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Guillaume Postel, the Clavis and ROTA

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Postel, franckenberg and Joachim of Fiore

The possibility of an influence upon the structure and iconography of the Tarot's trumps by Joachim of Fiore and/or later Joachites has been discussed by Bob V. O'Neill, in Tarot Symbolism, 1985, and Timothy Betts, Tarot and the Millenium, 1998.
Joachim of Fiore's deep influence upon Guillaume Postel is discussed in: Reeves, Marjorie: "The influence of prophecy in the later Middle Ages; a study in Joachimism".
Published: Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1969.
Postel modified Joachim's view by defining a quaterary of stages of being. These he gave as: Father, Mother, Son and Daughter. Furthermore, the stage of the Father was ruled by the archangel Michael and attached to the rule over Nature. The stage of the Mother was ruled by the archangel Gabriel and attached to Law. The stage of the Son was presided by Uriel and attached to Grace. The final stage of the Daughter was presided over by Raphael and advanced Restitution. This complimented an alchemical paradigm of the restored Anthropos, the original androgynous Adam who was comprised of a quaternity which included an eternal Animus which was male and an Anima which was female. Each of these was subdivided into two parts; one rational and one sensual, male and female.

These call to mind the 4 court cards and the Pope/Papess, Emperor/Empress.

Abraham von Franckenberg also embraced the archangel Raphael as the agent of Restitution in his work, "Raphael oder Artzt-Engel", 1638:
Rafal T. Prinke specifies the connection between Franckenberg's mandala and the round altar that stood in the centre of the Vault of Christian Rosenkreutz as expressed in the Fama Fraternitatis 1614:

" It has been shown that some of the writings associated with the recrudescence of the Rosicrucian movement in the early seventeenth century reveal definite Joachimist influence. These people expected a third age of reformation and a new order to implement it. Among the schemata used is one which appears in a work by Franckenberg, Raphael oder Arztengel, in 1638. This has five double circles, one placed centrally and four at the four points of the compass. They touch but do not intersect. All are contained within one large double outer circle. In the central circle Christ appears in glory and the whole figure bears the caption - Jesus mihi omnia. The affinity with Joachim's Rotae-figure appears not only in the form but also in some of the captions, where the four animalia, four opera Christi, and the four points of the compass are inserted. There is also an interesting sequence of tree-captions reminiscent of Joachim's symbolism.
<<On the four sides of the square frarning the whole figure are the captions: Arbor Naturae, Arbor Legis, Arbor Gratiae, Arbor Gloriae; in the central circle: Arbor Theousia(?) Vitae.>>"
-Marjorie Reeves and Beatrice Hirsch-Reich: "The Figurae of Joachim of Fiore", 1972

This apparently reflects a sephiratic, Kabbalistic ordering.
see also:

Here is a reproduction of Joachim of Fiore's Rotae from his Liber Concordia, Book 5

Comparison of Joachim's Rotae with Franckenberg's Raphael oder Artzt-Engel mandala of 1638 (which precedes the illustration of Postel's Clavis, 1646) is instructive.

"Joachim relates each of the Old Testament histories to one of the four Gospels through four of the great works of Christ. Both Job and Matthew relate to the Nativity of Christ. Tobit and Luke relate to the Passion of Christ. Judith and Mark relate to Christ's Resurrection, and Esther and John relate to his Ascension. The abbot notes moreover that the Jews do not accord Tobit and Judith canonical authority, although the Church does. This lack of canonical authority is appropriate, for their New Testament corollaries, Mark and Luke, were disciples of apostles and only describe what they have heard rather than what they have seen. Thus, the outer wheel, the general history of the Old Testament, has its four faces in Job, Tobit, Judith, and Esther; the inner wheel, the general history contained in the Apocalypse, has its four faces in Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John (VSB 22:35-69; LC 113v; EA 3r). Book V, Part IV, of the Liber Concordie is Joachim's commentary on Job, Tobit, Judith, and Esther."
-Delno West: "Joachim of Fiore. A Study in Spiritual Perception and History", 1983.

"This concept of the Trinity as a mysterious 'society' communally active in a complexity of patterns throughout history belies the overly simple notion often attributed to Joachim of a straight lineal sequence in which three successive ages are 'appropriated' to three successive Persons, each superseding the preceding one. This latter could be called a two-dimensional view, whereas Joachim's might be termed multi-dimensional. It is significant that Joachim never drew a simple horizontal figure of the three successive status. The figure which he created from the Wheels of Ezechiel - so often in his thoughts - shows the growth of spiritual illumination as the wheel within a wheel, drawing to a focus in the central caption caritas, the symbol of the third status; and the verb with which he expresses the relationship of the stages is inesse... In Book V of the Liber- concordie Joachim expounds the four 'special' histories - Job, Tobias, Judith, Esther - which are symbolized in the four facies of Ezechiel's wheels and typify the four opera Christi as well as the four evangelists."
-Marjorie Reeves: "Originality and Influence of Joachim of Fiore" in: Traditio, Vol. 36, 1980, pp289-290.

In iconography of existing Marsielles decks, we don't find specific visual reference associating the Wheel of Fortune to the Wheel of Ezekiel. But we do find textual indications that such existed:

"But by reading of authenticke histories and Chronicles, yee shall learne experience by Theoricke, applying the bypast things to the present estate, quia nihil novum sub sole, [There is nothing new under the sun] such is the continuall volubilities of things earthly, according to the roundnesse of the world, and revolution of the, heavenly circles: which is expressed by the wheeles in Ezechiels visions, and counterfeited by the Poets in rota Fortunae"
-James I: Basilicon Doron(the Kingly Gift )1598, p.40.

