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Diana
14-08-2003, 23:32
Mr. Hadar sent me the following e-mail, and generously allows me to share some of his thoughts and discoveries with Aeclectic. The e-mail has been translated from French into English. I will first post the original French for those who speak French, and then my translation in a second post. If anyone sees a mistake in my translation, they must please let me know, and I will edit the translation accordingly. Mr. Hadar is writing a book on the History of Tarot, and I am sure he will be expanding on this short e-mail in his book.
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La première chose qu'il faut se poser sur le tarot pour retrouver ses origines est : qui est ce basteleur... dans le tarot. Il ne faut pas perdre de vue que le Tarot, quand il arrive au 18e siècle a
perdu l'image originelle qui fut adaptée à l'air du temps. De mémoire, le roi de France imposa en 1700, la destruction de tous les moules de tarot de l'époque pour redessiner les dessins à la mode de l'époque. Même si c'est une catastrophe, il n'en demeure pas moins que l'adaptation suivait les canons des anciens jeux.

Le Dodal est comme je vous l'ai dit le plus proche du canon originel pour des raisons de faits historiques que je vous parlerai un jour. Le tarot de Jean Payen de 1743 copia le Dodal, et le Conver s'inspira du Payen.

La basteleur est originellement un Jongleur et au 12e siècle, être jongleur est un beau métier : c'était celui de dire... cela n'avait rien à voir avec les jongleurs à l'époque de Romes ou les jongleurs de foire du 13e siècle. Lisez le livre : Nouvelles occitanes du Moyen Age dans la collection GF Flammarion, et vous comprendrez qu'un jongleur au 12e est le porte parole du
Troubadour mais aussi du Savoir !

Et que faisait le Troubadour ? Il chantait la Dame... il chantait le
Monde... car après à connaître sa Dame... c'était découvrir son ÂME ! Bateleur 1 -> le Monde 21 et le Fol est celui qui fait le cheminement de 1 à 21 !

Cette simple réflexion... doit vous amener à penser que le Tarot est Occitan...

Une des premières indications de Tarot qui est effectivement l'anagramme de Rota... est de savoir que le mot Rota est le même mot... encore au 19e siècle pour exprimer la racine latine de Rosa... Rose... car La rose des cathédrale... est aussi la Roue des rosace... Ainsi, le Tarot serait le Roman de la Rose... la Courtoisie... la quête de Soi à travers l'autre !

Personnellement, malgré que j'ai étudié les Templiers... je n'ai trouvé aucune source en rapport avec les Templiers.

Il ne faut pas croire que le Tarot originel était un jeu caché au gens... au 12e... la connaissance occulte est le fait de tous !
D'ailleurs le mot spiritualité fut créé au 19e siècle... au 12e... TOUS les gens sont des mystiques ! ce qui n'est pas la même chose... Comme l'énonce les chroniques de Viterbe... le Tarot est bien un jeu... mais aussi et surtout un jeu de culture qui servait à apprendre à compter, à lire, à comprendre la nature, l'éveil de l'être et comprendre le pourquoi on existe.

Mais aussi étrange que cela puisse paraître... les gens étaient naturellement dans cette quête ! Quête accessible à tous, mais qui demeurait l'appanage des gens bien nés... spirituellement ! Il fait parti du Fin'Amor et du Gai savoir des Occitans qu'on a détruit au nom d'une fausse raison : les Cathares... pour s'approprier de ses trésors. Et le traité de 1229 permis qu'on détruise toute la littérature occitane... qui comme magie s'est retrouvée en Italie et a servit d'ingrédien à la naissance, justement de la Renaissance !... où on retrouve comme par hasard le premier jeu de tarot connu de Visconti Forza vers 1450.

Diana
14-08-2003, 23:35
Here is the translation of the above post:

The first thing one needs to ask about tarot in order to find its origins is: Who is this Bateleur… in the tarot.

One must not lose sight of the fact that the Tarot, when it reached the 18th century, had lost its original image which was adapted to suit the mode of the times. If I remember correctly, in about 1700, the King of France ordered the destruction of all the tarot moulds of the time to redesign them to the fashion of the day. Even though this was a catastrophe, the fact still remains that the adaptation followed the canons of the ancient decks.

The Dodal is, as I have mentioned to you already, the closest we can get to the original canon for historical reasons which I will tell you about one day. The tarot of Jean Payen of 1743 copied the Dodal, the Conver was inspired by the Payen.

The Bateleur was originally a Juggler and in the 12th century, to be a juggler was a respected profession : it had to do with “speaking” … nothing to do with the jugglers of the Roman times, or the jugglers found in 13th Century fairs. Read the book “Nouvelles occitanes du Moyen Age” (Collection GF Flammarion), and you will understand that the juggler is the spokesman of the Troubador, but also the spokesman of Knowledge.

And what did the Troubador do ? He sang of the Lady – he sang of the World…because when he had discovered his Lady…he discovered his SOUL! (Note by translator: This is a word-play (language of the birds) impossible to translate, i.e. “Dame” and “Ame” ). The Bateleur 1 – the World 21 and the Fol who is the one who walks from 1 to 21!

This simple reflection should make you realise that the Tarot is Occitanean.

One of the first indications that Tarot is indeed an anagram of Rota – is to know that the word Rota is the same word – even in the 19th Centuray that expresses the latin root « Rosa » … rose… think here The Rose of the cathedral is also the Wheel "of the rosace (rose window)… Therefore the Tarot is also the "Roman de la Rose" …Courtesy… the search for Oneself through the other !

Personally, although I have studied the Templars…I have found no source from that direction.

Do not believe that the original Tarot was a game hidden from people… in the 12th century… occult knowledge was known to all.

