Saturday, February 4, 2017


Last modified Feb. 5, 2016

Franco Pratesi has an impressive list of publications on the history of the tarot and playing cards generally that goes back to 1986, both in print publications and on various websites, including his own at However many of the most important, especially recently, are in Italian only. In an effort to make his research more widely available, I have been translating selected essays and notes into English, essentially using Google Translate and then correcting it by my understanding of Italian grammar and reference to online dictionaries for the word that fits the context best. Even then, I often end up going to Pratesi himself for advice on certain passages. I have tried to make the English conform as closely as possible to the original Italian, sometimes resulting in awkward transitions in English but which in the development of ideas follow the Italian.

In each translation, there are occasionally comments in brackets for the sake of clarification. These are always by me. The numbers by themselves on the left margins are page numbers in Franco's pdf, for those who would like to consult the Italian original or quote it. For safety sake, any quotations by others of my translations should probably include the original Italian, since I do not guarantee the accuracy of my admittedly amateur work.

At the right of this introduction is a list of months, including a list of titles for the current month of posting. The notes are arranged in the order in which Franco posted them. So for notes dated earlier than the current month, it is necessary to click on an earlier month, until the desired note is found.

You will notice that some notes belong to a series of such notes. One is "Playing cards in Europe before 1377?"; another is on the minor arts in relation to triumphal motifs on the cards, i.e. birth trays, marriage chests, Petrarch manuscripts, and civic processions, all beginning "Ca. 1450:...". A third may be on the tarot origins, including two in early 2016 on Milan and Florence and then another in Oct. 2016, reviewing a wide range of proposals. I have resisted the temptation to put these groups together in the blog, preferring instead to arrange them in order of their appearance on

 I have written introductions to each translation, in most cases rather short. In one case, where I myself am quoted in the note, my introduction is longer, explaining how Franco and I got to that point.

In many of the blog-posts, after the translation, but in the same post, I have put my own reflections on Franco's note, or posts I have written relating to the same theme. Both the translation and my comments originally appeared on Tarot History Forum, to which I give the relevant links; but in some cases there are small revisions. Some of these reflections are quite long.

There will probably be translations that I will not have had time to post here. For an up to date list of translations, see, graciously maintained by "Huck". Please let me know if links don't work or there are other errors. In most cases I can fix them. 

Jan. 18 and March 9, 2017: ...before1377? Holland

Here are my translation of  "Carte da gioco in Europa prima del 1377 ? Olanda", in Italian at, dated Jan. 18, 207, as well as an Addendum of March 9, 2017, in Italian at These notes are largely an outgrowth of internet research done by Lothar Teikemeier ("Huck") and posted on Tarot History Forum in a thread starting at Franco adds important additional material, involving considerable personal communication on his part, as well as an analysis of the whole thus far.
In what follows, comments in brackets are mine, for clarification. If anyone sees any problems with the translation, let me know. Franco clarified several passages for me, for which I am grateful.

For other notes in this series "Playing cards in Europe before 1377?", see the list of posts for Nov. 2016. I had no comments of my own to add to what Franco gives here.

Playing cards in Europe before 1377? Holland

by Franco Pratesi (Jan. 18, 2017)

1. General considerations

1.1 Introduction

This study is part of an investigation on notices handed down on the presence of playing cards in Europe before 1377, where there is usually little precise information, whose verification is always difficult and sometimes impossible. We often encounter a recurring question: if a historian of the nineteenth century, perhaps amateur, wrote that he had found useful information in an ancient document, but today the document is no longer detectable, can one give credence to the notice if it is the only information on the subject? The case at issue here, however, is different from the usual, because the original documentation of the fourteenth century might be stored and traceable; thus we shall recap the notices that have been handed down and possibly verify them in the documents, and not in the copies remaining from the following centuries.

The point on which testimonies agree is in regard to the personage involved, Jan van Blois, of a noble family that had extensive properties in France and the Netherlands. He was the Count of Blois and Dunois, lord of Schoonhoven, Gouda, Beaumont, Chimay, Waarde and other Dutch cities. His most important positions were transitory: Governor of Holland and Zealand as deputy of Albert of Bavaria and contested Duke of Gelderland, a position he tried to recover a hereditary right from his wife, but he had to yield to the rival claimant. He is often remembered for his participation in two crusades against the Poles-Lithuanians in Prussia in the sixties at the side of the Teutonic Knights (1). Finding traces of him as a card player is not mysterious (except the dates), because the had the reputation of being an inveterate gambler, also avid in hunting and other pastimes.

As for the dates when Jan van Blois would be involved in card games before 1377, we read of two different cases: one witness reported dates for 1362 and earlier; another for 1365. One possibility is that they are both true; if

Jan van Blois played cards already in 1362, we do not see how he could not play in 1365. Since, however, the two sources are very different, it is appropriate to examine them separately. To our good fortune, or perhaps misfortune, many documents of the van Blois family are stored in a register [fondo] of that name in the Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives, located in The Hague. Also, residing in the Netherlands and still active is Lex Rijnen, the historian of playing cards that used an unspecified source for the second notice of interest to us.

In this note I act like a researcher and in fact refer mainly to research already done; but if, as often happened to me, I' were to write the results found in the research, it would be possible to condense what follows into a couple of lines

1.2. Tarot History Forum

Michael Dummett in his famous book cites a reference to playing cards used in Holland in 1365 (2); this is a notice that did not have confirmation and therefore was never of interest to me. But I could not continue to neglect it, because recently I was studying such uncertain notices of that time. and the matter was brought to our attention on the Tarot History Forum with a discussion initiated by Mikeh and continued almost exclusively by Huck (3). People like me who know Huck, that is, Lothar Teikemeier, certainly will not have been surprised by his numerous comments in the Tarot History Forum, also on this specific topic. His typical attitude is to insert into the web communications in rapid succession, so as to definitely hit the target, as well as other possible targets glimpsed nearby.

In particular, also in his comments on this subject we find all the necessary pieces of information, and several more. To one who doubts, like me, that playing cards have come so early into Holland, Teikemeier reassures not only on the validity of those witnesses but adds many references that he can place in the context of other locations, even distant ones, and from even earlier times.
2. M. Dummett, The Game of Tarot. London 1980, p. 11-12.
3. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1103&hilit=van+blois.

As a more general reconstruction, which appears recurrently in Huck's contributions, the first transmission of the new packs of cards would be connected to the trips of one or other of the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. which would spread to the various courts visited the playing cards, still unknown locally. In this specific case, Teikemeier in particular suggests a link with the Teutonic knights, since precisely in 1362 Jan van Blois went to Prussia to join the knights in the crusade against the Poles-Lithuanians. Teikemeier even finds a reference to Poland, where he had the notice, unreliable, that Polish nobles were playing cards already in 1340 (3): Albert I of Bavaria, with whom Jan van Blois definitely played on several occasions, had married, coincidentally, a noble maid of Brzeg or Brieg, then capital of the Polish duchy of that name, where cards could have already been known.

Despite doubts on some of his digressions, Teikemeier's contribution on the sources of the notices concerning Jan van Blois and card games are valuable and comprehensive; the situation remains confused on the subject, but we cannot lay the blame on him, because it is the sources themselves that are not sufficiently precise and consistent in giving us the notices searched for.

1.3. Writers of the Nineteenth Century

At the origin of the main notice in the discussion are some studies by nineteenth century authors whose reliability remains to be demonstrated. Teikemeier's useful contribution in the Tarot History Forum on this part of the research saves me the trouble of searching further, and I can summarize what appears basic among the monographs exhumed by him

A first study on the subject of card games in Holland, which presents itself as a pioneering and accurate as a whole, is contained in the writings of Henrik van Wijn. However, despite the abundance of information presented and discussed, the first notice that he found dates back only to 1390. (Apparently van Wijn does not take into account previous documentation in the Brabant court.) On the other hand, he had information from the surrounding environment that would make earlier dates acceptable,
5. H. van Wijn, Historische en letterkundige avondstonden etc. Amsterdam 1800.

since he believed that cards were already known in France in the mid-fourteenth century and in Italy since at least 1299.

Another author called into Teikemeier’s cause is the German August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, who in a report on Holland also reports notices on playing cards in Germany in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (6). Obviously this is information which, if found true, could indirectly confirm the notice of our interest on Jan van Blois; that is, there would be nothing surprising about notices that cards, already popular for some time in nearby regions, had arrived in the sixties in Holland.

The information on card games in Holland is reported by various historians who repeat practically the same text, which indicate among other things that at the time cards were so expensive that they were handled with great care; even at the courts of Alberto of Bavaria and Jan van Blois, before playing they would first spread soft cloth over the playing table.

The writer who introduced into the discussion the only notice of interest to us, however, is Gilles D. J. Schotel. He was a pastor and theology scholar who also became a prolific writer on card games in Holland, publishing notices on several occasions, in the course of twenty years. However, only in his publication of 1869 does the news appear that Jan van Blois played cards in 1362 and even before: "De eerste sporen die van Wijn van dit spel ontdeckte waren van 1390, doch in de rekeningen van Jan van Blois komt het in 1362 en vroger vor" (7) [The first traces that van Wijn found of this game were in 1390, but in the accounts of John of Blois it comes in 1362 and earlier].

Teikemeier, indicating that the notice would then be confirmed for 1362 (and not 1365, as in the other source), and considering that in previous publications by the same author this notice was absent, advances the reasonable hypothesis that it was a document that only a little before 1869 had come to Schotel’s attention. In fact already in an edition of 1859, among those cited by Teikemeier, Schotel, commenting on van Wjin's results, adds in a note at the bottom of p. 330 that "In de rekening van Jan van Blus komt dit spel reeds vele jaren overig voor" ( [In the accounts of Jan van Blus this game already comes many other years before"].
6. A. H. Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Altniederländische schaubühne: Abele spelen ende sotternien. Breslau 1838
7. G. D. J. Schotel, Het maatschappelijk leven onzer vaderen in de zeventiende eeuw.
Haarlem 1869.
8. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1103&hilit=van+blois

This repositioning by a decade in the nineteenth century certainly does change the situation we are considering. The significant fact is something else, which makes us different from those historians of the nineteenth century: while for them playing cards were already widely used in France or elsewhere prior to 1377, we do not know any valid testimony. For them, if a Dutchman, who still did not know playing cards, had an opportunity to find himself among French and Prussian nobles who played cards regularly, it would be only natural to assume that he had brought home the new game. For us, such notices would lead us in the wrong direction, because in this study we are interested mainly, or only, if in Holland it had its origin.