Eliphas Levi identifies the Wheel of Fortune with the Wheels of Ezekiel in
The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum

A.E. Waite and Pamela Colman-Smith follow.

W.B. Yeats has been the figure suggested as the person, mentioned by Waite, who assisted Waite/Colman-Smith in the design of their tarot ( Roger Parisious :“Figures in a Dance: W. B. Yeats and the Waite-Ride Tarot”). Of some interest, may be Yeat's familiarity with some of the works of Joachim of Fiore. In this regard, see: "Joachim of Fiore and the myth of the eternal evangel in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries",Gould, Warwick.
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001. revised edition.
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1646 Latin captions of Postel's Clavis

The parallel between the iconography of the four animalia in cards 10 and 21 (where they do exist in decks) was then taken as a resonance between Ezekiel 1:5-10 and Revelation 4:6-9 by those who would approach the "Keys of David".

My friend Christine Payne-Towler adds:
" The Rota is on a circular formation at the top of the key, the Deus/Homo/Rota is on a square grid at the bottom of the key, and that's part of the whole meaning of it, that the Wheel turns eternally "above" while the permutations of the "lower" 4x3 of the Royalty are trapped in the grid of time (the zodiac, which is always the reference when there are twelve of anything.) If there is anything that this is the "key" of, it's how Eternity inserts itself into Time and activates Divine Will through the seasons, elements, and modes. (And note the square = circle/ circle = square hint on the shaft? ... this is an "as above, so below" model..."

Christine is director of Tarot University:
Check it out!

Because the online version is blurry Latin I have described the right half of Franckenberg's illustration of Postel's Clavis below:

At the top right:
gNIELLjGENIjBOs<<case sensitive, possibly encoded...>>
below this clockwise:
Jntellectus Judicet
Qui potest capere, capiat
<<Matthew 19:12-He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.>>

inside the ring clockwise starting at the top:
<<evidently meant to be read from lower left as ROTA: Pulsate et aperietur vobis
i.e. Matthew 7:7 knock, and it shall be opened unto you >>
inside the next circle is HOMO
inside the square each corner is divided into 2 compartments each with a letter, from the bottom clockwise we read:
<< these 2 are both illegible>>
rv<<or perhaps Tv or Yv I dunno, it's fuzzy>>

inside the square is a circle with a triangle inside
in the circle to the left of the triangle is:
above the triangle:
below the triangle:
the triangle is subdivided into a further 3 triangles
to the left:
on the shaft of the key:
Exi ut Introeas
above that inscription is the word:
the "prongs" of the key are letters 12 in number:
below this reads:
Lucae XI, 52
VAE vobis Legis-perilis, quia tulifiis <<not sure about that word>> CLAVEM SCIENTIAE: ipfi non introeuntes prohibuiftis.
<<Luke 11,52:
"Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.">>

to the left of the key is a triangle Per and a square
above the triangle is 1
below the triangle is 3
above Per is 2
below Per is 2
above the square is 3
below the square is 1

below the illustration is the title:
Absconditorum a Constitution Mundi Clavis, qua Mens Humana tam
in divinis quam in humanis pertinget ad Interiora velaminis Aeterne Veri-
tatis (edizione di Amsterdam, 1646): la chiave mistica.
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Franckenberg's ROTA and the Wheel of Fortune

To reiterate, in the words of Jean-Pierre LAURANT Ecole Pratique des Hautes-Etudes (V I section), Paris
"Postel Vu Par Le XIXe Siecle Occultisant"
in:_Guillaume Postel 1581-1981_ ed. Guy Tredaniel, 1985:
"...the notion of the unchanging center ...and the expression of" Wheel within the wheel "by which, he tells us, G Postel describes the center of Eden. Some lines beforehand an allusion has the wheel of fortune brought back for us to the 10th card of the tarot..."

as Ross has kindly translated from the words of Postel(1546):
"...clearly the sacrament of communion, that is a wheel in the middle of a wheel. In infinite divinity, and including the soul of souls, the major angels being included in "soul", the body of bodies after glorification (=resurrection), the broad and capacious heaven, in body, soul and divinity it is the center of everything, the Holy Sacrament..."

Concerning a possible relationship between the Wheels of Ezekiel and the Wheel of Fortune(in the minds of Postel/Franckenberg- design for the illustration of the Clavis absconditorum 1646 ROTA/TARO configuration):

"As for the wheels, there are two main opinions as to what they are. One is that these are also angelic beings called ophanim, who are of a lower order than the cherubim. There is also an opinion that these wheels represent various heavenly realms. In actuality, both opinions can be true as there is a close relationship between angels and the realms (both spiritual and physical) that are assigned to them...

