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Ross G Caldwell 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fulgour
Thanks Ross! Let's say though, the M-patch is something
much more significant~ this is the world of Tarot where what
you see is not always what you get. Anything possibly there?
I'm not sure what you're getting at. But let's speculate...

If the "M" is the Wheel of Fortune in my system, and the title of the Zero-card is "Matto", then a connection can be made. The figure on top of the Wheel, about to fall, is often portrayed with ass-ears, or as an animal, i.e. he is a Fool.

This feature is in the earliest known Bolognese type tarots, the Beaux-Arts and Rothschild sheets (two halves of the same sheet), illustrated in Kaplan I, 128-129 and at
http://www.tarothistory.com/images/encyclopedia1.jpg
http://www.tarothistory.com/images/encyclopedia2.jpg (thanks Robert!)

It is lost in subsequent versions of the Bolognese tarot, but I tend to think the "King for a day=that poor fool" was the original signification, and that the best representations will therefore show the topmost figure with something making an ass of him.

This connection can be made with another card, il Mondo, the World. The image in the southern traditions (which my speculative system is based on) shows a figure standing on a four-quartered world, symbol of the whole cosmos or world-system. He looks mercurial, which seems to signify that the World is fast passing, fleeting, and vain. There seems to be a connection between the Fool and the World which is emphasized by Boiardo in his trionfi poem around 1470, where he says that the "Fool adores the World". He adores it because he is stupid, and it is ultimately worthless ("All that glitters is not gold").

So the two "M"s in my system are separated and joined by a symbolic but hidden M in the middle (mezzo), the Wheel of Fortune upon which the Matto thinks he rules the Mondo.
Top   #11
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Keeping in mind we are in the world of Tarot here,
why then do you think the M is on the back of his
shirt and not the front? Not simply as a joke thus,
since Tarot is deeper than that, and his fellows in
this case~ when dealing with him~ face to face~
wouldn't be able to see it if it were a social thing.

Do you think Il Matto is walking backwards as I do?
So now if he is presenting his back as his front it is
another story... and the M may well be a vital clue.

Does it suggest we "begin at the end" to move on?
Top   #12
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Italian is the Sacred Language of Tarot


Heresy to some, I know, but bear with me :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmd
I understand also some of the likely reasons for proposing the Angel-high card in the sequence (and the cardinal virtues together lower down), and yet wonder also if, given the mention of Ferrara, a similar attempt has been made for the C (ie, Marseille) pattern? This, especially IF the B (Ferrara) pattern is in fact a modification of the Marseille order, for then it may lend further credence that there may be internal alphabetic relation of this pattern too.
I have been realizing lately how much my training in textual criticism has helped my historical study of tarot.

To cut to the chase, Tarot is like my Bible; I study it like a text.

The trumps are like the New Testament, and the earliest languages are Italian and French.
The suits are like the "Old Testament", and the original languages are Arabic, Persian, Mongolian (IMO!), and Chinese.

There are "versions" of the text of both the regular pack and the tarot pack; these versions can be studied and compared.

The different trump-sequences and images are like different versions of the same text. The original or "ur-text" is lost, but copies survive, and by comparison of copies (recensions or redactions) we can establish a tree of relations, leading hopefully to a plausible reconstruction of the original.

The "textual evidence" consists of three things: cards, lists of trumps, and accounts of usage (visual depictions and literary accounts ranging from the simple mention of the name to fuller accounts of how the cards were used in specific circumstances). By analogy, the tarot is the "Bible", the sacred text, of different kinds of devotees, each with their own set of traditions. The context in which different groups use this text is like the way that different religious groups use their Bible.

Still with the Bible analogy, two of the original three trump-orders (discovered thanks to Michael Dummett) must be "translations" of the original order. For example, in the way that the Septuagint is a Greek translation of originally Hebrew texts, I think that the archetypal C order (e.g. TdM) is a French "translation" of an originally Italian "text". Like the Septuagint (known as the "LXX" in Biblical studies), the C order is a very early translation, perhaps the earliest. But, just as the Greek of the LXX is clearly a translation from the Hebrew, the language - both visual and literary - of the French cards is clearly a translation from Italian.

(Note that the C order is not to be confused with the imagery of the TdM (Noblet, Dodal, Conver). The C order is also observed in the earliest French pack known, Catelin Geofroy, whose imagery is very different from the Noblet of a century later.)

This isn't the post for making the argument about priority, I just want to make the analogy with Biblical studies clear.

