Minchiate Francesi - made by Francois I + II de Poilly

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Huck  Huck is offline
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I made a list, uniting 3 known Poilly versions with 42, 41 and 22 cards with the possibly original version of Minchiate (nobody knows, which Minchiate version Poilly knew from his stay in Italy, actually I use the version, which was in use c. 1725).

MI P1 P2 P3
41 22 41 42

-- -- -- 01. Chaos
38 19 38 02. Sun (Chariot)
37 18 37 03. Moon
36 17 36 04. Star
39 21 39 05. World
23 16 23 06. Air (Juno)
22 15 21 07. Earth
21 13 22 08. Water
20 14 20 09. Fire (Vulcan)
-- 10 12 10. Iason (Age)
-- 12 14 11. Infancy
-- 11 13 12. Adolescence
-- 09 11 13. old Age
-- -- 15 14. Taste (Woman with fruits)
-- -- 17 15. Smell (Woman with flowers)
-- -- 16 16. Touch (young man riding eagle, Ganymede)
-- -- 19 17. Sight (Narcisse)
-- -- 18 18. Hearing (man playing violin, riding on fish, Arion)
17 08 05 19. Prudence
08 06 07 20. Justice
19 07 06 21. Charity
16 03 08 22. Hope
07 04 09 23. Strength
40 20 40 24. Fame (Angel)
-- 01 01 25. Mercury
-- -- 04 26. Bacchus
05 02 02 27. Love
-- -- 03 28. Venus
00 00 00 29. Momus (Fool)
09 05 10 30. Fortune
32 -- 35 31. January (Aquarius)
31 -- 34 32. February (Pisces)
27 -- 24 33. March (Aries or Capricorn)*
34 -- 32 34. April (Taurus)
35 -- 31 35. May (Gemini)
30 -- 30 36. June (Cancer)
33 -- 29 37. July (Leo)
25 -- 28 38. August (Virgo)
24 -- 26 39. September (Libra or Scorpio)*
26 -- 27 40. October (Scorpio or Libra)*
29 -- 25 41. November (Sagitarius)
28 -- 33 42. December (Capricorn or Aries)*

MI = original Minchiate
P1 = version with 22 trump cards
P2 = version with 41 trump cards
P3 = version with 42 trump cards

In my opinion it's not clear, which of the Poilly versions was first. Actually I would assume, that the elder Francois Poilly made all 42 cards and later generations of his family, if they did anything, just changed the numbers, and used the older engravings. And had some additional income by reproducing the decks.
Well, there's no guarantee, that we know all versions ... None of the versions was found in so many examples, that one can easily believe in a high-number-productions.

Poilly definitely replaced motifs of the earlier Minchiate.

It disappeared:
01 Magician
02 Eastern Emperor
03 Western Emperor
04 Grand-duke
06 Temperance
10 Chariot
11 Hermit
12 Hanging Man
13 Death
14 Devil
15 Tower
18 Fides
totally 12 cards

It were imported:
-- -- -- 01. Chaos
-- 01 01 25. Mercury
-- -- 03 28. Venus
-- -- 04 26. Bacchus
-- 10 12 10. Iason (Age)
-- 12 14 11. Infancy
-- 11 13 12. Adolescence
-- 09 11 13. old Age
-- -- 15 14. Taste (Woman with fruits)
-- -- 17 15. Smell (Woman with flowers)
-- -- 16 16. Touch (young man riding eagle, Ganymede)
-- -- 19 17. Sight (Narcisse)
-- -- 18 18. Hearing (man playing violin, riding on fish, Arion)
totally 13 cards


The additional 13th card should be Chaos.

From Mercury (got twice the number 01) one might assume, that it replaced the Magician.

From the new card Sun it might be assumed, that it took up the ideas of the Minchiate Chariot (cause of Helios at the Chariot).

From the card World it might be assumed, that it took up as additional attributes the ideas of the Minchiate "Time" (cause of the hourglass)

As additional values were imported the 5 Senses + the 4 Ages, so that somehow "life as everybody knows it" was new.
For this very negative elements (Tower, Devil, Death, Hanged Man, suffering Age [= crippled Hermit]) disappeared. Should one assume, that these 5 replaced the 5 senses?

But who's then the 4 Ages?

For Iason might be assumed, that he replaced the triumphal charioteer.

The two missing virtues Temperance and Fides might have taken Adolescence and Infancy (?)

