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Huck  Huck is offline
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,682
Charles VI. from 1463 with 16 trumps

Hi Rosanne,

I've moved this part, as it needs a new head-line, as it advances a lot further than the Toscanelli/Regiomontanus aspect.

For those, who are interested: the dialog started here (Toscanelli / Regiomontanus thread)

Originally Posted by Rosanne
Maybe there was only 16 trumps meant to be in these cards like the D'Este.
With all the astronmers, maybe depicted you have some sort of magic square like the melancholy of the times, Ficino's personal melancholy and the Jupiter Magic Square depicted by the 16 cards and Neo Platoism of the Academy?
8 Male(even numbers) 8 female (odd numbers) and the celebrating of a Triumph to lift the Melancholy and give a particular Ficino message at the same time for Lorenzo?
4....14....15....1 Emperor Tower Strength World
9......7.....6....12 Justice Temperance Love HangedMan
or some such order to fit with the theme....
Man is the greatest wonder in nature. All other things under God are always in themselves of one certain kind of being; this essence is at once all of them. It possesses in itself images of the divine things upon which it depends. It also possesses the reasons and models of the inferior things which it in a sense brings forth. Since it is the mean of all things, it possesses the powers of all; hence it transforms itself into all things. And because it is itself the true bond of the universe, in passing into some things it does not forsake the others, but enters into individual things, and at the same time preserves all things. Therefore it can with justice be called the center of nature, the middle point of all that is, the chain of the world, the face of all and the knot and bond of the universe.


Something for Lorenzo to meditate upon when he takes up the reins of power..........but whatever- it is interesting. ~Rosanne
Well, if you have cards without numbers and interesting motifs, there should have been the natural impulse for the explorer of these cards, to lay them down and play with them, to find an order - or to try another order, if you're not pleased with an order, which the author have given so.

16 has the favour that you can present them in a 4x4-matrix.

The Michelino deck had 16 trumps: 16 gods
The Cary-Yale had 16 trumps (if one accepts our reconstruction)

Before there were the chess Iconography (since early 14th century, which had 2x16 trumps (or pictures)
Also before there were 16 gods pictures in the checs amoureux.
Both according the 16 chess figures on the usual board

The geomantic system had 16 figures.

The Italian court card system had 16 figures

Diane O'Donovan favoured the theory, that all was made with 16 or even 17 symbols on the base of a compass and star picture system, very old


Well, and the Charles VI has 16 trumps and one additional card. There is the possibility, that these 16 trumps are complete. At least one should consider this possibility.

The "missing" cards of the Charles VI are (inside the Marseille system):

1 The Magician
2 The Popess
3 The Empress
10 Fortune
15 Devil
17 Star

Why should just these miss in Florence?

Let's assume, that the deck is from 1463 ... and from Florence.

1463 was the year of adolescence of Lorenzo de Medici, now 14 years old ... perhaps here we've the reason, why card-playing in Florence got a new (repeated) allowance.

In 1450 it's somehow likely, that the idea "Eastern Emperor, Western Emperor", which we still find later in the modern Minchiate (also Florence), was inside the deck. An Eastern Emperor still existed in 1450 in reality (till 1453 and the fall of Constantinople).

When Florence in their "Trionfi deck" wished to realise this, they had trouble to take a possibly already existing popess-empress-emperor-pope, as we know it from the 14 Bembo trumps.

Perhaps this other start explains, why we just don't have the first 3 cards not in this deck.

Magician, Popessa, Empress ...

The 16 cards of the Cary-Yale in the (hypothetical) reconstruction of autorbis had:

The wole must be seen as a part of a chessboard:

... a popess and an empress, but not a magician.

So we have for the situation of 1450, when (hypothetically) the first Florentian deck was made, no Magician before (at least we don't know him). The 14 Bembo cards with Magician are (at least hypothetical) given later, in 1452.

So the missing Magician is explained .. it didn't exist till then (hypothetical).

But Popess and Empress did exist in Milan 1441.

Now, we've for 1441 a very specific situation: a council still acting at Basel and a council still acting in Florence Rome and two popes: Felix and Eugen. Felix with children and family.

Milan was pro-Felix and Florence was pro-Eugen.

Milan was satisfied with a Popessa, but Florence wouldn't have been.

So the missing Popessa is explained

In the order of the Cary-Yale the whole lived from the Chess idea, in which one could transform bishop-King-Queen-bishop into the Popessa- Empress-Emperor-Pope-idea. As the Popessa didn't work for Florence, the concept was broken.
And in 1450 ... the concrete Emperor, Fredrick III., hadn't an Empress, but, luck of heaven, soon he would get one and in December the talking might have been already around, that the Emperor would possibly marry in Italy and that was good news.
But for 1450 it was not possible to put an Empress into the deck.

So the missing Empress is explained.

Now we've the feature, that once orders have been formed in card decks, that they might endure long.

In the Minchiate of 16th/17th century we as first cards:

1 Juggler (finally taken)
2 The Grand Duke (which existed not in 1450, but only since 1537 or around this tmie)
3 Western Emperor
4 Eastern Emperor (which recently in 1450 had visited the city)

No Empress, no Popessa.

So these first 3 cards are not really missing.


10, Wheel of Fortune is missing
a rather sensible point

The Wheel of Fortune was (at least in Germany) more or less used for Sortilege books, divination, perhaps it was also a picture for luck in the game.

That might have been no problem in Germany or in Milan, but the people of Florence (at least in 1450) were a little more religious. Perhaps they would have seen there "divination and "that is forbidden" .. or something like this.

In the Cary-Yale reconstruction we've also no "wheel-of-fortune", cause it simply didn't fit in the chess-game. But we have as one of two trumps a wheel-of-fortune in the Brera-Brambilla-deck, but nobody knows what concept was realised in this deck. Autorbis thinks, that it possibly had only 4 or 8 trumps and belongs to the Imperatori phase.

It came back with the 14 Bembo cards.


Devil, missing

no devil everywhere, we think, that this motif likely appeared 1477.


Star, missing

It seems, that Gozzoli wasn't ready in 1463 with his Medici Capella (about this point exist different opinions by the experts). The festivity with involvement of the 3 Magi took place likely 1465 (if we could believe Macchiavelli), and we've already said, that in the Charles VI deck the Moon was filled with astronomical heroes (Toscanelli + Regiomontanus) and the sun with a symbol of the local industry - so there is no reference, that the 3-cards symbol stat-moon-sun already existed. A Moon-Sun combination without star is possible.

So, actually you're right, no card is REALLY missing, when we assume this deck as from "about 1463" ... but we've reason to assume, that the deck of 1450 at least in one point (Eastern Emperor, Western Emperor) should have been different.

It could have had 16 cards.

With that would we have, that the Florentine development since 1450 likely was oriented on the deck form, which was used for the Cary-Yale (the 14 Bembo cards didn't exist; the Ferrarese form - 1442 - we don't know; the 14 "ideas" of 1441 we also don't know).
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