Bologna: Playing Card Notes
- 1395"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 1996, 197; Orioli 1908, 112]
*"card-forms painted with images and forms of the saints".
- 1405 Baldassar Cossa is papal legate in Bologna (1405-1411; as Pope John
XXIII, he is in Bologna much of the time 1412-1415); in 1405, he
puts a tax of 14 soldi on "carte da zugare a naibi".
- 1423 San Bernardino preaches in Bologna against playing cards. There exists the legendary note, that a cardmaker
who claimed to have lost the base for his living was proposed to print pictures with San Bernardino's IHS-symbol instead.
Michael Hurst's Tarot Fragments note: "A bonfire of vanities, including playing cards, was prompted by the sermon. The well-known cardmaker’s tale, probably apocryphal, is also attached to this Bolognese sermon. Destitute because of Bernardine’s success, the cardmaker lamented to Bernardino: “My Father, I make cards, and I have no other trade. In preventing the exercise of my art, you remove the means of earning my livelihood and supporting my family.” Bernardine instructed him to paint a radiant sun with the “monogram of Christ”, IHS. The cardmaker grew rich selling the image. Ross Caldwell (citing Thierry Depaulis) notes that “The earliest versions talk of tabulas lusorias, which means ‘gaming boards’, i.e. backgammon or the like. It seems a biographer changed it to carte da giuocare in the 16th century.”"
Ross Gregory Caldwell in private communication added: "I think Bologna was a big playing-card centre, partly because it had
so many students. It was the biggest university in Italy - maybe in
Europe (?) at that time, and the focus was Law and the "Arts", not
theology like in Paris. The students in Bologna were exempt from
many of the laws that normal citizens had to obey. There are
apparently no prohibitions from Bologna - only a tax. A tax should
only exist when it will make a lot of money - therefore, Bologna
must have made a lot of cards. Thierry Depaulis and I have determined that this story (the 1423 entry to Bologna) is probably
apocryphal. The earliest versions talk of "tabulas lusorias", which
means "gaming boards", i.e. backgammon or the like. It seems a
biographer changed it to "carte da giuocare" in the 16th century."
Andrea Vitali in his book to the Tarocchi Bolognese (2005) "Gli Acta Sanctorum dei Bollandisti (4) che riportano tre vite
del Santo , parlano anche di di "Triumpales charticellae" (5), ma
sembra che l'insermento di queste ultime sia state operato solo
tardivamente, cioe nella Vita composta nel 1472 e che non fosse
oresente nella prima in ordine cronologico che data 1445. Comunque
sia, un dubbio rimane." - (Translation of Ross Caldwell)
"The Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, which give three lives of
the Saint, also speak of 'Triumphales charticellae', but it seems
that the insertion of these last was made only later, that is in the
Vita composed in 1472, and it is not present in the first in
chronological order which is dated 1445. Whatever the case, a doubt
remains." Andrea Vitali refers to
(4) Tomo XVI (Maggio, Vol. V) Anversa, 1685, al 20 maggio
(5) (Ibid., p. 267, col 1.)
Schreiber (1937) notes (my extract): The preaching of San Bernardino took likely
place at the 5th of May 1423. It had been doubted, that San Bernardino already had preached against card playing, but
the Roman sente writer Infessure noted, that Bernardino erected at the 21 June 1424 a bonfire, at
which gaming boards, songs, horoscops, elegant women clothing etc. were burnt (playing cards are not noted) (Schreiber refers to Corpus historicum medii aevi, 2nd volume, printed by Jo. Georg. Eccardus, Leipzig 1723, p. 1874, and to Fonti per la storia d'Italia, tom. V, Rom 1890, by Oreste Tommasini, p. 25.
However, playing cards are noted in Perugia 1425 (see Perugia) and in the statute is explicitely
refered to "Statuti sancti Bernardini" (as Schreiber adds, San Bernardino was naturally NOT holy during this
life time, so this specific part must have been added after 1450, after Bernadino was sanctified).
- 1427 Bologna. John of Cologne ("Giovanni di Colonia"),
son of John "who makes pictured playing cards"
(qui facit cartesellas depictas ad ludendum) is noted as
having injured another cardmaker, Giovanni da Bologna, in a fight.
The fight was resolved in the house of another cardmaker in Bologna,
Nicolo da Fabriano. [Orioli 1908, 111-112]
Orioli-text: Alcuni anni piu tardi e precisamente nel 1427 ci incontriamo in un autentico fabbricante di carte da giuoco, le quali ormai hanno abbandonato l'esotico nome di "naibi" per non conservare che quello d "carteselle". E questi un tedesco, certo Giovanni di Colonia, figlio di alto Giovanni, "qui facit cartesellas depictas ad ludendum" Costui in quell'anno stipulava un istrmento di pace per remissione di querela, causa ingiurie e percosse ricevute da un Giovanni fabbricante di carta, detto "Zohane da Bologna", il quale venuto a diverbio col tedesco, gli aveva scaraventato sulla testa una brocca da acqua, ed il malcapitato dipintore di carte da giuoco ne era uscito tutto malconcio e sanguinoso. Cio nonostante il buon tedesco s'indusse a perdonare al proprio offensore, rilasciando al figlio di lui formale promessa per atto pubblico di desistere da ogni procedura contro di esso; e simile atto fu stpulato nell'abitazione di un altre fabricante die carta, maestro Nicolo da Fabriano, che sembra si fosse assunta l'opera di paciere fra il manesco "Zohane da Bologna" ed il pittore di carte da giuoco tedesco.
- 1427 - another German, Michele di Vanne, paints figures on card and
parchment. Orioli does not think these are playing cards or pictures
of saints, because they were made to be displayed in public.
- 1442 - Marchione Burdochi, a Bolognese merchant sells a Trionfi deck in Ferrara.
- 1459 8 August - Bindo da Prato and the stolen trionfi. Master John of Rudolf of Germany
("maestro Giovanni di Rodolfo di Alemagna") recognizes the cards stolen in a robbery as his. (Orioli says the title "magister" suggests John is the card- maker, but admits it is not clear.) [Orioli 1908, 112]
(more to this).
- 1477Contract of Pietro Bonozzi to make regular cards and trionfi
- 1480 - in the town of S. Martino (near Bologna) a card game is
- 1488 - Alessandro Salandi (of Bologna) is called "pictor seu
stampator cartarum ad ludendum".
- 1488 - "Iohanni Andree de Mezovillanis" is called "carthario
cartharum ad ludendum" (cardmaker of playing cards).
Kaplan 1978, "The Encyclopedia of Tarot" (US Games Systems Inc.)
Orioli 1908 "Sulle carte da giuoco a Bologna nel secolo XV" (Il
Libro e la Stampa, n.s. II, pp. 109-119)
Ortalli 1996 "The Prince and the Playing Cards. The Este family and
the role of the courts at the time of the Kartenspiel-Invasion"
(Ludica II (1996) pp. 175-205)
Andrea Vitali: Tarocchi Bolognese (2005)
(collected by Ross Gregory Caldwell / autorbis)
Bologna - informations