Andrea del Sarto's "Hanged Man" sketches


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Quote:
The significance of hanging by one foot being a real punishment for despised criminals, one of the more horrible and degrading forms of killing people, is crucial to breaking the spell of modern occult interpretations, and that reality check is necessary to get a genuine historical sense of the card's meaning. And that actual punishment for betrayal is what is reflected in our best contemporaneous explanation of the symbolism
Whilst I realise you appear to have this mistaken idea everyone other than yourself deems everything Tarot as 'occult' I wonder if you can extricate a reason from your historical killing methods as 'symbolic' not 'occult' reason for hanging people by one foot? I realise the Hanged Man in Tarot depicts treachery not sacrifice, as today's decks tend to portray, I do not need to be told that 'a reality check' is needed. You are indeed very erudite in Tarot history and interesting to read, but you are not the only one who reads history books. Often the same historical information can be considered in more than one context.
~Rosanne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjhurst
Fanti uses the inverted hanging motif to illustrate warnings to both the would-be traitors (low-lifes) and their potential victims (nobles).
But the painted image was of those among the noble families or otherwise in power that were considered to be traitors, well known and named identities, not anonymous lowlifes. For example Benadino di Corte who sold the city of Milan to the French on the 14th of September 1499 after Ludovico had left to raise an army. Ludovico had a shame painting made of Bernadino, of whom he said "Since the days of Judas Iscariot there has never been so black a traitor as Bernadino di Corte." It is also said the French themselves called the traitor Tarocchi card 'Bernadino di Corte'.*

(*"Narra il Porcacchi, che i Francesi stessi, giocando a'Tarocchi , nel dar la carta del traditore dicevano: "do Bernardino da Corte."

Saying after Plutarch "I love the treason but do not praise the traitor" Proditionem amo, sed proditorem non laudo).
Top   #42
mjhurst  mjhurst is offline
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Betrayal: The Worst Crime of All


Hi, Kwaw,

I wrote:
"Fanti uses the inverted hanging motif to illustrate warnings to both the would-be traitors (low-lifes) and their potential victims (nobles)."

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
But the painted image was of those among the noble families or otherwise in power that were considered to be traitors, well known and named identities, not anonymous lowlifes. For example Benadino di Corte who sold the city of Milan to the French on the 14th of September 1499 after Ludovico had left to raise an army. Ludovico had a shame painting made of Bernadino, of whom he said "Since the days of Judas Iscariot there has never been so black a traitor as Bernadino di Corte." It is also said the French themselves called the traitor Tarocchi card 'Bernadino di Corte.'
Yep. They were not anonymous, but they were treated as low-lifes because of their despicable crimes.

Treachery, betrayal of trust and loyalty, was the worst crime a man could commit, and thus even a noble was treated like a low-life when they betrayed those to whom they owed loyalty. Let me quote Dante. Early in their journey, (Inferno, Canto XI), Virgil takes a moment to explain to Dante the design of the lowest circles of Hell.

Quote:
All malice has injustice as its end,
an end achieved by violence or by fraud;
while both are sins that earth the hate of Heaven,
since fraud belongs exclusively to man,
God hates it more and, therefore, far below,
the fraudulent are places and suffer most.
[...]

Fraud, that gnaws the conscience of its servants,
can be used on one who puts his trust in you
or else on one who has no trust invested.
This latter sort seems only to destroy
the bond of love that Nature gives to man;
so in the second circle there are nests
of hypocrites, flatterers, dabblers in sorcery,
falsifiers, thieves, and simonists,
panders, seducers, grafters, and like filth.
The former kind of fraud both disregards
the love Nature enjoys and that extra bond
between men which creates a special trust;
thus, it is in the smallest of the circles,
at the earth's center, around the throne of Dis,
that traitors suffer their eternal pain.
By "the second circle" Virgil refers to the second from the center, or the Eighth Circle of Hell. The Eighth and Ninth circles are the Hell of the Fraudulent and Malicious, the real bastards of Hell. The Ninth Circle, a frozen lake, holds sinners who betrayed those to whom they were bound by "special trust". Because they rejected those warm bonds of trust in life, they are bound in ice for eternity. Traitors to their country, to guests and hosts, and to their masters, occupied this lowest rung of Hell, and at the center was Satan -- "the king of the vast kingdom of all grief" -- half buried in the ice, one head with three faces. When they get to that point (Inferno, Canto XXXIV), we see the archetypal betrayers.

