Re: The order of trumps

marco wrote:I just posted on Tarotpedia a translation of the excerpts from Susio published by Renier.
Thanks Marco :)

Shame Renier chose to censor the tercets - are the missing ones available somewhere?
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: The order of trumps

SteveM wrote: Shame Renier chose to censor the tercets - are the missing ones available somewhere?
Yes, it's a pity that the whole poem is not available.
I attach a table that presents a few variants of the Western aka C order. I have highlighted a few cards that cause the differences between Alciato, Susio, Piscina and Vieville. BTW, the attribution of the poem to Susio is far from certain.

(Thanks to MikeH for pointing out a few spelling errors)
(155.41 KiB) Downloaded 342 times

Re: The order of trumps

Marco wrote
I attach a table that presents a few variants of the Western aka C order...
Marco, your chart is an excellent way of displaying the variations in "C" orderings (where "C" is defined by the placing of Temperance in the 14th spot, I presume).

It is marred mainly by a few spelling errors.

In the Vieville:
IV is spelled LANPEREUR
VI is spelled LAMOUREUX

Also, in the words on the Ace of Coins and Two of Cups from which the titles come (, there is an apparent title whose reference is not clear: DAME. It might be either X (although there is no image of a woman, Fortuna was always considered a lady) or XIIII (which has a woman pouring liquid from one vessel to anther; Fama, too, was a lady). Kaplan gives DAME to XIIII. I would add "DAME?" as the title in both places.

In the Noblet:
I is spelled LLBATELEUR
VI is spelled LAMOUREUX

The other three lists look fine. But for Alciato, Ross has established that the correct dating is 1544 (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=747&p=10735&hilit=Alciati#p10736).

Re: The order of trumps

Marcos (mmfilesi), you've put together an impressive summary of the orders and spellings of the trumps, with references. My comments:

(1) I think it is generally agreed that the numbers on the cards in a few decks (Charles VI, d'Este) were added sometime in the period we are looking at. Therefore they are relevant to the discussion in this thread, even though not of the date estimated for the cards. Presumably they were put there by the person who owned these rather expensive decks; as such they have some claim to represent what was thought in that person's circle to be the ranking of the cards. They are no less authoritative than some poet's ranking of the sequence in the same era.

(2) The Cary-Yale has an ordering that predates its acquisition by the Beinecke Library (as I have verified by email from a librarian there). This way of ordering is structurally similar to the Michelino trump-order. Probably no one but me finds this significant; but all the same I think it is best to include as much relevant data as possible, with statements as to their degree of security. Much of what is stated about these early cards is not secure.

As can be seen on the Beinecke Library site, the ordering is (using the names conventionally associated with those pictures):

Swords: Empress, Emperor, Love.
Batons: Fortitude, Faith, Hope.
Cups: Charity, Chariot, Death.
Coins: World/Fame, Judgment.

(3) Other decks perhaps worthy of mention are the Leber and Cicognara, which are likely the same deck (

(4) There are inaccuracies in card titles. See Marco's table and my previous post. And of course the dates are often disputable, as you indicate.

(5) For the early "Marseille" style decks, there are variations in the titles of the trumps, mostly in spellings (the most frequent are IMPERATRISE/IMPERATRICE, CHARIOR/CHARIOT, LERMITE/L'HERMITE, TENPERANCE/TEMPERANCE, LESTOILLE/LETOILLE/LE TOILE/LES ETOILES, for which see ... llery.html), Also, Dodal has, for the unnumbered and II, LE FOL and LA PANCES (

Similar to the "Marseille" trump titles is the list given by La Maison Academique Contenant les Jeux, 1659 (Kaplan II p. 190). The only new variations are "Basteleur", "Rouë de fortune" (with the two dots over the e), and "Maison de Dieu". It also has "L'Hermite", the first occurrence I've seen of that spelling. These variations do not affect the order, of course.

Re: The order of trumps

I want to add some things about the number 17.

Pen wrote
It's worth noting though, that (in my experience at least), it's far more difficult to fit Death into 17th place than to leave it at the 13th.
It is not difficult for Death to have gotten the number 17. It is just that we have no evidence that it was, and much evidence to the contrary. Some people were thought to be captured by the Devil (as in the Cary Sheet) before death. "World," if interpreted as this-worldly fame or fortune, might also precede Death. And "Death" would naturally follow the image of lightning hitting a tower. Admittedly such a tarot sequence would be considerably outside the experience of any of us.

Ross wrote
All writers on Tarot, who have taken notice of it, have taken the association of 13 with misfortune, and by extension death, for granted - except for Etteilla, who explicitly rejects it, for dogmatic reasons that may be connected to the number 17 (see below):

"The false savants have said that the number or sign of death was 13, and in consequence they assigned Death 13. But this Book takes man in his creation, and it is recognized that Adam was in no way subject to death at the number 13 but at that of 17."

