Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

What your chart comes to is that two of the three groups that are in the earliest tarot are also in Marziano, namely the four virtues and the six petrarchans. Another that might be there is the Wheel of Fortune, represented by the four gods corresponding to riches. However, some of them are a stretch of the imagination, such as Ceres for Death and Apollo representing a river. Your comparisons, if I may call them that, with the early tarot suggest more that Marziano had some inspiration from the early tarot than the reverse. That was what Pratesi expressed in his first article on Marziano, too. Dummett, too, was attracted by that hypothesis, in his comments on Pratesi's article. He wrote ("A Comment on Marziano," The Playing Card, Vol. XVIII, No. 2 (Oct-Dec. 1989), p. 75)
Signor Pratesi has certainly pushed the probable date of the invention of the Tarot pack considerably further back; but he oversimplifies when he says (p.37) of Prince Fibbia that 'he was generally discarded as a candidate [for having invented the game] for being too early'. I do not recall anyone but myself who has rejected his claim on any but the false ground of the non-existence of his portrait. Part of my ground was that the evidence is so late: a portrait dating, I suppose, from the later XVII century is hardly strong ground for an event of the early XV century. It testifies to a family tradition; but a conjecture, intended to explain the presence of the Fibbia arms on some Bolognese cards, might have solidified into certainty. My original objection, in The Game of Tarot, was that Prince Fibbia was too early to have invented the game of tarocchini, as the inscription states. I have for long abandoned this view: if he had been the inventor of tarocchi in general, the word tarocchini, still in use for the only form of the game then known in Bologna (Minchiate excepted), might well have been employed in a XVII-century Bolognese inscription. It therefore already seemed to me possible, before Signor Pratesi's exciting discovery, that Prince Fibbia might really have been the inventor; but the evidence remains exceedingly flimsy.
Prince Fibbia, according to the inscription on the painting making the claim, died in 1419. If he had invented the tarot, it would have been somewhat earlier, perhaps even before Marziano wrote his essay. He reiterates his defense of the Fibbia hypothesis - as a hypothesis only, let me emphasize - in Il Mondo e L'Angelo. Nothing since Dummett's time goes against that hypothesis, as hypothesis. That 1440 is our first known mention (only two years earlier than what Dummett knew), only shows that the game wasn't noteworthy until noteworthy people showed an interest. Also, as primarily an educational game for children before then, it could easily escape notice for a long time. And if on top of that, it had been invented in another city, where many records have been lost due to upheavals, and not written about due to fear of censure from religious people (followers of Bernardino, for example, or the papal legate), it could have existed for a long time in that city without spreading further, like a fire that smolders for a long time before it reaches something really flammable. The "playing field" of conditions in various cities and various categories of players is hardly level.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

Two other points in Dummett's article quoted in my previous post are worth considering, too. First, after continuing to reject the idea of the PMB having originally just the 14 "first artist" cards (because of the presence of Justice, as he thought the card was), he adds (p. 75):
We know, however, that the composition of the Visconti di Modrone pack did not conform to what later came to be standard: the hypothesis that it contained only sixteen trumps is accordingly a real possibility. If so, then the trump sequence was of the same length as each of the suits; and this would give a simple reason why sixteen was chosen as the number of trumps. This suggests the faint possibility that, in Marziano's pack, too, each suit had both male and female court figures for each of the three ranks, making a total of 16 + 64 = 80 cards altogether.
I would agree that it is only a "faint possibility" that Marziano's pack had 80 cards. However it is nice to see that he contemplates the idea that the principle governing the length of the trump suit in the early tarot might have been to make it be "of the same length as each of the suits," so that the Cary-Yale (the Modrone, he calls it) would have sixteen trumps, as opposed to the twenty-five he had proposed in Game of Tarot. If so, a pack with 14 cards per suit would have had 14 trumps, following the same rule.

The other point is that he understands the problem about how the characteristics of the rows should be reflected somehow in the rules of the game: He writes of Marziano's gods (p. 74):
If they were trumps, their assignment to the suits is pointless; if they were superior court cards, their ranking among themselves is pointless. Of the two hypotheses, Signor Pratesi's, that they were trumps in our sense, seems the more probable. But there are other possibilities: for instance, that, when a King or pip card was led, the trick could be won by a god only if it was of that suit, but that, when a god was led, it could be beaten by any higher god. If this seems complicated, we should remember that evolution sometimes goes in the direction of simplicity; we should recall also the complicated rules about the trump suit in Karnoffel. This hypothesis would make Marziano's game ancestral to Tarot, but at a considerable remove.
I am not at all sure that Pratesi thought of the gods as trumps "in our sense"; he just says that they were trumps as well as extensions of the suits. The latter is not a characteristic of trumps "in our sense." But Dummett takes the issue further, into meaningful speculation. I do not defend the rule he suggests, but I do defend a modification of it. Take the example of how Cupid could capture Jupiter. If Doves were led, and someone out of Doves played Jupiter, it could be captured by someone who played Cupid, as long as someone else did not play Venus, Bacchus, or Ceres. But in that situation someone would only play Jupiter if he or she had no other triumphs, since it was sure to be lost. My modification of Dummett's proposal is that while the highest trump would take the trick, a card in the extension of the suit led would take priority over other trumps. In that way an inexperienced player might well play Jupiter, thinking to win the trick that way, only to be upended by someone playing Cupid. That would be more fun than with Dummett's rule.

On the other hand, it might have been that the rows only figured into the scoring, giving points to trumps only if the player had at least a certain number (e.g. 3) in the same row (including perhaps kings). But then Cupid couldn't capture Jupiter, and the last sentence of Marziano's text suggests that he can.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

MikeH wrote ...
What your chart comes to is that two of the three groups that are in the earliest tarot are also in Marziano, namely the four virtues and the six petrarchans. Another that might be there is the Wheel of Fortune, represented by the four gods corresponding to riches. However, some of them are a stretch of the imagination, such as Ceres for Death and Apollo representing a river. Your comparisons, if I may call them that, with the early tarot suggest more that Marziano had some inspiration from the early tarot than the reverse.
The PMB-14 has according my suggestion 6 Petrarca-Trionfi and 8 other motifs, but no "four virtues". Martiano suggests 4 virtues connected to Jupiter-Apollo-Mercury-Hercules. A 4x4-grid (used by Marziano) naturally fits well with a wheel of Fortune and its four directions, but Marziano doesn't use the picture


Ceres is one of 6 children of Kronos and Rhea.

Zeus marries Hera ... they are paired. Results are Ares, Eileithya, Hebe and possibly Eris as twin-sister of Ares.

