Re: Gebelin: ARTICLE V


Relationship of this Game with a Chinese Monument.

M. BERTIN, who has rendered such great services to Literature and Science, by the excellent memoirs he has procured and which he has had published on China, has communicated to us a unique monument which was sent to him from this vast country, and it goes back to the earliest ages of this empire, since the Chinese regard it as an inscription by Yao on the receding of the waters of the flood.

It is composed of characters that form large quarter-length compartments, all equal, and precisely the same size as the cards of the Game of Tarot.

These compartments are distributed in six perpendicular columns, the first five of which contain fourteen compartments each, while the sixth, which is only half-filled, contains only seven.

This monument is thus composed of seventy-seven figures as is the game of Tarot: and it is formed from the same combinations of the number seven, since each column is fourteen figures, and that which is only half-filled, contains seven.

Without this, it would have been possible to arrange these seventy-seven compartments so as to leave almost no void in this sixth column: one would have had only to make each column of thirteen compartments, and the sixth would have had twelve.

This monument is therefore perfectly similar, as to the layout, to the game of Tarot, if they are placed on a single board: the four suits would make the first four columns with fourteen cards each: and the twenty-one trumps would fill the fifth column and precisely half of the sixth.

It would be very odd if such a relationship was the simple effect of chance: it is, therefore, very apparent that both of these monuments were formed according to the same theory, and on the attachment to the sacred number seven; they, therefore, both seem to be a different application of a single formula, perhaps predating the existence of the Chinese and Egyptians: perhaps we'll even find something similar among the Indians or the people of Tibet placed between these two ancient nations.

We were very tempted to have this Chinese monument engraved as well; but the fear of misrepresenting it by reducing it to a field smaller than the original, coupled with the impossibility, given our means, of doing all that the perfection of our work would require, prevented us.

Let's not leave out that the Chinese figures are in white on a very black background; which makes them very prominent.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Gebelin: ARTICLE VI


Relation of this Game with Quadrilles or Tournaments.

For many centuries, the nobility rode on horseback and, divided into colours or factions, they performed among themselves feigned fights or tournaments perfectly analogous to what is performed in card games, and especially in that of Tarot, which was a military game as well as that of chess, which at the same time could be considered as a civil game, in which it excelled over the latter.

Originally, the Tournament Knights were divided into four, even into five bands relating to the four suits of the Tarots and the mass of the Trumps. Thus the last entertainment of this kind seen in France was given in 1662, by Louis XIV, between the Tuileries and the Louvre, in this great square which has retained the name of Carousel. It was made up of five quadrilles. The King was at the head of the Romans: his brother, head of the House of Orleans, at the head of the Persians: the Prince of Condé commanded the Turks: the son of the Duke of Enguien, the Indians: the Duke of Guise, the Americans. Three Queens attended under a canopy: the Queen Mother, the reigning Queen, the Queen of England, widow of Charles II. The Earl of Sault, son of the Duke of Lesdiguières, won the prize and received it from the hands of the Queen Mother.

The quadrilles were usually composed of 8 or 12 Horsemen for each colour: which, in 4 colors and at 8 per quadrille, gives the number 32, which forms that of the cards for the game of Piquet: and in 5 colors, the number 40 which is that of cards for the game of Quadrille.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Gebelin: ARTICLE VII


Spanish Cards.

When we examine the decks of cards used by the Spaniards, we cannot help but recognize that they are a diminutive of Tarot.

Their most distinguished game is that of Hombre, which is played by three, and the Quadrille which is played by four and which is only a modification of the game of Hombre.

This means the Game of Man or of human life; it, therefore, has a name that corresponds perfectly to that of Tarot.

It is divided into four suits which bear the same names as in the Tarot, such as SPADILLE or Swords, BASTE or Batons, which are both black suits; COPA or Cups, & DINERO or Coins, which are both red suits.

Several of these names have been transmitted into France with this game: thus the ace of spades is called SPADILLE or sword; the ace of clubs, BASTE or baton. The ace of hearts is called PONTE, from the Spanish Punto, ace, or a point.