2. Notice of 1362

2.1. Holland up to November 1362

The year 1362 is a special year for Jan van Blois, with two trips that will be considered separately later: in November he traveled to Gelderland; in December he left for the first of his two expeditions to Prussia. However, neglecting the previous years, Jan van Blois spent most of 1362 in Holland; therefore, giving a minimum of plausibility to the affirmation of Schotel, it is first of all in Dutch documents that a trace of playing cards must be sought.

In the vagueness of the information, what is most striking is "previous years": for how many years prior to 1362 will the archive documents reasonably have to be sounded out? After all, in this quest for the reasonable there is very little to go on, and it could date back to when Jan van Blois was still a boy. I will limit myself to considering in what follows some of the documents potentially involved, dating back to 1362 and a few surrounding years.

To limit the interest to Holland is not sufficient, however, because Jan van Blois made several stays in other regions in which, at least in principle, he would have been able to learn the game of cards. It would in particular need to be understood whether, in the path of the diffusion of playing cards, the testimonies in Holland corresponded, with respect to other European countries, to a point of departure or arrival.

The hypothesis that the first notice about card games in Europe comes from Dutch territory is in itself unlikely, if only for geographical reasons, having to assume either that cards had been invented in Holland, or that it was a convenient gateway to Europe from Asia, from which all historians argue that the cards came. On the other hand, if it became known that Jan van Blois had encountered playing cards in France in the sixties or before, such a notice coming to us from Holland would be amazing news, unknown to all serious historians, absent in all French documents of recognized validity.

With these assumptions, the research into Holland already begins with considerable skepticism. I felt it was still useful to carry out a search for the original documents, and in June, shortly before the appearance of the indications from Teikemeier, I was interested in the problem, with a first search the web. I soon found online the searchable inventory of the van Blois archive (9). I have some experience In consulting manuscripts of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance compiled in Latin or Italian. This language, too, did not discourage me, because Dutch is quite similar to German, which I read; I then considered the issue of who to ask for reproductions from the archive; In fact I was not willing to return to The Hague, where many years ago I spent fruitful hours of study in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (which is right next to the Archief), which contains the most important collection of chess literature from all over Europe.

By a happy combination (perhaps connected with many important Dutch contributions to the history of games), living in Leiden - only 20 km from the Archief - was Theo van Ees, one of my best friends, with whom I have written several books and articles on the history of the game of go in Europe. While it must be recognized that there is some difference between the history of the game of go in Europe, mostly limited to the last century, and that of fourteenth century playing cards, I did not hesitate to ask a favor from my Dutch friend, to check the Archief, in particular for what documents could be most promising for my study.
Pratesi 23/06/2016) I ask him to check the Archief for van Blois documents.
(Van Ees 28/06/2016) He is studying what appears in Tarot History Forum and will search in the Archief the next week.
9. ... 10.ead.pdf.

(Van Ees 07/05/2016) He has examined the pieces of interest in the van Blois archive. The search is made easier by the fact that those documents are accessible on microfilm. The writing is difficult to read; he has focused attention on a few words, such as kvarten and the like.
With my experience in reading Florentine accounts of the same period, I thought instead I could "read" the account books, even if written in Dutch, which by "reading" I mean to understand the topic roughly and identify among various mostly incomprehensible things those very few of interest to us?][/b]

In fact, in the rich van Blois archive the amount of documents to be examined is reduced a lot if the search is limited to a small range around 1362. Making me decide on those of which I ordered a copy from the Hague (numbers 90-94) were three considerations: these books were not among the ones available on line; Teikemeier had focused his attention on those documents, considering them the "most promising" (10); and, as we shall see, Lex Rijnen had cited the importance of Schoonhoven.

In what followed I had reason to [look back on with] regret times past, when I would not have hesitated to go to the Archief in person; in particular, receiving the documents was exceptionally laborious and in parallel the request for information from the archivists was also slow and useless in the end. I will give a review the correspondence, without thereby wishing to discourage other attempts: usually these procedures are carried out in a more streamlined and effective manner.
(Pratesi 19/09/2016) I order reproductions.
(Archief and Pratesi 09.22.2016) I receive confirmation of the order, a little unclear, I answer the same day.
10. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1103&hilit=van+blois#p16970.

(Archief and Pratesi 23.09.2016) I get a quote for EUR 75-80, answer the same day agreeing.
(Archief 10.25.2016) an archivist responds to my request, pointing to the link to the archive's van Blois inventory that I had known for a long time.
(Pratesi 31.10.2016) I rewrite my archivist request with more details.
(Pratesi 30.11.2016) remaining unanswered, I send a new email..
(Archief 06.12.2016) I receive notice that the copies were shipped 3.11.
(Pratesi 06.12.2016) I ask for a second dispatch of the copies not received.
(Archief 06.12.2016) I also receive the archivist's answer: the archive does not search and suggests the publication of Schotel.
(Archief 27.12.2016) I receive an invoice (from 5.12) for photocopies sent.
Following another of my requests I then confirmed that a second shipment of copies was made, by registered mail. Finally, on 10.01.2017 I received the envelope containing the photocopies requested four months before. I spent a few days "reading" this documentation.

In truth I have to explain again what the verb “to read” means for me in this specific case. If one reads a page of text one assumes that it includes a percentage that is close to one hundred. This favorable limit is never reached in reading manuscripts of the fourteenth century, and the "read" operation consists of puzzles in which the imagination fills in the gaps left out of view. But in the case of all these documents from the Archief, the gaps are so large that for me they cannot be filled! I had to face the obvious and give up understanding the content, even in general terms. In particular, I did not find simple lists of various goods purchased among which I could recognize cards, if any were there.

I do not think I will encounter a Dutch scholar skilled with such documents who can quickly browse through the material and see if there are notices of interest to us, which already are not very likely in the source. Possibly it remains to be verified even whether the game in question was really of cards: it should be noted among other things that the word "qwarten" or the like used for cards was related to "fourth-four" and could sometimes be attributed to a another kind of game, with four participants. Using my skills only, I unfortunately could not make any progress in this research. This time, unfortunately, much more than usual, the fact that I could not find any notices of interest cannot constitute evidence of its absence in the documents taken into account.

2.2 Journey to Gerlderland - November 1362

If one fixes attention on the year 1362 and neglects the information that in the Jan van Blois documents there would be notices of card games also in previous years, there remain two other parts to consider up to the end of the same year, corresponding to the sojourns in Gelderland and Prussia.

Gelderland is now the largest of the provinces of Holland, towards the German border, with Arnhem as its capital; at the time that interests us it was a duchy in the Holy Roman Empire with its capital city of the same name (now Geldern, a German city in the Land Nordrhein-Westfalen. The region would not of itself have any special reason to be studied in this context, but it so happens that in November 1362 our Jan made a trip to that duchy in company of none other than Albert of Bavaria.

Albrecht I of Bavaria (Monaco 1336-the Hague 1404), of the Wittelsbach royal family, was Duke of Bavaria-Straubing, Count of Holland, Zeeland and Hainaut, and Lord of Friesland. He remained at the head of territories in part very far apart for almost half a century and greatly increased in prestige and power, thanks also to the marriage bonds contracted by his daughters. A special merit that is recognized was that ofo encouraging shipbuilding, which later reached the top levels in Europe. The main residence of his court was the Hague.

It seems that Jan van Blois was a frequent gambling companion of Albert of Bavaria from adolescence. The two noble personages (with Jan about 20 years old and Alberto 26) found themselves together on this journey in Gelderland and among other pastimes it is possible that they would also play cards. The appearance on the scene in 1362 of Albert of Bavaria allows us to glimpse the possibility that the two noble friends had been able to play with cards already then, but of this we must seek confirmation from some precise testimony.

The notice from Schotel speaks of accounts and therefore would seem to be connected to playing card purchases. It would perhaps have been possible in Holland, in the usual residence of Jan van Blois, interpreting the purchase preferably as a payment to a craftsman in charge of its manufacture, but not during a trip, in which he would have found the cards already for sale. But where in that year in Gelderland (and indeed in any other European region) could playing cards have been found

for sale ? On reflection, it seems even absurd to seek notices of this kind.

There remains the hypothesis that cards were present in the documents not as purchases, but as notices of losses or winnings at the gambling table. One can imagine that Albert of Bavaria had his own pack of valuable playing cards at his fingertips and kept it with him both in his court and during this trip to Gelderland. But then the related document would probably be found in some travel diaries, written in medieval Dutch, which for me would still be indecipherable.

Therefore, in this case, for those interested and able to read where I did not even try, I must confine myself to reporting the following archival unit of the van Blois register in the Archief.
38 - 24 december 1361-25 december 1362, afgehoord 1363 november 29. 1 deel
Voor bijlagen zie inv.nrs. 66-74. Hieruit uitgegeven door P.N. van Doorninck, Rekening van Jan van Blois, 1361-1362, de tocht van Jan van Blois met hertog Aelbrecht naar Gelre, november 1362, naar het oorspronkelijk handschrift, Haarlem, 1899.

[38 - 24 December 1361-25 December 1362, afgehoord [?] 1363 November 29. Part 1
Attachment see nos. 66-74. From this issued through P.N. van Doorninck, Account of Jan van Blois, 1361-1362, the journey of Jan van Blois with Duke Aelbrecht to Gelre, November 1362, after the original manuscript, Haarlem, 1899.]
In fact, this particular piece of research would be much easier by the fact that the documents themselves have already been transcribed and printed (11); then the difficulty remains of the uncommon ancient language, but no longer of the deciphering of the text to be read.

