Re: Gebelin: Introduction

The problem with "stars" is that in the same sentence he refers to the seven, presumably "astres", of the solar system. Presumably he is not crediting the Egyptians with thinking of Earth and Uranus as planets. He must be counting the sun and the moon as "astres". Since you don't have Google, my source is ... belin.html.
L'Ourse céleste, sur laquelle s'appuient tous les Astres en exécutant leurs révolutions autour d'elle, Constellation admirable représentée par les sept Taros, & qui semble publier en caractères de feu imprimés sur nos têtes & dans le Firmament, que notre Système solaire fut fondé comme les Sciences sur la Formule de sept, & peut être même la masse entière de l'Univers.
I could not find a good English-language source on Google for "Atlantes". In English, there was only one brief note, undocumented. By the way, you convince me about Horace.

Re: Gebelin: Introduction

mikeh wrote:
20 Jul 2019, 01:46
The problem with "stars" is that in the same sentence he refers to the seven, presumably "astres", of the solar system. Presumably he is not crediting the Egyptians with thinking of Earth and Uranus as planets. He must be counting the sun and the moon as "astres". Since you don't have Google, my source is ... belin.html
I can use google, it's only certain sites I can't access reliably/regularly, such as wikipedia, as they are blocked in Turkey. I did a google search too but couldn't find anything in English as relevant as the French site I linked to. I suppose I should add a note to the top that clicking on a bold text will take you to an external link...

He starts off with the 'admirable constellation' Ursa Minor (the [little] bear) -I presume it is the little Bear as that is the (northern) constellation around which the other circumpolar stars/constellations appear to circle (I don't think the ancient Egyptians, or any others, thought of or described the planets of our solar system as being 'circumpolar', but rather in terms of being geo- or helio-centric (I think some ancients did suggest the planets, including the earth, revolved around the Sun, though of course, it was the geocentric Ptolemaic model that prevailed until Copernicus). The 7 stars of the constellation are those to which the Latin name for 'North' [septentrio - seven thrones] refers, I presume the reason he attributes the constellation of the Bear to the 7 tarots (fool, bateleur, world and four kings?) is because of its ancient navigational significance and its 7 stars (by which the ancients defined North, rather than Pole star in particular, which wasn't so close then to the polar axis as it is now).

He then, as I read it, digresses to other examples of the septenary formula in operation, as in our solar system (with its seven ancient wandering stars / planets) and our sciences (the seven liberal arts?) suggesting that perhaps that this septenary formula operates throughout the whole universe. I am not sure what he means by them being characters of fire printed 'on' our heads and in the firmament. Does he mean 'on' or 'over' our heads? His description here reminds me of the kabbalistic notion of the hebrew letters being characters of fire imprinted in the universe, in time and in the soul. The seven double letters corresponding to the seven planets in the universe, the seven days in time - in relation to the body/soul they are [among other things] attributed to the two nostrils, two ears, two eyes and mouth of the head.
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

On the Death of M. Compte de Gebelin

On the death of M. Court de Gebelin.

"A long time ago, sir, I had foreseen that the death of Mr. Court de Gébelin, would furnish food for the envy that would still draw some arrows against Mr. Mesmer. The fatal moment has arrived. Sciences & the Homeland groans over the death of the famous author of The Primitive World. The relief he found last year with Mr. Mesmer, penetrated him with admiration and gratitude. He hastened to publish his cure, despite the representations made to him on this step, which was found premature. He thought he had recovered too well from a disease of twenty years, after three weeks of treatment; &, forced by unfortunate circumstances, he engaged in hard work, which, finally, exhausted his strength. Then he threw himself into the arms of his friend & liberator; but there was no longer time to repair a health destroyed by the most bitter illness. Mr. Mesmer received M. de Gébelin at his home in such a state of disrepair that, once he entered the apartment which had been prepared for him, he was not able to leave it to be transported for treatment. Mr. Mesmer was only able to provide him with the help of friendship. If you look at the report (a) which I have attached to this letter, you will find that the sickness in M. de Gebelin had made such considerable progress that it was no longer possible to cure it, and you will see how unjust are the accusations that are made against Mr. Mesmer, about an inevitable event (b).

a) I keep this record from one of the surgeons who signed it.
b) M. de Gébelin died as a result of vomiting, which, for the three weeks that it lasted, did not allow him to take any food: vomiting caused by the disorganization observed in the kidneys.

