and the staff into a spear (https://shamanicdrumm.files.wordpres...iate-faith.jpg
). The "tablet of the law" bears some resemblance to the scroll of Giotto's depiction of Faith in Padua, on which could be seen the first words of the Nicean and Constantine creeds (according to Andrea Vitali in his essay "La Papessa"; the spear resembles the cross-staff. However it is now not Faith as the gift of the sacraments (with the cup), but rather as the faith of creeds, acceptance of which saves from condemnation both in life and in death, hence the spear (although that was sometimes dropped). It is a picture of the Faith or Church Militant and Triumphant of the Counter-Reformation. Given the needs of the Church before and after 1521 (Luther's reaction to his condemnation), it is not possible to speculate on whether this design for the Minchiate Faith card is likely to have existed before that date.
In any event, there are now additions to the sequence, of which the earliest surviving examples are in the PMB: Fool, Bagatella (Magician), Popess, Pope, and Traitor (Hanged Man). These are all rather unexpected, given the pre-existing sequence. If the lowest members of society were intended so as to complement the highest, why a street performer, of all things, as opposed to a beggar and an artisan, as in the "tarot of Mantegna"? If a deceiver was wanted, why not somebody worse than the trivial deceptions of a street performer, for example a Traitor. who in fact appears in the cards, but as 12th? Why a demented person, or a professional Fool, instead of a beggar? And why a Pope and Popess?
The Pope can be explained as follows: Someone wanted to say that the Pope is higher in authority than the Emperor; so they create the card so that it can beat that of the Emperor. That addition might have been in Florence, which having kicked out its Ghibellenes had no relationship to the Holy Roman Empire and instead was banker to the Pope. It could also have been in Bologna or Ferrara, both of which were part of the papal states. Milan is less likely, because its duke's allegiance was to the Emperor. They did not count on the Church's finding it offensive that the Pope would be in a card game.
At that point, the Popess could be added to complement the Pope. The Pope card is fully capable of standing on its own, as there is no office in the Church called "Popess." But given that the Church is legally the wife of the Pope, there is an opportunity to represent the Church as Popess. It doesn't have to be there, but it parallels the Empress and gives a place for the body whose representatives elect the Pope and which carries out his decisions, a body which includes women as well as men. It is also, virtually unavoidably, an opportunity for a nice risque joke, a hint of Pope Joan or perhaps a papal mistress or two. That fits the mood of Florence or Ferrara. As such, she probably would get papal vestments, as we see in the Rosenwald (https://tarotmeditations.files.wordp...pg?w=143&h=250
). She also loses the cross-staff, to avoid any possible confusion with Faith, which is still in the deck as a theological virtue.
In Milan she keeps both book and staff, and also gets a very particular outfit: a simple brown habit with white wimple. That is at least one outfit worn by the female Umiliati (as "Phaeded" showed at http://forum.tarothistory.com/viewto...miliati#p13699
), of which, for the few Visconti descendants who might have known, was the habit of the order to which belonged a certain Manfreda, cousin of Matteo Visconti, who considered herself Pope and was burned at the stake in 1300. That was Dummett's explanation for the habit (Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards
, p. 106, following Moakley). Bianca Maria Visconti, Duchess of Milan, was in a position to know about Manfreda, from her father and perhaps a document that surfaced in Pavia during the 17th century. She was also in a position to know about the Umiliati habit, from her uncle, General of the order (per Wikipedia on Bianca Maria). Out of admiration or simply someone her children should know about, she might have thought it important to have Manfreda in the deck, bearing regalia of Christian wisdom. On the other hand, we might ask, would she really have endorsed a heretic, and have risked the enmity of the Pope to memorialize her? Or would she have judged that if she kept her secret quiet, in a deck designed solely for the private use of her family and a few others, while the popular deck was more like that of Florence, the Pope would also keep quiet? I have no answer. But the "Manfreda" hypothesis at least explains the habit, which has a white wimple instead of the Poor Clares' black.