Poseidon raped Demeter ... they are paired. Results are Despoina with a horse-head and Arion, the horse. Without rape Demeter gets Persephone from Zeus. And she got sons of a mortal son of Zeus with the nymph Elektra, Iasion. Zeus killed Iasion with a thunderbolt cause of that. Iasion and Demeter had 2 or 3 sons. Iasion was the father of twin sons named Ploutos and Philomelus (twins), and another son named Corybas. Ploutus becomes the Pluto-name for Hades and the name means wealth and the Demeter-Iasion son became wealthy. Philomelus invented the chariot with oxen and the plough, and Demeter loved him for that. Also the Petrarca Trionfi painters.


Hades and Hestia are paired, cause neither they married or had a case of rape or had children on another mysterious way.


In the 2nd column of the grid we have Apollo-Neptun-Diana-Bacchus. Neptun has much water, Bacchus has much wine. In both cases that's a liquid stuff. Apollo and Artemis however ...

Image,+ ... 915064!3e0
There is also much water.
In Greek mythology, Leto /ˈliːtoʊ/ (Greek: Λητώ Lētṓ; Λατώ, Lātṓ in Doric Greek) is the daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, the sister of Asteria. She is the mother of Apollo and Artemis.[1]
The island of Kos is claimed to be her birthplace. However, Diodorus, in 2.47 states clearly that Leto was born in Hyperborea and not in Kos.[2] In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins,[3] Apollo and Artemis, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eye of Zeus. Classical Greek myths record little about Leto other than her pregnancy and search for a place where she could give birth to Apollo and Artemis, since Hera in her jealousy caused all lands to shun her. She eventually found an island that was not attached to the ocean floor, therefore it was not considered land and she could give birth.[4] Once Apollo and Artemis are grown, Leto withdraws, to remain a dim[5] and benevolent matronly figure upon Olympus, her part already played.
Einst, wie der Mythos erzählt, war Delos eine schwimmende Insel auf dem Meer. Nur hier konnte die von Hera verfolgte und an der Niederkunft auf jederlei festem Boden gehinderte Leto niederkommen. Danach befestigte Poseidon (einer anderen Version nach Zeus) die Insel an vier diamantenen Säulen.
Leto gebar hier die Artemis und den Apollon (daher deren Beinamen Delia und Delios)
Asteria (altgriechisch Ἀστερία) ist eine Titanide der griechischen Mythologie.
In Hesiods Theogonie[1] und diesem nachfolgend bei späteren Mythographen[2][3] ist sie die Tochter des Titanen Koios und der Titanide Phoibe sowie die Schwester der Leto. Von Perses ist sie die Mutter der Hekate, wobei hier als Varianten auch die Väter Zeus[4] und Polus[3] überliefert sind. Nach Eudoxos von Knidos und Cicero ist sie zudem die Mutter des tyrischen Herakles,[5][6] Nonnos von Panopolis nennt sie als Tochter des Hyperion und als Gattin des Flussgottes Hydaspes.[7]
Der Mythos einer schwimmenden Insel, die anlässlich der Geburt des Apollon und der Artemis durch Leto von aus dem Meeresgrund heraufragenden Säulen getragen wird, ist bereits Pindar bekannt.[8] Ob die familiäre Beziehung von Leto und Asteria Pindar bekannt ist, ist unklar. Bei Kallimachos und diesem folgend in der Bibliotheke des Apollodor stürzt sich Asteria auf der Flucht vor Zeus ins Meer, um dort als schwimmende Insel umherzutreiben, bis sie sich Leto als Geburtsort anbietet.[9][10] Hyginus Mythographus berichtet als bekannteste Version des Mythos, dass Asteria von Zeus in eine Wachtel (ortyx) verwandelt und diese ins Meer gestürzt wird, da sie seine Annäherungen zurückweist. Aus ihr entsteht die schwimmende „Wachtelinsel“ Ortygia. Auf Anweisung Heras darf Asterias Schwester Leto nicht dort gebären, wo die Sonne hinscheint. Zugleich sendet sie Python aus, um Leto zu verfolgen. Zeus lässt Leto deshalb vom Windgott Boreas zu Poseidon bringen, der sie auf Ortygia bringt. Ortygia versinkt zur Geburt der Zwillinge im Meer und wird seit ihrem Wiederauftauchen Delos („die Sichtbare“) genannt. ... des_Koios)

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

Huck wrote,
The PMB-14 has according my suggestion 6 Petrarca-Trionfi and 8 other motifs, but no "four virtues". Martiano suggests 4 virtues connected to Jupiter-Apollo-Mercury-Hercules. A 4x4-grid (used by Marziano) naturally fits well with a wheel of Fortune and its four directions, but Marziano doesn't use the picture.
On my hypothesis the four kings of the PMB would represent the four virtues: Swords is Justice (which has a sword), Batons is fortitude (which has a stick), Cups is temperance (which has cups), and Coins is Prudence (round like a hand-mirror). Anyway, the PMB isn't the only early tarocchi deck. The CY was earlier and surely had the four cardinal virtues. I wouldn't have thought that the PMB "first artist" cards were an example of the earliest form, in the sense that all its subjects, and only those subjects, were there at the beginning. I am especially dubious about the Bagatella. Unlike fools, I don't know of anyone like the PMB Bagatella in any earlier deck of cards, or even visual art, for that matter.

When you cite myths about the gods, it is important that they be myths that Marziano would have known about, even better, ones that he mentions. Wikipedia isn't enough. I don't see how he would have known Diodorus, for example.

Well, it's nice to know that it is possible to get to Delos by car these days. In my day there was just a passenger ferry, and it only went a couple of times a day. It may have been a fisherman, I don't remember. The island is only a mile around, with nothing on it but some interesting but unspectacular ruins. In its day, it lived off the slave trade. Well, I wouldn't rely on Google to get me there. Maybe if I were a god. If it's not attached to the ocean floor, I suppose I could just drag it to the ferry dock and drive onto it. But it seemed pretty solid to me.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

