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Early Playing Cards Notes in France and Burgund (- 1500)

- based partly on Michael Hurst's collection at Fragments of Tarot History, based partly on Schreiber (1938).

1337 Marseille "Quod nulla persona audeat nec presumat ludere et taxillos, nec ad paginas ad eyssuchum". - This passage in the statutes of the abbey St. Victor in Marseille is debated in its value. Schreiber (1938, p. 67) gives the opinion, that the important word "paginae" might indicate a plate of undefined quality, which likely had been a playing board.

1367 and others: According Schreiber (1938): In early playing card research there had been various attempts to detect the existence of playing cards in early poems, so also in the chronicle of Petit Jehan de Saintre, who told, that, when he had been page at the court of Charlev V. of Francein 1367, the master of the pages made the following speech: "Et vous qui estes noyseuz, joueux de cartes et de dez, et suivez deshonestes gens, tavernes et cabarets ...", but it was found, also in this case, that earlier manuscripts didn't include the passage and it appeared first in the manuscript of Antoine de la Sale in the year 1459.

1369 Paris
Ordinance forbade various games, but did not mention cards. A similar ordinance in 1377 included cards. Schreiber (1938, p. 67) gives the text: "nous deffendons par ces presentes tous ggeux de dez, de tables, de palmes, de quilles, de palet, de soules, de billes et toux autres tels geux qui ne cheent point a exercer, ne habiliter nos subgez a fait et usaige d'armes, a la defense de nostre dit royaume". (P 35, 37; GT 11; K I:24.)

1377 Paris
"1377 PARIS Ordinance forbade card games on workdays." Michael Hurst's entry to 1377 Paris (from Parlett and Dummett) is also given as:
"En tout cas, on trouve mention expresse des cartes en 1377, quand le Prévôt de Paris défend de jouer les jours ouvrables. « Paumes, boules, cartes, dés, quilles »" (Source)
Translation: - "In any case, explicit mention of cards is found in 1377, when the Provost of Paris forbade playing on working days 'Palms, balls, cards, dice, bowling'" (as source is given Gerard van Rijnberk, _Le Tarot, histoire, iconographie, ésotérisme_, (rpt. Trédaniel, 1981)).
Note Ross Caldwell: I still don't know the original source. D'Allemagne (1906) apparently doesn't know it.

1381 Marseille

"On the 30th of August 1381, Jacques Jean, son of a Marseille merchant, about to embark for Alexandria, promises to abstain from games of chance (3) among which are cited cards: nahipi." ("La carte à jouer en languedoc des origines à 1800" (Toulouse, 1974) p. 7)."

1382 Lille An ordinance of the city of Lille, dated 1382, when Lille belonged to France, forbade various games including dice and "quartes" (an early word for cards). (Simon Wintle) "Que nuls se ne soit si hardis, uns ne aultres quelz que il soit, qui depuis maintenant en avant en ceste ville jueche (joue) de jour ne de nuit as "dez, as taiules, as quartes ne a nul autre geu quelconques (S p. 63, refering to R. d'Allemagne II, p. 158).

1392 Paris
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.)
(Ross Gregory Caldwell has researched in detail the Gringonneur-entry and its long being taken as the oldest reference to Tarotcards, compare his article).
The original document has disappeared, all goes back to Pere Menestrier, Bibliotheque curieuse et unstructive, Trevoux 1704, vol. II, p. 174

1393 Paris
An anonymous describes in "Menagier de Paris" the life and occupations of Roman women in old times by refereing to the occupations of noble womem in his own time: ".. les unes divisans, les autres jouans au bric, les autres a qui fery, les autres a pince-merille, les autres jouans aux cartes et aux autres jeux d'esbatemens avecques leurs voisines ..." The reporting Schreiber (1937) refers to Pere Menestrier, Bibliotheque curieuse et instructive, Trevoux 1704, vol. II., p.174) (S p. 68)

1395 Gerson (Paris ?):In our general research Diane O'Donovan once gave me access of an article by her, "Stone-throwing, lot-casting and the 'Head of the Year': Almanacs and the card-pack.", in which she pointed out as part of an argumentation to another theme:

... we should recall here the comments made by Jean Gerson, chancellor of the University of Paris in 1395, who spoke of a craze at that time for pictures which showed the diis gentium (the gods of the nations) "not excepting Bel phegor", and which were used for prognostication: even in the churches and on festival days obscene [blasphemous?] pictures were sold tanquem idola Belphegor, which corrupted the young, while sermons were ineffective to remedy this evil. We may suppose that Gerson knew his gods of the nations as most educated people did. Various of the diis gentium had been known since Carolingian times. .... I take Bel Phegor to derive from the Greek phago and describe a god known for eating [a specific type of] food, though it can equally mean the god of mathematical apportioning.

As it seems Belphegor was already in 1395 related to a Parisian favour for pictures (likely on paper, similar to playing cards (?)) and this connection reappears later in the Ingold text (Strassburg 1432) and the earlier context (1395) possibly determined the later (Ingold's choice to open the playing card chapter with a quote about Baalam-Baal, who is related to Belphegor, mentioning the name Bof Belphegor in the later text).
Actually the finding of Diane is very remarkable: The "pictures of the Diis Gentium", once en vogue in Paris, are in their iconographical idea in not far distance to the Greek-Roman gods, which once filled the "the oldest Tarot cards" of the commissioner Filippo Maria Visconti.

1396 Paris
"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) Schreiber notes, that the entry of Hemon Raguier reads: "A Guiot Groslet, gaingnier, un estuy (etui) pour mettre les cartes de la royne, le petiz bastonnez d'ivoire et les roolles de parchemin 12 sols parisins." (S p. 68.)

1397 Paris
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.)
Schreiber notes, that this passage is given by many French sources, but that he couldn't detect any, which gives the source for it. Although he himself controlled various possible sources, he couldn't detect it. He adds, that surprizingly in France there is no other card prohibition till 1541 (it seems, that Schreiber isn't aware of the entry to Paris 1377 and Lille 1382)(S p. 68/69). As text is given "de jouer les jours ouvrables a la paume, a la boule, aux des, aux cartes et aux quilles", which Schreiber identifies as a modern form of writing. Schreiber (who doesn't mention the 1377 ordonance in his text) points out, that it would the only playing card prohibition in France till 1541.

1400 Franciscan order:
According to Schreiber the Franciscan Oliver Maillardus (died 1502) writes in the 20th speech of the "Quadregesimale opus Parissii predicatum": "Videatis quod habetis in statutis vestris, nunquid anno 1400 fuit prohibitum quod omnes ludi chartarum et sic aliis expellerentur et comburerentur: et qui inventus esset solvere solid. par." (Schreiber notes: In the printed edition of the Sermones of 1503, Lyon, on page 123). Indeed, as Schreiber adds, in the chapter 7, § 30 of the "Statuta tribus ordinibus beati Francisci necessaria" is given: "Quicunque frater deprehensus fuerit tunicam, pecuniam vel res alias ludere ad taxillos vel cartas seu alearum ludos: pena carceris puniatur.", but Schreiber interpretes, that this edict is from begin of 16th century and he has doubts about the older rules in the order. (S p. 69)

1404 Langres
The bishop of Langres, cardinal Louis de Bar (1396 - 1413) gave a careful game prohibition, in which also playing cards are considered: "Prohibemus clericis et viris ecclesiasticis, potissime in sacris ordinibus constitutis, et maxime sacerdotibus et curatis, ne omnino ludant ad taxillos, ad aleas, ad trinquetum, quod aliter nominatur ad punctum stacarii, neque ad CARTAS, neque ad stophum, dictum a la paulme, neque ad neque ad iactum lapidis, ad saltum, ad choreas, neque ad clipeum, neque cum fistula vel aliis musicalibus instrumentis ... non ludant etiam ad marellas, ad bolas, ad cursum vel currendum in campo .., ad iaculandum vel gladiandum, ... ad quillas, vel torneamenta seu iostas, ... in ludo quo dicitur charevari, ... ad ludom scatorum, nisi forsan raro (Laurentii Bochelli (Bouchel), Decreta ecclesia Gallicanae, Paris 1609, p. 1025). Schreiber adds, that Langres is at this time a selfadministrated bistum between Burgund and Lothringia (not belonging to FRance). (S 69/70)

