"20 Figure" and the 5x14-theory

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Huck  Huck is offline
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Originally Posted by KnightMove View Post
Thank you Huck. Indeed I play Tarock-Königrufen, and to a lesser extent, French Tarot and Hungarian Tarokk. And yes, also chess.

I have read about the 5x14-theory there, and actually I joined this forum to check it. While I am sympathetic to the theory, I don't think that all the arguments given there are correct. Do you prefer further conversation here or by private message?
Yes, it may be wise to keep questions outside of the thread, as it is still expanding, an later there might be too much diffusion to read the original in its continuity. But it might be also wise to have it public. I opened a thread for questions, which you likely easily detect.

For the articles at the website ... a lot of them are rather old (maybe 6 years mostly). The theory has developed in many points meanwhile.

And ... :-) ... I enjoy to get critique, specially if there's indeed something wrong. That's no problem.
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Huck  Huck is offline
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Small meditation about "big" and "little" objects

"Big" and "little" shall here be defined as describing the social impact, which a game made during its "real time", when it was produced and lived. It's the aim the game research to define such values.
Modern bestseller lists for the book market have a similar aim, observations about "income by visitors of movies" give values, how popular a movie is in a relevant time. "Harry Potter" recently manifested records for both markets ... for the book market already some years ago, for the movie market just in 2011.

Such lists are unknown for 15th century, so we have to search for other information, which possibly give clues, what really was going on.
For playing cards one could - one possibility - count the numbers of surviving decks or cards. This method would result in many ("many" is relative, actually these are only few) German and many Italian decks during 15th century, less in France, more less in Spain.

For Italy it would result in many Trionfi decks and only few material for normal decks ... though, every serious researcher agrees, that the conditions of preservation of "very fine decks" naturally were far better than those of very cheap decks. So we've lots of worthwhile Trionfi cards surviving in Italy and in the German surviving decks ALSO a great part of elite decks for 15th century.
For this the method of "just counting surviving decks", which would lead to the assumption that during 15th century we had a lot of worthwhile decks and only few cheap playing cards, would be definitely wrong. In fact the relationship between really once produced expensive decks and cheap might be estimated with 1:1000 or 1:10 000 or even much more.
Although Ross Caldwell and me both have studied 15th century Trionfi documents in excess, there's a considerable difference in our opinions, how the appearances of the terminus "Trionfi, ludus triumphorum etc" has to be evaluated. I think, that cheap Trionfi appeared rather late (and so one should calculate a long phase of low production numbers of this type of deck), Ross considers some mass production VERY EARLY, even before the first appearance of the word in February 1442 (and so high numbers of Trionfi card productions should be calculated).
As a consequence of these different considerations Ross assumes a very early dominance of decks with 4x14+22-structure, whereby my theory accepts the first appearance of this game form in 1487 with the Boiardo Tarocchi poem, but I've even doubts, if this form was already used for decks which used trumps similar to the later Tarocchi form (trumps with similarities to later Tarocchi existed definitely earlier, there is no doubt about it; the different opinions are about the number of the trumps).
I assume a long state with low production numbers nearly only in "upper social circles" (from which the most of the early documents report), which allows a long experimental phase with 5x14-decks and decks with chess associations with 16 or 20 trumps.

The difference in both considerations is the expected real production number, for Ross the Trionfi card movement is a "big social impact" in mid 15th century and I consider a "little social impact" limited to the upper society.

Now (back to the theme "20 figure") we have two other special objects inside playing card development, once a riddle of "venti figure" (= 20 figures) appearing in Naples since 1586/87, and the Tarocco Siciliano, whose "first appearance" is accepted in the researches of Dummett and McLeod since 1662.
Well, and additionally there are all these in this thread shown considerations about Trionfi decks with 20 trumps during 15th century, from which one observation (great chess with 20 figures in Italy) might have had a "little social impact" (if any), but two others, Lorenzo Spirito's use of a 20-20-20-20-scheme in his lot book and the Great Hazard scheme should be assumed to have had a "big social impact". Spirito's book (1482) was a bestseller with many editions and the Hazard game has a well manifested tradition long before playing cards reached Europe.

