Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

I was thinking about this again, and it seems to me that the most likely explanation by far is really a very simple one.

I think Franco was right in thinking that the simplest explanation was that the cardmaker didn't usually make entire lots of Trionfi cards equivalent to 125 regular decks, but rather a mix of Trionfi decks and regular decks, which together were equivalent to 125 regular decks. The exact proportion of Trionfi decks to regular decks in any given lot presumably varied according to demand, as Franco suggested.

In 1477, the Bolognese deck probably had not yet been shortened, because we know that tarot seems to have spread to Piedmont from Bologna somewhere around the mid-15th century, and most Piedmontese games used 78 cards, with the shorter 62-card deck being used there only for a small number of games. The regular Bolognese deck, on the other hand, probably had 52 cards, because that seems to be the most common kind of deck in northern Italy at that time (and indeed in the 16th century too).

78 divided by 52 is exactly 1.5, which would have made it very easy indeed to calculate how many regular decks equated to any given number of tarot decks. Therefore, to make up his 125-regular-deck-equivalent lot, the cardmaker simply had to first count the number of Trionfi decks, divide by two, then add the result to the initial number, which gave him the equivalent number of regular decks (obviously the cardmaker would need to make sure that the number of Trionfi decks in any given lot was always an even number, which would have been perfectly easy to do). And then he simply had to add however many regular decks he needed to make up the full 125.
So if 40 Trionfi decks were needed, the cardmaker would put 65 regular decks in the lot with them (40 x 1.5 = 60, + 65 = 125). If an odd number such as 35 Trionfi decks were needed, the cardmaker could put 36 Trionfi decks in the lot, and add 71 regular decks (36 x 1.5 = 54, + 71 = 125). All very simple and straightforward.

I don't think there can be any other explanation that comes anywhere close to the simplicity of this, or is nearly as probable based on what we know about the usual numbers of cards in regular decks and tarot decks at the time, so I'm personally inclined to consider the matter resolved now, unless some other evidence is found.

Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Huck, Nathaniel postulates a 52 card regular deck. If so, then 125x52=6500. 6500 divided by 78 is 83.33 and a third. Same absurdity, different figure. But that is not where he is coming from.

He is thinking about how to know how many regular decks are needed, if it is known how many triumph decks are needed, for a total equivalent to 125 ordinary decks. In practice, I would argue, orders are not going to be for a specified number of triumph decks plus whatever number of ordinary decks are needed to make the total equal to 125 regular decks: they are going to be for a specified number of triumph decks and a specified number of regular decks. So they keep track of how many of each they make. Then to calculate the amount to be paid for expenses, it is a matter of multiplying the number of triumph decks by a certain factor. If it is 52 to 78, the factor is 1.5, or a 3 to 2 ratio. That is very simple. But if it were 56 to 70, they would multiply by 1.25, also simple. If it were 40 to 60, we would multiply by 1.5, too. And so on. The only thing that can control the number to multiply by is if we can say how many cards were in a regular deck in Bologna in 1477. Hence the number 52. But I see no firm evidence of that number for regular decks in 15th century Bologna. Also, it goes against what is documented then, that the number of regular suit cards in normal decks vs. triumph decks was the same (from St. Bernardino for regular decks and the Brera-Brambilla for triumphs, and from the fact that the 40 card Primiera deck was standard in Bologna by the early 16th century, which corresponds to the 62 card tarocchini). The only way I can see to control the number is the way I indicated.

Let us see how many woodblocks are needed for 52 and 78. Well, you need 2 of 26 each for the regular deck. For a triumph deck the same 2 plus one more (22 + 4 added suit cards). it is the same as for a 5x14, so nothing gained by that consideration. However, that does support Nathaniel's suggestion vs. that of 48+22 for triumph decks and 56 for regular decks. But 26 yields a rather narrow block, 13 cards by 2 cards, vs. 4 cards by 7 cards.

Huck. It is true that 120 will support the 5x14 structure as well as 125. But with 120 there are many more possibilities. I will just give the possibilities for 56 and 52 card regular decks.

56 x 120 = 6720
52x120 = 6240

Factors of 6720 of 56 + 8 = 64 or more, from
64 × 105 = 6720
70 × 96 = 6720
80 × 84 = 6720
For 64 = 4x+y and x =14, y=8. If x=13, y=12. If x=12, y=16. If x=11, y=20. if x=10, y=24.
For 70 =4x + y and x=14, y=14. If x=13, y=18. If x=12, y=22.
For 80=4x=y and x=14, y=24.

