Re: Trionfi card poem by Pico de Mirandola

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Phaeded: I doubt if Scholem meant to include Pico in his list of charlatans. Jewish scholars have examined his first set of "Cabalistic theses" (Farmer p. 345 ff: I do not mean the second set, which Huck cites) and found little to complain about. The translations he used were pretty good, despite early suspicions that they were tainted by Christian interpretations, and they enabled him also to consult the Hebrew originals. In fact Pico's manuscripts are a treasure-trove of Jewish Kabbalah, most of which have yet to be translated from the Latin. That said, I have to say that I find Pico's first set of Kabbalist theses, his observations on what the "Hebrew Wisemen" said, more interesting than the second.

Also, Scholem had the erroneous assumption that Jewish mysticism developed independently of mystics in other religions, which Idel among others has shown to be false. There was always much interaction and borrowing among them. For example, the idea that Saturn would be associated with Binah rather than one of the "lower seven" is first seen in Alemanno, whose work shows abundant influence of Florentine humanism, specifically Ficino. There were others, too, whose names I now forget but were examined in the thread I mentioned, on Christian-Jewish interactions.

In the 10th century, Saadia's commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah, the earliest known, is overtly Aristotelian - and written in Arabic (to a Jewish audience, I assume, whose native language was Arabic). There were also various Kabbalists who converted to Christianity: it must not have been a great leap.

Nonetheless it is a good question, what is the goal for us? I would like to suggest something. In my view one goal might be to see how Pico might have wanted gematria with 22 letters to be part of cartomancy, thereby making the Tarot sequence a tool in the quest for mystical vision (and even prophecy: for example there is his date for the end of the world). So far I haven't seen anything in the sonnets that shed light on this issue (or anything tarot-related) except the obvious number 22 and some hint that he attached numerological importance to it and perhaps its relationship to the deck. That is something. It goes along with my fanciful and romantic hypothesis that the star-and-arsenic-crossed lovers Pico and Poliziano (who went together to Venice to examine Bessarion's library but were denied permission, I read somewhere) wrote the program for the Sola-Busca, Pico providing the numerology for the number-cards and Poliziano the Romans for the trumps.

In relation to the "theses" that Huck quoted it is important to read Farmer's footnotes to them, too. They are longer than the text itself, and certainly clearer. Especially the note to 11>2. It is Pico's "magical conclusions" relating to Kabbalah that are most relevant, as Farmer points out; see his pp. 499-503. Pico surely played with numerology and gematria. Neither is exclusively Kabbalist, of course. Parts of the ars combinatoria are not even magic. Ramon Llull (the real Llull, not pseudo-Llull, who was also avidly read in Italy then) popularized it for Christians, and for him it was not magic, just a truth-generator, by means of deductive logic from indubitable postulates. Llull was influenced by the Kabbalist Abulafia. It is perhaps significant that a Hebrew translation of Llull's Ars Brevis came out in northern Italy of the early 16th century, based on a copy owned by students in Padua (where Pico studied Hebrew). I have spelled out as much of the relationship to Tarot as I could in my blog at http://16thcenturycartomancy.blogspot.com/, starting with the section "Llullian wheels" and continuing from there (I have two versions of my essay on that web-page; I am referring to the second, longer version). There is also Lazzarelli, whom I discuss in the section "The Deck as a Golem."

Another goal might be to find evidence of a connection between Tarot and the I Ching, perhaps via the Sefer Yetzirah or works derivative from it. Personally this is to me a pursuit less likely to be fruitful than the other. There is only a little letter-permutation in the SY, none of it binary-based (which is the basis of the I Ching). The SY speaks of 6 permutations, 2 letters each, of the 3 letters Yod Heh Vau, and 6 permutations, 2 letters each, of the 3 letters Aleph Mem Shin. These are base-3. In connection with the latter it does speak of male and female permutations, but this only has to do with the Hebrew words formed from them, Saadia observes, and whether they are one or the other plays no further role that I can see. There are also the 231 combinations of 2 letters each of the 22, but again that is not base-2.

