Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Live Tarot Readings Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive

which imagery for majors?

  > Aeclectic Tarot Forum > Tarot Special Interest > Tarot History & Development


 
blue_fusion's Avatar
blue_fusion  blue_fusion is offline
Alien
 
Join Date: 15 Jun 2002
Location: crossroads of eternity
Posts: 2,487
blue_fusion 
Alien

blue_fusion's Avatar
which imagery for majors?


i'm interested in the development of the tarot's majors - in particular, how the imagery of the cards ended up that way, and its historical development (i.e. which imagery were included, like the platonic virtues of strength justice and temperance, which appeared sometimes but were discarded, etc). more than the numbering of the majors, is there a prevailing theory on how the imagery (or perhaps more precisely: each card's prevailing theme) themselves came to be there?
Top   #1
Starling's Avatar
Starling  Starling is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 16 Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 432
Starling 
Citizen

Starling's Avatar

I really am interested in this subject. I'd love to see some discussion about it, so I'm bumping it up in the hopes that someone will see it who can provide some answers.
Top   #2
Cerulean's Avatar
Cerulean  Cerulean is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 26 Apr 2002
Location: Calif., USA
Posts: 9,341
Cerulean 
Citizen

Cerulean's Avatar
Historical patterns might be a start


In general:

Andy's Playing cards give a very nice synopsis of many early trump card sequences and also the standard subjects of major arcana to start---I believe you are asking about the order and subjects of the major arcana as trumps.

http://it.geocities.com/a_pollett/cards3.htm

Please scroll down to the 'classic table of trumps' for a typical historical sample...there's more. Hope these points might help:

The trumps and early cards:

http://it.geocities.com/a_pollett/cards26.htm



But prior to the Northern Italy patterns, some history of cards as games in Europe, etc., might be of interest--scroll down to Naibi, Tarots and Hunting decks:

http://a_pollett.tripod.com/cards.htm

You may notice that it mentions the poetic writing of Petrach's Trumps as one of the sources for what came to be known as the 'trumps' when speaking of the Northern Italian orders of the majors.

Here's Andy's Playing Cards notes:

"The enlarged pack was soon named carte da trionfi (trump cards, but literally meaning "triumph cards"), probably after the poem I Trionfi by Petrarch, and this was also the name of the game played with them. The word tarocco ("tarot") came into use later on, being found in written sources only as of the early 16th century.

More than one source mentions the "triumph cards" (or "cards of Lombardy") and the "cards for playing" (or "small cards for playing") as separate items. One source also mentions "emperor cards", although these ones have never been identified. Therefore, in the early 1400s at least two varieties of playing cards were in use at the same time, i.e. smaller ones without trumps (referred to as "of Saracen origin"), and larger ones which included the set of trumps, of Italian origin...."

----------------------------------------------------------------------
In terms of specific arcana samples and discussions of the iconography:

It takes awhile to sift through historical sources and more questions probably arise. If you want specific discussions of each arcana, Robert O'Neill's free essays also have been noted as very interesting.

http://tarot.com/about-tarot/library/boneill/

There's so many discussions about specific iconography, images and people in tarot history...and so many people who have posted very specific topics of interest, so I'm only posting a few specific sites that really dig into the historical side and note common points....hopefully this is helpful. The questions seemed to me to be asking general information--I hope those two sites with discussions of majors are helpful if you are interested in historical major arcana sources.

Best wishes,

Cerulean
Top   #3
sapienza's Avatar
sapienza  sapienza is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 27 Oct 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,680
sapienza 
Citizen

sapienza's Avatar

I found the book by Robert Place "The Tarot - History, Symbolism and Divination" to be pretty enlightening as well.
Top   #4
Huck  Huck is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,682
Huck 
Citizen

A timeline with links to articles and pictures

http://trionfi.com/0/j/
Top   #5
Starling's Avatar
Starling  Starling is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 16 Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 432
Starling 
Citizen

Starling's Avatar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerulean

----------------------------------------------------------------------
In terms of specific arcana samples and discussions of the iconography:

It takes awhile to sift through historical sources and more questions probably arise. If you want specific discussions of each arcana, Robert O'Neill's free essays also have been noted as very interesting.

http://tarot.com/about-tarot/library/boneill/
Thank you. In my case at least it was this third link that discussed what I wanted to learn about. I've already found information about the formation of the deck, but nowhere had I located information about the pictures on early versions of specific cards. It will take a while to read through that information obviously since it actually is book length.

I had never seen referece to Plutarch's poem before. I found that very interesting. Since I have never seen the actual poem I wonder if it follows the Trumph sequence and/or if it mentions all of the cards in the Majors, or just some of them. Does anyone know?
Top   #6
Huck  Huck is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,682
Huck 
Citizen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starling
Thank you. In my case at least it was this third link that discussed what I wanted to learn about. I've already found information about the formation of the deck, but nowhere had I located information about the pictures on early versions of specific cards. It will take a while to read through that information obviously since it actually is book length.

I had never seen referece to Plutarch's poem before. I found that very interesting. Since I have never seen the actual poem I wonder if it follows the Trumph sequence and/or if it mentions all of the cards in the Majors, or just some of them. Does anyone know?
I guess, you speak of Petrarca, not Plutarch. He made a poem called "Trionfi" (third quarter 14th century) with 6 major characters: Love, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time, Eternity.