In fact, the word « spirituality » was created in the 19th century. In the 12th century, EVERYONE was a mystic! Which is not the same thing… As the Chronicles of Viterbe say.. Tarot is a game.. but also and especially a game of culture the purpose of which was to learn to count, to read, to understand nature, the waking of the being and to understand why one exists. But strange as this may seem.. people were naturally in this quest. A quest accessible to all, but which remained the privilege of people who were well-born…spiritually! It is a part of the Fin’Amor and the Gai Savoir of the Occitanians that was destroyed in the name of a fallacious reason: the Cathars… to appropriate their treasures. And the treaty of 1229 allowed for the destruction of all Occitanian literature, that of the Renaissance!… where one can find, as if by chance, the first known game of Tarot, the Visconti Forza, round 1450.

Huck
15-08-2003, 01:05
"Do not believe that the original Tarot was a game hidden from people… in the 12th century… occult knowledge was known to all.
"

Well, a logical contradiction. If all knew it, then it was not occult, but common. Surely there was something, that was common at these older days, and naturally is is occult now, as all past is now occult and not easily accessible.

Europe had a strong fall of culture after the wandering of nations and elemental things for the base of intellectual life dropped in a bad state. This was the "occult mystery" of the time between 5th century and 14th century. Even kings and nobles had trouble to read and to write, the occult mystery of farspread analphabetism reigned.

Surely, also Darwin's apes have occult mysteries, anything has occult mysteries. The mystery is the mystery of life and nature and that it endures from generation to generation. And it's "occult" to us, cause we're a little stupid with our "2-3 % use" of our real mental abilities, that's true.

Just spoken for me: For my mind it's better, that not too much occult things exist, cause this simply means, I didn't understood them. I like to have an open mind, who understands, and I try to interprete things "correctly" according to my best insights.

Surely, the "occult", that's what is unknown to me, is always attractive, as it is the place of my blind spots and surely I've some or better say a lot of them.
But my heart is a hunter and I hunt the occult, that the occult take some metamorphoses into "known reality", and that I do regard as "normal", as any child acts in this way. It adapts the occult mathematic, the occult art of writing, the occult art of speaking and the occult walking at two feet. "Did she say, her name is Mama?"

So, this juggler of 12th century doesn't impress me, normally the searched object is in none of his turned cups, as he's quick with his hands.

We've there documents, which report the development of playing cards in 14th century and Tarot cards in 15th century, and paper mills, which do appear around that time plus printing techniques etc. , and whoever will contribute to this question the theory of an earlier origin, should point to documents of an earlier existence and say, here is an object, from this do conclude that or that ... he points to the troubadours.

Alright, the intellectuals of 12th/13th centuries had their intellectual mysteries, as intellectuals usually have, otherwise they wouldn't be called intellectuals. Occult are these mysteries only to those, who are not intellectual.
One of these mysteries for instance was to know how to play chess ... I'm impressed. Normal people of that time couldn't, it was a great thing, for them, but not to us. Others knew the names of the 12 signs of the zodiac, wonderful. They knew, how the angels should be sorted. Interesting, butthey present a lot of contradictions - they weren't so sure about it. And they speculated, how the world came to that, what they knew about it. In that case their time was similar to ours. We've atom physic and they had their mind only, perhaps some drugs, one shouldn't underestimate that.
Where, precisely, is the Tarot? Should we conclude from the existence of troubadours, which is more or less clear and not new for historical understanding, to the existence of Tarot in a sequence of 22 major arcana or 14 for instance? Why? Only cause the Bateleur looks like a troubadour? The Fortuna-Wheel was already with the Romans, should I conclude now, that Emperor Nero played Tarot with Seneca in his youth? All the motifs of Tarot are older than the cards, they were known and with that older motifs at their time, otherwise the card painter probably wouldn't have chosen them to be a motif in the card deck.

Diana
15-08-2003, 01:13
I for one do not believe that one will ever find the origin of Tarot in a written document.

I don't know who destroyed them - but they are gone forever.

So one has to look elsewhere - and that is in the cards themselves. They are what we can trust the most. The pictures are there - they need to be deciphered - that is where one will find the clues needed.

So far, Mr. Hadar's theory (which is not "his" theory - it has been discussed by others) sounds the most plausible to me.....

Although it is with great regret that I put aside the Templars theory (for the moment..... who knows, maybe one day I will pick it up again.)

Exploring documents is fun.... and one can learn a lot.... but it will not lead to the Light. Although it will shed some light, and that is important enough in itself.

firemaiden
15-08-2003, 01:32
Originally posted by Diana
au 12e... TOUS les gens sont des mystiques ! ce qui n'est pas la même chose...

Of course! the possiblity not to be mystical is a modern invention! Kris Hadar's ideas are very compelling. I am in love with the theory for an Occitan/Cathar origin for the tarot. I faintly remember from my distant past of studies, that much of the very civilized and cultured world that had been Roman, was preserved within Occitan civilisation, whereas it had been lost in wilder parts of France.

Huck
15-08-2003, 04:15
Originally posted by Diana
I for one do not believe that one will ever find the origin of Tarot in a written document.



Probably just this book exists and Ross, who is here on the list, even visited it recently.
Well, perhaps it's not what you exspected it to be, but that's normal if you decide to look at documents, they're good for surprizes and disappoint and discard earlier theories about their content.
Illusion and dreams have difficulties with truth

http://geocities.com/autorbis/marcello1.html


I don't know who destroyed them - but they are gone forever.

So one has to look elsewhere - and that is in the cards themselves. They are what we can trust the most. The pictures are there - they need to be deciphered - that is where one will find the clues needed.



The document is visible, nobody cared about it for long time. This is quite normal for documents.
All the pictures, that you can see, are paintings of individuals, which reflected reality and their inner in these pictures. Tarot pictures differ from each other - one painter paints this way and another in another style. All this is common for art and art history.
Tarot pictures doesn't in no case differ totally from that what happened in the general art of 15th century, there are just on another media. Some painters paint Frescos, other with soi and some on cards. Nothing special about this. Art is wonderful - generally, and especially the picture of 15th century mirror an interesting development.


So far, Mr. Hadar's theory (which is not "his" theory - it has been discussed by others) sounds the most plausible to me.....


A lot of people had "wrong ideas" in the past "together" - a wrong perception doesn't become true by this. "1+1=2" in the mathematical world, even when 2 or more people, believe, that's "3".

