1455 Padova - Sermon of preacher
Found by Thierry Depaulis: a description of a sermon in Padova.
Roberto Caracciolo da Lecce (c. 1425-1495, Franciscan preacher), "Quaresimale padovano
1455" (Paduan Lent, 1455, sermon III), gave a sermon against
dancing, in which he mentions other idle pastimes: "Item: games
blameworthy or destructive of the time of the good are triumphs and
cards. Item: I understand that in these triumphs both Pope and
Cardinals are portrayed." (Item ludi vituperales o destructores
temporalium bonorum sunt triumphorum ac cartarum. Item scio in illis
triumphis et Papam et cardinales depictos esse.)
The note of a "Cardinal"-card is surprizing. But one of the surviving Trionfi decks contains a cardinal on the ace of coins. 23 Trionfi cards were offered in 1939 to an American collector, who "declined to purchase them because he believed to be a much more recent rendition of 15th century tarocchi cards." Only a picture of the cards is known today (socalled "Rosenthal Tarocchi", Kaplan Encyclopedia of Tarot I, p. 99). Another possibility it is, that the preacher adressed only the Pope card, which in early examples (for instance Cary-Yale and Charles VI Tarocchi) often showed a pope together with two cardinals.
On the other side the term "cardinal" had been occasionally used in the game of Karn÷ffel for the highest trump, the "Karn÷ffel".
A short biography of the preacher Roberto Caracciolo da Lecce is given by "The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church: The Medieval Church" by Hughes Oliphant Old, 1998. Caracciolo belonged to the highest respected preachers of the time, although he is far less known than San Bernardino, St. Capistranus and Savonarola, who all also preached against playing cards and gambling. His scripture against playing cards in 1455 had been synchron to similar activities of St. Capristanus, who preached in the years 1453-1456 in Germany and burnt playing cards. The political aim in this time (1455/56) was a crusade against the Osmans, which had conquered Constantinople in 1453. St. Capistran was successful to collect an army of 15.000 - 20.000 peasants, the Hungarian leader John Hunyadi organized further 25.000 - 30.000 fighters. The army was successful in 1456 to free the city of Belgrade against an attack and siege of a greater Osmanic army (siege of Belgrade). The Osmanic storm in this region was finished till 1521 with this victory. Both Capistran and Hunyadi died in a bubonic plague following the battle. The plague in its extensions also reached Italy and caused many deaths.
(autorbis / Ross Caldwell)
Ace of Coins, Rosenthal Tarocchi
Pope with Cardinals, Charles VI Tarocchi