Now, going to the observation of the "venti figure" I see a few appearances in the internet (which is our main research instrument) of this terminus, all of them connected to Naples. I can't conclude from his a "big social impact" for this game. However, if I look up the list of allowed games of 1586 ..

In a report of Nicola Antonia de Giorgio in "Playing Cards and Tarots in Naples, 15th-18th century", IPCS vol. 34, number 2, p. 101 (2005), about the game Malcontento the author presents a decree on 6th of April 1585, confirmed 23rd of January [/b]1586, where it is counted as lawful games : "A piccetto, tarocchi, venti figure, gilè, sbracare, al malcontento, a trapolare, alla gabella, a primiera ordinaria, a primiera scoperta, seu sommaria, et a runfo."
... I see it taken (only in Naples) as similar important as other high valued games like Tarocchi, Trappola, Primiera, Runfo and somehow I must accept, it should have been taken once as "well distributed" (but only in Naples).

If I compare now the few appearances of "venti figure" to Internet results for Tarocco Siiliano and it's connected term "Gallerini" as an expression for Minchiate only used in Sicily and Genova, then I experience, that I found even less about these games (if I omit anything, which just goes back to the recent researches of Michael Dummett).

So, if I would conclude from existing Internet results to "real social impacts of games", then I should conclude, that indeed "venti figure" are badly reported and so had only little social impact, but a little more than "Tarocco Siciliano" ... so, as you see, I cannot really rely on internet, Tarocco Siciliano had become somehow real with the research of Michael Dummett.

But, anyway, something of some social importance must be behind the "20 figure".

Tarocco Siciliano had 20 numbered trumps (and it belonged to Sicily) and the venti figure should have to do something with "20" and was located in Naples an this wasn't far away from Sicily.
"20 figure" in Naples were earlier and when Tarocco Siciliano got a sort of reality in Sicily it disappeared ... so it looks (at least for the moment). What if both was just the "same game", the whole just a matter of name changing, as it is known for "Trionfi game" and "Taroch" and for Gnav, Malcontento and Cucco (as already discussed)?

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Huck  Huck is offline
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Part 5

well, I wouldn't be shocked, if the "Venti figure" of Naples 1585/1586 will explain in future research as something totally not related to 20-figures-games of 15th century and totally not related to Tarocco Siciliano ...
... but for the moment I take it this way.

... .-) ... and at least I know already, that this consideration leads to a not expected, but interesting correspondence, which I didn't saw mentioned in the considerations of Dummett and McLeod.


Milan 1465 and a journey to Naples

Now we have as the deciding social activity, which caused the 4x14+20 structure in the appearances of the 15th Trionfi game [according 5x14-theory], the wedding preparations of Ippolita Sforza in Milan in May 1465.
The bride Ippolita was dedicated to take her bride journey [a great triumphal action, which could usually endure weeks] from Milan to Naples (with - as one might expect it, if one follows the 5x14 theory and its developments - a Trionfi deck with 20 trumps in her pocket).
This journey, as history has it, turned out to become a major political scandal, cause Ferrante, king of Naples, killed Sforza's son-in-law Jacopo Piccinino in the mean-time. The bride cavalcade was halted and it caused major diplomatic activities to take the differences between Milan-Naples out of the world. This took months.

Finally Ippolita reached her destination and became quite an accepted member of the Naples court.

by "Maestro di Ippolita Sforza"

For Naples we now have, that Alfonso of Aragon, king of Naples from 1442 - 1458 (lived till a few years before Ippolita's journey), didn't like gambling and the use of playing cards ... as Bisticci described it.