Quote:
In each of his three mouths he crunched a sinner,
with teeth like those that rake the hemp and flax,
keeping three sinners constantly in pain;
the one in front -- the biting he endured
was nothing like the clawing that he took;
sometimes his back was raked clean of its skin.
"That soul up there who suffers most of all,"
my guide explained, "is Judas Iscariot;
the one with head inside and legs out kicking.
As for the other two whose heads stick out,
the one who hangs from that black face is Brutus --
see how he squirms in silent desperation;
the other one is Cassius, he still looks sturdy."
The arch-traitors Satan and Judas, betrayers of God the Father and Jesus respectively, and the legendary back-stabbers Brutus and Cassius, are at the frozen ass-end of Hell. Betrayal is the worst sin, the greatest crime in God's view, at least as reported by Dante. There is an interesting webpage on the subject of betrayal "then and now". The author derives Dante's view from Aristotelean ethics, but the mere design of Dante's Hell could hardly be more striking in terms of making the point.

Traitors Against Their Benefactors
http://www.trincoll.edu/~ldickins/tr..._benefacto.htm

In a world of divinely ordered social hierarchy and feudalistic obligations, etc., loyalty was a paramount virtue and treachery among the most feared and despised sins. These were the ultimate low-lifes.

Best regards,
Michael
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From- Suspended Animation: Pain Pleasure and Punishment in Medieval Culture by Robert Mills.

Quote:
Class distinction played a crucial role in the appreciation of 'pitture infamanti'. These pictures were usually males from the upper classes, that is to say, men who would have something to lose by being shamed. The insult was thus affected first and foremost, by associating men whose status would normally have permitted them the privilege of execution by decapitation, with the humiliation of punishment by hanging.
This follows the ancient Roman Laws of fama and infamia especially apparently ius talionus- the law of retaliatory violence. The upside down bit was again the depiction of the natural order of things having been disrupted. The 'one foot' was alluding to defaming one's Patron or disloyalty to one's Patron. Originally this punishment, as already stated was for financial shame and debt before it became political shame. Apparently a hanging was just a hanging- but this type was of some note. The Noble brought low.
~Rosanne
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Shame Paintings and Fama


Hi, Rosanne,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
The upside down bit was again the depiction of the natural order of things having been disrupted. The 'one foot' was alluding to defaming one's Patron or disloyalty to one's Patron.
In terms of implied symbolism, the symbolic inversion was clearly an intended meaning in the German Schandbild, where heraldry was also included in that upside-down depiction. But what basis is there for drawing that conclusion in the Italian shame paintings?

And what, if anything, are you saying about symbolism of a single foot, beyond the fact that this is the way traitors were sometimes executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
Originally this punishment, as already stated was for financial shame and debt before it became political shame.
That has been said, but it has not been particularly well supported. Perhaps Ross can detail Ortalli's findings and conclusions, if any, in this regard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
Apparently a hanging was just a hanging- but this type was of some note. The Noble brought low.
Just the opposite appears to be the case: beheading was a more honorable form of execution, all hangings were extremely disgraceful, and any official sanction, including a public shame painting, was a great blow to the social and legal standing of a member of the upper classes.

The book Fama: The Politics of Talk & Reputation in Medieval Europe, (2003), has a lot of good information on the legal ramifications of status and reputation. I'll quote a few underlined passages that might stimulate some readers to visit the library.