Factors of 6240 of 52 + 8 = 60 or more, from
60 × 104 = 6240
65 × 96 = 6240
78 × 80 = 6240
80 × 78 = 6240
For 60=4x=y, if x=14, y=4. If x=13, y=8. If x=12, y=12. If x=11, y=16. If x=10, y=20. If x=9, y=24.
For 65=4x+y, if x=14, y=9. If x=13, y=13. If x=12, y=17. If x=11, y=21. If x=10, y=24.
For 78=4x+y, if x=14, y=22. If x=13, y=26.
For 80=4x+y, if x=14, y=24.

As you can see, with 120, y=22 twice, and the ratio 4:5 is twice. So 120 is twice as indeterminate as 125, and if x=14, 120 favors a 22 triumph deck twice as often as it does a 14 triumph deck. Fortunately for your theory, there is no document with 120, just Orioli's statement.

A basic problem is how to understand the document. Here is Pratesi's summary:
Of the figures reported then, in 1908, one can get more related important information, as follows.

1) both cards and triumphs were used for playing [giocare];

2) cards were only 40, triumphs 60;

3a) production occurred in groups of 125 decks of cards, or in the case of a smaller number of groups also including packs of triumphs, in an "equivalent" manner, ie, with a same total number of cards.
3b) each card, whether belonging to cards or triumphs, required roughly the same commitment to work and the same raw materials, so that differences in price thus did not exist (a rasone de carta per carta debba essere pagato come de le carte e non più [because card for card should be paid as cards and no more].)
If indeed Orioli posited 40 cards for regular decks and 60 for triumph decks, we can see why he might have misremembered 125 as 120. 120 fits the 3:2 ratio with no remainder (120:80), 125 doesn't. But is this an accurate summary? I will have to translate the whole document, and the corresponding part of the article. Not an easy task, but I will try.

Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

You mean, that Nathaniel suggests ...

52 normal cards
26 = 25 trumps + Fool
78 Triumph cards

Well, this is really a new idea. What are the 4 additional trumps? 4 Bolognese market women instead of 4 Queens? 4 Moors? 4 Emperors? 4 additional Papi?
Okay, I add ...

125 * 52 = 6500 normal cards
X * 78 = Triumph cards
X = 6500/78 = 83.33

It also doesn't work.

X= 7000/100 = 100 works.

Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

mikeh wrote: 18 Sep 2022, 04:59 Huck. It is true that 120 will support the 5x14 structure as well as 125. But with 120 there are many more possibilities. I will just give the possibilities for 56 and 52 card regular decks.
As I already said, I think, that the 120 is just the idea of 10 dozen decks, it's not related to the number 125. Possibly they had a transport box, which could contain 120 normal decks. Or 96 triumph decks.
Counting 120 decks is work, if you have a counting box, that would be a practical help to avoid errors.

Nathaniel ...
In 1477, the Bolognese deck probably had not yet been shortened, because we know that tarot seems to have spread to Piedmont from Bologna somewhere around the mid-15th century, and most Piedmontese games used 78 cards, with the shorter 62-card deck being used there only for a small number of games. The regular Bolognese deck, on the other hand, probably had 52 cards, because that seems to be the most common kind of deck in northern Italy at that time (and indeed in the 16th century too).
hm ... is ".... mid 15th century" a typo for mid-16th century ?

Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Yes, the 125 is odd. Franco pointed that out. It is its very oddness that makes it interesting, as he says. It seems to be picked in a way to make 125 regular decks correspond to 100 triumph decks, with no remainder.

I noticed the part about the 15th century. That is an issue that has been discussed elsewhere (in the "equal papi" thread?). Mid-15th century is close to right, in my view, at least no later - not from Bologna, but more likely from neighboring Lombardy, where they also picked up the "Angel last" convention as well as "equal papi," but both discarded everywhere except stubborn Bologna and isolated Piedmont. Otherwise, as Ross has argued, it is too hard to understand the persistence of "equal papi" there. That these rules traveled from Bologna to Piedmont without affecting Lombardy, directly between the two, I can't understand, and with the Lombard order, too (one would think the French order, by Piscina's time, but no). I will have to investigate the shortened deck issue there. I didn't know about that. Presumably it doesn't use the Bolognese sequence. Perhaps it has the same cause as in Bologna, namely, the influence of Primiera.