mikeh wrote: 23 Jun 2021, 12:01 On my hypothesis the four kings of the PMB would represent the four virtues: Swords is Justice (which has a sword), Batons is fortitude (which has a stick), Cups is temperance (which has cups), and Coins is Prudence (round like a hand-mirror). Anyway, the PMB isn't the only early tarocchi deck. The CY was earlier and surely had the four cardinal virtues. I wouldn't have thought that the PMB "first artist" cards were an example of the earliest form, in the sense that all its subjects, and only those subjects, were there at the beginning. I am especially dubious about the Bagatella. Unlike fools, I don't know of anyone like the PMB Bagatella in any earlier deck of cards, or even visual art, for that matter.
I remember children-of-the-moon pictures with Bagatella, and I think, in astrology texts it might have existed before 1440 or 1452. But that's a vague memory on my side. Marco Ponzi was active in this topic, I remember. Here's a German dissertation to the theme ..
Planetenkinder: ein astrologisches Bildmotiv in Spätmittelalter und Renaissance
Dissertation by Annett Klingner (2017), 322 pages ... annett.pdf
We persecute the development of a name for a type of card decks and the name is "Trionfi" ... second to this we've growing interest in a poetical work of Petrarca
with the name "Trionfi" at the same or at least similar time (c1440/41), and we're curious, if there is a causal relation between the both different developments. Additionally we observe a growing number of Trionfi-festivities and Trionfi picture use in general art, all at the same or a similar time. Our object is called "Trionfi cards", not "Virtue cards". It's clear, that the Cary-Yale and other early Trionfi cards used Virtue cards in its program, but that doesn't mean, that PMB-14 or other Trionfi card versions MUST have had also Virtue cards.

All what we know, it might be, that the name "Trionfi" for a card deck formed in Florence. The Cary-Yale (c.1441) was made in Milan/Cremona, not in Florence. The relations Florence-Milan were hostile then.
In the time of PMB-14 (1452) the relations between the new ruler of Milan, Francesco Sforza, and the Florentine leader Cosimo di Medici were friendly. Perhaps this tells us a little bit.

Something with Trionfi cards had happened 1440-1444. Then a pause occurred, possibly connected to some prohibition in Florence.
In 1449 Trionfi cards reappear. There is a production noted in Florence, accompanied by a political situation, when it was believed in Milan, that peace had returned (end of 1449). Sforza interrupted this idea, and conquered Milan in early 1450. The situation was welcomed in Florence and Ferrara. Florence allowed the game of Trionfi (December) and then the big production and big business could start.
In Ferrara we observed, that in March 1450 the Signore Leonello ordered in some haste a Trionfi card production. It looks, as if this was a production to congratulate in Milan, cause Leonello went to Milan to the Sforza celebrations the same month.
Sforza wrote in December 1450 a letter, according which he had problems to get a Trionfi deck, probably he needed this for the Christmas celebrations.

According this one may assume, that the impulse to make Trionfi decks in Milan came from Florence or Ferrara and not from Sforza himself. We find 5x14 cards in Milan (1452) and 70 cards in Ferrara (1457).
When you cite myths about the gods, it is important that they be myths that Marziano would have known about, even better, ones that he mentions. Wikipedia isn't enough. I don't see how he would have known Diodorus, for example.
The argument was about the point, that Apollo/Artemis had some water connection. I think, one needn't Diodorus to recognize that.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

Huck wrote
The argument was about the point, that Apollo/Artemis had some water connection. I think, one needn't Diodorus to recognize that.
I was replying to your comment:
However, Diodorus, in 2.47 states clearly that Leto was born in Hyperborea and not in Kos.[2]
and the rest of what you said, where you did not specify the sources of the Greek myths you recount. There is no need to include comments from Diodorus, and the other sources need to be carefully sorted according to whether they were works known in the Latin west before the great influx of Greek manuscripts.
I do not challenge that Delos was known as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and that it was an island. But something like that, essential to your argument, needs verification in terms of sources that can be assumed known to Marziano.

Huck wrote,
I remember children-of-the-moon pictures with Bagatella, and I think, in astrology texts it might have existed before 1440 or 1452. But that's a vague memory on my side. Marco Ponzi was active in this topic, I remember. Here's a German dissertation to the theme ..
That is too lazy of a reply. In other words, you have no idea. All I can say is that I know of nothing verifiably from before 1460, the de Predis picture in Milan. There is another that "might" be as early as 1430, but also "might" be 1480. viewtopic.php?f=23&t=384&start=100#p13799, from Wurttumberg. (I am too lazy to put the umlaut in.) As for the ph.d. dissertation, I see no pictures, Italian search terms produce nothing. "Taschenspieler" produces three occurrences, but it doesn't look to me that they are any earlier than 1460. German is your language. If you find something associating a taschenspieler or some other word for him in that dissertation, I would very much like to know. It is much easier for you than for me.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

To the bateleur question ...
In 2010 Robert observed ...
Here's a colour version of an image also found on Adam Mcleans's site, which describes it as "Joseph of Ulm. Manuscript painting 1404. Now in University of Tübingen Library. Possibly the earliest example of this emblem form.":


So, there's our bateleur in 1404, cups and balls on table
The image is gone now ....


This was corrected by myself a year later (2011)
This image at is given with description ...
Joseph of Ulm included a cups and balls conjuror
in his 1404 drawing which showed the influences
of the moon. His astrological manuscript is preserved
in the Tuebingen University library in Germany.
1404 sounds "rather early" for children of planets, I would assume ... but I see, we had it already ... of_ulm.jpg

Ah, I see Adam McLean stating "Possibly the earliest example of this emblem form."

I find here: ... &q&f=false
Aus dem kalendarischen Hausbuch des Meister Joseph aus dem Kloster Güterstein bei Um, um 1475
Tübingen, Universitätsbibliok, Cod. M. d. 2
c. 1475 ... not 1404, according this statement
Planets (Mercury): [Ms Tübingen UB M d 2] German (Carthusian Monastery Güterstein, near Ulm?), ca.1475. The Children of Mercury, from an astrological manuscript. Tübingen UB Ms M.d.2, fol. 271. manuscript illumination. Includes an organ builder with positive and portative organs and a clock maker with a clock with a clapper bell. (D. Blume. Regenten des Himmels ... Berlin 200l. Taf. 40 [fine color reproduction] as ca.1475, as bound in the Carthusian Monastery of Güterstein and probably written there by an unknown Meister Joseph. Refers to it as the "Kalendarisches Hausbuch des Meister Joseph."; Hauber Planetenkinderbilder. Abb. 41, as Ulm, 1404)


Ross improved this later (2013) ...
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: 01 Apr 2013, 17:43 The Tübingen Hausbuch, with the Children of Luna picture that Huck posted at the top of this thread, is downloadable in PDF (in color!) at Tübingen University -
(181 megs)
(folio 272r)

The library gives a range of production dates from 1430 to 1480, in Württemberg. ... 97.31.8,FY

(it would seem the old "1404" date has been firmly rejected)

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

1. Introduction

I can't seem to get my head free of this topic! That's the trouble with hypotheses that aren't grounded in a lot of fact.

