Is the Bologna cartomancy sheet really pre-1750?

#1
In 1989 Franco Pratesi reported on a sheet he had found in the University of Bologna Library, with a list of words on one side recognizable as the titles of 35 cards of the traditional tarocchini deck of Bologna; next to each was what appeared to be a divinatory meaning for that card. (Franco Pratesi, “Tarot Bolonais et Cartomancie,” L’As de Trèfle, no. 37, May 1989, pp. 10-11. Online at http://naibi.net/A/22-BODIVADT-Z.pdf.

Pratesi reported that the sheet was included among pages of a diverse nature dating between 1760 and 1783, with an important part of them specific to 1772-1773. Among them were several letters and notes of a Masonic ambience, and in certain cases, specifically linked to France (“d’ambiance maçonnique et, dans certains cas, précisément liés à la France”), although not the sheet in question.

Such papers and dates correlate well with the known milieu of French cartomancy of that time, specifically the publication of Etteilla’s first book on cartomancy in 1770 and then the 1781 essays by de Gébelin and de Mellet. As far as Freemasonry went, Etteilla denied belonging to any Masonic lodge and held their degrees in some contempt (Decker, Depaulis and Dummett, Wicked Pack of Cards, 1996, p. 89, although he was invited to speak at the “Philalèthes’” second congress of 1787). They at least were interested in him, and de Gébelin certainly was a Mason.

Moreover, since Etteilla was a reseller of old prints (DDD p. 80), it is a reasonable possibility that Etteilla might have had, through his business, a Masonic informant who wished to be kept confidential, for which purpose Etteilla would have asserted other sources of information (i.e. an "Alexis Piemontese" and 3 old people arrested 1751-1753).

One aspect of the Bolognese tarot meanings suggested to Pratesi a date for the sheet even earlier than 1760: two of the card-titles were the Fantesca of Denari and the Fantesca of Coppe, cards that according to Dummett had appeared only for a brief period of some decades. Dummett noted that that the non-standard pack by Mittelli, 1664, had only male Fanti, and that “accounts of the game in 1753 and 1754 refer only to Fanti (Jacks) and not to Fantine or the like.” These accounts are Il Guioco Pratica, by R. Bisteghi, 1753, and Istruzione necessari per che si volesse imparare il dilettevole giuoco dei Tarocchini, written anonymously but by Carlo Pisarri, 1754. The latter is now online, and the occurrences of "fante" can be seen at https://www.google.com/books/edition/Is ... ni%20fante. It is especially telling that in giving the order of cards by trick-taking ability in Coppe and Denari, in contrast to Bastoni and Spade, he uses the word "Fante" rather than "Fantesca" or "fantina", search terms for which no occurrences are found in this book.

Dummett knew of only two decks with Fantine, one “in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris from the end of the 17th century” and “a single-ended one made after 1725 in the British Museum.” He suggested 1690-1730 for the period in which the Fantine would have been in the deck. Pratesi gave 1650-1750. Dummett in 2003 said "first half of the 18th century," for the same reason as before, adding that since cartomantic meanings for the papi would be more likely than for the Mori, none of which are on the list, it would be most likely after 1725 ("Tarot Cartomancy in Bologna, The Playing Card 32:2, pp. 79-88). Caldwell in "A Brief History of Cartomancy" (https://www.academia.edu/6477311/Brief_ ... cartomancy) says only "before 1750". The Bologna University library currently dates the sheet at 1730-1740, Andrea Vitali tells me (personal communication).

The problem is that Vitali and Zanetti in Il Tarocchino di Bologna: Stia, Iconografia, Divinazione del XV al XX secolo, 2005, reproduce (albeit without commenting the the feature of interest here) cards from a deck that seems to date from 1770 and which also has Fantine in Coppe and Denari (as well as, of course, the 4 Mori). The deck in question, we are told on the 10 of Denari, is "CARTE FINE ALLA LEONE".

The date of 1770 is derived from a notation on the shield on the Fante of Spade. Next to it i have put the Fantesca of Denari:
Image


These are on (pp. 52-53 of Vitali and Zanetti. The Fantesca of Coppe is on p. 54. It was not I who noticed this date. I asked Andrea why he did not say in the book, "1725-1750" or "1725-1740" for the deck, as opposed to what he did say, "sec. XVIII", since it had the fantine. He said, "One of the cards has the date 1770 on it." He added that perhaps it was a reprint of something earlier. But if so, that only shows that there was a market for such decks in 1770, for whatever reason (I mean, whether for feminine purchasers or fortune-tellers).

So we must ask: although Dummett's conclusion, and Pratesi's after that, were reasonable, is it definitive? It seems to me that the mere fact that Bisteghi and Pisarri do not mention Fantesche/Fantini explicitly does not exclude their presence in decks of tarocchini or tarocchi at any time before 1800. They were talking about the rules, and for that purpose it makes no difference whether the cards in question were of males or females; only the suit is relevant. "Fante" might merely be a generic term.

Nor can we draw any conclusion about when the practice (of having female fanti) started from the Mitelli deck, as Dummett did. It is non-standard, and moreover if both types of deck were produced, with and without fantesche, the presence of one type does not exclude the other. Even in the sixteenth century there were decks with female pages, for example in the sheets of the Budapest groups, in particular https://www.printsanddrawings.hu/search/prints/5045, which has a female page of coins in the top row. On the same website we can see another sheet with all four as male, http://printsanddrawings.hu/search/prints/5050/. It is possible that this last is not a tarocchi; but there is another, https://www.printsanddrawings.hu/search/prints/5044, with the same cup-drinking male fante of cups on a sheet that clearly is a tarocchi, as is the one with the female fante of coins. These of course are from the B region, which includes Ferrara and Venice. But evidently there was no problem printing decks of both types (i.e. all male and half and half) at the same time, in the same region.