(Incidentally, I recently came across the 1891 French translation of Saadia's commentary on the SY: even after 12 centuries, perhaps because of 12 centuries, it is the clearest and most helpful thing I have ever read about the SY. I am not talking about an ineptly chosen set of excerpts in English translation currently on the web. What I mean is on Google Books (for some reason Google's title is in Hebrew, although there is no Hebrew whatsoever on either of the two title pages), at https://www.google.com/books/edition/%D ... YAAJ?hl=en. The first half of the book is in Arabic and the second half is in French. In the first half there are numerous quotations in Hebrew, mostly attributed to the SY. They were put together and called "the Saadia version," which A. Kaplan translated in his book on the SY. I've translated or paraphrased what I thought were the most interesting parts of the French, but the only connection to Tarot History that I can think of is by way of Paul Foster Case, who cites the SY and seems to have used its two references to a cube (in the commentary, not the SY), and Waite, who ridicules Saadia in Holy Kabbalah (perhaps, in its original printing, where Case got the reference) and does not mention the cube. In my view Waite was nitpicking and Case in part changing, implying he's not, to fit his ideas (on the placement of the three elements). That is more what Scholem had in mind. And a subject for another time.

There is also the perspective that a goal as yet unarticulated will emerge as Huck reviews the literature.

Added later: That Pico is playing with the Tarot sequence in this supposed sonnet sequence might be a goal of Huck's earlier posts. I had supposed that Phaeded's question had to do with Huck's later posts, which interested me more. Perhaps the later posts were only to suggest that Pico also connected the 22 cards of the Tarot with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Well, I can only say what I find interesting.
One other thing: about the search function. It, along with Farmer's cross-references, is helpful in finding where in the 900 Theses Pico talks about the Kabbalah (spelled "Cabala" by Pico and "Kabbalah" by Farmer). There is a lot.

Re: Trionfi card poem by Pico de Mirandola

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mikeh wrote: 02 Aug 2022, 11:42 Phaeded: I doubt if Scholem meant to include Pico in his list of charlatans.
....

Nonetheless it is a good question, what is the goal for us? I would like to suggest something. In my view one goal might be to see how Pico might have wanted gematria with 22 letters to be part of cartomancy, thereby making the Tarot sequence a tool in the quest for mystical vision (and even prophecy
Whether Pico was on some level a charlatan is debatable. Pico was engaged in a syncretic project (prisca theologia) whose very goal was suspect - trying to relate diverse ancient sources to one another from ultimately a Christian perspective. For my narrow interests of the origins of trionfi, that doesn't help. Pico's emphasis on gematria was no different than Levi and especially Crowley (e.g., 777 And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley: Including Gematria & Sepher Sephiroth). Just because Pico and his ilk were Christian doesn't mean that what they were up to amounted to anything more than intellectual chicanery; for instance:

...[Reuchlin] speaks to declare the superiority of the ‘one supreme miracle-working and blessed name' yhswh, by which the ineffable Tetragrammaton is vocalized as the Word, is incarnate in Jesus, and is the means by which Jesus worked his miracles, The conception is frankly magical and does not avoid a problem we have suggested Pico may have anticipated – if Jesus used Kababalah to do his miracles, that makes him no more than a magician; if it was divine power which enabled him to do them, then in what way is the miracle-working word useful or of interest to the reader who is not divine? Finally, perhaps it ought to be stressed again for those unfamiliar with Hebrew that inserting ‘s’ into the Tetragrammaton does not spell Joshua or Jesus. Friedman describes this philological impossibility as just as linguistically feasible as adding a letter ‘q’ to the middle of the English word Lord. Lefevre d’Estaples, at least, was aware that Pico, Cusanus, Reuchlin, and others were simply wrong here…. (Wilkinson, Robert J. Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God: From the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. Netherlands: Brill, 2015: 321).

And for this budding gematrical interest in Kabbalah to be relevant to tarot - with each trump having the same numerical value as its corresponding Hebrew letter - there should be some mention of that as such in Pico and those who came right after him. I don't see that. But again, there is nothing in the trumps proper to suggest any of this nonsense (e.g., the "papess" as Eccelesia, for Christ's sake, was pitted against 'Synagogue' in traditional Christian art...now the Popess is really a Hebrew letter? Double face palm).

Phaeded

Re: Trionfi card poem by Pico de Mirandola

23
Well, I would suggest to keep the theme of this thread intact. It is about the poem with the word triunfi, which is Sonetto 28 in the 45 love sonnets of Pico. It is not about the Kabbala texts of Pico. We can make another thread about the Kabbala texts.

A basic question of these 45 sonnets is: Were the sonnets randomly arranged or carefully laid out with the poet's deliberation?

I'd given to Phaeded a few questions, which were too difficult for him, he didn't answer.