I now have another argument for the connection of a Marziano-type grid, linking suits with groups of triumphs, with the Cary-Yale. What I have presented up to now in this thread, since 2019, is a hypothesis only indirectly supported by evidence, namely the antecedent of Marziano's treatise, other card games probably present at around that time, and important literary texts and traditions, plus the results, in cards and ordered lists, 15th-16th century. These results can be explained in simpler ways, if the antecedents and certain aspects of the results are; the main point was to show that this origin story is as plausible as any other, because of the precedents and the later orders of triumphs.

I can't prove that I'm right by this method. It would be like proving that in the sequence 1, 4,... 1024, the next number after 4 is 8. Actually, the next number could be something else. For example, the sequence could go 1, 4, 8, 3, 16, 32, 5, 64, 128, 7, 512, 1024... Or any number of possibilities. Yet it isn't like that. The next number after 4 is most reasonably 8. This is true even if the number after 1024 is again 1024, etc. That simply shows that there was a limit, after which the series repeats. But if we find that it can't be 8, we modify our hypothesis.

Likewise if there is evidence suggesting otherwise in the present case, of a different intermediary forms, I have to change my hypothesis. But then there is the question, what counts as evidence?

In 2016 I had a different hypothesis, based on some evidence that I was persuaded in 2019 was illusory. However I now am not so sure that the evidence is illusory, even if it remains tenuous; it at least adds plausibility and so makes the true origin story that much more uncertain. In this post I will redo my 2016 hypothesis. I am going back to what was on the Beinecke website up until April of 2019. I described it in a long quote that Franco Pratesi was kind enough to insert in a note of his in January 2016 (
On the Beinecke Library website the cards are divided into four groups,which correspond almost precisely to the four suits. They are in the following order, with the captions as stated:
Swords: Empress of Swords, Emperor of Swords, Love (Swords).
Batons: Fortitude (Batons), Faith (Batons), Hope (Batons),
Cups: Charity (Cups), Chariot (Cups), Death (Cups)
Uncaptioned, Uncaptioned
The last two are first, a scene with knights and castles usually designated “World” (Mondo), and second, one of the Last Judgment, corresponding to the card known as “l’Angelo” in later lists.
What I wrote is insufficiently precise. More specifically, the website first had scans of all the suit cards in Swords, then the three cards captioned after the colon above. Then came the suit cards in Batons, followed by the three cards listed, with the titles given. Then the suit cards in Cups, followed by the three cards listed. Then the suit cards in Coins, followed by the two cards as described, in that order but without captions.

2. Marziano

What came to mind was Marziano's god-cards, because of the association of triumphs with suits. Let me repeat this information for anyone new to the thread. Sometime between 1412, when Marziano's dedicatee Filippo Maria Visconti became duke of Milan, and 1425, the year of Marziano's death, had written a treatise which survives in two or three copies. It proposed a game based on four groups of Greco-Roman gods, or "deified heroes" as he called them, four groups of four, while "subordinated to those are four kinds of birds, being suited by similarity." These birds identify four suits, each headed by a King. And while the trick-taking power of the suit cards varies, with those with a greater number of birds being more powerful in two of the suits and less powerful in the other two, "Every one of the gods, however, will be above all the orders and the kings of the orders."

This relationship can be represented by a 4x4 grid connecting cards of superior trick-taking power with the four suits, in four rows of four cards each, also ordered among themselves from 1 to 16 in trick taking power, in four columns. Below I have changed his numbering, which Marziano started with Jupiter at 1 for the highest, to the more usual way of ranking where the lowest, Cupid, has that number:
Pratesi has speculated that the game of "VIII Imperatori" might have had a similar structure, in its case with only 8 trumps, linked to 4 suits, two to a suit, but also forming their own hierarchy of 8, (, in English at ... about.html).

An undetermined issue is how the relationship of suits to rows of triumphs is expressed in playing Marziano's game (and of course Imperatori). Michael Dummett in a short "Note on Marziano" (The Playing-Card 18 (1989) no. 2, 73-75), commented:
If they [the gods] were [simply] trumps, their assignment to the suits is pointless; if they were superior court cards, their ranking among themselves is pointless.
One possibility was that
...when a King or pip card was led, the trick could be won by a god only if it was of that suit, but that, when a god was led, it could be beaten by any higher god.
A passage in the treatise supporting Dummett's suggestion is its very last sentence:
With a full bow, the wanton and wicked Cupid wanders through heaven and earth; whose arms, pestilent to gods and men, Jupiter himself was not able to escape.” (Caldwell and Ponzi translation, Lulu 2019, p. 93).

How could Cupid vanquish Jupiter in the game, given that Cupid was the lowest in the order of gods and Jupiter the highest? Dummett's proposal provides an answer: when a Dove was led, and someone played Jupiter, the trick would be won by Cupid. In his treatise Marziano also notes that Daphne overcomes Apollo and Eolis can destroy the fruits of Ceres and Bacchus. These are possible outcomes in the game with such a rule.

A problem in practice is that players, if they had exhausted the suit led and therefore had to play a triumph, would not play a high one outside the same row if they could help it, because they would be sure to lose. In earlier posts I offered a variation: the highest card played in a trick, including trumps, wins, but priority goes to the highest trump that is an extension of the suit led. Thus, if a Dove is led, someone out of Doves might well put down Jupiter unnecessarily, thinking thereby to be sure of winning the trick. Then Cupid, being in the extension of Doves, could capture him. With this rule reckless players might well play Jupiter, only to be surprised by Cupid or some other card in the order of Pleasures. That rule would be more fun, especially when the players were children, than Dummett’s. Either would require the player to know the four groups of triumphs.

Another way in which the suits and rows, is in terms of combinations. Ross Caldwell suggested in another thread that the rows might have figured in the game as a source of extra points, if a player had captured some or all of the row. If so, the King and below in each suit could have counted as extensions of the corresponding row of gods, to increase the number of points earned in such combinations of triumphs.

3. The Cary-Yale

Dummett also commented in the same note that the Cary-Yale, with its 16 cards per suit (both a male and a female knight and page in all 4 suits), might have also had 16 trumps, the same as the number of cards per suit. This suggests the hypothesis that the designer of the deck had Marziano's game in mind, merely changing what is depicted on the cards. This idea is especially attractive given the likelihood that the commissioner of the Cary-Yale was likely the same Filippo Maria Visconti who had commissioned the deck of the gods and birds. If so, I want to ask, could there be any relationship between Marziano's correspondences of suits with groups of triumphs and those on the Beinecke website?