One indisputable observation of Teikemeier is that Schotel could not obtain his information from this book, printed many years later, though he might have read it directly in the ... archival source, shown above. This Dutch pastor, a prolific writer, has not yet earned a reputation as a meticulous and reliable archival researcher; indeed, the opinion in a biography, as indicated by Teikemeier, does not leave much hope: Niet alles wat hij schreef, was grondig bestudeerd, gebaseerd op origineel materiaal of getuigde van een gewogen analyze en inzicht (12) [Not everything he wrote was thoroughly studied, based on original material or witnessed from a gewogen [?] analysis and understanding.]

The fame the two noble personages had as avid gamblers will also be extended to card games, but it derives from their habits of later times (especially toward the end of the century in the case of Albert of Bavaria)
11. P N van Doorninck, De tocht van Jan van Blois met hertog Aelbrecht naar Gelre nov. 1362. Haarlem 1899.

and only Schotel's brief mention allows us to imagine a preceding practice in common. In short, further research has some justification and fails to appear absurd from the outset; however, the outlook remains unpromising.

2.3 Journey to Prussia - Winter 1362-1363

Remaining in the usual fateful year 1362 opens one last chance, the journey in Prussia. On this I have nothing to add to what Teikemeier has already discussed in Tarot History Forum, apart from the preliminary comments that if the news of Schotel had referred to the Prussian expedition, there would have been reported the year "in 1362 and the year following", not "1362 and the years preceding".

If you forget to add in the notice of "years preceding", preciselyin Prussia Jan van Blois could learn the new (at least for him) game of cards. Unlike the trip to Gelderland, in this case local gambling companions would appear, who indeed could also show playing cards to van Blois for the first time. It so happens that fromthose regions located at the northeastern end of the European continent there are a couple of occurrences of “prehistoric" witnesses, but they are not usually accepted as valid.
Two insecure reports of the order of German knights (possibly later forgeries) attest the presence of playing cards in 1308/1309 and then in the time of Werner von Orseln (1324-30) in a prohibition at the German knight order states. The German knights had participated in the late crusaders wars, when Mamluk playing cards already existed. (13)
That the Teutonic Knights had come to know playing cards many years before in Palestine is not absurd; that they had kept this knowledge to themselves, without spreading the game outside of their environment, has as well a minimum plausibility. This is not a completely absurd hypothesis, but to accept it would still require much more documentation than we have available. Obviously, those who wish to continue this
13. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1103&p=16970&hilit=insecure+reports+later+forgeries#p16970

line of research will have to forget Holland, where we started, and open a new front, surveying very distant locations and social circles.

3. Notice of 1365

The presence in Holland of playing cards in 1365 corresponds to the case that is most frequently mentioned in histories of card games, albeit associated with doubts by their uncertainty, lacking secure confirmation. The same Dummett, as already mentioned at the beginning, reports the notice as lacking confirmation; it is not so absurd as not to mention it, but at the same time not secure enough to take it into account as actual data. At the origin of this information is a news item published by Lex Rijnen in an article in the official organ of the IPCS, the International association of collectors and historians of playing cards.

Obviously, the most convenient way to eliminate the uncertainty about the date of 1365 is to ask for the notices from the one who had introduced it into discussion, Lex Rijnen himself. Teikemeier also suggested in the Forum the opportunity of searching for him, since he was still active as an author of publications on games. The involvement in this search of Theo van Ees was instrumental first to come in contact with Lex Rijnen and then to ask him for first-hand information; his request was answered as follows
(Rijnen 04/08/2016) Reported Archive van Blois no. 3:19:10. But a part of the archive may have been lost. In the digitized part are not found notice of playing cards. He refers to the Schotel notice on "1362 and before". He remembers that Jan van Blois enjoyed a pleasant life at court in the residence of Schoonhoven, like the dukes of Brabant and Bavaria with whom he was in contact. In particular he indicates accounts of playing cards from the Wenceslas court in Brussels (1379-1382) and Duke Albert of Bavaria (1392-1400). Other notices of 1800 are collected in the book by van Wijn. Other sources are the prohibitions of games but he did not find any for Holland before 1397.
As is seen, the most useful citations are again those of the nineteenth century, while the notices of the time indicate some information, results
14. L. Rijnen, Journal of the Playing-Card Society. Vol, 4 No. 42 (1975) 34-37

dating from later times than our limit of 1377. The only indication that leaves some glimmer for research in Holland is that at the lords' [signorile] house of Schoonhoven. At this point, I saw fit to address personally Lex Rijnen to get more precise information and directions about archival documents to verify, resulting in a brief e-mail exchange that helped to clarify the issue sufficiently.
(Pratesi 25.09.2016) I ask him to indicate the sources of his article. I recall the quote by Dummett, and the discussion in the Tarot History Forum. I am only interested in documents before 1377! In this case there is hope that they kept the original documents. I ask for an indication of the section of the archive where to look.
(Rijnen 08.10.2016) Read the discussion in Tarot History Forum with information already known. It is more than 40 years ago when he visited the archives of the van Blois family, at that time in Gouda. He will communicate information later, in order to have time to provide more notices.
(Rijnen 13.10.2016) About 40 years ago he visited the Gouda archives to see the van Blois documents. The curator said that the documents were not complete, many were damaged or burnt. Afterwards the accounting books of van Blois were gathered in the Nationaal Archief (Inventaris van het Archief van de Graven van Blois-1304-1397; 3:19:10 inventory.) The date c. 1365 was not based on the visit in Gouda, but what can be recalled from documents on card games, of later dates, of van Blois and other nobles. [My date c 1365 was not based on my visit to Gouda, but as far as I can remember on documents (of later dates) of card playing by Blois and other Noblemen.] Jan van Blois was on friendly terms with Albert of Bavaria. They were companions and competitors in gambling, drinking, hunting and chasing women. After the death of his brother, the Duke of Holland, Alberto settled in the Hague as the new duke and we know accounts of card games from 1390 to 1401. Considering that van Blois traveled a lot in his short life (39 years) he must have met playing cards in the course of his travels through Europe. But where you can find the documents? * At Beaumont, France; the van Blois family had a castle, where Jan was not long. The National Archives has suggested that other archives can be found in Beaumont, as well as in Brussels. * In previous accounts of Albert of Bavaria, before 1390. He believes that van Blois must have seen his first cards in Albert's ducal court, where he served as a page in his youth (ca. 1362). * At the Nationaal Archief, where many of the documents are not yet included on the internet. After the article in The Playing-Card, he has not done other research (so far) on old packs. His interest is directed to the Dutch card makers. The first is found around 1595. We must not forget that in the past the states of Belgium and the Netherlands did not exist.
Pratesi 14.10.2016) I was hoping to get a more accurate description for the research on the archive documents. Currently I have no way to come to The Hague, and I have to order expensive photocopies from the Nationaal Archief. I will probably have more questions to be submitted in the coming weeks or months.
(Pratesi 11.01.2017) I have received the envelope of the Archief and ask only the most accurate indication about the documents in which he had read the year 1365.
(Rijnen 12.01.2017) He asks for news on the Archief documents; he needs time to search among his notes from 40 years before.
(Pratesi 12.01.2017) I reiterate that I await as soon as possible the communication of where he had found the date 1365, at least if in manuscripts or printed books.
Barring errors, it seems to me that the results of this correspondence can be summarized as follows. Currently the van Blois archive is kept at the Nationaal Archief, but when Rijnen got notices they were stored at Gouda and it was to that city that Rijnen went to obtain the notices; the local archivist knew that the documents were incomplete and in disorder, making it difficult or impossible for consultation. The date in 1365 that he announced in his article had not been read in a document of that year, but acquired from later writings. I do not know if he said this meant archival documents of a few years after, examined in person, or relevant studies published by historians of recent centuries, but I am inclined to the latter.

In any case, it is clear to me today that the date to search for is no longer 1365, but possibily Schotten's “1362 and before". If one wanted to follow the track indicated by Rijnen, one would even abandon Holland and look in France at Beaumont and in Belgium at Brussels.

In conclusion, that in the van Blois archive is a document dated 1365 which shows that Jan van Blois played cards remains a possibility that I would tend to exclude, unless the other notice presented as an alternative comes to be recognized as valid, the 1362; in that case, 1365 could be traced, but then loses all its importance, seeing anticipated by three years the primacy in antiquity of the related documentation.

4. After 1377

My interest in this case was limited to verifying the testimonials on card games in Europe before 1377, the date that remains in my opinion the oldest associated with secure documents, thus not recognizing the involvement with playing cards of earlier Catalan documents now commonly accepted. Thus I could disregard some of the oldest information on playing cards, from Holland or neighboring regions. However, if we assume, with good reason, that the cards were not present in those locations prior to 1377, some difficulty is encounted in understanding the popular tradition on the matter and thus one has also to look at some subsequent events.

After 1377, playing cards are documented very early at the court of the dukes of Brabant; the same Jan van Blois, after having been repeatedly described as passionate about the most enjoyable pastimes, also gambling with very high stakes (especially with Albert of Bavaria), he is also remembered as a card player. For Albert of Bavaria in particular, there were many future opportunities to play cards, until his death a quarter of a century later. For Jan van Blois, the situation was different, however. If you believe in this regard what various historians have transmitted, Jan van Blois spent his last years first at his court in Arnhem until 1377 and then retired to Schoonhoven with his followers, until in 1381 he could die in two locations as far apart as Schoonhoven and Valenciennes (confusing sometimes death in the first with burial in the second).

The notices on card games in Holland often have Jan van Blois together with Albert of Bavaria. Even earlier on, their attachment to gambling and the involvement of large sums had become public knowledge. To explain the situation, and this popular fame, we would assume that the two players had continued with cards their usual entertainment previously met by other types of games. Holding 1377 fixed for the introduction of playing cards, in the case of Jan van Blois this new activity would be of short duration; it seems insufficient to give rise to the popular reputation of the two nobles also cited together as card players.

On the other hand we also know that the deep friendship between the two nobles had broken down in the last years, and when both played cards, after 1377, they did not play together but in different locations and company. So the popular opinion on both noble card players would be explained better if in fact Jan van Blois and Albert of Bavaria had played with cards before 1377. Personally I prefer to think of a popular tradition which over the years has ended, mistakenly, by including in the games practiced together by the two noble personages also cards before they were actually present; but I have to leave a minimum of probability to different reconstructions.