Although it is with great regret that I put aside the Templars theory (for the moment..... who knows, maybe one day I will pick it up again.)

Exploring documents is fun.... and one can learn a lot.... but it will not lead to the Light. Although it will shed some light, and that is important enough in itself.

Why do you know, that documents do not lead to light? Did you try it?
Thanks to some, but few people, who tried it, we know now much more about the history of Tarot. The light there was not only for those who looked, mankind can profit of their energy. Well, it's a scandal of Tarot world, that good and solide informations spreads so slowly ... cause what reason is that possible? Probably cause there are so much people talking with not much evidence perhaps?
The only way to get out of the cloudy words of them is to look at documents and be critical about them. Or are the clouds more loved than the real object? Is the illusion better than reality?

Diana
16-08-2003, 02:03
Your link is interesting, Huck.

But I suspect that you and I are looking for something different..... In fact, I am pretty certain we are.

My allopathic doctor laughs his head off when I tell him that I rely mostly on homeopathy. "There is NO EVIDENCE!!!!" he snorts. And he says "If you analyse a homeopathic pill, there is nothing in it!!" and he snorts some more.

Funny though that it cured my chronic bronchitis in less than twenty minutes.

He didn't believe me, of course. But we still remain good friends.

Kaz
16-08-2003, 02:11
you could ask the tarot itself about its origin.
where is holmes? he would be perfect to read this kinda question.

kris hadars theory sounds very plausible to me, but then, other theories also do.
we might never know.........

Cerulean
16-08-2003, 04:06
First, I like historical tarot structures and forms and the palette coloring of the Hader deck is very nice.

Second, I am certain it is difficult to speak of six centuries of history and the movements of European history within six paragraphs. It sounds as if Kris Hader is summarizing via a lecture format and within a certain context--so I am grateful for Diana's translation and interest in bringing it in for discussion.
His site also shows some interesting topics--sometimes I can get to see cards, sometimes not.

Since I am only vaguely acquainted with some of the topics he mentions, I can tell that I am a sequential researcher. I believe he is addressing French history? The shifts this country's small regions between the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries will take time for me to track...from medieval to Renaissance to Enlightenment?

Mari H.

Ross G Caldwell
16-08-2003, 19:11
Nobody would be happier than I to find a thread linking the tarot deck, as an historical artifact, to "Occitania."

I *live* here - in what some consider the very heart of the region. I hear the lengadoc spoken every day. The biggest institution in the world dedicated solely to occitan culture - CIRDOC - is a five-minute walk from my apartment.

http://www.cirdoc.fr/ (closed until the 26th of August).

I'm a rather familiar figure there, most lately in researching the trobars and trobaritz - troubadours, men and women. There is very little they don't have on the subject. But CIRDOC also has plenty of basic and necessary references, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, that form the main reason for my frequent visits.

Béziers is renowned for its independent, stubborn spirit, and is infamous as the first victim of the Albigensian Crusade.
The church of St. Marie Madeleine, where Simon de Montfort's army massacred thousands on July 22, 1209, and began burning and looting the town, is still a functioning church, although it has changed a little since the 13th century - a lot of history has happened since then. I still always say a De Profundis for the souls of those who were killed when I pass by, or go inside.

Carcassonne is around 70km/45 miles from me; the Centre d'Etudes Cathares is there.
http://www.cathares.org/cec/
I have barely scratched the surface of their rich holdings. Most recently, it was to check a reference in Barbara Newman's essay "WomanSpirit, Woman Pope", concerning Na Prous Boneta, a "spiritual Franciscan" who was arrested in Carcassone in 1325, and a little afterwards burned at the stake there. Another point was to check a reference related indirectly to tarot, since the Centre has the journal it was in.

Imagine! I could solve all the mysteries of tarot with the resources here. It would be perfect. I should be the biggest proponent of the "Occitan-origin theory."

But although surely the spirit that informs some of the designs of the cards - and even more the poetry of Dante and Petrarch - can be traced to the Occitan flowering of the 12th century, I have not, in my researches, found a direct connection.
Even if cards of one sort or another existed (but not only here, of course), this is a far cry from a pack of "carte da trionfi." I haven't found any loose threads leading from the documents on "carte da trionfi" in 15th century northern Italy, to anywhere else, including Provence or Languedoc.

As I said, I would love it to be so. But I have to be honest. Everything in the earliest cards we have is explicable by references to the north Italian environment. The roots of these influences go deep, and in many directions, but the cards themselves, the physical objects, seem to have come about then and there only. I am open to any evidence otherwise, but I haven't seen any.

Ross

firemaiden
16-08-2003, 20:17
Originally posted by Ross G Caldwell
The roots of these influences go deep, and in many directions, but the cards themselves, the physical objects, seem to have come about then and there only.


Thank you for telliing us about what you are doing there, Ross! What a wonderful place to live, and research. I think, if the buck/euro stops with the physical cards, in Italy, ...perhaps indeed, what we are interested in then, are the roots and influences.

Ross G Caldwell
16-08-2003, 20:42
Originally posted by firemaiden
Thank you for telliing us about what you are doing there, Ross! What a wonderful place to live, and research. I think, if the buck/euro stops with the physical cards, in Italy, ...perhaps indeed, what we are interested in then, are the roots and influences.

It is a wonderful place - I love my new home. If I get a chance to stop studying tarot, I'll dedicate myself to becoming an expert on this region :-) I highly recommend a visit, feel free to tell me in advance if you are coming.

But I believe you are right. Perhaps it isn't tarot "history" that many people are after, but a more general discussion of the meaning of the images outside of a strictly historical context. This is certainly a worthwhile, and time-honoured, approach.

You know wha

Ross G Caldwell
16-08-2003, 21:06
accidentally hit the "post" key...

Originally posted by Ross G Caldwell
It is a wonderful place - I love my new home. If I get a chance to stop studying tarot, I'll dedicate myself to becoming an expert on this region :-) I highly recommend a visit, feel free to tell me in advance if you are coming.