It is true that Dummett did not repeat his suggestion in later works, instead preferring his 3:2 ratio of trumps to cards per suit theory, even while acknowledging that in the Cary-Yale one of the standard trumps would have to be missing if Prudence was included, and that the idea was "pure hypothesis" (Il Mondo e l'Angelo p. 53). 16 to this extent is another "pure hypothesis". So the issue becomes, can anything more be said for 16? Huck has defended the hypothesis on the basis of his chess analogy, that the 16 correspond to the 16 pieces per side of chess, and that there is some evidence for the nearby number of 14 triumphs. I am trying something else, which ends up fairly consistent with his ideas.

With the Beinecke website suit assignments, it is not hard to construct a Marziano-style grid for the Cary-Yale, at first with blank spaces, like this (the dashes are meant as possible places, so "1-4" means "1, 2, 3, or 4"). It is clear that Faith and Hope will be among the top three in the second row and Charity the first card of the third row. But we have no idea where the blanks would be in the columns. All we have is their column and their order relative to one another in each column.
It is also clear that the correspondences between triumphs and suits is not by row, like Marziano's, but by columns. So already I have to revise my 2019 hypothesis, which was that the triumphs would have been connected to suits by row, to include connections by columns. Whether I still need connections by row as an option is another question.

The connection between triumphs and suits in the game can be the same as in Marziano's game. If Cupid could capture Jupiter in the game of the gods when Doves are led, Love could capture Judgment in the Cary-Yale when Swords are led. In Christian terms, Christ's Love trumps the Father's Judgment. There may be other allegories of this sort. Perhaps extra points would be awarded for such captures.

Combinations can still continue into the Kings and below. Without rows to contend with, of course, there is much less to remember. All that is required is to know how the sequence breaks up into four sub-sequences and which suit attaches to each.

But first there is the question of whether this information from the website can count as evidence. Given that websites are a new phenomenon, and I first saw the suit assignments there in 2008, can we really expect that they go back to the time the deck was made, i.e. the 1440s?

4. Input from people who handled the cards

Those principally involved with the cards at the Beinecke since the early 1970s are still active and responsive to email requests. My first email was in 2008, to the Beinecke Library’s Timothy Young, curator of the Cary Collection. As I said in 2016, he wrote back just a very general statement:
Cataloging information about the cards was received with the collection when it was given by the Cary family to Yale. The author of the printed catalogue to the Cary Collection used their descriptions when he created fuller catalog records. (email of 8/26/2008)
I asked him again in 2016, when he repeated the previous affirmation. This time he had been looking for notes previously unknown to him, on the occasion of moving the files to a new location:
I had hoped to find more evidence about how the Cary family acquired their sets of tarot cards, but unfortunately, there was nothing more. The notes by the person who created the catalog were basically a form that was filled out to be entered into a database - and that had the same information as appears in the online database. So I don't have any more information than what appears online. It would be extremely helpful to my work to have a better paper trail for the cards, but they weren't retained with the collection. (email of 11/23.2016)
He also endorsed again his statement from 2008.

In 2019, I discussed the issue of the website's suit assignments with Ross Caldwell and sent him the relevant page (53) of William Keller’s 1981 Catalogue of the Cary Collection of Playing Cards in the Yale University Library, vol. 2 (text). (It's now online at the Beinecke website, but I hadn't found it there then.) He cautioned me that the website’s correlation of suits to triumphs was suspect, having not been reported by any of the published sources, starting with Cicognara in 1831. He also noticed that Keller gave a reference to an article in the Yale Gazette of 1978. That article in turn listed a 1974 master’s thesis on the cards by Martha Wolff. So I might consult that thesis. Yale would not send me a copy without her permission, but I managed get an email to her, asking about what she remembered about suit assignments to triumphs and if I could get a copy of her thesis. Her initial reply (3/19/2019) was that she had been focused on the cards as art rather than as a game and would try to hunt up a copy of her thesis.

Then Young emailed me back. After saying he had heard from Wolff, he reported:
I did some more checking on your question about the suits assigned to the trump cards and it may well be that there was some confusion due to the cataloging and housing of the cards. Each suit is stored in a separate box (there are four of them) with extra spaces in each box to house a few trumps. I believe that The Emperor, The Empress, and Love are stored with the Swords suit, so when scans were made of the cards, the cataloger may have assumed that the suit needed to be added to the names of the trumps. I can double-check this. (email of 3/20/2019)
In his view no significance should be attached to the triumph to suit correspondences: it was merely a cataloger’s misinterpretation of an accident of storage. Since the sole instance of these assignments of trumps to suits was in that very digital library, he would have the website changed to remove them. (Now, in fact, not only are the suit assignments removed, but the order of the cards has been made quite random.)

I ran this hypothesis by Wolff, who said she thought he was "on the right track here." She said she had been "quite surprised and confused by the designation Empress of Swords, etc. rather than just the Empress," adding, “When I worked with the cards the trumps were not integrated with the suits though I can't say I remember precisely how they were housed” (all 3/20/2019). I asked Young how old the boxes were. He said they “were created by conservators at the library sometime in the 1970s or 1980s” (3/21/2019). Later Wolff commented, "I think I must have seen them in the housing from the Cary collection" (3/26/2019).

I was not convinced. It did not seem to me that people creating online resources operated that way. For captions, they would follow the instructions of a cataloger who had filled out a form, based on whatever was available to him or her, especially from the previous owner. Young had told me as much in previous years. Undaunted, I emailed William Keller, the cards’ curator in the 1970s, about the order of trumps for this deck in his catalog, which give no correlations to suits but did correspond to the odd order on the website. He replied (3/28/2019):
I would have to say that the order of the trumps in the catalog entry probably reflects the order I saw in notes, inventories or articles available to me in the years during catalog preparation. It does not represent my estimation of a particular authority or viewpoint. Sorry to be so vague. I’m sure you have seen everything Dummett and Decker wrote by now. It’s possible I may have simply picked up the order presented in one of their Playing Card Society Journal pieces.
In a follow-up he added that “I was mostly concerned with listing rather than order” (3/28/2019).

Of course if Keller "picked up" the order presented in one of their Playing Card Society Journal pieces, then it would represent his estimation of a particular authority or viewpoint, since the cards themselves have no numbers on them! Here is the list of trumps in Keller’s 1981 catalog (vol. 2, p. 53 at

The order is the same as the website's, except that he has titles for the last two.

Wolff did send me a copy of her 1974 thesis, entitled "Bonifacio Bembo and the Minchiate cards painted for Filippo Maria Visconti." In it she observed that "The irregularities in the Beinecke pack may be explained as an early stage in the development of the minchiate pack, and its unwieldy groupings of six courtly figure cards for each suit may have been simplified in later packs” (p. 7). The later "unwieldly grouping" was due to the two lady pages and knights in each Cary-Yale suit, which she sees as reduced in minchiate to just two suits, coins and cups. (Wolff was under the impression that minchiate had female knights; in some decks these cards are a bit androgynous.) The other irregularity, of course, is the presence of the theological virtues in both decks.