5. Conclusion

Two notices have been examined on card games in Holland before 1377, one concerning 1362 and previous years, the other 1365. With the study presented here the notice of 1365 is not deserving of further research for its confirmation. However, were unable to prove the falsity of the notice in 1362, for which grave doubts remain, starting with the imprecise additional reference to previous years. There were taken into consideration some account registers of those years in the van Blois archive stored at the Hague were taken into consideration, but the results are indecipherable to the point that it was not possible to exclude or confirm the presence of the playing card references. Schotel, the only historian who, in the middle of nineteenth century, has alluded to the fourteenth-century account books in which this notice would be recorded, is recognized as an author of many historical works in which the sources were often not used faithfully.

Considering the arrival of playing cards in the Netherlands, some historical constructions move the issue of the first accounts on playing cards in Europe to areas (in France, Prussia or Poland) far not only from the Netherlands but also from the towns from which we know the most ancient documents, all the more reason for needing to independently confirm localities for them to be worthy of consideration. My impression on the initial spread of playing cards in Europe still remains that the multiplication of these non-verifiable reports does nothing to make up for the absence of certain confirmations for the years

before 1377. In my case, skepticism is the predominant basis. I would still be happy to be proved wrong, for example in this case by someone who could actually find in the van Blois archive the fourteenth century original document, which I discussed here but could not track down.

Franco Pratesi – 18.01.2017

On March 3, 2017, Franco Pratesi posted an Addendum to his note on playing cards in Holland, entitled "Carte da gioco in Europa prima del 1377 ? Olanda - Addendum" ( Here is my translation, with my comments (my attempts to translate the Dutch, left untranslated by Franco) in square brackets:

Cards in Europe before 1377? Holland

by Franco Pratesi (March 9, 2017)

This note does not correspond to a new study on the subject, but only to a further development of point 3 of the previous note. This is the date of 1365 introduced in the discussion on the oldest records for playing cards in Europe of an article by Lex Rijnen (1). In the previous note the issue was commented on, even with the help of a prolonged correspondence with the author who introduced the notice. In recent days that correspondence has been enriched with an important element; Lex Rijnen has announced to me (2) that the British journal had introduced an error, then corrected in the next issue of the same magazine, the official organ of the IPCS, better known later as The Playing-Card (3).
Due to editorial misinterpretation, apologies are due to Lex Rijnen for a serious mistake appearing in his article on MAKERS OF PLAYING-CARDS IN THE NETHERLANDS in the issue of November 1975. The fourth line of the first paragraph should read “...north of Amsterdam, it is said that playing-cards are mentioned)...”.
Let us then re-read all the parentheses in question, after the correction as indicated in the magazine:
(in the accounts of Jan van Blois, dated c1365, who owned several manors north of Amsterdam, it is said that playing-cards are mentioned)
To me it is not clear where that "it is said" is intended. From the phrase as it is written I would understand that in the account books "it is said" that cards are cited, but I assume that the "it is said" must be understood better as the voice of the people, or as a common opinion among historians.

An example of such reading would be: in some studies
1 L. Rijnen, The Journal of the Playing.Card Society, Vol IV, No. 2 November 1975, p. 34-37.
2 L. Rijnen, email 08.03.2017.
3 The Journal of the Playing.Card Society, Vol IV, No. 3 February 1976, p. 36.

of the nineteenth century "it is said" that playing cards were mentioned in the Jan van Blois account books for years around 1365.

The date remains problematic, however, although indicated approximately. If you read that in Jan van Blois account books, playing cards are mentioned, there would be no surprise, knowing on the one hand the passion of Jan van Blois for the game and the other the early spread of playing cards at the ducal courts of Brabant, Luxembourg, The Hague; however, as previously found in the documents, they are always dates after 1377, albeit slightly.

In the same personal communication, Lex Rijnen adds some other references on the early days of playing cards in the Netherlands.
Besides SCHOTEL and WIJN, other 19th century writers mention playing-cards, but no exact dates.

In: Merkwaardige Kasteelen in Neederland; 1854 -v.Lennep, Hofwijk .... edelman.....wanneer hij (J.v.Blois) zich ter Goude op hield, hetzij om KAART te spelen met Jan v.d.Goude......

[My guess: when he (J.v.Blois) stopped in Goude, either (?) to play CARD with Jan v.d.Goude ...]

In: Het Land van Rembrand; 1882--1884 -Busken-huet.
.....Hij (j.v.Blois ) ging gekleed als een zot in de boutste maskeradepakken, speelde KAART en dobbelde met zijn ondergeschikten..........

[My guess: He (j.v.Blois) went dressed like a fool in the best fancy dress, played CARD and dice with his subordinates]

In: Geschiedenis der heeren en beschrijving der stad van der Goude.
1813 - De Lange van Wijngaerden.
Onder VERMAKEN: .....behalve het spelen met de KAART, hetwelk toen QUAERTEN wierd genoemd wegens de vier kleuren of standen, den adel, geestelijken, burgers en boerenstand ..........waren Hertog Albrecht van Beieren en heer Jan v. Blois ook gewoon om te kolven.

[My guess: Under ENTERTAIN: ..... except playing with the CARD, which then were named QUARTERS because of the four colors or positions, which were the nobility, clergy, merchants and peasants.......... Duke Albrecht of Bavaria and Mr. Jan v. Blois also simply to pump (?).]
My opinion is that here also nothing precise is given; no confirmation, that is, on any possible card games in the Netherlands diffused before 1377, no concrete indication from fourteenth-century documents in which the news could still be found recorded.

The only problem, already encountered in the previous note and with no immediate explanation, is the simultaneous citation of Albert of Bavaria and Jan van Blois. Alberto lived until 1404, but Jan van Blois died in 1381, having spent the last years withdrawn in Schoonhoven with his court. The few years of Jan van Blois’ life after 1377 could have been sufficient to hand down his reputation as a player of

cards; for several previous years, the participation of Albert of Bavaria together with Jan van Blois in pastimes and the most varied games is widely documented (but not of cards); however, in the years after 1377, the friendship of the two men had broken and they would not have sat at a table to play cards together.

In short, if the information was true that the two friends played cards together, this would be an indication of a practice definitely anterior to 1377; but the suspicion remains that over time the popular reputation of their passion for the most varied games is extended to include also the cards that were not present in the games they did together.

Franco Pratesi – 09.03.2017

Jan. 5, 2017: 1501-1521: Cards from Perugia and nearby cities

Here is my translation of "1501-1521: Carte da Perugia e città vicine",, dated Jan. 5, 2017. (Franco originally put, "1510", but he tells me that he meant 1501.) Comments in brackets are mine, including my attempt to translate one passage in Latin, not a language I have studied. Page numbers on the top left correspond to Franco's pdf Italian version..The quoted comments by Depaulis (here translated into English) are in French in Franco's original; that by Teikemeier appeared originally as it does here, in English.

After Franco's note is a separate note by me commenting on Franco's note. I first discuss the difficulties that are incurred if one assumes that the Leinfelden (Franco's topic of section 1) or the 3rd Rosenwald sheet, either of them, constitutes one-fourth of a minchiate deck of 96 cards. Then I discuss whether from Notturno's play (which Franco addresses in section 3) an unusual order of triumphs can be inferred. To address this point I refer to Notturno's text via a rough translation into English.

1501-1521: Cards from Perugia and nearby cities

by Franco Pratesi


At various times I have had the opportunity to study documents of interest to the history of games of cards coming from Perugia or nearby locations. The last item I examined is the pack from Assisi preserved in the Crippa collection (1), but the findings that I could report from that same area, and the same time, the beginning the sixteenth century, are now fairly numerous, considering not only the pages of the printed book in Perugia in 1501-1502 associated with the Leinfelden sheet (2), but also the book printed in Perugia in 1521 with the publication of the comedy by Notturno Napolitano that itself had tarot cards as its subject (3).

Not having found now any other object or document, it seems opportune to try to connect better among them those I have so far studied independently of one another, adding a little new information and some comments. In the background are often also the three Rosenwald sheets (4); for those in fact no evidence has not been found for a provenance from the territory of Perugia, but they are very similar to two objects already mentioned, the Leinfelden sheet, which was glued to the pages of a book printed in Perugia, and the Crippa deck, discovered in Assisi. I will also consider Sansepolcro, where in fact the comedy recalled above was performed.

To make me decide to re-examine the studies related to Perugia and nearby towns, there was the fact that my previous notes have been recently translated and variously commented in the Tarot History Forum. Even more challenging, however, has been a private email (5), sent by Thierry Depaulis with more comments to my note on the Leinfelden sheet. His ideas, as at other times, and also in the rather remote
1. [translated at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1105&start=20#p18369]
2. [translated at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1105#p17007]
3. F. Pratesi, The Playing-Card, Vol. 17 No. 1 (1988) 23-33. [in English at]
5. Th. Depaulis, email 05.07.2016.

past, have been useful for the continuation of this research; relevant passages of that e-mail will be cited in French in the following, when recalling it is useful.

I am aware of the risk that closely connected objects and episodes actually could be quite independent of each other and that we are now linking them together only because they are the only witnesses we now know for those places and those times. As for the time period concerned, it may be considered in first approximation the twenty years 1501-1521, limiting it, that is, between the two extreme dates that are documented with safety in the findings involved.

As for the location, it should be noted that at that time distant cities could be closely connected by extensive commercial exchanges and solid military alliances, while cities very close could long remain in strong hostility and even open warfare. Thus Assisi, depending on the time, could remain independent from nearby Perugia but also be its ally or, conversely, a bitter enemy (to the extreme reached in 1442 when Perugia was willing to reward Niccolo Piccinino with fifteen thousand florins for its complete destruction). Sansepolcro in turn had entered the orbit of Florence, for which it was about to become a border fortress, and precisely in 1520 was recognized by Pope Leo X, Giovanni de' Medici, as a city and a bishopric.