So for me, if the Trumps are like the New Testament in the card pack, then just as you study Greek to get closest to the original NT, you study Italian to get closest to the original text of the Tarot. Not just the language, but the culture of the time too.
Top   #13
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Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
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Ross G Caldwell 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fulgour
Keeping in mind we are in the world of Tarot here,
why then do you think the M is on the back of his
shirt and not the front? Not simply as a joke thus,
since Tarot is deeper than that, and his fellows in
this case~ when dealing with him~ face to face~
wouldn't be able to see it if it were a social thing.

Do you think Il Matto is walking backwards as I do?
So now if he is presenting his back as his front it is
another story... and the M may well be a vital clue.

Does it suggest we "begin at the end" to move on?
Lovely. Perhaps not his fellows, but the Dog read the sign, and to him it said "Bite Me" (Mordete me!). Very clever!

The reason I started at the end, is that many, if not most early lists of trumps do that. Also, A is first, and first is "higher" than last (by a certain logic). Finally, because A makes sense with Angelo, and Z with Zugadore (Giocatore), but I couldn't make sense of Z with Angelo. Then the order fell into place.

(Also influenced by de Mellet, I must say).
Top   #14
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Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
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Hi Jean-Michel,

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmd
I understand also some of the likely reasons for proposing the Angel-high card in the sequence (and the cardinal virtues together lower down), and yet wonder also if, given the mention of Ferrara, a similar attempt has been made for the C (ie, Marseille) pattern? This, especially IF the B (Ferrara) pattern is in fact a modification of the Marseille order, for then it may lend further credence that there may be internal alphabetic relation of this pattern too.
My thoughts on the priority of the southern or A sequence, including Angel as the highest trump, are something like this:

Which sequence was earliest? There are cards and lists, both numbered and unnumbered.

Looking at the earliest World and Angel cards, from the 15th and (perhaps) early 16th century, we notice that the Angel doesn't change much in design. It is still called "Angel" in the Steele Sermon, although this is the B order. In fact, it is never called anything else in Italian, except "Paradiso" (Piscina, 1565).

The Angel stays the same design, but its meaning changes in France. It becomes Judgement. This is peculiar in a way, since the B order elevates Justice to the position occupied by the Angel in C. That is, it seems that B interprets the meaning of the sequence in the same way as C, although not enough to change the function of the Angel to that of Judgement.

"A" seems to interpret the sequence differently. There, Angel is the last card. This iconography, and position, reflects the sequence and iconography of Petrarch's "Trionfi", where the Angel's trumpet and the resurrection of the dead are used to symbolize "Eternity". The resurrection, final Judgement, and end of Time are all conflated in one image.

B and C seem to want to distinguish between these events, B the most. In B, first is Resurrection (Angel), then Judgement (Justice), then Eternity (New Heaven and Earth). In C, the sense seems to be that the Angel is both Resurrection and Judgement, and World is the Eternal New World.

So much for the position of the Angel. The design of the Angel doesn't change much.

The World card is very different. The earliest known is arguably the Cary-Yale. It is a female figure holding a sceptre and orb, over a terrestrial scene with the elements (earth, water, air); very similar to the Charles VI and Catania in this respect. And thus very similar to the A type, southern decks, which show a mercurial figure with a sceptre and orb standing on a depiction of the world. This in both cases must be the fleeting, fickle world.

But in the B sequence printed, the Met. Museum and Budapest sheets, an Angel is bringing down an World - this must be the New World, Eternal world. So the change in iconography reflects a change of meaning. Similar to this is the Visconti Sforza World, painted perhaps in Ferrara in the 1470s. With its winged putti, it resembles the Met. Museum sheet depiction - an Angel or Angels are *giving* a World, a New World. It is significant thus that this card in the VS deck was painted in Ferrara. We can presume that this B order was already in use in Ferrara in the 1470s.

That's a good start. We have 1470 for B. When C and A? If the Cary Sheet's iconography is any indication, and the dating and provenance can be deduced, then around 1500 for C. But this is *very* insecure. The earliest certain date for the C order is 1543, in Alciato's list. It does not match TdM perfectly, but World is high.

A is represented by numbers on the Charles VI and Catania. These cards and numbers are of uncertain date, but while 1450 is not out of the question (and may become the consensus soon), 1470 is safe.

The number "18" on the Este Sun card doesn't tell us much, since we don't know the position of Justice in that set, and the Sun is numbered XVIII in the Budapest and Met. Museum sheets. Since it is Ferrara, and around 1475 for this set, we can presume it is B order - that is, World high. Temperance is low (there appears to be a 7 or 8 on Temperance), and the World doesn't bear a number, like on the sheets. There is a winged putto (like the VS card) and an Eagle (perhaps reflecting Jupiter). The idea of an Angel bearing a World seems to be a contribution of B.