Quote:
On the street, fama was gossip, reputation, or common knowledge, but in the court fama was what the law and judges said it was, and they treated it as a status with consequences for the legal capacities of persons.
(Thomas Kuhn, "Fama as a Legal Status in Renaissance Florence", p. 27.)
Quote:
Migliorino utilizes a distinction found in juristic texts between fama or infamia facti (of procedural and probative value) and fama or infamia legalis (status).
(Thomas Kuhn, "Fama as a Legal Status in Renaissance Florence", p. 30.)
Quote:
Surely one of the better known forms of judicial expression of infamia in Florence was the so-called defaming pictures (pitture infamanti) exhaustively studied by Samuel Edgerton. The penalty of portraits of shame was applied largely to those guilty of commercial fraud, many of whom fled from Florence and from their creditors (and thus were legally known as cessantes et fugitivi (bankrupts and fugitives)). As men of some wealth and social standing, such fugitive bankrupts had something to lose from judicially and artistically applied infamia. The pictures had to take the place of the monetary and corporal penalties that could have been inflicted on someone in custody. They were on view to fellow Florentines and to all travelers, who might then reveal the infamy to others in whatever places the bankrupt Florentines had found refuge. Their failure to make good their debts was a form of taking others' property, and in that sense it could be equated with criminal theft. Their flight, leaving them in contumacy of judicial proceedings, was tantamount to a confession, although it could not affect others in the way that a judicial sentence of guilt could (which gave them an incentive to flee and avoid judgment for the sake of sons and others). Yet, although Florence's statutes had provided for such portraits since 1283-84, from time to time it was necessary to remind judges of the penalty and to reenact the statute. In February 1465, at a time when commercial collapse faced a number of prominent Florentines, legislation reaffirmed that depiction of bankrupt was designed for his never-ending shame ("ad perpetuam eius infamiam"). That threat more than anything else had kept many from bankruptcy. The city fathers were upset to find that such pictures either had never been painted or had been placed in obscure locations where they did not have the desired effect. So judges were ordered to have pictures painted, with full written particulars regarding name and guild affiliation, on the exterior of the bankrupt's house within one month of passing sentence, or the judges themselves would face a 100-florin fine.

In its way, the failure to render these depictions may be the most eloquent testimony to their damaging effect on the reputations of otherwise well-to-do Florentines: judicially inscribed infamia may well have been very hard to overcome (as long as the paint adhered to the wall). But the failure to commission these paintings may also show that infamia did not move so easily from the courtroom to the streets. Bankruptcies need not have been, or have been perceived as, the result of moral failings or poor management such that the bankrupt deserved to be shamed. Downward turns of Fortune's wheel could strike anyone, even the mighty Medici. And deceptive practices were widely enough employed to leave others reluctant to tar the reputation of one unlucky enough to be exposed.
(Thomas Kuhn, "Fama as a Legal Status in Renaissance Florence", pp. 36-7.)
Quote:
A man's legal good name is something he posses until it has been taken away from. The assumption is that a man is honest, tells the truth, and does not commit fraud, until it is otherwise proved in court. At that point, the lost of good name may be part of the punishment made public in some quasi ceremony, such as being exhibited on the pillory. The shame attached to public exhibition was also known in northern France. In Chretien's Chevalier de la charrete, the author explains that the charrete of the title marks with infamy those who ride in it:
Quote:
Whoever was convicted of a serious crime was placed on the cart and paraded through all the streets; and he had lost all honors, and was no longer listened to in court, nor honored nor welcomed.
The loss of bonne renomee has serious legal and social consequences, which are to be avoided by any man wishing to play even a modest part in society.
(F.R.P. Akehurst, "Name, Reputation, and Notoriety in French Customary Law", p. 79.)
Quote:
In both Roman and Visigothic law, there was a close connection between corporal punishments and infamy.
(Jeffrey A. Bowman, "Infamy and Proof in Medieval Spain", p.101.)
Quote:
Drawing on Roman legal categories, the Siete Partidas distinguished two varieties of infamy, each of which incurred the same disabilities: infamy of fact (enfamamiento de fecho) and infamy of law (enfamamiento de derecho). Infamy of fact branded those who engaged in particular activities. Those born outside lawful marriages, for example, were infamous. ... As in Roman law, infamia also fell upon those who practiced certain professions. Brothel keepers, jugglers, clowns, and other professional entertainers were infamous, but the rules allowed a few notable exceptions: "Those who play instruments, or sing to comfort themselves or to please their friends, or for the pleasure of kings or of other lords, shan not be considered infamous on this account". Usurers and those who fought other people or animals for money were enfamados. So too were men who committed the pecado contra natura (sin against nature, or homosexuality); in these cases, the Siete Partidas instructs that "a man is enfamado solely because of his deeds even though no sentence may have been issued against him".
(Jeffrey A. Bowman, "Infamy and Proof in Medieval Spain", p.104.)
Best regards,
Michael
Top   #45
mjhurst  mjhurst is offline
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Getting back to Tarot


