An Italian game and literary genre widespread in the 16th century,
attested until the 19th century in Bologna (and in 1886 in Milan, as
a political satire).
Here is a chronology of "Tarocchi appropriati" sources published or
mentioned in the literature that I know of. I haven't presented the
whole texts or translations, but I thought the list itself is
informative since it shows what a widespread and long-lived
phenomenon it was (if you count political satire, until 1886 -
probably later if we knew where to look). I haven't given the
primary literature or manuscript call numbers, just the secondary
sources (in some cases first publications) where these references
The late 16th century shows a tremendous drop-off as a literary
genre, which seems to be revived a century later in Bologna;
although it is tempting to link the abeyance of the game with the
end of Este rule of Ferrara, the list shows that the genre is
represented across tarot-playing Italy in the 16th century, not only
in Ferrara. Thus, going by this and other information, the game
seems to have died off in most of Italy by the late 16th century -
at least in "literate" circles, who produced this genre. This is
coicidentally the time of its peak popularity in France.
If anyone knows of any other ones I've missed, and there are surely
a few, please note them here (please note that my working definition of "Tarocchi appropriati" is using
the trumps to describe something else; simple lists of trumps, like
in the Steele Sermon, Alciato or Garzoni, are not included.)
In its played aspect, described by Girolamo Bargagli in Siena in
1572, each player is assigned a tarot trump by an opponent, who then
had to explain the reason for the attribution in a witty
or "delicate" way, usually poetically.
This game developed into a purely literary phenomenon, in which the
author creatively assigned the trump cards from the tarot pack to a
series of related individuals (related by profession, location or
status), groups of cards to several people, the entire series of
trumps to one person, or in some cases even to a group religious
buildings or a subject (e.g. Love), based on qualities shared by the
cards and the subjects of the composition.
It is not clear when this form of tarot game was invented, but the
rules of Matteo Maria Boiardo's circa 1465 triumph game imply that
extemporaneous poetic compositions based on the tarot pack were part
of the body of tarot games from very early on. The earliest
surviving example of the genre, written in 1522, is already a purely
literary creation, which imagines that the Cardinals in conclave
electing a Pope are playing the game.
There are many such compositions in manuscript waiting to be
discovered. The following list is what I have been able to compile
from the published literature I have at hand.
Ross Gregory Caldwell
- 1522 Rome: Pietro Aretino, "Pasquinate sopra il Conclave del 1521." (ms.) - (Berti and Vitali, 108 (no. 35) (full text))
- 1527 (pub. Venice): Teofilo Folengo (pseud. Merlin Cocai), "Il Caos del Triperuno."
- 1525-40 (or 1570) Pavia: Giambattista Susio (assumed), "Motti alle signore di Pavia sotto il
titolo de i Tarochi." (ms.) - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 106 (no. 29); Berti 2007, 174-175)
- 1530-1560 Ferrara: Anonymous, "Trionphi de Tarocchi appropriati" (ms.) - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 107 (no. 32); Berti 2007, 175-176)
- 1530-1560 Ferrara: Anonymous, "Due sonetti amorosi." (ms.) - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 107-108( no. 33, text of one))
- 1534 Venice: Troilo Pomperan, "Triomphi de' Pomeran da Cittadela composti sopra
li Terrochi in Laude delle famose Gentil donne di Vinegia." - (Kaplan 1986, pp. 9 and 185; Berti and Vitali 1987, 106-107 (no. 30))
- 1547 Trent: Leonardo Colombino, "Il Trionfo Tridentino." (ms., partially
published) - (Berti 2007, 177-178)
- 1553 Florence: Anonymous, "I Germini, sopra quaranta meretrice della città di
Fiorenza, dove si conviene quattro ruffiane, le quali danno a
ciascuna il trionfo, ch'e a loro conveniente dimostrando di ciascuna
il suo essere." - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 107 (no. 31); Berti 2007, 178)
- 1559 Rome: Paolo Giovio (assumed), "Gioco di Tarocchi fatto in Conclavi." - (Depaulis 1986, 117-127 and 160; Berti and Vitali 1987, 109 (no.
36); Dummett 1993, 411; Berti 2007, 173)
- 1668 Bologna: Anonymous; a list of tarot cards matched with ladies of Bologna
(ms., unpublished) - (Vitali and Zanetti 2005, 65; Berti 2007, 178)
- 1680-1690 Bologna: Anonymous, "Il Giuoco di Tarocchini sopra Michele Tekeli Ribello." - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 109-110 (no. 39)); Vitali and Zanetti 2005,
67 and 171 (text); Berti 2007, 179-180)
- Ca. 1710 Bologna: Andrea Casale, "La Granda de Tarochini che invita le Sfere Celesti
Aeree Feree, e Sotteranee, al Trionfante Applauso Universale del
Sig. Andrea Casale." - (Vitali and Zanetti 2005, 67 and 169 (text))
- Before 1725 Bologna: Anonymous, "I Trionfi de Tarocchini Apropriati ciascheduno ad una
Dama Bolognese con la spiegazione in fine per capire meglio li
sudeti Trionfi ossia satira da N.N." (ms., unpublished) - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 109 (no. 38)); Vitali and Zanetti 2005, 65
and 167 (text); Berti 2007, 178-179)
- Early 18th century Bologna: Anonymous, "Thrionfi di Tarocchi e motivi latini appropriati
ciascuno dei canonici di San Pietro." - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 109 (no. 37)); Vitali and Zanetti 2005, 65
and 166 (text))
- 17th-19th centuries Bologna: Anonymous, "Con li Trionfi e con le figure del Gioco Tarocchino in
quest'Ordine disposti, si descrive poeticamente la forza d'Amore." - (Berti and Zanetti 2005, 67 and 170 (text))
- 19th century Bologna: Anonymous, "Caraterre dei Parrocchi della Città di Bologna tolti
dalle figure principali del Giuoco de' Tarocchi." - (Vitali and Zanetti 2005, 65 and 168 (text))
- 1886 Milan: Anonymous, "Il nuovo gioco dei Tarocchi." (22 illustrations of
contemporary leaders inserted in the "Almanacco Sonzogno" for 1886,
each one representing a tarot trump) - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 110 (no. 40); Berti 2007, 180)
- Berti 2007. "Storia dei Tarocchi"
- Berti and Vitali 1987. "Le carte di corte. I tarocchi"
- Depaulis 1986. "Roger de Gaignières et ses tarots." (Le Vieux
Papier, fasc. 301)
- Dummett 1993. "Il Mondo e l'Angelo"
- Kaplan 1986. "Encyclopedia of Tarot. Volume II"
- Vitali and Zanetti 2005. "Il tarocchino di Bologna."