And it would stand "Age" as Hermit (again, and he was already identified as one of the senses)


... :-) ... well, one has to think about it?
Top   #11
Huck  Huck is offline
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That's an improvement of the list ... I hope, it's understandable by itself ... :-)
... if not, ask

The basis for it are links or information given in earlier texts in this thread.
Top   #12
Huck  Huck is offline
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In August 2011 I wrote about Boccaccio and his "Decamerone".
This was here.

I analyzed there something about a connection between the "7 virtues" and the general structure of the Decamerone text, which knows 10 story-tellers, which tell at 10 days in two weeks 100 stories (actually 101), each of them 10 and each one at each day, which was dedicated to storytelling.
3 of the story-tellers are men, 7 are women, and actually the 7 stand for the 7 virtues. But which woman refers to which virtue? Boccaccio had much fun to hide this relation.

That's a nice question and it found different answers in the commenting works of literature research. I've my own.

... :-) ... I'm proud of this analysis (though it isn't really finished), actually this is a master-piece according my not very humble opinion ....though I think, that nobody really noted, how good it indeed is.

Boccaccio's Decamerone and its Virtues

Now, in my longer attempt to analyze the Poilly decks I detect similarity between some of the Poilly arrangements of the virtues and the virtues list in Boccaccio's Decamerone (as analyzed by myself).
Now I suspect, that somebody in Poilly's time detected that, what I detected, and embedded it into the new construction ... so that's rather interesting to myself.

I think, the basic order of the virtues (at least in the Decamerone) was this:

1. Temperantia = cardinal virtue = XXX
2. Spes = theological virtue = XXX
3. Prudentia = cardinal virtue = XXXi
4. Fides or Caritas = theological virtue = XXX
5. Fortitudo = cardinal virtue = XXX
6. Caritas or Fides = theological virtue = XXX
7. Iustitia = cardinal virtue = XXX

The three theological virtues are switched in an ordered manner between the 4 cardinal virtues. (about the position of Caritas and Fides I'm

Boccaccio gives this "correct order" at the last story-telling day, though with one "intended error".

If Boccaccio had made it simple, it would look this way:

1 Neifile = cardinal virtue Temperance
2 Elissa = theological virtue Hope
3 Filomena = cardinal virtue Prudentia
4 Lauretta = theological virtue Caritas or Fides
5 Emilia = cardinal virtue Fortitudo
6 Fiammeta = theological virtue Fides or Caritas
7 Pampinea = cardinal virtue Justice
8 Filostrato ... man
9 Panfilo ... man
10 Diodeo ... man

No, Boccaccio made it not simple. He made as speaker order for the last day:

1 Neifile = cardinal virtue Temperance
2 Elissa = theological virtue Hope
3 Filostrato = ... man CHANGED
4 Lauretta = theological virtue Caritas or Fides
5 Emilia = cardinal virtue Fortitudo
6 Fiammeta = theological virtue Fides or Caritas
7 Pampinea = cardinal virtue Justice
8 Filomena = cardinal virtue Prudentia CHANGED
9 Panfilo ... man
10 Diodeo ... man

In Minchiate
... , which is - as Boccaccio - also "from Florence", we have the following order

6. Temperantia = cardinal virtue
7. Fortitudo = cardinal virtue
8. Iustitia = cardinal virtue
16. Spes = theological virtue
17. Prudentia = cardinal virtue appears as CHANGED
18. Fides = theological virtue
19. Caritas = theological virtue

Normal Trionfi or Tarot in 15th and 16th century

There are usually only 3 virtues, and one appears either as "disappeared" or "somehow replaced". Naturally - again - it's Prudentia.

A common play with missing virtues in art

It seems to have been a play in art for specific commissioners (I know it for Borso d'Este), to present only 6 virtues with the idea, that the 7th is presented by the commissioner himself. In Borso's case this was Iustitia, so "missing virtues" were not always the virtue Prudentia. But in Tarot Prudentia seems to be the major object for this sort of "hiding-and-games", as it had been already in the Decamerone long before.

Occasionally "Muses in Art"

In the Palazzo Schifanoia picture of the month May with Apollo there appear naturally also the 9 Muses.

One of the Muses is artfully "hidden".

Now to the Poilly deck

The following is a detail of the Poilly deck list, which I developed in the post before.

The virtues are presented by the violet color.