As I said I would do, here is the whole contract, roughly translated, section by section, first the document and then Orioli's explanation.
Quisti sonno certi pacti e conventione le quali ser Roberto di Blanchelli di Arimino habitadar in Bologna in la capella s. Maria del Tempio e maestro Pietro Bonazo maziero de li nostri magnifici Signori e conservadori de Bologna hanno facto insieme sopra el mestiero de le carte e triumphi da zogare, le quale esso ser Roberto fa fare al figliolo del dicto maestro Piero Bonoro con li capituli e conventone infrascripte; zoe e primo, Chel dicto mestro Piero sia obligato fare e operare che el prefato suo figliolo durante cl tempo e termine de sej misi proximi che viranno, incomenzando dal di soprascripto e finendo como segue, fara al pretato ser Roberto per zascuno mese almanco para de carte da giugare doxento cinquanta ben lavorate ben nette ben coperte e custodite ad arbitrio de beno homo, segondo che sera la prima mostra che lui glie dars la quale se debia observare apresso d'ubo terzo e debiano esser tutte a similitudine di quella, de le quale 250 para sia tenuto dara omne volta para 50 stenchite de fuora e alcune con le arme segondo la volonta di esso maestro Piero tutte bianche de fuora. E cosi facte le debia tutte consignare a esso Roberto o tutte insieme o a parte a parte segondo la volonta di Roberto.
Item che se qualche volta esso Roberto volesse che lui glie fesse fare di triumphi che allora el prefato maestro Piero sia obligato fargliene fare nel modo proprio che le obligato a le carte ma a rasone de carta per carta debia essere pagato come de le carte e non piu.
Item che quando lui glie fesse fare o carte o triumphi che non stessero bene e fussero mal facti chel sia obligato farglicli refare a tutte sue spese.

Here are certain pacts and agreements which ser Roberto di Blanchelli di Arimino dweller in Bologna in parish S. Maria del Tempio and master [card-maker] Pietro Bonazo mace-carrier of our magnificent lords and conservators of Bologna have made together over the profession of playing cards and triumphs , which this ser Roberto has the son of said master Piero Bonoro make with them chapters and compacts written below; zoe (?) and first, That said master Piero is obliged to do and operate that the aforesaid of his son during the time and term of six months after that will turn, starting from the above written and ending as follows, will make to the aforesaid ser Roberto for zascune (each?) month at least 250 packs of playing cards well done, very clean, well covered and guarded by the arbitration of a good man, according to which the first he shows will be that he will give to him which if he must observe open to a third and must all be similar to that, of the which 250 packs he is required to give each time 50 packs stenchite [stenciled?] outside and some with arms according to the will of the master Pietro all white outside. And so done all must consign Roberto to it either all together or separately according to the will of Roberto.
Item that if sometimes this Roberto wanted that he have made triumphs that then the aforesaid Maestro Piero is obliged to make them in the proper way that he is obliged to do on the cards but by ratio [?: rasone] of card by card he must be paid as of cards and not more.
Item that when he made him do or cards or triumphs that were not well and were badly made that he is obliged to make them remade at all expense to him.
Here is Orioli's explanation so far:
Ma tornando alle carte da giuoco dipinte a mano, è degno di nota un contratto stipulato nel 1477 dal notaio Alberto Argellata fra un Roberto Blanchelli riminese, dimorante a Bologna e che era il committente, con maestro Pietro Bonozzi, mazziere degli anziani, il quale si obbligava con certi patti sopra « el mestiero de le carte e triumphi da zugare »; i quali patti dovevansi osservare dal figlio di lui, che s'impegnava verso il Blanchelli a provvedergli una certa quantità di carte da giuoco di due specie differenti.
In questo contratto, oltre il prezzo pattuito, si stabiliva anche il modo come le carte dovessero essere lavorate, secondo un modello preparato e da conservarsi presso una terza persona; chè se non fossero identiche o riuscissero eseguite malamente, Pietro Bonozzi era obbligato a farle rifare; non dovevano avere sul dorso alcun disegno ma essere perfettamente bianche.

But returning to hand-painted playing cards, it is worth noting a contract stipulated in 1477 by the notary Alberto Argellata between a Roberto Blanchelli from Rimini, residing in Bologna, the client, with maestro Pietro Bonozzi, mace-carrier of the elders, who was obliged with certain agreements on "the profession of playing cards and triumphs"; these agreements had to be observed by his son, who was obliged to Blanchelli to supply him with a certain quantity of playing cards of two different kinds.
In this contract, in addition to the agreed price, the way in which the cards were to be processed was also established, according to a model prepared and to be kept at a third party; because if they were not identical or if they were poorly executed, Pietro Bonozzi was obliged to have them redone; they must not have had any design on the back but be perfectly white.
Well, Orioli explained the "good man" well enough, but left out the part about how the price per card is the same whether triumphs or ordinary cards. He will get to it later. One may wonder what "painted by hand" means here: are these luxury cards? I see nothing to indicate such. Turning out 125 packs of them would be too much effort. Could they be hand-colored woodcuts. That's five a day, not counting the labor of preparing the paper and making the woodcuts. They are probably stenciled. But it is odd that he never mentions the woodblocks.