"He strongly condemned gaming, denouncing it as pernicious. He used to tell how, being then 18 years old, he was in Barcelona during the feast of Nativity and, happening to play one evening, he lost some 5 thousand florins. After he had lost them he called one of his chamberlains and bade him to fetch some money. When he was brought he played again and began to win, so that in the end he won back all he had lost and likewise all the money of his fellow-gamesters. With this heap of florins before him, he bade everyone keep quiet, and then bade the chamberlain to fetch the little book of Our Lady, and this having brought, he opened it and then and there made oath, with both his hands on it, swearing and promising to God and the Virgin Mary that he would never play again; a promise, which he kept to the day of his death."
As an indirect confirmation for this anti-playing-cards feelings of Alfonso, we don't have Trionfi card or playing card notes from Naples during the time of Alfonso (at least I don't know them, if there are any).

We have Trionfi card notes from Naples for the years 1473 and 1474 (a few years later, after Ippolita had arrived there), which is just in the time, when Ferrante prepared marriages for two daughters and a niece:

1. Eleanore d'Aragon married Ercole d'Este in Ferrara (1473)
2. Camilla d'Aragon (niece) married Costanzo Sforza in Pesaro (1475)
3. Beatrice d'Aragon married Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary (1476)

If one assumes, that Trionfi cards were new in Naples in 1465 with the arrival of Ippolita (who - likely - had a deck with 4x14 + 20 structure), then naturally these later decks from 1473 and 1474 likely followed this model, somehow with "20 special figures".

Game "Venti figure", Naples 1586

We have then in 1586 - that's a really long time after Ippolita - a "venti figure" card game, which could be traced in the further development only in Naples, as the result of only a little research with not much energy. For the moment there is not much to this game ... it's just a hypothesis, that it might present another "Tarocchi name" (as "Minchiate" is somehow a "Tarocchi" game with another name).
In matters of politics, the kingdom of Naples disappeared 1501-1504 and with it the high society formed by Alfonso of Aragon's family and possibly also their internal court Trionfi games. Naples was ruled by Spain, and Spain in the older times never took really the Tarocchi cards (at least there is no evidence). It might well be, that in Naples Trionfi cards got out of fashion .. cause political conditions. A long time after (1586) the political conditions might have changed, social reality might have had become more liberal. Tarocchi cards were definitely allowed then (document 1586) and perhaps also an "older Naples Trionfi game", which in the modern times got then the name "Venti Figure".
As already said, just an hypothesis.

Dummett / McLeod to Tarocco Siciliano

Furthermore we have another rather intensive research of Michael Dummett (he had special favor for these cards) about a rather late Tarocchi development called Tarocco Siciliano. As it is well known, Sicily and Naples are connected by local nearness and often had the same political history. This deck has 22 special cardstrumps, but curiously - different to other Tarocchi versions - it takes two cards as unnumbered, one the "usual Fool" and the other called "Miseria" or "Poverta". So it happened, that the highest trump got the number 20.

usual Fool

"Miseria" or "Poverta"

I attempt to present the important Dummett/McLeod researches in short form from "A History of Games Played With the Tarot Pack: The Games of Trumps", p. 367 - 401,published in 2004. They are, as the authors note, partly dependent on some researches of Franco Pratesi.

According Dummett/McLeod the major source for our knowledge about Tarocco Siciliano had been a text inside of 25 volumes of manuscript diaries and 48 manuscript volumes "Opusculi" with aspects of Sicilian life, made by ...

Francesco Maria Emanuele e Gaetani, Marchese di Villabianca

... The manuscripts are housed in the Bibliotheca Communale in Palermo. One of the Opusculi is about games. In this there is information about Tarocco Siciliano and about "Gallerini", which is the Sicilian name for Minchiate (Minchiate in Sicily is understood as an obscene expression and likely for this reason wasn't used in Sicily).
The Tarocco Sicilano (with less cards and trumps, but with two cards similar to Fool) was occasionally addressed as "little Gallerini".
The author Villabianca (lived 1720-1802) wrote the game-chapter likely in 1786. He played himself only till 1766 because of "deterioting eyesight". The author thinks, that the game Gallerini became rare at the end of the century. The Tarocco game was mainly played with four hands, a 3-player version reduced the cards and was called Tarocchini. Dummett/Mcleod assume for this reason, that the reduced version with 63 or 64 cards was a later popular production mode, which caused the far spread production of 63-card-versions. They have information from other sources, which say, that till 1862 the 63-cards-deck had been the standard form. After this time the ace of coins (missing in the 63-card-deck as all other aces, all 2s, all 3s and three of the 4s) was generally used in all type of decks to carry a tax-stamp - so also in the Tarocco Siciliano (although it wasn't used in this game).