I see adding the Fool and the Bagatella as a more overt form of the ribaldry latent in the Popess. Like Pope Joan, the Bagatella is a professional illusionist, and the professional Fool a master of double-entendres. Given that the Rosenwald Bagatella combines features of the two figures, they may not have been differentiated at first in Florence, until later in hand-painted decks influenced by Milan, where the card is clearly an object of fun. In the PMB version, there is something a little more serious, a hint of the Holy Fool in his halo-like white feathers and blank expression, similar to that which Bonifacio Bembo otherwise gave to saints.
In the PMB Bagatella, given the wizened face and objects on the table resembling symbols for the suits and the elements (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...1-magician.jpg
), there may also be something more serious, inspired by Plato's comparison of the world to a conjurer's illusions (Republic
602c-d), of a god who creates a world full of traps for those dominated by appetite.
Why would a Traitor be in the deck at all, much less as high as 12th? An explanation might be the traditional association of the image with the number 12, which the card most always was. as Judas was called the 12th disciple. In the Florentine version, the figure is shown grasping money bags, likely Judas's "30 pieces of silver". Also, rather obviously, the Traitor, as he was called, is about to die, and Death is the next card. In Milan there is again the possibility of another meaning. Just as the Popess is related to the Visconti, the Hanged Man is to the Sforza, as Francesco Sforza's father. If so, the card would not necessarily have been thought of only negatively, because Muzio Attendola had been accused of betrayal, with pictures of him hanging from one leg, by an antipope, and Muzio's withdrawal of support helped to secure the pretender's downfall.
Except for the Pope, it is hard to say where these additions were first, Milan, Florence, or elsewhere; but I am assuming Florence, because the added subjects, even if their earliest surviving examples are Milanese, seem tailor-made for popular consumption.
Next come the Devil and the Tower. The Devil's first surviving appearance are in the Rosenwald and Beaux Arts/Rothschild, both judged to be 16th century. The Tower's first is in the "Charles VI." Where and when they first appeared is not known. Like many other cards not of the original 16, there is a certain humor in these cards, in the way that Holloween costumes are humorous, in being scary unless not serious. I would expect them to be added first in Florence.
I come to the three luminaries. That they replaced the three theological virtues is suggested first from where they appeared in the sequence, in the same place as the minchiate had the theological virtues, right after the Devil and the Tower and before the Star, if we ignore the other cards unique to the mnchiate. But Hope appeared before Faith in the minchiate, as opposed to the Cary-Yale's apparent Faith-Hope-Charity. Why would that be? I think it is because the order of the luminaries took precedence, with the faintest of them first, the Star, corresponding to Hope. (I will discuss this correspondence later.) The order of increasing light is easy for card players to remember; it also corresponds to the idea of increasing enlightenment, which may be found in Plato's "allegory of the cave" and Christianity's use of the same metaphor of light. Positioning them after Death, at some point preceded by the Devil and the Tower, but before World and Angel. gives the sequence the sense of a journey, as in Plato's allegory, from beneath the earth to above the stars, accomplished in reality after death and in imagination before then. The minchiate adds to that sense with its four elements and twelve zodical constellations. In a way, the tarot also has these four elements: Death as the earth, then Temperance as water, or perhaps going directly to air as the Devil (devils were often shown grabbing souls in the air and pulling them down), and the Tower, an early name for which was "Fuoco", fire, as the fourth.
In what city the luminaries first appeared is suggested by the Rosenwald (presumably Florentine), where they appear in their most primitive form, as simply the heavenly bodies. Other decks show great regional differences in the added details. That suggests to me that there was still a felt need for the expression of local differences, but it came out in the details of the designs rather than the subjects and their order, which followed that of the Rosenwald pattern (which I am presuming was earlier than the sheet). Because the sequence Devil-Tower-Star-Moon-Sun is invariably the same in all the various early lists, unlike that of most of the other cards, it may have been made part of the tarot in all regions later than the rest of the cards that were added to the original 16, at a time when, after the Peace of Lodi, there was greater movement of people and goods among regions, and so a greater tendency toward standardizing the deck.
