created since 2003       

Conclusions about the Situation in Florence

work in progress

First Conclusions

1. At the end of 15th century we've for a short time an astonishing contrast between Milano and Florence, caused by the actions of the French king Charles VII., who marched with 90 000 men across Italia to win the kingdom of Naples. Milano, first on the side of Charles,  then part of the victorious Italian liga, didn't suffer too much under the guide of Ludovico Sforza, who successfully has managed to be in both phases of the war on the winning side.
Florence, however, had lost their generous and wealthy political leaders, the Medici, but received a foe of all new culture at high position. Especially a foe of card games.

In playing card reseach we've the result, that there are no early playing cards from Florence, but many from Milano. This circumstance fits with the poltical conditions of 1495, when for a few years a fanatical religious leader played a dominating role, turning his energies against material possessions of all kind and especially also against playing-cards. In comparition the German town Nuernberg, a city with an early paper-mill nearby and with a status as a trade-center, had mostly rather tolerant laws and liberal ways to deal with the phenomen card-playing. 38 card-producers are known in the time from 1414 - 1500, but when St. John Capestran arrived in 1452 and preached, unimaginable lots of playing cards, backgammon boards etc were burnt. St. John Capestran didn't stay long, but playing card industry did need 10 years to recover from this hit. Savonorola in Florence didn't stay for a short visit, he worked in a periode of several years. Probably he burnt more cards and cleaned the ground a little more careful than St. Capestran could do so in Nuernberg,

In Milano the suffering started later, when another French King, Louis XII., in 1500 occupied Milano, weakening the Sforza-dynasty in a way, that it never got its earlier state again. But this foe never was engaged against card-playing, he brought a lot of soldiers and soldiers are known for their love of cardplay, so the contrary resulted. The Milanese ways of playing was spread on a new field, it found a way to France.

Considering this conditions, one must assume, that the result of playing card research, "many cards from Milano, few from Florence", not necessarily displays the real condition of spread of Trionfi use of the time before 1495. 
2. Minchiate, a game very similar to Tarocchi, but with 41Trionfi and totally 97 cards, was spread around Florence and some believe, that it was more popular than Tarocchi in this region, the typical Florentine card-game. Long it was believed, that Minchiate developed  in a late phase of around  1530, however, now it is known, that the use of the word Minchiate started at least 1471 and according to unproven hints at least in 1466.  
Minchiate and Tarocchi are different words, probably indicating, that the related objects  were different, however, the use of the word Tarocchi  developed much later, in early 16th century, so the term Minchiate is in its use around 40 years ahead!
According to this observations and  a naturally rather unsecure state of information  the term Minchiate could  be the first specification against the general term "Trionf" or "ludus triumphorum", which , as shown at other places, was probably used for various card decks with different structures, different motives and - when actively played - with different rules.

3. Returning back to the initial statement: "Florence became known as the famous birth place of renaissance. A lot of cultural achievements of that time started here, mostly they appeared first in Florence and wandered then to the other cities of Italia and in later development inspired  the rest of Europe."
Florence had more culture and produced more culture than other cities, that was normal in 15th century and it's observable at many points in the history of art.

If one leads this logic to a simple observation of both plays, Tarocchi and Minchiate,

Tarocchi has 22 special cards
Minchiate has 41 special cards

then the initial statement proves in this example  as correct: 41 is more than 22, Florence had more culture than the rest of Italy, at least regarding the structure of their prefered game.

4. The odd number 41 might look like an irrational number.However,  the Minchiate is a quite logical game development:

          40  pip-cards
          40  trumps
          16  court-cards
            1  Fool

Rather obviously the number 40 was chosen to relate to the 40  pip-cards, the Fool is just an additional card just as in our modern decks today to the ordered 4x13-deck 1-3 jokers are added. The meaning of the name Minchiate is unknown, but there are rather near words like minchionoggine (stupidity), minchioare (to laugh at), minchionatore (mocker) and minchione (fool), Minchiate probably meaning Game of the Fool.

The standard deck of the Tarocchi, 4x14 + 22, has also a ratio of structure, however, it is more hidden and there is not much in the iconography, that adds to any structural idea of a 3x7-structure in the trumps-row:

          14  swords
          14  batons
          14  cup
          14  disks
          21 (= 3/2 x 14) trumps
            1  Fool

Let's gather the main points in this chapter:

1. The missing card documents from Florence doesn't imply, that there were less card decks in Florence, as there had been historical conditions, which could have caused just this situation.

2. The specifying use of the name "Minchiate" is around 40 years older than the specifying use of the name "Tarocchi".

3. 41 is more than 22, and that might be significant for higher culture in Florence.

4. From the structural viewingpoint the Minchiate, although having more cards than the 4x14-22 standard deck, looks "simpler constructed" than  the standard-deck. If one follows the idea, that easy constructed card-games developed into more complex systems, then here is an argument, that the Minchiate is older  than the standard deck.

2nd Conclusions

(article uncompleted)