Those Trumps which are the strongest are called MATADORS, or the Slaughterers, the Triumphant ones who destroy their enemies.

This game is entirely formed on Tournaments; the proof is striking since the suits are called Palos or stakes, the lances, the pikes of the Knights.

The cards themselves are called NAYPES, from the oriental word Nap, which means to take, hold [tenir]: word-for-word, the UPHOLDER [TENANS].

So there are four or five quadrilles of knights who fight in tournaments.

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

Four suits called Palos or rows of pikes.

The victors are called matadors or slaughterers, those who in the end have defeated their enemies.

Finally, the names of the four suits, the same of the game, show that it was formed entirely from the game of tarot; that the Spanish Cards are only a little imitation of the Egyptian game.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot




Following this information, there is no one who does not easily realize that the French cards are themselves only an imitation of the Spanish Cards and that they are thus the imitation of an imitation, therefore, a very degenerated institution, far from being an original and first invention, as our scholars have so badly believed, who had no point of comparison in this, the only means of discovering the causes and relations of everything.

It is usually assumed that the French cards were invented under the reign of Charles VI, to amuse this weak and infirm Prince; but what we believe we have reason to assert is that they were but an imitation of Southern Games.

Perhaps we would have reason to suppose that the French cards are older than Charles VI, since Ducange attributed to St. Bernard of Siena, contemporary of Charles V, having condemned to the fire not only masks & the game of dice, but likewise Triumphal Cards, or the Game called Triumphs.

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

These statutes must be very old since in this work it has not been possible to indicate the time: this city must be that of Savone.

Let us add that these games had to be much older than S. Bernard of Siena: would he have combined with dice & masks a game newly invented to amuse a great king?

Our French cards, moreover, present no vision, no genius, no cohesion. If their invention was inspired by Tournaments, why was the Knight suppressed, while his squire was consecrated? Why admit only thirteen cards instead of fourteen per suit?

The names of the suits have degenerated to the point of no longer offering any harmony. If we can recognize the sword in the spades, how did the baton become a cloverleaf? How do the heart and the tile correspond to the cup & the coin; What ideas do these suits reveal?

Likewise, what idea introduces the names given to the four kings? David, Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, that are not even related to the four famous Monarchies of Antiquity, nor to those of modern times. It's a monstrous mix.

The same is true of the names of the Queens: they are called Rachel, Judith, Pallas & Argine: it is true that it was believed that they are allegorical names relating to the four ways in which a Lady draws homage from men : that Rachel designates beauty, Judith strength, Pallas wisdom, & Argine, where we see only the anagram Regina, Queen, birth.

But what relationship do these names have with Charles VI or with France? to which these allegories are forced?

It is true that among the names of Valets one finds that of Hire, which could relate to one of the French Generals of Charles VI; but is this single relationship sufficient to blur together all the epochs?

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

This book is entitled:

Historical notes & reviews of two manuscripts from the library of the Duke of Valliere, one of which is entitled the Story of Artus, Count of Brittany, and the other the Story of Pertenay or Lusignen, by M. l'Abbe Rive, in Paris, 1779, in 4o [quarto]. 36 pages.

On page 7, the author begins to discuss the origin of the French cards; we saw with pleasure that he supports:

1. that these cards are older than Charles VI;
2. that they are an imitation of the Spanish cards;

we are going to give a brief summary of his proofs.

"The cards," he said, "are at least from the year 1330, and it is neither in France, nor in Italy, nor in Germany that they appear for the first time. We see them in Spain around this year, and long before we find any trace of them in any other nation. They were invented there, according to the Castilian Dictionary of 1734., by a man named Nicolao Pepin ...

They are found in Italy towards the end of the same century, under the name of Naibi, in the Chronicle of Giovanni Morelli, which is from the year 1393." This learned Abbot informs us at the same time that the first Spanish piece which attests to its existence is from about the year 1332. "These are the Statutes of an Order of Chivalry established about that time in Spain, & where it was established by Alfonso XI, King of Castile. Whoever was admitted to it was sworn not to play cards."

