Johannes of Rheinfelden
|Johannes of Rheinfelden, a Dominican monk, is the author of the most important document of early playing card history. He wrote 1377 in Freiburg, Germany, otherwise he is unknown. His text with some biographical details is described in the related article.
Johannes gives informations about the early court card and decks structures and he knows about a game similar to the Hofämterspiel, which seems to show some relation to the Chess game in 15th century by connecting single number cards to professions, which was also done in the Chess figure interpretation. This specific deck with 60 cards has with 5 court cards (King, Ober, Unter, Queen and Maid) a comparable court cards structure as the Cary-Yale-Tarocchi (King, Knight, Page, Queen, female Knight, female Page), also it was organised in a counting system from 1-15, which might have been the basis for the interpretation of the 14 Bembo cards (probably 1-14 in its first idea). The text has some importance for the riddle around the Imperatori decks.
A translation is in preparation by Arne Jönssen. Earlier was considered in Playing Cards research, that the text was compiled at a later date (1429), Jönssen gives the opinion, that the given date 1377 is correct.
- Related article to the text of Johannes - major description of the text
- Hofämterspiel - Johannes' prefered card deck with 60 cards uses professions for the pips, the Hofämterspiel uses "Hofaemter" (similar to professions); the deck of Johannes knows 5 court cards, King-Queen-Ober-Unter-Maid, the Hofämterspiel knows 6 figures, which appear in each suit: King - Queen - Hofmeister (number 10, presents the Ober) - Marshall (number 9, presents the Unter) - Jungfrau (number 6, presents the Maid) - Fool (number 1, presents the Ace)
- Chess - Johannes compares the figures in the card game to the figures in the chess game; indeed it was already realised in chess allegories, that pawns were related to professions
- Cary-Yale Tarocchi - The Cary-Yale Tarocchi uses 6 court figures, 3 of them male and 3 female; Johannes has 5 court figures, 3 male and 2 female.
- 5x14-theory / 14 Bembo cards - Johannes connects the 15 cards in each suit to the numbers "1, 2, 3 .... - 15"; the 5x14-theory assumes, that the 14 Bembo cards were counted first "1, 2, 3 .... 14".