Poilly-42 has ...

Poilly-22 has ..

01 Mercure (flying)
02 L'amour (blind flying Eros with arrow and flowers)
03 L'Esperence (woman at small island with big anchor; Hope)
04 La Force (woman carrying a column)
05 La Fortune Woman standing on wheel in the sea; wings at her feet)
06 La Justice (woman with Libra and sword ... in the background a city view)
07 La Charité (woman with two children)
08 La Prudence (woman with mirror, snake)
09 Les Ages, la Vieillesse
10 Age Viril (hero with sword and shield and dragon; "Golden Vlies" in a tree)
[from post #3 ... http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=170889#2 ]
.. and Poilly-41 has

[from post #2 ... http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=170889#1 ]

... well, possibly not the best way to show, what I mean.

Another attempt. First we have to import the Etteilla deck:

1. Motif NEW Chaos: ETTEILLA - Le Chaos - LE QUESTIONNANT :
2. Motif Sun: ÉCLAICISSEMENT (1er jour de la création) - La Lumière - FEU
3. Motif Moon: PROPOS (? jour de la création)- Les Plantes - EAU
4. Motif Star: DÉPOUILLEMENT (2.e jour de la création)- Le Ciel - AIR (3.e Element)
5. Motif World: VOYAGE (6.e jour de la création) - L'Homme et les Quadrupèdes - TERRE (3.e Element)
6. Motif NEW "Day and Night", "Astres": LA NUIT (4.e jour de la création) - Les Astres - LE JOUR
7. Motif NEW "birds and fishs": APPUI (5.e jour de la création) - Les Oiseaux et les Poissons - PROTECTION
8. Motif NEW female questioner: ETTEILLA - Repos - LA QUESTIONNANTE
9. Motif Justice: LA JUSTICE - La Justice - Le LEGISTE
10. Motif Temperance: La TEMPÉRANCE - La Tempérance - LE PRÈTRE
11. Motif Strength: LA FORCE - La Force - LE SOUVERAIN
12. Motif Prudence: LA PRUDENCE - La Prudence - LE PEUPLE
13. Motif Lovers ???? (Mariage): MARIAGE - Le Grand Prétre - UNION
14. Motif Devil: FORCE MAJEURE - Le Diable - FORCE MAJEURE
15. Motif Magician: MALADIE - Le Magicien, ou le Báteleur - MALADIE
16. Motif Judgment (Angel): LE JUGEMENT - Le Jugement dernier - LE JUGEMENT
17. Motif Death: MORTALITÉ - La Mort - NÉANT
18. Motif Hermit: TRAITRE - Le Capucin - FAUX DÉVOT
19. Motif Tower: MISÈRE - Le Temple foudroyé - PRISON
20. Motif Fortune: FORTUNE - La Roue de Fortune - AUGMENTATION
21. Motif Chariot: DISSENSION - Le Despot Africain - ARROGANCE
0 Motif Fool: FOLIE FOLIE
Then I make a reduced list to get a focus on the interesting points:

... and then I think a little bit ... :-)
Top   #13
Huck  Huck is offline
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One basic question about the Poilly deck is, how the Etteilla Tarocchi developed. The assumption, that the Poilly deck played a role in this developmwernt, was born, when it was realized, that the card Chaos appeared at Nr. 1 in the Poilly-42 deck and it appeared as Nr. 1 in the Etteilla.
This happened here:

This hardly couldn't have been an accident, Etteilla should known the Poilly deck. In the development some interest was taken in the Petit Oracle des Dames ...
... which is a clear prolongation of the Etteilla deck combined with some other divination decks material made before 1800, existing clearly with surviving decks since 1807.

For the current state of research the Petit Oracle is taken as a later riddle. First it's the interest to explain the Etteilla on the base of the Poilly deck development ... and only the trumps of it, the court and number cards are ignored.


"1 Chaos" comes from the Poilly-42 deck (it's not present in Poilly-41 and Poilly-22) and it is "improved" by Etteilla by 3 accompanying cards, which before haven't been used.

6. Motif NEW "Day and Night", "Astres": LA NUIT (4.e jour de la création) - Les Astres - LE JOUR
7. Motif NEW "birds and fishs": APPUI (5.e jour de la création) - Les Oiseaux et les Poissons - PROTECTION
8. Motif NEW female questioner: ETTEILLA - Repos - LA QUESTIONNANTE
Chaos in the Poilly deck developed relative clearly from "Chaos" in the Hesiod text ...