I continue:
Item chel prefato maestro Piero sia obligato fare e operare si che ne el prefato suo figliolo ne alcuno di suoi o altri con suo cousentimento non lavoraranto ne faranno lavorare ne daranno ad altri ne adiuto ne consiglio de dicto mestiere de carte o triumphi ne le venderanno o faranno vendere ne insigneranno el mestieri ad altri sotto pena di L. cinque de bolognini, ne le quale sia obligato de rato e sia licito ad esso ser Roberto retenergliele omne volte e tante volte quante lui glie podesse provare che lui o alcuno di suoi fessero o consentessero alcuna de le predicte cose de li salarii che esso ser Roberto li serà obligato per li lavori li fara suo figliuolo, comuno di sotto appare.

Item that the aforesaid Maestro Piero is obliged to do and operate so that said his son or any of his or others with his consent will not work or will make them work or will give to others or help or advice on the profession of cards or triumphs nor will sell them or arrange them to be sold nor will award them and the trades to others under penalty of L. 5 bolognini, in which he is obliged to de rato and it is licit to him ser Roberto retain them all times and as many times as he could prove that he or any of his allow any of the said things of the salaries that this ser Roberto will be obliged [to give Pietro?] for the work of his son, comuno [common?] of below appears [?].
Si obbligava pure detto maestro Pietro a non permettere che suo figlio od alcuno altro de’ suoi lavorasse o vendesse carte per altri, eccetto che per il Blanchelli, nè che aiutasse o consigliasse altri intorno a detto mestiere nè molto meno lo insegnasse ad altri;

Master Pietro was also required not to allow his son or other of his [people] to work or sell cards for others, except for Blanchelli, and neither to help nor give advice to other people about such profession, nor teach it to others;...
It appears that Orioli could not make any more sense of the part at the end than I could. So he leaves it out.

Item che cl prefato ser Roberto sia obligato durante cl tempo di prefati sei misi mantenere el prefato figliolo de maestro Piero in continuo lavoriero in forma che mai non li manchi de fare, maximamente per insino a la somma de le carte sopra scripte per zasciuio mese e anco de cento vinticinque para de più se tante ne potra o vorà fare, con pacto che se de co di sei misi el prefato ser Roberto volesse desistere de simile imprese che Iui la possa lassare, ma quando lui volezze andare ‘drito che allora il prefato Piero sia obligato perseverare e fare perseverare suo figliolo nel prefato mestiere altri dodexe misì con lì pacti medesimi che in questa scripta se contengono, reservato sempre a Roberto che se da co de omne sei misì per insino al spatio de diexedotto misì volesse lassare stare tale impresa che lui la possa lassare stare segondo la soa volontà è passati lì diexedotto misi ognuno sia in suo arbitrio: è questo pacto sia obligato servare l'una e l‘altra parte sotto pena de ducati diexe ne la quale de facto incorra chi contrafarà a le predicte cose la quale pena sia a de colui che stare perseverante a quanto di sopra.
Item chel prefato ser Roberto sia obligato dare al prefato maestro Piero o a suo figliolo predicto tutte le carte e cartuni che andaranno per fare dicte carte o vero triumphi secondo el consueto e segondo quello che se le fara overo dira qualunche altro maestro de simile misterio a tutte sue proprie spese.

Item that the aforesaid ser Roberto is obliged during the time of the aforesaid six months to keep the aforesaid son of Maestro Piero continuously working in a form that he never fails to do, maximally up to the sum of the above cards written for zasciuio [each?] mese and even of 125 packs or more if he can or will do so many, with pacts that if de co di [after?] six months the aforesaid Ser Roberto wanted to desist from such undertakings that he can leave it, but when he wants to go on then the aforesaid Piero is obliged to persevere and make his son persevere in the job another 12 months, with the same [terms] contained in this writing, always reserved to Roberto that if da co di [after?] every six months are put up to the space of 18 months he wanted to leave this undertaking that he can leave according to his will has passed there 18 months each one to his will: it is this pact it is obligatory to serve both parties under penalty of 10 ducats in which de facto incurs whoever will counteract the foresaid things which penalty is for him who perseveres in the above.
Item that the aforenamed ser Roberto is obliged to give to the aforenamed maestro Piero or his aforesaid son all the paper and cardboard that will go to make said cards or true triumphs according to the usual and following what if he makes or will tell any other master of similar skill to all his own expense.
... prometteva invece che per lo spazio di diciotto mesi continui si sarebbe dedicato a preparare carte e trionfi unicamente per conto del Blanchelli; il quale a sua volta, doveva fornire la carta e i cartoni necessari per fare “dicte carte o vero triumphi”.