My note to this: There was a "Kingdom of the Two Sicilies" ...


... which was established after the Napoleonic wars at the congress of Vienna in 1816 and endured till 1861, when it was overcome by the fights of Garibaldi. One likely has to conclude, that the new tax system of 1862 has a natural relation to the new state Italy in 1861.

Francesco Caetani, who brought the Tarocco Siciliano to Sicily

Villabianca gives the information, that the Tarocco Siciliano was imported in 1662 or 1663 by ...

******* (from my own researches now)

Francesco Caetani, 8th duke of Sermoneta, (living 11 March 1613 - says Wikipedia; likely better sources say 1594 - till 9 October 1683)
- "gentilhomme of the Sanish king" active in Rome
- Governor in Milan as representative of Spain from 1660-62
- Viceroy of Sicily from September 1662 to April 1667

He appears especially interested in his garden, and this already in 1620 ...

He appears variously in the text of cardinal Harrach presented in ...

Die Diarien und Tagzettel des Kardinals Ernst Adalbert von Harrach (1598-1667)

.. for the years 1644, 1655 and 1677, when Harrach met Francesco Caetani in Rome.

The text is of some importance for general research of games, cause Harrach plays himself rather often. According the introduction (not from Harrach) a list of examples for card games is mentioned: "Krimpe, Primera, Reversina, Lurtschen, Piccetti, La Bassette, Truccho, l'Hombre, Gänslrupfen, Höllfahren, Baziga, Quindeci, Passadieci, in den Turm, Trik-Track" ... nothing of this is similar to Tarocchi, Harrach naturally had more relations to games played in Germany/Austria.
The text uses partly Italian or older German dialect.

Caetani is mentioned (but also elsewhere in the book) for July 1667, a time, when he had given up his engagement as Viceroy of Sicily (which happened April 1667).

Harrach meets Fancesco Caetani, who had been occupied with a game (in isn't told, which sort of game). Although already 74 years old, Caetani looks good.

Here we hear from the second wife of Francesco Caetani, Leonor Mencia Caetani, who asks cardinal Harrach, which festivities he planned for the birthday (12th of July) of the Austrian Empress (17 years old, daughter of the Spanish king, empress since 1666). The cardinal is surprised and doesn't know anything of the birthday and festivities. But he promises to illuminate his house for this occasion.

Margarita Teresa of Spain as child

in 1667
Margarita Teresa of Spain, Holy Roman Empress, in 1667

The suspicion exists, that Francesco Caetani might become ambassador for the German emperor. Harrach doesn't know anything about it.

Francesco's second wife, the "Pimentella"

The second wife of Francesco Caetani since c. 1661 (in earlier full name "Leonor Mencia Pimentel Moscosa y Toledo") appears in the text of Harrach as "Pimentella" and Harrach is rather interested to have her favor, as she seems to be of some importance for the Empress Maria Anna (1606 - 1646, Empress since 1637, but already married to her husband since 1631; a Spanish king's daughter). Harrach notes the Pimentlla for being present in the Austrian region 1636-39 (then leaving to Spain), then again he meets her in Austrian regions 1446 (in this year the empress died), then again in 1648-49, likey with the function to accompany an Austrian princess to Spain to become the next Queen of Spain. She served as a court lady, and, as it seems, not in low function.

The Empress and the Spanish Queen

For the conditions of the family we see the genealogy ...