So I am left with the conclusion that the "pre-1750 Bolognese cartomancy sheet" is, compared to pre-1750, considerably more likely to be from the period 1760-1783.

Re: Is the Bologna cartomancy sheet really pre-1750?

#3
Thanks Mike, I think you're right too.

"Bonia" I presume is an abbreviated form of Bononia [Bologna] - which together with Docet [Bologna is the teacher] was used as a legend on Bolognese coins. That is:

Bonia
Docet

is an abbreviated form of the legend we find on Bolognese [Papal State] coins:

BONO
NIA
DOCET

Re: the phrase : "CARTE FINE ALLA LEONE"

The phrase 'Al Leone' appears on the back of the Tarocchi Fini de Franceso Berti of Bologna Tarot de Marseille style deck at the British Museum. (They date it to latter half of 17th century, but I think more probably latter half of the 18th.) It also appears on the shield of the Four of Coins with a bird motif.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Is the Bologna cartomancy sheet really pre-1750?

#4
The partial Bolognese tarocchino {presumably, as of the surviving cards there are two moors} at the British Museum has Bononia and the date on the shield:

BON
ONIA
1762 - [I think, I can't see it clearly.]

BM dates it 17th century, but it includes two moors among the surviving cards, so must be post-1725.
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edited to add: actually the more I look at it, the less sure I am that is actually a date!?
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
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Re: Is the Bologna cartomancy sheet really pre-1750?

#5
Another tarocchino with fantesca on cups and coins from the BM which the curator dates as possibly 1810, as the Al Mondo motif was also used on another set of cards from that time by Antonio de Maria.* The valet of batons has Bononia Docet on his shield, but not date:
Image
*The Cary-Yale also has Al Mondo tarocchino, but it dates it to c1760.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
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Re: Is the Bologna cartomancy sheet really pre-1750?

#6
I've looked at these items at the British Museum dozens of times - and it's only just hit me the 38 cards pasted into the book here:

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collectio ... -4548-1-38

Are the same as the 38 cards that appear on a single sheet, whose order iillustrates a sonnet here:

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collectio ... 0129-1-148

So it looks like the books cut-outs are from another copy of that sheet.

I think the sonnet the sheet is illustrating is one mentioned by Vitali:

"A poem, composed on Love using the names of the Triumphs, is found in a miscellany of prose and verse writings dating from the 17th‎‎to the 19th centuries that deal with religious, political and satirical topics concerning largely the Popes. The composition, entitled ‎‎With the Triumphs and with the figures of the Tarot Game in this arranged Order, poetically describes the force ‎‎of Love, describes the Love that at the helm of its chariot strikes with its lightning bolts, without any distinction, the heart of men affirming the madness of those who think to resist it, since Love rules over all that the sun and the moon illuminate, concluding with the affirmation‎ (figura 13)."

See figure 13, here:

http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=199

There is another copy of that sheet, with the accompanying sonnet, which I have seen somewhere online - but I can't recall where at the moment.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Is the Bologna cartomancy sheet really pre-1750?

#7
Thanks for the confirmatio, both of you..

So two now one more with fantesche, either 1760 or 1820, and another, dated to 17th-19th century in one place (but obviously post-1725) and "19th century" on a sheet. But somehow those "echings" (woodcuts?) don't look 19th century. And thanks for drawing attention to that figura 13. I keep forgetting that the English version doesn't include everything that is in the Italian.

Re: Is the Bologna cartomancy sheet really pre-1750?

#8
Now comes the denser part of my revisiting the Bologna cartomancy sheet.

Dummett asked, "Is there any connection between French and Italian tarot cartomancy?" (p. 80 of his 2003 article)?, adding, "If so, it could only have come through Etteilla." (For the article, go to viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1760&p=22186#p22186, where I have uploaded it.)

If I may put to one side his Alexis discussion, Dummett's next comment (p. 81) is
Certainly there is no correspondence between the meanings given to the trumps in the XVIII-century Bolognese list and those which Etteilla assigned to his trump cards when he began to practise Tarot cartomancy.
This is not totally true. First, since Dummett's chart did not reproduce very well at the link just given, here are the Bolognese 1760-1782 document's trump meanings (Vitali and Zanetti 2005, p. 80):
Angelo - Sposalizio e Accomodamento (Wedding and Arangement)
Mondo - Viaggio lungo (Long journey)
Sole- Giorno (Day)
Luna - Notte (Night)
Stella - Regalo (Gift)
Diavolo - Rabbia (Anger)
Morte - Morte (Death)
Traditore - Tradimento (Betrayal)
Vecchio - Un vecchio (An old man)
Forza - Violenza (Violence)
Tempra - Tempo (Time)
Carro - Viaggio (Journey)
Amore - Amore (Love
Bagattino - Uomo maritato (Married man)
Matto - Pazzia (Craziness)
There are actually six meanings in the Bologna document for trumps that correspond more or less to meanings in his 1783 3rd Cahier (see my translation at http://thirdcahier.blogspot.com/): Folly for the Fool, Death as a reminder of one's mortality, Voyage for World, Marriage for the Love card (as opposed to love; well, we know about Etteilla's unhappy marriage); Day for the upright meaning of a card of his own invention showing a sun above a moon, and Night for the Reversed of this same card. In Bologna those were the meanings of the Sun and Moon respectively.