... he [Pietro] instead promised that for the following eighteen months he would be entirely dedicated to preparing [ordinary] cards [carte] and Triumphs [trionfi] on behalf of Blanchelli, who, in turn, must supply paper and the necessary cardboard to make “said cards or true Triumphs [dicte carte o vero triumphi].”
That seems to be the gist of it. It may be of interest that what was before 250 packs zancuno (each?) month is now at least 125, and more if the son can do it. It is not said whether these are 125 of regular decks combined with the equivalent number of cards in triumph decks, or simply decks per se. Since the number is negotiable, it so far does not seem to matter.

I continue:
Item che el prefato ser Roberto sia obligato dare e pagare al prefato maestro Piero o a suo figliolo in suo nome soldi diexedotto de quattrini per ognicentovinticinque para de carte, o vero triumphi para tanto manco de centovinticinque para, quanto gette el numero de le carte che ha più li iochi de li triumphi da quilli de le carte. E quisti soldi diexedotto sono per vergino, verderamo, agiurro, colla, ove, alume de roze, inchiostro per fare coluri e generalmente per ogne altre spese che podesse andare in fare dicie carte o triumphi, li quali decedotto soldi pagati al prefato maestro Piero sia obligato farle poi lui fare a tutte sue spese de le carte e cartuni infuore le quale esso ser Roberto glie debia dare e pagare commo di sopra.

Item that the aforesaid ser Roberto is obliged to give and pay to the aforesaid maestro Piero or to his son in his name 18 quatrini for each 125 packs of cards, or packs of true triumphs as much as 125 packs, as the packs of triumphs has a greater number of cards than those of [ordinary] cards. And these 18 soldi are for virgino, verderamo, agiurro, glue, egg, alume de roze, ink to make colors and generally for any other expenses that could go into making said cards or triumphs, which 18 soldi paid to the aforesaid master Piero is then obliged to have him do at all his expense the paper and cardboard outside of that which this Roberto is obliged to give and pay as above.
And Orioli:
Oltre la mercede convenuta doveva anche il Blanchelli aggiungere soldi diciotto a titolo di spese, ogni centoventi mazzi di carte o per altrettanti di mazzi di trionfi corrispondenti, tenendo però conto del maggior numero di pezzi che occorrevano per formarne un mazzo, poichè ‘ha più iochi de li triumphi da quelli de le carte.' Oltre la mercede convenuta doveva anche il Blanchelli aggiungere soldi diciotto a titolo di spese, ogni centoventi mazzi di carte o per altrettanti di mazzi di trionfi corrispondenti, tenendo però conto del maggior numerodi pezzi che occorevano per formame un mazzo, poichè « ha più iochi de li triumphi da quelli de le carte ». Ora per spiegarci questo passo, noi dobbiamo tener presente la distiozione che si fa sem-pre in questo atto, fra « carte » e « trionfi ». Colla parola « carte » si intende il mazzo di carte usuali, formato di quaranta pezzi; invece la parola « trionfi », che vedemmo menzionata anche dal documento del 1459, sta a significare i « tarocchi bolognesi », ossia le carte così dette « lunghe », delle quali sappiamo che occorrono sessanta per formare il mazzo. Per le spese quindi dovevasi tener conto non dei mazzi, ma del numero delle carte, che effettivamente occorrevano per formarli; i diciotto soldi che il Blanchelli si obbligava a pagare in più, a titolo di spese, dovevano poi servire per l'acquisto di « verzino, verderamo, agiuro, colla, alume de roza, inchiostro per fare colori e generalmente per ogni altra spexa
che podesse andare in fare dicte carte o triumphii !)

Besides the payment agreed upon, Blanchelli also had to add eighteen soldi for expenses for every 120 decks of [ordinary] cards, or as many corresponding decks of Triumphs [mazzi di trionfi], keeping in mind the greater number of pieces needed to form a deck, since “decks of the Triumphs [iochi di li trionfi] have more cards than those of [ordinary] cards.” In addition to the agreed wages, Blanchelli also had to add eighteen money as expenses, for every one hundred and twenty decks of cards or for the same number of corresponding decks of triumphs, taking into account however the greater number of pieces needed to form a deck, since "it has more I triumph from those of the cards ". Now to explain this passage, we must keep in mind the distinction that is always made in this act, between" cards "and" triumphs ". By the word "cards" is meant the usual deck of cards, made up of forty pieces; instead the word "trionfi", which we saw also mentioned in the document of 1459, means the "Bolognese tarots", that is the so-called "long" cards, of which we know that it takes sixty to form the deck. For the expenses, therefore, it was necessary to take into account not the decks, but the number of cards, which were actually needed to form them; the eighteen soldi that Blanchelli was obliged to pay in addition, by way of expenses, were then to be used for the purchase of "verzino, verderamo, agiuro, glue, alume de roza, ink for making colors and generally for any other spexa
that could go into making said cards or triumphi!)