"Moreover, if there is a step that honours Mr. Mesmer, it is the one that he made when receiving M. de Gébelin at his home, he knew that his death was not distant, and he announced it to his best friend. He could apologize for receiving him, since he had dispensed for nearly a year from coming to his treatment, despite the requests that he do so. He could do so all the more as he foresaw only too much of the party that could be drawn against him from [receiving] M. de Gébelin, who died in his house, &, so to speak, in his arms. Such considerations did not stop him. M. de Gébelin was suffering & unhappy. Mr. Mesmer was his friend, and that was enough for Mr. Mesmer to welcome M. de Gébelin, and endeavour to relieve him in his ailments. This is how a man is behaving against whom, in this moment, a vile and dishonoured man is protected; this is how a man who, at this moment, would be robbed of all the fruits of his property, and even of the glory of duty, who made a great discovery, a glory so painfully & so legitimately acquired (c).

"I have the honor of being, etc.

"c) There is no doubt of all the incentives that are made to share with the dishonest man, whom Mr. Mesmer has publicly accused of a punishable breach of trust, the glory that belongs to Mr. Mesmer, as the author of a great discovery. We would believe that among those who approached Mr. Mesmer, there was one who was paid to reveal to Mr. d'Eslon what is being taught in Mr. Mesmer’s school. Mr. d'Eslon then, who, during the month of January, knowing no more than M. du Mountjoy, will know as much as a pupil of Mr. Mesmer; will tell the public that he owes what he knows to his genius, & will ask the government for rewards. Here are his new frames in which Mr. Mesmer is enveloped: & if we knew by whom these frames are woven... etc. "

"The facts that we are talking about here will soon be made public."
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: Gebelin: Introduction

My argument for "celestial bodies" was weak. Let me try again.

"Astre" as opposed to "Etoile" in general should be translated as "celestial body", because he calls both the sun and the moon, in the previous parts, "astres". (This is perfectly correct even today, in Italy as well as France. )

Ce Peuple unique pour les allégories, comparoit les Tropiques à deux Palais gardés chacun par un chien, qui, semblables à des Portiers fidèles, retenoient ces Astres dans le milieu des Cieux sans permettre qu'ils se glissassent vers l'un ou l'autre Pôle.
Here he is referring to the sun and the moon.

Le Soleil est représenté ici comme le Père physique des Humains & de la Nature entière: il éclaire les hommes en Société, il préside à leurs Villes: de ses tayons distillent des larmes d'or & de perles: ainsi on désignoit les heureuses influences de cet astre.
In general, I think, terms in the original should be translated by the same terms in English to the extent allowed by the sense. Otherwise we are misleading people into making distinctions when none exist in the original. You translated these other occurrences of "astre" and "astres" correctly, as "celestial body/bodies".

When he says that the "sept etoiles" are the "sept Planetes", however, "stars" is correct, since the word is "etoile".

Re: Gebelin: Introduction

Here I go again:

memoirs he procured - memoirs he has procured

at the same time that it - which at the same time

civil game, in which it prevailed over the latter. - civil game, in which it excelled over the latter.

performed between themselves - performed among themselves

card decks used by the Spaniards, we can not help - decks of cards used by the Spaniards, we cannot help

perfectly to that of the Tarot. - perfectly to that of Tarot.

transmitted in France - transmitted into France

the Duke of Guise, Americans. - the Duke of Guise, the Americans.

