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geomancer  geomancer is offline
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Cardinal Virtues


This may seem a basic question, but when asked by a work colleague I could not answer it.

Are the four suits linked to specific attributes of the cardinal virtues, historically through tarot and/or playing cards?
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In itself, there is no explicit reason to believe that early decks were inevitably linked to the four cardinal virtues.

On the other hand, there does appear to be a visual connection easily seen in some decks, that link clearly three virtues, and the fourth possibly 'implied'.

From recollection, Gareth Knight showed this in his The Magical World of the Tarot with the Charles VI (Gringonneur) deck. In that deck, precisely four cards have a stellated aureoles: Justice (holding a sword); Fortitude (holding a broken pillar); Temperance (having two 'cups'); and the World card as possibly Prudence or Wisdom (standing on a circle, but also holding a 'globe').

The argument is suggested that these cards (in terms of the opening question) not only relate to the four cardinal virtues, but also to the four suits.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geomancer
This may seem a basic question, but when asked by a work colleague I could not answer it.

Are the four suits linked to specific attributes of the cardinal virtues, historically through tarot and/or playing cards?
The earliest such association I am aware of was made in 1551. Here is the entry on Michael Hurst's page "Fragments of Tarot History" -

"1551 Bologna, Italy

Innocentio Ringhieri wrote Cento Giuochi liberali dt d’ingegno. Allegoresis about the magnificent “Game of the King”, allegorizing the four suits in terms of the four virtues. Cups represented Temperance, Columns were Strength, Swords for Justice, and Mirrors representing Prudence. (K I:30; GT 422.)"
http://www.geocities.com/cartedatrio...1540-1739.html

"K" means Kaplan, Encyc. of Tarot, vol. I, page 30; "GT" is "Game of Tarot", page 422.

Cups=Hearts=Temperance
Columns (Batons)=Clubs=Strength
Swords=Spades=Justice
Mirrors (Coins)=Diamonds=Prudence

I could agree with this.
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Sola Busca queens and the four virtues


I think there is a good visual match between the queens of the Sola Busca deck and the four cardinal virtues (as represented in the Mantegna Tarot, for instance, see attachment). The visual analogy is consistent with the document quoted by Ross. The most original aspect is that the coin (actually a dish sized metal disc) is used as a mirror by Queen Helena.

In some illustrations of the Iconologia by Cesare Ripa, Strength (Fortezza) is almost identical to a classical image of Minerva / Pallas (the Queen of Batons in Sola Busca).

Marco
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Thank you both for these additions.

I had totally forgotten who else had mentioned this, and of course Michael J. Hurst's page should have come to mind! Though Rhinghieri's Cento Giuochi Liberali in mentioned on page 422 of Dummett's Game of Tarot, it does not describe it in any manner. Hurst's paraphrase is solely, it seems, from Kaplan's Encyclopedia of Tarot (vol 1, p30 as previously noted).

It would be handy to have at least the relevant part of this work available, if anyone has it.
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geomancer  geomancer is offline
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Thank you all for the response. The answers and links supplied were great.
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short description of Ringhieri


I found here the following text. The author is presented as a Gentleman from Bologna.


CENTO GIVOCHI LIBERALI, ET D'INGEGNO,

Book Description: 1551. Nouellamente da M. Innocentio Ringhieri Gentilhuomo Bolognese ritrouati, and in dieci Libri descritti .. In Bologna per Anselmo Giaccarelli, 1551.

Famous book on Renaissance courtly intellectual entertainments, detailing 100 games and pastimes, including chess and palmistry, played at Renaissance courts. - Dedicated to the Italian-born queen of France, Catherine de Medici, the work is divided into 100 chapters, describing such courtly amusements as hunting, fishing, card playing, ballads, madrigals, as well as many other diversions including a game of chess in which the participants dress as chess pieces.

Innocentio Ringhieri (fl. 1550) has aimed his book at a young audience, though one that is not too young to think about courtship: each chapter opens with a playful and flattering address to the ladies, and there are often short disquisition's on the power of love.

The games are based on wordplay, vocabulary exercises, and riddles; they include contests that involve identifying islands, gems, virtues, muses, and so on, and they sometimes take up more substantial and enigmatic topics such as time, death, love, chastity, and felicity.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmd
Thank you both for these additions.

I had totally forgotten who else had mentioned this, and of course Michael J. Hurst's page should have come to mind! Though Rhinghieri's Cento Giuochi Liberali in mentioned on page 422 of Dummett's Game of Tarot, it does not describe it in any manner. Hurst's paraphrase is solely, it seems, from Kaplan's Encyclopedia of Tarot (vol 1, p30 as previously noted).

It would be handy to have at least the relevant part of this work available, if anyone has it.
There are copies of the work at http://gallica.bnf.fr , but it seems that the server is having difficulties.

Look up "ringhieri" in the author field.

There is also a French translation at gallica (also inaccessible for the moment).
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The server was okay this time, and I downloaded both books.

The game of cards is described in chapter LXXXI of the Italian book (ff. 132-133v.).

It seems to be an allegorical interpretation of the 56 card pack (King, Queen, Knight, Page, pips 1-10). This is quite unusual, since I don't know of anybody using the 56 card pack by itself in the 16th century.

However, he makes no mention of the trumps of the tarocchi - although there is a game called "Triumphs" at the end of the book. It is not about tarot though.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
It seems to be an allegorical interpretation of the 56 card pack (King, Queen, Knight, Page, pips 1-10). This is quite unusual, since I don't know of anybody using the 56 card pack by itself in the 16th century.
This is a pleasant discovery, since it sheds light on a theory of mine.

The Bolognese "tarocchini" uses a reduced pack of 62 cards. The cards 2-5 of all of the suits are not used.

However, the regular Bolognese pack, the Primiera, uses the same pattern as the Bolognese tarocchino, but uses the pips from 1-7 and twelve court cards. The Primiera drops the Queens, and counts Ace-7. Hence 40 cards.

My theory is that the same plates were used for the both the regular pack and the tarocco pack in Bologna, and the cards were taken for whatever pack was needed. If someone wanted a Primiera, they took the numbers 1-7 and 3 courts per suit. If someone wanted the tarocchino, they took the Ace, pips 6-10, and the 22 trumps. But they didn't use separate plates for each type of card deck.

I don't know if this is true - I haven't seen any plates from Bologna, and I haven't asked anyone about it who would know (Girolamo Zorli and Lorenzo Cuppi in Bologna are the two experts I know of).

But it seems as if Ringhieri is using the tarocchino Bolognese and merely removing the trumps from the pack for a "regular" game. If so, he may be an indication of playing habits in early 16th century Bologna, and before. It might be that a lot of people bought the "full" pack of 78 cards, and simply removed the cards they didn't need for a particular game.

Except for Ringhieri's game, games played with 56 cards are unknown.
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