What we see from Ezekiel is a connection between these orders of angels, as well as between the angels and the firmaments they operate in. Ezekiel makes it clear that the Ophanim only move according to how the Cherubim move. This would indicate something of a "chain of command," whereby the Cherubim receive more direct instruction than do the ophanim, although the divine purpose resides in both. This concept is supported by Ezekiel's explanation that there is a connection between the "throne" and the Cherubim, a second connection between the Cherubim and the Ophanim, and a third connection between the Ophanim and the earth....These various firmaments (also called grades in the Zohar) and the beings that exist in each, have a relationship to one another....The Zohar also speaks of the Ofanim/angels having a relationship to four quarters of the globe:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 241b - Now observe that the Ofanim (Wheels) are carried by the Hayoth (living creatures). For that which is of a higher grade, though it seems to be carried by that which is of a lower grade, really carries it. It was the same with the Ark, which also carried its carriers. [Tr. note: T. B. Sotah, 35a.] We must distinguish between the Hayah, “the spirit of which was in the Ofanim”, and the Hayoth, with which the Ofanim went. This one turned towards all four quarters of the globe. In regard to this it says: “This is the Hayah that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar” (Ibid. x, 20); it is the same which forms a throne to the likeness of Man, and is below the superior holy Hayoth. For they are in grades, one above the other."

"In Talmud the Cherubim are equated with the order Ophanim (wheels or chariots) or the order Hayyoth (holy beasts) and are said to reside in the 6th or 7th Heaven. In the Dionysian scheme, the Cherubim rank 2nd in the 9-choir hierarchy and ar guardians of the fixed stars."

Guillaume Postel was the first European to translate the Zohar, having translated the Sefer Yetzirah into Latin (1552?) as well as the Bahir. Abraham von Franckenberg was well aquainted with Postel's Clavis absconditorum as well as some Kabbalistic thought.

"The doctrine of Boehme of the origins of the evil, that created much agitation, in truth, exhibits all the traces of the cabalístic thought (...) Boehme, more than any another Christian mystic, shows the narrowest affinity with cabalismo(...), the connection between his ideas and the theosophic Cabala were well evident for his followers, from Abraham von Franckenberg (m. 1652) to Franz von Baader (m. 1841),..., Scholem affirms that a correlation exists "of all evidence" enters the ideas of Boehme and of the theosophic cabala, represented for a line of thinkers that went from Abraham von Franckenberg (his contemporary and biógrapher) until Franz von Baader (1765-1841) (Gerhard Wehr - "Jakob Boehme" in Cahiers of l'Hermétisme, Albin-Michel, Paris, 1977, p. 100).

"The astro-chronology and astro-prophecy will be thus in the heart of our company: in a case, astronomy, by its mathematical reliability, assists from the chronology, in the second, astrology, by its speech, by its language, comes to underlie the History."

"One finds indeed in the <<1540>> 1st Narration of Georg Joachim Rheticus(1514-1574) a treating paragraph of the "kingdoms of the world (which) change with the movement of the eccentric" (cf ED E Rosen, Three copernican treatises, New York, 1971, p. 121)...
"This small circle is not other than the Wheel of Fortune whose rotation determines for the kingdoms of this world the beginnings and the vicissitudes".
Astrology with the astro-history
by Jacques Halbronn

The Wheel of Fortune as an astrological ensign must not have been uncommon:

PITHOIS, Claude (1587-1676) (S.N.V.M.L.A. ) , Bib Withmore
- 1628 - L'horoscope, roue de fortune et bonne aventure des prédestinez , paris , BM 8632 a 2 , Note: première édition du Traité curieux, qui fut précédée d'un manuscrit de Metz

Postel's vision of a Universal Monarchy, in a restored Eden, had for its model the Tabernacle. This is what the Key(Clavis absconditorum) was meant to open. That this has afilliations with the Templar/proto-freemasonic temperment of this time period is interesting. Those interested in that subject might seek out an inter-library loan copy of : Restoring the Temple of Vision
Brill's Studies in Intellectual History, 110
Cabalistic Freemasonry and Stuart Culture
Marsha Keith Schuchard
Publication year: 2002
xiv, 850 pp.
ISBN 90 04 12489 6
List price EUR 225.00/US$ 281.00
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So, to overly succinctly summarise some aspects of this wonderful thread... well worth re-reading in full.

Firstly, the image of the Key is Abraham von Franckenberg's - not Postel's, but used to illustrate the latter's Clavis.

Secondly, it may be that, given the background interests and knowledge von Franckenberg had, that 'ROTA', as depicted on the circular portion, would have intentionally been placed to include its rotated reading.

If the case, then it would also have indicated, though veiled, the Tarot, as some textual indications may also suggest.
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JMD's poignant current summary

JMD writes:<snipped>
"... it may be that, given the background interests and knowledge von Franckenberg had, that 'ROTA', as depicted on the circular portion, would have intentionally been placed to include its rotated reading.

If the case, then it would also have indicated, though veiled, the Tarot, as some textual indications may also suggest"

Yes, and we wonder, why in the world would merely "a card game" remain unmentioned?

The Catelin Geoffrey Tarot(and others from the time period?) from 1557 Lyons, illustrated in Kaplan's Vol. 2, Encyclopedia of Tarot, p. 303, shows the Papess with the key to St. Peter's Cathedral.

" In an unpublished text Postel explains the significance of David's key; and one is aware that in 1547 one of the books he published under the influence of Johanna's prophecies was the Absconditorum a constitutions mundi clavis, qua mens humana, tam in divinis, quam in humanis, pertinget ad interiora velaminis aeternae Veritatis. A careful study of this text leaves no doubt that the "key of hidden things" is David's key."