As far as I know, she is the first to have classified the Cary-Yale in that way. I am aware that Dummett said in 1993 that Moakley and Algieri had done so (Il Mondo e l'angelo, p. 52); but I cannot find Moakley having said it in either her book or her earlier article; her only suggestion, in a footnote, was that the Charles VI might have been a minchiate; she must not have been aware of the little numbers on the cards, which exclude any cards added to the standard tarocchi triumphs. As for Algieri, her book was in 1981. Despite Dummett's scorn, it is not unrealistic as a stage in that pack's development, without most of its characteristic triumphs at that point.

Here is Wolff's listing of the triumphs, presented as part of an appendix at the end. She did not say there why she presented them in this order. On page 6 she had cited Moakley and Steele (although, curiously, in relation to a list of triumphs in "Marseille" order), so probably one or the other was her source here. She put each card on its own line, so that the list descends vertically:
The Empress, The Emperor, The Triumphal Car, The Lovers, Fortitude, Charity, Hope, Faith, Death, The Judgment, The World.

5. The order: discussion

Wolff's list follows quite precisely Moakley's ordering of the tarot triumphs in her book (that is, omitting the theological virtues), as well as the titles she refers to, even if sometimes they are not the ones she emphasizes. Wolff's reliance on Moakley (as opposed to Steele) is evident in her placement of the Chariot before Love; Steele's list had the reverse. Moakley stated, "In modern packs the Car [i.e. Chariot] follows the card of L'Amore, but in all the fifteenth-century lists it precedes it" (p. 76; my transcription is at and here in the thread viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1168#p19038). Moakley had found the Steele sermon's titles rather obscure ("a queer mixture of Latin, Italian, and Spanish," p. 62), so she used Bertoni's titles and instead, thinking the order was the same. Bertoni dated the verses he had transcribed to "the time of Isabella d'Este" (, who lived 1474-1539. Moakley thus confused these verses' dating and order with Steele's (from the sermon he dated 1450-1470: Both of course are in the order of Ferrara and Venice, Dummett's type B, as opposed to minchiate's type A. Wolff's only innovation is in the placement of the theologicals, which is contradicted by the many minchiate decks available to her in the Cary Collection, where they occur after both the Chariot and Death. Her result is an order that is unknown anywhere. Well, Wolff's was a youthful work, and in the field of art history, where she is on much firmer ground; documenting the order and titles was not her main concern.

Then there is Keller's list, which has the same order as on the website (p. 53 of the Catalog of the Cary Collection, 1981:
Empress, Emperor, Love, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, Charity, Chariot, Death, World, Judgment.
This, too, is an order not to be found anywhere, even speculatively. In most respects it is that of minchiate. Unlike Wolff's list, it puts the Chariot, World, and Judgment where minchiate has them, even if minchiate calls the latter the Angel; and he does use minchiate’s term “Love” rather than “Lovers.” The only thing he didn't correct was Wolff's placement and order of the theologicals, which minchiate has after Death with Hope first. I suppose he is allowed an oversight; but it's an odd one for someone who had been for months looking at minchiate decks to see what cards they were missing, to record in his catalog. True, there is what he has put at the top of the two facing pages of this section: "nonstandard" on one side and "original designs" on the other. That is perhaps his disclaimer about the order of anything in this section, which includes cartomantic packs of odd design and a multitude of other things.

At the same time, the order is not random. All of the cards except the theologicals are in minchiate order, an order he could well have imposed on the cards despite his avowal that he had not imposed any special theory. The theologicals, however, are not where minchiate has them, nor in minchiate’s order among themselves. In other words, we are left hanging. That the Cary-Yale was a proto-minchiate is reasonable enough. Had he put its the triumphs in minchiate order, we would naturally suppose he was thinking of the deck in those terms, perhaps inspired by Wolff’s thesis. But then why would he have corrected Wolff’s order in every respect except its placement of the theologicals? It is very strange. Maybe he did get the order from notes that came with the cards, not noticed by previous writers. Or perhaps he simply took them in the order in which they were stored in the Cary Collection’s own boxes. If this order had been one faithfully followed by previous collectors, simply to preserve what had come down to them, that would explain the coincidence between suit assignments and the C order distribution of virtues well enough. If so, it would probably have gone back to the earliest times.

6. Suit assignments: discussion.

What Keller and Wolff did not do, at least in print and by their present testimony, was to make suit assignments. That is what the media department supposedly did, misinterpreting how the triumphs were stored, 2 or 3 each in the same box as the suits, for the suits they belonged to. But there is something very nonrandom about this storage. First, the order of triumphs in each box follows Keller's list precisely. Secondly, if the boxes are put in order according to Keller's list, the suits with which each subset is stored follow a very precise order. Let me return to the grid representation of how the cards were stored.
First, it is possible to say something about what is probably missing. The cards present show certain patterns. In 2016 I wrote:
The existing cards correspond to 5 of the 6 Petrarchan triumphs and 4 of the 7 principal virtues of the medieval Church, the 4 cardinal virtues and 3 theological. The missing Petrarchan triumph is that of Time, and we see that in later decks with an old man (Vecchio), holding an hourglass. Together with the Empress and the Emperor, that would make 15 cards. However in the Brera-Brambilla deck, done just a little later than the Cary-Yale according to current thinking, there is a Wheel of Fortune. This also was one of the triumphs in Boccaccio’s Amorosa Visione. That would make 16.
Some have thought me unduly speculative. I can at least take it more slowly.

I want to focus first on the missing virtues: Dummett argued in 1980 (Game of Tarot p. 78, online at viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1175).
Since four of the stock set of seven Virtues were included among the triumphs, it seems probable that the other three were also: Temperance and Justice, which belong to the standard list of triumph subjects, and Prudence, which does not.
He repeated this argument in 1993, in Il Mondo e l'angelo, p. 52.

In 2016 I wrote:
In Marziano’s deck, each of the suits was associated with a bird and an allegorical theme: eagles had the theme of Virtues; phoenices that of Riches; turtledoves, that of Virginities; and doves, of Pleasures. So the CY’s organizing principle might be the four cardinal virtues, each related to three other of the cards.
Well, it is a hypothesis, based on what came before. Marziano in his dedication said to Filippo Maria of his god-cards, "be ready by observation of them to be aroused to virtue." If virtue is the important theme, what better, in a Christian context, than the four cardinal virtues as the organizing principle?