1408 Orleans
in an 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.)(S p. 70)
Schreiber adds in a footnote (refering to V. Gay, p. 286), that Louis d'Orleans, brother of the French king Charles VI., must have been a "Spielratte allerersten Ranges" ("first class gambling rat"): In the possession of baron de Joursanvault (Catalogue des Archives de M. le bn. de J., Paris 1838, vol. I, p. 103 - 105) were various bills about gambling losses of the duke. 1394 he lost in the "jeu de la paume" 200 livres de tournois; 1396 in the "jeu de echaiz" "une aulmure de gris a chanoine, further 1200 fr. in the "jeue de la bille" and other sums; 1397 he paid back various sums, which were lend to play "aux tables" and "au glic", also he had to cover various sums and losses to various persons.

1408 Paris
Court records describe con artists using cards in a simple scam "with a psychological  resemblance to Three-card Monte." (Giobbi; P 73.)

1423 Angers (then belonging to the dukedom Anjou):
Bishop Harduin of Angers edicts synodal statutes "Prohibemus etiam universis et singulis subditis tam ecclesiasticis quam saecularibus ne ipsi ad taxillos, cartas et alios sortis ludos ludere et mercatoribus, ne taxillos et allos hujusmodi ludorum instrumenta vendere (Martene et Durand, Thesaurus novus anecdotum seu collectio monument. et diplom., Paris 1717, vol 4, sp. 528). The edict is of importance, as it names card playing as a game of luck and it notes, that card decks could be bought by traders. (S p. 70)

1427 Tournai
Two card producers are recorded in the city, Michel de Noel (1427 - 1442) and Phillippe de Bos (1427 - 1450). In the second half of the 15th century other names follow (partly relatives of the earlier producers), Tournay becomes a major playing card production location in Flemish countries. (S p. 64 and 134)

1431 Avignon
First French playing card producer mentioned (after Gringonneur 1393)

1441 Avignon
Bishop Alanus of Avignon gives some statutes "... statuimus et ordinamus, quod si quis clericus vel ecclesiastica persona ad ludos taxillorum, alearum vel cartarum publice vel occulte ... ludere praesumbit". (S p. 70)

1444 Lyon
First card producer in the city.

1449 Monselice / Isabelle de Lorraine
Letter and parcel of the Venetian provvedittore Iacopo Antonoio Marcello to Isabelle of Lorraine (wife of Rene d'Anjou), in which he sends the Michelino deck and another Trionfi deck to France (complex article).

1454 Maria of Anjou:
J. Bochetel (royal secretary and treasurer) made some entries in the account books of the royal household of Maria of Anjou (wife of Charles VII. and Queen of France, mother of Louis XI. and sister of Renee d'Anjou - lived from 1404 - 1463): "a Guilleaume Bouchier, marchant da Chinon, pour 2 jeux des quartes et 200 espingles (playing jetons) delivret audit Seigneur (Charles VII. de France) pour jouer et soy esbatre 5 sols tournois." A little later: "A Guyon Sergent, mercier demeurant a Saint-Aignan, pour 3 paires (decks) de quartes a jouer 5 sold tournois". And: "A Colas Gresle, mercier suivant la Cour, pour 2 jeux de quartes delivrez a MdS (Charles VII. de France) pour jouer et soy esbatre 4. d. tournois." And: "A Guillemin Moreau, appothicaire de Chinon, pour 2 jeux des quartes et demier millier d'espingles delivrez a mad. dame (Madeleine de France) pour jouer et soy esbatre 5 sols 4 d." And: "pour deux autres jeux 3 s. 4 d" (Schreiber refers to V. Gay, p. 286) (S p. 71).

1457 Aix de la Provence:
In the inventory of a recently died merchant are noted "Item sex doudenas (72) ludorum cartarum sive de juos de de Cartas ascendunt flrenum unum grosses tres" (S p. 71, refers to R. d'Allemagne II, p. 525)

1458 Lille, Philipp le Bon:
Philipp changes the older prohibition (from 1382) by declaring his "bien archier de corps" Guille de Soomont, dit le Mire, as "fermier des jeux de brelancq, tablez, boulletz, dez, quartes, quilles et autres jeux". Any citizen could get allowance - against a fee - to make this games at his home (S p. 64 refers to R. d'Allemagne II, p. 486).

