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1340, playing cards in Bohemia

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Huck  Huck is offline
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1340, playing cards in Bohemia


Source:
Versuch einer Geschichte des böhmischen Handels - By F L. Hübsch (1849)
p. 242
http://books.google.com/books?id=C7C...SfCA#PPA242,M1

"Auch ein Kartenmaler Namens Jonathan Kraysel aus Nürnberg kommt
1354 in Prag vor. Ob sich vordem schon ähnliche Künstler in Prag befanden,
oder ob die Spielkarten von den Schilderern geliefert wurden, kann
nicht diplomatisch nachgewiesen werden (Note 278).
Die ältesten zuverlässigen Nachrichten vom Gebrauche der Spielkarten in Böhmen finden sich im Jahre
1340 vor, allein solche schon früher, wie dies Urkunden darthun, von
polnischen Edelleuten zum Zeitvertreibe angewendet wurden, so ist es auch
wahrscheinlich, dass diese Spielblätter, wie bereits bemerkt, schon unter König
Johann, zu welcher Zeit sie die Höflinge in Frankreich kennen gelernt haben,
in Böhmen bekannt gewesen sind. Ob man solche aber damals in Böhmen
selbst und von welchen Leuten verfertigt halfe, oder ob sie durch fremde
Kaufleute nach Böhmen gebracht wurden, dies lässt sich nicht bestimmen;
genug, wir sind für jetzt dahin angewiesen, zu glauben, dass der erste
Kartenmacher der aus, Nürnberg gekommene Künstler gewesen sei."

(Note 278) Unter den gangbaren Spielen, die in den königl. Verboten namentlich angeführt
werden, und für die es schon unter K. Johann Unterrichtsanstalten gab, befinden sich
verschiedene, deren Beschaffenheit nicht zu ermitteln ist. Würfel und Kugeln gehörten zu den verbotenen; Karten zu den erlaubten. Um der Spielsucht Einhalt zu thun, die damals unter den Jüngern Bürgern immer mehr einriss, verordnete Karl, wer immer im Würfelspiel verloren, der sollte durch volle 3 Jahre das Recht haben, den Verlust zurück zu fordern ; ja, wenn er hierin in den ersten zwei Monaten keinen
Gebrauch gemacht, sollten an seiner Stelle die nächsten Anverwandten dazu befugt sein. Harte Gefängniss- und Geldstrafen standen auf alle verbotene Spiele. Wer bei falschen Würfeln ertappt wurde, verlor den Daumen der rechten Hand, doch konnte dieses in eine Geldstrafe verwandelt werden. Die Geistlichkeit eiferte gegen
die Spielsucht. Erlaubt waren solche Spiele, bei denen Gewinn und Verlust nicht ganz vom Zufall abhängt, sondern das Meiste auf Klugheit und Nachdenken ankommt. "

According to this statement, the author knows about a card painter Jonathan Kraysel from Nuremberg, who was at Prag in 1354.
Also he knows of "sure details" of the use of playing cards in Bohemia in 1340, and again he knows about the earlier use of playing cards in Polonia by Polonian noble men (in this contexts he mentions, "that there are documents".)

According to his major study (the "early trade of Bohemia") the author knows of a lot of details of the time and proceeds with this theme at ca. 300 pages, it gives the impression of a careful early research.
It's hard to imagine, that the author acted "without care" in his data ... though he doesn't give any reference to his sources in this case.
He isn't really interested in the subject "playing cards", likely also not informed about the already existing playing card research (it seems, that playing card research possibly was not interested in his work either).

Staring at this strange passage it jumps to my mind, that there is - against all this documentary evidence for the starting of playing card development in Europe via Spain (1371) to France and Italy (1377) and to Freiburg im Br. with Johannes of Rheinfelden, who explains, that playing cards are new in this year) - this confusing entry about a playing card prohibition in Bern (1367) - which nobody can really explain.

Now we hear of a regular use in Bohemia long before, also spread in Polonia. I remember an article long ago from myself ...

http://trionfi.com/0/p/92/

... actually I considered it as "too stupid" and nearly thought it better to get it off the net ...