So strictly historically, A and B are contemporary. C may be contemporary also, but I hold it to be invented in France, and imported into Italy. The historical record does not contradict this.

How to decide? It comes down to subjective judgements, or informed guesses.

It seems that having the Angel as the last card is too abrupt. But this feeling comes from the sense that the Angel represents only Judgement (and the need for Judgement is reflected in the position of Justice in the B order, and the name of the card in France) - what about what comes after? It is only when we realize that the Angel could very well represent ETERNITY in contemporary iconography, that it seems less abrupt and quite appropriate as an ending to the series.

And, if it is too abrupt, why would the designer of the A order have done it so? That is, if the New World was the original design and order, why would the A designer have made such a radical change in both order and imagery? I believe it is more likely that the meaning of Eternity in the Angel picture is more easily misunderstood, and that the optimism of a New World was seen as a more appropriate ending to the series by some. Thus the figure on top was changed into an angel *bearing* the World, rather than an embodiement of the fleeting world (=Mercury).

This is too short - but I have to run, and I'll post this.

Ross
Top   #15
DoctorArcanus  DoctorArcanus is offline
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A as the World?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
The trumps are like the New Testament, and the earliest languages are Italian and French.
The suits are like the "Old Testament", and the original languages are Arabic, Persian, Mongolian (IMO!), and Chinese.
Ross, this analogy is great! It opens a new perspective: thank you!


Yesterday I was browsing through "the Art of Memory" and one of the diagrams from the Lull's Ars Minor made me think of your experiment with the alphabet and A as the World (see attachment).
We know that the World in early times was associated with God, and in Lull the A seems to represent God (which is represented by concentrical wheels, as in the Mantegna Tarot and in many abstract representation of God).

In this page there is a brief description of the meaning of this figure.

In the same spirit, I also thought of what is said a few times in the New Testament (e.g. The Revelation 1:8):
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the
Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."


Marco
Attached Images
 
Top   #16
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Ross G Caldwell 

Hi Marco,

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorArcanus
Yesterday I was browsing through "the Art of Memory" and one of the diagrams from the Lull's Ars Minor made me think of your experiment with the alphabet and A as the World (see attachment).
We know that the World in early times was associated with God, and in Lull the A seems to represent God (which is represented by concentrical wheels, as in the Mantegna Tarot and in many abstract representation of God).

In this page there is a brief description of the meaning of this figure.

In the same spirit, I also thought of what is said a few times in the New Testament (e.g. The Revelation 1:8):
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the
Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
I think Jesus' Alpha and Omega statement is very important for alphabetic speculation. I haven't been able to relate it directly to tarot yet, however.

A as World is intriguing also. I have to wonder if the "Mantegna" series had anything to do with the switch (as I see it!). The highest images are of the Primo Mobile and the Prima Causa (this is of course the A series too); Jupiter's Vesica is also reminiscent of the World card's in the French style of Tarot - although Jupiter's is a rainbow (I think), whereas the World card shows a wreath.

I suppose I could make the argument that the ideology shown in the Mantegna series, probably actually coming from Ferrara around 1470, did influence the kind of tarot made there after that time. Unfortunately, the only pre-1470 trump that is known from Ferrara, the Issy-les-Moulineaux Chariot, cannot be checked very well against post-1470s cards (like the Budapest sheets Kaplan II, 275, 276). I would say the style is very different, and that the tarots in Ferrara later in the century are very different from those in the earlier part.
Top   #17
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Tourism


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
Lovely. Perhaps not his fellows, but the Dog read the sign, and to him it said "Bite Me" (Mordete me!). Very clever!
Then you are saying it is a good English doggy?
Top   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
I'm not sure what you're getting at. But let's speculate...