1464 France
Translation of St. Bernardine’s 1423 sermon adds mention of the game of 31, precursor to the modern game of 21. (P 80.)

1465 Toulouse
"we can say, what is not surprising, that the game [Tarot] was not yet known in France in 1465, since the statutes [Statuta nayperiorum], drawn up in that year, of the earliest association of master cardmakers in the whole of France, that of Toulouse, speak of naips sive cartas but make no mention of triumphi.”

1469 Charlotte, Queen of France (wife of Louis XI.)
Bill about "2 jeux des cartes pour esbatre nosd. dames 5 sols tournois" (S p. 71 refering to R. d'Allemagne, II, p. 525)

1476 Lyon, Rene d'Anjou:
Rene buys "ung jeu de cartes de Lion pour Hellene", the price is 11 gros d'argent.

1482 France
According to the Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française, “…the earliest recorded use of the word [triumphe] in French as the name of a card game dates from as early as 1482. Unfortunately, we cannot be certain that these references are to games played with the Tarot pack.” Dummett considers it likely that this reference does refer to Tarot, which would thereby have been in France by about 1480. Another probable early reference to Tarot in France is from Lorraine, 1496, and one of the earliest unambiguous mentions of Tarot in France is to their manufacture at Lyons, in 1507. (GT 84; TT 50.)

1495/96 Gambling results of Rene II.
Bills of the Lothringian court for King Rene II: "Au Roy, le 29 avril pour jouer au triumphe a Vezelise (capital of the Kanton, Nancy) deux francs" "Encore audit seigneur roy le 1'er mai pour jouer audit triumphe a Vezelise deux florins d'ors".

French card producers till 1500

- as noted by Schreiber (1937) refering to d'Allemagne

Avignon Limoges Lyon Romans Rouen Toulouse Troyes
- 1450 2 2 2 - - - -
1451 - 1460 - - - - - - 1
1461 - 1470 2 2 4 - - 7 -
1471 - 1480 1 3 11 - - 4 -
1481 - 1490 2 - 16 1 - 1 -
1491 - 1500 12 - 35 - 1 9 -

1431 Nicolas de Ambrosiis
1431 Odet Bouscarle
1461 Jean Benedicti
1462 Raynaud Silvi
1479 Antoine de Illiceto
1481 Jean Barati (- 1521)
1483 Jean Chaudet (- 1496)
1491 Antoine Cotonis
1491 Hatelet de la Cour
1492 Jean Banneti (Barati ?)
1492 Benoist Morelli
1492 Etienne Clerici (- 1495)
1493 Guy Duchatel
1493 Jean Fort (Forst - 1506)
1493 Antoine Seychel
1493 Jean de Met (Mes - 1519)
1494 Jean Lagiere
1498 Arnaud Filin
1499 Charles Charvin (- 1516)

1427 Jehan Roy (- 1461)
1444 Jean Faure (- 1479)
1466 Etienne Lasendon (- 1468)
1469 Jean Rivaud (Riveau - 1472)
1479 Pierre de Beaumon dit Lobre
1479 Jean Molet
1479 Eustache Molet (Motet - 1489)