(ll. 116-138) Verily at the first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundations of all the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros (Love), fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them. From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night; but of Night were born Aether and Day, whom she conceived and bare from union in love with Erebus. And Earth first bare starry Heaven, equal to herself, to cover her on every side, and to be an ever-sure abiding-place for the blessed gods. And she brought forth long Hills, graceful haunts of the goddess-Nymphs who dwell amongst the glens of the hills. She bare also the fruitless deep with his raging swell, Pontus, without sweet union of love. But afterwards she lay with Heaven and bare deep-swirling Oceanus, Coeus and Crius and Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and gold-crowned Phoebe and lovely Tethys. After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire.

The surrounding of c. 1660 (assumed date for he Poilly decks, at least assumed by myself) knew a greater interest in Greek mythology (other cards show Mercury, Venus, Bacchus etc.), Etteilla had more Egyptian interests, but it's clear, that he was inspired by Genesis and its Tohu Wa-bohu.

Etteilla himself had developed earlier the "Etteilla", a personal card for the "Questionnant" as a 33rd card added to common Piquet deck with 32 cards. This was taken now to the Chaos card and it got a female counterpart in the presentation of the 7th day of creation (which presents "completed genesis"), as card Nr. 8, the "Questionnante", accompanied by two other new cards, mainly from the Genesis interpretation.

For the cards 2-5 Etteilla used 4 cards of the Aries-serie (Minchiate 36-39), and in their motifs he clearly was orientated towards the Tarot des Marseilles, not to the Poilly deck ...

... BUT in their numbers (2-5) Etteilla imitated the Poilly-42 deck.

The 4 elements in the Poilly-42 (where they had come to from the earlier older Minchiate) at position 6-9 were moved as additional attribute to Sun-Moon-Star-World, the result was "some free place" which could be filled with Etteilla's new cards.

So far that's an easy game. Very clearly the Etteilla depends in some parts on the Poilly-42 deck.

Well, the next step will follow.
Top   #14
Huck  Huck is offline
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Originally Posted by Huck View Post
Well, the next step will follow.

In the last post I had explained ...

... how the first cards of the Etteilla deck developed from Poilly-42 ... more or less.

The jump to a "reversed Order"

Now in the larger context we see, that there was a jump to a "reversed order" between the versions Poilly-41/Poilly-22 and Poilly-42.
A "reversed order" (in parts, not total) had been already observed for the Etteilla version (only a smaller part) and for the Petit Oracle des Dames (a much larger part).

But we see, that the jump from usual order to reversed order already happened in the Poilly deck time, it wasn't invented by Etteilla.
Etteilla followed, Etteilla likely knew the Poilly deck and Etteilla imitated (in parts) the Poill deck.
In the Poilly-42 deck the "reversed order in parts" happened between Nr. 2 and Nr. 30. In the comparable (later) Petit Oracle des Dames we have the reversed order in parts between Nr. 1 and and Nr. 22, also not in the complete deck.

Splitting the 5 Aries

The 5 Aries are the 5 highest trump in the older Minchiate. The row is usually ...

40 Angel = Fama
39 World
38 Sun
37 Moon
36 Star

In the table we can see, that this group of 5 cards is split in a group of 4 (World-Sun-Moon-Star) and the single Angel-Fama element. The split (again) occurs between the versions Poilly-41/Poilly-22 and Poilly-42, and (again) "Etteilla followed", though in a somewhat different context.

In the Etteilla we have it ...

... that the Fama-Angel is placed between "5 bad cards". In the Etteilla the 5 bad cards are ..

14 Devil - 15 Magician - ... - 17 Death - 18 Hermit (= Traitor) - 19 Tower
... and in the older Minchiate it had been ...

11 Hermit (= crippled age) - 12 Hanging Man (= Traitor) - 13 Death - 14 Devil - 15 Tower

... and with this sequence it appeared also in the Ferrarese order.
In other words, Etteilla replaced the Hanging Man with the Magician, after Gebelin (? likely) had changed before the Hanging Man to Prudentia.


Now we have a strange card somewhere else ...

... in the Vieville deck (c. 1650), which later reappeared in the Belgian Tarot (c. 1780):

It's the card of Temperance, but the inscription says "Sol Fama". This is the "Sol Fama riddle" and we had a long discussion about it recently ...