1. Perugia 1501 - the Leinfelden sheet

The study of the Leinfelden sheet was carried out in parallel with that of the Rosenwald sheets. A common starting point for the discussion is the reversed appearance of the third Rosenwald sheet, alternatively interpreted either as an inversion in the process of photographing the object, or as an error in cutting the original mold. The experts are not unanimous in this regard, nor on the determination of which is the older sheet between that of Leinfelden and the third Rosenwald. I propose in this regard the views of Teikemeier and Depaulis, who know better than me this particular problem. [The first quote, on this page and continuing to th enext, is by Teikemeier, originally in English; Depaulis's follows.]
There is no remarkable difference with respect to the Washington sheet, if one takes into account that some sheets have been “printed the wrong way
around”, as already indicated by Dummett. (6) Different from the Rosenwald sheet in Washington, which has wrong Roman numbers (for instance IV instead of VI, IIX instead of XII), the Leinfelden sheet should have correct numbers (which can however be confirmed only in very vague way). If two different woodblocks are involved (and the difference is not due to mistakes in the presentation of the images), since the Leinfelden sheet has the right orientation of the numbers, it should have been the older sheet, made from the older block. (7)

[The next quotation is by Depaulis, originally in French]
The Leinfelden-Echterdingen sheet is in the "right" direction: not only do the Roman numerals read in the sense reviewed but the figures are turned left-right. It is necessarily derived from another block, etched in reverse, as it must be. It may be that the Washington sheet is a "misfire" that would be repaired by the Leinfelden sheet, engraved and printed afterwards. Or it may be that the Leinfelden sheet was copied afterwards, but backwards, by an idiotic engraver ...

This phenomenon is not isolated to Ferrara. The "Dick" or "Budapest" tarot cards also have a "backwards" copy (coll. S. Berardi, Bologna: cf. Berti, Marsilli, Vitali, Tarocchi, Faenza, n.d., p. 28; Dummett & McLeod 2004, Plate XXIa), where the figures for the Hermit (XI) and the Hanged Man (XII) are backwards. Other similar cases are encountered among the "ordinary" packs of the same style, such as the "Donson Pack" (Budapest "group 5"), where the numbers of the baton cards are also printed backwards. This strange fact remains to be explained.

Obviously, it should be ensured that the Leinfelden sheet is not the product of a smear, that is to say the transfer of the fresh ink of a sheet like the Rosenwald sheet, carried onto a virgin sheet. Given the state, this seems difficult to verify, but it remains a possible explanation.
For the Leinfelden, along with the sheet of playing cards I could also study the book pages that were glued together with it, which were found to belong to the first book of the Consiliorum by Pier Filippo Corneo printed in its first edition in Perugia by Francesco Cartolari in the years 1501-1502. Discussing the use of the definite date of the book to connect to the probable date of the playing cards I was given a certain level of uncertainty, which Depaulis would be inclined to reduce, in practice thus making the limits coincide precisely with the two dates.
The fact that the Leinfelden-Echterdingen sheet was with two other sheets, which turn out to be book pages, in two copies, is important. This assemblage of sheets (2 sheets of the Consiliorum, sive responsorum D. Petri Philippi Cornei + 1 sheet of cards) has all the appearance
 6. M. Dummett, The Game of Tarot, London 1980, p. 76.
7. L. Teikemeier, email 24.06.2016.

of being used as reinforcement for a binding (in folio). Even so, the printed pages have little traces of glue. Apparently, these two duplicate pages form the end of Consilium CCXXXVII and the beginning of Consilium CCXXXVIII (without the summary). The printed sheets have necessarily been cut: as they are clearly in folio format, each "folio" (or fascicle) should have 4 pages (or 2 sheets). Here, in both cases, we have only two pages, instead of four that follow each other. These are indeed printer defects, but recut (by the bookbinder?).

I agree with your conclusion, and I would even go so far as to accept the "extreme"! In other words, since these pages are taken from Book I of the Consiliorum, sive responsorum D. Petri Philippi Cornei patricii perusini, pontificii, caesareique iuris consultissimi, by Pier Filippo Corneo, in the printed edition of Perugia 1501-1502, it is logical to think that the sheet of cards was also produced in Perugia, at about the same time. That unexpectedly gives us a (small) range of dates!
I saw another possible association between the pages of the book and the sheet of playing cards, in the same workshop of the Cartolari family, parchment manufacturers become book dealers [librai, who typically both printed and sold books, Franco tells me]. I knew that more details were contained in an old book (8) that was the main source of the most recent studies that I knew, but did not find it in the Florentine libraries. In the aforementioned email, Depaulis showed me the link to read the book online, but on the possible trade of playing cards by Cartolari there is no trace. Depaulis’s conclusion is that one or more card makers must have existed in Perugie at the time, considering also that there had been in the past.
I do not think the sheet of cards is attributable to Francesco Cartolari (despite his name ...). Nor to his father. As you have understood, in Perugia a cartolaio or cartolaro is a ... parchment maker. Baldassare di Francesco cartolaio was a parchment maker, perhaps also a paper merchant; In fact, at the time of his request of business people in Perugia (Rossi, doc. No. 38), he said that "at present he exercises the art of making paper [carte] and leather goods". (Admittedly, it is tempting here to translate carte - in the plural - by the French "cards'" i.e. "playing cards", but I think it is too venturesome.)

See Adamo Rossi, L'arte tipografica in Perugia durante il secolo XV and the prima meta del XVI: nuove ricerche, Perugia, 1868, XII: FRANCESCO CARTOLARI 1500-1510, p. 42-60 and the numerous archive documents in appendices. You will find this book here: If the sheet of cards has some chance of coming from Perugia, it comes more certainly from a ... card maker.
8. A. Rossi, L’arte tipografica in Perugia durante il secolo 15. e la prima metà del 16.: nuove ricerche. Perugia 1868.
There were card makers in Perugia already in about 1485! In 1486, after Bernardino da Feltre had passed through, the municipal authorities decided to prohibit the production of cards and dice, demanding that all the instruments intended for their manufacture be handed over to them - "forme de fare carte et omni altro instrumento de Far li carti " [forms for making cards and any other instrument for making cards]. It is unknown whether there were several card makers, but there was at least one. And he was Jewish. (See Ariel Toaff, Gli Ebrei a Perugia, 1975, p. 81). Did this ban last? I do not know.
We will see later some other information for the period of our interest.

2. Assisi - deck of 48 cards in relation to minchiate

The pack of Assisi found recently is devoid of triumphal cards and thus can be compared especially with the first two Rosenwald sheets and can contribute little to the main question of triumphs, but that does not mean it's useless: even the fact that the cards of the four suits have interesting similarities with the corresponding ones of minchiate and that the deck comes from Assisi, are useful findings.

The fact that the deck was found while demolishing an ancient house gives us an indication of the place where it was used; but also the location of its production could not be far away. But one cannot conclude that the deck had been produced precisely in Assisi. Possible clues are found Florence based on similarity of a later period cards, but also with Bologna (especially the dog and the hare in the Ace of Coins, known from many products of Bolognese card makers). Another indication can be gained from the Ace of Coins: inside the center circle I had glimpsed a rampant lion and SteveM the griffon of Perugia. (9) Giving free rein to the imagination, one can even catch a glimpse of three of the four coats of arms present in the figures of kings and jacks, color aside, the emblem of the most important family of Perugia, the Baglioni.

Unfortunately, even the date of the pack is rather tentative and the same Giuliano Crippa reports that the Gothic arches that frame the figures of kings would favor even a fifteenth century dating, while the backs with the "moor" would suggest quite an advanced sixteenth century,
9. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1105&start=30#p18371

1510 or so, I have indicated in this respect, there appears to be no further evidence and should be considered, at least for now, as purely an indication.

What interests me most is the possible connection with minchiate. I would begin by examining the hypothesis, extremely unstable, that the cards of Assisi belonged really to a pack of minchiate. It is impossible in this case to support a random survival of all and only those cards, so we should consider the result of a deliberate reduction of the original deck, so as to practice the most common games. The hypothesis is not credible, but would be consistent with the way in which we are often accustomed (in playing Scopa, Briscola or Tressette) removing the 8, 9 and 10 from a standard deck of cards 52-54 instead of using a regional pattern of 40, the traditional but less and less widespread one; you can even find 40-card decks where the other 12-14 originally present have been removed forever.

Turning to more plausible reasoning, one must admit that the minchiate was not born as a complete novelty, using figures quite different from the traditional ones for the "normal" cards. This could happen in the following centuries and in other places, for example when minchiate became fashionable in France or Austria, where that type of cards was not known even to the cards of the four suits. In Florence, however they added other cards to the deck, but to those already present, so that between ordinary decks and those of minchiate, that there were strong similarities in the cards present in both is hardly surprising. (In the limit, the oldest decks of minchiate could offer us the oldest information also for common packs, in the case that only the most recent examples of the latter are preserved.)

The problem of the relation to Florence was also put to Thierry Depaulis, who advanced some comments also on this issue.
If we assume that the card sheet was produced in Perugia, this raises the question of the allocation of Rosenwald sheets to Florence, which has been held by several authors (Mandrovski 1972, Dummett 1980, Depaulis 1984, Hoffmann & Dietrich 1988). But I note that the catalog Ferrara 1987, No. 17, hesitates between Ferrara (for trumps) and Florence (for the rest) - which Dummett criticized, recalling that the order of the trumps is indeed type A. Dummett 1993, pp. 242-245 is less clear than Dummett 1980 and holds henceforth these sheets to be ... Bolognese! Dummett did not understand that the 3rd Rosenwald sheet was printed in reverse: he always thought it was due to the inversion of a photo "printed the wrong way round"!

That the Rosenwald sheets are of the Florentine type seems to me to be clear: the general style, the polylobed aureoles of the virtues so typical of Florence, the centauric cavaliers, the fantines [maids] of cups and coins. Yet I do not believe that any scraps of paper were brought from Florence to strengthen the binding of a book with sheets printed in Perugia. It must therefore be admitted that in Perugia there were also tarots of the Florentine type.

