Kids and Playing Cards in 15th century
A lot of documents of
early playing card indicate, that very young persons had been involved
in the game. I've listed some entries:
1393 Florence, Italy: The
Chronicle di Giovanni Morelli
contains a warning against
the use of dice by children. Morelli describes naibi as a kind of game,
and from the context it appears it was one which only children played,
possibly for instructive purposes.
Decembrio (short after 1447) notes about
, that he liked playing card since his youth.
Many of the existing documents are related to Filippo in
his adult life.
, the young wife of Niccolo III. in Ferrara
and known from 3 card documents, was at the time of the documents 18 -
19 years ( 1423 - 1424
) old. One entry about her talks from
inexpensive "playing cards for our girls". In the case, that this
refers to her 2 daughters - the both are just 5 years old.
In the many documents about
card prohibition in and around Florence
one from Sesto Fiorentino, 1432, especially
considers the youth: card playing is allowed at holidays, until the
bell rings the Ave Maria; this law is given to avoid, that the local
youth do leave the commune during the holiday to play “a zara” (a dice
Bianca Maria Visconti
was a 15-years old girl, when she
and possibly caused the invention of
(July 1442), in which the name "Trionfi"
appears, speaks of a deck for Ercole
and Sigismondo, the young
half-brothers of Lionello d'Este. They are at that moment of time 9 and
11 years old.
is suspected to have been produced for the
young king Ladislaus Posthumus
of Bohemia, perhaps ca.
Ladislaus died 1457, just 17 years old.
Galeazzo Maria Sforza
made with 13 years a visit in Ferrara (
In a letter to his father Francesco Sforza he talks about card-playing
Ascanio Sforza, * 1455, later cardinal, was in his youth
extremely fond of card-playing. Once his oldest brother Galeazzo Maria
forbade him to play (age of Ascanio unknown, the story is given by
Klaus Schelle: Die Sforza.). The love to cards endured in his adult life.
In a letter between Lorenzo
de Medici, borne 1449, and
his friend Pulci the term Minchiate appeared the first time (
the letter is lost). Lorenzo is then 17 years old.
The Mantegna Tarocchi, not really a card play, is occasionally
considered to be invented for educative purposes, the date of the first
edition of the set of 50 engravings is unclear.
, probably produced 1491, is seen by some
researchers also as an educational deck.
May 1492: In a letter from Ippolito
d'Este to his mother Eleanora
of Aragon various games are noted, also Trionfi cards, which should be
send to the young guy. Ippolito, later cardinal and archbishop and
active part in a familiary scandal of the Este, is then 13 years old.
(Ortalli, p. 201)
in Germany the Franciscan monk
based on the Institutes of Justinian, thus
beginning the tradition of educational cards. "With the intention of
increasing interest in reading, I have tried to counter immoral games
through this extremely uplifting game ...." A second game from Murner,
teaching logic, was published in 1507.
In the account book entries from 1516
in Ferrara, which contain one of the first use of
the word "tarocchi", also decks for the use of
are mentioned. Ercole, later duke of
Ferrara, was then 8 years old (Francesschini in Ludica 2). This entry was long held as the "oldest" reference to the word Tarocchi, but recently (2004) two
other references from 1505 in Ferrara and Avignon were discovered (source)