But I believe you are right. Perhaps it isn't tarot "history" that many people are after, but a more general discussion of the meaning of the images outside of a strictly historical context. This is certainly a worthwhile, and time-honoured, approach.

You know wha

...you know what I and other historical "purists" will say, however, if people point to an iconographic parallel as itself constituting historical proof of a connection. This is exactly what Court de Gébelin did, when he saw Egyptian motifs in the cards, and thereby declared the tarot to be Egyptian in origin. Occitania is much closer to the real tarot, and there are plenty of cultural contacts to draw on, but both iconography and documentary sources fail this hypothesis, so far. There is nothing in medieval documents that exactly parallels the tarot, either in words or images.

Many individual images are reminiscent of tarot cards, but surely people know this is true of almost any culture anywhere.

If we posit that the historical, earliest tarot is teaching some kind of doctrine or presenting a philosophy, then we can discuss what that might be. Then indeed the actual physical deck of cards is merely an artifact of a much grander philosophy, that exists outside of the deck. The deck is merely an accidental manifestation of it.

I know tarot history, documentary history, seems extremely boring. But that is what someone trained to do "history" really does. Anything before writing is called "pre-history." History starts at different times in different places, because the documents start at different times. Archaeology goes outside of documents, and examines other cultural manifestations, sometimes alongside the documents, many times in the absence of documents.

There doesn't appear to be much "pre-history" to the tarot deck. In other words, there are no tarot decks which (with certainty) pre-date the first documentary witness of them. When something like that is discovered, say a tarot deck from the 13th century, then we might well be discussing the archaeology of tarot, or the pre-history of tarot, if no contemporary documents mention it.

I can't speak for Huck or anyone else with a historical approach, but that is what I mean by history. A historian is like a detective - find all the facts, the "clues", and try to listen to the story all the clues are telling.

What I can say is that there are a bunch of cards, and a bunch of mentions of these cards, in one region at one time. The best theories explaining all how all these clues are linked, don't leave many loose ends. As far as I can tell, none of those loose ends points anywhere but somewhere else in Italy, and pretty close in time. None of the loose ends goes very far in any direction. That's what the detective-historian in me sees.

I think it's clear I love the Fin d'Amor, Chivalry and Courtly Love, Trobars and golden age of Occitania. I would love to spend hours talking with Kris Hadar. It is true that all of these played a great role in the imaginations of just those people who appear to have invented the tarot deck. As they did in a great many other people's minds.

But when I speak historically, I am, as you pointed out, speaking of the cards and the images on them, in the context in which they appear.

Ross

firemaiden
17-08-2003, 03:14
hahah, Ross, you can always hit the "edit" function if it happens again. :)

Watch out, lol, here I come, a more ardent francophile than I (than me? :confused: ) was never found!

Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about tarot history then? (I am sure many of us have zillions of questions) (but never dared to ask).

My question for the day: (does this belong in a new thread?)

It is famous that the tarot is mentioned in Rabelais. Is there any earlier known mention of the tarot in French literature? Or... what is the earliest known mention of the tarot in any literature?

Gosh, I am beginning to feel a sudden urge to return to medieval studies...

Cerulean
17-08-2003, 13:34
If you mean the game of tarot as a poem...actually Huck and Ross probably have better sources that would allude to the earliest reference. Certainly Triumph poems with the major arcana appeared earlier than the Duke Borso ones circa 1470?

My best known game tarocchi poem sample is from Ferarra, Count Matteo Maria Boiardo, grandson of Count Feltrino, who was a close court advisor to Niccolo and sons Lionello and I believe, also Borso D'Este. The tarocchi deck recreated in 1996 with the Tuscan verses suggested a 1461-65 (?) date.

This is as far as I know from Firemaiden's question.
"what is the earliest known mention of the tarot in any literature?"

I am certain other people can cite better, earlier or more significant samples, that's just the one that I know.

Mari Hoshizaki

firemaiden
17-08-2003, 14:20
tarot poems? no, no, I meant what is the earliest known written mention of the word "tarot" (tarocchi, trionfi, or whatever...when is the first time they are mentioned at all, and where are they first mentioned in french literature...)

Major Tom
17-08-2003, 18:47
I quote from Playing Cards by Roger Tiley:

"...and then another sermon of about 1450-1470 (written by a Franciscan Friar in Northern Italy and described at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries on 31 May 1900 by Mr Robert Steel FSA) denounces dice, cards and triumphs as instruments of gambling, and clearly distinguishes between the four-suited pack and the twenty-two cards variously called tarots or tarocchi or attuti or trionfi in Italy and atouts in France on the grounds that they triumph over all other cards."

He goes on to quote the sermon:

"Concerning the third class of games, that is 'triumphs'. There is nothing in the world of gaming so hateful to God as the game of 'triumphs'."

Huck
17-08-2003, 20:00
---- "It is famous that the tarot is mentioned in Rabelais. Is there any earlier known mention of the tarot in French literature? Or... what is the earliest known mention of the tarot in any literature?"

compare:

http://geocities.com/autorbis/ortalli.html


Variously 1516 in Ferrara in account books, of course. Described in the article of Ortalli, "The prince and the playing cards", but also elsewhere.

The word "trionfi" appears earlier, in context to playing cards first 1442. We've gathered 28 appearances till 1463.

See:

http://geocities.com/research_of_tarot/trionfidoc.html

In Rabelais "Taraux" and "trumps" are a different game. The use of the term "Trionfi" seems to have gone through various changes. Around ca. 1460 it is considered by autorbis and Ross Caldwell refering mostly to a 5x14-deck.

see:

http://geocities.com/autorbis/pbm14new.html

The first French use of "Trionfi" is recorded ca. 1480 (I don't have my list at hand, but it was refering to the court of the follower of Rene d'Anjou).


It is quite possible, that the word "Tarot" developed in France. One Italian offered the opinion, that Tarocchi as other words ending on -cchi are pointing to words of a French origin (just an opinion in newsgroup, I forgot the author of it and I can't judge the correctness of this opinion, but it sounds likely).