If the "M" is the Wheel of Fortune in my system...
Perhaps you and Fulgour might consider this: the fundamental psychological significance of M’s sound is self-contained sweetness—as in “mm, good,” or in humming. Now I could see how the Fool might hum as he walks along (no, Fulgour, the Il Matto you show appears to be standing still, which for me defeats the symbolism of the trump), but how M could end up at the Wheel of Fortune is somewhat obscure to me, as I see that trump expressing (in part, anyway) the fleetingness of mere worldly mastery—as do you also, for you say:
Quote:
The figure on top of the Wheel, about to fall, is often portrayed with ass-ears, or as an animal, i.e. he is a Fool.
...this because he thinks his worldly position of being ‘on top’ substantial, rather than fleeting, since you...
Quote:
...tend to think the "King for a day=that poor fool" was the original signification, and that the best representations will therefore show the topmost figure with something making an ass of him.
I would differ only in that I see this trump (taking Marseille as ‘gospel’) as a choice between the scrambling-up and scrambling-down—the two lower beasts—and the stably seated or enthroned animal (raised earthly spirit) at the top: the former is the desire to acquire (runic ‘year, harvest’), latter the desire to bestow (runic ‘gift’), which are the two forms of runic G (one’s ‘gut desire’), bardic ten (‘gift’, in fact, is X-shaped, like Roman numeral ten). The truly fleeting—the present instant itself—I see, as do you apparently, in leMonde, for you say:
Quote:
...connection can be made with another card, il Mondo, the World. The image in the southern traditions (which my speculative system is based on) shows a figure standing on a four-quartered world, symbol of the whole cosmos or world-system. He looks mercurial, which seems to signify that the World is fast passing, fleeting, and vain. There seems to be a connection between the Fool and the World which is emphasized by Boiardo in his trionfi poem around 1470, where he says that the "Fool adores the World". He adores it because he is stupid, and it is ultimately worthless ("All that glitters is not gold").
With all this I absolutely concur (and by the way, I benefit greatly from your careful historical perspective, however our interpretations may differ). For in my reckoning it is teyt: in early Semitic writing, this letter was the ‘heliport’ sign, signifying one’s (fleeting) location, while in runic it is ‘day’ (*dagaz), which in discarding teyt’s horizontal part became an hourglass on its side, signifying the instant one is turning it over. As for why this would have originally ‘trumped’ all else (since I take ‘C’ order as original), I would point out that ‘taking a trick’ is a worldly, temporal form of success. As for the Fool adoring the World, in the ‘bardo-Qabbalistic’ scheme, the Fool (H) begins (at gemini) the triad that points down, whose next sign, straight down itself (libra, the scales that measure weight), is the World. The third and last sign of this same triad, then, is Temperance (L), or what the World-seeking Fool is in need of, which is provided by what the triangle pointing down in the ‘Star of David’ has always been taken to mean, namely the water-like flow of Torah down from on high.
Quote:
So the two "M"s in my system are separated and joined by a symbolic but hidden M in the middle (mezzo), the Wheel of Fortune upon which the Matto thinks he rules the Mondo.
Hmm (mm’s other meaning?). Makes sense, if interpreting M as fleeting sweetness, intermediate mem in Hebrew, but what of the more spiritual or lasting sweetness, mem-final in Hebrew: should not this indefinitely continuable sound of self-contained sweetness be given a higher fundamental correlation, as befits its innate richness? Bardic numeration makes it VI L’Amoureux, love being what unites the two forms of ‘gut desire’ mentioned above.
Top   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fulgour
I would be handsomely relieved if the M patch sewn on this Il Matto was explained to my weary imagination... most replies fall back on something far too mundane to satisfy me~such a significant marking must be esoteric.
Hi Fulgour,

This Il Matto is from the 1835 deck designed by Carlo Dellarocca, and in my mind there is no question that Dellarocca's Trumps are intentionally alphabetic -- In other words, that all of the crazy elements he added into this unique Tarot pattern (which he birthed) were chosen right from the Hebrew lexicon. For one thing, many of the newly-added items in his trumps are obscure insofar as they have few occurances within the Hebrew lexicon, so their appearance in alphabetical order therein argues against this being happenstance. But, that is another debate! In any case, one can refer to this page for more info:

http://www.spiritone.com/~filipas/Ma...says/iota.html

I've conjectured one possibility regarding this "M".

It is notable that, out of all the cards in Dellarocca’s deck, this is the only trump to bear a letter in its design. It is possible, of course, that the “M” shown on the fool’s tunic refers to the card’s Italian title of “Il Matto”, meaning fool or madman. One might ask, though, why would Dellarocca add this letter at all, since the card’s identity was obvious and its title already printed at the bottom. The oddities and hidden allusions which this deck present us with suggest that there is another possible allusion here than a simple reference to the title Il Matto.

The Italian word marca, which means ‘mark’ or ‘sign’, is the Italian equivalent of the Hebrew word tav (ThV), which literally means ‘mark’ or ‘sign’. In light of the alphabetic implications of Dellarocca’s deck, the “M” on Il Matto may well be a clever allusion to the Hebrew letter he associated with this card (and by extension, to his entire body of letter associations).

- Mark Filipas
Top   #20




 


 


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