"In Mother Johanna's capacity as "keeper of the key of David" she is the link between the higher and the lower realms, or between God and His creation...She held the key of David which became a symbol for Postel...Postel...emphasizes the Zohar as the key to the comprehension of hidden things and the restitution. The key which unlocks these mysteries was to Postel the key of David which his Mother Johanna held in trust."
-Marion Kunzt: "Guillaume Postel- Prophet of the Restitution...", 1981
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Franckenberg, der Magier, die Papstin

With the possibility in mind that Abraham von Franckenberg saw in Guillaume Postel *le Bateleur*, we find that:

" Postel's belief in the validity of his prophecy is clear. He sees himself as the true Magus whose magical art is from God. True magic must be distinguished from the wicked magic of charlatans. The true magic which Postel claims to possess as Magus is available to all men, since Truth is written in the hearts of all."

"Postel as Magus performs the "magic" of summoning all men to search and find within themselves the image of God and His Truth. This is the true Alchemy which Postel the "sovereign astrologue" practices. The zohar is Postel's blueprint, as it were, for the understanding of true Alchemy. In Postel's last testament he speaks of his translation of the most precious book of the zohar which must be guarded and protected. In the margin of the testament a gloss on the word "Zohar" appears, indicating "Zohar" as "alchemical manuscript."

"1n an unpublished text entitled La Prognostication ... extraicte des secrets de la saincte Magie et vraye astrologie ... Postel signs his name as the "souereign astrologue". The date of this manuscript is 1568. See Bibliotheque nationale, fonds latin 3402, fol. 37. "
-Marion Kuntz: "Guillaume Postel Prophet of the Restitution...",1981

Is it possible Franckenberg saw Postel's projections of a Female Angelic Pope as a *Papesse* in the tarot, holding a single key of David? We observe such a figure in the Rosenwald sheets from circa 1500 Florence, with a single key in her left hand and a closed book in her right hand:
also in the Catelin Geoffrey of 1557 Lyons, a single key in her left hand and closed book in her right:
I have not yet found further examples in other decks where a single key/closed book is being held by the Papesse. However, it raises the question im my mind as to whether in these 2 cases the key might not represent the key of David rather than the "keys of St. Peter".

"Numerous predecessors of Postel write of a state in which there would be an angelic pope who would gather "all the sheep into one sheepfold ". Postel was acquinted with the prophecies of Joachim, Roquetaillade, Beatus Amadeus, and Peter Galatinus.<<Postel mentions the prophecies of Joachim, Roquetaillade, Telesphorus, Amadeus, and Galatinus in Le Thresor des propheties de l'univers. Manuscrit publie avec une introduction et des notes par Francois Secret (Martinus Nijhoff : La Haye, 1969). The major sources, however, for Postel's theory of the universal monarchy were Jewish."
-Marion Kuntz: "Guillaume Postel and the Universal Monarchy" in: Guillaume Postel 1581-1981, ed. Guy Tredaniel, 1985.

All of these Franciscans are now characterized as *Spiritual Franciscans*. Furthermore, John of Roquetaillade(aka Rupescissa) was very influential on the development of alchemy.

"These verses<<Isaiah 22:15-25>> present a text charged with potent symbolism, particularly for the Spiritual Franciscans. They contain an image, in the prescient words of the Old Testament, that reappears with even greater force at the end of the New Dispensation. The Spirituals, moreover, associated this image with the destiny of their guiding light, St. Francis, and with nothing less than the end of the world, the advent of the Age of the Spirit that they awaited. Isaiah's words invoke here the image of the key of the house of David. In these verses, the end of the oracle of the valley of vision, the ancient prophet speaks of the retribution to fall upon the iniquitous in Judah. He warns of the downfall of the mighty, of the destruction of Shebna, steward of the royal household: Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, 0 you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you, and whirl you round and round, and throw you like a ball into a wide land; there you shall die ... I will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station ... In that day, says the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a sure place will give way; and it will be cut down and fall, and the burden that was upon it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken. He foretells also, in the same verses, the rise of a new and righteous authority, one invested with the spirit of the Lord: in that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I win clothe him with your robe, and I will commit your authority to his hand ... and I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father's house. Among the attributes, says the prophet, of the power that is to arise will be possession of the key of the house of David: And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open."

" (Peire Jean-)Olieu's commentary on Isaiah is brief, but his interpretation of the verses of chapter 22 is nonetheless precise and clear. They foretold indeed the destruction of an evil pope and the rise of a holy successor: Thirdly he (Isaiah) describes the crime and the punishment of the high pontiff ... he reveals how Eliakim the man of virtue will take his place ... and then again he speaks of the destitution of the highest priest, "In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the peg be removed" ... and he speaks of how he shall be removed from the priestly office, "For I shall thrust you out." For Joachim of Fiore, the verses signified even greater things than merely the downfall of the highest priest. in his treatise known as the Expositio de prophetia ignota, interpreting the popular medieval prophecy of the Samian sybil, he too employed the words of Isaiah 29. They foretold for Joachim not only the destruction of the pope but also the advent of the great enemy, Antichrist himself, at the opening of the Seventh Age: But Peter who thrives on the great fortitude of his faith, when he saw the strong wind coming was afraid, and he who once walked safely upon the waters, suddenly stupefied, now is carried off by the abyss. For truly the Roman bishop, who acquired such riches of the faith under those ten kings, terrified by the sudden appearance of Antichrist, will fall almost to the pit of despair ... For this is as the prophet says, "In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe ... and I will place upon his shoulder the key of the house of David."