The other 10 meanings in Bologna are far from what Etteilla says. 5 out of 15 is not nothing, but neither is it much, especially since Bologna's are mostly obvious. It is conceivable that Etteilla would have met Italians in his work as a print dealer, or Freemasons with Italian connections, some of whom we know had an interest in cartomancy. One of them might have known about Italian cartomancy - but all he could remember correctly were the obvious ones. Or Etteilla thought them up himself; with such suggestive cards, it is not hard to hit near the bullseye a few times, coming up with the easy ones. No systematic relationship is demonstrated, no information from a special source.

On the other side, it is clear that the Bolognese cartomancer couldn't have gotten those six meanings from Etteilla. His book wasn't published until 1783, and the papers with which the sheet were found end in 1782. But there is no reason why he should have.

Regarding the suit cards, of course, for us it is a different story, since Etteilla had published his book on those in 1770, which is just about right for Bologna, considering the mass of papers there from 1772-1773. Could the Bolognese cartomancer have used the 1770 book as his basis for the suit cards; meanings? Here we have to bear in mind, as Dummett does, the suit correspondences between the French Piquet deck and the French Tarot deck: Etteilla took Hearts as Cups, Diamonds (Carreaux, literally tiles) as Bastoni, Clubs (Trefles, literally Clovers) as Coins, and Spades (Piques) as Swords. This can be seen by comparing Etteilla's tarot assignments in 1783 with his Piquet assignments in 1770. It is also stated by de Mellet in 1781 (on p. 403 of Monde Primitif, translated by Steve in the "Library" here).

It is also a reasonable set of correspondences, independently of the actual derivation of French suits (from German ones). The suit of Coins in the Tarot de Marseille tended to have a four-petaled flower in the middle of their coins, and diamonds in the middle of the cards where the sticks crossed (Chosson, 1736, is below).
Image

Dummett then observes that there is one "striking coincidence": Bologna's 10 of Swords and Etteilla's 10 of Spades both have "tears" as their meaning. He reports three other correspondences. In two of them it is among cards of the same rank, not of the same precise cards. The Ace of Swords and the Ace of Diamonds both have the meaning "letter"; and the Ten of Coins means "gold" while the 10 of Diamonds has the similar "money". Another correspondence is between an Ace, that of Cups, and a Ten, that of Clubs, both meaning "house." Dummett rightly points out that we should not be surprised if meanings wander from card to card; they do the same if you compare the sheet with the meanings in later Bolognese sources. Dummett says he is uncertain whether Etteilla got his meanings from Italian cartomancy or not. He offers the possible hope that Decker's forthcoming book (which finally did come out 10 years later) would offer some defense of the idea that Etteilla's were derived from the Bologna (I don't see any). He does not consider the reverse question, apparently thinking that the sheet was too early to have been derived from Etteilla's book.

In 2005 Vitali and Zanetti repeated the four correspondences identified by Dummett, and no one has looked at the two lists since. Well, it is time to revisit them. Below I have given all the correspondences. There are no 9s or below because the sheet doesn't have any. There are no Knights because Etteilla doesn't have any. If it makes any difference, they can be considered later. I don't think they do.

The most accessible place to read Etteilla's lists is in Google Books' scans of the 2nd edition, 1773, at https://books.google.de/books?id=CI85AA ... &q&f=false, pp. 9-15. This reference is for anyone who wants to check my translations (and please do, as I make mistakes). In English, by ranks, the result is:
Image

As you can see, there are more correspondences than Dummett identified. There is "man" by itself in the Kings; this is not an obvious choice, given that the suits were readily and often associated with various professions, i.e. the clergy, the country lords or peasants, the nobility or military, and commerce. It is the same for "femme" by itself as Queen of Batons, linking with "Donna" in the Page of Cups; there is also "Table" in the Aces. The preceding 4 plus these 3 equal 7, out of 17, a not insignificant number.

There are others that could be a basis for the Bolognese cartomancer. "House tiles", coppe della casa, is a variation on the previous "house". Cartomantically what it means, at least as Terry Zanetti understands it (personal communication via Andrea), is "secrets under the roof".
Image

Moreover, we have to take into consideration that Bolognese court cards looked different from French court cards (Paris standard above). Hair color was easily associated with suits in France because of the red and black suit signs. This wouldn't work in Italy. In Bologna, what distinguished the Kings was bearded and older vs. non-bearded and younger. So of course we will have, instead of "blond man" in Hearts, "Old Man" in Cups. And "married woman" for the Old Man's Queen (since older men are married), and "whore" for the young king, perhaps also related to "woman of the world" in the other suit, Piques, with another young king. Below are the Dalla Torre Kings of Batons and Swords, together with the associated Queens (the standard bearded Cups and Coins Kings are in one of Steve's posts above),
Image

Then in Pages, we can see that it is a simple matter to take two of Etteilla's meanings, for boys, and identify them with women instead, since that is what the Bolognese cards have. You just take the meanings for the two suits of Valets which, in their French tarot versions, lack weapons, namely Hearts/Cups and Clubs/Coins. instead of boys (and of course forget about hair color),

These adjustments for the visual differences between French and Bolognese suits add a total of 6 to the 7 correspondences. we had. 13 out of 17 is not bad.