The Ferrarese court in 1516 (that's a time after 1515, when Milano was reoccupied by French troops after an earlier phase between 1500 - 1512) was French friendly, they were allied with them.

Lyon, a city, that was prefered by Italians to live at already in 2nd
half of 15th century, became around 1490 - 1510 the maior place of European playing card production.

It would be a natural way to assume, that early Italian "Trionfi" decks were exported to Lyon and France and returned back as Tarot cards, which became Tarocchi cards in Italy. Ferrara as a France-friendly city is a natural place, where these cards should appear first.

If reality was like this, it is also natural to assume, that the name Tarot perhaps developed in context to the battle 1495 at the river Tarot, which cause its deciding role played a greater role to French rememberings of Italy for a short time.

The development to 22 trumps or special cards took place in Italy at least "before 1494", the evidence is given by the Boiardo-poem.

http://geocities.com/autorbis/boiardo-bio.html

firemaiden
17-08-2003, 20:28
That was amusing Tom! and thank you, Huck.

Forgive me, all, I am coming to these threads as a lay person in a high state of ignorance (yet also a high state of curiosity:D) of history and also of what has already been said on the other threads. I see now that much discussion has gone on in other threads about the first mention of tarot.

Continuing in the vein of speculation (forgive me, oh pure documentary historians) about what could have happened in Occitania... I began wondering about the history of papermaking and its importance in the evolution of cards-- I discovered that jmd had brought it up in another thread: Again of interest is the paper-manufacturing and printing which occured in Spain a couple of centuries earlier, and the rich proto-renaissance which occured there and in the Provençal region prior to the wonderful and full blossoming Florentine flower...

Curious to find out more I found only this, (which most history of paper sites ommitted entirely):"France owed the establishment of her first paper-mills to Spain, whence we are told the art of paper making was introduced, as early as the year 1189, into the district of Hérault." from history of paper (http://www.manufactura.cz/paper.htm)
Well, how do you like that! Mon Dieu, In Hérault! I think its amazing really, how much earlier papermaking was to be found there than in all the rest of France! I think it shows, at the very least, that the paper trail from China to the Islamic world, to Spain, and then to Italy, passed through the south of France on the way, even if it didn't reach the "oil" speaking France until a couple of centuries later.

Ross G Caldwell
17-08-2003, 20:57
Hi New York! Glad to see the power is back on.

Originally posted by firemaiden
hahah, Ross, you can always hit the "edit" function if it happens again. :)

:-) I'll remember that. I tried to delete it, but I got a screen that said I didn't have access to that page...

Watch out, lol, here I come, a more ardent francophile than I (than me? :confused: ) was never found!

Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about tarot history then? (I am sure many of us have zillions of questions) (but never dared to ask).

This is the certainly the right forum to ask those questions!
Why would that be, that you wouldn't dare to ask? Historians are some of the more genial types of academics, in my experience :-)

My question for the day: (does this belong in a new thread?)

It is famous that the tarot is mentioned in Rabelais. Is there any earlier known mention of the tarot in French literature? Or... what is the earliest known mention of the tarot in any literature?

Yes, you are right Rabelais in Gargantua (Chapter 22), published in 1534 has Gargantua playing "au tarau."

http://www.tarock.info/gargantua_XXII.htm

The first time "tarot" appears seems to be 1564.

Everyone says "tarot" is simply a French form of Italian "tarocchi". Tarocchi comes for the first time in 1516, in the same account books of the Este family that has the first mention of "carte da trionfi" 74 years earlier.

Those are the earliest references to tarocchi and tarot that we currently have, although "carte da trionfi", triumph cards, which in many cases are the same as what would later be called tarocchi and tarot, goes back to 1442. We've collected all of the references to "carte da trionfi" before 1470 or so at
http://www.geocities.com/research_of_tarot/trionfidoc.html

The derivation of "tarot" from "tarocchi" still puzzles me a little however. How did that final "t" get on there? Nobody has bothered to ask the question that I can find. There is also the strange plural form in French "tarots" which matches the Italian "tarocchi" (singular "tarocco"). How did a word so clearly related in time and place end up so different?

In French a final "c" is not pronounced, so maybe they left it off, pronounced "taro" (="tarau"). But why not "taroque"? That would be a fine French form of the Italian word... but for some reason, it didn't happen that way.

Gosh, I am beginning to feel a sudden urge to return to medieval studies...

There are certainly worse ways to spend your time :-) New York is a fabulous place to study anything. You have a lot of historical tarot cards to visit as well - I envy you!

Ross

catboxer
17-08-2003, 23:48
I suppose answering Firemaiden's question about the earliest literary references to tarot would depend on first defining what qualifies as literature, and then deciding what qualifies as tarot. However, allowing a liberal interpretation of the latter, it seems to me the absolute earliest known literature pertaining to triumph cards is the book Marziano da Tortona wrote to accompany the birds-and-gods deck that was commissioned for Duke Filippo M. Visconti sometime between 1409 and 1425, particularly the first of its three parts. Ross has seen this book and comments fairly extensively on it on the fourth page of the thread called "Earliest known tarot deck -- can anybody tell me."

The cards are now lost, but the book still can be seen at the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. It's not a tarot as we think of it, but appears to have been a 5 x 16 deck, and is referred to at least once in the book as a set of "triumphs."

Other than that, most of the very early references are things like purchase orders, receipts, and municipal ordinances -- not really literature.

If Duke Filippo's early pack of triumphs is disallowed as a tarot, then the earliest literary reference I can find is Count Matteo Maria Boiardo's "Tutte le Opera," which dates from the latter half of the 1400's, although it's hard to pin down the date any closer than that. Count Matteo died in 1494, and these poems weren't published in print until 1523, but Kaplan gives a tentative writing date of 1460 in his Encyclopedia vol. II.

This is a weird piece of work which poses more questions than it answers, but at least we know that Boiardo is describing a 78-card deck. The problem is that it's unlike any deck anybody has ever seen, and it's unclear whether he was detailing the parts of a real deck of cards or just using the structure of a trionfi pack as a point of departure for a poetic flight of fancy.