This is where Orioli makes the mistake about 120, and also the mistake about 40 and 60 (which would give a ratio of 120 to 80).

There is one more part of the contract, which for present purposes may be the most interesting:
Item chel prefato ser Roberto sia obligato dare e pagare al prefato maestro Piero o vero a suo figliolo, piacendo a lui, per ogni cento vinticinque para de carte che lui glie fara fare, o vero triumphi, a rata per rata del numero de le carte commo di sopra L. cinque de bolognini de moneta corente e quisti per la sua fatica e mistiero che durara dicto suo figliolo in farli fare dicte carte e triumphi; cum pacto che el prefato maestro Piero non possa ne debia mai domandare alcuno dinaro de la mercede del figliolo al prefato ser Roberto se non de co de omne mese. El quale finito alhora dicto ser Roberto sia obligato fare rasone con lui e debia infra termine de octo di seguenti in mediate depoi dicto mese finito pagarlo interamente de tutto quello che al prefato suo figliolo glie haveva francato a la rasone pacti e conventione soprascript, o vero sia licito a esso ser Roberto sempre durante el tempo di quiesta conventione retenerse in mano L. cinque de quatirini de quelle se havera francate a lavorare el dicto figliolo de maestro Piero e de le altre che lui se francara sia obligato pagarlo sempre de volta in volta, segondo che lui glie consignara el lavoriero e sia licito al dicto maestro Piero de quisti din ultimi partioli pigliare quale ghe piace.

Item that the aforesaid ser Roberto is obliged to give and pay to the aforesaid maestro Piero or true to his son, as he pleases, for every 125 packs of cards that he will make him do, or true triumphi, by installment by installment of the number of cards as above L. five of bolognini of current currency and this for his toil and trade that will last his son in making made said cards and triumphs; with understanding [pacto] that the said maestro Piero can never ask for any dinaro for his son's wages from the aforesaid ser Roberto if not after each month. He who finished then said ser Roberto is obliged to make rasone [?] with him and must below term of the eighth of the following said month over to pay him entirely of everything that his son had given him of the foresaid pacts and compacts above, or true ser Roberto is allowed to it always during the time of this compact held in his hand five of the quatrini of those if he had francate [authorized?] to work said son of maestro Piero and of the others that he if francara [authorized?} is obliged to pay him always from time to time, in accordance with his advising him to work and be allowed to the said maestro Piero de thesein the last parts to pick what he likes.
Orioli says nothing about this paragraph, or anything more about the contract at all.

Here it seems clear that the son is obligated to produce 125 decks of regular cards, or the equivalent in triumph decks, or a mixture, each month. I see where Nathaniel and Franco are coming from. As Nathaniel says, to know when you had reached that magic number, you needed a simple way of calculating. Unfortunately there are many possibilities, too many for that to be a basis for deciding how many cards are in each, unless, as I say, it can be shown that regular decks really did have 52 cards, and/or the number of cards per regular suit was different between regular decks and triumphs. So far, 125 decks of 52 cards is still 83.33 decks of 78 cards each, making it impossible for there to be an equivalent number of triumph decks to 125 regular decks. The method I have devised is still the only way of eliminating possibilities, or so I continue to think.

Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

I'm not really interested in discussing this topic any further, but I did notice a few things in Mike's comments which seem to require correction, and that might take Mike's thoughts in a different direction:
mikeh wrote: 18 Sep 2022, 04:59 Also, it goes against what is documented then, that the number of regular suit cards in normal decks vs. triumph decks was the same (from St. Bernardino for regular decks and the Brera-Brambilla for triumphs,
You are aware that the Brera-Brambilla deck was much earlier than 1477, and St. Bernardino was much earlier even than that, more than fifty years before 1477?
I certainly am inclined to agree that there were four court cards in virtually all tarot decks from the 1440s onward, but I'm also inclined to think that the four-court regular deck was a fairly short-lived thing in Italy (and probably confined not just temporally but also geographically, only ever used in certain regions).
It is certainly very unlikely to have survived all the way to the 1470s (or even the 1460s), as we have absolutely no other evidence of its existence except that reference from St. Bernardino, and what seems to be its descendant in the four court cards of the tarot deck.
and from the fact that the 40 card Primiera deck was standard in Bologna by the early 16th century, which corresponds to the 62 card tarocchini).
What is your evidence that the 40 card Primiera deck was standard in Bologna by the early 16th century? I am not aware of any evidence that suggests that with any kind of convincing probability.
More importantly: The numeral cards used in the Primiera deck are not the same as the numeral cards used in the 62 card tarocchino deck, so it is not correct to say that they "correspond." The Primiera deck keeps the lowest numbers and discards the highest, the tarocchino deck does the opposite. In fact, I think we have to conclude that the 62-card tarot game must have been invented long before Primiera arrived in Bologna, otherwise one would expect the two games to use exactly the same shortened set of numeral cards. And that, incidentally, is another reason to think that tarot came to Piedmont from Bologna relatively early, in the mid-15th century (and I am not going to list the several reasons for thinking that it went there more or less directly from Bologna, as I have presented them in detail before and see no point in presenting them again here).

Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

My source is Dummett in 1993, Il mondo e l’angelo , pp. 222-23:
Esempi di mazzi di tarocchi e di mazzi normali dal XVII secolo in poi indicano Bologna come classico esempio di un fenomeno di cui abbiamo già parlato: l’uso di uno stesso modello standard per il mazzo normale e per le carte dei semi del mazzo di tarocchi. Il mazzo normale che condivide questo modello con il Tarocco bolognese sopravvive ancora oggi con il nome di Primiera bolognese, anche se non è più il modello standard per il mazzo normale in uso nella stessa città di Bologna, ma si usa solo in qualche paese della provincia. Come la maggior parte dei mazzi normali con semi latini usati in Italia, ha solo quaranta carte, essendo stato abbreviato, al modo spagnolo, con l’omissione di 8, 9 e 10 di ciascun seme. Prende il nome dal gioco spagnolo di Primera, diffusosi in Italia all’inizio del XVI secolo con il nome di Primiera; questo gioco assomiglia nel complesso al Poker, dal quale si differenzia per il fatto che ciascun giocatore ha una mano di solo quattro carte; fu celebrato dal poeta fiorentino Francesco Berni nel suo Capitolo del Gioco della Primiera del 1526. L’associazione del mazzo normale già usato a Bologna con la Primiera risale al XVI secolo. Nel 1588 ad un certo Achille Pinamonti fu concesso dalle autorità papali il diritto di raccogliere tributi sulle carte da gioco nella misura di 10 soldi per un mazzo di tarocchi (forse di 78 carte) e 5 soldi per un mazzo della Primiera (12). Anche se, fra le carte da gioco bolognesi superstiti, tutte quelle anteriori al XVII secolo sono trionfi, possiamo tranquillamente dare per scontato che il mazzo della Primiera del 1588 fu l’antenato di quello moderno e che esso condivideva un modello standard con il Tarocco bolognese.
12. Ludovico Frati, La vita privata di Bologna dal secolo XIII al secolo XVII (Bologna: N. Zanichelli, 1900), p. 133. Era pratica comune in tutti le stati italiani appaltare l'esazione delle tasse dietro pagamento di una congrua somme.

Examples of tarot packs and regular packs from the seventeenth century onwards indicate Bologna as a classic example of a phenomenon which we have already discussed: the use of a single standard for the normal pack and the cards of the tarot pack. The normal pack that shares this model with the Tarocco Bolognese survives today under the name of Primiera Bolognese, although it is no longer the standard model for the normal pack in use in the city of Bologna, but is only used in some towns in the province. Like the majority of regular packs with Latin suits used in Italy, it has only forty cards, having been shortened, the Spanish way, with the omission of the 8, 9 and 10 of each suit. It takes its name from the Spanish game of Primera, which spread to Italy at the beginning of the sixteenth century under the name Primiera; this game in general is like Poker, from which it differs in the fact that each player has a hand of only four cards; it was celebrated by the Florentine poet Francesco Berni in his Chapter on the Game of Primiera, 1526. In 1588 a certain Achilles Pinamonti was granted by the papal authorities the right to collect taxes on playing cards in the amount of 10 soldi for a tarot pack (perhaps of 78 cards) and 5 soldi for a Primiera pack (12). Even if, among the surviving Bolognese playing cards, all those prior to the seventeenth century are triumphs, we can safely assume that the 1588 pack of Primiera was the ancestor of the modern one and that it shared a standard model with the Tarocco Bolognese.
12. Ludovico Frati, La vita privata di Bologna dal secolo XIII al secolo XVII (Bologna: N. Zanichelli, 1900), p. 133. Even if still in 1588 the old form and the complete deck existed, it was common practice in all Italian states to contract out the collection of taxes upon payment of an adequate sum.
Looking at Frati, ... 2/mode/2up, what I found was that the price of the Primiera deck was 5 soldi and the Tarocchi 10 soldi. The tax seems to have been the same, 1 Giulio:
Il dazio sulle carte da giuoco era di un Giulio di moneta romana per ciascun paio, o mazzo, di qualunque sorta di carte, più del prezzo solito eh' era di 5 soldi per quelle di Primiera, e di 10 per i Tarocchini.