I note that in Perugia the term naibi was still used in 1462! It was therefore one of the last Italian cities, with Florence and Palermo, to use this old word. (Toaff, Gli Ebrei a Perugia, 1975, p. 81 reports that in 1462 a Jew was accused of holding a bisca [gambling den] in his house: " eius domo in qua habitat, retinuit ludum et passus est quod ludatur pluribus et pluribus vicibus tam ad ludum naiborum, qui dicitur la condempnata, quam etiam ad tabulas et taxillos" [ his house, where he lives, he kept the game several times and spread that playing more and more numerous times by turns so much at the game of Naib, which is declared condemned, as well as at tables and dice]) Florentine influence?
Let us limit ourselves for the moment to considering what we can derive about the Florentine decks not from Florence (because the oldest products of wood engraving in Florence are not known) but from Perugia and Assisi, It may be that the two types - say Assisi and minchiate - are derived from independent evolutions, with independent development in the Umbrian region, perhaps also involving neighboring regions toward the Adriatic, from Romagna to Marche. But perhaps the two types were instead connected and one preceded the other; then the problem that presents itself immediately would be to see if possibly from the type of the Assisi pack one could get to that of minchiate, or if a reconstruction in the opposite direction is preferable.

One point to which I have repeatedly called attention is the possible connection between decks of common cards and minchiate in the same production process, if we admit that the common deck of 48 cards had been, like the one in Assisi in fact, and that of minchiate, 96 instead of the 97 that were then fixed. (For the "missing card" you can easily think of the Fool, which is often considered to have been added at a later time.) So it would be enough to double the wooden molds for the production of the cards to switch from normal to minchiate.

One of the points of difference to be discussed is the presence in these packs of Assisi and Rosenwald of four centaurs instead of the two centaurs and two men-beasts of minchiate. Simply relying on logic, the solution is quickly found, because the traditional distinction of the four suits into two groups: round or long, female or male, today we would say red or black – is definitely older. On the other hand, we know that today the distinction between suits,

two strong and two weak, in bridge is derived from a kind of "revolution". from which the weakest suit, of spades, has inconsistently become the strongest. The four intermediate figures involved would be harmonized at a later time and the distinction in the deck of Assisi and Rosenwald sheets will only be kept for the pages and maids. The hypothesis is convincing for me, but sometimes it happens that applying our logic to developments that occurred in the distant past recreates situations that would have been really plausible, except ... that it did not happen.

There is also still another basic reason that makes me appreciate a hypothesis of this kind, on the link between naibi and minchiate: the daily habit of using dozens as the basis in trade of any product and in other very common cases. Then, with a dozen cards a suit is composed, with two dozen a wooden mold for the production of the cards is composed, with two molds is produced an ordinary deck, with four forms, that is with eight dozen cards, is produced a pack of minchiate. One could not reason better, in terms of dozens. In particular, that there was a mold used to manufacture only 10 is definitely confirmed by existing artifacts, but I do not think that form was often used.

3. Sansepolcro – Comedy by Notturno

The title of the book by Notturno Napolitano Gioco de trionfi che fanno quattro compagni ecc [Game of triumphs for four companions etc.] sounds very promising to our ears.(10) Unfortunately this title, reported at the middle of the eighteenth century in the Catalogo della libreria Capponi [Catalog of the Capponi library] (11), has long been the only information available about it, because none of the few authors who cited it had had the opportunity to see a single copy of this very rare book: even Zampieri in his comprehensive Catalogo delle edizioni [Catalog of editions], which indeed described 52 publications from Bianchino dal Leone [the book's publisher], concluded (p. 164) that "the only example reported by the British Catalogue (11715 n. 42) was untraceable". (12)
10. Notturno Napolitano, Gioco de trionfi che fanno quattro compagni detti Delio, Timbreo, Castalio, e Caballino, con due Sonetti in laude del Bembo. Perugia 1521.
11. Catalogo della libreria Capponi. Roma 1747.
12 A. Zampieri, La Bibliofilia, 78 (1976) 107-187.

When I received a microfilm copy of from the British Library I was very surprised by the fact that they seemed to consist of minchiate cards, several years before that special Florentine deck existed. Not also putting in doubt the reliability of the writers who had covered the topic of Florentine cards, I tried to find some other interpretation. Today I think that the comedy shows and comments on precisely a pack of minchiate; but it individually examined only a dozen particular cards, discussing the most reasonable hierarchical order, and then many of the next cards are presented only cumulatively. I reproduce part of what I wrote then, but using a recent version in Italian.
It seems that Emperor and Pope are the only two cards of their position; the corresponding "wives" are not mentioned anywhere. The Pope is said, and agreed after a brief discussion, to be higher. Speaking about the Fool, it is concluded that it is superior to any emperor, pope or cardinal. This may be a suggestion to a Cardinal card present in this deck, as indicated in other cases or shown directly in some ancient decks. However, it is possible that the phrase is here applied only to the social context, without direct reference to card symbols.

The following quartet of cards, played in order, consists of Fortitude, Temperance, Justice, and Chariot. Thus we find the three cardinal virtues together in a low position, i.e. without Justice promoted to a very high position connected to the final judgment, as occurred in Ferrarese triumphs, or Temperance shifted over Death, probably in order to keep the the latter figure at number 13, as happened in Milan. ...

The third quartet of cards then begins with Wheel and Old Man, but unfortunately the illustrations of the series here come to an end, more or less abruptly, immediately before considering the negative cards, like Death, Devil, and Tower; maybe those were considered unsuitable for the performance.

Whatever the reason, Notturno did not complete his description of the triumph pack, to which the title and preliminary introduction to the piece had been dedicated. Or, at least, not completed directly; ... It is well known that the zodiac signs are a significant and characteristic part of the Florentine tarot. It does not seem coincidence that their images are in a booklet that a nymph reads and explains during the performance, citing the number of stars in each constellation. Similarly, it does not appear owing to chance that in what follows in the play is inserted a description of the four elements and their importance to human nature. These elements - air, water, earth, fire - represent a specific group of minchiate cards. (13)
13. F. Pratesi, Giochi di carte nella repubblica fiorentina Ariccia 2016, pp. 421-422. [The English original, dated 09.05.1987, is at]

At the time, I observed that this order is different from the others, at least if we consider valid the order of the numbers that correspond to the relative power associated here with these cards. However, there is no reason to seek a presentation with the order most commonly known today by the Marseille tarot. The comparison must remain internal to the models of Dummett’s order A, with minchiate and the tarot of Bologna at the head; The following table lists the comparable parts of the triumphal series of interest. []
The two different orders of the Rosenwald sheets and the Notturno comedy correspond to very isolated cases, especially the latter. However, one can verify that both have more resemblance to the order of minchiate than to the Bolognese, if only for the lack of the Chariot in the position following Love, characteristic of Bolognese cards. The three cardinal virtues Justice, Fortitude and Temperance have a certain interest, in that in all these cases (unlike the Tarot of Marseilles) they are grouped together. The changes that are observed within the group do not appear to be associated with significant changes introduced to meet a different hierarchical order, followed in one place rather than another.

It would remain also to explain why, if he was already in the presence of the Florentine deck of 96 or 97 cards, he did not mention the cards of the four

suits. The explanation this time is easy and is shown explicitly by the author of the text when entitling the part of interest as Triompho dei tarocchi [Triumphs of the Tarot]: it should just be remembered that the name "tarocchi" [tarot] was originally reserved only for the triumphal cards, added to the pack of naibi.

4. Perugia 1521 – Bianchino dal Leone

Bianchino dal Leone, or del Lione, I had found only as the printer of the Notturno comedy, but we should also be be interested in him for other professions. The book cited by Aldo Rossi is not only useful for Cartolari; it also provides information on Bianchino, including the reproduction in the Appendices of interesting archival documents, of which some will be mentioned below. In the case of Bianchino, however, we can now also make use of a whole book dedicated to him by Andrea Capaccioni, who also has dedicated other works to publishing in Perugia; I can refer to this monograph those who want to know more details about the life and works of this craftsman of various activities. (14)

Already the name of this book dealer [libraio] has some curious aspects. To begin with, Bianchino was a nickname, because his real name was Cosimo Bernardo Varro (with the patronymic transformed by some authors into the name Bernardi) to which was usually added Veronese, in memory of his origin.

The addition of the appellation “dal Leone” was also in memory of something unusual: two real lion cubs that had been entrusted to him for safekeeping.
Towards the middle of February 1497 the town was given two lion cubs from the magnificent and generous condottiere of arms Giampaolo Baglioni; the Signoria solicits a few people to be entrusted with their custody, and the governor, believing Bianchino the man for this, gave him the job with a salary of 12 florins a year, and meals in the palace. The little house assigned for him to live, since he was married to the lady Pandolfina di Gaglietole and father of a growing progeny, had become cramped; the priors allowed him to build onto the rooms, and shortly afterwards granted it in the third generation. (15)
14. A. Capaccioni, Cosimo detto Bianchino dal Leone: un tipografo a Perugia nel Cinquecento. Perugia 1999.
15. A. Rossi, op. cit. pp. 61-62

At this point, his office of guardian of lions paid by the municipality remained until his death, and indeed, with the arrival of other lions, even passed to his heirs.
In 1532 he suddenly reappears as publisher and guardian of lions [The new lions were those of the Signoria in Florence, just then donated to Malatesta Baglioni, and by Monaldesca his widow to the city of Perugia]; and the annual payment orders for such custody begin to contain, in place of his name, that of 'children and heirs', in May of 1536. (16)
However, this unusual official task is not what interests us most. We have in fact made him as a printer, which appears to have been his second job.
From this house, coming in 1513, was seen hanging the sign of a lion, putting its right front leg armed with a sword above a mound of books. The guardian of the beast had become a typographer, and his printed volumes, including some in which certain literary curiosities take first place, on religious or erotic subjects, with said embossed at the lion. To the craft of printing books was mated another, of binding them, and because he sold well-painted cards, the art of the painters taxed him five soldi each semester. ... It is only around 1525 that the work fades until after 27 there is nothing. (17)
In those "painted cards" is seen yet another profession of our Bianchino, for us even more interesting than the others, that of the manufacturer of playing cards. That they were precisely playing cards one cannot deduce from here with certainty. In fact the same Capaccioni, who knows that environment better than most authors, hesitates about it in the aforementioned monograph (p.16), referring to one of his previous works in which he said that "they were probably playing cards or sheets used to beautify book bindings [legature] ... it may even have been colored 'figures', i.e. hand-painted woodcuts". He also adds (p. 18) that "He attended the fairs (surely at Foligno) during which not only books were bought, but also printed material, and he sold 'painted things'".

If those "painted things" had been sold during a great religious celebration at a church or a shrine, one would immediately think of some sort of holy cards that were even then produced in
16. A. Rossi, op. cit. p. 63.
17. A. Rossi, op. cit. p. 62

quantity, but at the fair in Foligno he plausibly sold his playing cards. That these really were the products is demonstrated from another source, reported to me by Depaulis in a comment recalled:
Again according to Toaff, but in his book Il vino e la carne: una comunità ebraica nel Medioevo [Wine and meat: a medieval Jewish community], Bologna, 1989, p. 108 and 259, in 1508 a Jewish tavern-keeper, Vitale di Mosè, formed a company for the manufacture of playing cards (fecerunt societatem simul ad artem cartarum ad ludendum) with a (Christian) card maker from Verona, Bianchino Bernardi. This could mean that there was not, at that time, card production in Perugia ...
Those references are contained in two similar but not identical notes. In both notes one and the same notorial act is talked about, in which a company to produce playing cards is started between Vitale, Jewish host of Perugia, and Cosimo Bernardi, craftsman from Verona. (18) From the second note it is understood furthermore that it would be the host of Perugia to gain for the occasion in Perugia the Verona craftsman, whereas for us he was already officially employed as a guardian of lions for a little over a decade. Probably we have extracted from the notarial act more than it contained.

With the new information of Bianchino as card maker, also his role in the episode seen earlier can be profoundly changed. When I studied the book with the comedy, I imagined that Notturno had been the real protagonist of the publication. Not finding locally an adequate solution for printing, Notturno turned to a printer of Perugia, and the occasion was created that the works of Bartolomeo Ugoni were printed along with it. The reconstruction presents itself in a linear and clear way. But a second reconstruction could see instead the same Bartholomew Ugoni as protagonist: it so happens that our Bianchino in fact, amazingly on the same day, November 22, 1521, printed a book that has become very rare as well, with that writer's poetic compositions (19).

Now we know that Bianchino also manufactured playing cards, and with this, his personal intervention in the matter becomes even more significant. It was not just any printer from Sansepolcro to whom one turned, one among many possible. Bianchino could become
18. Archivio di Stato di Perugia, Notarile, Benedetto di Mazzarello, 541, c. 140r.
19. Opere dil preclariss. poeta di lengua toscana meser Bartholomeo Vgoni dal Borgo. Chiamata Saturnia. Egloghe, Comedie, Tragedie, Canzoni, Sonetti. Stampata in Perogia [!]: per Cosomo da Verona: dicto il Bianchino dal Leone, 1521 a di XXII de Nouemb.

the true protagonist of the story: his professional interest in playing cards was such that printing that book could serve as an advertisement for his own production of those same cards. At the limit, instead of Notturno turning to Bianchino it could have been Bianchino himself asking Notturno to write a work [this meaning verified by Franco] that would prove advantageous for his business.

5. Conclusion

Different finds of testimonies of Umbrian origin useful for the history of card games have been presented together. Some information on particular cases has been added, like that of Bianchino dal Leone, who was professionally active as a playing card manufacturer, also as keeper of lions and printer of books. In comments on the cards in question, the possibility of a connection with Florentine production was taken into consideration, with the game of minchiate in particular. There remain a number of gaps and uncertainties; to obtain a fairer and more accurate view, other findings of cards and documents would be needed from the Perugia area, and also from Florence.

Franco Pratesi – 05.01.2017

Comments on Franco's "1502-1521: Cards from Perugia and nearby cities" 
by Michael S. Howard.

First, on the question of whether the woodblock for the 3rd Rosenwald sheet could be used as one of four blocks fora minchiate deck, there is the question of the 4th queen, as there is no room for her on the blocks as they now appear as long as the Empress remains with its Roman numeral III. If that III is something added after the printing from the block is done, then there is less of a problem, since a minchiate deck only has three crowned figures as "papi". This would have to apply to all the numbers, because minchiate numbers are necessarily (once one of the "papi" is made into a queen) all different from those we see in the Rosenwald except for number one and the unnumbered last five. That the numerals were not part of the woodblock has not been established, as far as I know.

Even if this problem can be resolved, there remains a problem, as the minchiate Queen of Batons, unlike the Rosenwald Empress, doesn't have a ball in her hand,  an important Imperial attribute. See e.g. ... 9&partId=1. This is surmountable. The player just learns to ignore the ball.

A similar issue is that of the papal attributes on two of the remaining Rosenwald "papi", which are not present in minchiate. See, besides the above link, compared to But perhaps in the early days of minchiate this issue wass not important. So again the problem is surmountable.

I also have concerns about the table that Franco drew up, specifically the column labeled "Notturno".Image 
Franco does not in this particular note actually mention the "Bagatella" at all, much less that it is number 4. Where did that come from? Likewise, although he did mention a "Cardinal", there is no Cardinal included in the table. Finally, there is the question of to what degree a deck with Matto as 3 and Bagatella as 4 can be inferred from the dialogue of the play. 

If Franco is basing this order on the order in which the cards are mentioned, the playwright may well have had other reasons for his order, of a rhetorical, didactic, or satirical nature. Andrea Vitali, discussing Notturno's imagined game of tarot, has given us exactly the same cards in the same order in his essay at (translated at, but comments:
Evidentemente si tratta di un ordine che fa comprendere come all’autore non interessasse la precisa aderenza al gioco, ma solo ed esclusivamente l’aspetto letterario, che volle libero da qualsivoglia costrizione.

(It is clearly an order that permits us to understand that the author was not interested in a precise adherance  to the game, but only and exclusively in the literary aspect, which he wanted free of every constraint.)
 In other words, Notturno was not telling us the ranking of the cards in the hierarchy as the game was in fact played, but aiming to write a lively an entertaining dialogue that departs from the actual hierarchy whenever it suits him.

To see if this is really a likely possibility, however, we do not have to take Vitali's word for it. We can look at the dialogue itself. Fortunately Franco in 2011 gave a transcription, in archaic Italian, of the relevant part of the play, at It is a follow-up to a much earlier note on Notturno (1988) at, in which he gives a paraphrase summary in Engliush. In that earlier essay he interprets the discussion as an explanation of why the order is the way it is. For example, he says "a discussion is provided as their exact order for winning tricks". That is not something Vitali would seem to agree with. So let us look at the dialogue

In the play--really an interlude in the middle of a longer unrelated play about shepherds and nymphs--four men decide to play a game of tarocchi. This is the first known printed occurrence of that word, incidentally. Here is my literal translation, some of which does not make complete sense in English. .For the dialogue up to this point, leading up to the actual game, I refer the reader to Franco's 1988 note linked to above. The characters are C for Caballino, K for Castalio, D for Delio, and T for Timbreo
T. Hor gioca. D. To limperatore è questo.
T. Limperatore. D. Sì. T. E questo è il Papa
Che tutto pote o andassela dil resto.
D. Come dil resto o vadigli la capa
E tutto il mio valor, che questo è mio.
T. O vedi come chi non sa sincapa
O dimmi il Papa non è in terra Dio.
D. Made sì. T. Donque hai persa la questione
Che un Deo vince un mortal, perho vinch’io.
D. Hor contender non vo, ti do ragione.
T. Mi la da la iustitia, come un tratto
Lo sai, e sanlo tutte este persone.

(T.. Now play. D. The Emperor is this one.
T. Emperor. D. Yes. T. And this is the Pope
That all power rests or goes from him.
D. How of him rest or go from him at the head
And all my valor, this is mine.
T. O see how those do not know without a head
Or tell me the Pope is not God on earth.
D. Yes indeed. T. Then you have lost the question
One God wins over one mortal, So I win.
D. Now I do not want to contend, I agree with you.
T. To me that is justice, as at once
You know it, and so know all these people.)
Here the Pope is higher than the Emperor, illustrating the moral, perhaps sarcastically intended, that the Pope is God on earth, and a God is higher than a mortal. Let us continue:
[T.] Ioca tu. K. To [or Io?]. T. che cosa è questa. C. Il matto
Che Imperatori Papi e Cardinali
Vince e domina sol con un sciocco atto.
T. Donque voi por gli Dei con gli animali.
K. Made no, ma gli matti hora son Dei
Et son qua giuso, in tutto principali.
T. O veggio ben che for di senso sei.
K. For di senso se tu che in sin gli morti
Sanlo onde dici quel che dir non dei.
Non vedi tu per tutto e più in le corti
Che senza questi principi e signori
Vivon, senza contento, scemimorti.
Non sai tu che se alcun gratie e favori
Vol, forza è andar di questi per le mani
Che a tutti gli altri son superiori
E quanto più son temerarii e insani
Tanto en più grandi, hor non più sei risciolto
Confessa come perditor rimani.
T. Tu dici il ver, donque anch’io far vo il stolto
Per farmi grande e haver propitia stella.

(T. Play, you. K. Me?. T. What is this? C. The Fool
That Emperors, Popes and Cardinals
Vanquishes and dominates only by a silly act.
T. Then you put gods with animals.
K. No indeed, but the gods are now mad
And are down here, in all the princes.
T. O I see full well the sense in that.
K. For the sense that if you until dead
Know that whence you say what the gods not to say.
Do not you see all and more in the courts
That without these princes and lords
They live, not happy, half dead.
Do not you know that if any graces and favors
You want, perforce is to go through the hands of these
That to all the others are superior
And how much more I am foolhardy and insane
Much greater are they, now no more be dangerous
Confess as one destroyed.
T. You say the truth, Then I too go to make the fool
To make me bigger and have a propitious star)
This says that the Fool vanquishes Popes, Cardinals, and Emperors with his silly act, and that they are bigger fools than we, the players, are. Even the gods are mad.. T seems to be playing the Fool card at the end of this passage, but whether it actually wins the trick is not said. The whole passage seems mostly an exercise in rhetoric, against princes. It is not at all clear that the Fool actually beats the Emperor and Pope, because they are Fools, too. And perhaps the "silly act" is that of being played instead of a more valuable card, a stratic sacrifice, after which the cards saved can go on to win; and even after play is over, it can figure in combinations.