If my question can tentatively be granted an affirmative answer, then we can expect a virtue in each column of the grid. And in fact there is a space in each column where one would fit.

For where the virtues would have gone, we can non-arbitrarily look at what was common to the Lombard orders of triumphs as recorded in the 16th century, namely a certain characteristic placement of the virtue cards. This placement, or one close to it, is likely to have gone as far back as the earliest time of the popular game in that region, because it is always the same in that region, and totally different from the placements of the virtues in the other two regions, enough unlike them that players would resist any change that drastic. (For the orders, see Game of Tarot pp. 399-401, above link.)

In Lombardy Justice always came immediately after Love. Likewise, we see just one spot open in the first (far right) column. To put Justice in it, the Empress, the Emperor, and Love will be the other three, in that order, making Justice 4th. After Justice, Fortitude was either the next card or the one after that, so 5th (Alciato's order) or 6th ("Pavia"). The missing card will then be 5th or 6th, too, because Faith and Hope will have to be at the top of the column if Charity is in the next group. Then Temperance comes immediately after Death. So Temperance will be either 12th or 13th. The problem is that we don't know where Prudence would be. It could be in 2nd column, before Hope, the 3rd column, before Death, or the 4th column, after Death.

Fortunately, we also have the Beinecke suit assignments. How they fit in is something I hadn't thought of in 2016. Moakley pointed out a precise historical correspondence between virtues and suits in two historical sources (p. 41 of her 1966 book, n. 1). First, from Archivio storico lombardo, anno xviii, 792, is Giangaleazzo Visconti’s 1404 funeral oration, lamenting:
O chiara luce, o specchio, o colonna, o sostegno, o franca spada, che la nostra contrada mantenevi sicura in monte e in piano!

(O clear light, o mirror, o column, o sustenance, o confident sword, you kept our territory safe in the high places and on the plain!)
Mirrors, round like coins, are an attribute of Prudence. One surviving 16th century pack found in Assisi has for its Maid of Coins a young woman holding the suit-sign as though it were a mirror (viewtopic.php?p=18369#p18369). Columns, straight like Batons, correspond to Fortitude, often depicted as a lady holding a column. Sustenance suggests Cups and Temperance’s two vessels. The Sword is that of Justice.

Her second source was a 1551 a book of games, Ringhieri's Cento Guoici Libarali e d'Ingegno (Bologna 1551, in Google Books, p. 232), that proposed a “Game of the King” with four suits, each correlated with a cardinal virtue: the suit of Mirrors with Prudence, Columns with Fortitude, Cups with Temperance, and Swords with Justice.

This correlation of suits to virtues is another reason why the cardinal virtues would have been chosen to link groups of triumphs to suits: the standard suit symbols already contained imagery linking them precisely to the cardinal virtues. So we have Justice with the first suit, Swords, then Fortitude with Batons, then Temperance with Cups. Since the 4th column's suit is Coins, its virtue would be Prudence. Although we still don't know where in the 4th column it would be, we can at least say:
Now I invite you to notice the coincidence between the C order’s placement of virtues and what the suit with which each subgroup was stored would tell us about the virtue card that should be stored in that box, using Moakley’s virtue to suit correlations independently of what the C order would say. The people putting cards into boxes at Yale could have simply followed Keller’s instructions as to the order, odd as it is; but assuming they knew nothing of Moakley or her sources, they could have picked any suit for the first subgroup, then any other suit for the next, and so on. None of the extant triumphs in the Swords box have swords on them, nor sticks in those of the Batons box, nor vessels with the third box, nor round things with the fourth box. What are the chances that these choices, when correlated with Moakley’s suit assignments to virtues, happen randomly to coincide with where the C order actually puts those virtues? It is 1 out of 4 for the first, 1 out of 3 for the second, and 1 out of 2 for the third, in other words 1 out of 24.

These odds seem to indicate that the Beinecke’s former titles are evidence for my hypothesis, but in the vertical rather than Marziano’s horizontal direction. Added later: It is merely evidence, not proof, or even a 96% probability. I have excluded Prudence from the calculations, because the C order gives no direct evidence of where it would be. If Prudence’s placement in the order is randomized, then I have nothing. It is just that it seems reasonable that if Moakley’s suit to virtue correlations coincide with the column where the corresponding virtue would be in C order in all three of the known placements, it probably will in the fourth. But I don’t know the probability. 23 out of 24 seems too high.

What still needs to be examined is whether these suit assignments could reasonably have been intentionally produced by someone in our own period, or anytime long after Marziano. Moakley’s book had been published in 1966. Might the Beinecke’s assignments have been a deliberate act on the part of some previous cataloger at Yale, inspired by a reading of Moakley or her sources? She in fact did correlate suits with groups of triumphs in the Visconti-Sforza deck. In her imagined procession, the Cups came after the “Bagatino”(she is using Bertoni's list) but primarily related to the next 8 cards, in the B order (which she considered fit all 15th century tarot decks); then the Staves (Batons) came after Fortitude, relating both to the previous group and to the Wheel, which came immediately after the Batons; then, after just one card, came Coins, heralding the “Hunchback” through “House of the Devil”; and finally Swords for the last group, where Justice was second to last. I have reproduced the imagined "procession" in her book (she never proposed any actual procession following this pattern), which she elaborates in the ensuing text, relating suits to triumphs, both the triumphs that come before and those after the suits (p. 61):

This order of triumphs and suits is quite incompatible with the Beinecke one; the groups are unequal in number and the virtues follow the B order. Only someone using the C order of virtues and an A order otherwise, also wanting the groups of triumphs to be equal in number, each corresponding to a suit, could have produced the Beinecke result from knowing Moakley's or her sources' reading of the virtues' correspondences with suits. That is a fairly tall supposition. And if they supposed that the order of virtues was that of minchiate, in which three virtues are one after the other, they would not have tried correlating groups of triumphs with suits by the virtue cards in them at all, because in that case one group will inevitably be left without a virtue.

If not the chance product of someone’s inappropriate extrapolation from the triumphs’ storage method, what could explain the correlations? Yes, the correlations of suits with virtues was traditional, so that anybody could have known them. But why correlate suits with groups of triumphs at all? How would someone even think such a thing, unless they were already familiar with Marziano’s game or some other with such assignments? This aspect of Marziano was unknown until Pratesi wrote about it in 1989. An earlier piece by Tardieu reported only 16 cards. It is true that Moakley did think of suit assignments, very generally, but she had done a tremendous amount of research and even then it wasn't the same, not knowing that aspect of Marziano’s game and assuming the B order rather than the C would apply. And when would such an unaccountable understanding have been achieved, except in the few decades between Marziano and the game we know? For that matter, who would have wanted to play such a game even then, one depending on correlations between triumphs and suits, except Filippo Maria or someone close to him? Finally, while it is true that no one up to now has commented on any suit to triumph correlations in the Cary-Yale, that may be because they were not looking. No one has commented on Moakley’s correlations between triumphs, singly or in groups, and suits either, despite her emphasis on it. It is too strange.