Only four of the Bolognese meanings are left out: Evil Tongue, Truth, Thought of a Woman, and Vexations. Evil Tongue pertains to the nature of Swords, i.e. wounding. The other three perhaps pertain to some local custom or partiality of the cartomancer, easy to remember. For example, there might have been a tradition in which the Page of Batons, with his "stick", might have been identified with a particular womanizer. Also, there might have been a saying, relating to Coins, similar to the English "Put your money where your mouth is", i.e Truth instead of talk. I do not know about "vexations". If the suit was associated with growth, via the countryside, then perhaps it has to do with bad fortune in that direction. Every suit needs to have positive and negative cards, at least one or two.

The process I have just described could also have worked the other way around, Etteilla or some other getting his keywords from an earlier version of the Bolognese list. In France the kings all look the same age and in Northern French decks they are all bearded. The differentiation is in the color and shape of suit signs, For the pages, the meanings applying to women are changed to those for boys. Women disguising themselves as boys was a conventional device in comedies, for example. The idea of Mars and Venus in the Aces of course derives from their suits, Spades and Hearts.

That there is a relationship between the two lists, bearing in mind the differences between French and Italian suits, seems clear enough; also, it is easy enough to have constructed one given the other. What is not yet determined is which of these directions is more likely. or when it would have occurred. I say the latter because een if the Bologna sheet is 1760-1782, those meanings, more or less, might have been written down earlier and gotten somehow to Paris, and likewise the other way around. Etteilla claimed to have written an "Abrege" for the Piquet deck as early as 1753, and again, that particular system, more or less, might have been in effect for decades or longer.

To judge which way was the major direction of influence, Etteilla's own testimony by itself is of dubious value, given his relentless self-promotion. His "Alexis" may not have existed. As DDD point out (note 16, p. 272), "Alexis Piemontese" was the pseudonym of a well known 16th century Italian author of a book of home remedies still readily available in French translation in Etteilla's day. Etteilla even said, in his Second Cahier, that his Alexis was a descendant of that one (see my translation at https://etteillastrumps.blogspot.com/20 ... whole.html). As a purchaser of large lots of paper goods at auction (DDD p. 80) he could easily have run across the name and decided it would be a good one with which to hide the identity of his true informant, perhaps a Freemason who wanted his name kept out of it.

Nor can we argue from the fact that since the tarot was first in Italy, therefore cartomancy must have started there. The reason is that cartomancy with the Piquet deck may well have preceded cartomancy with tarot cards, in the sense in which Etteilla inherited it. French suits were invented sometime between 1465 and 1480, which is before tarot cards were even known in France (except perhaps in the hands of a few Italian ladies there). Enough of a mythology existed around the court cards in France to provide a basis for symbolism that could then be applied to cartomancy, at least for the 32 cards of Piquet, a deck reduced in much the same way as the tarocchini.

Nonetheless I think there may be a way to determine the direction of influence, and even, up to a point, when, using just correspondences between the Bolognese sheet and Etteilla. I will try it out in another post.

Re: Is the Bologna cartomancy sheet really pre-1750?

#9
In my previous post I emphasized the similarities between Bologna 1760-1782 and Etteilla 1770. (Since posting I have corrected a few minor errors there in the chart.) There are also significant differences, ones that say something about possible transmission between Bologna and Paris.

First, while it is true that the same meanings wander among cards as we go through the history of cartomancy in Italy, these shifts are decades apart and probably due to errors in oral transmission rather than deliberate reinterpretations. After Etteilla's first cards in 1789 much the same keywords appeared in much the same places on Etteilla decks for 150 years, until 1977 for the Grand Etteilla I by Cartes France, but still not for Grand Etteilla II and III. The main shift was that on the Ace of Batons "Chute" became the Upright and "Naissance" the Reversed, and in a few cases when the word was the same Upright and Reversed, there was a different word for the Reversed. In an age when the written word is the primary means of transmission, variability is much less. My conclusion is that there was not enough time between 1770 and 1782, or 1760 and 1770, for the number of shifts that we see.

Second, the Bologna cartomancer has no reversals. These might have been left off on purpose or added on purpose, but it is an apparent difference.

Third, there is no significator card in Bologna, unlike for Etteilla. Having a special significator card was Etteilla's invention. Normally it was just one of the court cards. In reply it could be said that the Bologna cartomancer simply didn't care for that invention. Going the other way, it might be replied that Bologna did pick a significator ahead of time, but that this wasn't mentioned in the document. If so, the document becomes a record of a reading from the querent's perspective, who was not told some details. One common method of card-reading is to divide the cards into x number of piles and read only the pile where the significator is. On the other hand, the lack of a significator is also not part of modern cartomancy in Bologna.

The method of dividing a large number of cards into piles is not recorded in Etteilla or de Mellet. I am not sure what to make of this difference. It is similar to laying out cards in a succession of rows, which is seen in pictures of cartomancy in France of c. 1800.

An argument in favor of the transmission going from Bologna to Paris


Now I want to add some data on the Etteilla side that I think is helpful, namely, a "Petit Etteilla" included in the book Le Bohémien, contenant l’Art de tirer les cartes, suivi par l’Art d”Escamoter, et de l’application des Rêves aux Numéros de la Lotterie. My copy is Paris 1802, but it was originally 1797 according to DDD, note 65 on p. 275.

Although anonymous, there are good reasons to think the author, or at least editor, was Jacques Saint-Sauveur. After attending school in Paris, at least until 1772, he followed his father’s career in the diplomatic service and then wrote illustrated travel books; he also seems also to have been known for performing magic tricks, which is what the second half of Le Bohemien is devoted to explaining. Decker, Depaulis and Dummett state that he published a Petit Etteilla, i.e. a Piquet deck marked with Etteilla’s keywords, sometime in the last years of the 18th century. They also observe that the publisher’s address for the earlier printing of the booklet on magic tricks (Le Petit Escomoteur) is the same as that given for “citoyen” Saint-Sauveur for his Petit Etteilla.