Don Francesco Caetani IV (* Napoli 11-3-1594 + Roma 9-10-1683),
8° Duca di Sermoneta,
4° Marchese di Cisterna, Signore di Bassiano, Ninfa, Norma e San Donato dal 1614 e Patrizio Napoletano;
Gentiluomo di Camera del Re di Spagna Filippo IV, compera (7-1641) il ducato di San Marco (confermato Duca 1-8-1641)
Cavaliere dell’Ordine del Toson d’Oro dal 27-12-1659, Vicerè di Valenza nel 1660,
rinuncia al ducato di Sermoneta in favore del nipote Gaetano Francesco nel 1660 (?),
Vicerè e Governatore del Ducato di Milano 3-1660/9-1662,
Vicerè del Regno di Sicilia 24-9-1662/9-4-1667.

a) = (contratto: 23-6-1618) Caserta 3-12-1618 Donna Anna Acquaviva d’Aragona
3° Principessa di Caserta dal 1635, figlia ed erede del Principe Don Andrea
Matteo e di Isabella Caracciolo dei Conti di Sant’Angelo (* 1596 + Ariccia

b) = 1661 (?) dona Leonor Mencia Pimentel Moscosa y Toledo, figlia di don
Antonio Marchese di Navarra e ministro del Re Filippo IV di Spagna (* 22-10-
1613 + in Spagna 14-1-1685).

Son of first marriage:

Don Filippo II (* Caserta 29-5-1620 + Sermonta 4-12-1687), ebbe
Caivano dalla madre il 6-6-1638, Principe di Caserta dal 1659; Patrizio Napoletano.t

a) = 1-4-1642 Donna Cornelia d’Aquino 3° Principessa di Castiglione e
Contessa di Nicastro, figlia del Principe Don Cesare e di Donna Laura
d’Aquino Principessa di Castiglione (* Nicastro 18-11-1629 + Roma

b) = 1646 Donna Francesca de’ Medici, figlia di Don Ottaviano Principe di
Ottaiano e di Donna Diana Caracciolo dei Principi di Avellino (vedi/see)

c) = Palermo 9-1652 Donna Topazia Gaetani, figlia di Don Pietro Marchese di
Sortino e Principe di Cassaro e di Antonia Saccano Naselli (* 30-5-1620
+ Cisterna 8-10-1672) (vedi/see), già vedova di Don Giovanni Francesco Fardella
Principe di Paceco.
Observing the biography, it seems, that the late marriage to the Pimantella (she 48, himself 67) were part of his promotion to the posts as governor of Valenza (Piedmont; 1660), then governor of Milan (1660-1662) and then as viceroy in Sicily (1662-1667).

Tarocco Siciliano - not from Naples ?

Back to Dummett and McLeod: They see from their source (which I don't know, perhaps there's a detail in this text, which is not reported), that the Tarocco Siciliano was NOT FROM NAPLES, but from Rome or Milan. But perhaps they only looked for the "duke of Sermoneta" and Sermoneta indeed is located on the territory of the Chiesa, not on territory of the kingdom of Naples. But about Francesco Caitani it is written, that he was born in Napoli and was Patrizio Napoletano as his father was. And, anyway, he had strong relations to the Spanish court.
And for Naples ..

Naples was the most populated city in Italy, and third in Europe and, according to many official sources, it was the 7th or 4th most populated city in the world prior to the 19th century. Naples was also the city with the highest amount of typographies in Italy and also had the highest number of theaters and music schools.
It's difficult to imagine a Duke of Sermoneta with a rather long life (living in 70 km distance to Rome and 160 km distance to Naples) and not taking notice of the cultural life in Naples nearby a least specially when there were good relations to the ruling Spanish kingdom.


... Part 5 proceeds with next post
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Huck  Huck is offline
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... Part 5 proceeds ... (this is section 2 of a longer post called "Part 5")


Old Lady Rosalia changes Tower and Devil

There is another historical story of the game development, reported by Villabianca: In c. 1750 (so already in Villabianca's personal observation) a duchessa Rosalia Caccamo expressed the desire, that two negative trumps ("Devil" and "Tower") should be changed in the Siilian Tarocco. She (probably) herself sponsored the necessary money to change the woodcuts. The results were ...