Hi, Rosanne,

I'm not sure what you're asking here, but it looks like you are seeking something that can probably never be known and which has no implications in any case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
I wonder if you can extricate a reason from your historical killing methods as 'symbolic' not 'occult' reason for hanging people by one foot?
Are you asking why people used this, (one of a thousand methods), to torture and kill people?

Are you asking why, in a couple rather localized times and places, this punishment became common for certain classes of criminals?

Are you asking why, in those areas where it became common, the depiction of such a punishment came to symbolize that type of criminal? (That question has a pretty obvious answer in the case of traitors and Jews, but only speculative ones in other cases. We may presume, for example, that both traitors and Jews were symbolic of financial fraud, but it is only speculation.)

Are you asking whether this particular method of torture and execution was devised not because it was a horrible and drawn-out means of killing someone but for the symbolic potential?

I'm not sure what your question is, and I'm not sure that there will be an answer. History is a deeply contingent stream of events, and it is routinely impossible to identify one or a few dominant controlling events. Shit happens, and we're usually lucky just to have some good evidence about what shit happened. Moreover, regardless of how the practice, (either practice, the torture and execution or the shame painting), originated, what is important for Tarot is how it was used in the 15th century, and how that might relate to the subject in the Tarot hierarchy.

We have various historically germane cognates to choose from in attempting to make sense of the Tarot card. We don't need more -- we need to use what we've got. Fishing expeditions and brainstorming have been going on for decades. Rather than better Googling or more creative speculation, what is needed, from the POV of Tarot history, is some critical thinking. Given what we've learned about the subject matter of the image out of context, what meaning(s) can make sense of it in context, i.e., in the overall trump hierarchy? Specifically, why does it follow the lower-ranked cards (most significantly Time/Hermit and Fortune) and come directly before Death?

"What does this mean in Tarot" is a question which we should be able to answer.

Best regards,
Michael
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjhurst
Hi, Rosanne,
In terms of implied symbolism, the symbolic inversion was clearly an intended meaning in the German Schandbild, where heraldry was also included in that upside-down depiction. But what basis is there for drawing that conclusion in the Italian shame paintings?
Because the upside down aspect is particular to shame paintings, in the sense that is how some Jews were killed- and they were not the usual way of hanging. There appears to be the symbolic element (apart from edicts about 'this is what is going to happen') to this punishment- maybe just as simple as the thought that this would symbolise the emptying of the pockets back to the earth from which it was taken -the city. I have read about 5 grisly books on Crime and punishment now- to find out exactly why they would be hung upside down- apart from ancient Roman law- I have yet to find a reason. These Shame paintings happened in Germany and England as well- and they were also upside down hangings usually by one foot. That indicates there was something symbolic about it that was understood at that time in Europe. Apart from writhing in agony instead of slow choking, it was neither fast or appreciated by the onlookers.