NAYPES, of the oriental word Nap, which means to take, hold: word-for-word, the SUPPORTS [? TENANS]. - NAYPES, from the oriental word Nap, which means to take, hold [tenir]: word for word, the UPHOLDER [TENANS].

BASTE or batons. - BASTE or baton.

There are forty of them, called NAYPES or [?Tenans]. - There are forty of them, called NAYPES or Upholders [Tenans].

those who have overcome to defeat their enemies. - those who in the end have defeated their enemies.

formed in full on the game of tarot - formed entirely from the game of tarot

only a small imitation - only a little imitation

the reign of Charles VI, and to amuse this weak and infirm Prince; but what we believe in our right to assert is that - the reign of Charles VI, to amuse this weak and infirm Prince; but what we believe we have reason to assert is that

we would even be right in assuming - we would have reason to suppose

since Ducange [to the word "Charta"] attributed to St. Bernard of Siena, contemporary of Charles V, for having condemned to the fire, not only masks & the game of dice, but even Triumphal Cards, or the game called Triumphs -
since Ducange attributed to St. Bernard of Siena, contemporary of Charles V, having condemned to the fire not only masks & dice for gambling, but likewise Triumphal Cards, or the Game called Triumphs.

The same Ducange contains the Criminal Statutes of a city called Saona, which defend card games. - We find in the same Ducange the Criminal Statutes of a city caled Saona, which likewise forbid card games.

than S. Bernard de Sienne: would he have confused with the dice & the masks a newly invented game to amuse a great king? - than St. Bernard of Siena: would he have combined with dice & masks a game newly invented to amuse a great king?

invented after the Tournaments - invented after [from the inspiration of] Tournaments

did the baton become a club? - did the Baton become a clover leaf [trèfle]?

How do the heart and the diamond correspond - How do the heart and the tile [carreau] correspond

Likewise, what idea explains the names - Likewise, what idea introduces the names

that are not even relative to - that are likewise not related to

that these allegories were forced? - [to] which these allegories are forced? (My guess!)

but is this single relation sufficient to obscure all epochs? - but is this single relationship sufficient to blur together all the epochs?

We were here when we were told of a work by the Abbé Rive, where he discusses the same object: after having sought it in vain at most of our booksellers, M. de S. Paterne lent it to us. -
We were at this point when we were told of a work by the Abbé [Abbot] Rive, where he discusses the same subject: after having sought it in vain at most of our booksellers, M. de S. Paterne is lending it to us.

Roman d'Artus, Count of Bretaigne, and the other, the Romant de Pertenay or Lusignen, by M. l'Abbe Rive, in Paris, 1779, in 4o. 36 pages. - Story of Artus, Count of Brittany, and the other the Story of Pertenay or Lusignen, by M. l'Abbé Rive, in Paris, 1779, in 4o [quarto]. 36 pages.

not to play cards. - not to play cards."

Little Jean de Saintré was honoured with Charles V favours only because he played - Little John of Saintré was honoured by the favors of Charles V only because he played (I think Petit Jean was what he was called, so either Petit Jean or Little John).

they called them the Tuchim Valets. - the Valets were called Tuchim.

in this country and in the Venaissin country such a horrible ravage - in this county and in the county of Venaissin such horrible ravage

We even feared in introducing them to injure decency, and we imagined accordingly a pretext: it was that to calm the melancholy of Charles VI. - They feared in introducing them to injure decency, and they imagined accordingly a pretext: it was to calm the melancholy of Charles VI.

witchcraft - sorcery.

However, the means to live and not to play! So we invented more human games,- However, the means not to play! So they invented games more human,

that were never doomed to the forbidden like those cursed cards from Egypt, but which nevertheless dragged themselves far on this ingenious game. - that were never doomed to be forbidden like those cursed cards from Egypt, but which were nevertheless dragged along from afar on this ingenious game.