A ship ("il Vascello") instead of a devil. It's assumed, that the ship was taken from a Minchiate version, the card "Water".

Minchiate card "Water" of c. 1790
Full deck at http://a.trionfi.eu/WWPCM/decks07/d05114/d05114.htm

An intact Tower instead a card which somehow referred to the "fate of the soul" (il novissomo dell [anima]), whereby anima seems to be difficult to read. Dummett/McLeod imagine a card similar to the Minchiate, a woman dragged to hell by a demon ...

Minchiate card "Tower"

I made some attempts to identify this person "duchessa Rosalia Caccamo" and to explore some personal circumstances.
This was in c. 1750 a rather old lady, who had made in high age (1749) a big heritage by her parents ...

Rosalia Caccamo e Branciforte, figlia di Don Bartolomeo Principe di Castelforte e di Donna Antonia Branciforte dei Principi di Villanuova († 1752), investita del feudo di Castelforte il 28-V-1749
... which says, that she got from her parents the "feudo di Castelforte" inlusive the title for her family - in 1749. So it seems, that the wish of an old lady about the Tarocchi cards in c. 1750 had a certain relation to a lucky heritage and the accompanying festivities. Castelforte now is not in Sicily, but at Naples territory in c. 100 km distance to Sermoneta, the earlier place of Francesco Caetani. In other words: The duke of Sermoneta and the principe of Castelforte were neighbours. But even stronger: The Caitani took stronger influence on Castelforte:

The Caetani had earlier 200 years long strong influence on Castelforte:
Dalla famiglia dell’Aquila, Castelforte e Suio, passarono alla famiglia Caietani con il matrimonio di Giovanna, unica erede di Riccaardo III, che sposò Roffredo III Castani, nipote di papa Bonifacio VIII, che diventa Contea di Fondi nel quale erano incluse la nostra terra. Con la signoria della famiglia Caetani Castelforte e Suio attraversarono un periodo di relativa pace e di tranquillità anche se nella famiglia stessa si ebbero dissensi sia per lo scisma d’occidente con l’elezione a Fondi nel 1374 dell’antipapa Clemente VII patrocinata e sostenuta da Onorato I e sia per le contrapposizioni dei vari membri della famiglia negli schieramenti dei pretendenti al trono dell’Italia meridionale.
It seems, that the Caetani still had influence in Castelforte till 1497, see ..
Rosalia, from whome we have to assume, that she was born in Castelforte (so she was NOT a girl from Sicily), had her first son "Don Giovan Andrea (* 26-VI-1694 † ?)" in 1694 and so we might assume, that she at least should been born 1679 (first child with 15 is possible), but possibly earlier. Her husband Don Cristoforo Massa (* 1670) was the son of ...

Don Giovanni Andrea Massa, 1° Conte di San Giovanni da Punta dal 1646, 1° Duca di Castel di Aci con diploma spagnolo del 25-V-1667, acquista le terre baronali di San Gregorio, Tremestieri, Trappeto, Sant’Agata e Monpilieri dalla città di Catania con atto del Luogotenente del Protonotaro del 1646, investito il 2-IX-1679 dei feudi di Bonvicino e Cattasi, Deputato al Parlamento del Regno di Sicilia.
- Sposa in prime nozze il 25-IX-1666 Giulia Galletti;
- in seconde nozze Rosa Gaetani
http://www.genmarenostrum.com/pagine...ram/massa.html - the link contains much data to the descendents

... who in an unknown way arrived in Sicily "from Genova". In the marriages of his 6 children we find one daughter marrying an officer of Savoy and another to the Grimaldi family, which clearly is a Genovese name ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Grimaldi ). This Genovese connection is of some importance, as Dummett/McLeod observe, that the name "Gallerini" for Minchiate appears only in Sicily and Genova. Dummett/McLeod assume as reason for this a contemporary strong emigration of Sicilians to Genova, but in this concrete case of the "old lady Rosalia's" relatives we observe a Genovese immigration to Sicily.

