"Do I have to?"
Age 16, marriage to Francesco Sforza, Cremona, 25 October, 1441.
In the bottom left there is what appears to be a Popess. Shephard identifies her as such: "In the foreground is The Popess with her book". (p. 39)
The figure does appear to be more female than male, given the wimple around the face. Although not mentioned in Petrarch's poem, Pope Joan would be suitable for the Triumph of Love because of the love child that ultimately gave her away.
According to some, while a young girl she was beloved by a certain young student, whom she also loved; and so ardently, that disregarding the fact that she was a maid, putting aside all feminine timidity, she secretly left the home of her father and followed her lover all the way to England, having changed her clothing and her name; and there, in his company, she studied letters, being supposed by everyone to be a (male) student, while nevertheless at the same time being given as much to the studies of Venus as to those of Minerva. Afterwards, the young man being dead, when she had come to know how intelligent she was, attracted by the pleasure of learning, and remaining in the same manner of dress, she wanted no more to be somebody's companion, nor to be known as a woman but instead she continued assiduously at her studies, and had profited so much by study of the liberal arts, and at the study of holy letters, that she was reputed to be more excellent than all the other students....
(after going to Rome and becoming Pope, she gives birth after three years...)
... by this means the fraud became clearly apparent, for how long she had deceived every other man, except for her lover.
X. La Papesse. 1. Dans le livre de Forestus Bergomensis "De claris mulieribus, 1497. 2. Dans une autre édition du même livre que Von Spanheim a eue entre les mains.
E donde pensé diminuyr los naypes en solo copas y espadas, mostrome vn cauallero vn juego de naypes de ytalia de sesenta i siete cartas, entre los quales esta figurado vn angel y el cielo, el sol i la luna, ciertas estrellas, el mundo i fortuna, el padre sancto con las llaues del cielo, la muerte y la vida, el infierno i demonio, y dende los emperadores, reyes i reynas y grandes señores con mas numero de puntos que jeugan con ellos.
Yo ando por quitar el juego, otros por augmentarlo ; de quarenta y ocho cartas las hizieron sesenta y siete ; mas valiera hazerlas noventa y seys y dobarlas, porque se doblara la pena a quien las hizo.
A este Sancto Offiçio se an traido unos naypes hecho en aquellas partes de marca grande en q ay figuras del papa y otra de una mujer con las mesmas ynsignias del papa y una figura de un angel con una trompeta como forma de llamar al juiçio y otras figuras. Paresçe manera de yrrision de las cosas de ntra Religion christiana. La persona q los truxo dize q los hubo en Alicante, q se los dieron unos marineros de la nao llamada Rehusera y q en valencia ha visto dellos e jugar con naypes semejantes a algs ginoveses. En esta çiudad no entendemos q se vendan ni se an visto otros.
[…] annos auisado q en Valençia se venden publicamente y que en esa corte los ay entre los estrangeros y que juegan con ellos. Llamanse en ytaliano tarroqui y en español taroques
"The false savants have said that the number or sign of death was 13, and in consequence they assigned Death 13. But this Book takes man in his creation, and it is recognized that Adam was in no way subject to death at the number 13 but at that of 17."
“It seems to me excusable if I prefer the odd to the even number, a Thursday to a Friday, if I like more the twelfth or fourteenth than a thirteenth at the table...”
“Petrus Bungus is the first arithmologist to recognize any evil inherent in the number. He records that the Jews murmured 13 times against God in the exodus from Egypt, that the thirteenth psalm concerns wickedness and corruption, that the circumcision of Israel occurred in the thirteenth year, thus not reaching the satisfaction of the Law and the Evangelists, which are figured by 10 and 4. As 11 is a number of transgression, because it goes beyond the 10 Commandments, so 13 goes beyond the 12 Apostles. Therefore, hic numerous Judaeorum taxat impietatem. The previous absence of any such explanation in the arithmologies gives the impression that popular belief had forced upon the priest this painful and rather unconvincing interpretation of the Commandments and the Trinity. Montaigne’s intimation that the superstition was widely in vogue would tend to push its origin back at least to the Middle Ages.”