And above all, the game of Piquet, since we play it with two people, that we discard, that we have sequences, that we go to a hundred: that you count the game that we have in hand, and the levies, and we find many other relationships so striking. -
From there above all, the game of Piquet, since we play it with two people, we discard, we have sequences, we go to a hundred, we count in the game what we have in our hand, the raises, and a number of other such striking connections.

diverse - different

perfectly rectify - rectify perfectly

proposals...demonstrated. - propositions ...demonstrated.[:]

That the cards - That Cards

older than cards. - older than that of Cards.

eyes of public - eyes of the public

of the diviner - of divining

transmitted up to - transmitted to

to reduce in science the result of their combinations on the dreams whose divinity allowed their fulfilment; - to reduce to science the result of their combinations on dreams which the Divinity permitted the accomplishment;

a game of Piquet - a Piquet deck

This 'one-eyed' name, - This name of 'one-eyed',

to take care of objects - to deal with subjects

Re: Gebelin: Introduction

Here are some suggestions for notes on the trumps:

1. I hope you will include Horace 22nd ode, as I am convinced you are right.
2. its only value is that which it gives to the others: possibly refers to the use of the Fool to complete sequences, although this is a rule that he does not mention when discussing the rules.

1. Jacob's staff or rod: (1) possibly a reference to Gen. 30:37-42, well known from Shylock's paraphrseit in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (1.3.79-111). Jacob increased his flocks at the expense of his uncle Laban by means of speckled rods placed before strong ewes in heat, which caused the ewes to give birth to speckled young, which Laban had said would belong to Jacob. (2_In Jewish traidition, Jacob's staff, with which he crossed the Jordan, is the same as that of Moses and Aaron. So when Jacob crossed the river Jordan, it parted for him at the touch of his staff.

High Priestess and High Priest
1. Horns of Isis. On the headdress of the principal goddess of the "Table of Isis".
2. Table of Isis. This is the so-called "Bembine Tablet", from its first known possessor, Pietro Bembo of Venice. Scholars today date it to Rome in the 4th century c.e., made by someone familiar with Egyptian hieroglyphs but not with Egptian syntax. In copies of the Tablet, letters in Greek and Latin were inserted for ease in identifying specific details.At that sign on the tablet the god Ptah holds a staff with several crosses.
2. Festival of Pamylia: Plutarch, Of Isis and Osiris 36, at ... and_Osiris.

Osiris Triumphant.
1. The sun as the physical symbol of Osiris: Plutarch, Of Isis and Osiris 51.

1. 'FIDEI SIMULACRUM', depicting marital faith. The man Gebelin names, in 2nd century Rome, did make a monument to his wife of the name given ( ... elegstelle), but whether it had on it the motto indicated is a matter for further research. The emblem was used by Alciato, Emblemata, Augsburg, 1531, entitled "FIDEI SYMBOLUM," in which "chaste love", Anteros, naked, stands between Truth, naked, and Honor, clothed. Cartari, Imagini degli Dei degli Antichi ( Images of the Gods of the Ancients), 1647 edition, has it with the title "FIDII SIMALCRUM", with the motto, "Image of Faithfulness: Truth is mother, Honor is Father, Love is their bond." All the figures are clothed.

1. Tears of Isis: Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.32.18, at

Dog Star
1. Isis as dog-star and Sothis, Of Isis and Osiris 21, 61. Horapollo, Hieroglyphica, Book 1, section 3
2. Rising of Dog-star heralding the Nile inundation, Of Isis and Osiris 38-39
4. Opening of the year: seems implied by Horapollo, Hieroglyphica, Book 1, sections 3 (year) and 5 (season), together with Plutarch, as above.
5. Butterfly: a bird on most versions of the card, but in the Besancon used in Switzerland it could be mistaken for a butterfly. There were two birds that symbolized regeneration. One was the Phoenix, in Horapollo, Hieroglyphica, II. 57. The other was the Ibis, but I do not know a pre-Gebelin source.