1444 (1439 ?) James Dubois (tailleir de molles de cartes - 1481)
1446 Janin de Navarre (- 1458)
1463 Pierre de Lan (fayseur des moles des cartes - 1493)
1465 Pierre Perrin (faiseur des moles des cartes - 1475)
1467 Pierre Bordet (- 1477)
1467 Humbert Guerin (- 1488)
1472 Jacques (- 1475)
1472 Jacques de Nyves (- 1480)
1472 Jehan Morel (- 1480)
1473 Jehan Siliquin
1475 Etienne (- 1475)
1478 Veuve Pierre Bordet
1479 Hugonin Turin (1518)
1480 Andre Alexandre (- 1487)
1480 Guilleaume Gormy (- 1493)
1480 Jean Goyrand (- 1500)
1480 Jehan Guerin
1480 Gilles Savoure (1506)
1482 Jacques Vise (- 1517)
1484 Louis de Luxembourg (faiseur de moules de quartes - 1514)
1485 Francois Clerc (- 1496)
1485 Pierre Daize (- 1532)
1485 Jehan de Dale (- 1524)
1485 Claude Dardillier (- 1487)
1485 Pierre Davignon
1485 Pierre Gayon (- 1515)
1485 Francois Javelot (- 1535)
1485 Pierre Monier
1485 Guilleaume Montet (- 1499)
1485 Jehan Moret (Morel? - 1487)
1485 Claude Pellet (- 1518)
1487 Jehan Marchera
1487 Jehan Mathias (- 1490)
1488 Francois Gonond (- 1490)
1491 Andre Perosset (tailleur de molles - 1524)
1491 Gilles Le Riche (tailleur de molles de cartes - 1517)
1492 Claude de la Faye (- 1496)
1492 Tevenet (- 1493)
1493 Jean des Costes dit Abram (- 1494)
1493 Antoine (- 1507)
1493 Benoit de Bibo (- 1506)
1493 Ame Bolache (Brulache - 1530)
1493 Claude Boyssan
1493 Pierre Decy
1493 Pierre de Limoges
1493 Pierre Doure (- 1499)
1493 Benoit Delafont (- 1524)
1493 Humbert Freone (- 1514)
1493 Girard (- 1506)
1493 Claude Guerin (- 1535)
1493 Pierre Mathieu (- 1529)
1493 Pierre Molliere (- 1506)
1493 Gonin Navarre
1493 Pierre Noir (- 1518)
1493 Piere Pellet (- 1520)
1493 Jehan Personne (- 1499)
1493 Jehan Petit (- 1512)
1493 Claude Pinet (- 1524)
1493 Andre Proujet
1493 Jehan de Saint-Priest (- 1503)
1493 Jean Thibaut
1493 Pierre Tieullier
1493 Claude Vienno
1494 Barthelemy Dore (- 1498)
1496 Barthelemy Monnier (- 1512)
1496 Jean Mathieu (- 1506)
1498 Pierre Duplat (- 1524
1498 Claude Matthieu (- 1506)
1499 Jehan de Troye

1490 Du Chastel (- 1510)

1491 Hubert Benest
1508 Vulmier

1465 Collin Totaysa (- 1467)
1465 Guilhermus Andrieu (- 1471)
1466 Jean de Vignieres (Vinhas - 1467)
1466 Jean Denbedat (Dinbudit - 1467)
1465 Cortade Guiraud (- 1477)
1467 Collin Lecheran
1467 Claude Andrieu (- 1473)
1473 Andrea Pradia ( - 1494)
1477 Bernard Andrieu (- 1479)
1477 Jacobus Bocguier (- 1503)
1480 Bonshomme de Lona (- 1495)
1484 Petrus Ayreth
1494 Guilhermus Bigan (- 1495)
1495 Anthony Guiraud
1495 Jehan Guiraud (- 1518)
1495 Bernadin Pegot
1495 Estienne Melet (- 1518)
1495 Antoine de Logiriera (- 1518)
1499 Anthony Boscoura
1499 Jehan du Val
1499 Guilhaumot

1451 le faiseur de cartes peintes
1473 Jean Boudoin


Kaplan, Stuart. The Encyclopedia of Tarot I. U.S. Games Systems Inc., 1978. (K I)

Dummett, Michael. The Game of Tarot. Duckworth, 1980. (GT)

Parlett, David. The Oxford Guide to Card Games. Oxford University Press, 1990. (P)

Ortalli, Gherardo. "The Prince and the playing cards. The Este family and the role of the courts at the time of the Kartenspiel-Invasion", Ludica 2: Annali di storia e civiltà del gioco. Fondazione Bennetton Studi Ricerche, 1996.

Schreiber W. L. (S). "Die ältesten Spielkarten und die auf das Kartenspiel Bezug habenden Urkunden des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts." (1937)
French King Charles VI.