L’Art de tirer les cartes is a compendium of different methods of reading ordinary playing cards, using different layouts and different sets of meanings. About the short treatise, again called Le Petit Etteilla, the editor says it is a transcription of a work that Etteilla printed privately for friends in 1771. In it are two sets of cartomantic meanings for the Piquet deck. The editor says that a copy fell into his hands, and he went to visit Etteilla in 1772, to ask permission to reprint it. He continues (p. 46; I thank Alain Bougereal for disentangling the first line):
Eteilla fut plus loin, et crut me devoir des obligations de réimprimer ce petit amusement, duquel il n'avoit prétendu tirer aucun parti; ayant donné cette manière de tirer les cartes a l'âge de quinze ou seize ans, et l'ayant vérifiée juste à celui de trente-trois.

(Eteilla went further, and considered that he should pay me if I reprinted this little amusement, from which he had not claimed to take any advantage; having given this way of drawing cards at the age of fifteen or sixteen, and having just verified it at thirty-three.)
Since Etteilla was born in 1738, Decker, Depaulis and Dummet point out, he would have “given” this work in 1753 or 1754, and “verified” its correctness in 1771. They note that what comes next “strongly resembles Etteilla’s own very peculiar style.” This early date is consistent with other reports attributable to him. A 1791 document, to which Etteilla gave his signature, also characterizes him as “giving” (donnant) his method in 1753. Somewhat confusedly, it also speaks of him writing an “abrège” (synopsis) in 1757. However in 1785 he said he wrote that work in 1753. In any case, its first set of meanings is much the same as those of his book of 1770.

As to where this system came from, the 1791 document mentions only “three elderly persons” imprisoned for cartomancy in Paris 1751-1753. This passage was misleadingly paraphrased by DDD, who say only that he "restored" their false meanings (p. 97), leaving it unclear on what basis he did so. Decker corrected this impression (The Esoteric Tarot, 2013). Rather than use his translation, I will give the French original plus as literal a translation as possible (I get the French from the little white book that accompanies the France Cartes edition of the Petit Etteilla, which agrees 100% with that in the British Museum, except for not including the address of "citoyen" Saint-Sauver at that time.):
Notre auteur, dès 1753, en donnant la manière de lire les significations adaptées aux cartes, avaid non seulement rediges les fausses significations que les trois personnes leur admettaient, chacune de leur côté; mais il avait en outre accordé ces significations, en prenant légitimement pour le neuf de coeur celle de la victoire, qui, par une autre de ces trois personnes, était mal à propos attibutuée au neuf de carreau, etc.

(Our author, from 1753, giving the manner of reading the meanings adopted by the three persons, not only rectified the false meanings that the three persons granted them, each on their part; but he also harmonized these meanings, taking from them legitimately for the nine of hearts that of victory, which by another of these three persons, was improperly attributed to the nine of diamonds, etc.)
What he did, according to this account, was to "harmonize" the three sets of meanings. Decker properly observes (Esoteric Tarot p. 183):
The fifteen year old Etteilla, although fascinated by the reading of cards, was alert to its inconsistencies, and he confidently addressed them. He tabulated the cards' meanings and issued the tables in print.
Etteilla does not say explicitly how he "harmonized" the meanings, but presumably he eliminated that given by only one, if the other two agreed on something else.

What follows in the 1802 text are these meanings of 1753-1757, as published in 1771. There are two sets, one much shorter than the other, due to there being many more Reversed meanings. Both are of interest. I have cut and pasted the relevant passages from the 1802, by suit, with the first set on top and the second on the bottom. Here are Hearts and Diamonds, then Clubs and Spades:

07BohemienCoeursCaros.jpg
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08BohemienTreflesPiques.jpg
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They largely agree with what he said in 1770. I now give a translation into English of the above (again, please check my translations against what preceded it, cut and pasted from the 1802 book), comparing them to the Bologna document again. You will notice that there are only two hair-colors. That, among other things, leaves spaces for other significations There are four new pairs of interest, which I have put in bold.
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In Kings we see a connection between Bologna and Etteilla that wasn't there before: between Bologna's "evil tongue" (mala lingua) and Etteilla's "evil man" (homme mechant).

In Queens we see a stronger connection between "whore" (P--ana) and the Queen of Swords, who is here not a "woman of the world" but a "femme gallante", which means "woman of loose morals". Etteilla substituted "femme du monde" in 1770. But in Bolognese cartomancy we see the term again in the 19th century: the King of Cups is "Gallantuomo P" and the King of Coins (these are the two older men in tarot depictions) is "Gallantuomo". But of course an older male "gallant" is not the same as a young female one. I also do not think it is the same as a "femme d'amour", which I interpret as "wife of love" - but I might be wrong. For these later occurrences of "gallant" see my list of all the Bolognese meanings, from the sheet and also the handwritten words on three later decks, spanning 1820 to 1920.

