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

Names on French playing cards

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


 
ihcoyc's Avatar
ihcoyc  ihcoyc is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 07 Sep 2002
Location: So. Indiana
Posts: 884
ihcoyc 
Citizen

ihcoyc's Avatar
Names on French playing cards


This came up on a mailing list. French regular playing cards give names to the court cards. I think I can identify some, but not all, of them. The names usually are:

The attributions were:

clubs: K Alexander, Q Argine, J Lancelot
hearts: K Charles, Q Judith, J La Hire
spades: K David, Q Pallas, J Hogier
diamonds: K Caesar, Q Rachel, J Hector

Alexander, David, Caesar, Rachel, Lancelot, and Hector are easy enough to figure who they were.

Charles is likely Charlemagne.

Judith was a legendary heroine from Jewish folklore, who saved the Jews by seducing and killing an enemy leader. Pallas is presumably Pallas Athene. Hogier is likely Ogier le Danois, from Arthurian legend.

I haven't a clue who Argine or La Hire were.

I've long wondered about these names, and whether they figured in any way into traditional cartomancy.

Alexander is pretty good for King of Clubs, but I can't see Charlemagne as King of Cups. I'd make Pallas Queen of Clubs, give Judith the Queen of Swords slot, and move Rachel to Queen of Cups.
Top   #1
catboxer's Avatar
catboxer  catboxer is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 23 Mar 2002
Location: Seattle
Posts: 374
catboxer 
Citizen

catboxer's Avatar

Ihcoyc:

I don't know who Argine or LaHire are either.

However, I definitely agree that Judith should be the queen of swords. Reference this wonderful painting by the Renaissance artist Carravagio:

http://www.butterfly-farm.com/nonfla...Judith1598.htm
Top   #2
ihcoyc's Avatar
ihcoyc  ihcoyc is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 07 Sep 2002
Location: So. Indiana
Posts: 884
ihcoyc 
Citizen

ihcoyc's Avatar

Quote:
Originally posted by catboxer
Ihcoyc:

However, I definitely agree that Judith should be the queen of swords. Reference this wonderful painting by the Renaissance artist Carravagio:

http://www.butterfly-farm.com/nonfla...Judith1598.htm
Exactly --- great link. I may use that as my KDE backdrop for a while. Here is Donatello's sculpture:

http://www.kfki.hu/~arthp/art/d/dona...e/1judith1.jpg

I suspect that Argine was a character from one of those insufferable romances by Tasso or Ariosto. I have no reference to that, though, just a vague recollection.

La Hire is a definite mystery, especially since he of all of them is obviously French.
Top   #3
Diana  Diana is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 8,204
Diana 
Citizen

edited
Top   #4
PictWelsh  PictWelsh is offline
Resident
 
Join Date: 19 Sep 2002
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 11
PictWelsh 
Resident

I have seen several references to Rachel as the "at-court" pseudonym of Agnes Sorel, mistress of Charles VII.

I've seen one writer question La Hire (in the Charles VII context) as being unlikely because he would have been a hero of recent history, while all the others are more ancient and universal. I wouldn't think it unlikely to use more recent popular notables for card names. If so you might want to rethink "Charles". Although some of the oldest artwork makes him look like Charlemagne - with sword and globe - maybe it refers to Charles VII. Then we could have a full set from that court.

David Parlett in "The Oxford Guide to Card Games" mentions that many other names have appeared on French court cards, and includes this same list as the most common. He does note that even when these are the names used, the assignations are often variable, both as to which jack, queen, and king are aligned together, as well as which suit is attributed.
Top   #5
Cerulean's Avatar
Cerulean  Cerulean is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 26 Apr 2002
Location: Calif., USA
Posts: 9,341
Cerulean 
Citizen

Cerulean's Avatar
Related note, belated


The Tarocchi poem of Matteo Maria Boiardo and the 1996 tarot deck reproduction agrees with sources such as Gertrude Moakly and the often cited 1888-99 studies by Rudolph Renier on Boiardo's work. The poem is about human passions and names characters from the Bible and Greek mythology, but the names on the Sola Busca differs from the Tarocchi poem.
My example is the Queens.

MM Boiardo queens:

Suit of Love Queen-Venus (Greek)
Suit of Hope Queen-Judith (Bible)
Suit of Jealousy Queen-Juno (Greek)
Suit of Fear Queen-Andromeda (Greek)

Boiardo's tarocchi poem preceded Aristo's work. There was early 'tarocchi' card deck based on Boiardo's work of 1494 and a later one based on Aristo in 1516, both likely Ferarra novelty patterns.. Encyclopedia of the Tarot, Volume I, Stuart Kaplan
Top   #6
Cerulean's Avatar
Cerulean  Cerulean is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 26 Apr 2002
Location: Calif., USA
Posts: 9,341
Cerulean 
Citizen

Cerulean's Avatar
French courts title suggestions in website link


Scroll down to the bottom of the page in the link below:

http://members.aol.com/rslancastr/blgupc/faq.htm

From the site:

The Answer You're Probably Looking For...

" Unfortunately, author W. Gurney Benham, in his book Playing Cards - The History and Secrets of the Pack (Spring Books, London), made a claim that the courts in the standard American/British deck were descended from those in the French pack.

Somewhere along the line, the misinformation from Benham's book got in the hands of someone who put that misinformation into a trivia book..."

...the author of the page goes on to say the English pack of playing cards is not the same as the French pack, then explains about the French playing cards..

" So, in a standard French deck of playing cards, the courts represent the following personages:

Suit - King / Queen / Jack

Hearts - Charlemagne, emperor of Rome / Judith - Either Queen Judith of Bavaria or Judith of the Bible/ La Hire, French warrior.

Clubs - Alexander the Great / Argine (an anagram of "regina") / Lancelot, knight of the round table

Diamonds - Julius Caesar / Rachel, of the Bible / Roland (Hector of Troy)

Spades - King David, of the Bible / Pallas/Minerva, Goddess of War and Wisdom / Hogier the Dane"

Maybe this will offer some more detail to interested students...

Cerulean
Top   #7
Fulgour's Avatar
Fulgour  Fulgour is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 10 Jun 2004
Location: slumbrin in the windrows of the hours...
Posts: 7,828
Fulgour 
Citizen

Fulgour's Avatar
Queen of Clubs


Argine ~ An anagram of Regina (Queen)

Meanings of Playing Cards

Playing Cards: History of the Pack and Explanations of Its Many Secrets
by W.Gurney Bentham (London, Spring Books)
Top   #8
jmd's Avatar
jmd  jmd is offline
fourhares
 
Join Date: 05 Aug 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 8,502
jmd 
fourhares

jmd's Avatar

Charlemagne makes perfect sense as the King of Cups if one considers that it would have to be a major Christian figure that would have to so be depicted if one also relates the Cup to the Church.

David, Caesar, Alexander are all, also, in the popular imagination as potent - but only Charlemagne brings with him that equivalent aura of both mythic proportion and 'defender of the Holy Roman Christian Empire'.

Of course, this needs to be seen through Christian European eyes.
Top   #9


 


 


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.