Also we researched confusing details about about early paper mills in Germany before 1390 at the "first paper mill in Germany"

http://trionfi.com/0/p/21/

Generally there is the problem, that playing cards might have entered Europe not only at one route, but that there might have been more ways, not necessarily via ship the way through Spain or Venice alone, but also by land from the East. Definitely it's true, that the successful playing card invasion was that of 1377 - but this doesn't exclude earlier movements long before. It's a question to which degree the big plague of 1348-1350 stopped earlier developments with the result, that finally only this data from 1377 looks as secure in our time.
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Huck  Huck is offline
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... :-)

It's really astonishing that this one went through without any comment.

... :-) is this fear cause a little German language? It should be obvious for anybody, that limiting oneself to only one language leads to less informative conditions

Alright ...

http://trionfi.com/0/p/95/
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It's rather, Huck, that the information is rather difficult to properly reconcile, and that at least for myself am eager to read further details as to this research and its likely referent in regards 'cards'.

For example, could these refer to Mamluk or Chinese-type cards?

Personally, in terms of playing cards in general, I agree that it is as likely that playing cards, if they were in use in other places, would perhaps have entered various parts of Europe from different directions.

This is all quite fascinating research that I remain ever glad to read and see the results, but which I am often at a loss as to adequately contribute. This does not show lack of interest - quite the contrary on my part, in fact!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmd
It's rather, Huck, that the information is rather difficult to properly reconcile, and that at least for myself am eager to read further details as to this research and its likely referent in regards 'cards'.

For example, could these refer to Mamluk or Chinese-type cards?

Personally, in terms of playing cards in general, I agree that it is as likely that playing cards, if they were in use in other places, would perhaps have entered various parts of Europe from different directions.

This is all quite fascinating research that I remain ever glad to read and see the results, but which I am often at a loss as to adequately contribute. This does not show lack of interest - quite the contrary on my part, in fact!
Well, it's not difficult to read Kaplan I, 31-33 about "Interpolation and translation errors". It presents a hard fight of playing card research against anything, which is somehow "insecure" and before 1370 in the past 150 years.

Now there is a report about Bohemian trade, written ca. 150 years ago by somebody, who's rather desinterested in the topic playing cards, far away from the hot discussions in England and France, but interested in Bohemian documents to get insight about Bohemian trade from the beginning till ca. 1440.
In a sidepath of his work, in which he's not really interested to go in detail, he gives a few remarks, and the content of his remarks - to our knowledge - hadn't been discussed in playing card research; at least it seems so. It looks, as if he knows documents, which testify the existence of playing cards in Bohemia ca. 1340 and from before in Polonia. He knows the name of a card producer from Nuremberg, Jonathan Kraysel, active 1354 in Prag, and that is now the oldest mentioned and named card producer before the card producers at the court of Wenzel in Burgund (1379 - 1383) and Gringonneur (1392) and Hensel of Wissenburg (1392 Frankfurt). He speaks of game prohibitions (in the plural form; playing cards are allowed) and he gives details of these prohibitions.
He should at least have had a handful of documents - a similar condition we only have for the court of Burgund 1379 - 83. So the existence of playing cards is rather sure ... one document alone from one location might be easily turned in its real meaning by simple error, but in the case, that you've a few at one location, this possibility seems rather reduced.

So it seems for the moment, that this breaks the chain of the often repeated statement "playing card were invented in Europe in ca. 1370" ... they're earlier, although ... for the current moment ... we've only the report about documents, not the documents.
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JMD: For example, could these refer to Mamluk or Chinese-type cards?


Charles VI. was an Emperor, who avoided the battlefield. The result was the "golden age of trade" in Bohemia during his time. One of the major trade routes went down the Donau, so it was near to regions, where Mongols were not far.
A carpet-designer ca. 1370 was a muselman, who converted to Christianity. In military conflicts before Charles occasionally women and children were sold as slaves to the Turkish. And in 1241 the Mongols were about 100 km of Prag.

The author himself thinks (I don't see in his words the indication, that he knew documents in this question), that King John brought the playing cards from the French curt, where he had close relations. King John was originally "of Luxembourg", which makes his close French relations understandable. He died in a battle for France against England (1346).
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Bohemia


The reference to Bohemian cards is, I should think, both authentic and accurate. Those who may remember (in the dim past of 1998-9) this connection was mentioned in passing in a web article by Daana Mindon.

The Bohemian cards were not derived from either the so-called Mamluk cards, or from any more southerly European ones except that all are connected with the pre-Islamic, early Christian churches of the east, with whom the origin of our cards appears to me - after fifteen years of research - to lie.