He starts out with a couple of sonnets, then describes the cards in a series of 78 terzini (those little three-line stanzas like Dante used) divided into five chapters. The trumps have names like Idleness, Labor, Desire, Reason, and Secrecy. The suits are arrows (love), vases (hope), eyes (jealousy), and whips (fear), and the court cards are all well-known gods or famous ancients; for example Venus is the Queen of arrows.

One of the most valuable things about these works, both Boiardo's and Marziano da Tortona's, is that they indicate that the cards were seen by at least some of the people who used them, even in the earliest days, as symbolic ideas, and not just game tokens.

Huck
18-08-2003, 03:04
Originally posted by catboxer
I suppose answering Firemaiden's question about the earliest literary references to tarot would depend on first defining what qualifies as literature, and then deciding what qualifies as tarot. However, allowing a liberal interpretation of the latter, it seems to me the absolute earliest known literature pertaining to triumph cards is the book Marziano da Tortona wrote to accompany the birds-and-gods deck that was commissioned for Duke Filippo M. Visconti sometime between 1409 and 1425, particularly the first of its three parts. Ross has seen this book and comments fairly extensively on it on the fourth page of the thread called "Earliest known tarot deck -- can anybody tell me."

Well, just to be precise: before 1417 is hardly possibly: In the Marziano text is a reference to "DUKE" Filippo Visconti, which gives evidence for "not before 1412" and the painter Michelino is between 1403 and 1417 not in Milano.
There are 3 things in the document:

1. A letter from Marcello from the year 1449.
2. the Marziano-text: Introduction (before 1425)
3. the Marziano-text: description of the gods (both 1425)

All 3 texts are only copies, written by the same hand, so apparently "after 1449". But it is unlikely, that the writer did a forgery.
The term "ludus triumphorum" appears only in the Marcello-letter.


The cards are now lost, but the book still can be seen at the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. It's not a tarot as we think of it, but appears to have been a 5 x 16 deck, and is referred to at least once in the book as a set of "triumphs."


The text is a little unclear about the composition of the deck (5x16 is totally unlikely, probably there are 4x10 number-cards + one king for each suit + 16 gods and to each suit belong 4 gods. So one could perceive the deck as 4x11 + 16 or as 4x15.

More information:

http://geocities.com/autorbis/marcello1.html
and the following pages


Other than that, most of the very early references are things like purchase orders, receipts, and municipal ordinances -- not really literature.

If Duke Filippo's early pack of triumphs is disallowed as a tarot, then the earliest literary reference I can find is Count Matteo Maria Boiardo's "Tutte le Opera," which dates from the latter half of the 1400's, although it's hard to pin down the date any closer than that. Count Matteo died in 1494, and these poems weren't published in print until 1523, but Kaplan gives a tentative writing date of 1460 in his Encyclopedia vol. II.


There are 28 notes of the name between 1442 and 1463. Kaplans note is questionable.

http://geocities.com/research_of_tarot/trionfidoc.html
http://geocities.com/autorbis/boiardo-bio.html

This is a weird piece of work which poses more questions than it answers, but at least we know that Boiardo is describing a 78-card deck. The problem is that it's unlike any deck anybody has ever seen, and it's unclear whether he was detailing the parts of a real deck of cards or just using the structure of a trionfi pack as a point of departure for a poetic flight of fancy.

He starts out with a couple of sonnets, then describes the cards in a series of 78 terzini (those little three-line stanzas like Dante used) divided into five chapters. The trumps have names like Idleness, Labor, Desire, Reason, and Secrecy. The suits are arrows (love), vases (hope), eyes (jealousy), and whips (fear), and the court cards are all well-known gods or famous ancients; for example Venus is the Queen of arrows.

One of the most valuable things about these works, both Boiardo's and Marziano da Tortona's, is that they indicate that the cards were seen by at least some of the people who used them, even in the earliest days, as symbolic ideas, and not just game tokens. [/B][/QUOTE]

There are some cards remaining, although no trumps:

http://geocities.com/autorbis/boiardo.htm

Diana
20-08-2003, 05:11
Originally posted by Ross G Caldwell
The derivation of "tarot" from "tarocchi" still puzzles me a little however. How did that final "t" get on there? Nobody has bothered to ask the question that I can find. There is also the strange plural form in French "tarots" which matches the Italian "tarocchi" (singular "tarocco"). How did a word so clearly related in time and place end up so different?

In French a final "c" is not pronounced, so maybe they left it off, pronounced "taro" (="tarau"). But why not "taroque"? That would be a fine French form of the Italian word... but for some reason, it didn't happen that way.


Well, perhaps it's because it actually worked the other way round....

First came "tarot", and the Italians changed it to "tarocchi" which would be a quite natural for them to do. As the "t" is not pronounced, they would just add their little cchi to the end.

But this would mean that the origin of Tarot (before the cards were being printed in Italy) was French... which requires a leap of faith. (Well, not for me, obviously, as I am already convinced of this. But I know it is not the case for everyone.)

Huck
20-08-2003, 08:35
Originally posted by Diana
Well, perhaps it's because it actually worked the other way round....

First came "tarot", and the Italians changed it to "tarocchi" which would be a quite natural for them to do. As the "t" is not pronounced, they would just add their little cchi to the end.

But this would mean that the origin of Tarot (before the cards were being printed in Italy) was French... which requires a leap of faith. (Well, not for me, obviously, as I am already convinced of this. But I know it is not the case for everyone.)

The name Tarot might be French originally and adapted by Italians as "Tarocchi", indeed, to me, this interpretation looks likely to be true ... that doesn't change, that we've hundreds of documents related to "Trionfi" and even a lot of real cards in Italy in 15th century and nearly nothing from France.
And from this situation it follows more or or less unavoidingly, that the "base" of Tarot developed in Italy, not in France, and that PROBABLY not before 1440.