Fama riddle thread

... where it turned out, that this symbol was used already by Alciato around 1540, somehow also by Teofilo Folengo 1527, somehow by Boiardo and possibly it played already a role for Petrarca. We were not ale to clear all circumstances ... but there is something.

What do we see now, when we see in the Poilly deck this sequence:

We see, that, if Fama was taken = Temperance, that under this condition the Poilly-42 deck had 6 virtues instead of 5.
But, if there were 6 virtues in the Poilly-42, then it seems likely, that there is somewhere a hidden 7th virtue. About "hidden virtues" I've already talked in this thread.


But if the Poilly-42 had "7 virtues" (2 of them hidden), then likely also the Poilly-41 and the Poilly-22 had 7 instead of 5 official virtues.

The (hyopothetical) discussion of the Poilly decks

The Time: I suggest, that the discussion took place c. 1660 and a little before, possibly the Tarot ballet of Marolles is an internal part of the discussion.

Who discussed? Poilly the artist, Marolles as one of Poilly's commissioner, Mazarin as an old lover of playing cards, possibly the young French king Louis XIV himself, perhaps other courtiers at the court. The Poilly decks were just minor objects between many other (partly much more expensive) productions of art and festivities.

Basis situation: Poilly came back from Italy and talked about the Minchiate game. Generally there was a negative trend against too much Italian influence, and part of this negativity aimed at Italian Tarocchi cards.

[b]Major point of critique: There was an Emperor in the Italian Minchiate (and in the Italian Tarot). This was "impossible". Louis had the aim to become a great king himself. So - somehow - Poilly got the commission, to form a new French variant of Minchiate - naturally without any appearance of anything, which might remember the German Emperor.
Poilly formed three variants. Likely: None of them gained a high attention, which one should conclude from the condition, that only few decks have survived. It seems, that the Poilly family later repeated productions of the decks, maybe 1730, maybe c. 1760.

The information is very spurious. I even was not able till now to see pictures of all 42, I think I know 23 of them.

The Way of the Virtues. And "which is missing"?

Naturally one should likely expect additional virtues close to the other 5 virtues. With Fortune we have in ...

Poilly-41: Fortune after the 5 virtues (5-9) at position 10
Poilly-22: Fortune between the virtues (3-4 and 6-8) at position 5
Poilly-42: Fortune outside the virtues (19-23) at a rather special position 30 (somehow "highest trump" below the zodiac)

The French relationship to the term Fortune might have been more intensive in France than elsewhere at least in late 14th century/begin 15th century. Fortune was then a very often used word. France had then - often enough - a not very lucky time, connected to losses in the 100 years French-English war. But "Fortune" changed, France recovered, and the whole finished with a French victory and enlarged French territory.
It might be, that this specific other relationship to "Fortune" still was living around 1650. I considered the possibility, if "Fortune" might have been interpreted as a "virtue" just around this time.


This is from 1646 .... Vertu surmounts fortune ...
Somehow it relates to this following text, which is variously reprinted with different titles.

This late picture from 1700 also belongs to one of the versions ...

The text, as far I got it (actually I DON'T FIND IT), somehow relates to some obscure fortunetelling system, possibly more on dreams. It's said to have had an anonymous author.

The first title "Le Palais de Curieux ... " (1646) seem to reflect "Le Palais de Curieux" (1612) of ..
... François Béroalde de Verville. This was a rather active author, who is considered in alchemical contexts ...

I've no note, that there is any real context between the 1612-version and the anonymous work of 1646.


... well, actually I should make a break here. The question around the missing virtues becomes complicated ... BUT ...

Just following the analyses of the Poilly decks schemes, it seems, as if the deck designer replaced the two missing virtues Fides and Temperance ..

in Poilly-41: with Fortune and Bacchus OR with Fortune and Love
in Poilly-22: with Fortune and Love
in Poilly-42: with Fortune and Fama-Angel

Now the combination of "Fortune and Love" (as it appears in the analyzes of the Poilly decks) is an ideal title for Fortunetelling and for Fortunetelling books already since Lorenzo Spirito and the 15th century - at least.

And second we have, that it looks, as if the Etteilla system would have been mother of the great cartomancy development in late 18th and first half of 19th century.

And third we have, that the Etteilla looks like influenced by the Poilly decks.

