The Keeper of the Pope’s Monkey.

Rosanne

Its a hundred years before the Noblet Tarot was produced. Charles V is the Holy Roman Emperor; at his side is the lovely and clever Isabella of Aragon- Empress. John III ‘The Pious’ is on the throne of Portugal. His Empire is large and due to discoveries in the East he is known as the Grocer King and ‘light of the world’. The Protestant Reformation started with Martin Luther is progressing, and the Bubonic Plague is decimating the countryside. The Roman Catholic Church is under siege and the Inquisition puts fear into the hearts of many. The Printing Press is revolutionizing the West. Gossip travels fast in this time- helped by printed material and a great scandal is about to erupt. Just as the Reformists spoke of, the Pope was the spawn of the devil. The Church is seen as corrupt.
Tarot the Memento Mori, like a University Rag, tells the story.
If you don't turn back and become like a child,
And change your life for the better,
You will not be able to enter, blessed, the Kingdom of God.
To death we are hastening, let us refrain from sinning.


The last of the Renaissance Popes Julius III is elected in 1550. He will be so for 5 years. He was not interested in politics or things theological; he loved luxury and entertaining, and shocked the Reforming Europe with his excesses. He was also friend to the Jesuits, whom he renewed their ‘contracts’ as it were. The scandal that echoed around Europe about Julius caused what is possibly the worst scandal in the history of the papacy. Already when he was a cardinal, slanderous lampoons accused him of sodomy. The scandal erupted, however, only four months after he became Pope, he named as cardinal his 17-year old lover, Innocenzo Ciocchi Del Monte, whom he already had adopted by his brother Baldovino. Whilst still a cardinal, Julius had met Innocenzo, then called Santino, who was the 13-year old son of one of his servants; the cardinal fell madly in love with the boy and used favours to secure the collusion of the boy's father. As a reward, the boy was given profitable ecclesiastical benefices at age 14, then was adopted by Baldovino Del Monte, and elevated to the Cardinalate. Julius created an office called ‘The Cardinal Nephew’ which was the forerunner to the Office called ‘Secretary of State’. This was and still is the highest office other than Pope. Innocenzo was at the head of the table- well he had his own table really.
Cardinals who were more sensitive to the need to reform the attitudes of the Church in order to combat the Protestant Reformation protested in vain against Innocenzo's nomination. Rumours also circulated around European courts; Innocenzo "was a little scoundrel" and " Juggler of Balls" A mocking rumour circulated, saying that Innocenzo had been made a cardinal as a reward for being the keeper of the pope's monkey.
At this time Italians caught in Spain commiting Sodomy (Inquisitors were in charge of this crime) were first hung, then hung by their feet, with their genitals cut off and during Julius's Papacy a huge number of trials for Sodomy were conducted and ended with this punishment. The Holy Roman Emperor disliked Julius, did not want him as Pope, but he was fighting the French so this did not happen to Innocenzo, even though he was a totally incapable Head of State for Julius.
Enter into History Card One "The Bateleur and his Monkey"........perhaps :joke:
That hat of his should be Red and that ball could be a monkey- well in the original it looks like one.
~Rosanne
 

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Debra

Whew. Hi there Rosanne.

What a story.

I don't see the monkey, I'm afraid.

How about the Estensi tarot, though? That two of whatevers with the fellow looking pensively at his severed testicles? I traded that deck not realizing I'd need it for here. The Estensi also has the scary knickers-clad ball-juggling fool (here, from the Tarot Garden scan).
 

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Rosanne

Hi Debra- I have the Estensi, I think it is too early 1470 I believe, for this story. There are only 17 cards remaining- I do not know which ones they are. I also think the Estensi is astrological or should I say Astronomical.I do not have an original Noblet, but a Monkey is on the Cary-Yale sheet on the Juggler's back in a basket. In the reproductions of the original Noblet- I can see a monkey in the bag on the table- but of course I can not know that for sure. I wish I had a spectroscope to examine the card :D
Good yarn though and true- I have always puzzled about the Monkey- maybe this is one answer. If you look at the thread about the Cary-Yale sheet you will see the Monkey in the scans. ~Rosanne
 

Rosanne

I should have explained why Inncenzo would have had the sarcastic title "Keeper of the Monkey"