You have to count in the Pico text the question marks .... (= ?) ... you need the number .................................... the number is 23
You have to count, which sonnet has the most question marks ... you need the number of the sonnet ......... the number is 23
You have to count in the Pico text the exclamation marks .... (= !) .... you need the number .............................. the number is 13
You have to count, which sonnet has the most exclamation marks .... you need the number of the sonnet ...the number is 13

A calculation of the probability for this result gives (1/45)*(1/45) = 1/ 2025 .... the chance, that this happened accidently, is very, very small. So the answer to the question "Were the sonnets randomly arranged or carefully laid out with the poet's deliberation?" is, that it is very likely, that the author arranged the 45 love sonnets very carefully as

Our mental eye can watch Pico della Mirandola counting question and exclamation marks to arrange this gag. Possibly it was a fake ... and it wasn't Pico, who burned his poems. Anyway, the text which is assumed to be made by Pico contains these details.

Just for fun, let's look at Sonetto 23 ... [added with Google translation, which often isn't very good]
Se Amor è alato come el è depincto,
perché in me fermo, lento, sede e giace?
Se gli è piciol fanciul, perché gli piace,
vincitor, stringer l’uom poi che l’ha vincto?

[If Amor is winged like el is depincto,
why in me still, slow, seat and lie?
If he is a little girl, because he likes it,
winner, will you hold the man who won it?]


Se agli ochi porta un bianco velo avincto,
come sì certe manda le sue face,
per cui l’aflicto cor, che se disfece,
consumar vegio a morte e quasi extincto?

[If he wears a white veil to his eyes,
how so sure she sends his faces,
for which the aflicto cor, which if undone,
consume vegio to death and almost extincto?]


Se voler può, che fa del suo cavallo?
Se gli è signor, perché va scalzo e nudo?
Perché par dolce et è nel fin sì amaro?

[If he wants to, he can, what does the horse do with him?
If he is his mister, why does he go barefoot and naked?
Why does it seem sweet and is in the end so bitter?]


Dimel, ti prego, o singular e raro
Francesco, onor de l’acidalio ludo
e primo e sol ne l’apollineo ballo.

[Dimel, please, or singular and rare
Francesco, honor of ludo
and first and only in the Apollonian dance.]
I've marked a few words, which I found interesting enough to persecute them.

The theme of this Sonetto 23 is "Amor", something like the putto on the sun card at the PMB, but all 45 Sonetti are called love sonnets and the name Amor or similar words are very common in the text, I counted totally 48 items. Amor is winged (alato), nude (nudo) and barefoot (scalzo), all attributes appear only once in the texts. What is the connection to the "cavallo" at the 9th line of the sonnet? .... is it possible, that Pico/ or the unknown poet knew this picture or something similar:

Image
Image
.... the discussion was in the sun thread of Bianca's Garden
viewtopic.php?p=15514#p15514
Image

Well, an unsolved riddle.
There is the word "amaro" and it means "bitter" in a contrast to "dolce", which means sweet.

****************
Strange enough, I just noticed, that this is post 23 in this thread .... :-)
****************
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Trionfi card poem by Pico de Mirandola

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IN WORK

There is the word "amaro" and it means "bitter" in a contrast to "dolce", which means sweet. "Amaro" appears 3 times in the 45 sonnets, in Sonetto 23 (most "?", 6 times), Sonetto 13 (most "!", 3 times) and Sonetto 5 (most "Amor or Amore", 12 times).

Well, this is a nice finding.

I already wrote about Sonetto 5. First at ... viewtopic.php?p=24989#p24989 ... at 20th of June, 2022
triunfi soi le carte is the object, which had interested us. When I looked today at the poem again, I observed the words Amor and Gelosia . These words are names of suits in the Boiardo Tarocchi poem. This interested me and I searched for the other suit words Timor and Speranza (or Speranze). I started with Timor and detected this: There is only one Timor in all 45 Sonnets and it is in Sonnett 5:
Sonetto 5
Amor, focoso giacio e fredda face;
Amor, mal dilectoso e dolce affanno;
Amor, pena suave et util danno;
Amor, eterna guerra senza pace.

Amor, tetro timor, speme fallace;
Amor, bugïa, fraude, sdegno e inganno;
Amor, false promesse, che l’uom fanno
gioir del mal come d’un ben verace.

Amore, amaro felle, amaro asenzio;
Amor, vane speranze e van destri;
Amor, roco parlar, longo silenzio.