(from the Deuxième Cahier, quoted by Jacques Halbronn in "Etteilla: L'astrologie du livre de Thot (1785), suivie de Recherches sur l'histoire de l'astrologie et du Tarot", p. 31)
I want to expand on Ross's point. Etteilla claimed to have been introduced to the tarot by "un sage Piémontois (a) très-agé, & se disant petit fils d'Alexis dit le Piémontois" (a wise, very old Piedmontese, who said he was the grandson of Alexis said the Piedmontese) (2me Cahier, pp. 136f; for the context and my attempt at its translation see ... tcount=130). Footnote (a) goes into more detail; the man himself was also named Alexis, and Etteilla spent much time with him learning about the tarot ( p. 137).

This better known "Alexis Piemontese" was the author of a 16th century book of remedies, translated from Italian into French in 1557; it can be seen on the internet at ... &q&f=false. Etteilla's expression "Alexis dit le Piémontois" indicates that "le Piémontois" was not actually his last name, but given to him in France because he was from Piedmont. (The book's introduction indeed says the author was "un Piemontois.") 200 years is too great a gap in time for Etteilla to have met the grandson of this Alexis (unless indeed he had the famous elixir). But there may have been some relationship, if Etteilla ever met such a person.

Wicked Pack of Cards tells us that Etteilla traveled a lot, made his living buying and selling old books, etc. (perhaps even the book of 1557), and lived for a time in Strasbourg, on the Rhine about 250 miles directly north of Piedmont. Since Etteilla associated tarot with Piedmont and would surely have come into contact with Italians, his view that 17 was associated with death likely has an Italian origin.

Re: The order of trumps

Marcos, your links give me access to essays I didn't know existed. Unfortunately for me, they are in Italian. The Google translations are not very clear.

So I compared your lists with those in "Andy's Playing Cards" ( I have found discrepancies in just one case: the Invettiva. It is clear that Andy did not pay attention to the part written by Imperiali, part of which is cited by Vitali ( ... 550/#c1306. On the other hand, it seems to me that you did not attend to the part by Lollio, cited by Zorli ( ... to-lollio/). (In the poem, Imperiali replies to a tarocchi poem by Lorrio, with a tarocchi poem of his own.)_

Fortunately Tarotpedia ( ... ra_1550_ca) has posted both parts, with marginal annotations in the Imperiali part to help us identify which lines apply to which cards. I think their interpretation of Imperiali is right, except that I don't agree that the 13th trump is left out (see below). However I don't agree with what you say, either.

Imperiali puts the descriptors of the cards in reverse order, corresponding to the standard B order--I think exactly so--but doesn't always use the titles, sometimes just descriptive phrases. Lollio uses titles, but not all, and seems often to depart from the order. For example, he puts Stella, Luna, and Sole before Morte but considerably after Matto, Bagatella, and Papessa.

Tarotpedia does not pick out which words on the designated lines they think are the relevant ones. For that, we are on our own.

Combining the words from both Lollio and Imperiali, and using Tarotpedia (mostly) as my guide for Imperiali, this is what I came up with:

[0] Il Matto/"pazzi in tutto"
[1] Il Bagatella/"buffoni, et giocolari"
[2-5] La Papesse (the only title of these four that Lollio gives)/"il Papa, con l’Imperatore/ Et ciascun d’essi hà la sua donn’ à canto.. l'un [the Emperor] Sacro, l'altro [the Pope] Santo" (Tarotpedia's annotations are in brackets. The order is not entirely clear, because one line puts the two men in one order, and the other in a different order. But since the Emperor is always below the Pope, and each has his woman by his side, it is probably the usual B order of [2] Empress [3] Emperor [4] Popess [5] Pope, as Marco says at viewtopic.php?f=8&t=465#p5959.
[6] Imperiali only: "a' quella, c’ha due vasi,un’alto, e un basso" (to her that holds two vases, one high and one low)
[7] Il Carro/"suo carro"
[8] Imperiali only: "Amor"
[9] La Fortezza/"la forza"
[10] La Ruota/"la Fortun' ruota"
[11] Il Gobbo/"'l vecchio saggio"
[12] Il Traditor/"la prudenza, e la malizia" (I think both are meant, because the card has a double meaning. Tarotpedia indicates neither, implying that the 12th card is simply left out of this part. Reading the Google translation of Vitali, it seems like he opts for just prudenza. But I'm not sure: his argument, that the card is showing that betraying God is not prudent for one's soul, seems to me to imply both parts of the equation. The betrayer depicted, especially in the image with moneybags, is Judas, acting out of malice.)
[13] La Morte/"la Morte" (Since Morte always gets that number, "bilancia," which one might have thought was a trump, isn't one.)
[14] Imperiali only: "il Demonio."
[15] L'Inferno/"Dal chiaro Ciel, scende nel scuro centro, /Et ritrova l’Inferno, e le sue pene" (from the luminous sky down to the dark center, finding Hell and its torments)
[16] la Stella/"quella/Ch’à naviganti da non poca spene" (the one that gives hope to navigators)
[17] la Luna/"alla Sorella" [del Sol] (sister of the Sun)
[18] Il Sol/"vi’l Sol"
[19] Imperiali only: "l'Angel del Ciel"
[20] Imperiali only: "alla Giustitia"
[21] Imperiali only: "il Mondo"