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In Pages we see Bologna's "piensiero da donna" in cropping up in Etteilla's Page of Hearts as "piensee d'un homme blond" (thought of a blond man). This term "Pensée de" never turns up again, although we do have "Pensée" by itself for the 7 of Hearts in 1770. In Bologna, however, "pensiero di..." appears numerous times. In the document there is precisely "piensiero della donna" for the Knight of Hearts., and in later Bolognese cartomancy, the Page of Bastoni "Bastone in pensiero" (as opposed to "Bastone in personne" for the Queen) and "Suo pensiero". The Knight of Swords later gets "piensiero di spadina" (thought of the dagger) and the Knight of Batons "piensiero della Regina" and "pensiero di lui". These later occurrences with "di" or "della" could not be due to Etteilla's writings, because by 1770 he had removed them everywhere. All that remained was "pensee" for the 7 of Spades.

In the Tens we see the words "courreaux" and "colere", both meaning "anger," which is just a strong version of vexation. Neither word ever appeared in the Petit Etteilla. Yet oddly it does appear in his Tarot, in the same reversed meaning.

Three of these four on the Bolognese side are ones that couldn't be matched to anything very well in Etteilla. The only one not matched is Bologna's "Truth" in Coins. So now there is a 95% match (16 out of 17), even if some of them take a bit of imagination. That is more than I would expect if the medium was simply word of mouth from practitioner to practitioner over decades. Even within Bologna, over a fifty year period, there isn't such a match. However since some of the associations are weak, it is still possible.

A feature of the two of these that have the closest match - "gallant" and "pensiero de..." is that they continue to be used in Bologna long after they have disappeared from French cartomancy. In fact they do not appear in any of Etteilla's books, just the 1771 booklet of quite limited circulation. This contrast leads me to wonder if these locutions, "gallant" and "piensiero de/pensée de" are more Bolognese than Parisian. If so the meanings on the Bologna sheet would indeed be at least 1730-1740 if not earlier, to get to Paris by the early 1750s.

An argument against this argument

However there is one eventuality that would reduce this quite reasonable argument to nothing, namely, if someone with Masonic connections had managed to obtain this very poorly distributed booklet and then traveled with it to Italy sometime between 1771, the year Etteilla reportedly printed it, and 1782, the last reasonable date for the Bologna sheet, where he circulated it among Masons in Italy, who then, for protection in case they were betrayed to the authorities (remember that the Index is in full swing and Bologna a papal city), reassigned the meanings to different cards.

This may seem like a remote possibility, but in fact there is someone who fits these conditions, namely Saint-Sauveur himself. His father was a career diplomat who, after years of suffering disgrace, even prison, in Paris, was given a position as consul to Trieste, in precisely March of 1772 (I get this information from the entry for Saint-Sauveur in an 1826 biographical dictionary that Steve linked to at http://tarotforum.net/showpost.php?s=38 ... ostcount=9). I would expect that the father would have gone first and then, perhaps even at the end of the school year, his family would have followed, including 15 year old Jacques. If he acquired the booklet in 1772 as he says, he would have had it with him going to Trieste. Even though then Austrian, the city was quite close to Venice, which of course is not far from Bologna. If he ever reprinted it, it would have probably been in this new milieu.

Moreover, he is not the only aristocratic French enthusiast of Etteilla-style cartomancy in the area around that time. In her 2018 book The Untold Tarot, p. 92, Caitlin Matthews gives a long quote from 1779 on the cartomantic meanings of the cards of the Piquet deck:
The general rules are as follows: the hearts indicate happiness and success in gallantry, and the diamonds, of one's interests and finance; clubs are favorable to one's ambitious views, and spades to war projects or military advancement; when contrary, the spades are unfavorable in the affairs of gallantry, the clubs must give reason to fear that financial and business interests go wrong, the hearts announce great disappointment in projects of ambition, and the diamonds act contrary to soldiers. If it is a married man who questions and is distinguished, the king is the most favorable card there is, if is a woman, then it is the queen, and if it is a young person, it is the Valet. The tens signify the greatest happiness or misfortune, then the nines, eights or sevens,in the decreasing order, and finally the ace is the smallest injury or slightest advantage.
Besides the use of the word "gallant" there are other connections with both the Bologna document and Etteilla, besides the obvious ones to men of distinction, women and young men. If Spades are unfavorable to "gallantry", that would explain some of the negative consequences of love in Spades: pregnancy, a trial, letters. tears. Another emotion being played with is trust, given that some Pages turn out to be traitors or thinking of women beyond their station, and women traitors or whores. Likewise the satisfactions of food and drink do not exactly prepare one for battle or other enterprises. Unfortunately de Paulmy does not say which Hearts and Clubs are unfortunate.

Matthews identifies that author as "Paulmy d'Argenson" and herself as the translator, but nothing else. In 1779 there are two people with that name, or rather combined title (Paulmy and Argenson). One was an army officer in Italy in the War of the Austrian Succession in the 1750s who then went back to his chateau in France. Although he published war memoirs, there is nothing from 1779. A more likely candidate is Marc Antoine René de Voyer de Paulmy d'Argenson, who was ambassador to Venice 1766-1770 (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Enc ... a/Argenson). He was also a renowned bibliophile, whose collection formed the basis for the Bibliotheque Nationale, as well as an editor, author, and translator. I notice that the British Museum does have a multi-volume work with 1779 as the initial publishing date (the Britannica indicates 65 volumes), but I have no idea how to access it. or find anything in it

Finally, one small additional bit of information comes from the play "Jack the Giant Killer" of 1730 London, with its four giants (we owe this reference again to Steve, http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=10):
First Woman. You. Lord Gormillan, are the King of Clubs; Lord Thunderdale shall be the angry Majesty of Spades; The Diamond Crown Lord Blunderboar shall wear; and King of Hearts Lord Galligantus shall assume.
Here it seems logical to me that "Galligantus" would be related to "Gallant", just as the other three names derive from the characteristics of their suits. ("Or" as gold in Clubs/Coins, "Thunder" for Spades/Swords, and "Blunder" for the strutting King of Batons) "Or" of course is French, as are the suit meanings, especially appropriate for their tarot equivalents.