1. paraded a skeleton: Plutarch: Of Isis and Osiris 17.
2. Maneros, Herodotus, History, book II, at

1. As brother of Isis and Osiris, Plutarch, Of Isis and Osiris 61.

1. Rhampsinitus and the clever thief: Herodotus, History, book II, at

Time, Badly Named the World
1. egg from which everything emerged in Time: Orphic fragments, at

Also, later there is a reference ot St. Bernard of Siena and his stated burning of "carte triumphale". The source is Acta Sanctorum, vol. XVI (May, vol. V), Antwerp, 1685, which printed three Lives of the saint, of which the reference to triumphales carticellae in Bologna 1423 is in the first and latest, written sometime after the translation of the saint's body in 1472. Two earlier Vitas do not mention this particular sermon, number 42, preached in Bologna 1423. One mentions a sermon preached in 1425 Siena, number 41, which mentions kings and queens but not triumphs. As Vitali points out, this only shows that triumphal cards had not reached Siena by that date and has no bearing on the accuracy of the Vita written later. See However Charles V and Saint Bernardino were not contemporaries. Charles V died in 1380, the same year St. Bernardino was born.

As for when playing cards reached Europe, the only secure date, as Pratesi has shown in a series of notes (for Spain, see ... l-s_6.html; more notes on other regions are on the sidebar); however Spain remains a liely point of entry as indicated by early insecure dates, due to its proximity there to Arabs in general and Mamluk troops in particular. Muslim law forbade gambling, but Mamluks, brought at first as slaves from non-Muslim areas and continuing to maintain contact with relatives, would have been especially loose in their observance.

Re: Gebelin: Introduction

Thanks for the amendments and links/notes Mike :D

(A few of the links are already incorporated in the text, but there are some new notes, links I will now add too).
mikeh wrote:
04 Aug 2019, 09:01
Steve: What is the source of that account of the death of M. de Gebelin?
It is already in the post - if you click on any bold text in a post it will take you to an external link (right click and choose 'open in a new tag' if you want it to appear in a separate tag).
Also, I have been trying to find the source Gebelin gives for the "FIDEI SIMILACRUM" monument. It shold be at ... 0154/image, which is volume 3 of Boissard's Antiquites, plate 36. But it isn't.
Isn't that plate 136, not 36? I cannot find a plate 36 in there, they seem to start at plate 43/44...?

There is quite a lot on it, including the same Boissard reference (Antiquities, vol III, p.36), in German here: ... i_Symbolum“)

The engraving by Theodroe de Bry is I think this one (? it is indeed numbered 36...) ... 0861-1.jpg

I have been looking for the Ducange reference (to St Bernard of Sienna), it should be under CHARTE, but it isn't as far as I can see.
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: Gebelin: Introduction

Thanks, Steve. I thought maybe the "136" was maybe "I 36", that is, 36 of part I. I could find no other 36.

Yes, the de Bry is undoubtedly the one. When you click on the little phrase at the bottom left of your link, you get , which identifies it (as does note 19 of the main article" as "aus J. J. Boissard, V. Pars Antiquitatum Romanarum sive III. t. ..., Ffm. 1600, Taf. 36 / K 1. Nach dem Original."

Perhaps that is a different book, or at least editin, than the one I linked to, which was "Boissard, Jean Jacques... Pars Romanae Vrbis Topographiae & Antiquitatum (Band 3): Topographia Romanae Urbis iam inde ab V.C. ad nostra usque temporae maxime quando in summo flore fuit, accuratissima Plateae eiusdem cum aedificijs & magnificis structuris publicis, effigiate & ordine digestae, Descriptio .. — Frankfurt a.M., 1597 [Cicognara, 3626-1]

"Pars Romae Vrbis Topographiae" is not the same as "Pars Antiquitatum Romanarum", nor is the date, 1597 vs. 1600. Well, at least you have the right image.

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