" ...the key of David sat already on the shoulder of the one who would open the door to the new Age. And the bearer of that key would bring vindication to the persecuted brothers, the party of the Spiritual Franciscans. For the Spirituals the key of the house of David was an immense and powerful symbol. It was tied inextricably to the mission of St. Francis and to the end of history, the end of the world. It carried this symbolism not only for those who pondered the anagogical meaning of its Old Testament appearance, but also for those who contemplated its terrifying return in the words of the New Testament, in the vision of the Apocalypse. There, in the book of Revelation, the key of the house of David emerges once more. It is held this time not by a virtuous royal steward but by a far higher being, a figure of supernal majesty, by him who opens the door to the angel of the church of Philadelphia: And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: these things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens. "I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.,, (Rev- 3:7-8) From these verses and others in the book of Revelation there arose an equation, a formula whose symbols fulfilled the hopes and expectations of the Spiritual Franciscans. The angel of Philadelphia, for whom the clavifer set open the door, was the angel of the Sixth Seal later to appear; the angel of the Sixth Seal himself was to set open the penultimate age of the world; this angel, called the angel ascending from the rising sun, was Francis of Assisi. This equation appears in the works of Peire Jean-olieu and of Ubertino da Casale. It appears in the thought of such radical Spirituals as Gerardo da Borgo San Donnino. It appears in the orthodox reflections of the seraphic doctor, St. Bonaventure. Thus there ended in the angel of Apocalypse a chain of visions that began in the words of Isaiah. Those who remarked on the key of the house of David, as did Bernard Delicieux, also knew that the powers to be revealed behind the open door bestowed the highest measure of spiritual perfection. For Joachim of Fiore the key of David unlocked the dispensation of true, spiritual understanding of the mysteries of the faith. For others it meant even more."
-Alan Friedlander: "The Hammer of the Inquisitors",2000; Brill. pp.241ff.
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Franckenberg & divinatory emblemata

Bruckner, János:
"Abraham von Franckenberg : a bibliographical catalogue with a short-list of his library"
Published: Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz, 1988.
Description: xix, 109 p., [79] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
Subject headings: Franckenberg, Abraham von, 1593-1652--Bibliography--Union lists.
Franckenberg, Abraham von, 1593-1652--Library--Catalogs.

- this work contains, towards the end of the book, an inventory of 54 traceable volumes which at one time formed a part of Franckenberg's library, which is presumed, at one time, to have been quite larger. Among other provocative titles, we find:

Tractatus posthumus Jani Jacobi Boissardi Vesvuntini De divinatione & magicis præstigiis : quarum veritas ac vanitas solidè exponitur per descriptionem deorum fatidicorum qui olim responsa dederunt; eorundem*que prophetarum, sacerdotum, phoebadum, sibyllarum & divinorum, qui priscis temporibus celebres oraculis exstiterunt
Boissard, Jean Jacques, 1528-1602.
Oppenheimii : Typis Hieronymi Galleri, [1611]

BOISSARD JEAN JACQUES 1528-1602 "... a renowned antiquary and master of Latin poetry...
originally of Besançon, began his career as a private tutor to young noblemen; in this capacity he travelled and visited many universities of Europe (as a student himself he studied in Italy). Thus he became acquainted with a number of leading scholars; among these was the scholar-printer / engraver Theodor de Bry (1528-1598), who as a Calvinist, had left his hometown of Antwerp and established himself in Frankfurt."

BOISSARD, JEAN JACQUES (1528—1602), "French antiquary
and Latin poet, was born at Besancon. He studied at Louvain; but, disgusted by the severity of his master, be secretly left that seminary, and after traversing a great part of Germany reached Italy, where he remained several years and was often reduced to great straits. His residence in Italy developed in his mind a taste for antiquities, and he soon. formed a collection of the most curious monuments from Rome and its vicinity. He then ‘visited the .islands of the Archipelago, with the intention of travelling through Greece, but a severe illness obliged him to return to Rome. Here he resumed his favourite pursuits with great ardour, and having completed his collection, returned to his native country; but not being permitted to profess publicly the Protestant religion, which he had embraced some time before, he withdrew to Metz, where he died on the 30th of October 1602. His most important works are: Poemata (1574); Emblemata (1584); Icones Virorum Illustrium (1597); Vitae ci Icones Sultanorum Turcicorum, &c. (1597); Theatrum Vitae Humanae (1596); Romanae Urbis Topogrephia (1597—1602), now very rare; Dc Divinatione ci Magicis Praestigiis (1605); Habitus Variarum Orbis Gentium (1581), ornamented with seventy illuminated figures. -"

BOISSARD, Jean Jacques (1528-1602)
Emblemata cum tetrastichis latinis, [Metz], [1584]
Vitae et icones sultanorum turcicorum, principum persarum [...], Frankfurt, 1596 [BN: HG 8192 P].
Theatrum vitae humanae ab ipso conscriptum, s.l., s.d. [PNMafra: 2-1-8-20].
Tractatus posthumus de divinatione et magicis praestigiis [...], Oppenheim, s.d. [PNMafra: 2-77-8-15] Ilustrado por Theodorus de Bry.

"Maier also made a careful study of the Emblematum liber of French archeologist Jean-Jacques Boissard (1528-1602), a work engraved by Theodor de Bry (1528-1598)."