Quote:
And what, if anything, are you saying about symbolism of a single foot, beyond the fact that this is the way traitors were sometimes executed?
That is exactly what I am trying to decipher- if it was a 'sometimes' then how come it features in Tarot. That is the common depiction in Tarot- and it was sometimes in reality. Why?

Quote:
Just the opposite appears to be the case: beheading was a more honorable form of execution, all hangings were extremely disgraceful, and any official sanction, including a public shame painting, was a great blow to the social and legal standing of a member of the upper classes.
That is exactly what I said- decapitation was more honourable and it was considered more shameful to be hung...
Class distinction played a crucial role in the appreciation of 'pitture infamanti'. These pictures were usually males from the upper classes, that is to say, men who would have something to lose by being shamed. The insult was thus affected first and foremost, by associating men whose status would normally have permitted them the privilege of execution by decapitation, with the humiliation of punishment by hanging.

Thanks for the library list-it is the most bizarre card of the Tarot sequence- and I want to know why this one was commonly chosen. Oh and my comment about Hanging just being a hanging was that it is oft noted that the names of hanged men are long forgotten, but shamed men are shamed forever.Women were never hung this way- even if they were fraudulent.

I believe there is something missing in my understanding of this card apart from the treachery aspect- which I understand within the sequence. Two things are paramount- the one foot and the upside down bit.
~Rosanne
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Isn't this connected with Judas....the coins fall from the pockets. Betrayal, with the state akin to Christ? Judas died by hanging, by falling down among some rocks...does that connect? I suspect Jews were hung upside down perhaps as "outsiders to Christianity/betrayers of Christ." And someone who would betray for money...well...

Dante has Satan upside down in hell.

I do think that many social practices develop from "nothing rational" and are rationalized ex post facto.
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Upside-down is in some ways more like a crucifixion than a by-the-neck hanging.

I thought I had purged A.E. Waite from my mind but I guess not.

ETA: Good heavens, I hope what I say is not *blazingly* obvious. And for Rosanne: Googling brought up excerpts from a book "Map is Not Territory" by Jonathan Smith on the history of religions, and his comments on being hung upside down to die--talking about St. Peter's execution, and our "head-first" births, and crucifixion of Jesus, etc. http://books.google.com/books?id=lcw...0b7o#PPA168,M1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debra
Dante has Satan upside down in hell.

I do think that many social practices develop from "nothing rational" and are rationalized ex post facto.
Yes Satan is upside down in Hell.
I do not think there is ever anything in punishment that has a 'nothing rational ' except in how we try to decipher it. There always seems to be some sort of symbolic background- even if far away from the time noted. So what if people have been making Fishing expeditions and brainstorming have been going on for decades. it just shows the oddity of the card. I am sure there are some critical inquiries within the fishing expeditions and brainstorming. I get a little tired of comments about googling and the like- who says everyone just googles anyway. Further to a sequence for a game- there is no definite sequence noted for the Visconti except visually- where some cards seem more important than others and the Hanged Man is not one of them. If anyone does not like creative speculation give one of various historically germane cognates that makes sense- for a card game. That seems to get lost in the swiping away of anything like, for example, if the order of Brigade floats is mentioned as a possible rationale for a sequence. It was a card game- not a theological treatise. The players recognised the card- what did they recognise? The best secular reason for me has been the Bernadino di Corte mentioned by Kwaw and the best other has been the Fanti Fortune telling illustration that looks remarkably like Lots with astrological meaning- which could mean that the sequence is in the Lots of someones Natal chart or judicial astrology reckoning and that is the way it panned out- Hanged Man before Death in the somewhat like Houses of Astrology- Lots. At least Treachery fits there. ~Rosanne
PS Just noted your post Debra- thanks- I can see no reason for Saint Peter upside down connection as he did not want to be crucified like Jesus- so it is said- and these upside down crims- would not have been given that distinction anyway- Like the Birth analogy lol- out you go the way you came in! Eat dirt this time!
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