The imagery of the PMB is where the luminaries bear the best comparison with Hope, Faith, and Charity of the Cary-Yale. This is to be expected when one design replaces another; card players still like something visually to go on.
In both Hope and the Star, a lady is looking at the upper right of the card.
In other versions, e.g. Minchiate, this visual parallel does not hold, but the suggestion seems to be of the Star of Bethlehem, which of course signifies the hope of humanity
In both the Faith and Moon cards, a lady holds her right arm up and her left arm down.
This again does not hold in other versions, e.g. the one on the right above, from the Budapest/Metropolitan cards, a deck of the Ferrarese order of trumps. But an allegory connecting the Moon with Faith, even there, might be that in dark times Faith is what can keep us steady and firmly on the path. Such an allegory seems expressed in Bosch's "St. John of Patmos" (http://www.wga.hu/art/b/bosch/5panels/05patmos.jpg
) Here the Moon is the Virgin, as a figure to whom one prays in time of need and of fear of demons.
The CY Charity lady holds a flame in her left hand and a suckling infant in her right (http://www.darktarot.com/images/the_.../charity_2.jpg
). In the PMB Sun card, an infant grabs the Sun itself, which like the flame is a source of vitality. The infant on the Sun card is not maintained in minchiate (http://a.trionfi.eu/WWPCM/decks07/d05113/d0511319.jpg
) or other tarots, thus altering the allegory; however the Budapest/Metropolitan sheets, as an exception, show a sun shining down on trees, as though nourishing them.
To conclude: The tarot sequence is one that starts first as 16 cards in Milan (of which the Cary-Yale is a late representative), in which form it is transformed and augmented in Florence to at least the 21 seen in the Rosenwald (http://a-tarot.eu/p/jan-11/fra/rosenwald-sheet-3.jpg
), although that sheet probably has mistakes in ordering the sequence. Perhaps in achieving this result Florence uses some subjects first introduced in other cities, such as Ferrara, but perhaps not. The Fool might have been added somewhere else and then incorporated into Florence's game. Meanwhile minchiate retains the original cards of Milan and adds many more, although discreetly dropping the Pope and changing the other three dignitarities, along with the Bagatella and Love (minus the god) to "papi".
I do not say with confidence that this is how the tarot and minchiate developed. It is only an elaboration of how it might have developed, consistent with the hypotheses advanced by Franco and by me in the essay that started this thread.
There is also the question, why assume a 16 card predecessor at all, much less in Milan? The initial reason was a matter of connecting the dots. namely, from the Marziano to the Cary-Yale and minchiate, explaining what is in common between the latter two in relation to the former. But also the hypothesis has other explanatory value: it can explain (1) why Prudence is not in the tarot (her Milanese attributes weren't recognized easily in Florence); and (2) why the luminaries, along with devil-tower, are always in the same order in all three regions of the early tarot (they came later than the ones with variable placement, where the latter category includes Angel-World). Probably other explanations can be given for these points; and (3) why the Rosenwald sheet with the triumphs has no Fool (because the standard Florentine deck had not distinguished it from the Bagatella; and (4) why Prudence in the Minchiate is in the middle of the three theologicals (these four are virtues that were earlier in the tarot but were removed, now restored in minchiate in a way that does not disturb the rest of the order taken from the tarot). To be sure, other explanations could probably be advanced for these facts, but the hypothesis under consideration at least can incorporate them fairly easily. To that hypothesis we can add another one: that the three luminaries replaced the three theologicals, as opposed to all six being formerly together. That would explain (5) why hope-faith-charity in minchiate have the same numbers as star-moon-sun in the tarot (to match the sequence of increasing light which in the tarot took the place of the theologicals), and (6) the common features in the postures of the ladies in the PMB luminaries, replacing similar postures in the Cary-Yale.