Re: The order of trumps

I originally wrote, in my last post
[14] L'Inferno/"il Demonio" (It seems to me that Lollio meant "Inferno" to apply to the Devil card, because Imperiali objects that the Devil isn't found there, but in the World.)
[15] Imperiali only: "Dal chiaro Ciel, scende nel scuro centro" (from the luminous sky down to the dark center)
Upon reflection, it seems to me that Marcos is right: Inferno doesn't go with Demonio, it goes with the one after that, because other lists then have "Casa di Pluto," "Casa del Diavolo," etc.

So I have edited my previous post accordingly, to read:
[14] Imperiali only: "il Demonio."
[15] L'Inferno/"Dal chiaro Ciel, scende nel scuro centro, /Et ritrova l’Inferno, e le sue pene" (from the luminous sky down to the dark center, finding Hell and its torments)
I also added one more sentence to my comment on [12]: ...The betrayer depicted, especially in the image with moneybags, is Judas, acting out of malice.

Re: The order of trumps

It seems to me that Marcos's list number 16, that of the Anonymous Discourse, is problematic regarding its last seven. Here are the last eight in Marcos's list:
[14] Diavolo
[15] Stella
[16] Luna
[17] Sole
[18] L’Angelo
[19] Giustizia / Iddio
[20] Giudicio
[21] Mondo
Next, here is the Italian, followed by the English translation, of the relevant passage, essentially the last paragraph and a half of the essay.



And here is the translators' footnote 42:
42 del Cielo; This title for the card is paralleled in Vincenza Imperiali's Risposta to to Alberto Lollio's Invettiva contra il giuoco del tarocco (1550), line 263, which also follows the B order. Other lists of the B order call it Saetta, Fuoco, or Casa (del Diavolo). For a recent transcription of Lollio's Invettiva and Imperiali's Riposta, see Zorli 2010.
"Zorli 2010," the translators' bibliography says, is a "downloadable pdf file at

According to the translators, then, the title of the trump following Diavolo is "Cielo." It seems to me that it could also be "Cieli"; we don't know for sure. "Cielo" appears in the context of the seven cards as a whole, as where the soul that escapes the Devil ends up. When the author is listing the cards in sequence (including also Stella, Luna, and Sole) he uses the term "Cieli."

So we have: [15] Cielo or Cieli

This of course makes Stella, Luna, and Sole numbers 16, 17, and 18. It also creates a problem: if Marcos's list is otherwise correct, we have too many cards.

The next word our author gives that might be the title of a card is "Angelo." On the card, what we usually see is an angel blowing a trumpet calling souls to judgment. Sometimes this card is called "Angelo" and sometimes (in French) "Jugement," the Italian for which is "Jiudicio." But which is it here? It seems to me that our author knows both names (just as he knew the two names "Gobbo" and "Tempo") and gets confused. First he misinterprets the meaning of "Angelo":
Each of them [the "supernatural creatures of Gods," i.e. heavenly bodies] depends on its own intelligence which is the Angel, who governs them and moves them...
If that were true, "Angel" wouldn't be the name of a separate card at all, but merely refer to different beings that govern Stella, Luna, Sol, and the Cieli. Perhaps that is what the author is thinking, so that he can still have seven cards after Morte. However that may not be true of the deck he is trying to interpret, since he has misinterpreted one of its titles.

Then comes "Giusticia." No argument about that title. The problematic one is "Giudicio," and also the order of the cards. In decks with "Jugement," i.e. "Giudicio," that card (the one with the angel) would be number 20. In decks with "Angelo," the same card is number 19. Since our author is confused, we not only don't know the name of the card, we also don't know whether it is 19 or 20.

Also, I don't think our author means "Iddeo" to be part of the title of a card, because he says
He [i.e. Iddio] is represented by Justice
So here is what I get for the last seven cards:

[15] Ciel or Cieli
[16] Stella
[17] Luna
[18] Sole
[19]-[20] disorder: Giustizia, plus Angelo or Giudicio
[21] Mondo

We might be tempted to say, well, the deck is the usual B sequence, so the order in all likelihood is [19] Angelo and [20] Giustizia. I don't think we can draw this conclusion, because the deck is in other ways not a usual B sequence. No other B sequence has a Cardinal and a King, and puts its Pope beneath both this King and his Emperor, which are "the highest dignities." No other B sequence has a Prudenza, in the place where Temperanza would be. The anonymous author either has before him a deck that has messed with the B Sequence, or he himself is messing with a B sequence deck (or both). Since we don't know the extent of the changes, it has to remain as I have stated.

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