In the course of 15th century (since ca. 1440) a specific iconography to this text developed, all 6 figures had triumphal chariots. You easily find pictures with google / image search with the keywords "trionfi" and "Petrarca"







...

Stuart Kapan, Encyclopedia of Tarot I, has the most pictures of old Tarocchi cards.
Top   #7
Starling's Avatar
Starling  Starling is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 16 Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 432
Starling 
Citizen

Starling's Avatar

But everybody in the 13th and 14th Centuries were making poems about those subjects. Even Chaucer who isn't generally seen as a Renaissance poet. I know that much even though I can't name names.

I guess that is what I am really questioning. You've provided early pictures for topics that ended up on the Tarot Majors. You've provided the name of one, of what I know is actually many, poems and poets talking about some of the topics that ended up on the Tarot Majors. I've seen, but not studied, pictures like the ones you provided that are as early as the 11th Century and as late as the 19th Century. Some things were in the air in ways they aren't now.

Was anyone using all of them? Or most of them?

In a continuous story? Or stories?

Was there a place or time in the High Middle Ages where these subjects were what everyone in that place or time was talking about? And if there was, what was the context? Just how deeply were they part of the culture?

[Just to give a context for me -- these are not periods I know a whole lot about. I can probably follow what others have to say, but I can't discuss it off the top of my head. You want to talk about the art history of Ancient Egypt, or ancient history (not classical) in general, that I can discuss off the top of my head. You want to talk about general English, especially Mediaeval, history and I can talk about that off the top of my head most of the time as well. But not this stuff. I just don't have enough background here to even ask intelligent questions.]
Top   #8
Ross G Caldwell's Avatar
Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 07 Jul 2003
Location: Béziers, France
Posts: 2,649
Ross G Caldwell 
Citizen

Ross G Caldwell's Avatar

Hi Starling,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starling
But everybody in the 13th and 14th Centuries were making poems about those subjects. Even Chaucer who isn't generally seen as a Renaissance poet. I know that much even though I can't name names.
The difference is that Petrarch was the only one who arranged those subjects into that particular hierarchical series (Love-Chastity-Death-Fame-Time-Eternity), and called his poem "Trionfi". It was also a poem in the vernacular (and relatively short), which helped make it popular.

Quote:
I guess that is what I am really questioning. You've provided early pictures for topics that ended up on the Tarot Majors. You've provided the name of one, of what I know is actually many, poems and poets talking about some of the topics that ended up on the Tarot Majors. I've seen, but not studied, pictures like the ones you provided that are as early as the 11th Century and as late as the 19th Century. Some things were in the air in ways they aren't now.
Petrarch has interested tarot historians (such as Gertrude Moakley) since the 1950s at least for several specific reasons. The first is that his poem is called "Trionfi", and that is the earliest name for the tarot deck. The second is that all of Petrarch's subjects are, or can be easily seen, among the tarot subjects (although not precisely in that order).

Thirdly, Petrarch was a hugely popular writer both during his lifetime and after his death, especially in 15th century Italy. Fourthly, Petrarch was close to the Visconti family and had long stays at their castle in Pavia (which still survives, in quite good condition). Petrarch suggested the motto "A bon droit" to Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who would become the first Duke of Milan. This motto is used extensively on the earliest surviving trionfi cards.

This last point brings the (perhaps) most important reason for tarot historians' interest in Petrarch up - Tarot could have been invented in the Visconti court (in Milan or elsewhere), so the influence of Petrarch's "Trionfi" could have been quite direct.

But the problems with Petrarch's influence you have noted - the tarot trumps *aren't* Petrarch's triumphs. But there is a nagging sense that there must be some kind of relationship.

Quote:
Was anyone using all of them? Or most of them?

In a continuous story? Or stories?

Was there a place or time in the High Middle Ages where these subjects were what everyone in that place or time was talking about? And if there was, what was the context? Just how deeply were they part of the culture?
There is nothing exactly like the tarot trump series anywhere else. Petrarch's subjects and ordering might be the closest. Another popular genre, the Dance of Death (or Danse Macabre or Trionfo della Morte), seems to be closely related as well, and this position is most fully argued by Michael Hurst.

Quote:
[Just to give a context for me -- these are not periods I know a whole lot about. I can probably follow what others have to say, but I can't discuss it off the top of my head. You want to talk about the art history of Ancient Egypt, or ancient history (not classical) in general, that I can discuss off the top of my head. You want to talk about general English, especially Mediaeval, history and I can talk about that off the top of my head most of the time as well. But not this stuff. I just don't have enough background here to even ask intelligent questions.]
With that kind of background, any questions at all will probably be intelligent

Ross
Top   #9
Cerulean's Avatar
Cerulean  Cerulean is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 26 Apr 2002
Location: Calif., USA
Posts: 9,341
Cerulean 
Citizen

Cerulean's Avatar
Petrach and Tarot


http://petrarch.petersadlon.com/tarot.html

I like the collection here to start.

Best regards,

Cerulean
Top   #10


 


 


Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive
Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

The Aeclectic Tarot Forum closed permanently on July 14th, 2017. The public threads remain online as a read-only archive and resource. More information on our decision can be found here. Thank you for being a part of our active community over the past seventeen years.

Copyright © 1996 - 2017 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.