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GALLERY INDEX
~~ Gallery 5 ~~
The Tarot and other Early Cards
· page III ·

TRUMP CARD ARRANGEMENTS

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GALLERY INDEX


other pages

page I
classic
tarots
page II
regional
tarots
page IV
modern &
non-standard
page V
theMulûk
wa-Nuwwâb
page VI
the Visconti
Tarots
page VII
the tarots
of Ferrara
page VIII
the tarot
of Marseille
page IX
the Tarot
de Paris
page X
Viéville's
Tarot
page XI
the
Minchiate
page XII
Mitelli's
Tarocchino
page XIII
Mantegna's
Tarot
page XIV
the
Hofjagdspiel
page XV
the
Hofämsterspiel
page XVI
the deck by
Jost Amman
page XVII
the Italy 2
Moorish deck


In the first tarots, trumps were ranked according to the moral consideration and the philosophical reading given to each of the subjects featured: for instance, cards showing human authority such as the Emperor or the Pope, would outrank (thus take, in play) trivial activities as the Conjurer, but they would be taken by higher subjects, for instance the three virtues (Justice, Fortitude, Temperance). Death would then take any card related to man's mortal life, but it would be outranked by trascendental subjects such as the Stars, the Moon, the Sun, and so on.
For this reason, we should assume that none of the ordering variants were randomly arranged; conversely, they may be considered a reflection of the local cultural background.
The following table compares the trump ranks of most tarot patterns, following the classification into three main archetypal groups suggested by scholar Michael Dummett. The criteria by which each tarot is attributed to one of the groups is based on affinities in trump ranking, graphic resemblance of the subjects, and the use of non-standard subjects replacing original ones.
The cultural and trade relations in time between neighboring regions accounts for the geographic distribution of the patterns, and for the similarities between the ones belonging to the same group.

In the following classification, the three main archetypes will be referred to as types I, II and III, or as Western, Eastern and Southern respectively (according to Tom Tadfor Little's criterium), the latter providing a closer relation to the reference map shown below. It should be noticed that type I matches Dummett's type C, while type III matches Dummett's type A.

Milan's early tarots, such as the ones painted for the Visconti family, are considered to be the ancestors of the western pattern (Marseille, etc.). Such early decks, though, do not appear in the following table, whose only purpose is to trace the trend of later tarots sprung from the three main varieties. Furthermore, in most early decks some of the trumps are missing: this makes the original sequence very difficult to tell.
Also Florence's Minchiate are not in the table, though showing affinities with type III (southern). A full table of their subjects can be found in the gallery dedicated to this deck.




type I - western patterns (Dummett's C )
type II - eastern patterns (Dummett's B )
type III - southern patterns (Dummett's A )

KEY TO THE TABLE OF TRUMPS

italic-case lettering : names are not spelled out on the cards
(in brackets) : modern equivalents of old subjects
pale green lettering : subjects differing from "classic" (Marseille) ones
Marseille
Lombardy [1]
Piedmont [2]
the Trivial Performer
the Popess
the Empress
the Emperor
the Pope
the Lovers
the Chariot
Justice
the Hermit
the Wheel of Fort.
Fortitude
the Hanged Man
Death
Temperance
the Devil
the Tower
the Star
the Moon
the Sun
Judgement
the World

the Fool
Paris   [3]
(Jacq.Viéville)
17th cent.
the Trivial Performer
the Popess
the Empress
the Emperor
the Pope
the Lovers
Justice
the Chariot
Fortitude
the Wheel of Fort.
the Old Man (Herm.)
the Hanged Man
Death
Temperance
the Devil
Lightning (Tower)
the Star
the Moon
the Sun
Judgement
the World

the Fool

Bruxelles   [4]
(F.I.Van d.Borre)
18th cent.
the Trivial Performer
Captain Fracasse
the Empress
the Emperor
Bacchus
the Lovers
the Chariot
Justice
the Hermit
the Wheel of Fort.
Fortitude
the Hanged Man
Death
Temperance
the Devil
Lightning (Tower)
the Star
the Moon
the Sun
Judgement
the World

the Fool
Besançon
Switzerland
18th-19th cent.
the Trivial Performer
Juno
the Empress
the Emperor
Jupiter
the Lovers
the Chariot
Justice
the Hermit
the Wheel of Fort.
Fortitude
the Hanged Man
Death
Temperance
the Devil
the Tower
the Star
the Moon
the Sun
Judgement
the World