What shall one conclude from all these relations? Possibly, that already the Poilly decks had the intention to work as a sort of divination system with playing cards?
The condition, that not much Poilly decks survived, let's one assumes, that this method - if it REALLY existed - had found not much users. Well, everything starts small.

For the moment, this are only suspicions in my opinion.


Poilly decks "Fortune"

Poilly deck "Love"

Mitelli "Love"

Mitelli "Fortune"

Occasionally I detect some similarity between cards of the Poilly decks and cards of the Mitelli versions. According my ideas the Poilly deck should be older. Well ... it's not enough similarity to make larger conclusions.
But Mitelli made another deck with 40 picture cards ..


... possibly another byway of the Minchiate deck form.
Top   #15

Huck  Huck is offline
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... still in work ...

As a byway ... but these byways often bring success.

I detected some Minchiate descriptions in British library ... the important person is
Cosimo III de Medici (reigning in Tuscany/Florence 1670-1723)

Description 1

Incomplete tarot pack with 19 of 97 playing-cards for Minchiate of Florence. The cards present are Nos. I, VII, XII, XIII, XXI, XXIII, XXIIII, XXV, XXVIII, XXXI, and XXIII of the attuti, and the queen and 6 of cups, knight and 9 of coins, and the ace, 8, 9 and king of swords. On No. XXIIII of the attuti is a stamped collector's mark "F.C.S". The backs of the cards are printed with the arms apparently of Cosmo de Medici the Third. The shield is surmounted by a ducal crown, and has below the motto "Colomba".

Hand-coloured woodcut
Backs as above
Circa 1675
Description 2
Incomplete tarot pack with 65 of 97 playing-cards for the game, Minchiate of Florence. This set includes 26 tarots proper and 39 numerals. The missing numeral cards are the ace, 2, 3, knave and king of clubs; the 2, 6, and 9 of swords; the ace, 5, 8, 9 and king of cups; and the 4, 9, knight and king of cups. The missing attuti are the I, III, IV, VII, XV, XVIIII, XXI, XXIIII, XXV, XXVIII, XXVIIII, XXXIII, XXXVII, XXXVIIII, and XXXX. The set includes the fool or 'Il Matto'. The backs of the cards are printed with the arms of Cosmo de Medici the Third. The shield is surmounted by a ducal crown, and has below the motto "Fortuna". A narrow border, typical of Italian cards, encloses the design of the faces of the cards.

Hand-coloured woodcut
Backs as above
Circa 1675
Both article refer to a 19th century catalog made by Willshire:

The interesting part of this observation is in the life description of Cosimo III:
He married Marguerite Louise d'Orléans, a cousin of Louis XIV. The marriage was solemnized by proxy in the King's Chapel at the Louvre, on Sunday, April 17, 1661. It was a marriage fraught with tribulation. Marguerite Louise eventually abandoned Tuscany for the Convent of Montmartre. Together, they had 3 children: Ferdinando in 1663, Anna Maria Luisa, Electress Palatine, in 1667, and Gian Gastone, the last Medicean ruler of Tuscany, in 1671.
This marriage between Florence (original place of the older Minchiate) and France (location of the Minchiate Francesi) took place in April 1661.
The origin of the Poilly decks is calculated to c. 1660. This calculation was given, as earlier remarked, by a playing card dealer, ...

A playing card seller for old cards offers this information:
Le sommet de la vente pourrait bien être atteint avec le «Minchiate» de François
de Poillly, 2ème version, un jeu complet de 98 cartes, estimé 8 000 / 12 000
€. Le Minchiate est une forme florentine du tarot, où l’on a ajouté des atouts ;
très à la mode en Italie aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècle, il séduisit François I de Poilly
qui en réalisa une version française à son retour à Paris, vers 1660. Son fils
François II a voulu « remettre de l’ordre » dans ces atouts « incohérents », d’où
cette nouvelle édition, connue en 2 exemplaires uniquement.
... I for my part only researched this suggestion and found, that this date would make much more sense than the usual assumed "c. 1730".

Now with this marriage from April 1461 (relatively close to the marriage of Louis XIV in June 1460 with a SPANISH princess) we get a political reason, why the French court in c. 1660 should have suddenly an interest in Minchiate.

