What's your fave tarot history theory?

Where did tarot come from ... your views

  • Invented in Italy in the 15th Century

    Votes: 74 69.8%
  • Invented by the Ancient Greeks

    Votes: 2 1.9%
  • Invented by the Romans

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • Invented by the Persians

    Votes: 4 3.8%
  • Invented by the Mongols

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • Been around in one way or another since people could draw on cave walls

    Votes: 9 8.5%
  • Came from somewhere in the xargle diplock alpha system :O)

    Votes: 15 14.2%

  • Total voters

Ross G Caldwell

I'm mainly interested in when and where tarot assumed the form having the numbered trumps, as in the Marseille deck. Did that happen in Italy?

Numbers were put on the cards in Italy in the 15th century, so yes.

For examples, see Kaplan Encyclopedia of Tarot volume I, pp. 125, 130-131; volume II, pp. 270-285. Some hand-painted cards also received numbers, like the so-called "Charles VI" Tarot (Kaplan I, pp. 112-116), and its sister the Catania or Castello Ursino deck (Kaplan I, p. 109).

The Sola Busca Tarot, with completely non-standard imagery, also has a fully numbered trump series.


I think Tarot has a strong Cathar Gnostic Christian theme, so I go for that one. I can't look at a TDM deck without it shouting Gnostic Christian ideas, but this belief has been shot down time after time. Some say the Visconti clan had Cathar leanings.