“The famous ‘unlucky 13’ and especially the ’13 at table’ is, I believe, somehow connected with this tradition [of 12 previously discussed]. Böklen [Die unglückszabl Dreizebn und ihre mythische Bedeutung] has attempted to prove the prevalence of the superstition as early as Homeric times, but his evidence is drawn from his own discovery of instances where a misfortune is said to have occurred to one of 13 individuals. I cannot believe this type of evidence to be valid, since the number is never asserted to be the cause of the misfortune nor is it ever directly labeled as ‘unlucky’ in any discussion of significant numbers or elsewhere. The first specific mention of the unlucky 13 which I have been able to find occurs in Montaigne: ‘And me seemeth I may well be excused if I rather except an odd number than an even... If I had rather make a twelfth or fourteenth at a table, then a thirteenth... All such fond conceits, now in credit about us, deserve at least to be listened unto.’ [Essais, Bk. III, Essay VIII, ‘Of the Art of Conferring’ (Florio translation)].
“The fact that the number was associated with Epiphany by the Church, and appears not have been considered other than holy by any of the medieval number theorists leads to the inference that the unlucky 13 was a popular superstition entirely disconnected from the ‘science of numbers.’ Petrus Bungus is the first arithmologist to recognize any evil inherent in the number. He records that the Jews murmured 13 times against God in the exodus from Egypt, that the thirteenth psalm concerns wickedness and corruption, that the circumcision of Israel occurred in the thirteenth year, thus not reaching the satisfaction of the Law and the Evangelists, which are figured by 10 and 4. As 11 is a number of transgression, because it goes beyond the 10 Commandments, so 13 goes beyond the 12 Apostles. Therefore, hic numerous Judaeorum taxat impietatem. The previous absence of any such explanation in the arithmologies gives the impression that popular belief had forced upon the priest this painful and rather unconvincing interpretation of the Commandments and the Trinity. Montaigne’s intimation that the superstition was widely in vogue would tend to push its origin back at least to the Middle Ages. To find a 13 which might popularly achieve baleful connotations is so easy that I should rather assign the superstition to a confluence of factors, rather than to a single source.
“With nearly every traditional 12, a 13 is somehow associated. Earliest in time is the intercalated thirteenth month, which Böklen asserts was regarded as discordant and unlucky [Op. cit. pp. 8-9]. Webster agrees that such was sometimes the case [Rest Days, p. 276]. There is a slender chance that a tradition, even as uncertain as this, might have been orally transmitted to the Middle Ages. There is a much better chance that the omnipresent 13 of the lunar and menstruation cycle made the number fearsome, or at least unpopular.
“At the same time, the number may have become popularly associated with the diabolical arts. In Faust’s Miraculous Art and Book of Marvels, or the Black Raven, 13 are said to compose the Infernal Hierarchy [Conway, Demonology, p. 229]. This must be the same astrological 13, since the Raven is the thirteenth symbol in the intercalary month year, as well as the effigy for the moon [Böklen, op. cit., pp. 8-9]. Simultaneously, cabalistic lore may have introduced the 13 Conformations of the Holy Beard, also astrological in origin and magical in common belief. In Britain, 13 became associated with witchcraft. Whether for the same reason or because the inclusion of a leader with any group of 12 makes a thirteenth, as seems to have been the case in Druidic ceremony, a witches’ koven was ordinarily composed of 13, or a multiple [Murray, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, pp. 16, 50, 191].
“It will be noted, however, that the specific superstition mentioned by Montaigne is that of 13 at table. Here the connection is indisputably with the Last Supper. One wonders how much the legend fo the Siege Perilous had to do with drawing attention to the thirteenth unlucky chair. True enough, the Siege Perilous was sanctified, but it was also Perilous and distinctly unlucky for the wrong person – ‘wherein never knight sat that he met not death thereby.’ [Le livre de Lancelot del Lac, XXXIX] This is something more than a guess, because, although the thirteenth chair is ordinarily reserved for the leader – Charlemagne in the Pelerinage [line 118]and the All-Father in the temple of the Gods at Gladsheim [MacCulloch, Mythology of All Races, III, 327] – Boron’s Joseph assigns the vacant seat to Judas, and the Modena Perceval to ‘Nostre Sire’ in one place but to Judas in another [Weston, The Legend of Sir Perceval, II, 132]. It is also possible that ‘Nostre Sire’ might have been the author’s intention but that the copyist and public opinion altered it to Judas.”
“In lists of lucky and unlucky days prior to the nineteenth century, there is no pattern of Friday the 13th or the 13th day of the month being viewed as significant. In fact, I was unable to turn up a single nineteenth-century reference to Friday the 13th, which is consistent with the idea that the superstition did not emerge until the twentieth century. As for the general belief that 13 was an unlucky number, an extensive search of Western writing turned up no consistent references to unlucky 13 prior to the seventeenth century, when the earliest references to 13 at a table appear. Even in book about superstition, 13 is conspicuously absent. Reginald Scot’s The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), for example, lists more than thirty contemporary superstitions like spilling salt, putting a shirt on inside out, stumbling, and a cat crossing one’s path. Yet there is no mention of 13 being unlucky. What significant references there are before then to 13 – e.g. the 13th man in Beowulf , and the 13 seats Merlin constructed for King Arthur’s Round Table – do not constitute superstitions, and, furthermore, seem, like 13 at a table, to be evocations of the Last Supper.
“There is, however, one possible precursor to unlucky 13 at a table that does not have any obvious connection to the Last Supper: since its invention in Italy in the fifteenth century, the Death card in Tarot has consistently been the 13th card. According to Sir Michael Dummett, one of the preeminent philosophers of the twentieth century and an authority on the history of Tarot, the association of 13 with Death ‘occurs more frequently than the association of a particular number with any other card... It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the cardmakers, or those for whose tastes they were catering, regarded this association as particularly appropriate, and strove to arrange it.’ This implies that there may have been a symbolic link between 13 and death in fifteenth-century Italy (which may or may not have also been inspired by the events of the Last Supper). However, an association is not the same thing as a superstition, and in the absence of any evidence that an unlucky 13 superstition existed in Western Europe prior to the seventeenth century, independent of its association with the Last Supper, it is safe to conclude that 13 at a table was the original 13 superstition.”
"in the dream books (Oneirocritica), if you hear seventeen, or see it written, in numbers it is XVII, which for us (i.e. Italians) can signify nothing else but VIXI ("I have lived"=I am dead), and therefore the presence of the number means death."
"In Italian culture, the number 17 is considered unlucky. When viewed as the Roman numeral, XVII, it is then changed anagramtically to VIXI, which in the Latin language it translates to "I have lived", the perfect tense implying "My life is over." (c.f. "Vixerunt", Cicero's famous announcement of an execution.) The Italian airline carrier, Alitalia, does not have a seat 17. Renault sold its "R17" model in Italy as "R177."
The trouble with numbers
Until quite recently, 13 was considered a lucky number in Italy—or was thought to be as harmless as other digits. According to Catholic tradition, however, there were 13 people at the table during the Last Supper, and Jesus was crucified on Friday the 13th. Thus, Italy has adopted the popular European belief that 13 invites as much misfortune as the country’s traditionally unlucky number—17. The reasoning behind 17’s stigma is twofold. If you re-arrange the Roman numeral XVII, it spells the Latin word vixi, a phrase often inscribed on tombs and gravestones. It translates as ‘he lived’ and is considered a sure-fire way to tempt death to come to your doorstep. The digits 1 and 7 also evoke fatal imagery—the one represents a hanged man, while the seven recalls the gallows.
The Sun is represented differently than normal, that is, above three hills on a black and white checkerboard pavement. These mountains are probably an emblem of the Christian faith, given for a reminder of the three crosses of Golgotha. On these latter it is possible to read the letters MAC, for which no explanation has yet been offered. We can suggest a possible reference to the principles of the beatitudes given by Jesus to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, that is to say M(ites) (meekness), A(gritudo) (sic. should be "aegritudo"(?) affliction), C(haritats), or C(astitas),...
Another [card] shows a sun, with rays and a face, very like that of the Guildhall Ace of Swords, above a chequered floor on which stand three metallic objects bearing respectively the letters a, m, c (perhaps heraldically conventionalised mountains, or perhaps something quite different).
The Game of Tarot (London, 1980), p. 73.
As for the sun above three stylized hills, this might be able to identify it as a Tarot (but perhaps it is also an example of heraldry.)
D. Hoffmann, in T. Depaulis, ed. Tarot: jeu et magie (Paris, 1984, cat. number 6, pp. 39-40)
The Chinese money pack cannot have been the immediate progenitor of the European pack; but that does not rule out its having been its remote ancestor, through various intervening intermediate forms. Whether this is a real possibility depends upon the antiquity of the money cards. A single Chinese playing card was found in 1905 by von Le Coq at Turfan. He tentatively dated it to the eleventh century. It shows a human figure, which strongly resembles that which depicts Wang Ying, one of the Shui hu chuan [Story of the Water Margin] characters, and appears, in a number of money packs, on one of three extra cards, inscribed simply ‘Wang Ying.’ The Turfan card has an inscription at the top, in a tilted rectangle, which, unfortunately, is hard to read, at least in the illustrations, because it is overprinted by a seal. If it does represent Wang Ying, the card cannot possibly be as early as the eleventh century; Carter assigned it to the fourteenth. [(Dummett’s note to this): T.F. Carter, op. cit. [The Invention of Printing in China and its Spread Westwards, New York, 1925], 1925 and 1931 editions, plate opposite p. 142, and 1955 edition, plate opposite p. 184. Carter states that there were two Chinese playing cards found at Turfan, but I do not know any confirmation of this; I have also been told that there is an early Chinese playing card in a museum in Bombay, but do not know if this true. The Turfan card is also illustrated in C.P. Hargrave, A History of Playing Cards, New York, 1930, 1966, p. 7, and in A. Bernhardi, ‘Vier Könige’, Baessler-Archiv, vol. XXIX, 1936, pp. 148-80, plate 9a. Bernhardi also gives it as his opinion (p. 164) that the card is to be dated to about 1400.]Albert von Le Coq at Turfan
Both the sixteenth-century Yeh tzu p’u and, according to Prunner, the fifteenth-century Shu yüan tsa chi of Li Jung describe the lower two suits as having suit-signs and the upper two as showing Shui hu chuan figures; if we assume that the association with these figures was a feature of the pack from its first invention, then this association sets a bound to its antiquity. The Shui hu chuan is the outcome of numerous legendary accretions that have attached to a historical nucleus, the exploits of a Robin Hood-like band of robbers in the early years of the twelfth century. The version that is now read dates from the seventeenth century, but has been expanded from earlier versions, the first of which,, the Hsüan-ho i-shih, dates from the early Yüan (Mongol) dynasty; plays based on the story were performed at the same period, and portraits of and poems about ‘Sung Chiang and his Thirty-six’ dating from the later Southern Sung period (1127-1279) are well attested. Given our hypothesis that the association with the Shui hu chuan characters is an original feature of the money pack, that pack can in no case be earlier than the twelfth century, and can hardly be later than the fourteenth: its most probable date of origin lies in the late Southern Sung, that is, in the thirteenth century.
(10. Dr. Le Coq, to whose courtesy I am indebted for this illustration, informs me that this card was found by him in 1905 while digging in the loess and debris from the mountain side, deposited on the N. terrace of Temple No. 10 in the glen of Sangim Aghyz between Murtuq and Qara Khoja near Turfan. "Unfortunately I am not sure that this locality, which is close to a road has not been invaded by treasure seekers. Still the objects found with it, a pen and ink case and some fragments of Uigur mss. belong without any doubt to the Uigur period." From these indications it would appear to he at least of the 11th Century.)
“Found in 1905 by Dr. A. von Le Coq with fragments of manuscripts of the Uigur period in the glen of Sangim near Turfan, Chinese Turkestan. This card, which corresponds with the red flower of the present Chinese pack (Plate 1), presumably is not later than the 11th century AD, and probably is the oldest known playing card.
The seal over the man's head contains a denomination of money, three fan, and the characters at the top and bottom give the maker's name.
The form and general appearance of these cards suggests a high antiquity. A presumably old card (Plate 2)10 in the Museum of Ethnology, Berlin, found by Dr. A. von Le Coq among the Uigur ruins in the oasis of Turfan in Chinese Turkestan, which must have belonged to a similar money-derived pack, varies but little from cards now current.”