the Fool
Ferrara
Venice
15th-16th cent.
the Trivial Performer
the Empress
the Emperor
the Popess
the Pope
Temperance
Love (the Lovers)
the Chariot
Fortitude
the Wheel (of Fort.)
the Old Man (Herm.)
the Traitor (H.Man)
Death
the Devil
Fire (Tower)
the Star
the Moon
the Sun
the Angel (Judgem.)
Justice
the World

the Fool

Bologna
[5]
Conjurer
w
w the four Moors
w (of equal rank)
w
Love (the Lovers)
the Chariot
Temperance
Justice
Fortitude
Fortune
Old Man / Hermit
the Traitor
Death
the Devil
Lightning / Tower
the Star
Moon
Sun
World
Angel (Judgem.)

Fool

Sicily
[6]
Misery
the Trivial Performer
the Empress
the Emperor
Constancy
Temperance
Fortitude
Justice
Love
the Chariot
the Wheel of Fort.
the Hanged Man
the Hermit
Death
the Ship
the Tower
the Star
the Moon
the Sun
Atlas (the World)
Jupiter (Judgem.)

the Fugitive (Fool)
NOTES
  1. In most Lombard editions of the 19th century, trump no.XIII, Death, is left without a name, but in the edition by Dotti it is labelled Equality. Obviously, this does not represent a real change of subject.
  2. The Piedmontese trumps feature western numerals including the Fool, marked 0.
  3. The names of most trumps are mentioned by a text featured in two suit cards.
  4. The trumps feature roman numerals including the Fool, marked XXII.
  5. The four Moors replaced the four classic subjects in the 18th century; later, some of the trumps were given western numerals, starting from no.5 - Love (despite being the 6th card) and ending with no.16 - the Star. Other subjects have no number.
    Card no.11 used to be called the Old Man, but is now known as the Hermit.
    Card no.12 is still called the Traitor, though it features a hanging man.
    Card no.15 used to be called Lightning, but is now known as the Tower.
  6. All Sicilian trumps feature western numerals, except the first one and last one of the series, Misery and Fugitive: therefore, the Trivial Performer has number 1.

Comparing the data in the columns above, with the only exception of the Fool card (or its equivalent), it seems as if no trump has a matching subject and rank in all patterns. In most cases, the subject remains the same but has a different position, or in fewer cases a non-standard subject replaces a classic one, keeping its rank.
However, in reading the columns, attention should be payed to the type III (southern) pattern, in which some positions appear shifted due to the particular structure of the trump series: Bologna's tarot has four Moors of equal rank, which took the place of the Pope, Popess, Emperor and Empress; although numerals appear only in modern decks, the first numbered subject after the Moors is Love, marked 5 despite this card is actually the 6th! So, seen in a column, all trumps following the Moors seem to be one position lower than what they really are, while many of them actually keep the same order as in the Marseilles pattern.
This remark can be made also for the Sicilian tarot, in which an opening non-standard subject (Misery), lowest and numberless card, causes other following subjects to appear shifted: also in this case, the Trivial Performer bears number 1, though being the second card. Disregarding the shift, the Trivial Performer would be trump number 1 in all patterns.
In a similar way, Death always has number 13. Also the Star, the Moon and the Sun keep their positions, although in type II Justice outranks these three cards.
Other subjects, instead, shift to higher or lower ranks, according to the pattern they belong to. Their arrangements can be sometimes understood: for instance, in type III all virtues appear grouped together, whereas in the Marseille pattern they are separated from each others by two positions.
The difference between the same subject's rank in different patterns does not usually exceed three or four positions. Only Justice in type II has a very high and almost anomalous rank.



ARCHAIC ORDERINGS

What is known today about the trump ordering in early tarots, whose ranking in most cases was not written on the cards, is largely based on literary sources in which the names of the trumps are mentioned. The oldest one is a collection of preaches (Sermones de ludo cum aliis, "sermons about the game with dice") written by an anonymous monk sometime during the second half of the 1400s. Several others are known, most of which are poems and satires written during the following century. These lists of names reflect both the variability of the names which some subjects were known with in different parts of Italy, and the mismatching position of some subjects, whose ordering was left to the custom of the local players. One author, Pietro Aretino, wrote about the trumps in two distinct works (with a time interval of about twenty years), mentioning two different ordering of the trumps, and placing the Fool at one end of the series first, then at the opposite end.
In these lists we also find some interesting alternative names. A common one is the Hunchback for the Old Man a.k.a. Time; in some editions, he apparently did have a hunchback (picture on the left, from an uncut tarot sheet), which later may have turned into the Hermit's hood. In one of the lists this subject is replaced by the Carriage, curiously coexisting with the Chariot. Another source reorts the Traitor as Judah, after the biblical betrayal of Christ by apostle Judas Iscariot. The same source gives Lightning (a.k.a. the Tower) the curious name of the House of the Damned, whereas two others refer to this subject as the House of the Devil and the House of Pluto (Pluto himself, ruler of the infernal regions in ancient Roman mythology, is used in place of the Devil). What is strange in this archaic interpretation is that the Tarot of Marseille completely reversed the meaning of the subject, without changing its iconography.
Lastly, several sources still feature Justice in a very high position, consistent with the ordering used in the north-eastern area, i.e. pattern B (according to Dummett's classification), despite this scheme would have soon later died out.