(The duty on playing cards was one Giulio of Roman money for each pair, or deck, of any kind of cards, more than the usual price, which was 5 soldi for those of Primiera, and 10 for Tarocchini.)

But that makes no difference for his point. That there were different versions of Tarocchi in 1588 Bologna suggests to me that it might also have been true in 1477. For 70 card triumph decks, there is the precedent of Ferrara 1457. Added next day: I consulted with Andrea Vitali on this point. He thinks that what Frati is saying is that the tax had previously been 5 and 10 soldi, and then was raised to 1 Giulio.

Then on the next page Dummett says:
Sfortunatamente, non abbiamo indicazioni precise sul momento in cui il mazzo venne ridotto. La riduzione è sintomo della generale tendenza nei giochi di Tarocchi ad aumentare il rapporto fra trionfi e carte dei quattro semi. Deve aver avuto luogo durante il Cinquecento, forse nei primi anni del secolo, quando in Italia, Spagna e Francia si diffuse la voga di giochi con il mazzo normale ridotto in modi diversi; un esempio è il gioco veneziano della Trappola, giocato con trentasei carte, con l’omissione delle carte numerali dal 3 al 6 di ciascun seme.

Unfortunately, we do not have precise information about when the pack was reduced. The reduction is a symptom of the general trend in games to enhance the relationship between the Tarot trumps and the four suits. It must have taken place during the sixteenth century, perhaps in the early years of the century, when in Italy, Spain, and France the vogue for games with the normal pack reduced in different ways was widespread; an example is the Venetian game of Trappola, played with thirty-six cards, with the omission of the numeral cards 3-6 of each suit.
That is interesting, about the different composition of the deck between Primiera and Tarocchini. I hadn't realized you wrote about that. That bears some thought. I hadn't put that together. Added next day: But it didn't bother Dummett, who shows himself well aware of the difference. If the Piedmontese 62 card game follows that of Tarocchino, then it may well have come from Bologna. I wonder if anywhere else had such a deck.

I have been looking in another source for more information on this contract, or at least comments. In Andrea Vitali, ed., Bologna e i tarocchi, 2020, Alberto Beltramo, author of a book on the subject of historical playing card production in Italy, has an essay "Sulle carte da gioco stampate in Bologna in eta moderna." On p. 89 he says:
In società averbbero prodotto dai 250 ai 375 mazzi ogni mese di carte e di triumphi da zugare. Il Bonozzi, allievo di Taddeo Crivelli, proponeva prodotti molto raffinati realizzzati attraverso l'utilizzo di lastre in rame; la magioranza della produzione, invece, si avvaleva del metodo xilografico e della coloritura a pennello attraverso mascherine dando vita a esemplari più rozzi.

In partnership they would have produced between 250 and 375 decks of carte e di triumphi da zugare [ordinary playing cards and those with triumphs] every month. Bonozzi, a pupil of Taddeo Crivelli, offered very refined products by using copper plates, whereas most cards were printed as woodcuts and colored by brush painting through templates, thereby resulting in cruder products.
I'm not sure where the 375 comes from. His footnote at the end of the second sentence cites Gianna Paola Tomasina, “Carte da gioco a Bologna nel secolo XVIII,” in Le carte da gioco in Emilia e Romagna. Secoli XVIII e XIX a cura di Pietro Alligo, Giuliano Crippa, and Alberto Milano (Turin: Lo Scarabeo, 2007), pp.13-36, in part. p. 15.

Added next day: in the above, I have added a couple of comments, indicated by "added next day" in bold.

Re: Pratesi 2014 on Bologna 1477, cards & triumphs

Interesting work, MikeH, thanks.
... for the Giulio.
The Giulio didn't exist in 1477 .... the pope didn't reign in Bologna at that time.
The value might have been about 12 denari (= 1 soldo) ... (if I understood this correctly) .... or 2 Grosso, which possibly might be 2 Soldi (there are contradictions), In any case less than 5 or 10 soldi, the prices for cards and tarocchi.