Amor, faville, lacrime e sospiri;
Amor, segnor crudel più che Mezenzio,
che gode sempre de gli altrui martiri.
In the Sonnett 5 I find the suit name Timor and the suit name Speranze. Also I find the suit name Amor, but not only once but 12 times. This is the only place, where such Amor-flood is happening in the 45 sonnets.



https://books.google.de/books?id=hnYBXN ... us&f=false

IN WORK
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Trionfi card poem by Pico de Mirandola

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Huck wrote: 03 Aug 2022, 21:03 I'd given to Phaeded a few questions, which were too difficult for him, he didn't answer.
+
There is the word "amaro" and it means "bitter" in a contrast to "dolce", which means sweet. "Amaro" appears 3 times in the 45 sonnets, in Sonetto 23 (most "?", 6 times), Sonetto 13 (most "!", 3 times) and Sonetto 5 (most "Amor or Amore", 12 times).
There are great many things that do not interest me - Numerology in general would be right up there.

I have been drinking Amaro lately, however - recommended.
Image

Re: Trionfi card poem by Pico de Mirandola

26
Huck wrote,
calculation of the probability for this result gives (1/45)*(1/45) = 1/ 2025 .... the chance, that this happened accidently, is very, very small.
That result 1/2025 is true of any two numbers whatever, between 1 and 45. It does not select any particular pair as non-accidental. There is some hypothetical significance to many numbers, it all depends on where you look and what you count. That said, it is possible that he was playing a number game with 23, as the midpoint between 1 and 45. But that shows no relationship to Tarot, only to 45, 23 and maybe either 22 or 24. 22 and 24 have other associations. I don't know of any to 23. And what is the significance of 13?

About the sonnet's relationship to the boy on a hobby-horse, I see no wings on the latter, a recurrent feature in the poem and of Amor. Nor the bow and arrow. The part about the horse is:
Se voler può, che fa del suo cavallo?
Se gli è signor, perché va scalzo e nudo?
Perché par dolce et è nel fin sì amaro?

[If he wants to, he can, what does the horse do with him?
If he is his mister, why does he go barefoot and naked?
Why does it seem sweet and is in the end so bitter?]
That translation is very uncertain. It requires looking in a dictionary of that time and place, perhaps only a Corsican one would do. I would guess that "voler"might be a variation on "volare":

If he can fly, what is he doing with his horse?
If he is a lord, why is he naked and barefoot?
Why does he appear sweet and in the end is so bitter?

The boy on a hobby horse in the print is the Christ-child, the hobby horse prefiguring his triumphant entry on a horse (flying horse?) toward the end of the book of Revelation. But Christ would not seem to be sweet at the beginning and bitter at the end. It is not spiritual love Pico is talking about.
Dimel, ti prego, o singular e raro
Francesco, onor de l’acidalio ludo
e primo e sol ne l’apollineo ballo.

[Dimel, please, or singular and rare
Francesco, honor of ludo
and first and only in the Apollonian dance.]
Perhaps:

Give him (?), I beg you, o singular and rare
Francesco, the honor of the sour (?) entertainment
and first and only the Apollonian dance.

Given that dance is mentioned, "ludo" is more general than the type of game in which Tarot might be placed, including especially the game of love. The "Apollonion dance" might be that of the Muses on Parnassus (or Helicon). Pico might be reflecting on some painting of the type painted (too late for this poem) by Mantegna, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parnassus_%28Mantegna%29. Or else some poem, perhaps by the person who inspired it, Paride da Caesarea. The latter was close in age to Pico (well, 3 years younger) and is said to have studied Hebrew - so probably at Padua, where Pico also studied it.

The Francesco then might well be Francesco II Gonzaga, who ruled Mantua from 1484. If so, it would seem addressed to him considerably before his marriage to Isabella in 1490.

The horse might then be Pegasus, who had wings. While Mantegna's Cupid does not associate him with Pegasus, they are the only winged figures there, and the other work might have put them together.

It might be important to understand "acidalio" and "el" as an object pronoun. "Sour" is suggested by "acid" and fits the "bitter" of the previous stanza. He might be saying, let Amor have his kind of love, while we enjoy something more elevated.

Added next day: Franco Pratesi tells me that "acidalio" is from "Acidalius," Latin for the pool where Venus and the Graces swam. Since the association is immediately to the ill-fated Acteon, it still goes with "sweet/bitter."

Phaeded: It makes no difference if Crowley is doing the same as Pico. Pico is the one in 15th century Italy. The belief, or hypothesis, of a pisca theologia is not unique to Pico, far from it. To the extent that Pico and Crowley are similar, it only shows that esotericism was alive and well in the time and place of the early Tarot.