7. Finishing the grid

With three virtues added to eleven already there, there are only two cards left undetermined out of 16. Since 5 out of 6 Petrarchans are there, probably the 6th is there. The remaining one is Time. Also, from the same time period and card maker, there is the Wheel as one triumph, which in minchiate comes just before the Chariot and after the Justice. In the C order it comes either just before or just after Fortitude. There is a place for that triumph in the grid, either 5th or 6th.

Time, at least in Petrarch illustrations after 1440, was conventionally represented as a winged old man, which is precisely what we see in minchiate; but it is before Death in the sequence, and there is no room in the Beinecke grid there. Of course we cannot assume that the Cary-Yale followed minchiate order precisely, even outside of the cardinal virtues. The theological virtues are not in minchiate order. In particular, I would note that the Cary-Yale's depictions and the order that results from those depictions are more in conformity with Petrarch than in minchiate. The Cary-Yale Charioteer holds a jousting shield, just as Petrarch described for Pudicizia. Minchiate, in contrast, has a naked lady holding a banner. In some versions, from Lucca, that banner even declares "Fama Sol." It would seem not to be Pudicizia, which in Italian of the time meant proper comportment, female modesty in particular. It is more likely worldly Fame, and if so is out of the Petrarchan order. Other early non-Lombard Charioteers show triumphators carrying swords and tripartite globes, symbols of secular domination, again more likely Fame than Pudicizia.

On the other hand, the Cary-Yale World card shows a this-worldly scene of a knight in a scene of castles nearby and further away ships on the sea; above it is an allegorical figure holding the winged trumpet conventionally held by Fame and the crown of dominion. It is this-worldly Fame coming after the Death card in the sequence, instead of that of a chariot, coming before. If the World card is Fame and the Chariot Pudicizia, the order is the same as Petrarch's, the one after Death and the other before. In that context it is reasonable that Time should be where Petrarch put it, too, namely between Fame and Eternity, or at least somewhere in the 4th column, even if outside of Filippo's domain the situation was otherwise (unless, since some minchiate's have "fama sol" on their Angel cards, that card was Fame, of an eternal kind).

Another issue is what the Time card would have looked like. Petrarch was concerned mainly with what might be called cosmic time, the time it takes even for the greatest of humans' fame to disappear completely. His main image of Time in fact was the sun, who gives a long speech in the first part of the poem. And the Sun is one of the cards of tarot and minchiate, the third highest. On the other hand, the same Bembo workshop that made the Cary-Yale produced a tarot a few years later with an Old Man holding an hourglass, and if that deck had a Sun card it has not survived, only a later version in a different style. But the two decks reflect different eras, one of a ruler allied with Florence, which used the Old Man image, vs. a reclusive ruler in opposition to Florence.

So I think the closest we can get to a reconstructed Cary-Yale is something like this:
With C-order virtues and minchiate-order Petrarchans, it is an odd bird indeed.

That is enough for now. I still want to explore how such a grid would have fit into the larger picture of the development of the tarot, both before, in Lombardy and elsewhere, and after. But I will save that for later posts. Meanwhile, here is a summary.

8. Conclusion.

In this thread I have presented two hypotheses for transitional forms between triumphs as extensions of suits and triumphs as trumps in the later sense, unconnected to suits; both involve a grid, one connecting to suits by rows and now, in this post, another doing so by columns. The first is Marziano's own method and suggests the A order as the one most congenial to it, so probably first.The second is simpler than Marziano's, in that the columns are just subsets of the larger order of triumphs. It is perhaps more suitable where the subjects in the same row are not so well connected in meaning as Marziano's are.

While there is no direct evidence for the first hypothesis (suit assignments by rows), and that for the second (by columns) is extremely insecure, it nonetheless counts for something. The Beinecke website's former order, the same as that given by Mr. Keller in his book, is nonstandard enough that it is unlikely to have come from any published source, nor, considering his testimony and experience, one likely to have originated with him, accidentally or not, but more likely from private notes now lost and forgotten, notes unusual enough that they go back to a very early time. Although the extant cards fit the minchiate order, they also fit the conditions of a 4x4 Marziano-type grid where groups of triumphs are linked to the four suits by columns, in which three of its gaps are easily filled by the cardinal virtues in their C positions, one in each of three groups of four starting from the beginning, with room for the fourth at the end. Moreover, when this is done, the suits with which these virtue cards would be placed exactly match the traditional suit-virtue correspondences described by Moakley. The chances of such a coincidence happening by chance, are 8.3% or less. This C order correspondence to suit result is at variance with Moakley's own B ordering, which she thought applied to all 15th century decks, as well as her way of grouping the triumphs. And an A order of virtues wouldn't produce any suit associations to groups of triumphs in order by virtue at all.

The coincidence of suit/virtue correspondence to the C order placements of virtues is striking, but not proof. If my assumptions are wrong, namely that the games that preceded tarot aren't related in conceptual ways to the one that followed them, then I have nothing. It is only in the context of Marziano's structure and other facts about the times that what I am saying has any force. However this is not to say that I am assuming that what is to be proved. The assumptions are reasonable on other grounds, and what has been shown is that the results by different methods coincide, in a way that is likely not to be random, and for which no satisfactory explanation has been found other than a 15th century origin.

More to follow: I will argue that despite appearances, on a larger view, even if the conclusion so far is true, and even if the game itself derives from Marziano and the other two games, it is more likely that it originated in the A region, where columns could not possibly have been used, and that rows, if anything at all, are more likely there. When I get to Ferrara, I find a place for both columns and rows.

Re: From Marziano to the Cary-Yale and the Ludus Triumphorum

Hello MikeH. Thank you for this fantastic discussion on the Visconti di Modrone trumps. Without having all your knowledge, I discussed the Visconti di Modrone trumps on my website in 2017. Without proposing an order, I came to the same conclusion about the number of trumps and which trump cards are missing. Your article is so full of information, I will have to reread it several times, before I can give a technical reaction on your article. But I'm certain that your contribution will help me to improve this specific page of my website. Thanks a lot. You can find my page here: ... drone.html