Arguments against these arguments

However if Bolognese-style cartomancy passed by word of mouth to Paris, or by diplomatic pouch frm Venice to Masonic circles there, Etteilla's system could well be based on Bologna.

The Kings of "Jack the Giant killer" are of course what in cartomancy are known as significators. Even if there are none explicitly in the Bologna document, all the tarocchi appropriati in which cards are assigned to particular people in Bologna, whether ladies, parishioners, or canons, have the same function. Ross in his "brief history" describes something similar in Spain, where the Jack of hearts (female?) was assigned to the lady querent and the king and knight of hearts to the man she was interested in. If in the spread he ended up next to some other jack, that meant she had a rival. This was in the 16th century. I see no reason why such wouldn't have been widespread in Western Europe. In other words, Bologna, among other places in Northern Italy with "tarocchi appropriati", would seem a likely point of origin for the kind of connection of people with cards that is used in "Jack the Giant Killer". Nothing comparable has been found in France that I know of.

It is the same for Etteilla's method of building a prediction from a spread, as he describes it in the 1771-maybe 1757 - document:
La première carte que vous avez, supposons, tirée, est le sept de trèfle; la seconde, la dame de trèfle; vous devez dire, c'est de l'argent qui vient à une femme brune. Si la dame de trèfle étoit venue la première, et le sept de trèfle la seconde, vous auriez dit: c'est une femme (start 55) brune qui enverra de l'argent; à qui ? à la première figure qui vient après.

(The first card you have drawn, let us suppose, is the Seven of Clubs; the second, the Queen of Clubs; you must say, money comes to a brunette woman. If the Queen of Clubs had come first, and the Seven of Clubs second, you would have said: it is a dark-haired woman (start 55) who will send money; to whom ? to the first figure that comes after.
One must convert the keywords, in order, to words of a sentence, subject-verb-object. That is precisely what the tarocchi appropriati poems did, using the titles of the 22 tarot subjects. The only new thing is that the order of the sentence follows the order of the cards; from my experience, Italian word order is more flexible than French. Again, Italy and not France would be the point of origin, and it would be strange if the practice, after migrating to France, died out completely in its place of origin. While that did happen to the game in some places, notably Ferrara, the same cannot be said for Bologna, which seems to have clung tenaciously to old practices with the deck they considered a Bolognese invention.

Dummett in his article wondered what happened at the beginning of the 18th century that made people suddenly interested not only in cartomancy but in divination of all sorts (p. 79):
Was there a change in the attitude to divination in the XVIII century? So far as I know, no one has enquired into the question; but
it deserves enquiry.
He offers no answer. It seems to me that he needed only to look at the history of his own country, England, which in 1689 had its "Glorious Revolution," with freedom of the press to follow step by step in the decade that followed. Suddenly in that country references to cartomancy abounded. Such freedom could not but be felt next door in France, which eventually relaxed its censorship. If arrests suddenly show up in France for cartomancy in the 1750s, that may well be because others were doing the same practices without penalty, and it was only a matter of who one was or how public it was whether one suffered a penalty. In other words, people were always interested in cartomancy. but in an age of unpredictable censorship, it wasn't safe to say anything.

At least that's what I suspect. However what needs to be determined is whether either of the two French gentlemen I have mentioned had any contact with the person who left us the 1760-1782 document.

How they fit in, in case it wasn't clear in this somewhat disjointed post, is as follows:

First, A, if the Bologna meanings started in Bologna, then
either
A1. They move slowly by word of mouth and itinerant fortune-tellers to France and then London (in French), by 1830, and survive in France and arrive in Paris by 1750, in the form of three elderly people, from whom somehow the 15 year old Etteilla gets the information.

Or: A2, by 1768 or so, the system gets to Etteilla by means of a more aristocratic informant who is a frequenter of shops specializing in old prints such as Etteilla's. In that case, the information could have been received in France by route A1 or from NE Italy by way of someone with Masonic connections and an interest in cartomancy. The French ambassador to Venice 1666-1670 is such a person.

On the other hand, B, if Bologna received its information from France then either
B1.After developing in France with the Piquet deck, perhaps by 1730, it travels by word of mouth to Bologna, where the reading on the sheet is recorded between 1750 and 1782.
or
B2. The system, after coming to Etteilla's attention, gets to Italy by way of a French person who had purchased Etteilla's 1771 booklet in Paris and then moved to Northern Italy (including for this discussion Trieste), sharing it with Masonic elements there. They adapt it to Bolognese cards so that it can be used for a reading in Bologna before 1782. The Saint-Sauveurs are such a family.

That's as far as I can get at present.

Well, I can add two short things. First, I do not see any relation between the 6-9 in the later decks and Etteilla's 6-9. It is just the five ranks I have been talking about. Second, if we infer the missing meaning of the Page of Swords from its c. 1820 meaning, "ambasciata", it is an exact translation (or vice versa) of Etteilla's meaning for the Page of Spades, "envoyé": Etteilla in 1770 (p. 12) even says "ambassadeurs, envoyés". Of course by then someone could have gotten that from Etteilla's book, or the Petit Etteilla that Saint-Sauveur published. But that does not seem to have happened with any other cards (although perhaps the Queen of Swords' c. 1820 "afflizione", another meaning missing from c. 1770, has some affinity with "widow").