The "base of Tarot" and the name "Tarot" are two different objects with a different history. The name Tarocchi appeared first 1516 (no mentioning of "Tarot" before that), and Tarot-related are the things already at 1441/42, perhaps even around ca. 1420. That are either 94 or 74 years difference, with some luck 3 generations - that's a lot of time.

Perhaps a look at:

http://geocities.com/research_of_tarot/trionfidoc.html

makes clear, that the net is close in Italy already at 1442 - 1463, very close, and that there is nothing from France.

Any argumentation from before that date '(1442) has to deal with the nothing before that date, and any "name-Tarot-speculation" before 1516 has to deal with the nothing before 1516.

Diana
21-08-2003, 00:25
Huck: the link you provided is not working. Any other way to read the article you're talking about?

Ross G Caldwell
21-08-2003, 00:45
Originally posted by Diana
Huck: the link you provided is not working. Any other way to read the article you're talking about?

Huck forgot the "www" in the address :-)

http://www.geocities.com/research_of_tarot/trionfidoc.html

I agree the name Tarot = earliest spelling phonetic "tarau" - would seem to be French.

Another correspondent, an Italian living near Milan, told me exactly what Diana said - that the word with final "o", and the silent "t" spelling, would have made Italians add a hard "ki" sound to the end - or "cchi" in standard orthography. I said it sounded implausible that the Italian form of the name would be the one exported north - all the others, like tarok, have the Italian sound. But he insisted that's how it happened, and I have no better explanation, at least that accounts for the orthography of "tarot."

There are other words in the French lexicon that are called "tarots", in particular a die, like the ones we use with little indented holes, was called a "tarot" at some point (can't recall at the moment), and there is an instrument, a little high pitched clarinet (that's what it looks and sounds like to me anyway.)
I'll have to write an entry on those, to see what their history is. Maybe either or both had some influence on the spelling, or the origin of the card deck and game.

Personally I believe the game, and the deck with that name, started in southern France (not necessarily France at the time, like Marseille), or maybe somewhere else. Could be Lyons, where they printed a lot of cards. My working hypothesis is that there was a long pre-history to the deck and the games played with it, and that the earliest strata is exactly what we are talking about in northern Italy. But Tarot, the deck with 22 trumps *in that order and that name*, was born in the early 16th century, or late 15th. It had rapid and immediate success. (Previous decks with 22 trumps don't seem to have been played with anything like the rules we know).

That is a way oversimplified overview, which I reserve the right to clarify if challenged ;-)

Ross

catboxer
22-08-2003, 11:56
Hey Huck:

Thanks a million for the link to those cards based on Boiardo's poems. Those are dynamite. I never saw them before.

I presume the poems came first, and the cards derived from them, since the verses are printed right on the cards.

You're really a wealth information for what's available on line.

Huck
22-08-2003, 12:59
Originally posted by catboxer
Hey Huck:

Thanks a million for the link to those cards based on Boiardo's poems. Those are dynamite. I never saw them before.

I presume the poems came first, and the cards derived from them, since the verses are printed right on the cards.

You're really a wealth information for what's available on line.

:-) Thanks, but if you look precisely, I mostly only cite

http://trionfi.com

mostly done by Ross Caldwell, Mari Hoshizaki (both here on the list), autorbis and some others. Trionfi.com is done by researchers for researchers and it wll become better the more researchers participate with their energies. The invitation is at

http://geocities.com/autorbis/LTarot.html

Yes, one should assume, that the poem came first. In the Viti-commentary (ca. 1490 -1500) a note appears, that they have a plan to produce the deck (probably this deck). Viti lived ca. 1470 - 1500, Boiardo died 1494.

The Viti-commentary (in Italian and untranslated) is at:

http://geocities.com/autorbis/LTarot.html

Namadev
01-09-2003, 00:46
Hi,

For those who would be interested by the link "Catharism and Tarot", two links :
1)in English :Bob O'Neill "Catharism and Tarot"
http://www.ninalee.com/sst
2)in French : Tarot-Fr 3Recherches historiques atypiques"
http://www.tarot-fr.com

Diana
01-09-2003, 01:56
Hi Namadev! Nice to see you pop in again to see us! Great links - that first one will keep my printer busy for some time....

Hope you have time to visit us more often and tell us of your own "theories" and research.

Ross G Caldwell
01-09-2003, 02:07
Originally posted by Namadev
Hi,

For those who would be interested by the link "Catharism and Tarot", two links :
1)in English :Bob O'Neill "Catharism and Tarot"
http://www.ninalee.com/sst
2)in French : Tarot-Fr 3Recherches historiques atypiques"
http://www.tarot-fr.com

1) is a good general essay, in Bob's broadly brushed way :-)

Be warned of some errors and a major flaw however. For instance, many Trobars (troubadours) were openly critical of the Church, and some were charged with heresy, such as Aimeric de Péguilhan, Guilhem Figuera, and Uc de Saint Circ. Aimeric actually died in Lomabary (perhaps Ferrara), and Uc de Saint Circ also went to Italy, fleeing the crusade against the Cathars.

Bob claims they were not, relying on a source that I cannot find, and which is certainly not present in any bibliographies that I have checked (scores).

The major flaw is that he does not show how Joachism transmitted Cathar ideas. Joachim actually explicitly made sure to distinguish himself from the heretics, as I remember.

There is no need to find a chain of transmission for the heresy from the Languedoc anyway, since both Joachism and Catharism, and Waldensianism, were present in northern Italy already, and very strongly in and around Milan, and in Piedmont. Milan is actually kind of a "capital" of heresy.

Ross

Namadev
01-09-2003, 07:20
Hi Ross,

1)Yes, you're right about the "troubadours" : the Fin Amor and their "Lady" was the Cathari church.
2)Joachim de Flore ideas were vehiculated by the Spirituals Franciscans ; in Beziers for example, they were closely linked to to the neo-cathari...
Documentation on this point while the debate on Bob 's article with Mickael Hurst and myself...on TarotL (see archives of the group).

kwaw
21-10-2006, 12:25
Everyone says "tarot" is simply a French form of Italian "tarocchi". Tarocchi comes for the first time in 1516, in the same account books of the Este family that has the first mention of "carte da trionfi" 74 years earlier.
....