They are then seen in France under the reign of Charles V. Little John of Saintré was honoured by the favours of Charles V only because he played neither dice nor cards, and this king proscribed them as well as several other games by his edict of 1369. They were decried in various provinces of France; some of their figures were given names made to inspire horror. In Provence, the Valets were called Tuchim. This name designated a race of thieves who, in 1361, had caused in this county and in the country of Venaissin such horrible ravage that the Popes were forced to preach a Crusade to exterminate them. The cards were only introduced into the court of France under the successor of Charles V. They feared in introducing them to injure decency, and they imagined accordingly a pretext: it was to calm the melancholy of Charles VI. The game of Piquet was invented under Charles VII. This game caused the cards to spread from France to several other parts of Europe."

These details are very interesting; their consequences are even more so. These cards, against which they fulminated in the fourteenth century, and which rendered one unworthy of the orders of chivalry, were necessarily very old: they prove to be regarded only as the remnants of a shameful paganism: they were, therefore, the cards of the Tarot; their bizarre figures, their singular names, such as the House of God, the Devil, the Papess, etc., their high antiquity which is lost in the night of time, the fate that one drew from it, etc., everything must have made them look like a diabolical amusement, like a work of the darkest magic, of a reprehensible sorcery.

However, the means to not play! So we invented games more human, more refined, free from figures that were only good to frighten: from there, the Spanish cards and the French cards that were never doomed to be forbidden like those cursed cards from Egypt, but which nonetheless dragged themselves a long way on this ingenious game.

From there above all, the game of Piquet, since we play it with two people, we discard, we have sequences, we go to a hundred: we count in the game what we have in our hand, the raises, and several other striking connections.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot



We therefore dare to flatter ourselves that our readers will receive with pleasure these different views on objects as common as cards, and that they will find that they rectify perfectly the vague and ill-combined ideas which had hitherto been entertained on this subject:

That these propositions will no longer be put forward as demonstrated.
That cards have existed only since Charles VI.
That the Italians are the last people who adopted them.
That the figures of the game of tarot are extravagant.
That it is ridiculous to look for the origin of cards in the various states of civil life.
That these games are the image of peaceful life, while that of chess is the image of war.
That the game of chess is older than that of cards.

Thus the absence of truth, of whatever kind, leads to a multitude of errors of every kind, which become more or less disadvantageous, depending on whether they bind with other truths, contrast with them or repel them.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot


Application of this Game to Divination.

To complete this research and development on the Egyptian game, we shall put before the eyes of the public the dissertation which we announced and in which we prove how the Egyptians applied this game to the art of divining, and how this point of view has been transmitted to our playing cards made in imitation of those.

We will see in particular what we have already said in this volume, that the explanation of dreams in antiquity was due to the hieroglyphic & philosophical Science of the Sages, the latter having sought to reduce to science the result of their combinations on dreams which the Divinity permitted the accomplishment; and that all this science faded in the course of time, and was wisely guarded, because it was reduced to vain and futile observations, which in unenlightened centuries might have been contrary to the most essential interests of the weak and superstitious.

This judicious observer gives us new proof that the Spanish cards are an imitation of the Egyptian, since he teaches us that it is only with a Piquet deck that one consults the fates, and that several names of these cards are absolutely related to Egyptian ideas.

The Three of Coins is called the Lord, or Osiris. The Three of Cups, the Sovereign, or Isis. The Two of Cups, the Cow, or Apis. The Nine of Coins, Mercury. The Ace of Batons, the Serpent, a symbol of agriculture among the Egyptians. The Ace of Coins, the One-eyed, or Apollo.

This name of 'one-eyed', given to Apollo or the Sun as having only one eye, is an epithet taken from nature, which will furnish us with evidence to add to many others, that the famous character of the Edda who lost one of his eyes to a famous allegorical fountain, is none other than the Sun, the one-eyed or the unique eye par excellence.

This dissertation is, moreover, so full of things, and so apt to give sound ideas as to the manner in which the sages of Egypt consulted the Book of Destiny, that we have no doubt that it will be well received by the public, deprived, moreover, until now, of such research, because up to now no one had had the courage to deal with subjects which seemed to be lost forever in the deep night of time.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot