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Collected Fragments of Tarot History


Subject: Collected Fragments of Tarot History

                 A Chronological Fact Sheet and Index


     The following list was developed initially from items in
     Michael Dummett's The Game of Tarot and the first two volumes
     of Stuart Kaplan's The Encyclopedia of Tarot. It includes some
     items pertaining specifically to dice, quite a bit about
     regular cards and unique decks, a few chess allegories, and
     even some card tricks, as part of the larger historical
     context of Tarot. It also includes a few Medieval artistic and
     literary sources related to the allegorical content of the
     trumps. The purpose of presenting details of Tarot history in
     a context of other cards, games, and allegorizations is to
     contrast with Tarot's almost universally presupposed esoteric
     and divinatory history, i.e., eighteenth and
     nineteenth-century Masonic fiction and late twentieth-century
     crypto-Masonic apologetics. There are endless other games and
     decks that might be included, as well as additional early
     prohibitions against cards and Tarot, etc., so my selection
     was usually based on either some relationship to Tarot (such
     as the Italian suit-signs associated with Trappola and
     Lansquenet cards) or to a more general significance in the
     history of card games reflecting general tendencies, extreme
     variations, or early examples of popular modern games.

     Each of the roughly 250 entries has at least one source cited,
     and multiple sources are cited in many cases. (The present
     version is still very much a work in progress. Most of the
     desired entries are included, but many citations remain to be
     added as well as internal cross references and links, and many
     entries need to be rewritten.) Longer entries, such as a
     discussion of the Karnöffel trump suit or the "Mantegna"
     cosmographic series, have been put into separate files, linked
     to their entries. (A list of these linked files is also
     located at the bottom of the page.) Although my own
     perceptions and preconceptions inevitably color many of the
     entries, I have isolated some of the more blatant commentary
     (whether my own, or mine by adoption) into block quotes,
     separated by heavy lines and shown in dark blue text. And in
     no case should anything here be considered authority for
     anything this is only a chronological listing, with some
     quotes and citations, all second-hand.

     Each entry attempts to include date and location, to the
     extent that is possible from the references used. Dates are
     used as indices, and no implication of certainty is implied!
     Some are well documented, while others vary greatly in both
     their precision and likely accuracy; so in a reference to the
     "1450 Visconti-Sforza deck", the date is not being stated as
     fact, but included as an index to this timeline. There are
     three symbols that may used in the date/location line. The
     symbol " P " indicates an entry concerning a particular pack
     or pattern of cards. The symbol " + " indicates a reference to
     fortune-telling or occult content, while the symbol " * "
     indicates the absence of such a reference where it might be
     expected. Italicized citations indicate the source of quotes;
     bold citations refer to illustrations in Kaplan's two volumes.

     One must get used to the fact and this will be said time and
     again that even now we know precious little of such everyday
     things as playing cards.
                                                     Detlef Hoffmann

     Fragments of Tarot History

     383-405 Rome, Italy.

     Pope Damascus commissioned what was to become the standard
     Bible throughout the Middle Ages, Saint Jerome's Vulgate. This
     Latin Bible was called the versio vulgata (common translation)
     and remains to this day the official scriptural text of the
     Roman Catholic Church. The Bible is an essential source for
     the study of Tarot. Much of the symbolism which people have
     attributed to Joachim of Flora, Dante, Petrarch, and so on,
     derives directly or indirectly from the Bible. (For example,
     finding a Triumph of Eternity motif in Tarot does not mean
     that it was based on Petrarch's I Trionfi, but that both were
     based on the Bible. Comparing the three works in detail, it
     can be seen that Petrarch followed the biblical motif only in
     the broadest sense, while Tarot followed Rev 21:23 directly
     and did not rely on Petrarch.) The Douai-Rheims version was
     the Church's official English translation of the Vulgate, and
     the Rheims New Testament is available online at

     c.400 Spain.

     Arelius Prudentius Clemens wrote Psychomachia, an allegorical
     battle between personified virtues and vices. "The
     "Psychomachia" is the model of a style destined to be lovingly
     cultivated in the Middle Ages, i. e., allegorical poetry, of
     which before Prudentius only the merest traces are found." In
     addition to being influential in the development of allegory
     in general, the specific theme of Psychomachia, the virtues,
     was endlessly varied and elaborated, and is specifically
     included in Tarot. Various sites have online Latin versions,
     and an English version is available online at
     . (

     c.524 Pavia, Italy

     Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, while confined to house
     arrest awaiting execution, wrote De Consolatione Philosophiae.
     "The Consolation dominated the intellectual life of the Middle
     Ages and it was translated at different times by Alfred the
     Great, Chaucer, and Elizabeth I." Boethius' Consolation was
     the source for the Christian adoption of Fortuna and her
     Wheel, and passages of the Consolation also explain the
     therianthropic figures on the TdM version of the Wheel of
     Fortune. Various sites have online Latin versions, and an
     English version is available online at
     (Oxford World Classics edition;

     c.965 Cambrai, France.

     Bishop Wibold recommends the use of a dice game as a spiritual
     exercise. The game associated 56 clerical virtues with the 56
     outcomes of three dice. At the end of the game, the players
     must exemplify the virtues for the rest of the day. Thierry
     Depaulis: "Wibold was bishop of Cambrai (northern France) in
     the 10th century. He devised a complicated dice game called
     Ludus regularis seu clericalis which was described in a
     Chronicle written in the following years. (This Chronicle was
     later edited and published in 1615.) There is a long entry on
     the game in Jean-Marie Lhôte's Dictionnaire des jeux de
     société (1996)."

     Gertrude Moakley mentioned Wibolds game in connection with the
     number of cards in a Tarot deck. "Why are there fifty-six suit
     cards, and why are there twenty-one trumps? The answer is
     found when we remember that cards, as a game of chance,
     replaced dice almost completely. In the dice games which use
     three dice, there are fifty-six possible throws, and with two
     dice twenty-one." (M 41-42.)

     c.1230 Paris, France.

     Iohannes de Sacrobosco (John Holywood) an English monk and a
     contemporary of St. Thomas Aquinas, published a textbook on
     astronomy, De Sphaera. This was a widely known and influential
     text on the subject for several centuries, and included
     discussions of the three "poetic" forms of rising, Cosmic,
     Chronic, and Heliacal. These are represented in the Mantegna
     cosmograph by corresponding allegorical figures. The were used
     to fill out the fourth decade, being placed beneath the seven
     Cardinal Virtues. An online version of De Sphaera is available

     c.1252 ?

     The Franciscan John of Wales (aka, Johannes Gallensis, taught
     at Oxford and Paris circa 1260-80), authored(?) a moral
     allegory on chess. The work appeared in a collection of
     sermons attributed to Pope Innocent III, circa 1300, and is
     referred to as the Innocent Morality. "Reduced to bare bones,
     heres what the Innocent Morality had to say. To begin with,
     the King moves in all directions, because the Kings will is
     law. The Queen moves aslant because women are greedy and
     underhanded. The Bishop moves obliquely, which is symbolic of
     the widespread misuse of the clerical office. The Knight moves
     both straight and oblique (one up and one angled today we
     think of this as two up and one sideways) which illustrates
     the two faces of the knightly condition. On the one hand, the
     Knight has the legal power of collecting rents, etc. but also
     he is guilty of extortions and wrong-doings. The Rook moves
     straight straightforward justice by the Kings officers. And
     the poor pawn, plodding forward one step at a time? He moves
     straight until he is promoted. Then he becomes as greedy and
     underhanded as the Queen, showing how hard it is for a poor
     man to deal rightly when he is raised above his proper
     station. Besides these promising observations, there was one
     additional touch, which is good for a whole sermon all by
     itself: between games, all the pieces are kept together in a
     bag on equal terms: It is only when they are in play that
     there a social difference between them. When the game is over
     (in the next world), all will be treated equally again."

     1265-1272 Rome/Paris.

     Saint Thomas Aquinas, chief philosopher/theologian of the
     Late-Medieval Church, wrote Summa Theologica. Among other
     Tarot-related subjects discussed in detail in this huge work,
     St. Thomas presents and defends the seven Cardinal Virtues in
     an order of precedence which may have been reflected in the
     original design of Tarot, and was maintained in the TdM
     designs. His discussions of the individual virtues, and
     Prudence in particular, are extremely valuable. Aquinas' Summa
     Theologica is available online at

     c.1275 Italy?

     Dominican Jacobus de Cessolis writes a version of the Innocent
     Morality. This version, titled De Moribus Hominum ed de
     Officiis Nobilium Super Ludo Scaccorum, was widely influential
     in both Latin and various translations. (JAF.)

     c.1300 P Mamluk, Egypt.

     The Mamluk style of playing cards were probably created
     sometime in the 13 th century, and are the direct ancestor of
     early European cards. (P 40.)

     c.1300 England?

     Gesta Romanorum, a collection of moralized anecdotes,
     including a couple derivative chess allegories. "It was
     compiled in Latin, probably by a priest, late in the
     thirteenth or early in the fourteenth century. The ascription
     of authorship to Berchorius or Helinandus can no longer be
     maintained. The original object of the work seems to have been
     to provide preachers with a store of anecdotes with suitable
     moral applications There are two versions of this long-lasting
     and widely distributed work (or, more accurately, collection
     of works). In the English version, which Murray thinks is the
     oldest, it is a section entitled Antonius the Emperor. The
     King is the soul, the opposing King is the Devil, and the
     Knight is the Christian. The Bishop (known as the aufin or
     counsellor) is a wise man, who can abuse his wisdom by deceit.
     The Rook stands for brokers and false merchants that run about
     after winning and money, and care not how they are gotten. The
     Queen symbolizes women, who go from chastitie to synne, and
     are taken by the devil for gloves or other such gifts. The
     pawn is, as usual, the common man, who has the potential to
     become a king in heaven; but once he turns aside is taken and
     sent to hell. In the continental version, the theme appears
     twice. One, called The Game of Chess, was written before 1342,
     the other some time later. In that fourteenth-century section,
     the King is Christ and the Queen is the Soul. Knights are
     militant Christians the eight squares commanded by the Knights
     move correspond to the eight Beatitudes and Rooks are judges.
     One interesting passage concerns Bishops, wise men who can
     move three squares forward intellect, reason, and fortitude or
     backward gluttony, robbery, and pride. Murray describes this
     version as a hopeless muddle by the translator, who was
     apparently working from three or more sources and knew very
     little about chess." (JAF.)

     1308-1321 Ravenna, Italy.

     Dante Alighieri's Commedia was a masterpiece in a variety of
     ways, and has been presented as an influence on the design of
     Tarot by more than one author. William Marston Seabury wrote a
     privately printed pamphlet, The Tarot Cards and Dante's Divine
     Comedy in 1951. According to Kaplan, Seabury suggested that
     the symbolism of the two works derived from the same source.
     Joseph Campbell, the renowned mythographer, had an experience
     reminiscent of de Gebelin's epiphany, except instead of
     perceiving immediately their Egyptian content, in 1967
     Campbell quickly perceived analogies to Dante's Convito, La
     Vita Nuova, and Commedia. "A single philosophical strain, it
     seemed to me, could be recognized as supporting, on one hand,
     the mighty ediface of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and, on
     the other, the enigmatic imagery of a contemporary pack of
     cards." (K I:372; GT 387; Campbell & Roberts, Tarot
     Revelations, page 5.)

     Robert V. O'Neill, as part of his monograph studying Catharism
     and the Tarot, has presented a discussion of Dante and Tarot
     in terms of supposed heterodox content of both works. Without
     drawing any conclusions, O'Neill notes what many might
     consider a common design to Tarot and Dante's Commedia. "The
     paradigm involves an individual pilgrim moving through a
     Neoplatonic cosmograph (Herzman, 1992). Viewed at this
     mystical level (Luke, 1975), the Neoplatonic underpinnings are
     most clear in the Paradisio where Dante and his new guide
     Beatrice ascend through the planetary spheres, the sphere of
     fixed stars, and the Primum Mobile (Jacoff 1993). At the
     summit of the cosmos, Dante is granted the Beatific Vision.
     This personal journey, retracing the steps involved in the
     creation of the material world, lies at the center of
     Neoplatonic mysticism and seems a sufficient explanation for
     the spiritual individualism in Dante." In another online
     essay, O'Neill argues that Dante's Commedia is "the
     culmination and greatest of the [mystical] journey epics", and
     that Tarot's alleged "Fool's Journey" is not only an example
     of the genre, but somehow derived from Dante.,

     1351 Italy.

     Giovanni Boccaccios Decameron includes references to specific
     games, but says nothing of cards. (H 12; K I:34; P 35.)

     1356 - 1374 Milan, Italy.

     Francesco Petrarch's " I Trionfi was written over a span of
     some eighteen years beginning in 1356. Thus, the early
     development of I Trionfi likely took place during Petrarch's
     stay at the court of Galeazzo [Visconti] II, although Petrarch
     stated in his 'Letter to Posterity' that all his works were
     commenced or conceived, if not entirely composed, at Vaucluse
     [France]." (K II:141-147.) Gertrude Moakley argued that this
     work provided the basis for the design of the 1450
     Visconti-Sforza deck. (M)

     1360 France.

     Les Amoureux Eschecs, a long, anonymous, romantic allegory of
     chess, in the Garden of Pleasure. (Basis of Lydgates 1412
     allegory, Reson and sensuallyte.) A late fifteenth century
     allegory Romance of the Chessboard borrowed from immensely
     influential The Romance of the Rose. Moral and romantic
     allegories of chess form a backdrop for the subsequent
     allegorical interpretation of cards.

     1364 St. Gallen, Germany.

     Ordinance "forbade dice games, and allowed board games, but
     left card games unmentioned" A similar ordinance in 1379
     included cards. (GT 11; P 35, 37.)

     1364 Paris, France.

     Confort dAmy, a poem by Guillaume de Machau, "denounces gaming
     in general and dice in particular, but says nothing of cards."
     (P 35; K I:34.)

     1366 Italy.

     "In his tract De remediis utriusque fortunae [Francesco]
     Petrarch describes all the games usual at that time without
     mentioning cards." (H 12; GT 11; K I:34; P 35.)

     1367 Berne, Switzerland.

     Early prohibition of playing cards mentioned in a 1398
     document, probably mistaken in the date. (GT 11-12; K I:24.)

     1369 England.

     Geoffrey Chaucer writes about games, including those played by
     the Knight in the Canterbury Tales, and in The Book of the
     Duchess, but says nothing about cards. (K I:34; P 35.)

     1369 Paris, France.

     Ordinance forbade various games, but did not mention cards. A
     similar ordinance in 1377 included cards. (P 35, 37; GT 11; K

     1371 Catalonia, Spain.

     The earliest reference to cards in Europe, "it first appears
     as naip in a Catalan document of 1371." This reference from
     Parlett seems not to be repeated in any of the other sources
     examined, and comes from a 1989 article in the Journal of the
     International Playing Card Society, by Luis Monreal, which
     post-dates most of the other sources used for this list. (P
     36.) This apparently appeared in the Diccionari de rims
     commissioned by Peter IV, King of Aragon. (Ortalli, 175.)

     1377 Florence, Italy.

     Ordinance concerning cards, naibbe, naibbi. This source refers
     to cards as "a certain game called naibbe, newly introduced in
     these parts". (GT 11, 44; K I:24.) Playing "cards were to be
     treated just as strictly as gambling." (Ortalli, 175.)

     1377 *P Basel, Switzerland.

     Dominican Johannes von Rheinfelden authored the essay
     Tractatus de moribus et disciplina humanae conversationis,
     although this dating is suspect. See Tractatus de moribus.

     1377 Paris, France.

     Ordinance prohibiting "card-play in contexts clearly directed
     at the working classes". A similar ordinance from 1369 did not
     mention cards. (P 35, 37; GD 10.)

     1377 Siena, Italy.
   Ordinance concerning cards, naibi. (GT 10, 44.)

     1378 Regensburg, Germany.

     Ordinance "declares various games, including spilen mid der
     quarten , punishable by fine if played for stakes higher than
     those expressly permitted." (P 36; GT 10; B 29.)

     1379 Viterbo, Italy.

     Cola di Covelluzzos Viterbo Chronicle reports, "In the year
     1379 there was brought to Viterbo the game of cards, which in
     the Saracen language is called nayb." In fifteenth-century
     Italy, in France, and in Spain from 1371 to this day, cards
     were referred to as naibi, nahipi, naips, naipes, naibbe,
     naibbi. (GT 11, 43-44; K I:32; P 36.)

     1379 Brabant, Belgium.

     Account-book of the duke of Brabant, Wenceslaus of Luxembourg
     and his wife Johanna, "describes a fete held at Brussels in
     1379 at which cards were played." There is also an entry
     noting the purchase of a deck of cards, quartspel mette copen.
     (K I:24; GT 10, 65; P 37; B 64.)

     1379 St. Gallen, Germany.

     Ordinance prohibiting "card-play in contexts clearly directed
     at the working classes". A similar ordinance from 1364 did not
     mention cards. (P 35, 37; GD 10-11.)

     1379 Constance, Germany.
   Unspecified reference to cards. (GT 10.)

     1380 P Barcelona, Spain.
   Inventory including reference to "a game of cards comprising
       forty-four pieces". (K II:1.)

     1380 Nuremberg, Germany.
   Unspecified reference to cards. (GT 10; B 29?)

     1380 Perpignan, France.
   Unspecified reference to cards. (GT 10.)

     The single (1371) reference to playing cards before 1377,
     combined with the dozen references to cards between 1377 and
     1380, from various areas in Europe, and the multiple
     references to the game having been just introduced, fixes the
     date of their general introduction to Europe in the
     neighborhood of 1375. "The evidence thus strongly suggests
     that there was no long period of evolution at the end of which
     the playing-card pack as we know it emerged, but, on the
     contrary, that, a matter of at most a few years before 1377,
     the pack was either invented or introduced from elsewhere, in
     a fully developed form, and immediately spread over a wide
     area of Europe." (GT 11.) Most of the many early references
     were prohibitions. "There can be no doubt that in 1377 when
     the Florentines took measures against cards, declaring their
     wish to combat such evil principles, volentes malis obviare
     principiis, they were clearly expressing ideas widely shared
     around Europe." (Ortalli 176.)

     1381 Marseilles, France.

     "A certain Jacques Jean (son of a Marseilles merchant) bound
     for Alexandria, Egypt, pledged to his friends Honorat d'Abe
     and Micolas Miol, before a notary, not to gamble or play games
     of chance on his journey: primarily taxilli (the greatly
     condemned dice), but also scaqui (i.e. chess which actually
     enjoyed a good reputation) and nahipi. The pledge to forsake
     gambling was a well-known obligation in Mediaeval juridical
     practice, especially as far as dice were concerned. But here
     the novelty was the inclusion of cards among the unacceptable
     games." (Ortalli 176; K I:24; B 45.)

     1382 Barcelona, Spain.
   Prohibition of gambling, including naypes. "The decree was read
       by the town crier in the streets of Barcelona: Uno gos jugar
       a nengun joch de daus, ni de taules, ni de naips." (K II:1;
       Ortalli 176.)

     1382 Lille, France.
   Prohibition of dice and cards (quartes). "No one from then on
       must dare either by day or night play as dez, as taules, as
       quartes, ne a nul autre geu quelconques". (K I:24; GT 10; B
       45; Ortalli 176.)

     1384 Valencia, Spain.

     "In 1384 the Valencia Consejo general forbade un novel joch
     appellat dels naips", a new game called naips. (Ortalli 176;
     GT 10-11.)

     1384 Nuremberg, Germany.

     A manuscript notes the "widespread adoption of the new game
     throughout Europe". Dummett reports this, noting that he was
     unable to confirm it. (GT 11; B 29.)

     1387 Castile, Spain.

     "An edict by King John I includes cards among prohibited
     games." (Ortalli, 176.)

     1391 Santa Maria a Monte, Italy.

     Ordinance forbade various games, but still did not mention
     cards. However, they were forbidden in a 1396 ordinance. The
     1396 prohibition was lifted in 1419, but reinstated in 1445,
     indicating the ambivalence with which cards were viewed.
     (Ortalli 177.)

     1392 P France.

     Account book for King Charles VI, "Given to Jacquemin
     Gringonneur, painter, for three packs of cards, gilt and
     colored, and variously ornamented, for the amusement of the
     king, fifty-six sols of Paris." These are not the so-called
     Gringonneur cards, aka Charles VI cards, which are a late
     fifteenth-century Ferrarese Tarot deck. These three decks
     might be better compared to the 1440 Tortona deck. (K I:24; GT
     65-66; P 37.)

     1393 Florence, Italy.

     Chronicle di Giovani Morelli "contains a warning against the
     use of dice by children. Morelli describes naibi as a kind of
     game, and from the context it appears it was one which only
     children played, possibly for instructive purposes." (K I:24.)
     Ortalli refers to Morelli's "Ricordi memoirs written between
     1393 and 1421". (Ortalli 181.) Compare this with the 1424
     Ferrara reference to acquiring decks for children, and the
     1516 entry.

     1395 Bologna, Italy.

     "A certain Federico of German origin, suspected of pushing
     counterfeit coins in Bologna in 1395, also sold cartas
     figuratas et pictas ad imagines et figuras sanctorum."
     (Ortalli 197.)

     1396 Santa Maria a Monte, Italy.

     Prohibition against naibi, "albeit with a fine of only 20
     soldi compared to the 3 lire for other games." (Ortalli 177.)

     1396 Paris France.

     "At the French court a hawker or maker of cases, Guion Groslet
     appears in the account books of 1396 for having sold an estuy
     for the cards of Queen Isabelle of Bavaria (Charles VI's
     wife)." (Ortalli 178.)

     1397 Paris, France.

     Prohibition against card playing. (K I:24.) This may be the
     same prohibition referred to by Ortalli, "when the prevot of
     Paris forbade the gens de metier from playing cards on working
     days." (Ortalli 178.)

     1397 Ulm, Germany.
   Prohibition against card playing. (K I:24.)

     1398 San Pietro, Italy.

     "...the punishment for playing naibi was 20 soldi compared to
     30 for other forbidden games, while at Campi in 1410 it was as
     little as half." (Ortalli 177.)

     c.1400 Mamluk, Egypt.

     "The future Sultan al-Malik al-Muayyud is recorded to have won
     a large sum of money in a game of cards in about the year
     1400". (GT 42.)

     c.1400 P Mamluk, Egypt.

     A nearly complete deck (47 cards) from this provenance was
     found in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. As
     reconstructed, it was a 52-card deck "virtually identical with
     the Italian variety of the Latin-suited pack". (P 40; K I:53,
     56; H 19.)

     1402 Ulm, Germany.
   Cardmaker (kartenmacher) mentioned as profession in registry.
       (Betts, 109.)

     1403 Aragon, Spain.

     The King of Aragon, Martin el Humano, requested some playing
     cards, un joch de naips. (Ortalli 178.)

     1404 Langres, France.

     " the Langres Synod cards were on the list of prohibited
     games. And preachers did not hesitate to adopt very severe
     positions on this subject." (Ortalli 176.)

     1408 Orleans, France.

     Inventory of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans, listing "ung jeu
     de quartes sarrasines and unes quartes de Lombardie (one pack
     of Saracen cards; one cards of Lombardy)". (GT 42.)

     1408 Paris, France.

     Court records describe con artists using cards in a simple
     scam "with a psychological resemblance to Three-card Monte."
     (Giobbi; P 73.)

     1414 Barcelona, Spain.

     Multiple inventories referring to Moorish cards: "j joch de
     nayps moreschs" and "j joch de nahyps moreschs", both meaning
     "1 pack of Moorish playing cards". (GT 42.)

     c.1415 Bologna, Italy.

     A portrait of Prince Fibbia, dating from the later seventeenth
     century, bears an inscription identifying him as "inventor of
     the game of Tarocchino in Bologna". This apparently legendary
     attribution appears to be a Fibbia family tradition, intended
     to explain their arms on some Bolognese cards by attributing
     the game to Prince Francesco Antelminelli Castracani Fibbia
     (1360 - 1419). (K I:32 -33, II:2, GT 66-67.)

     1418 Augsburg, Germany.
   Cardmaker (kartenmacher) mentioned as profession in registry.
       (Betts, 109.)

     1422 Florence, Italy.

     The first mention of playing cards in Florence. A painter,
     Iacobo di Bartolomeo Sagramoro, was paid for repairing four
     decks (painting the backs red) and making 13 replacement cards
     from scratch, five of them with figures and eight with pips.
     (Ortalli 179-180.)

     1423 Florence/Ferrara, Italy.

     The Ferrarese "...Marchesa Parisina Malatesti, Niccolo III's
     second wife, ordered that the [Florentine] painter Giovanni
     dalla Gabella be paid the handsome sum of forty gold ducats
     for a valuable pack of cards, decorated with gold and brazil
     ['the red color extracted from brazilwood'] and fine
     ultramarine blue [from 'the very expensive lapis lazuli'
     stone].... This was clearly a work of the highest standard,
     given the price and the value of the materials...." (Ortalli

     1423 P Florence/Ferrara, Italy.

     "...again the Marchesa Parisina wrote to Florence to obtain 'a
     pack of VIII imperadori cards made with fine gold'.... The
     cost of this pack on the Florence market was seven florins and
     then there was the expense of bringing them to Ferrara, but
     there was nothing exceptional about all this.... What is
     really important is that this is the earliest mention of the
     game of imperatori, suggesting that not only the cards, but
     also a new way of playing had been imported from Florence."
     (Ortalli 180.)

     1423 * Bologna, Italy.

     Sermon by the Franciscan St. Bernardine of Siena, Contra
     alearum ludos, against games of chance in general and cards in
     particular. A bonfire of vanities accompanied the sermon. See
     Saint Bernardines Sermon.

     1424 Ferrara, Italy.

     The Marchesa Parisina ordered two packs of inexpensive cards
     "sent to be used by our girls". (Ortalli 181.) Compare with
     the 1393 Morelli entry and the 1516 Ferrara entry, also
     referring to cards for children.

     1426 Nördlingen, Germany.
   Karnöffel, "a celebrated game in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century
       Germany", was the first known game using trumps. In the
       earliest known reference to Karnöffel, it was "listed in a
       municipal ordinance of Nördlingen in 1426 as among the games
       that could lawfully be played at the annual city fête." W.L.
       Schreiber also noted that it was "a trick-taking game played
       by soldiers and peasants rather than the upper crust." (GT
       184; P 165; Betts 321; WPC 42.) See Karnöffel.

     1429 Basle, Switzerland?

     The earliest surviving copy of Brother John's Tractatus de
     moribus et disciplina humanae conversationis, the original
     being dated 1377. There are additional copies dating from
     1472. See Tractatus de moribus.

     1430 Florence, Italy.

     Antonio di Giovanni di ser Franceso was listed as a naibaio by
     trade. "In the portata d'estimo of 1430, he declared many
     woodcuts for cards and pictures of saints tante forme di
     legname da naibi e da santi." (Ortalli 197.)

     c.1430 P Stuttgart, Germany.

     Decks with animal and bird suit-symbols. Also from the mid
     fifteenth century are some copper-engraved decks with animal,
     birds, and flowers as suit-symbols. This is the tradition of
     the 1544 Virgil Solis deck, and the 1557 Caitlin Geofroy
     Tarots suit cards, and related to the hunting-themed decks.
     (GT 14; K I:12, 59.)

     1434 Florence/Ferrara, Italy.

     Marchese Niccolo III of Ferrara "paid 7 gold florins to have
     two packs of cards sent from Florence." These might well have
     been more carte da imperatori, like those purchased from
     Florence in 1423. (Ortalli 181.)

     c.1430s Ferrara, Italy.

     Marchese "Niccolo III had a small parchment volume: libro de
     piccolo volume de carte de piegora che insegn'a zugare a
     scachi, tavole, merlero et a la volpe. This was surely a games
     rules booklet." (Ortalli 182.)

     c.1435 Alsace, France..

     Meister Ingold wrote Das Guldin Spiel, The Golden Game. About
     chess: "Johannes Ingold, a Dominican from what is now Germany
     (died 1465), in his work was especially concerned with the
     Seven Deadly Sins, illustrating each with a game. Besides
     chess, he refers to cards, music, shooting, dancing, and
     several games of chance. In his outline, the King is Reason,
     the Queen Will, the Bishop Memory, the Knight a warrior, and
     the Rook a judge. The pawns are the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
     Then he takes a second pass at the subject, equating the King
     with Christ, the Queen with Mary, the Bishop with patriarchs
     and prophets, the Knights with martyrs, the Rook the apostles,
     and pawns men on earth." (JAF.)

     About cards: "From [The Golden Game] we learn that the 52
     cards of the pack represent the 52 weeks of the year in which
     we fall into sin, the sins in question being symbolized by the
     four suits (roses, crowns, pennies, rings) and thirteen ranks
     depicted on the cards. We also learn that the ranks represent
     various medieval characters who win one another in a given
     order of precedence, suggesting the mechanics of a
     trick-taking game possibly Karnöffel." (P 51; GT 15; B 29;
     Ortalli 199.)

     1435 Rome, Italy.

     "... in the Constitutions on the Chapters of the cathedrals of
     Pope Eugene IV in 1435, we learn that even canons played cards
     in the choirs of churches." (Ortalli 198.)

     1436 Ferrara, Italy.

     In a list of jobs done by a woodworker, reference is made to a
     torchiolo da carte. "This small card press is the first
     evidence of the Este court's dealings with manufactured
     printed playing cards as opposed to entirely hand-drawn and
     painted cards. And given the very low price of the packs sent
     to Parisina at Portomaggiore for her daughters in 1424, they
     could not have been hand-made...." (Ortalli 181.)

     By putting those two facts together, Ortalli suggests that not
     only were printed cards available in the 1420s, but that they
     were being created within the Ferrarese court in the 1430s.
     " 1436 the press for making cards was purchased directly
     by the Este."

     1437 Ferrara, Italy.

     "At least three packs of rather ordinary carthexele (2 lire
     each)" were commissioned from the painter Iacobo Sagramoro.
     For one of the decks it was noted that it had been ordered on
     behalf of the Marchese. "The relatively modest price (2 lire)
     compared to the price of hand-made cards suggests that the
     painter coloured and added the finishing touches to cards
     printed on the [1436 entry] press." (Ortalli 181, 182.)

     1437 Ferrara, Italy.

     "Two new packs with green and red marbled backs" were
     commissioned from the painter Jacopo di Bartolomeo Busoli,
     along with some repair work on other cards, "all for 6 lire ".
     (Ortalli 181.)

     1439 Barcelona, Spain.

     Inventory referring to Moorish cards: " x jochs de naips
     moreschs " and " iij altres jochs de naips plans petits ",
     meaning "10 packs of Moorish playing cards" and "3 other packs
     of small playing cards". (GT 42.)

     The year 1440 is about the upper boundary for the invention of
     Tarot. The earliest surviving deck may date from 1440 or 41,
     and the earliest documented reference to Tarot dates from
     1442. "A lower bound for the date of their invention is harder
     to determine. It probably occurred around 1425; the earliest
     date with any claim to be plausible would be 1410." (WPC 27.)

     1440 P Germany.

     Ambras hunting deck, (Ambraser Hofjagdspiel), a 56-card deck
     with King, Queen, Ober, and Unter. The four suits included
     Falcons, Herons, Hounds, and Decoys. "The story of falconry is
     represented by the falcon as the hunting bird of prey, the
     heron as the hunted bird, the hound, which seeks out the heron
     after it has been struck, and the lure, which calls the falcon
     back to the falconer. By virtue of the subject matter, these
     cards are sometimes called falconer cards." (K I:58 - 59; GT
     23; H 24; B 103.)

     1440 P Milan, Italy.

     Court biographer Decembrio noted that Filippo Maria Visconti
     enjoyed playing a game with painted figures. Also, he noted
     that a deck (ludum) was purchased from Marziano da Tortona,
     "who executed with the utmost diligence images of gods, and
     placed under them with wonderful skill figures of animals and
     birds". (D 82; K I:26; M 52n.) (See The Besozzo Cards.)

     1441 Venice, Italy.

     Prohibition against the import of printed colored figures.
     "This order appears to have been aimed at German card makers
     as a result of a petition from the fellowship of painters at
     Venice, who claimed that card making had fallen into total
     decay in Venice because great quantities of playing cards and
     colored printed figures were being imported." (K I:26; Ortalli
     197, 199.)

     1441 Strasbourg, Germany.

     The distant ancestor of Poker, "first recorded at Strasburg in
     1441, Poch is one of the oldest identifiable card games and
     has evidently influenced the pattern of many others." (P 87.)

     1441 P Milan, Italy.

     The marriage of Francesco Sforza to Bianca Maria Visconti.
     Kaplan suggests that this was the occasion for which the
     Cary-Yale (aka, Visconti di Modrone, after a former owner)
     deck was commissioned. "Two suits in the Cary-Yale pack
     contain Visconti devices and two contain Sforza devices,
     leading one to speculate that the deck was prepared about the
     time of the wedding in 1441...." According to Dummett, the
     earliest well-dated work by Bonifacio Bembo, (commonly
     considered the artist responsible for the Visconti decks), is
     from 1442, so this attribution is not ruled out from that
     standpoint, assuming that the deck were one of his earliest
     works. Dummett considers the deck to be from the same period,
     "... not likely to have been painted many years after the
     first invention of the Tarot pack. That event may therefore be
     reasonably placed at somewhere around 1440." (K I:106-107; GT
     68, 78-79.)

     The Cary-Yale deck is aberrant in a number of ways, including
     the presence of the three Theological Virtues among the
     trumps, and the presence of additional Court cards.
     Sixty-seven cards survive, including eleven trumps. (K
     I:88-95; K II:26-41; H 17.)

     1442 Ferrara, Italy.

     An account book (Registro di Guardaroba) entry for the 10th of
     February mentions that four decks were commissioned from the
     painter Iacobo Sagramoro. "Sagramoro was to be paid 20 lire
     'for having coloured and painted the cups, swords, coins and
     batons and all the figures of four packs of trump cards,
     [quattro paia di carticelle da trionfi] and making the backs
     for a pack of red cards and three packs of green ones,
     embellished with roundels painted in oil, which our Lord has
     for his use'." This would appear to be the earliest reasonably
     clear reference to Tarot cards. Another reference occurs in
     the Registro dei Mandati, to pare uno de carte da trionfi.
     (Ortalli 184; K II:3; GT 67.)

     1442 Ferrara, Italy.

     An account book (Registro di Guardaroba) entry for the 28th
     of  July mentions Tarot cards. "For a pack of carte da trionfi
     intended for Ercole and Sigismondo (two of Leonello's
     brothers), delivered to their servant Iacomo 'guercio', the
     merciaio Marchione Burdochi received the sum of 12 soldi and 3
     denari. Thus by now a pack of tarots was an easily purchased
     item from a retail dealer at almost popular prices.... the
     same money needed for one [expensive hand-painted pack] would
     have bought eight from the shopkeeper with change. And this,
     to my mind, is reliable proof of how tarots were now firmly
     and widely established." (Ortalli 185.) (Leonello was the son
     of and successor to Marchese Niccolo III.)

     Although it is not at all clear that Tarot were yet "firmly
     and widely established", (and it is completely unknown from
     this record how long they had been around), it is clear that
     in Ferrara at least they were at this point a commodity. It is
     interesting to note that Ortalli's 1436 record suggests that
     some forms of both hand-painted and printed cards were being
     made in-house, but this record suggests that Tarot cards were
     being purchased from outside. This would appear to suggest
     that Tarot did not originate in the Ferrarese court, and at
     this date had not yet been fully assimilated into the court's
     card manufacturing.

     1443-1455 Würzburg, Germany.

     "... a chronicle from Würzburg, Germany for 1443-1455 mentions
     'a certain individual... playing at cards a game called the
     Emperor's Game (ludus Imperatoris)', a literal Latin rendering
     of Kaiserspiel. The same Latin name occurs in records of
     Ferrara." (Betts 321; Ortalli 187; GT 191.)

     In discussing these Emperor games, Ortalli first notes that
     "this all suggests a very plausible connection between
     Karnöffel and the 'emperor' game played in Ferrara. Thus Este
     court pastimes would seem to have been linked through Florence
     to circles beyond the Alps." However, he then goes on to
     conclude that this cannot be the case, because in the Italian
     Emperor game "there were eight 'emperors", which "is totally
     incompatible with Karnöffel which had only one." (Ortalli
     187.) Apparently the sole justification for this view that the
     Italian game had eight emperors is the single, far-from-clear
     reference in the 1423 note from Marchesa Parisina. Given the
     obscurity of that single reference, and the fact that some
     forms of Karnöffel had two trump suits and four "Kaisers" per
     trump suit, the Italian Emperor decks might have been slightly
     modified standard decks, used to play an imported version of
     Karnöffel. In any case, the popularity of carte da imperaturi
     was apparently limited and short-lived, with the last known
     reference being in 1452 or 1454. (See both notes.)

     1443-1444 Ferrara, Italy.

     References to a number of inexpensive (12 soldi) decks of
     carte da imperaturi. A more expensive example (20 soldi or 1
     lira marchesana) bore the devixe del Signore on the back, the
     insignia of Leonello d'Este. The carte da imperaturi "were
     inexpensive cards compared to the price of tarot packs and
     were more like the cost of normal cartexelle or carte da
     zugare. This suggests that in the game of 'emperors' the pack
     must have been very much like ordinary cards and had nothing
     along the lines of the trumps, which made the tarots so rich
     and interesting." (Ortalli 187; Betts 321.)

     1447 P Milan, Italy.

     Filippo Maria Visconti died. Dummett considers the Cary-Yale
     and the Brera (aka, Brambilla, after a former owner) decks to
     have been for Filippo Maria Visconti. "The principal reason
     for thinking that the [Cary-Yale] cards were painted for
     Filippo Maria is, however, that the numeral cards of the Coins
     suit, other than the Ace and 2, show actual coins, the gold
     florin of Filippo Maria, bearing the letters 'FI MA' and made
     by the imprint of an actual die; the same is true of all
     eleven surviving cards of the Coins suit in the Brambilla
     pack, but not of the Visconti-Sforza pack." If that is the
     case, then this would be the latest date for the Brambilla
     deck, and Dummett suggests somewhere between 1442 and 1445. (K
     I:106-107; GT 68, 78 -79.) Forty-eight cards survive,
     including two trumps. (K I:96-98; H 18.)

     1449 P Milan, Italy.

     Letter describing a set of sixteen cards as a game (ludus),
     originally commissioned by Filippo Maria Visconti, painted by
     Michelino da Besozzo. See The Besozzo Cards.

     1450 Ferrara, Italy.

     "In 1450, [Piero] Andrea di Bonsignore was paid two lire for
     painting two decks of Emperor cards (carte da Imperatori)".
     (Betts 321; Ortalli 187; GT 191.) See Karnöffel.

     c.1450 P Switzerland.

     Earliest examples of Swiss suit-system are from this period,
     including 1433 and 1451 references. (GT 14; P 42.) See Modern
     Deck Designs.

     1450 Germany.

     "The earliest substantial reference to Karnöffel discovered by
     Dr. von Leyden is a poem by Meissner written in or before
     1450; from it, he has conjecturally reconstructed the ranking
     of the highest cards as being, in descending order: the Unter,
     called the karnöffel; the Deuce, called the süw (Sow); the 3,
     called the babst (Pope); the 5, called the keyser (Kaiser);
     and the 4, called the tüfel (Devil). The term Sow for the
     Deuce was a common one, since, in many early German and some
     Swiss packs, a sow was depicted on each Deuce. The other four
     names, however, are peculiar to Karnöffel, and, though later
     attached to cards of other ranks, they were evidently used
     from an early stage in its history." (GT 188.)

     1450 Milan, Italy.

     A letter by Francesco Sforza, requesting two decks " carte de
     triumphi ", or if Tarot decks are not available, two decks of
     " carte da giocare ". "As soon as this is received, we want
     you to send, by a mail rider, two decks of trump cards, of the
     finest you can find; and if you do not find said trumps,
     please send two other decks of playing cards, of the finest
     that there are. Do this so we will have them here for all day
     Sunday, which will be the thirteenth of the month."  (K
     II:4-5; Betts 111.)

     This item suggests that in Milan also, Tarot cards were a
     commodity, and available in different qualities, as early as
     1450. Tarot probably began with a form similar to the
     "archetypal" design of a 56-card deck with 22 additional
     allegorical cards showing a standardized set of subjects.
     Whether it began as such or not, "the Tarot pack had certainly
     been standardised, as regards the number and identity of the
     cards, by 1450." (WPC 25.) Moreover, "cardmakers began to make
     cheap printed Tarot packs, and less wealthy sections of
     society took up the game, which they had done by 1450." (WPC

     c.1450 Ferrara, Italy.

     "... just after 1450 many differently named games began to
     appear in the registers of sentences: "la terza e quarta, la
     carta di dietro, la candiana, la spiciga, il re a cavalo, il
     flusso, la farina contro farina", and "il falcinello".
     (Ortalli 191.)

     1450 P Milan, Italy.

     Francesco Sforza assumes the crown as Duke of Milan. Kaplan
     suggests that this was the occasion for which the
     Visconti-Sforza (aka, Pierpont Morgan-Bergamo) deck was
     commissioned. Dummett considers the combination of "the ducal
     crown with the fronds of laurel and palm, and the three
     interlaced rings which constitute a heraldic device specific
     to Francesco Sforza" to provide "incontestable proof that the
     pack was painted after 1450, the year Francesco made good his
     claim to the title of duke". This deck appears to have been
     the latest of the three best-known Visconti decks, and
     exhibits various such Sforza emblems. Moakley noted that "on
     the feminine suits of Cups and Coins the devices of the
     Visconti family are emphasized", and suggests that the
     combination of Visconti and Sforza emblems reflects the union
     of Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti. (M 88.) She
     also argued that the allegorical content of the Trumps
     included Carnival and Lent, as well as assorted aspects of
     Petrarchs I Trionfi. Seventy-four cards survive, including
     twenty trumps. (K I:106-107; GT 69, 78-79; H 18; M; VS.)

     1452 Ferrara, Italy.

     "The last known mention of the game of 'emperors' in 1452...
     refers to printed production... stanpire charte da imperaduri
     da zugare." (Ortalli 187.) "Basically three types of cards
     were found in normal circulation in the period from 1420 to
     1460 in the duchy of Este: normal packs, 'emperor' cards,
     whose popularity was short-lived (there is no further mention
     of them after 1452) and tarots. The differences between the
     three types may well appear to be slight. Normal cards and
     'emperor cards' must basically have been the same, while
     tarots simply added the twenty-two pictorial cards without
     changing the rest." (Ortalli 188.)

     1452 Nuremburg, Germany.

     A sermon by John Capistran, a disciple of Bernardine of
     Sienna, (cf. 1423), preached a sermon against gaming which
     precipitated a huge bonfire of vanities, "reportedly fueled by
     76 sledges, 3640 backgammon boards, 40,000 dice, and a
     comparable quantity of cards." (P 38; Betts 110.) See Saint
     Bernardines Sermon.

     1454 Ferrara, Italy.

     "...recorded in the book Conti di Borso: 'uno paro de forme de
     carte, the printing blocks for a pack of cards purchased from
     Piero Andrea da le Fenestre' for 20 ducats. That the court had
     blocks is particularly meaningful, given that the main aim of
     using them was quantity rather than quality." (Ortalli 194.)

     c.1454 Ferrara, Italy.

     "... records state that Borso d'Este played at cards: 'of the
     Emperor' (dell'imperatore) in Ferrara around 1454." (Betts
     321; GT 191.)

     1456 Ferrara, Italy.

     Chess "held its ground as one of the favourite aristocratic
     pastimes practiced at court. But at the same time it must be
     said that in all the fifteenth century documents studied so
     far, there are many more references to playing cards. And
     greater sums were certainly spent on playing cards. In 1456
     chess and draughts ordered by Borso [d'Este, Duke of Ferrara]
     cost less than 10 lire marchesane, while repair work ten years
     later cost one and a half lira very small sums indeed compared
     to those spent on packs of cards." (Ortalli 183.)

     1456 Ferrara, Italy.

     "... the Ferrara jurist Ugo Trotti, a professor of canon law,
     bore witness (in his De multiplici ludo) to the spread,
     variety and multifaceted character of card games, which could
     not be classified en bloc with games of luck or pure chance.
     Tarots in particular were included among mixed games, verging
     on games of skill (and not of luck), as was chess from the
     outset a game always considered to be respectable by the legal
     experts." (Ortalli 188, 199.)

     1457 P Ferrara, Italy.

     The artist Gherardo d'Andrea da Vicenza is mentioned "in
     connection with two very valuable packs; carte grande da
     trionfi rich in gold and colours. The cards had to be painted
     thick gold and all made with fine spendid colours: messe d'oro
     fitamente, et fate tute de coluri fini et brunide, et depinte
     de roverso uno paro rosa, uno paro verde. There were carte 70
     per zogo [70 cards per pack] not an easy number to explain.
     Priced at 14 lire each and paid with a discount of 2 soldi per
     lira (the equivalent of 10 per cent) according to what
     subsequent documents indicated was the 'convention' or
     'custom' or 'usual rate', thus proving there was a continuous
     and pre-established agreement between the artist and Borso's
     court." It would appear that these decks were not only
     exceptionally luxurious but also unique, probably with a
     14-card trump "suit" analogous to Tarot's 22-card trump
     "suit". Although we know none of the details of any such
     70-card decks, there were many idiosyncratic card games
     developed, both before and after this time. (Ortalli 186.)

     A far more speculative theory regarding the da Vicenza decks
     has been proposed, which agrees that these two 70-card decks
     were analogous to Tarot as suggested above, but goes much
     farther. It suggests that the subject matter of the 14
     hypothetical trumps was the same as 14 of the conventional
     Tarot cards. The theory suggests that this hypothetical design
     pre-dated Tarot per se, and that Tarot derived from it by the
     later addition of eight more trumps. It further speculates
     that the 1450 Visconti-Sforza deck is an example of such a
     70-card pre-Tarot deck, and that it was later modified to a
     76-card design (lacking the Devil and Tower cards). At some
     still later date, these pre-Tarot decks were further modified,
     to become the conventional 78-card Tarot design. All of this
     hypothetical evolution is undocumented speculation, and even
     the first step is a huge one since the da Vicenza reference,
     (the only known evidence of any 70-card deck), offers no
     indication of the deck's design, much less the subject matter
     of any supposed trump cards. (For a presentation of this
     theory, see

     1458-1463 Ferrara, Italy.

     "Gherardo d'Andrea's key role seemed to settle into standard
     production: from 1458 to 1463 the cost of his cards was 4 lire
     marchesane per pack [of Tarot cards] with a discount of 10 per
     cent (abatudo soldi 2 per lira), thus reducing the cost to 3
     lire and 12 soldi.... We can document up to eight packs in one
     year (1460) and the information is certainly not complete."
     (Ortalli 189.)

     1459 Ferrara, Italy.

     A note describing certain objects being lent by Duke Borso
     d'Este included "stampe for trump cards". Ortalli concludes
     "that those stampe were printing blocks and the fact that Duke
     Borso actually owned them is highly significant. They may well
     have been the blocks for a whole pack bought in January
     1454..." (Ortalli 194.)

     1459 Bologna, Italy.

     The earliest known reference to Tarot in Bologna. (VS 5.)

     1459 England.

     The first credible reference to playing cards in England is
     their mention in a letter discussing permissible Christmastime
     games: "pleying at the tabyllys [tables, i.e., backgammon],
     and schesse [chess], and cards; sweche dysports she gave her
     folkys leve to play and no odyr." (A previous dating of this
     letter was c.1484.) (P 46; B 55.)

     1459 P Mantua, Italy.

     Heinrich Brockhaus suggested that the Mantegna series of
     images was a game designed at a 1459-60 religious council in
     Mantua, to serve "as a pastime for three members of the
     council, the Cardinals Bessarion and Nicholas of Cusa, and
     Pope Pius II himself. And in fact they were not unworthy to
     occupy the leisure of these princes of the Church." (Jean
     Seznecs TheSurvival of the Pagan Gods, 138-9.) See The
     "Mantegna" Cosmograph.

     1460 Barcelona, Spain.

     Inventory referring to Moorish cards: "jochs de nayps plans, y
     altres jochs moreschs", meaning "packs of ordinary playing
     cards, and other, Moorish packs". (GT 42.)

     1460 Ferrara, Italy.

     References to Tarot in documents from the Este court become
     rare. This does not mean that was no longer an interest in or
     production of such decks. "For example, of the sixteen cards
     (eight trumps and eight faces) in the Cary Collection, Yale
     University Library, widely recognized to be Ferrara made, we
     find both the Este and the Aragon coats of arms. The cards can
     be linked therefore with the wedding in 1473 of Duke Ercole
     and Eleonor of Aragon. They must have come from a tarot pack
     definitely used and almost certainly ordered by the Ferrara
     court, but there is no trace of them in the available
     documents." This dearth of later records probably reflects
     nothing more than that "the novelty stage had come to an end
     (and the impact that novelty brings)." (Ortalli 189-190.)

     c. 1460 Florence, Italy.

     The earliest known Italian examples of the Children of the
     Planets prints "probably comes from Florence and dates from
     around 1460-1463." These astrological works have been
     presented as a kind of key to understanding the alleged
     astrological content of Tarot. A somewhat modernized version
     of such a block book is available online at

     1460 P Germany.

     Standard German suit-signs, Leaves, Acorns, Hearts, and Bells,
     are established by this time. "During the thirty years before
     that, it seems that chaos prevailed in Germany in respect of
     suit-symbols. It was not until the end of the sixteenth
     century that the last traces of that chaos vanished." (GT 15,
     16; P 42.) See Modern Deck Designs.

     1461 England.

     Records of Edward IVs first parliament include the first
     official notice of cards in England: "And also that no Lorde,
     nor other persone of lowere astate, condicion or degree,
     whatsoever he be, suffre any Dicyng or pleiyng at the Cardes
     within his hous, or elles where he may let it, of any of his
     servauntes or other, oute of the XII days of Christmasse". (P

     1462 Visso, Italy.

     Playing "ludus cartarum was punished with a fine four times
     greater than that for other more trivial games, but the
     penalty for dice was as much as five times greater than for
     playing cards." (Ortalli 177.)

     1463 England.

     Prohibition against importing playing cards. "Its
     protectionist tone leads some to believe that they were
     already being produced in significant quantities by native
     craftsmen." (P 46; B 55.)

     1463 Rome, Italy.

     Cardinal Nicolaus Cusanus used endless analogies to allude to
     the Divine: "The face of faces is veiled in all faces and seen
     in a riddle." Games were among his metaphors, including one of
     his own invention, a Globe Game. "Basically, the game of De
     ludo globi appears to consist of the throwing or rolling of a
     curiously shaped spheroid whose surface is concave at one
     end... because of the shape of the spheroid used in this game
     its path is a curved one. Hence, the point of the game seems
     to be to roll the spheroid in such a way that it approaches
     the center of the innermost circle of ten concentric circles
     which have been marked out upon the ground... Cusanus
     description indicates that the game was supposed to be played
     outside, on whatever surface that happened to be available."
     (Pauline Moffitt Watts, Nicolaus Cusanus: A Fifteenth-Century
     Vision of Man.) Ten concentric circles imply a conventional
     Ptolemaic cosmograph, and the difficult task of the game is in
     direct analogy to the Neoplatonic mystics indirect spiritual
     ascent. "Its didacticism is strictly mechanical, how to make
     slanted propulsion come out straight." (Edgar Wind, Pagan
     Mysteries in the Renaissance.) (See The "Mantegna" Cosmograph
     for some related works.)

     1464 France.

     Translation of St. Bernardines 1423 sermon adds mention of the
     game of 31, precursor to the modern game of 21. (P 80.)

     c.1470 P Ferrara, Italy.

     Six replacement cards (Fortitude, Temperance, the Star, the
     Moon, the Sun, and the World) for the Visconti-Sforza deck
     were created. John Shephard considers this evidence of a
     revisioning of the deck, changing the content from a
     Petrarchian themed series of triumphs to a complex
     astrological design based on the Children of the Planets. He
     also considers the Mantegna series and the Tarot de Marseille
     pattern to reflect this redesign.  (GT 69, Shephard.)

     c.1470 * ?

     This is probably the earliest plausible date for the Steele
     Sermon, or Sermones de Ludo Cum Aliis against gaming by an
     anonymous Dominican friar. See The Steele Sermon.

     c.1470 P Ferrara, Italy.

     The so-called Mantegna Tarocchi, a series of 50 engraved
     images in a cosmographic hierarchy is probably from this
     period. This series was influential in various ways over a
     long period. Cf. the 1459 Council of Mantua, the 1471
     Lazzarelli work; the 1484 tomb of Sixtus IV; the 1496 images
     of Durer; and the 1616 Labyrinth game of Ghisi, as well as the
     more distantly related 1463 Globe Game of Cusanus. See The
     "Mantegna" Cosmograph.

     An interesting example of the way in which card designs that
     were created as art objects might result in decks for actual
     play is given by the engraved circular deck by "PW" of Cologne
     (1470?). "The title card shows three crowns in a trefoil and
     carries the inscription Salve Felix Colonia. This and an extra
     card on which death is clutching at a nude woman give these
     round cards the character of a series which was only intended
     for looking at." It had five suits, roses, columbines, pinks,
     parrots, and hares. A less finely engraved copy was made by
     another artist, who also reduced the number of suits to four.
     This may have been intended for actual use. Yet another
     artist, "Johann Bussemacher, on the basis of these two models,
     now produced cards for the real cardplayer. Instead of the
     round form, he chose the usual vertical rectangular shape. The
     open spaces resulting from this were filled by coarse sayings
     arranged in two lines. No less coarse are the representations
     of the mounted queens, kings, and knaves. Only the arrangement
     of the animals and flowers recalls the noble model." (H 24-25;
     B 103.)

     1471 Ferrara, Italy.

     A series of 27 poems by Ludovico Lazzarelli was assembled into
     a volume, illustrated with 23 images from the so-called
     Mantegna Tarocchi, and four other images in a similar style.
     (The information in Kaplan is not reliable on this,
     specifically the comment that there are "twenty-two tarocchi
     illustrations" in Lazzarellis work.) (K I:26-27.) Robert V.
     O'Neill described the work as a typical Renaissance Humanist
     poem: praising ancient mythology and moralizing pagan stories,
     assembling the collection into a Neoplatonic hierarchy.
     (ONeill, "Requiem for Lazzarelli".) See The "Mantegna"

     c.1473 P Ferrara, Italy.

     The dEste cards. Sixteen cards survive, including eight
     trumps, in the Cary Collection at Yale. Probably from this
     provenance, late fifteenth century. (GT 69; K I:117-118.)
     Betts offers an argument that this deck could not have been
     created before 1508, based on heraldry of a shield held by the
     Queen of Swords. (Betts 99-100.)

     1474 Ulm, Germany.

     Chronicle stating that "playing cards were sent in large bales
     into Italy, Sicily, and other parts by sea" (K I:26.) Another
     version: "playing-cards were sent in small casks into Italy,
     Sicily, and also over the sea, and bartered for spices and
     other wares." (B 29.)

     1475 Rome, Italy.

     Cardinal Platina, prefect of the Vatican Library, published De
     honesta voluptate valetudine. "Describing how to behave
     honestly and seemingly, Platina suggested that his worthy
     readers relax in peace for a couple of hours after lunch, when
     they should find a suitable pastime that was tranquil and
     would not excite or upset the digestion. A urbane game to be
     played with moderation: urbanum, facetum, modestum. No

     cunning, scurrility, or acrimony. None of the arrogance,
     sarcasm or clamour that generated anger and insults, at times
     spilling over into brawls. At this point a practical example
     had to be provided. The Cardinal had no doubts: 'Ludus sit
     talis tessera scacho, ut nostro appellatione utar, carthis
     variis imaginibus pictis". Thus the ideal irreproachable
     ludus, along with chess, was cards." (Ortalli 198.)

     c1475? P Ferrara, Italy.

     The so-called Charles VI (aka, Gringonneur) cards. Seventeen
     cards survive, including sixteen trumps, in the Biblioteque
     Nationale at Paris. Probably from this provenance. The design
     appears to reflect the designs of popular woodcut decks of the
     era: for example, the polygonal halos given the virtues in the
     Florentine Rosenwald cards, or the angel-surmounted World of
     various decks. Interestingly, however, the figure above the
     New World does not have angelic wings but instead wears the
     virtues polygonal halo, suggesting that the penultimate trump
     is being identified with the fourth Cardinal Virtue, Prudence,
     as well as showing the Kingdom of Heaven via symbols of
     sovereignty held above the New World. (GT 65-66, 69; K
     I:111-116; H 18; Shephard 25-27.)

     c.1475? P Ferrara, Italy.

     The Rothschild cards. Thirty-one cards survive, including only
     one trump. Probably from this provenance, late fifteenth
     century. (GT 69; K I:120-121.)

     c.1475? P Ferrara, Italy.

     The Museo Civico Tarot cards. Fifteen cards survive, including
     four trumps. The World is very similar to that of Charles VI.
     Probably from this provenance, late fifteenth century. (GT 69;
     K I:108-110, 109.)

     c.1475? P France or Italy.

     The Goldschmidt cards are from a very deviant Tarot deck which
     is unfortunately represented by only nine cards. A bishop is
     shown as an allegory of Hope, (with an anchor displayed),
     probably in place of the Pope. The Ace of Cups is a fountain
     of life, (showing two streams, water and blood), as in some
     other decks, (Rosenthal, Victoria and Albert Museum, and
     Guildhall), but in this case circled by an ouroborous. The Ace
     of Spades is a death card, with crossed bones and a skull
     chained to the suit symbols scabbard. Dummett states that "it
     is not apparent, from the cards themselves, that they are
     Tarot cards at all; not one of them can be identified with any
     assurance as one of the Tarot triumphs." The Spanish style of
     suit-symbols, illustrated by the Five of Clubs, may suggest a
     French origin. (GT 73, 74, 75, 85.)

     c.1475? P Milan, Italy.

     The Von Bartsch Visconti-Sforza Tarot cards. Thirteen cards
     survive, including five trumps and a Visconti serpent card.
     Probably from this provenance, late fifteenth century. (GT 69;
     K I:100-102.)

     c.1475 P Ferrara, Italy.

     A unique and influential allegorical Tarot deck was designed
     by Matteo Maria Boiardo. See The Boiardo Tarot Deck.


     "According to Rafael Maffei, also known as Il Volterrano, the
     game of tarots is a fairly new invention. The book by
     Volterrano was published in 1506, but the manuscript is
     somewhat older." Kaplan suggests that this reference may be
     mistaken. (H 16; K I:33.)

     c.1480 P France.

     "The French suit-system, appearing about 1480, should
     certainly be seen as an adaptation of the German one, with
     Spades corresponding to Leaves, Clubs to Acorns, and of course
     French Hearts to German ones. The shapes of the French
     suit-signs, in all three cases, are regularised version of
     those German signs." (GT 22.) The court card were commonly
     given classical or biblical names. "Modern French packs retain
     the delightful and archaic feature of court cards bearing
     individual names, typically:
















                                La Hire





     Although the French named-card tradition goes back to the
     sixteenth century in principle, in practice the actual names
     have varied enormously and the most constant of them have not
     applied consistently to the same cards." (P 43-45.)

     Various regional patterns existed in France, and were formally
     established by law in the eighteenth century. "A special
     feature of the Paris pattern is the employment of names for
     each court-card. Other regional patterns also adopted this
     feature, but the Paris pattern has been consistent in always
     using the same names, [those noted in the above Parlett quote]
     which are still in use today." (B 45-54.) The Sola-Busca Tarot
     deck also named these twelve court cards, leaving the Pages
     unnamed. See The Sola-Busca Tarot, and Modern Deck Designs.

     1482 +

     "Lorenzo Spirito publishes Delle Sorti or Libro di ventura, an
     Italian  book of fortune-telling based on 20 questions grouped
     around a wheel of fortune, which refer to "20 kings", and dice
     yielding 56 three-line answers.  This seems to be based on an
     earlier manuscript." (This is the entire entry from Greer &

     1484 Rome, Italy.

     "Some of the Mantegna images appear on the bas-reliefs of the
     tomb of Pope Sixtus IV (died 1484). Some of the images, such
     as Arithmetica, are so similar to the Mantegna prints that
     they must be direct copies." (Robert V. ONeill, Tarot
     Symbolism, 212.) See The "Mantegna" Cosmograph.

     1485 + Basle

     "...the verses in the [1510] Mainz Losbuch were adapted from
     one published in Basle in 1485, in which the 52 oracles were
     illustrated by different animals...." (GT 95.)

     "The first evidence of the use of playing cards for predicting
     the future dates from the 1480s when playing cards had been
     known in Europe for a good hundred years. This was Ein
     loszbuch ausz der Karten a book of fate from the cards which
     served to throw light on the future. The cards were shuffled,
     one was withdrawn from the deck, and then the book of fate was
     consulted...." This quote from Hoffman may actually refer to
     the 1510 Mainz losbuch, which according to Dummett (citing
     Hellmut Rosenfield) derived from earlier models. (H 50; GT

     1488 Brescia, Italy.

     Prohibition of games of chance, " buschatia ", defined as
     "omnis ludus taxillorum et cartarum exceptis ludis tabularum
     et rectis ludis triumphorum et scachorum", thus excluding
     backgammon, chess, and triumphs. (M 52n; GT 98.)

     1488 ?

     An essay by Galcottus Martius, writing in De Doctrina
     Promiscua, offers allegorical interpretation of the four
     suits: swords, spears, loaves, and cups. "When there is need
     of strength, as indicated by swords and spears, Martius
     suggests that many are better than just a few; in matters of
     meat and drink, however, a little is better than a great or
     excessive amounts...." (K I:28.)

     1489 Salo am Gardasee, Italy.

     Prohibition similar to 1488 Brescia, exempting Tarot. (M 52n;
     GT 98-99.)

     1491 Bergamo, Italy.

     Prohibition similar to 1488 Brescia, exempting backgammon,
     chess, and Tarot. (M 52n; GT 99.)

     1491 P Ferrara, Italy.

     The copper-engraved Sola Busca, a unique classical Tarot deck.
     See The Sola Busca Tarot.

     1492 Ferrara, Italy.

     "Cardinal Ippolito dEste acknowledged receipt of numerous
     items sent to him by his mother, Leonora of Aragon, the
     duchess of Ferrara, including gilded tarocchi cards and cards
     for the game of ronfa, triumphi dorati and carta da rompha."
     (K II:8, 112; Ortalli 199, 201.)

     1494 Ferrara/Milan, Italy.

     Ercole I "had carte da scartino sent to him in Milan in
     November 1494." (Ortalli 191.)

     1496 Kaiserberg, Germany.

     Bishop Johann Geiler compared the order of cards in the game
     of Karnöffel or ludus Caesaris to the social order. He "begins
     by remarking that in (ordinary) card games, there is a fixed
     order... 'but now a game has been invented which is called
     Kaiserspiel or Karnöffel in which everything is turned upside
     down... and there occurs a wonderful transformation
     (vicissitudo) of Kaisers, as in this game the Kaiser is made
     by chance now from this set (cetu), now from another'." This
     is obviously a reference to the fact that the suit chosen for
     the trumps is not fixed, but varies from one hand to the next.
     A similar sermon is dated 1515. (GT 184-185, 188-191; P 165.)
     See Karnöffel.

     "During the Reformation, Karnöffel, containing as it did,
     cards known as the Pope, the Emperor (Kaiser) and the Devil,
     became the source for a more substantial allegory [than Bishop
     Geiler's inverted social hierarchy] by Protestant
     propagandists and satirists." (GT 184.) See examples at 1537
     and 1546.

     1496 Germany.

     Albrecht Durer created a series of imaged derived from the
     Mantegna series. "Some art historians have dated the first
     group [ten images drawn with a pointed pen] circa 1496 and the
     later group [eleven images drawn with a broad-tipped pen]
     about 1506." (K I:47.) See The "Mantegna" Cosmograph.

     1497 Ferrara, Italy.

     Jacopo Filippo da Bergamo, (aka Jacobus Philippus Forestus),
     used the iconography of Tarot's Papess in a woodcut
     illustration of La Papessa Giovanna, Pope Joan. This image
     appeared in De Plurimis Claris Sceletisque Mulieribus. (Ross
     Gregory Caldwell,

     1499 P Milan, Italy.

     A 1499 TdM style Two of Coins, recovered from Sforza Castle.
     Whether this came from a Tarot deck or a regular deck, it
     demonstrates that the TdM style of cards derived quite
     directly from early Milanese cards. (K II:289.)

     c.1499 Ferrara, Italy.

     "... in 1499 an anonymous chronicler rather irritatedly noted
     that in the city playing cards is a very common custom: " si
     usa et costuma de zugare a carte molto, come e a falsinelli, a
     rompha, a scarto, a resuscitare li morti, a scartare et a
     mille diavolamenti "." (Ortalli 191.)

     1500 Reggio nellEmilia, Italy.

     Prohibition similar to 1488 Brescia, exempting backgammon,
     chess, and Tarot. (GT 99.)

     c.1500 P Milan, Italy.

     A partial sheet of uncut cards in the Cary collection at Yale
     are probably from this general period, and almost certainly
     from Milan. This Cary fragment is the earliest surviving
     example of TdM iconography. Although this was a rather finely
     engraved example of a woodcut deck, rather than the more
     crudely rendered popular decks, it demonstrates that this
     general design dates from the fifteenth century. Six complete
     "cards" survive, plus fourteen partial "cards", including
     eighteen trumps. (TT 48; K II:286.)

     c.1500 P Ferrara, Italy.

     Partial sheets of uncut cards in the Metropolitan Museum in
     New York are probably from this general period, and from
     Ferrara. Twenty trumps are shown, in whole or in part. This is
     the same pattern as sheets in the Budapest Museum of Fine
     Arts. (TT 48; K I:125; K II:272-273.)

     c.1500 P Bologna, Italy.

     Partial sheets of uncut cards in the Rothschild Collection in
     the Louvre and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris are probably
     from this general period, and from Bologna. Twelve "cards"
     survive, all trumps. (TT 48; K I:128-129.)

     c.1500 P Florence, Italy.

     Partial sheets of uncut cards in the Rosenwald Collection in
     the National Gallery of Art in Washington are probably from
     this general period, and from Florence. Twenty-four "cards"
     survive, including twenty-one trumps. (TT 48; K I:130-131.)

     c.1500? P Milan, Italy.

     There are a number of fragmentary sets of odd Tarot cards,
     presumably from the later fifteenth century, of which the
     Rosenthal set is perhaps the best example. These hand-painted
     cards have more non-standard than standard features, and are
     many are not even authenticated as fifteenth century cards, so
     it is very difficult to draw any inferences from them. They do
     exhibit some odd commonalties, and also some connections with
     the better known hand-painted decks. (GT 69-75, 87-89; K

     c.1500 P Germany.

     The "Liechtenstein pack" from this period or possibly mid
     fifteenth century, has, "besides the Latin suits, a fifth suit
     of Shields". The Batons resemble polo sticks, unknown in
     Europe. (GT 15, 15n, 16, 44; H 25.)

     1502 P Germany.

     Franciscan monk Thomas Murner published an educational deck
     based on the Institutes of Justinian, thus beginning the
     fecund tradition of educational cards. "With the intention of
     increasing interest in reading, I have tried to counter
     immoral games through this extremely uplifting game of the
     imperial institutes and I would esteem myself fortunate if I
     should have succeeded in restricting that which is bad by that
     which is good." A related book, Chartiludium Institute
     Summarie, was published decades later, in 1528. A second game
     from Murner, teaching logic, was published in 1507. (H 38.)

     1505 Ferrara, Italy.

     "... during the reign of Alfonso (Ercole's son who succeed him
     in 1505) an account book for his first year as ruler mentions
     the acquisition at the end of June of as many as eighteen
     packs: eight tarot packs and ten fra schartini e carte da
     ronfa bought to be taken to Voghenza, obviously to help the
     courtiers while away the hours during their summer sojourn.
     Eighteen packs were obviously intended for a large group, thus
     revealing an intense passion. And eighteen packs were not even
     enough. Under 26 December in the same register a further
     fifteen packs for schartini and tarots are entered as being
     sent to 'Voghenza for the Signore'. (Ortalli 190.)

     1507 Lyons, France.

     According to Michael Dummett, "The earliest known French
     reference to tarot cards is to their manufacture at Lyons in
     1507." (TT 50.)

     1507 P Germany.

     Franciscan monk Thomas Murner published an educational game,
     Chartiludium logicae, designed to teach the basic principles
     of logic. "Murner followed the tradition of the mnemonic
     pictures, a Late Medieval method of training the memory by
     special pictures." This set was also published as a book, and
     "Murner achieved such success with this that he was also
     suspected of witchcraft praise indeed for a teacher." He had
     published an earlier educational deck in 1502. (H 38.)

     c.16 th + England.

     "A set of Fortunes in English are copied onto wooden playing
     cards - possibly based on divination via "Ragman Rolls" - used
     in England and France since the 13th century. These were
     divinatory verses on rolled parchment with threads leading to
     the appropriate verse. [See Wright and Halliwell, London:
     Pickering, 1841 & 1843]." (Entire entry from Greer post to

     c.1510 + Mainz, Germany.

     A "German work, entitled Eyn loszbuch ausz der Kartengemacht,
     originally printed in Mainz between 1505 and 1510, bears
     [little] resemblance to cartomancy in the accepted sense. This
     is a volume of a type very popular in Germany in the fifteenth
     and sixteenth centuries. On each page is printed a design for
     one of the cards from a German-suited 48-card pack, together
     with an eight-line verse oracle foretelling the enquirer's
     general destiny in life; some are very encouraging, some
     extremely menacing. One could use the book by drawing a single
     card from a pack, and turning to the corresponding page; but
     the book was not in fact designed to make even that use of any
     actual cards necessary, because there is at the front of the
     book a disc with a pointer; the disc is attached to the page
     only at its centre, and on the page itself is a circle divided
     into forty-eight sectors, each labelled with the name of a
     card. The enquirer was therefore supposed to spin the disc and
     turn to the page indicated by the pointer when it came to
     rest. The very crude type of oracular practice exemplified by
     this book is not cartomancy, but the use of a Losbuch: several
     other Losbucher of the time are known, and all of them work in
     the same way, by spinning a disc with a pointer; but most of
     them are not based on the playing-card pack, but on some other
     set of objects, such as animals." (GT 95.)

     The use of playing cards as indices in this manner was the
     first step in the evolution of cartomancy as it is practiced
     today. Using the cards themselves as a randomizing mechanism
     (instead of the spinner) was another small step, made possible
     by the cards' use as indices. The next significant step was
     the creation of special decks of cards on which the
     predictions were printed, such as the 1690 Dorman Newman deck.
     Fortune telling with standard decks (regular decks or Tarot)
     was yet another step, occurring about a half century after
     Newman's deck. The final step was the use of multi-card groups
     or "spreads" of standard cards, which apparently began in the
     late eighteenth century. Etteilla's 1770 book is the first
     presentation of such cartomancy, although such a practice
     appears to be described by Casanova a few years earlier. This
     evolution was presented in detail by Dummett, and is sketched
     out in A Timeline of Cartomancy.

     1510 + Nuremberg, Germany.

     "The first extant book using playing cards for divination was
     printed around 1510, probably in Nuremberg. Hoffmann dates the
     prototype of the woodcuts in this book to pre-1500, thus
     earlier, lost editions of the same text are probable."
     (Christian Hartman in a post to alt.tarot, citing Hoffman and
     Manfred Zollinger, Bibliographie der Spielebucher 15-18
     Jahrhundert, 1996.)

     1515 Germany.

     Edward Schoen, a German cardmaker, made a woodcut nativity
     calendar for a Leonhard Reymann. The calendar is in the form
     of a wheel, with a landscape at the hub, a circle of the seven
     planetary deities, a circle of the twelve zodiacal
     constellations, and an outermost circle of images representing
     the twelve houses. Several images from that outside ring show
     subjects also included in the Tarot trumps, such as a wheel, a

     reaper, an emperor, a pope, two children playing, and an image
     similar to the Lover card in some TdM decks. A figure in
     stocks is analogous to the Hanged Man, a punished criminal.
     "The resemblance between the houses of the zodiac and several
     cards of the tarot indicate that the calendar may have been
     modeled after extant tarot decks...." (K II:157, quoting
     Robert V. ONeill.)

     Considering that Schoen is identified as a cardmaker, the
     similarities do suggest a connection between some of the Tarot
     images and some of the astrological houses in a particular
     chart at least in the eyes of one sixteenth century German
     artist. Kaplan also quotes O'Neill as saying, "the calendar
     proves a correlation between tarot and astrology", but O'Neill
     is not quoted as explaining what that correlation might be, or
     how this calendar proves it. The images in question do not
     show a close iconographic correspondence with any particular
     Tarot deck. The subject matter in question is some of the most
     common in late Medieval and Renaissance art: the emperor and
     pope, a wheel, a skeletal reaper, and two children playing,
     can be used to illustrate an endless number of things other
     than astrology, and their adoption here is hardly sufficient
     to demonstrate that the Tarot images and sequence were somehow
     based on astrology. Whatever lesser "correlation" might exist
     seems ill-defined, and scarcely proved, by this calendar. Many
     questions are raised which could only be approached with
     additional information about Schoen and his work.

     1515 Kaiserberg, Germany.

     Bishop Johann Geiler compared the order of cards in the game
     of Karnöffel to the social order. Gieler notes that in this
     inverted social order, "the Carnöffel beats them all", and "he
     speaks of throwing all the cards, the King, the Kaiser, the
     Ober, the Banner and the Devil, on to the fire." A similar
     sermon is dated 1496. (GT 188-189; P 165.) See Karnöffel.

     1516 Ferrara, Italy.

     Various records of the purchase of regular cards and para de
     tarocchi, Tarot decks, from multiple suppliers. "There is
     again a very definite impression of an almost frenetic
     interest [in card games], if we turn to the Guardaroba
     register for the Camera Ducale of 1516. Cards are continually
     being purchased... They are all fairly ordinary packs bought
     at the same price of 8 soldi each, thus demonstrating they
     were household objects, a normal part of daily court routine."
     (Ortalli 190.)

     These records include the earliest known use of the term,
     tarocchi, from which the name "Tarot" derived. By 1550,
     according to Lollio, the original meaning whatever it might
     have been was unknown. (K II:8; GT 80.) See The Invettiva of

     In addition to the purchases referred to above, other records
     (Libri Camerali Diversi) show not only "further purchases, but
     we also learn that the Este children (just as had been the
     case at the time of Parisina [1424]) were never in short
     supply of cards." (Ortalli 190.)

     1519 Mexico.

     "Wherever Spanish sailors or soldiers appeared, they had their
     cards with them, as in 1519 during the conquest of Mexico."
     "Even today, in South America, it is playing cards with the
     Spanish suit-signs which are used, although national
     modifications have been incorporated, usually in the
     nineteenth century." (H 15.)

     1522 Italy

     "In 1522, a satirical poem concerning the conclave which
     elected Adrian VI described the cardinal playing tarocchi."
     See 1549 conclave. (GT 99.)

     1523 Venice, Italy.

     A volume of poetry containing the c.1475 Boiardo verses, along
     with poetry from other authors, was published. (GT 76.) See
     The Boiardo Tarot Deck.

     1524 + Venice, Italy.

     A losbuch using spinner or dice, by Sigismondo Fanti, Trionpho
     della Fortuna. "Fanti's book resolves various questions
     through the use of the signs of the zodiac, the
     constellations, the sybils [sic] and various astrological
     personages. Instead of a three-line oracle [like the later
     Marcolino], four-line stanzas are used to resolve the
     questions. Instead of cards, Fanti uses a pair of dice or the
     chance number on a dial that contains twenty-one figures." (K
     I:28; GT 95.) See 1510 Mainz losbuch entry, 1540 Marcolino
     entry, and A Timeline of Cartomancy.

     1524 P Venice, Italy.

     "We know from Cardano [1564] that Trappola was played in
     Venice as early as 1524, and can take it to be a Venetian
     invention. If the flow of Italian references to it accurately
     reflects the position, it had dropped out of Italian
     consciousness by the end of the sixteenth century. By the
     seventeenth, however, it was fanning outwards [to Bohemia,
     Moravia, Austria and southern Germany, Silesia and
     Czechoslovakia]." (P 251; K I:53, 57) "The trappolier or
     lansquenet game [1542] came from the Italian game of
     trappola." It used a 36-card Italian-suited deck. (H 14.)

     c.1525? P Erfurt, Germany.

     Vulgar humor had been included in some decks of the fifteenth
     century, "and these grotesque and often caricatural figures
     were now extended to the numeral cards. The hearts and bells,
     leaves, and acorns were moved up to the top half of the card
     so that a narrow or broad strip at the bottom edge remained
     free for illustrations. An especially good example are the
     cards of an Erfurt cardmaker which are now preserved in the
     Germanishes Nationalmuseum Nurembert. Jesters fool around,
     there is dancing and hunting, idling and whoring, and in every
     pack there are illustrations of functions which, in our
     century of cleanliness, are performed behind closed doors, out
     of sight of the public eye." This is, of course, the age of
     Rabelais. (H 25.)

     While much has been made about the novelty of illustrated pips
     in the 1910 Waite-Smith Tarot deck, in the larger world of
     playing cards they were not much of a novelty. In fact,
     illustrated pips were relatively commonplace from the
     sixteenth century.

     c.1526 P Florence, Italy.

     "In 1526, Francesco Berni published a poem in praise of the
     card game of Primiera, with a commentary in which facetious
     remarks are made about the tame of tarocchi. "Capitolo del
     Giocco della Primiera also included comments "Sminchiate"
     [sic], suggesting the latest possible date for the invention
     of the Minchiate deck. (K I:28; GT 99; K II:5.)

     1526 England.

     "Henry VIII tried to suppress [playing cards] in a
     proclamation dated May 1526." (B 55.)

     1527 Venice, Italy.

     Teofilo Folengo wrote a set of five sonnets on the Tarot
     trumps. Dummett writes, "these were included in his Caos del
     Triperiuno, a work published in Venice in 1527 under his
     pseudonym Merin Cocai.". Kaplan includes excerpts from the
     work. In an introductory summary, he notes: "The verses are
     inserted in a dialogue between two men, Limerno and Triperuno.
     Limerno has been requested to recite verses before the queen,
     and for this, he has composed sonnets for four persons,
     Giuberto, Focilla, Falcone and Mirtella. The two men and two
     women had led Limerno into a room where trionphi cards were
     dealt out. Each person related his fate (sorte) from the cards
     drawn and asked Limerno to compose a sonnet for each reading.
     The work by Cocai appears to be one of the earliest references
     to the use of the trionphi [sic] for divination." (GT 390; K

     Less anachronistically, the work by Cocai is one of many
     sixteenth-century examples of tarocchi appropriati, a parlor
     game in which people creatively spun out associations by which
     a given card or cards could be used to describe themselves or
     another person. The cards were not given any symbolic meaning,
     but simply worked into the poem as a playful exercise of
     verbal agility, humor, and flattery. Whether one calls it
     divination or not is of little consequence in itself. However,
     it is important to keep in mind that it was not cartomancy as
     the term has been commonly used since its origin in the late
     eighteenth century; nor was such activity considered
     divinatory by earlier writers, occultist or literary.

     1528 P Italy.

     The Rosselli Inventory catalogs the workshop of Francesco
     Rosselli, listing plates for printing a number of otherwise
     unknown games: the giuocho del trionfo del petrarcha in 3
     pezi; the giuco dapostoli chol nostro singnore, in sette pezi,
     di lengno; the giuocho di sete virtu, in 3 pezi, di lengno;
     and the gioucho di pianeti cho loro fregi, in 4 pezi. (The
     game of the triumph of Petrarch; the game of Apostles with our
     Lord; the game of seven virtues; and the game of planets with
     their borders). (D 82-83; M 53.)

     This listing of otherwise unknown games is extremely
     significant, as it emphasizes just how fragmentary our
     historical information really is, as well as suggesting the
     allegorical and didactic nature of some of the games. Such
     games might be compared with the 1470 Mantegna images and
     the1463 Globe Game of Cusanus, as well as with the didactic
     design of Tarot as a schematic encyclopedia of salvation. The
     Mantegna series, with its obvious philosophical content, may
     have been far less exceptional in that regard than is commonly

     1529 Worchester, England.

     Card playing was commonly prohibited, with exceptions made
     including the twelve days of Christmas. The Bishop of
     Worchester, Hugh Latimer, preached a sermon on the Sunday
     before Christmas, comparing the game of Triumph (not Tarot) to
     the triumph of Christ. "And whereas you are about to celebrate
     Christmas in playing at cards, I intend, by Gods grace, to
     deal unto you Christs cards, wherein you shall perceive
     Christs rule. The game that we shall play at shall be called
     the triumph, which, if it be well played at, he that dealeth
     shall win; the players shall likewise win; and the standers
     and lookers upon shall do the same, insomuch that there is no
     man willing to play at this triumph with these cards but they
     shall be all winners and no losers." (P 216; GT 26.)

     1531 * Antwerp, Belgium.

     Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa publishes De occulta philosophia
     libri tres, a compendium of occult science, with no mention of

     1534 Venice, Italy.

     "Troilo Pomeran da Cittadela wrote a series of sonnets using
     the [Tarot trumps] to praise the renowned ladies of Venice".
     Kaplan provides some excerpts from Triomphi de Troilo Pomeran
     da Cittadela. (K II:9.)

     1534 * France.

     Francois Rabelais publishes The Five Books of Gargantua and
     Pantagruel. "A celebrated list of sixteenth-century games
     occurs in Chapter 22 of Book I of Rabelais's Gargantua, the
     'fearsome' but garrulous history of a rather jolly giant,
     first published in 1534."  The extensive list (over 200
     initially, expanded in subsequent editions) of Gargantuas
     games includes among its three dozen card games one of the
     earliest mentions of Tarot in France; Rabelais' list of
     divinatory methods, however, does not include Tarot. (P 52; M
     50; GT 202; Ortalli 191.)

     c.1535 P Nuremberg, Germany.

     Various woodcut decks with illustrated pips were made, "but
     the most splendid one is the Nuremberg pack by Peter Flotner.
     Burlesque scenes similar to those on the [1525] Erfurt cards
     are now found in the sophisticated atmosphere of a superior
     pack presented to Francesco dEste." Wulf Schadendorf is quoted
     by Hoffmann about the "robust humour and coarse obscenity" of
     the cards, also noting "Flotner sets irony and ridicule,
     parody and perversion against the past, against the classical
     and bourgeois way of life". Again, Rabelaisian humor. (H 25.)

     1537 Germany.

     A Protestant satirical work uses the allegory of Karnöffel to
     berate the Pope. A number of questions are asked, including,
     "Why is the selected (erwelete) Deuce, the lowest and weakest
     of all the cards, called the Kaiser? To this last question the
     answer is given that many believe that the Pope has stolen so
     much from him that, although he is still called the Emperor,
     he has become a beggar; the selected (erwelete) 6 has three
     times as much as the Deuce, and so it is no wonder that the
     triple crown beats the single crown of the Kaiser." (GT 189.)
     See Karnöffel.

     1538 Germany.

     Hans Holbein s Dance of the Dead was published. "Executed by
     the German Renaissance painter in the first half of the
     sixteenth century, the scenes probably were not meant to be
     tarot, but the imagery is surprisingly similar to some of the
     traditional [trumps]...." (K I:192 - 193.)

     Not just individual images, but the sequence also reflects
     Tarot content. Holbeins version of this common cycle presents
     the dance of ranks and conditions within its context (usually
     only implied) of mans fall and eventual salvation. Thus, there
     are three distinct segments of his sequence: First, the origin
     of Deaths dominion, as punishment for Adams sin in Genesis,
     shown in four images. A transitional image of the dead in a
     cemetery, playing musical instruments, leads into the usual
     ranks and conditions segment. This begins with the Pope, the
     Emperor, and a descending ranks, which blends into a diverse
     collection of conditions. The third segment is represented
     with a single image, Christ in judgment over the resurrected
     dead. This is the full meaning of the Dance of the Dead,
     although the framing elements from Genesis and Revelation were
     most commonly omitted. For an analysis of Tarot's meaning, see
     The Riddle of Tarot.

     1540 + Venice, Italy.

     "A genuine exception to the rule that fortune-telling with
     ordinary playing cards is unknown in Europe before the
     eighteenth century is provided by a book by Francesco Marolino
     da Forli entitled Giardino di pensieri and published in Venice
     in 1540. The book is indeed intended solely to provide a means
     of foretelling the future by the use of playing cards. It
     constitutes, however, precisely the sort of exception of which
     it is said that it proves the rule, since the procedure
     involved bears scarcely any resemblance to the practice of
     fortune-telling as we know it." This is essentially another
     losbuch with additional complexities layered into the method:
     "No symbolic significance is attributed to any individual
     cards; the cards are used simply as a randomizing device, and
     in fact, Marcolino's book had a much less elegant predecessor,
     the Triompho di Fortuna by Sigismondo Fanti, published in
     Venice in 1524, which embodies essentially the same idea, save
     that the enquirer rolls dice instead of drawing cards.." (GT
     94-95; K I:28; H 50.) See the 1510 Mainz losbuch entry, and A
     Timeline of Cartomancy.

     1542 P Germany.

     Lansquenet (from the German Landsknecht,) is first noted "in
     the fifth edition of Rabelaiss Gargantua in 1542. Landsknecht,
     literally country knights, were German mercenaries who roamed
     fifteenth and sixteenth-century Europe in quest of
     short-staffed wars, maidens not yet in distress, and
     opportunities to play an inane but highly romanticized
     gambling game with cards. The game itself may have taken its
     name from the special cards produced for mercenaries, which
     were small enough to be conveniently carried in a backpack and
     bore the figure of a Landsknecht for each Jack." (P 76.) "In
     their figuration and size, the lansquenet cards correspond to
     the Italian trappola cards of the fifteenth century. This
     means that they must have spread to Germany at an early date."
     (H 14.)

     c.1543 Italy.

     An allegorical dialog based on Tarot cards, by Pietro Aretino,
     " Les Carte Parlanti, first published in 1543 and sometimes
     referred to as Part 3 of his Ragionamenti, of which the first
     two parts are highly pornographic." It includes information on
     the names and order of the trumps. (GT 338, 390; K I:28.)

     1543 + Strasbourg, Germany.

     A losbuch using playing cards for fortune-telling "was issued
     in Straßburg in 1543, seven year earlier than the second
     edition of the lotbook by Francesco Marcolino da Forli."
     (Christian Hartman, in a post to alt.tarot, citing Hoffman and
     Manfred Zollinger, Bibliographie der Spielebucher 15-18
     Jahrhundert, 1996.)

     1544 P Nuremberg, Germany.

     Virgil Solis deck, engraved. No example of the actual cards
     has survived, but the designs printed on thin paper have. They
     were also influential on several later decks, including the
     suit cards of the 1557 Caitlin Geofroy. "He engraved lions,
     monkeys, parrots, and peacocks on his set of cards. The
     parrots sit on climbing roses, corresponding to the suit of
     hearts, the peacocks are set against vine-shoots on which
     grapes hang, representing the suit of leaves. The lions sit in
     a cartouche and theirs is the suit of bells. The monkeys
     perform acrobatics on ornaments which are really artistic, and
     on the two of this suit there are even inscribed the
     time-honored letters SPQR." (K I:132; K II:302; TT 52; H 29.)

     1545 Venice, Italy.

     "A treatise published in Venice states that swords represent
     death (those ruined by gaming), batons = punishment (for
     cheating), coins the food of play, and cups the victory toast
     or the way of settling disputes between players." (This is the
     entire entry from Greer & ONeill.)

     1546 Germany.

     A Protestant satirical work uses the allegory of Karnöffel to
     berate the Pope, includes a number of rules of play. The work
     "takes the form of a dialogue between the Pope and the Devil.
     From this we learn that neither of the Devil and the Pope beat
     each other.... that it is the 2, 3, 4, and 5, and only they,
     that are called Kaiser...." The cryptic comments are
     understood by "a knowledge of the nineteenth century Swiss
     game... we appear to have here the same idea of partial trumps
     that is found in the Swiss game." (GT 189.)

     1549 Italy

     "At the time of the conclave of 1549-50 which elected Julius
     III, another poem was written in imitation of the earlier one
     [see 1522 conclave], again describing the cardinals playing
     tarocchi." (GT 99.)

     c.1550 P Europe.

     "By 1550, the experiments that had proved ephemeral had been
     abandoned, and the various European types of regular pack had
     crystallized into more or less their definitive forms." (GT
     26.) See Modern Deck Designs.

     1550 * Venice, Italy.

     Flavio Alberti Lollio, Invettiva contra il Giuoco del Taroco.
     An ironic verse diatribe against the game of Tarot. See The
     Invettiva of Lollio.

     1550 Ferrara, Italy.

     "An anonymous poem first published by Giulio Bertoni in an
     essay on Tarocchi versificati in 1917; it describes the ladies
     of the court of Ferrara, and is dated by Bertoni to between
     1520 and 1550, more probably nearer the later date." It
     includes information on the names and order of the trumps. (GT
     390; K I:30.)

     c.1550 P Ferrara, Italy.

     Nine cards, including four trumps, survive from a
     sixteenth-century Tarot deck, in the Museo delle Arti e
     Tradizioni Populari in Rome, Italy. The deck included scenes
     from Orlando Furioso, and is therefore non-standard comparable
     to the Rouen deck in the next entry. Both decks are more
     gracefully executed than the common woodcut decks such as the
     Metropolitan sheets. (TT 50; K II:287, 288.)

     c.1550 P Ferrara, Italy.

     Thirty cards survive from a sixteenth-century Tarot deck, in
     the Municipal Library of Rouen, France. Hand colored with gold
     and silver highlights, the images are classical figures, but
     unlike the 1491 Sola Busca trumps, these are identifiable with
     the standard Tarot subjects. (TT 50; K I:133; H 20.)

     1550 Italy.

     "The first card effect [magic trick] to be described and
     explained in print appeared in 1550 in Girolomo Cardanos De
     subtiltate. This effect was the location and identification of
     a selected card. Three methods are mentioned." (Giobbi.)

     1551 Bologna, Italy.

     Innocentio Ringhieri wrote Cento Giuochi liberali dt
     d'ingegno. Allegoresis about the magnificent "Game of the
     King", allegorizing the four suits in terms of the four
     virtues. Cups represented Temperance, Columns were Strength,
     Swords for Justice, and Mirrors representing Prudence. (K
     I:30; GT 422.)

     1553 Paris, France

     "In 1533 the Paris printer Charles Etienne referred in his
     work Paradoxes to 'Italian cards, with which one engages in
     the game called Tarot'." (GT 99.)

     1557 P Lyons, France.

     The Catelin Geofroy deck was a strikingly variant design, with
     suits based on the 1544 Virgil Solis deck: Lions, Monkeys,
     Parrots, and Peacocks. (TT 52; K I:132; K II:302, 303; H 17,

     c.1560 P Austria.

     "The Hofämterspiel is a late mediaeval deck containing 48
     cards, all of which have survived. the Hofämterspiel was
     basically inspired by the standard social structure of royal
     courts during the late Middle Age. The illustrations picture
     the many different members of a typical household, with their
     names in archaic German, whence the name Hofämterspiel given
     to the cards (literally meaning "householder's deck").
     Therefore, what makes these cards particularly interesting is
     not only their intrinsic value for the early history of
     playing cards, but also the direct evidence they provide for
     the knowledge of social hierarchy and everyday life in late
     mediaeval courts." (Andys Playing Cards; H 25.)

     1564 Italy.

     Parlett writes: "The earliest technical details of card games
     occur in the Liber de ludo aleae (Book on Games of Chance),
     written in 1564 [although not published for another century]
     by Girolamo Cardano, a 63-year old Italian scholar and former
     playboy. This is basically a manual on gambling. His aim is to
     help reduce ones loss of fortune and time by showing that
     outcomes are determined not by a personification of luck but
     by the rigorous if unpredictable logic of mathematics not to
     mention the inexorable logic of cheating, which he also
     examines in detail. To this end he quotes the probabilities of
     achieving certain outcomes on the throw of various numbers of
     dice or turns of cards, and explains how these figures are
     reached. This entirely novel exercise was performed a century
     in advance of Pascal, who is normally regarded as the father
     of probability theory." Cardano lists many games, and
     observes, "It is more fitting for the wise man to play at
     cards than at dice, and at triumphus rather than other games
     [for] this is a sort of midway game played with open cards,
     very similar to the game of Chess." (P 52-53.) Note that
     triumphus does not refer to Tarot. Dummett notes that "Cardano
     included sequentinum Tarochi as one of a number of games he
     had played." (GT 99, 356.)

     1565 Piedmont, Italy.

     Francesco Piscina, Discorso sopra lordine delle figure de'
     Tarocchi, (Oration on the Order of the Tarot Figures), offered
     an attempt to explicate the meaning of the cards and their
     sequence. The results were neither plausible nor "in any sense
     esoteric." (WPC 33, 267n25, 268n7.)

     "Speech by Francesco Piscina, Discorso sopra la significatione
     de' tarocchi, PC 16:27-36 Biblioteca Fondazione Marazza,
     Borgomanero. Not a random set of cards--a symbolic system to
     promote moral living. Magus is an Innkeeper, Hermit a wise
     counselor, etc." (This is the entire entry from Greer &

     c.1570 Pavia, Italy.

     Appropriati written by Giambattista Susio associates the
     trumps with the ladies of the court. It includes information
     on the names and order of the trumps, specifically the
     Lombardy sequence of the trumps. The order presented is almost
     the same as the 1660 Vievil deck. (K I:30; K II:188-189.)

     1572 Italy.

     Mention of appropriati. "Girolamo Bargagli wrote in 1572 in
     Dialogo da Giuochi, a brief passage I saw the game of tarocchi
     played, and each participant was given the name from a card,
     and the reasons were stated aloud why each participant had
     been attributed to such a tarocchi card." (K I:30.)

     c.1576 Bristol, England.

     "The puritanical John Northbrooke of Bristol wrote a sermon
     about 1576 condemning [playing cards]: The playe at Cardes is
     an invention of the Deuill, which he founde out that he might
     the easier bring in Ydolatrie amongst men. For the Kings and
     Coate cardes that we use nowe were in olde time the ymages of
     Idols and false Gods: which since they that would seeme
     Christians have changed into Charlemane, Launcelot, Hector,
     and such like names, because they woule not seeme to imitate
     their ydolatrie herein, and yet maintaine the playe it self,
     the very inuention of Satan, the Deuill, and would disguise
     this mischief under the cloake of such gaye names." Obviously,
     the Brits were using French cards in the sixteenth century. (B

     1584 England.

     "Although the sixteenth century saw numerous descriptions and
     explanations of card tricks, the first detailed exposition was
     in Reginald Scots Discoverie of Witchcraft, in 1584."

     1585 Venice, Italy.

     An opera by Tomaso Garzoni, La Piazza Universale, mentions
     Tarot as a common "tavern game", and "Garzoni describes
     various personages in association with each of the tarocchi
     trumps." It includes information on the names and order of the
     trumps, making this another of the few early sources for such
     information. (K I:30; K II:188; H 16.)

     1588 P Germany.

     Jost Ammon produces his Book of Trades, "a book of fanciful
     cards with suit marks of printers inking balls, wine-pots,
     drinking cups, and books, with a verse underneath each one."
     (Mann 121.) As with the Rabelaisian cards described above
     (1525 and 1535) these are fully illustrated. "Frolicking fools
     and dancing couples, fables and a topsy-turvy world are found
     here too. Ammans cards also had an influence on the playing
     cards intended for everyday use. A sheet dated 1595 from the
     workshop of Heinrich Hauk the best example of his work known
     makes use of ideas originating from Amman." (H 26.)

     1589 + Venice, Italy.

     Venetian Inquisition records suggest that Tarots Devil card
     was used by witches for Satanic ritual and adoration. (Ruth
     Martin, Witchcraft and the Inquisition in Venice, 1989, 162.)
     This is the only known reference to magical or other occult
     use of Tarot before the late eighteenth century. ("Jess

     Because the Tarot trumps contained a widely-known collection
     of images, it is to be expected that they would be borrowed
     for various purposes. Jacopo Filippo da Bergamo's use of
     Tarot's Papess image to illustrate Pope Joan in 1497, and
     Edward Schoen's possible adoption of several Tarot images for
     the 1515 astrological design, are related iconographic
     borrowings. In this case, however, a card itself was
     apparently used, rather than an artist borrowing the image for
     a new work.

     1593 Venice, Italy.

     "In 1593, Horatio Galasso published Giochi di carte bellissimi
     de regola, e di memoria, in Venice. Rather than describe
     tricks dependent on slight-of-hand, as Scot [1584] had,
     Galasso described tricks having as their basis intelligent
     applications of mathematical principles, including a stacked
     deck, possibly the first description of this idea. Scot and
     Galasso thus laid the foundations on which card conjuring
     would build during the following two centuries." (Giobbi.)

     16 th c. Germany.

     "The backs of cards began to be printed with a design as far
     back as the sixteenth century, line patterns printed from the
     wood block being used at first. Subsequently, the backs were
     coloured, marbled, or worked over with rollers. There is a
     link here between the history of fancy paper and the
     development of the backs of playing cards. Playing cards can
     be dated from the pattern on the backs, subject to certain
     qualifications." (H 9.)

     c.1600 Italy.

     "In the Museo Correr in Venice there is preserved a proper
     pack of cards at least as far as the way in which they are
     made is concerned. The back carries a picture showing two
     riders, a girl, and a youth, standing at the bank of a river
     and conversing with a ferryman. On the other side of the
     cards, there is just a cartouche with one word, such as Water,
     Air, Earth, and Fire, Virtues and Vices, Money, Peace,
     Paradise, Beginning, Rome, and Venice. The backs of the cards,
     which are 47 in number and must date from the end of the
     sixteenth century, are printed from a wooden block but the
     tops are written and drawn with a pen. This is a social game,
     like that known by the name of "Continental Conversation
     Cards" in the England of the eighteenth century. The cards
     provide a stimulus for profound discussions between educated
     people and this could easily have been the case with the
     tarots of Mantegna." (H 19-20.)

     1602 + England.

     "Rowland, in Judicial Astrology Condemned relates that Cuffe,
     secretary to the Earl of Essex, had his fortune told. He drew
     three cards: 1) he saw the portraiture of himself cap-a-pie
     having men compassing him about with bills and halberds, 2)
     the judge that sat upon him, 3) the place of his execution and
     the hangman. Taylor, 1865, History of Playing Cards, London,
     p456, speculated that the cards used must have been Tarots, 1)
     being the Devil, 2) being Justice and 3) being the Hangedman,
     although they were called three knaves and may have been
     referring to a regular playing card deck." (Entire entry from
     Greer post to TarotL.)

     According to Kaplan and WPC, much of Taylors work is taken
     directly from P. Boiteau dAmbly, a scholar of questionable
     judgment. "Boiteau was not an occultist, but a scholar with
     serious intentions; but he had been influenced by Court de
     Gebelin and by Etteilla, to both of whom he refers
     extensively, and he supposed the Tarot pack to have been
     originally invented for fortune-telling." No other source for
     Rowland was cited. (WPC 214-215; K I:373.)

     1603 P Germany.

     "A Geistlich-Teutsches Kartenspiel (A Clerical German Card
     Game) which was first published in 1603, also proves that
     every playing card can provide a stimulus for a pious thought"
     "The pictures are not always so subtle the deuce, marked on
     all cards with a pig, provides the opportunity for comparison
     with the Jewish people in the New Testament. The deuce of
     bells depicts the slaughtering of a pig, the Jewish pig, with
     the caption What it deserved." (H 40.)

     1616 P Venice, Italy.

     Labyrinth game designed by Andrea Ghisi. Many of the images
     for this philosophical game were taken from the 1470
     "Mantegna" series. (K II:302, 304-306.) See The "Mantegna"

     1619 * England.

     Robert Fludd publishes Utriusque Macrocosmi et Microcosmi
     Historia, an exhaustive compendium of occult science, with no
     mention of Tarot.

     1622 + France.

     " Pierre del'Ancre [?] publica L'incredulité et mescréance du
     sortilege plainement convaincue..., en donde hace esta pueril
     referencia a la cartomancia: «es una forma de adivinación de
     ciertas personas que toman las imágenes y las ponen en
     presencia de determinados demonios o espíritus que ellos han
     convocado, a fin de que estas imágenes les instruyan sobre las
     cosas que ellos desean saber». Las carticellas educativas se
     habían metamo rfoseado en naipes de juego, y éstos devenían el
     más flamante y popular de los métodos adivinatorios. [?]"
     (This is the entire entry from Greer & ONeill.)

     A translation of the 1622 quote is provided in Greer: "It is a
     type of divination of certain people who take the images and
     place them in the presence of certain demons or spirits which
     they have summoned, so that those images will instruct them on
     the things that they want to know." (Greer, 279) In the
     absence of further explanation, the framing context of
     "cartomancy" and "cards" appears to be anachronistic
     speculation. (The only source I located for this framing
     context was, a
     Spanish-language Web page full of Tarot legends and
     speculation.) Pierre de l'Ancre (15531631) was a French judge
     (a devoted witch hunter) in the Basque area. Among other
     notable items from his 1610 book (on angels, demons, and
     sorcerers), he claimed to have personally witnessed a witches'
     Sabbath, and reported on it:

     See here the guests of the Assembly, each one with a demon
     beside her, and know that at this banquet are served no other
     meats than carrion, the flesh of those that have been hanged,
     the hearts of children not baptized, and other unclean animals
     strange to the custom and usage of Christian people, the whole
     savourless and without salt.

     1625 Spain.

     An allegory about a game of Hombre, "in 1625, a remarkably
     detailed auto sacramental, or mystery play, in which Christ
     and the World play against Death and the Devil." This has a
     striking similarity to the eschatological design of Tarot,
     with its triumphs over the Devil and Death by the World, the
     Tarot card which (in TdM) shows Christ. (P 200, from a journal
     article by Thierry Depaulis.)

     1637 Nevers, France.

     The earliest surviving Rules of Tarot. Regles Dv Ieu Des
     Tarots Règle du Tarot. "This anonymous pamphlet can be
     assigned to Abbé Michel de Marolles who wrote it and had it
     printed at Nevers in 1637." That quote, and the rules in
     French, are on the Web at

     1644 P Paris, France.

     "Thomas Murner [cf. 1502, 1507] has a second and very much
     more illustrious imitator Monsieur Desmarests, who developed
     four packs of cards which were to be of assistance to Hardouin
     de Perefix, the Archbishop of Paris, in the instruction of the
     Dauphin. The etchings were made by Stefano della Bella. When
     Louis XIV was six years old, in 1644, he was given the four
     games of Les Roys de France, Les Reines renommees, La
     Geographie, and Les Metamorphoses, which is also known as Les
     Fables. The cards were made as separate packs and were sold by
     Henry le Gras. Later, in 1698, the cards were also published
     in a leatherbound volume. Della Bellas cards have been
     imitated time and time again, and it would take a whole book
     just to record the states and changes through which these
     packs have passed." Endless educational and commemorative
     decks were created in the seventeenth century and later. (H

     1647 Rouen, France.

     One of the first instruction books for cards, Le Royal Ieu du
     Piquet plaisant et recreatif described Piquet. The text was
     later incorporated into other rule books, including the Maison
     academique des jeux. (P 53.)

     c.1650 Paris, France.

     A complete 78-card deck, the so-called "Parisian Tarot" may
     date to the early part of the seventeenth century. "The pack
     is linked to Vievil's [c.1660] by having exactly the same back
     design...", and by its similarities to the Belgium Tarot
     pattern. "The designs of the court cards and trumps have, for
     the most part, no particular resemblance to those of any known
     standard pattern." (GT 207-208; K I:135-136; K II:310-311.)

     "A million is probably a highly conservative estimate of the
     number of Tarot packs produced in France during the
     seventeenth century...." Only a handful have survived in whole
     or part. (GT 205.)

     1654 Paris, France.

     The first edition of La Maison academique, with rules for
     various games including some card games. (P 53.)

     1658 P Rouen, France.

     The Adam C. de Hautot deck "is almost complete [71 cards], and
     contains all the trumps. Save for certain details, it conforms
     precisely to the pattern later found in Belgium." The de
     Hautot family made cards in Rouen from the middle of the
     seventeenth century, and "an A. de Hautot was a founder member
     of the confrerie (charitable association) of cardmakers
     established in 1658." Dummett suggests that the deck was made
     in the second half of the seventeenth century. Kaplan suggests
     the first half of the eighteenth century. (GT 208; K II:320,

     1659 Paris, France.

     Rules of Tarot included in a collection of gaming rules, one
     of several later editions of La Maison academique, renamed La
     Maison des jeux academique. (P 53.)

     c.1660 London, England.

     "John Lenthall, and his successors, published and sold playing
     cards for many years, probably beginning in the early 1660s
     and continuing until at least 1717." At one point, Lenthall
     produced specialty cards in 40 different categories, #18 of
     which was fortune telling. The so-called "Lenthall
     fortune-telling deck" was created by Dorman Newman in 1690,
     and later published by Lenthalls firm. (Mann 134-150; WPC

     c.1660 P Paris, France.

     A complete 78-card deck by Jacques Vievil, with aberrant
     iconography and order, also has a narrative gloss on the
     Trumps. Many features are reminiscent of Belgium decks, so
     Vievil provides an important link in the evolution and spread
     of Tarot. (K II:307, 308; GT 205-207.)

     c.1660 P Paris, France.

     Seventy-three cards survive from Jean Noblet's deck. "Two
     documents of 1659 cite Jean Noblet, maitre-cartier (master
     cardmaker), living... in Paris. D'Allemangne indicated that
     Noblet's name is to be found on a list of cardmakers in 1664,
     and Jacques Vieville's name is on the same list." (K II:307,
     309.) The trumps can be seen at

     The iconography of the Noblet Sun and World cards matches
     closely with that of the corresponding cards from Sforza
     Castle. The Sforza Sun card is one of a group of three cards:
     "Sylvia Mann, according to Michael Dummett, dated [this group
     of] cards circa 1700 due to the back designs, which are
     borderless and do not fold over the fronts of the cards." The
     Sforza World card is one of a group of six, which according to
     Kaplan, were dated by Francesco Novati to the late sixteenth
     century. If the original of the TdM pattern (sans number and
     title panels) came from Milan circa 1500, then it seems
     plausible that the Sforza Castle cards and the Noblet deck
     might both be rather direct descendants (100-200 years
     removed) of the same elusive Milanese ancestor. (K II:293,

     1669 Lyon, France.

     Claude François Menestrier (cf. 1704) wrote Traite des
     Tournois, Iovstes, Carrovsels, et Avtres Spectacles Pvblics,
     published by Jacques Muguet. The book was an "exhaustive study
     on public spectacle and its symbolism, the first of its kind.
     Menestrier, a member of the Jesuit order, published widely on
     the arts, ballet, music, and design. He was arguably the
     foremost scholar of his century in the field of allegory,
     emblems, devices, and their use. His interest in public
     festivals and ceremonies resulting in his organizing several
     events including the spectacular celebration for Louis XIV's
     visit to Lyon in 1658 (mentioned here in his Letter to the
     Reader). In this work, which took 15 years to complete,
     Menestrier unravels the complex symbolism of tournaments,
     jousts, pageants, masques, balls, and the like. He illustrates
     his research with detailed descriptions of elaborate
     festivities staged in the seventeenth century throughout
     Europe, including a naval display on the Thames in 1613. An
     important part is also devoted to the carrousels and fêtes in
     which horses took part, and a special chapter deals with
     horses engaged in these fêtes (Toole-Stott). The pictorial,
     engraved chapter headings depict scenes or precessions in
     several of the pageants. §Toole-Stott 10491." (Entry from an
     online sales catalog; a first edition was listed for $1,800.)

     1672 P Marseilles, France.

     A complete 78-card deck by Francois Chosson is the earliest
     extant version of the most common modern TdM design. This
     design is the same as the 1718 Heri deck, as well as for the
     famous and influential 1760 Conver deck, which followed
     Chosson in exact detail. Modern TdM decks by Fournier and
     Grimaud reflect this design. (K II:310, 312.)

     1672 +

     "A book in Latin on Occult Sciences written by Schwabergen, in
     which he shews that in addition there are favorable hours, and
     that no divinatory operations (whether by cards or otherwise)
     should be undertaken when it is too foggy, stormy, raining or
     windy. A calm sky appears to him an essential condition."
     (Entire entry from Greer post to TarotL. No source was cited
     for the quote, nor any indication of the context of the
     parenthetical comment regarding cards.)

     c.1680 P Constance, France.

     Johann Pelagius Mayer Tarot deck, earliest surviving example
     of the Tarot de Besancon pattern. (D 211, 217; K I:136.)

     1690 +P London, England.

     A deck of 52 fortune-telling cards, by Dorman Newman. "The
     plates for [the Dorman Newman] pack were later taken over by
     the cardmaker John Lenthall, who made new ones for some of the
     cards." Lenthalls name is generally attached to this deck,
     which appears to be the first known divinatory deck. "What we
     have here is essentially the transference of the method of
     Marcolinos book to a pack of cards, since the questions and
     answers, and, in clue form, the intermediate instructions, are
     printed on the cards themselves. This represents a step
     towards the practice of fortune-telling with ordinary playing
     cards, in that it liberates the user from having to consult a
     book." (GT 96; WPC 47-48.)

     1701 P Lyon, France.

     "From at least the beginning of the eighteenth century, French
     cardmakers were exporting Tarot packs to Savoy, then an
     independent state comprising Piedmont as well as Savoy proper,
     which became part of France only in 1880. Probably the
     earliest surviving pack of this kind is one made by Jean Dodal
     of Lyons, who was active there from 1701 to 1715...."  The
     modern Carta Mundi TdM appears to be based on this deck. (GT
     196.) The trumps can be seen at

     1703 +

     "Advertisement in The Post-Man (No. 1223) of Thursday, Dec.
     30: New Cards, viz.:1, Diverting and innocent Fortune-telling
     Cards." (Entire entry from Greer post to TarotL.)

     1704 +

     "Advertisement in the Post-Man (No. 1362) from Saturday, Dec.
     30: Queen Annes Cards... at... where are also to be had
     Fortune-telling Cards at 1s. a Pack." Both ads "emanated from
     Samuel Fullwood, a card-maker of some repute." (Entire entry
     from Greer post to TarotL.)

     1704 Lyon, France.

     Jesuit Claude François Menestrier (cf. 1669) interpreted the
     four suits as social allegories. "Hearts represented men of
     the Church, Diamonds the Merchants, Clubs were the symbols of
     Peasantry, and Spades that of the Noblesse depee. these
     meanings were familiar to Court de Gebelin and the comte de
     Mellet." (WPC 75.) "Court cards, he says, represent the
     nobility, hearts the ecclesiastics, their place being in the
     c(h)oeur, (choir), Pikes, (spades) represent the nobility,
     carreaux (paving-tiles) the bourgeoisie, and trefoils the
     peasantry." (P 176.)

     1709 P Dijon, France.

     Pierre Madenie deck, in the Chosson style. (K II:314-315.)

     1713 P Avignon, France.

     Jean-Pierre Payen deck, in the Dodal style. (K I:148; K
     II:316, 321.)

     1718 P Soleure, Switzerland.

     Francois Heri deck, in the Chosson style. (K II:314, 317.)

     c.1718 P Soleure, Switzerland.

     Francois Heri deck, in the Noblet style. (K II:314, 318.)

     1735 + England.

     "The Square of Sevens, and the Parallelogram by Robert
     Antrobus, a system of cartomancy as taught to the author by a
     Gypsy, Mr. George X---. (published in London, but most copies
     burned in a fire) - known only through an 1896 edition edited
     by E. Irenaeus Stevenson (original may be apocryphal)."
     (Entire entry from Greer post to TarotL.)

     c.1740 + Bologna, Italy.

     The earliest evidence of Tarot cartomancy: "A single loose
     manuscript sheet giving cartomantic interpretations of the
     thirty-five cards of the Tarocco bolognese". This was
     discovered in the Library of the University of Bologna. The
     terminology used in the document suggests a date prior to 1750
     when the two Fantesca were replaced by Fante. This is a more
     highly developed form of cartomancy than that represented by
     the Lenthall deck. (WPC 49-50.)

     c.1750 P Central Europe.

     French-suited Tarot decks were introduced in the second half
     of the eighteenth century. These decks became very popular,
     using arbitrary images for the Trumps. These images tended to
     center on themes of animals, natural history, or rural
     scenery. (Mann 171.)

     1760 Marseilles, France.

     Nicolas Conver created a very exact copy of the 1672 Francois
     Chosson deck. Various examples of this deck are extant, and
     appear to have been the basis for some modern TdM decks such
     as those produced by Fournier and Grimaud. Two of the
     surviving Conver decks have been published as
     photo-reproductions, one by Heron, and the other by Lo

     An example of Conver's precision in copying Chosson's design
     is provided by one of the minor changes he made. Chosson had
     the number XII on the Hanged Man reversed, IIX. Conver
     corrected this, removing the II from the left of the X and
     placing it on the right, without changing the position of the
     X in relation to the rest of the image. The resulting XII is
     therefore oddly off center, in contrast to all the other
     numbers, and to the original IIX. Such preservation of detail
     is striking, suggestive of a direct copying process, either
     using the original blocks, a print taken from the original, or
     the cards themselves used for an image transfer.

     1765 + St. Petersburg, Russia.

     Giacomo Casanova reported that his Russian peasant mistress
     read the cards every day. A 25-card (5x5) spread is mentioned,
     the earliest suggestion of modern-style cartomancy. (D 106;
     WPC 74.)

     1770 + Paris, France.

     Etteilla (Jean-Baptiste Alliette) produces the first book
     describing modern-style cartomancy: A Way to Entertain Oneself
     with a Pack of Cards. A self-styled mathematics teacher and
     professional fortune teller, presented not only a method of
     fortune telling with a regular 32-card French deck, but also
     mentioned fortune telling with Tarot. (WPC 74ff.)

     After Etteilla, there is far too much material on cartomancy
     and occult Tarot to reference, and the presentations in A
     Wicked Pack of Cards and The History of Occult Tarot are
     comprehensive and accessible. Only a few highlights are noted
     here, along with a couple ancillary items from outside that
     subject area.

     1781 + France.

     Antoine de Gebelin published volume VIII of Monde primitif,
     including two essays on occult Tarot. (WPC 58ff.)

     1783 + France.

     Etteilla begins publishing on Tarot, with A Way to Entertain
     Oneself with a Pack of Cards called Tarot. (WPC 84.)

     1783 + Germany.

     Patience, the game commonly called Solitaire, is noted in "the
     German game anthology Das neue Konigliche LHombre-Spiel as
     both Patience and Cabale. In Das neue Spiel-almanach fur 1798,
     patiencespiel is represented as a contest between two players,
     each of whom in turn plays a game of Patience while
     bystanders, and presumably the players themselves, lay bets on
     the outcome."

     "Patience is only one of several words used to denote
     one-player card games: it is the earliest recorded of them, is
     evidently French, and also denotes one-player games in
     general. In modern French the card game is more often referred
     to as reussite, meaning success or favourable outcome, to
     distinguish it from patience, now meaning jigsaw puzzle." "The
     French use of reussite is explained in Littre as a combination
     of cards [by] which superstitious persons try to divine the
     success of an undertaking, a vow, etc. If this suggests an
     origin in fortune-telling, the theory is reinforced by the
     name of the game in Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic, namely
     kabal(e), or secret knowledge. In Poland, where Patience is
     called pasjans, the word kabala also occurs with the specific
     meaning of fortune-telling with cards. Perhaps, then, the
     original purpose of a Patience game was light-heartedly to
     divine the success of an undertaking, a vow, etc., as Littre
     suggests. If the game succeeds (reussit), then the answer is
     favourable, otherwise not."

     "The theory is further supported by the fact that the earliest
     description of Patience occurs within a few years of the
     invention of card layouts for cartomancy (fortune-telling),
     which, contrary to popular belief, is not reliably reported
     before about 1765." (P 157-158.) That reference is to the
     description by Casanova. Its also worth noting that the German
     description of this game occurs about a decade after Etteillas
     groundbreaking book on cartomancy, and at essentially the same
     time as de Gebelin and Etteillas re-invention of Tarot. Occult
     meanings and divinatory uses for playing cards were clearly in
     the air during the second half of the eighteenth century, as
     never before in their 400 year European history.

     1783 Thuringa, Germany.

     "The earliest detailed account of the manner of play comes
     from an article published in a German periodical of 1783,
     describing Karniffle as then played among the Thuringian
     peasantry." "The Thuringian and Frisian versions [of
     Karnöffel] have the surprising feature of having two trump
     suits, while the Swiss forms have only one." (GT 185.)

     1789 +P Paris, France.

     Etteillas Tarot deck, the first occult Tarot deck, is produced
     between December of 88 and March of 89. One of his disciples
     wrote of receiving his copy in March, noting, "You alone could
     reinstate the ancient Tarot cards in their true and primeval
     splendour." (WPC 91.)

     c.1840 P France.

     Kaplan dates the Grandpretre Tarot, reflecting the influence
     of de Gebelin, to the late eighteenth century, describing it
     as a hand-colored French deck, "made from copper plates in the
     late eighteenth century." On Plate 8, WPC dates what appears
     to be the same deck to c.1840, describing them as "anonymous
     hand-drawn Tarot cards". Kaplan notes that the cards are
     small, 1-7/8" wide by 3-3/8" tall (about the size of business
     cards), with novel subjects, sequence, iconography, and names.
     "II The Popess is III La grandepretresse (The High Priestess),
     and V The Pope is II Le grandpretre (The High Priest).
     Furthermore, III The Empress and IV The Emperor are
     transformed into V La Royne and IV Le Roy respectively. XII La
     prudence replaces The Hanged Man, and shows a man upright and
     balanced on one foot, with the other foot crossed behind. Card
     XV is untitled but depicts The Fool instead of the Devil.
     Since only twenty-one Major Arcana remain in this deck and
     card XV is untitled, it is not known for certain whether The
     Devil card was originally included in the pack, or if card XV
     is in fact meant to combine The Fool and The Devil." (WPC
     Plate 8, K II:194, 196, 336-337.)

     c.1850 Midwest, U.S.

     Based on a variety of evidence, Euchre is "the game for which
     the Joker was invented, probably in the 1850s." It is not
     derived from the Fool in Tarot, and was probably not first
     used in Poker until later in the nineteenth century. (P 191.)

     1856 Paris, France.

     Alphonse-Louis Constant, aka Eliphas Levi, published Dogma and
     Ritual of Transcendental Magic. "Had it not been for Etteilla,
     Court de Gebelins speculations about the Tarot would most
     likely have been forgotten, buried in the eighth large tome of
     his unfinished treatise on the supposed ancient civilisation.
     For all his high-flown theories, Etteillas main objective was
     cartomancy. Certainly Etteillas writings, even less readable
     or capable of being taken seriously than Court de Gebelins,
     would rest in the obscurity of oblivion." Although
     fortune-telling "prospered as never before" in the first half
     of the nineteenth century, occultism was "in a moribund
     condition when Levi started to revivify it by his books about
     it. The astonishing fact is that his work formed the narrow
     channel through which the whole Western tradition of magic
     flowed to the modern era." "Levi completed the task, begun in
     the Renaissance, of synthesising the various ingredients of
     the Western tradition of magic; it was he who finally made it
     a single tradition." And he tied it all, "the Cabala, alchemy,
     Hermetism, astrology, magnetism and even a little black magic
     from the grimoires", to Tarot. This was the real founding of
     modern occult Tarot. "The students of occult science in the
     Renaissance would have been astonished to see that pack of
     cards elevated to the rank of a fundamental source of magical
     imagery and doctrine." (WPC 166f.)

     1863 Paris, France.

     Paul Christian, published Lhomme rouge des Tuileries, (The
     Little Red Man of Tuileries). (WPC 197-202.)

     c.1865 P Paris, France.

     Edmond Billaudot creates the Tarot Belline deck, ("named after
     Marcel Belline, a professional cartomancer who still works in
     Paris"), following the descriptions from Christians Red Man.
     The modern Tarot Belline cards "reproduce ones hand-drawn in
     pen and ink by Demond for his own use; these were discovered
     by Belline, who passed them to Grimaud to put on the market.
     Belline donated the originals to the Musee des Arts et
     Traditions populaires in Paris...." This is the first deck to
     explicitly reference correspondence with the Hebrew alphabet.
     (WPC 162, 202-203.) This deck can be seen, along with
     Christian's descriptions, on Andrew Kostenko's site, at

     1870 Paris, France.

     Paul Christian, published Histoire de la magie. "Almost all
     the matter concerning the Tarot contained in Lhomme rouge is
     reproduced in the Histoire. This time, however, the word Tarot
     does not occur a single time in the entire book." Instead, he
     refers to an ancient Egyptian ceremony, in an underground hall
     beneath the Great Pyramid. "The postulant climbs down an iron
     ladder, with seventy-eight rungs, and enters a hall on either
     side of which are twelve statues, and, between each pair of
     statues, a painting." (WPC 205-206.)

     1888 P England.

     Samuel Liddell Mathers, aka MacGregor Mathers, published The
     Tarot: Its Occult Signification, Use in Fortune-Telling, and
     Method of Play, and was probably the principle designer of the
     Golden Dawn style of Tarot deck. (K I:256.)

     1888 France.

     Eugene Jacob, aka Ely Star, "published a book on astrology,
     Les Mysteres de lhoroscope. This was a profoundly unoriginal
     work, borrowed almost entirely from the astrological writings
     of Paul Christian; even the title was lifted from that of a
     section of Lhomme rouge des Tuileries. Ely Star diverged from
     Christian principally in his willingness to refer to the Tarot
     by name." He adopted Christians occult names for the cards,
     but he placed the Fool at the end of the Tarot sequence,
     numbering it XXII, (thereby changing the subsequent numbering
     of the Minor Arcana as well.) This innovation was followed by
     many Egyptianized decks, all derivative from the 1896
     Falconnier-Wegener deck. Star introduced the terms Major
     Arcana and Minor Arcana, also used by Papus the following
     year. (WPC 242-243.)

     1889 France.

     Dr. Gerard Encausse, aka Papus, published Le Tarot des
     Bohemiens. "This book is of great importance, as being the
     first systematic interpretation of the Tarot on its own by any
     follower of Levi. It was illustrated by cards of the Tarot de
     Marseille, discreetly embellished with Hebrew letters, and
     also, for the major Arcana, by cards from Oswald Wirths
     designs, published in the same year." (WPC 243.)

     1889 P France.

     Stanislas de Guaita, a "fervent admirer of Eliphas Levi", met
     Oswald Wirth, and "learning, on his very first meeting with
     Wirth, that he was an amateur artist, de Guaita suggested to
     him that he should fulfil Levi's unrealized project of
     restoring the twenty-two Arcana of the Tarot their
     hieroglyphic purity. Wirth accepted the charge; having no
     previoius knowledge of the Tarot, he was guided by de Guaita's
     instructions. In this way, he designed a set consisting only
     of the twenty-two 'major Arcana'; published in 1889, it was
     limited to 350 copies, under the title Les 22 Arcanes du Tarot
     Kabbalistique, with a subtitle, 'Designed for the use of
     initiates by Oswald Wirth in accordance with the indications
     of Stanislas de Guaita'." (WPC 238.)

     "Up to 1889, then, the subject [occult Tarot] had so far been
     the preserve of a small body of students of magic. But that
     was soon to change in France: from 1890 onwards, the Tarot
     became a common topic in the growing literature upon the
     occult." (WPC 255.)

     1896 P Paris, France.

     "The most interesting manifestation of the new vogue was Le
     XXII lames hermetiques du tarot divinatoire (1986), by R.
     Falconnier.... It contains illustrations of the Tarot trumps,
     said in the subtitle of the book to be 'exactly reconstituted
     from the sacred texts, in accordance with the tradition of the
     Magi of ancient Egypt'... The designs, which were intended to
     be cut out, pasted on to card and coloured, had been executed
     by the artist Maurice Otto Wegener, following Falconnier's
     instructions. They are Egyptianized versions of those of the
     Tarot de Marseille: the earliest, outside the Etteilla
     tradition, of a long series of pseudo-Egyptian versions of the
     Tarot. The cards are adorned with letters from the 'alphabet
     of the Magi', but not with numbers, Hebrew letters, or names."
     (WPC 255.)

     1909 P Paris, France.

     Papus-Goulinet deck Le Tarot divinatoire by Papus.

     1910 P England.

     Waite-Smith deck The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur E.

     1945 P England.

     Crowley-Harris deck The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley.

     1966 Vietnam.

     "The Ace of Spades served a famous purpose in the war in
     Vietnam. In February, 1966, two lieutenants of Company C,
     Second Battalion, 35th Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, wrote
     The United States Playing Card Company and requested decks
     containing nothing but the Bicycle Ace of Spades. The cards
     were useful in psychological warfare. The Viet Cong were very
     superstitious and highly frightened by this Ace. The French
     previously had occupied Indo-China, and in French
     fortune-telling with cards, the Spades predicted death and
     suffering. The Viet Cong even regarded lady liberty as a
     goddess of death. USPC shipped thousands of the requested
     decks gratis to our troops in Vietnam. These decks were housed
     in plain white tuckcases, inscribed Bicycle Secret Weapon. The
     cards were deliberately scattered in the jungle and in hostile
     villages during raids. The very sight of the Bicycle Ace was
     said to cause many Viet Cong to flee." (From the history page
     of the U.S. Playing Card Co., Various
     individualized versions of this Death Card were also printed,
     some of which included threatening statements on the back,
     printed in Vietnamese.

     The reference to Lady Liberty refers to the design of the
     Bicycle Ace of Spades, also described on their history page:
     "This Ace features, within the suit sign, a woman who rests
     her right hand on a sword and shield while she holds an olive
     branch in her left. The image was inspired by Thomas Crawfords
     sculpture, Statue of Freedom. which, in 1865, had been placed
     atop the Capitol Building in Washington, DC." The Ace of
     Spades as a "Death Card" dates back to the mid
     fifteenth-century, with a skull and crossed bones appearing,
     along with the suit sign, in the Goldschmidt Tarot deck. (K

     Entries in Linked Files

     To preserve the chronological flow of the list, the few
     entries that include extended descriptions are located in
     separate files. They are linked to their location in the list,
     and also grouped together here.

     1377 Basel, Switzerland. Johannes von Rheinfelden's  Tractatus
     de moribus.

     1423 Bologna, Italy. Saint Bernardines Sermon., Contra alearum

     1429 Nordlingen, Germany. Karnöffel, the first known game
     using trumps.

     1449 Milan, Italy. Letter of transmittal, accompanying The
     Besozzo Cards.

     c.1450 Switzerland. Earliest examples of Swiss suit-system:
     See Modern Deck Designs.

     1459 Mantua, Italy. Hypothesized origin of The "Mantegna"

     c.1475 Ferrara, Italy. A unique allegorical Tarot, The Boiardo
     Tarot Deck.

     c.1470 ? A Dominican friar wrote Sermones de Ludo Cum Aliis.
     See The Steele Sermon.

     1491 Ferrara, Italy. A unique classical Tarot, The Sola Busca
     Tarot Deck.

     1540 Venice, Italy. Marcolino's losbuch. See A Timeline of

     1550 Venice, Italy. An ironic verse diatribe against Tarot.
     See The Invettiva of Lollio.

    © 2003 Michael J. Hurst

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Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races