I find 3 publications from the years 1708/1709 from a "Giovanni Andrea Massa" ... it should be the same man (but I'm not sure, if he still lived at this time or if it were posthumous publications. One publication is engaging for the Jesuits, another about the mount Aetna (which is nearby to "San Giovanni da Punta", where the elder Massa started as a Conte in 1646) and the third is about Sicily. I saw Massa named an historian in an event of 1676. He had the interests of a scholar.

"Massa" is itself a location name in 115 km distance east to Genova and near to the sea. "From the 15th to the 19th century, Massa was the capital of the independent Principate (later Duchy) of Massa and Carrara, ruled by the Malaspina and Cybo-Malaspina family", says wikipedia about is. Nearer to Massa is Lucca, which was also influenced by the Minchiate style and produced a shortened Tarocchi deck with 69 cards, which ALSO puzzles playing card reseach.

The town of Massa has this stemma:


The Massa family in Sicily has this Stemma.


It seems to be in both shields the same weapon, perhaps a sign, that the Massa-family indeed had their roots in Massa, the town.

It seems, that Giovanni Andrea Massa appears in the 1640's on Sicily and has a lot of money to buy something [he becomes Conte di San Giovanni da Punta in 1646]. It seems probable, that he hadn't not only his own money, but also that of other investors (I saw a passage, according which he presented also other people, who also wished to have a living place in Sicily).
Then he had a lot of quick progress on the island with becoming duke of Aci in May of 1667, very precisely short after Francesco Caetani had left his work as Viceroy of Sicily in April 1667. As we have reason to assume, that Caetani didn't leave the post "in political trouble", but either cause of age (74 years) or cause of a better position (possibly ambassador for the emperor ?), so one has to conclude, that the duke title for Massa was a sort of friendly farewell from the side of Caetani. Massa short before had married for the first Giulia Galletti (of a family, which immigrated to Palermo, Sicily, from Pisa around 1500 - http://www.regione.sicilia.it/benicu...go/galgana.htm ), perhaps as a sure sign, that he really was interested to invest in a personal future on Sicily.
From this one has to assume, that Francesco Caetani (who invented Tarocco Siciliano to Sicily) and the elder Giovanni Andrea Massa regarded each other with sympathy. When the first wife of Giovanni Andrea Massa (Giulia Galletti) died (time is not given) ....

Wikipedia notes a "ferocious plague" in Sicily a few years before 1693 (which might have been the reason for the death of Giulia, cause Massa takes a second wife in 1690) and then in 1693 ...
On the 11th of January 1693 a huge earthquake destroyed at least 45 cities, affecting an area of 5600 square kilometres and causing the death of more than 60 000 people - about half of the population of the South-East of Sicily. Hardest hit was Catania, where 2/3rds of the population lost their life.
... another big catastrophe met just for the region, which the Massa family might have chosen to live in ("Aci Castello is a city and comune in the Province of Catania in Sicily, Italy. The city is located 9 km north of Catania on the Mediterranean coast" says Wikipedia). In this gigantic catastrophe the young wife of the son Christophero of Giovanni Andrea Massa might have died.
... G.A. Massa married Rosa Gaetani (Gaetani and Caetani are just different writing forms inside the same "big" family; I couldn't find more to the identity of this person, but it somehow is plausible, that she was related in a distant form to Francesco Caetani, who in 1690 was dead (died 1683). Before 1894 then must happened the marriage between "old lady Rosalia" (then likely 14 or older) and the son with the same name Giovanni Andrea Massa (* 1670), who already had had a marriage (which possibly finished with the earthquake).
The both became an old couple till 1749, when the heritage of Castelforte happened as a lucky circumstance.

It seems probable, that also this marriage seems to be arranged by the earlier Massa-Caetani friendship, which probably couldn't have existed before 1662, when Francesco Caetani became Viceroy in Sicily.