1
Sermones
(2nd half of the 1400s)

El bagatella
  (the trivial performer)
Imperatrix
  (empress)
Imperator
  (emperor)
La papessa
  (the popess)
El papa
  (the pope)
La temperantia
  (temperance)
L'amore
  (love)
Lo caro triumphale
  (the triumphal chariot)
La fortezza
  (fortitude)
La rotta
  (the wheel)
El gobbo
  (the hunchback)
Lo impichato
  (the hanged man)
La morte
  (death)
El diavolo
  (the devil)
La sagitta
  (lightning)
La stella
  (the star)
La luna
  (the moon)
El sole
  (the sun)
Lo angelo
  (the angel)
La iusticia
  (justice)
El mondo
  (the world)
El matto
  (the fool)
2
Pasquinata
(1521)

il bagatella
  (the trivial performer)
l'imperatrice
  (the empress)
l'imperadore
  (the emperor)
la bella papessa
  (the beautiful popess)
il papa
  (the pope)
la temperantia
  (temperance)
l'amore
  (love)
il carro
  (the chariot)
La fortezza
  (fortitude)
la ruota di fortuna
  (the wheel of fortune)
il vecchio
  (the old man)
il traditore
  (the traitor)
la morte
  (death)
il diavol
  (the devil)
la casa
  (the house)
la stella
  (the star)
la luna
  (the moon)
il sol
  (the sun)
l'angelo
  (the angel)
la iusticia
  (justice)
il mondo
  (the world)
il matto
  (the fool)
3
Triomphi
(1534)

Matto
  (fool)
Bagattella
  (trivial performer)
Imperatrice
  (empress)
Papessa
  (popess)
Imperatore
  (emperor)
Papa
  (pope)
Temperanza
  (temperance)
Carro Triomphale
  (triumphal chariot)
Amore
  (love)
Fortezza
  (fortitude)
Rota
  (wheel)
Tempo
  (time)
Traditore
  (traitor)
Morte
  (death)
Diavolo
  (devil)
Foco
  (fire)
Stella
  (star)
Luna
  (moon)
Sole
  (sun)
Angelo
  (angel)
Giustitia
  (justice)
il mondo
  (the world)
4
Motti
(2nd quarter of the 1500s)

matto
  (fool)
bagatello
  (trivial performer)
l'Imperatrice
  (the empress)
la Papessa
  (the popess)
l'Imperatore
  (the emperor)
il Papa
  (the pope)
l'Amor
  (love)
la Giustizia
  (justice)
il Carro
  (the chariot)
la Fortezza
  (fortitude)
la Ruota
  (the wheel)
il Cocchio
  (the carriage)
il Traditore
  (the traitor)
la Morte
  (death)
la Temperanza
  (temperance)
il Diavolo
  (the devil)
il Fuoco
  (fire)
la Stella
  (the star)
la Luna
  (the moon)
il Sole
  (the sun)
l'Angelo
  (the angel)
il Mondo
  (the world)
5
Le carte parlanti
(1543)

Il matto
  (the fool)
Il Bagatella
  (the trivial performer)
l'Imperatrice
  (the empress)
la papessa
  (the popess)
lo Imperatore
  (the emperor)
il papa
  (the pope)
l'Amore
  (love)
la Giustizia
  (justice)
il carro trionfale
  (the trimphal chariot)
la fortezza
  (fortitude)
la ruota
  (the wheel)
il vecchio
  (the old man)
il traditore
  (the traitor)
la morte
  (death)
la temperantia
  (temperance)
Plutone
  (Pluto)
la casa di Plutone
  (the house of Pluto)
le stelle
  (the stars)
la luna
  (the moon)
il sole
  (the sun)
l'Angelo (le Trombe)
  (the angel / the trumpets)
il mondo
  (the world)
6
Trionphi
(mid 1500s)

