Useful reference - Arne Jonsson


Arne.Jonsson , "Card-playing as a Mirror of Society - On Johannes of Rheinfelden's Ludus cartularum moralisatus", in Ferm, Olle and Volker Honemann (eds.), Chess and Allegory in the Middle Ages (Sällskapet Runica et Mediævalia, Münster, Stockholm and Uppsala Universities), Stockholm 2005, pp. 359-372


"Abstract: Johannes of Rheinfelden’s treatise on card-playing, the Ludus cartularum moralisatus (“the moral meaning of card-playing”) is not only an important source of the history of plays and pastimes but also gives valuable information about late medieval thinking concerning the organization of human society. Johannes writes that the newly introduced cards were something of a revelation for him and that he got very excited when he realised that they could be used as a means of understanding and explaining the world. The treatise was planned and executed on a big scale: his description of the cards, kings, marshalls, queens, maids of honour and artisans becomes his point of departure for a description and an interpretation of the function and duties of real courts. Johannes integrates an enormous wealth of learning from the Bible, the Latin classics, Boethius, St. Isidore and also later authorities such as St. Thomas Aquinas into his system. Some of his views may seem rather self-evident, but he does not shy away from more controversial issues. Johannes' work is extant in four manuscripts, but has never been printed. An edition is however being prepared."