This are the more important dates from the genealogy of the Massa:

[quote]Don Giovanni Andrea Massa, 1° Conte di San Giovanni da Punta dal 1646, 1° Duca di Castel di Aci con diploma spagnolo del 25-V-1667, acquista le terre baronali di San Gregorio, Tremestieri, Trappeto, Sant’Agata e Monpilieri dalla città di Catania con atto del Luogotenente del Protonotaro del 1646, investito il 2-IX-1679 dei feudi di Bonvicino e Cattasi, Deputato al Parlamento del Regno di Sicilia. Sposa in prime nozze il 25-IX-1666 Giulia Galletti; in seconde nozze Rosa Gaetani
totally 6 children, 4 from the first wife, two from the second

Oldest son, which survived the father (2nd duca di Castel di Aci)
A1. [ex 1°] Don Francesco Paolo (* 16-VII-1667 † ?), 2° Duca di Castel di Aci, 2° Conte di San Giovanni da Punta, Signore delle terre baronali di San Gregorio, Tremestieri, Trappeto, Sant’Agata, Monpilieri, Bonvicino e Cattasi (investito il 22-VIII-1682).
= 21-IV-1685 Donna Agata Grimaldi dei Principi di Santa Caterina
B1. Donna Giulia (* 19-III-1686 † ?)
= Don Luigi Gerardo Giardina Marchese di Santa Ninfa (investito il 10-X-1703), 1° Principe di Ficarazzi e Governatore della Compagnia della Pace.
B2. Don Francesco Paolo (* 13-IX-1690 † ?).

Second son, who married Rosalia Caccamo (3rd Duke of di Castel di Aci)
A3. [ex 1°] Don Cristoforo (* 31-VIII-1670 † ?), 3° Duca di Castel di Aci, 3° Conte di San Giovanni da Punta, Signore delle terre baronali di San Gregorio, Tremestieri, Trappeto, Sant’Agata, Monpilieri, Bonvicino e Cattasi (investito il 20-X-1690), Governatore della Nobile Compagnia della Pace nel 1712, Deputato al Parlamento del Regno di Sicilia.

a) = Rosalia La Farina e Magione, dei Marchesi di Madonia
b) = Rosalia Caccamo e Branciforte, figlia di Don Bartolomeo Principe di Castelforte e di Donna Antonia Branciforte dei Principi di Villanuova († 1752), investita del feudo di Castelforte il 28-V-1749.
totally 6 children, all from second wife
oldest son:
B1. [ex 1°] Don Giovan Andrea (* 26-VI-1694 † ?).


Pooh, that was a little bit exhausting genealogy-story inside a field, which isn't too familiar to me. 17th, 18th century is not my favored topic.

So a little summary and a pause. The promised surprize stll hasn't arrived, you still have to wait.

But maybe you see the picture. Villabianca was young and gathered some stories about the origin of Tarocco Siciliano, as long he is involved in the game (till 1768). His informants were likely noble men around the circle of the Massa family, between them old lady Rosalia, who possibly had a salon with literature and some card playing activities. So he got the information, that the old lady changed the motifs of Tower and Devil - he was already 30 in c. 1750, so he might learned this from own experience.
Old Rosalia remembered the earlier context (and Villabiana had opportunity, in which Francesco Caitani himself had promoted the game in Sicily, well, she likely only knew stories, cause she was too young to have it seen herself. But likely she had a youth in Castelforte in a family, which knew the Caetanis (and possibly the same games) and it was this friendship between Old-Massa and Francesco Caetani, which brought her from Castelforte to Sicily and to her new family. So, naturally, this was personal biography of herself, and this was interesting to her, and probable she told it her children and visitors, and especially during card playing sessions.

Francesco Caitani had been 68 years, when he started his engagement as viceroy in Sicily. I take it as rather illogical, that a 68-years-old man shall have promoted a game, about which he had recently learned of. So the idea, that the game was definitely NOT from Naples, does not really count. Then it becomes easier to believe, that the whole story is just a constructed legend.

Dummett/McLeod p. 376

The next documentary date after 1662 in the history of the Tarocco Siciliano is the year 1736. To understand this date, one again should request general Sicilian history. This follows in the next post.
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