il Matto
  (the fool)
il Bagatino
  (the trivial performer)
l'Imperatrice
  (the empress)
l'Imeradore
  (the emperor)
la Papessa
  (the popess)
il Papa
  (the pope)
la Teperanza
  (temperance)
il Carro
  (the chariot)
l'Amore
  (love)
la Fortezza
  (fortitude)
la Ruota
  (the wheel)
il Gobbo
  (the hunchback)
il Traditore
  (the traitor)
la Morte
  (death)
il Diavolo
  (the devil)
la Casa del Diavolo
  (the house of the devil)
la Stella
  (the star)
la Luna
  (the moon)
il Sole
  (the sun)
l'Agnolo
  (the angel)
la Justicia
  (justice)
il Mondo
  (the world)
7
Gioco di tarocchi
(1550)

il matto
  (the fool)
il bagatello
  (the trivial performer)
l'imperatrice
  (the empress)
la papessa
  (the popess)
l'imperator
  (the emperor)
-
-

l'amore
  (love)
la giustizia
  (justice)
il carro
  (the chariot)
la fortezza
  (fortitude)
la rota di fortuna
  (the wheel of fortune)
-
-

juda
  (Judah)
la morte
  (death)
la temperanza
  (temperance)
il diavolo
  (the devil)
la casa del danato
  (the house of the damned)
la stella
  (the star)
la luna
  (the moon)
il sole
  (the sun)
lo angelo
  (the angel)
il mondo
  (the world)
8
Invettiva
(1550)

Matto
  (fool)
Bagatella
  (trivial performer)
Papessa
  (popess)
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Carro
  (chariot)
Fortezza
  (fortitude)
Ruota
  (wheel)
Gobbo
  (hunchback)
Traditor
  (traitor)
Morte
  (death)
-
-
-
-

Inferno
  (hell)
Stella
  (star)
Luna
  (moon)
Sol
  (sun)
-
-
-
-


  1. Sermones de ludo cum aliis - anonymous, second half of the 1400s
  2. Pasquinata sull'elezione di Adriano VI - Pietro Aretino, 1521
  3. Triomphi de Pomeran da Cittadela composti sopra li terrocchi in laude delle famose gentil donne di Vinegia - Troilo Pomeran, 1534
  4. Motti alle signore di Pavia sotto il titolo dei tarocchi - anonymous, second quarter of the 1500s
  5. Le carte parlanti. Dialogo di Partenio Etiro nel quale si tratta del gioco con moralità piacevole. - Pietro Aretino, 1521
  6. Trionphi de tarocchi apropriati - anonymous, mid 1500s
  7. Gioco di tarocchi fatto in conclavi - Paolo Giovio, 1550
  8. Invettiva di Flavio Alberto Lollio ferrarese contra il giuoco del tarocco - Flavio Alberto Lollio, 1550


a detailed discussion can be found in Tom Tadfor Little's
The Early Ordering of the Trumps.



page I
classic
tarots
page II
regional
tarots
page IV
modern &
non-standard
page V
theMulûk
wa-Nuwwâb
page VI
the Visconti
Tarots
page VII
the tarots
of Ferrara
page VIII
the tarot
of Marseille
page IX
the Tarot
de Paris
page X
Viéville's
Tarot
page XI
the
Minchiate
page XII
Mitelli's
Tarocchino
page XIII
Mantegna's
Tarot
page XIV
the
Hofjagdspiel
page XV
the
Hofämsterspiel
page XVI
the deck by
Jost Amman
page XVII
the Italy 2
Moorish deck



OTHER GALLERIES

non-standard patterns advertisement decks sizes, shapes and colours standard pattern variants non-suited cards Mercante in Fiera Uta Karuta, Iroha Karuta, Dôsai Karuta Âs nas
regional patterns: Italy regional patterns: Spain regional patterns: Germany regional patterns: Austria regional patterns: Switzerland regional patterns: France regional patterns: Sweden regional patterns: Portugal regional patterns: China regional patterns: South-Eastern Asia regional patterns: Japan regional patterns: India uncut sheets mottos and proverbs

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Introduction
INTRODUCTION
AND HISTORY

Multi-language Glossary
MULTI-LANGUAGE
GLOSSARY
the Fool and the Joker
THE FOOL &
THE JOKER
Index Table
INDEX
TABLE
Regional Games
REGIONAL
GAMES
Playing Card Links
PLAYING CARD
LINKS