BOISSARD, Jean-Jacques. Tractatus posthumus de divinatione et magicis prae- stigiis, quarum veritas et vanitas solide exponitur per descriptionen deorum fatidicorum qui olim responsa dederunt; eorundemque prophetarum, sacerdotum, Phoebadum, Sibyllarum et divinorum, qui priscis temporibus celebres oraculis exstiterunt. With engr. richly figured architectural title, engr. dedication leaf with Palatine arms on verso, engr. dedication vignette in the text, engr. portrait of Boissard and self-portrait of de Bry, the one of Boissard repeated in an enlarged size on a plate inserted later, half-page engraving of magic seals, 47 nearly half-page engravings by Johann-Theodor de Bry after J.-J. Boissard's designs, woodcut diagrams, woodcut head- and tail-pieces, ornamental woodcut initials. 14 unn. leaves, 358 (recte 348 as p. 251 skips to p. 261) pp., 6 unn. leaves index. Folio. 19th-cent. half pigskin (library stamp on title verso).
Oppenheim, H. Galler for Johann Theodor de Bry, (1615/16).
CHF 6800.-- (EUR 4420.--)

"First edition of an important illustrated book of the early Baroque period, with engravings of unusual quality by J. Th. de Bry (1561-1623) after designs of his friend Jean-Jacques Boissard (1528-1602), who appears to have been a renowned antiquary and master of Latin poetry. Adhering to the Protestant faith, he spent most of his life outside of France. He finally returned, settling in Metz where the present work on divination, magic, necromancy, and predictions was conceived. It is mainly based on earlier authors such as Trithemius, and deals with different occult arts and with such particular themes as lycanthropy, Simon Magus, incubi and succubi. Greek verses on the subjects and their Latin translations are included. The most original feature is an account of the oracle-gods and seers of antiquity with a full-length picture of each. The following are discussed: Jupiter of Dodona, Ammon, Themis, the Pythian Apollo, Trophonius, Serapis, the Palisci and Branchidae, Hermes Trismegistus, Proteus, Nicostrata, Telemus, Iapyx, Teiresias, Idmon, Tages, Amphiarius, Thyodamas, Mopsus, Helenus, and the Sibyls. De Bry's self-portrait, dated 1615, shows the great publisher-engraver at the age of 54 standing before two stacks of printed sheets of his celebrated accounts on both Indies. - Excellent impressions of the engravings; very lightly browned, else a good copy. - Paisey B 1792 (lacking dedication plate); Rosenthal, Bibl. magica ..., 1249; Caillet I, 1348 ("Ouvrage fort rare et très recherché"; erroneously counting 538 pp. and dating 1605); Cicognara 4681 ("Rara e curiosa opera"); Brunet I, 1068 (latter three calling for only 33 "plates"); cf. Graesse, Bibl. magica ..., 56; Ackermann I, 347 (German ed. of c. 1643); Thorndike VI, 504; Cioranescu 4273. "

see also:

picture of Franckenberg:
Top   #17
John Meador's Avatar
John Meador  John Meador is offline
Join Date: 01 Aug 2003
Location: Indiana, USA
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John Meador 
"tarot de l'evangille"

Either I had mistakenly presumed I had posted here 8 or 9 years ago other salient and speculative components of the 69 page unpublished Clavis, ROTA work on Postel that resided at Christine's Tarot Salon or it has vanished from the present thread.

Postel's last publication: The Map of the Poles was illustrated by Jean II de Gourmont.
According to this source: Catherine Grodecki ed., Documents du minutier central des notaires de Paris: Histoire de l'art au XVI siecle (1540-1600) 2 vols.,
Paris, 1986) II, 218. Archives Nationale, Minutier Cental XVIII/209; Preaud et al., sv "Jean II de Gourmont, made "ung tarot de l'evangille" as well as games of Goose
+1598&source=bl&ots=K1zvJhZRlq&sig=68wxHxTRvyhwqUA jvu0MgBAsUGg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GIEkT8fHI4fc0QGs-YXVCA&ved=0CDYQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=jean%20gourmont

Postel's Polo aptata nova charta universi, 1578
discussed here:
BlMSlkPCkRc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=e5UkT8LgG6Lb0QHitJnWCA&v ed=0CCUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=guillaume%20postel%20ma p%20polar&f=false

Jean de Gourmont
(b c. 1537; d before 21 July 1598). Printmaker, bookseller and print publisher, great-nephew of (1) Jean de Gourmont (i). He became a master bookseller in
1581 but from 1559 was associated as a wood-engraver with two Parisian illustrators, Jean Pignot and Geoffroi Ballin. Gourmont made almost 130 plates after
Ballin's drawings illustrating Reynaert de Vos (1566) and the works of Nicander (1567-8), published by Christophe Plantin (c. 1520-89) in Antwerp. His own
engravings, sometimes signed IDG, are usually copies or interpretations of prints by other artists. Their quality is inconsistent, except for some decorative
prints. He owned and published the copperplates of Ren? Boyvin, notably the portrait of Henri IV, a reworking of Boyvin's portrait of Henri II, with the head

Plantin's production of emblem books is discussed here:
Epfd73ARQmQthNggBg2AsJIWA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=jdklT7bbIs fz0gGC9KHsCA&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=theodor%2 0zwinger%20Plantin&f=false

To my knowledge, none of Plantin's 24 some printing operations were responsible for producing playing cards.

Known illustrations by de Gourmont are the title border of Jean de La Taille, La Geomancie abregee (Paris: L. Breyer, 1574) pour sçavoir les choses passées,
présentes et futures ... contenant leurs vertus et propriétez", de Jean de La Taille de Bondaroy

illustrated 2 plates in (Andre) Jean Thevet Cosmographie Universelle, 1575
(who had met Postel " in the East" and composed the earliest biographical info on Postel in his Vrais pourtraits)
AXGV7Bony1LQvs95ojGg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6GwlT67BKOXK0AH uir21CA&ved=0CDwQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=jean%20thevet% 20guillaume%20postel&f=false

"...en 1598, un jeu de l’oie figure dans l’inventaire après décès de l’imprimeur et éditeur d’estampes parisien Jean (II) de Gourmont. C’est la plus ancienne
référence française connue pour ce jeu. Les multiples manuels de jeux publiés à partir du XVIe siècle viennent aussi confirmer le développement de cette
nouvelle offre."

discussion of Gourmont family:
C3O7SVt0lzCBc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RHYlT4DUMant0gG0us2JCQ &ved=0CE8Q6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=jean%20II%20gourmont& f=false

Postel came to believe the Paradisi terrestris lay under the arctic pole, that the Great Restitution lay in the North. see:
-M. Destombes: "Guillaume Postel cartographe", in: Guillaume Postel 1581-1981, ed. Guy Tredaniel, 1985
Top   #18
Teheuti's Avatar
Teheuti  Teheuti is offline
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Location: Northern California
Posts: 5,539

Am I right in summing this up that one Jean II de Gourmont illustrated Postel's last publication: The Map of the Poles. Goumont also illustrated games, some quasi-esoteric materials (a humorous image entitled "Know Thyself") and a game called "Tarot of the Gospels/Evangelists(?)." This was around 1600. If this was a Tarot deck, would it make it the first use of the word "Tarot"? Rabelais used the French term, tarau (mid-1500s). It was also referred to as taraux. By 1630 the word "Tarots" was used. I could have missed an early reference.
Top   #19
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Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
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Location: Béziers, France
Posts: 2,649
Ross G Caldwell 

Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
This was around 1600. If this was a Tarot deck, would it make it the first use of the word "Tarot"? Rabelais used the French term, tarau (mid-1500s). It was also referred to as taraux. By 1630 the word "Tarots" was used. I could have missed an early reference.
There are four or five earlier instances of the exact spelling "tarot", of which the earliest is from 1559.

Here's a post from 2006, reposted in various places. Several more French entries have been subsequently found, but not of "tarot" specifically nor earlier than 1505.

Spellings of the name of "Tarot" in history.

Is there a significance to different spellings? Do they show that the word's pronunciation in French has changed since its first known recording, or was it the same as it is today?

Concerning the pronunciation of "taraux", in a letter to me (9 March 2005), Thierry Depaulis once explained that:

"I think it was pronounced as today: this is why spellings could vary between taraults, taraux, tarots, tarotz, taraulx... They all sounded like /taro/. (At least in "standard" Middle-French.)"

First, we might try to compile as exhaustive a list of occurrences as we can at the present, to see if any patterns emerge. Here is a list drawn up from the few sources I have on hand:

(Abbreviated sources - (D'Allemagne) H.-R. D'Allemagne, "Les cartes à jouer du XIVe au XXe siècle", Paris, 1906; (K) S. Kaplan, "Encyclopedia of Tarot" vols. I (1978) and II (1986); (VxP) T. Depaulis, "Roger de Gaignières et ses tarots", _Le Vieux Papier_, fasc. 301 (July 1986) pp. 117-124; (TJM) T. Depaulis, "Tarot: jeu et magie", Paris, 1984; (MA) M. Dummett, "Il Mondo e l'Angelo", Napoli, Bibliopolis, 1993; (Depaulis 2004) T. Depaulis, _Des "cartes communément appelées taraux"_, "The Playing Card" XXXII, 5 (2004), pp. 199-205, and XXXII, 6, pp. 244-249; (SSII) Schweizer Spielkarten 2, 2005)

I. Documentary sources

1505. Avignon. Taraux (anonymous account-keeper; Chobaut, Depaulis)
1534. Lyon. Tarau (Rabelais (southerner) MA 131)
1553. Paris. Tarault (Estienne; MA 131)
1559. Paris. Tarot. Tarots (Neux, Depaulis (VxP); MA 131)
c.1560 Paris. Tarots (Christophe de Bordeaux; MA 132)
1564. ?. 1565. Lyon. Tarots (Ps.(?)-Rabelais; MA 132)
1576. Paris. Tarot (Champenois (Straparola); MA 132)
1578. Lyon. Tarots (Guil. des Autels; MA 132)
1579. Paris. Tarots (Ladurie; MA 132-3)
1579. Saint-André (Toulouse). Tarots (Garrisson-Estèbe (1980); MA 133)
1583. Paris. Tarots (Tabourot; MA 133)
1583. Paris. Tarot (Gauchet; MA 133)
1583. Paris. Tarotz (Henri III; MA 133-4)
1585. Paris. Tarots (Perrache; MA 134)
1585. ?. Taraux (Cholières; MA 134)
1592. London. Tarots (Delamothe; MA 134)
1594. Paris. Tarots. Tarotz (Henri IV; D'Allemagne II, 60-62)
1595. ?. Tarot (Le Poulchre; MA 134)
1599. Nancy. Taraulx (Duke Charles III; D'Allemagne II, 212-213; MA 353)
1607. Oxford. Taraux (Cleland; MA 134-5)
1613. Paris. Tarots (Louis XIII; D'Allemagne, II, 64)
1622. Paris. Tarots (Garasse; MA 135)
1622. Lyon. Tarotz (D'Allemagne II, 246)
1637. Paris. Tarots (De Marolles)
1640. Paris. Tarocs ou Tarots (Antoine Oudin, "Recherches Italiennes et Françoises" s.v. "Tarrocchi")
1650. Lyon. Taros (D'Allemagne II, 258)
1659. Paris. Taros (Maison Academique des Jeux)
1694. Paris. Tarots (Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française)
1727. Paris. Tarots (René Hérault; D'Allemagne, II, 78-83)
1768. Paris. Tareau, Taro (Dictionnaire de la langue Romane, ou du vieux langage François)
1771. Paris. Tarots (Dictionnaire universelle françois et latin, vlugairement appelé Dictionnaire de Trévoux)