Gematria is by no means exclusive to esoteric Judaism. The very non-esoteric "Christian Fathers" did it, too. To talk about it as a reality of the time is not to endorse it. Also, to suggest that some aspect of it might apply to the Tarot is not to say, as you do, that
And for this budding gematrical interest in Kabbalah to be relevant to tarot - with each trump having the same numerical value as its corresponding Hebrew letter - there should be some mention of that as such in Pico and those who came right after him.
There is no mention of Tarot anywhere in Pico, esoteric or otherwise. That does not mean he didn't know about it. There is no reason why he and others should be expected to write about it. They had enough trouble being able to say what they wanted to about more important matters. Nor does it have to be the assigning of Hebrew numbers to cards. Llull's application of gematria had nothing to do with numbers (except for identification purposes), just combinations of ideas. It is the ars combinatorio that is chiefly of interest at this time, I think (again, relative to the magical theses). In that respect we have Folengo's Merlino (surely associated to Merlin), who combined the cards drawn at random in different ways to say things about his four fictitious but typical friends.

If 15th-16th century esotericism in relation to the Tarot doesn't interest you, fine, don't write about it. As far as Pico's understanding of Kabbalah, my point is that the relative accuracy of the material in part 1 and the immense amount of authentic Jewish material he studied shows his sincerity, and subsequent studies by Jewish scholars have shown his relative competence, at least as far as representing it accurately in Part I of the Conclusiones. As for the rest, making mistakes does not make one a charlatan; nor do such mistakes make someone irrelevant to Tarot history.

Re: Trionfi card poem by Pico de Mirandola

27
With regard to the 23rd sonnet (in the post immediately above), Franco Pratesi gives me a link, https://lsj.gr/wiki/Acidalia, to a definition linking "acidalio" with "Acidalius," the spring where Venus and the Graces bathed. That is something I could have discovered for myself on Google, if I'd tried a little harder. I am getting lazy in my old age. I have inserted that explanation in my post. It acquires the meaning of "Venus's" more generally. However, the epithet suggests in particular the spring that Actaeon unfortunately discovered. In that case it goes with "sweet/bitter" earlier in the poem.

Overcoming laziness, I checked "el": it does indeed mean he or him, according to Wiktionary. It is a short form of "ello", first meaning "he", synonyms "egli, lui."

While I'm at it, I could try the earlier part of the poem:
Se Amor è alato come el è depincto,
perché in me fermo, lento, sede e giace?
Se gli è piciol fanciul, perché gli piace,
vincitor, stringer l’uom poi che l’ha vincto?

[If Amor is winged like el is depincto,
why in me still, slow, seat and lie?
If he is a little girl, because he likes it,
winner, will you hold the man who won it?]
I would guess:

If Amor is winged like he is depicted,
why in me [am I] still, slow, fixed in place, and lying down,
If he is a little boy, why does it please him,
winning, then to hold down the man whom he has vanquished?

And for
Se agli ochi porta un bianco velo avincto,
come sì certe manda le sue face,
per cui l’aflicto cor, che se disfece,
consumar vegio a morte e quasi extincto?

[If he wears a white veil to his eyes,
how so sure she sends his faces,
for which the aflicto cor, which if undone,
consume vegio to death and almost extincto?]
If he wears a white veil bound to his eyes,
how does he send his torches so surely,
by which the afflicted heart is undone,
to consume the old one [?] to death and almost extinguishing [it]?

Or something like that. I assume that "torches" means flaming arrows. The precise meaning of the last two lines elude me. But it is a rather nice ironic twist on the flaming "sacred heart" of the monastic orders fashionable then.

Mostly it is a matter of looking up the words individually on a site like Wiktionary.

Re: Trionfi card poem by Pico de Mirandola

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mikeh wrote: 08 Aug 2022, 02:02

Or something like that. I assume that "torches" means flaming arrows.
re: "face" as torch, also possibly firebrand or simply "brand", as in for example Shakespeare's Sonnet CLIV:

"The little Love-god lying once asleep,
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warmed...;"

also in latin "Atque Cupidineas tremenda faces" And Cupid's terrible fires [brands]


re: " l’acidalio" = acidalius = a nickname for Venus / "l'acidalio ludo" = "the sport of Venus". [?maybe]
Also in latin - venus, venusian, venereal, e.g., Acidalio ne sim pollutus amore [lest I be polluted by venereal love]

re: "Dimel" = "dimelo" = "Tell me" / "Speak to me" / "Let me know" [?] i.e., he is asking 'Francesco' to tell him the answers to his 'why' questions in previous stanzas?
cron