Re: Is the Bologna cartomancy sheet really pre-1750?

#10
mikeh wrote:
29 May 2020, 10:02
Moreover, he is not the only aristocratic French enthusiast of Etteilla-style cartomancy in the area around that time. In her 2018 book The Untold Tarot, p. 92, Caitlin Matthews gives a long quote from 1779 on the cartomantic meanings of the cards of the Piquet deck:
The general rules are as follows: the hearts indicate happiness and success in gallantry, and the diamonds, of one's interests and finance; clubs are favorable to one's ambitious views, and spades to war projects or military advancement; when contrary, the spades are unfavorable in the affairs of gallantry, the clubs must give reason to fear that financial and business interests go wrong, the hearts announce great disappointment in projects of ambition, and the diamonds act contrary to soldiers. If it is a married man who questions and is distinguished, the king is the most favorable card there is, if is a woman, then it is the queen, and if it is a young person, it is the Valet. The tens signify the greatest happiness or misfortune, then the nines, eights or sevens,in the decreasing order, and finally the ace is the smallest injury or slightest advantage.
Besides the use of the word "gallant" there are other connections with both the Bologna document and Etteilla, besides the obvious ones to men of distinction, women and young men. If Spades are unfavorable to "gallantry", that would explain some of the negative consequences of love in Spades: pregnancy, a trial, letters. tears. Another emotion being played with is trust, given that some Pages turn out to be traitors or thinking of women beyond their station, and women traitors or whores. Likewise the satisfactions of food and drink do not exactly prepare one for battle or other enterprises. Unfortunately de Paulmy does not say which Hearts and Clubs are unfortunate.

Matthews identifies that author as "Paulmy d'Argenson" and herself as the translator, but nothing else. In 1779 there are two people with that name, or rather combined title (Paulmy and Argenson).
I found the original French text of this some years ago while searching through the online collection of the BnF, and posted a translation of it I think on Aeclectic, and also at various times to the file section of several Facebook tarot groups.

Here is the translation I made at that time of the complete method, that I posted to the Facebook Tarot History group in March 2015:


An 18th Century method of divining by cards
Translated from "Mélanges Tirés d'une Grande Bibliothèque, Volume 2" 1779 by Marc Antoine René de Voyer de Paulmy d' Argenson.

I will teach you the great art of divining by the cards, an amusement we often have in the country when the parties are over. You are acquainted, no doubt, Madam, with the art of Patience, or drawing cards at once, but this is nothing. Instead I will, madam, put you in a position to answer all sorts of questions, to make an oracle of several card games. You are prudent, and have too much sense to give disagreeable answers to persons who could consult you, or to scare them: this is a very necessary precaution that every wise seer must take, because often predicted calamities frighten more than promised pleasures delight.

The general rules: the hearts indicate happiness & success in gallantry, and the diamonds, of one’s interests & finance; clubs are favourable to one’s ambitious views, and spades to war projects or military advancement: contrary, the spades are unfavourable in the affairs of gallantry, the clubs must give reason to fear that financial and business interests go wrong, the hearts announces big disappointment to projects of ambition, and the diamonds act contrary to soldiers. If it is a married man who questions & is distinguished, the king is the most favourable card there is, if it is a woman, it is the queen; & if it is a young person, it is the Valet. The tens signify the greatest happiness or misfortune, then the nines, eights or sevens in the decreasing order, and finally the ace is the smallest injury or slightest advantage.

According to these principles, we can query the Oracle: the questioner forms the question and writes it in the briefest possible words on a piece of paper, which is handed, folded, to the person who draws the cards. (If the questioner enters into the question the name of a person they do not want to make known, they can simply indicate the number of letters of which it is composed.)

The high priest, or high priestess of the Oracle, counts all the letters that are in the sentence of the querent, as they are written, without regard to good or bad spelling, then takes two sets of pique cards , making sixty-four cards , and shuffles them until well mixed together , and the person concerned cuts the pack. Then as many cards as there are letters are drawn, and all those ones mean nothing: it is the card which immediately follows that decides the fate, good or bad, according as it is a favourable colour or otherwise, and depending on whether it indicates the level of happiness or unhappiness. If it is a colour that is not relevant to the question, or if it falls on a woman, when it is a man who asks, or a servant when he is an old man married or widowed, in all these cases the cards are redone. If the questioner saw that the Oracle are difficult to explain , fears that it tells some bad success, he is master of his paper to throw it in the fire, and cease to question : but if he wants absolutely know what to expect , we shuffle the cards anew , cutting & pulling a second time , and up to three & four...

... it is for the one who takes care of the cards, never to admit some issues that can be put to them, for example, this: Is my wife unfaithful to me? Or: I still love Mr. ... or M. ..., does he love me still? These are objects that one should consult other Oracles with a sensible heart and a well mind. But one can rotate the question into one that is more suitable: here are some examples of things that can be asked, and on which the Oracle is able to answer. Will I be happy in my love? Will I be successful in my attentions? Suppose we adopt the last sentence, which contains thirty-one letters: first thirty-one cards will be drawn, and the thirty-second will be decisive. If it happens to be an ace of heart, the plaintiff is mocked, because it is proven that it will have only a very small success, if it is the ten of spades, he will complain; if it is a clubs, or diamonds, or a king, or a servant, when the questioner is a lady, then the Oracle does not answer. However it spoke, when the divination is over one must burn the paper that contains the question.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

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