21 mentions in 16th century:
9 Tarots
5 Tarot
2 Taraux
2 Tarotz (multiple times; interchangable with "tarots" in Paris)
1 Tarau
1 Tarault
1 Taraulx

34 up to 18th century:
16 Tarots
4 Tarot
3 Taraux
3 Tarotz
2 Taros
1 Tarocs
1 Tarau
1 Tarault
1 Taraulx
1 Tareau
1 Taro

II. Tarot packs, 18-19th century (letters refer to current borders, not necessarily accurate for historical purposes (B)Belgium; (D)Germany; (F)France; (I)Italy; (S)Switzerland)

Taros (Héri, early 18th c., Soleure (S); K II, 318)
Tarots (Madenié, c. 1709, Dijon (F); K II, 315)
Taros (J.-P. Mayer, c.1730, Constance(D); TJM no.45 (p. 75), KII, 325; SSII, no.29 (p. 174))
Taros (Hautot, 1723-48, Rouen (F); K II, 323)
Taraut (Antoine Jar, 18th c., Bouvignes-sur-Meuse (B); K II, 329)
Taros (Thomasset, 1731, Murten (Morat)(S); K II, 319)
Taros (Laudier, 1746, Strasbourg (F); TJM no. 44 (p. 74))
Tarrau/Terrau (anon.,1755, Coppet (F or S); SS II, 21-22, 99 (cf. Carrajat 1786)
Taraut (Dupont, 1766, Brussels (B); K II, 207)
Tareau (Ignaz Krebs, 18th c., Friburg im Bresgau; Piatnik repr. 1984, K II, 214)
Tarot (Paiche, 1780, Berne (S); K II, 334)
Taros (Rochus II Schaer, 1783, Mümliswil (S); SS II, no. 4 (p. 124)) Tarrau/Terrau (Carrajat, 1786, Chambéry(F)(engr. Milan?); K II, 210,335)
Taros (Hans Buolmann, l.18th c., Unterwalden(S); SS II, no. 31 (p. 178))
Taros (J.-B. II Benois, l.18th c., Strasbourg(F); SS II, no. 24 (p. 164))
Taros (Conrad Iseli, l. 18th c., Soleure (S); K II, 331)
Taraut (Galler, l. 18th c., Brussels (B); K I, 153)
Taros (Carey, 1793-1800, Strasbourg; TJM no. 47 (p. 76))
Taros (Ignace Crelier, 1791-1803, Porrentruy (S); D'Allemagne, I, 186)
Tarots (Jerger, e. 19th c., Besançon (F); TJM no.48 (pp.76-77); K II, 211)
Taroques (Draghi, e. 19th c., Finale (I); K II, 220)

Constance (Konstanze) German-Swiss (incl. Strasbourg) -
Taros (10)
Tarot (1)

Friburg im Bresgau
Tareau (1)

Rouen -
Taros (1)

Brussels (Bruxelles) close to Bouvignes -
Taraut (3)

Besançon-Dijon (close together) -
Tarots (2)

Italian with French titles -
Tarrau/Terrau ("terrau" is obviously an error; Carrajat's plates were earlier used, in 1755, by an anonymous cardmaker in Coppet (France or Switzerland))

The most common spelling in this brief survey is "Tarots", occuring both in texts and on cards, with 18 instances (more if the interchangable "tarotz" is included).

"Taros" has 13 occurences.

"Tarot" occurs 4 times.

Clearly the plural form was preferred for most of the time of the terms' usage.

I believe that the inescapable conclusion is that, in French, no matter how it was spelled, the word was always pronounced "taro". In Liguria, it might have been Italianized, which is indicated by Draghi's "taroques" (pronounced "tar-roak").

What about the origins of the word? Does it means something, or is it nonsense?

The regular pack with French suits was far more common than the Latin suited. The game of "Triumph" was played with this pack, and the original game of "Triumphs", with the Latin-suited pack with 22 Trump cards, was much more obscure. The "Tare pack" was the *undeducted* pack, the "full pack", since it was larger. Some French dialects used the word "taro" for this, and it is this that was applied to the pack in France.

Tarau (sing.)- Taraux (plur.)

"Taraux" is a printed name, a brand name. It would have been pronounced "taro".

Tarau - Taraut (sing.)
Top   #20


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