We see here the mention of Cardinals, not explicitly as a card in the game, but also not excluded, since the Fool vanquishes it in a context of other cards. "Cardinal" is not unprecedented as the name of a card . The c. 1565 Anonymous Discourse (in Eplaining the Tarot, by Caldwell, Depaulis, and Ponzi), from somewhere in the middle of Italy, also mentions a Cardinal along with Pope and the Emperor, perhapst a substitute for the Popess as one of "four papi". 

 I continue:
K. Hor non più Caballin, volgi in qua il volto
E mira un poco questa, come è bella.
C. Che cosa è questa. Per tua fede è il vechio
K. Nol vedi tu. Rispondi si da quella.
 C. To. Mi dispiace ben chio la sparechio
Il bagatella è questo, dar til voglio.
K. Glie mia, chl matto è de tutti altri spechio.
C. Di te mi meraviglio, anci mi doglio
Che nosco in gioco poniti a la zuffa
Senza intender il scritto di sto foglio.
Chi ben atteggia civetta e camuffa
Astutamente, senza far il stolto
Quel resta vincitor di la baruffa.
Non bisogna sciocchezza saper molto
Non bisogna ignorantia ma virtute
Volendo haver nel fin, qualche honor colto.
K. Tu dici il ver, tengo le labia mute
E gliè tua tottalmente Caballino
Che hia le virtuti in te tutte compiute.
C. Hor piglia e qui farai da paladino
Se vinci questa, che lè la fortezza
Che doma ogni mortal e ogni divino
Questa quella è che tutto stringe e spezza
E il bagatella non pur, ma anchor vinta
Spesso è ragion, da sua tanta fierezza.

(K. Now no more, Caballin, turn here the face
And look a little at this, how beautiful it is.
C. What is this. By your faith it is the old one.
K. Not him you see. Reply about that one.
C. I indeed regret making unready
The Bagatella is this one, I want to give it to you.
K. It is mine, the Matto, of all the others I look at..
C. Of you I marvel, thus I grieve
That with us in the game you put yourself in the battle
Without comprehending the writing on the sheet.
Who poses as well owl and craftiness
Cleverly, without acting the fool
One who remains the victor of the scuffle.
Do not know much nonsense
Do not need ignorance but excellence
Wanting to have in craft, gathered some honor.
K. You tell the truth, I keep my lips mute
And yours totally Secret
That you have the excellences [virtutes] in you all complete.
C. Now you seize and here you make the paladin
If you win this, you lè the fortress [fortezza, also = fortitude]
Taming every mortal and every divine
This one is that everything shakes and breaks
And not surely the Bagatella but again vanquished
It is often with good reason, from his great fierceness.)
All I get from this is that the Bagatella is clever, crafty and does things in secret, not acting the fool by telling the truth. But such craftiness is defeated by the virtues, of which fortitude is mentioned in particular, vanquishing the Bagatella with his fierceness. But in the old troubadour songs, it was always the ministrel or poet who charmed his master's wife but had to fear his wrath if discovered. This is a joke in the same tradition. In addition, t is not clear here whether the Bagatella actually beats the Fool or just thinks he does.

I continue:
D. Hor non più to questa è una Dea dipinta
Chio ti rispondo, detta temperanza
Che al mondo è diva, se ben quivi è finta.
T. E tu to questa che tutte altre avanza
Chè la iustitia, senza di la quale
Mancha ogni iusta e natual usanza.
D. Ben la iustitia adesso nulla vale
Anci non vi si noma né si trova
Chel suo corso è mancato qual mortale.
T. Mancato, cosa inaudita e nova
Io sento, che iustitia mai non manca
Perché è diva, anci ogn’hora più rinova
Si che perduta lhai, questa è mia franca.
D. Tu dici il ver. K. Hor to questa Timbreo
Che è il carro, in ch ogni gloria si rinfranca.
T. Che val il car. C. Come d’ogni tropheo
D’ogni triompho ogni fausto e ogni pompa
Ne questo il seggio è de ogni semideo
Non vè cosa qua giù, che non corrompa
Se non questo, che ogn’hor più triomphando
Sen va, senza che alcuno lo interrompa.
T. Parmi che questo vada sol rotando
Colmo di fieno paglia pietre e legni
Come istromento vile e miserando.

(D. Now no more to this is a painted Goddess
Chio answer thee, that temperance
Which in the world is heavenly, if there it is indeed feigned.
T. And you to this that all others advance
is justicia, without which
each just and native custom is lacking.
D. Justice indeed is now worth nothing
Thus it is neither named nor is found
that its course is lacking in what is mortal.
T. Failure, unheard and new
I feel that justice is never lacking
Because it is a goddess, thus every hour more renews
You have lost that, this is my release.
Q. You say the truth. K. Now to this Thymbraeus
Which is the chariot, in which all glory is reviving.
T. What value the car. C. As of every Trophy
Of every Triumph every auspice and every pomp
This is the seat of every demigod
THERE'S something down here, that does not corrupt
If not this, it every hour more triumphing
By itself it goes, unless someone stops it.
T. It seems to me that this goes only turning
Full of straw hay stones and dead wood
How vile and miserable an instrument.)
Well, we have Temperance, then Justice, then the Chariot. Perhaps from this we can derive an order, I don't know. Nothing is said about whether the Chariot beats the virtues, but it is likely that it does..

I conclude:
K. Anci i Dei tutti, de celesti regni
Iove, Saturno, Apol, Mercurio e Marte
Con questo adempion tutti i lor dissegni.
T. Sia maledetto il mio giocar de carte
Che mai tener non ne poti pur una.
K. Cusì advien chi entra in bal senza haver larte.
Hor to questa è la Rota di fortuna
Che non pur move regge e doma il mondo
Ma tutti gli pianeti e sol e luna.
C. O che tu fingi o che sei cusì tondo
A voler por una con quattro rote
Et adeguar il cielo col proffondo.
K. O che parole d’intelletto vote
A metter di fortuna lalta insegna
Con queste cose vil basse e idiote
Non vè cosa ima mediocre o degna
Che cotesta non cangi a suo diletto
E che in un punto non accenda e spegna.
Donque confessa il suo fallo e diffetto
Come nulla non intende e vol iocare.
C. Hor su non più gliè tua questo è lo effetto
Timbreo in fin gliè sua, non contrastare.
Ma per chiarirvi tutti il vechio è quivi
Che non sapendo faravi imparare.
D. Il vechio non è in numer de gli vivi
Anci è cosa insensata e scemimorta.
C. Scemimorta anci è in numer de gli divi
Deh dimmi ovedi tu persona accorta
Che gioven sia se non è carca de anni
Che ogni excellentia il tempo seco porta.
K. Caballin, per mia fé tu ci usi inganni.
C. Come inganni non sai chel tempo è quello
Chel tutto vince e dona gaudio e affanni
Sì che non contrastar, chel non è bello
Conoscendo haver perso, che ogni modo
Se perdi, non gli va se non lo anello.

(K. Indeed all the gods, of heavenly realms
Jove, Saturn, Apollo, Mercury and Mars
With this fulfillment of all their designs.
T. Cursed is my playing of the cards
Than ever to take not even a prune.
K. Such comes to one who enters bal does not have the art.
Now this is the Wheel of fortune
That not only holds up and moves, and tames the world
But all the planets and sun and moon.
C. Either that or you pretend that you're thus round
To want for one with four wheels
And equal the sky with vastness.
K. Or that empty words of intellect
Putting of fortune a high banner
With these things vile, low and idiotic
You do not see things low, mediocre or worthy
That this same does not change to his desire
And in a moment ignites and is extinguished.
Then confess your fault and defect
As you know nothing and want to play the game.
C. Now it is no more yours this and the effect
Timbreo, in short [or until] it is yours, no conflict.
But to clarify all, the old man is there
Not knowing, to make you learn.
D. The old man is not numbered among the living
Rather is a thing without sense and half dead.
C. Half dead thus is numbered of the gods
I pray you tell me whereby one young
Is experienced if not laden with years
Time opens the door to every excellence.
K. Caballin, by my faith you use us deceived.
C. As deceived you do not know what time is,
That conquers all and gives joy and sorrow
That not opposing, that is not beautiful
Knowing to have lost, so that every way
If you lose, it does not go out except the ring [wheel?].
This is fairly obscure. One might have thought that Jupter, Saturn, the Sun (Apollo), Mercury, Mars,  were cards, if one did not know better. And not only that, but they, along with the Moon and the World, were below Fortune, since they are "tamed" by her. However the virtues followed by Chariot followed by Fortune followed by the Old Man, i.e. Time, is in fact an order shared by a few of the early lists, namely, minchiate, the strambotto found by Depaulis (, a tarocchi appropriati found recently by Andrea Vitali,, probably the Charles VI and Colonna (which Franco doesn't list), and perhaps the Rosenwald, if Dummett's speculation rather than Franco's is followed (it actually isn't clear where the Wheel goes, since that part of the card is undecipherable). All of the last three, as viewed by Dummett, plus minchiate are at

We also have to ask, where is the Love card. Is it really above the Old Man, which is where the passage abruptly stops? I think it more likely that for some reason it has been omitted, either because Notturno forgot about it or because the jokes were too improper to be printed.

I conclude that Andrea's view is correct that we cannot see this play as reflecting a precise if very peculiar order of triumphs dissimilar to all others. Yet at the same time some order is suggested, most likely a standard Florentine one, more or less. We cannot say definitely which virtue was lowest; even though Fortitude is listed first, because that might have been for a joke about how craftiness when discovered or presumed is crushed by force, deriving from a standard troubadour motif of the minstrel's fear that his affair with the Lord's wife will be discovered. Likewise we cannot conclude that the Fool was 3rd or that the Bagatella was 4th. These placements fit the satirical points being made, and Notturno is in fact vague about what card actually wins the trick. There just isn't enough warrant in the poem to justify a radical reordering of the triumphs beyond all precedent.