The derivation of "tarot" from "tarocchi" still puzzles me a little however. How did that final "t" get on there? Nobody has bothered to ask the question that I can find. There is also the strange plural form in French "tarots" which matches the Italian "tarocchi" (singular "tarocco"). How did a word so clearly related in time and place end up so different?

In French a final "c" is not pronounced, so maybe they left it off, pronounced "taro" (="tarau"). But why not "taroque"? That would be a fine French form of the Italian word... but for some reason, it didn't happen that way.

Ross

From French-English dictionary:

Taraire. as Tariere.
Tarault. as Tariere; also as Tarots.
Tariere:f. An augur.
Related words are:
Tarelle: f. An augur.
Tarelet:. m. A little augur.
Tarots:m. A kind of great cards, whereon many several things are figured, which make them much more intricate than ordinary ones.

From:
A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues
Compiled by Randle Cotgrave
London
Printed by Adam Islip
Anno 1611

Available online here:

http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cotgrave/

Kwaw

Fulgour
21-10-2006, 12:35
How did that final "t" get on there? The Gypsies name a doer after the thing done, and add an "O"
which since Romany for cards is "Tar" the "Tar-O" is a reader.
The final "T" was added because nobody knew how to spell it.

kwaw
21-10-2006, 12:43
From French-English dictionary:

Tarault. as Tariere; also as Tarots.
Tariere:f. An augur.



Definitions of 'Augur':
Noun

An augur (in Rome usually a senator) was a highly respected religious figure, who belonged to a college of priests skilled in interpreting augeries, which were messages from the gods. They looked for ominous signs in nature, by studying things such as cloud shapes, the flight of individual or flocks of birds or lightning. They were consulted before any official action and could interrupt any discussion or decision if they had perceived a divine sign: 2 words were enough: alia die (till another day).
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/temetfutue/glossary/glossaryA.htm

However, 'tariere a'boiste' means a 'wimble', which is an 'auger', that is a hand tool for boring holes :P

As much as it would be nice for this archaic french 'tarots' = 'augur' as in divination, Modern French I think supports the latter, ie:
Taraud: n.m - screw tap
Taraudage: n.m - tapping a hole for a screw; threaded hole
Tarauder (v) tap (a hole for a screw); (Literature) torment.

So unless anyone can come up with a good reason why a pack of cards are named after a tool to bore holes, I think it is likely a coincidental homophone between 'tarots - hole borer' and 'tarots - card game'. :(

So we return to Italy, John Flavio's definition I think remains a strong contender:

John Florio, 'A World of Words' (1598)

Tarócchi - a kinde of playing cardes vsed in Italy, called
terrestriall tri*-umphes.

Taroccare - to play at Tarócchi.Also to play the froward gull or
peeuish ninnie.

That is 'taroccare', according to this 16th century Italian -English dictionary, means 'to play the fool'.

Kwaw

Sophie
21-10-2006, 17:04
So unless anyone can come up with a good reason why a pack of cards are named after a tool to bore holes, I think it is likely a coincidental homophone between 'tarots - hole borer' and 'tarots - card game'. Weeeeell...

how about: tarot is a game that bores holes in our brains as we try to figure out its true origin, meaning, message, kabbalistic correspondence, etc...

In other words, it is a metaphor for a metaphor ;)

I'll go further - tarot torments us!

"Le Tarot me taraude l'esprit". And for many of us - it does!

kwaw
21-10-2006, 23:31
Apparently it can mean a tool for engraving (in stone]as well for boring holes.

In a roundabout way one of the titles of the fool card [le fou] takes us back to the word tarot as auger, a 'hole borer'.

'Fou' in Cotgrave's French-English dictionary is given as a corruption of 'Fors', out of doors, abroad, [as in 'buvet fou', drink out, 'venez fou', come out].

The Italian for the French word 'Fors/Fou' is 'Fora'.

In Florio's Italian-English dictionary 'Fora' means not only outside, abroad; but an auger [a borer, a piercer, a wimble]. Which as we have shown was also called in French, Tarault, Tariere, Tarot.

'Fora' is used in Dante to mean 'wounds, hurts', similar to the literary use of tarault/tariere/tarot to mean 'torment'.

To make a hole is to create an empty space - like zero, or 'nihil' as steele describes the function of the fool:)

Kwaw

Sophie
22-10-2006, 00:32
And "forer" in French, of course, still means to dig for something underground (water, oil, etc.). We are back to digging. I wonder if the Fool's large spoon was his instrument for "forer"? ;)

kwaw
22-10-2006, 02:20
And "forer" in French, of course, still means to dig for something underground (water, oil, etc.). We are back to digging. I wonder if the Fool's large spoon was his instrument for "forer"? ;)

Randle Cotgrave in A Dictionary of the French and English Tongues (1611) gives:

Fore: f. as For; a Court [wherein pleadings are heard]
For: [as prefix], out or without.
Foré: m. ée: f. Bored, pierced; wherein holes are made.
Forer: To bore, pierce, make holes in.

So definititely cognate with the Italian 'fora' as a tool to pierce or make holes in.

Kwaw

kwaw
23-10-2006, 00:29
Following up on a suggestion by Diane O'Donovan that there maybe relevance of the 'hole-borer' and to Cribbage games, I learnt cribbage is related to the older game 'noddy':

http://www.tradgames.org.uk/games/Cribbage.htm

and 'noddy' in English was of course [as I have shown in previous dictionary definitions] a sysnonym for 'fool' [and as explained previously, there maybe a connection between a title of the fool 'fou', and fora/fore, hole maker].

The cribbage board itself can perhaps be traced back the much older mancala board:

http://www.tradgames.org.uk/games/Mancala.htm

So there is a possible connection between the name 'tarot' and the french word 'tariere, tarot' meaning 'hole-maker'.

Kwaw

kwaw
23-10-2006, 01:23
I have put the various posts relating to tarot-hole borer together in thread here:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?p=925014#post925014

Kwaw