The new Pontiff had once said jokingly to his colleagues: "If you make me Pope I warn you that the very next day I give you the Prevostino for brother member", and he was as good or, rather, as bad as his word. This Prevostino was Incennzo- then aged 17, who was in future to be known as Cardinal del Monte. Julius's favour(nothing to mention his intimate relationship)had been due to a strange incident. Well I think this was just an excuse to explain the Lover. It was thought that some years previously, when the Pope was legate at Parma, he happened to have a large monkey as a pet. One day as he was watching its antics from a window he saw it seize on a small boy, and for a few moments it looked as though the animal would kill him. The child, however, managed to free himself, then turning furiously on the monkey attacked it in his turn. The prelate was so delighted with the boy's pluck that he adopted him on the spot, at first giving him the monkey as a playfellow, later making him his own constant companion( :D ). Charles V was disgusted with the new Pope, his minion and his monkey; but the Farnese were satisfied, as Ottavio got Parma and Piacenza. As to the French they felt they could have done worse, knowing there was nothing to fear politically from a man whose only ambition was a life of luxury and indolence. (from Renaissance Popes Vatican article somewhat added to by me)
~Rosanne
 

thinbuddha

Oh..... I thought that "keeper of the Popes monkey" might be a euphamism... :)
 

Debra

Yes, I forgot about the monkey in the backpack on the Cary sheet. Jeez my memory is totally shot.

But while your little monkey is cute, Rosanne, I can't see why he should be in the Noblet...and it's hard to believe Flournoy would have chased him out off the card!

So...no sale on the Monkey Tale, but peanuts all around, or peanut butter sandwiches, whichever you prefer!
 

kwaw

It would be on the Noblet for the same reason as it is found on the Cary-Yale; it was common for bateleurs / iuglers to have monkeys, as is discussed in the Cary-Yale.

I am not though convinced it is a monkey on the Noblet, but certainly the original does look like it may have ears, and is not the perfect round ball depicted on the Flornoy reproduction.

Kwaw
 

Rosanne

:D I am crushed! Good story eh? There were reasonable Popes on either side of this Guy- but ahhh Politics is mightier than the Church. Julius bought some great softening to the statuary- very over the top- but a relief in those rows of stern Saints to see a Putti or two, and some lovely naked men- and he encouraged Music- so I forgive(and always would) him his private life. It is the hypocrisy that gets to me- all those Deaths amongst the people. Anyway back to the subject.
I have looked and looked through the Volumes of Kaplan- and there are three decks that, or cards, should I say show what I perceive to be a Monkey.
They are the Catelin Geofroy Tarot of 1557 (there is a better, clearer version of this that was a model for the deck minors apparently published in Germany) and then the Cary -Yale sheet and possibly this Noblet. I can't tell on the Jacques Vieville Tarot of 1643, but I think not. So the bag is empty after the Noblet, and in many Marseille disappears off the table all together. We have nothing extant, to see what the Noblet was modeled on. I find it strange. You can almost see who copied whom, by the bag alone. One could swear that in 1780 Paiche in Switzerland, and Carrajat in France were using the same woodblocks there is this odd curly ribbon tendril coming from the bag. Paiche appears a better publisher though- or it is a case of pirated Tarot decks, or head- hunted woodblock carvers. My argument is ( because I believe myself :D that it is a monkey) That if Catelin Geofroy could take the minors of a German deck and add them too 22 Atouts ( of very different style) and create his deck in 1557 and use a monkey as well as a whole suit of Monkeys- then I guess the Noblet used an earlier model too. We just do not have a model existing as far as we know.
I am not saying that the Adam and Eve model of the Marseille Bateleur was this Incezenno lad, I just think that it is likely given the high press of the scandal, some card maker was opportunist and saw the joke of sticking a monkey in the bag of a young lad called the Bateleur. In all Marseille type he looks veyr young Neh?(or on the Back of a young lad) Wink wink, nod nod if you see what I mean. Then a hundred years later- the reason was lost- that is why maybe it disappeared.
Thats all. Amen to Monkeys.
~Rosanne
 

kwaw

Rosanne said:
: In all Marseille type he looks veyr young Neh?(or on the Back of a young lad) Wink wink, nod nod if you see what I mean. Then a hundred years later- the reason was lost- that is why maybe it disappeared.
Thats all. Amen to Monkeys.
~Rosanne

And there is that penis;)

And Chaucer considered the yellow haired, clean shaven pardoner that in many ways corresponds to the Noblet Bateleur as being a gelding or a mare, ie, effeminate.

kwaw
 

mac22

kwaw said:
It would be on the Noblet for the same reason as it is found on the Cary-Yale; it was common for bateleurs / iuglers to have monkeys, as is discussed in the Cary-Yale.

I am not though convinced it is a monkey on the Noblet, but certainly the original does look like it may have ears, and is not the perfect round ball depicted on the Flornoy reproduction.

Kwaw

Try as I will [ and I have] I can't find a monkey on the Noblet...

Mac22