By the 12th century, those ancient communities of eastern Christianity had lain within the borders of Islam for 500 years. Arabic was their first tongue and written script by now, too.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeOD
The reference to Bohemian cards is, I should think, both authentic and accurate. Those who may remember (in the dim past of 1998-9) this connection was mentioned in passing in a web article by Daana Mindon.

The Bohemian cards were not derived from either the so-called Mamluk cards, or from any more southerly European ones except that all are connected with the pre-Islamic, early Christian churches of the east, with whom the origin of our cards appears to me - after fifteen years of research - to lie.

By the 12th century, those ancient communities of eastern Christianity had lain within the borders of Islam for 500 years. Arabic was their first tongue and written script by now, too.
Hm ... perhaps you've a Web address for your article?
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web address for article


No Huck, sorry.

It was mounted on the original geocities free site. Deleted when yahoo bought them out and started charging.

I could probably send you the relevant section from the whole thing, but that wouldn't prove when it was written.

Still, if you want, I'll send that bit from the introduction as a pm, or post it here - whatever you like. I was talking about serendipity, and my good fortune in discovering a particular book which proved the link to Bohemia back in the late '80s, as I began the research. At least, proved it to my satisfaction.

Still have the book. Will give you bibliog. details if you wish. The proofs there are mainly the iconographic techniques, but this was linked (in the body of my research) with the account of a Bohemian king's journey through all the courts of Europe at the time when cards were supposedly all the rage. He makes absolutely NO mention of seeing cards - not in inns, nor streets, nor courts nor churches. Interesting...

I'll provide the Bibliog details for that book too, if you like. Sadly, these sort of books are probably too academic/obscure to be found on the web.

I didn't talk on that page about the Bohemian connection in detail, and have not published on it since. So as far as I'm concerned, there's no credit due to me re this recent thought on Aecletic, and the relevant member is right to claim it.
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Bohemia again


I don't know if anyone would care to see it.

I have a marvellous image of the Fool/Orion in the form of the leader of the Bohemian rebellions. At least I believe that's who it represents, for reasons too many to repeat in a post.

It was made in France, and is the fronticepiece to a French manuscript copy of Gregory's Moralia in Job. (The book of Job, and Gregory's commentary is also relevant, because both show clear evidence of access to the body of early folk-astronomy that would ultimately give us our pack and its arcana major..)

Anyway, the image was made in the mid 15thC, during a revival of interest in that same older astronomical moralia.
I wont waste space posting it, tho' unless someone in particular wants it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeOD
No Huck, sorry.
I could probably send you the relevant section from the whole thing, but that wouldn't prove when it was written.
Occasionally google.com has something in its archive. .. and you've a chance to get it, when you type as key a passage of the text. But I would be content, if I get the basic information.

Quote:

Still, if you want, I'll send that bit from the introduction as a pm, or post it here - whatever you like. I was talking about serendipity, and my good fortune in discovering a particular book which proved the link to Bohemia back in the late '80s, as I began the research. At least, proved it to my satisfaction.

Still have the book. Will give you bibliog. details if you wish. The proofs there are mainly the iconographic techniques, but this was linked (in the body of my research) with the account of a Bohemian king's journey through all the courts of Europe at the time when cards were supposedly all the rage. He makes absolutely NO mention of seeing cards - not in inns, nor streets, nor courts nor churches. Interesting...
Of course your text and the info about the book is desired.

Well, we're following the same route, observing Emperor Charles IV last journey's in 1376 to Aachen and 1377/78 to Aachen/Bruxelles/ Paris/Luxembourg. See:

http://trionfi.com/0/p/95/
...as already mentioned above.

However, the author Hübsch in 1849 speaks of playing cards in 1340 in Bohemia (and that's the difference of a generation and that's before the great plague). And he mentions even playing cards in Polonia a litttle earlier, played with by Polonian nobility. In the time of Hübsch it was believed, that playing cards already entered Europe in 1300, so he himself thought it probably not very remarkable to find such notes.

Quote:
I'll provide the Bibliog details for that book too, if you like. Sadly, these sort of books are probably too academic/obscure to be found on the web.

I didn't talk on that page about the Bohemian connection in detail, and have not published on it since. So as far as I'm concerned, there's no credit due to me re this recent thought on Aecletic, and the relevant member is right to claim it.

The first is in this case Hübsch and it's a pity, that he doesn't give clear info, where he found the documents.
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