The marriage itself had its curious sides, perhaps best studied by the related biographies:

Marguerite Louise d'Orléans (1645 – 1721)
She opposed the marriage finally, and, 15 years old, took a lover before the wedding. This didn't work out, and she had to marry anyway. The marriage went totally wrong and was a series of scandals, she left her family for a French convent, and the time which followed, was also full of scandals. What's interesting for us: "she gambled for high stakes" at the court of Louis XIV. The king himself used his own regular gambling parties to keep the French nobility politically weak and under control (and likely he earned some money from the gambling) and naturally didn't mind such activities.

Anne Marie Louise, duchess of Montpensier, the elder half sister (1627 - 1693; 33 years in 1660), host of one of the great Parisian salons of this time, and she finally was against this marriage (and her much younger half-sister - 15 years old - loved to follow the advice of the elder sister). Anne Marie Louise was called "Le Grande Mademoiselle", cause she never married.

Anne Marie Louise as Minerva with a portrait of her Father Gaston (brother of Louis XIII)

Maria Teresa of Spain, Queen of France
"Louis was faithful to his wife for the first year of their marriage, commanding the Grand Maréchal du Logis that "the Queen and himself were never to be set apart, no matter how small the house in which they might be lodging". He enjoyed the legitimate passion that his wife felt for him, however the couple would later have difficulty with compatibility.[citation needed] Marie-Thérèse gained weight with her delight and withdrew into her circle of dwarfs."
"Marie-Thérèse was very fortunate to have found a friend at court in her mother-in-law, unlike many princesses in foreign lands. She continued to spend much of her free time playing cards and gambling, as she had no interest in politics or literature. Consequently, she was viewed as not fully playing the part of queen designated to her by her marriage. But more importantly, she became pregnant in early 1661, and a long-awaited son was born on 1 November 1661."

Well ... and a little bit the case with the love affair before the marriage:
Only the French wikipedia notes the love affaire
And the German notes, that Louis XIV had said about him at his death: "le plus grand, le plus sage et le plus généreux de mes ennemis est mort"


Well, it seems totally distant to the theme, but it actually isn't: Tarocco Siciliano

I worked on it here ...


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 Siciliano (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).


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


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).


Actually we have 3 or even 5 related court circles, at which something happened with Minchiate.

1. French court - Poilly decks, c. 1660
2. Austrian court, cause the Pimentella was active there.
3 Spanish court, cause the Pimentella was actbve there.
4. Sicilian court, cause the Pimentella was likely the deciding person behind the "pseudo-introduction" of Tarocco Siciliano; the Tarocco was addressed as "little Gallerini" and Gallerini meant Minchiate - since 1662
5. Florence court, cause Minchiate had a Florentine tradition

The Pimentella was of great importance for the women at the Austrian and the Spanish court.

For the Austrian court I've the following "confirmations":

a. "Il Malmantile Racquistato - A general who loved tarot too much",
written by Lorenzo Lippi (1605-1665)
... includes notes about Minchiate and Tarocco.
Lorenzo lived in Florence and in Innsbruck, where he worked for Claudia de Medici, archduchess in Austria. Claudia died 1648, so likely Lippi had been there before 1648 (actually I saw a note giving 1647-49 as the time of his stay). Claudia herself had been in Austria since 1626.

(still in work)
Top   #16
Huck  Huck is offline
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,682

I stumbled about this information in Dummett/McLeod's book about Tarot rules ...
.. p. 327

There were 98-cards-packs.

It's not clear, that this had anything to do with the Minchiate Francesi of Poilly ... at least for the later version, which is described by the additional card this can't be the Minchiate Francesi.

But there were 98 cards decks. However, the information not very clear, what sort of decks we have to imagine.
Top   #17
Ross G Caldwell's Avatar
Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
Join Date: 07 Jul 2003
Location: Béziers, France
Posts: 2,649
Ross G Caldwell 

Originally Posted by Huck View Post
But there were 98 cards decks. However, the information is spurious.
The information really isn't "spurious" - there WERE 98 card decks, and two examples survive. The extra card is described. Nothing spurious about it.

Maybe "spurious" is the wrong word? "Spurious" means false, untrustworthy.
Top   #18
Huck  Huck is offline
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,682

Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell View Post
The information really isn't "spurious" - there WERE 98 card decks, and two examples survive. The extra card is described. Nothing spurious about it.

Maybe "spurious" is the wrong word? "Spurious" means false, untrustworthy.
Thanks. I was indeed insecure about the meaning of "spurious" ... I've corrected myself.
Top   #19
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