created since 2003       

Tarocchi Appropriati
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 are found.

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

Chronological list

  1. 1522 Rome: Pietro Aretino, "Pasquinate sopra il Conclave del 1521." (ms.) - (Berti and Vitali, 108 (no. 35) (full text))

  2. 1527 (pub. Venice): Teofilo Folengo (pseud. Merlin Cocai), "Il Caos del Triperuno."

  3. 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)

  4. 1530-1560 Ferrara: Anonymous, "Trionphi de Tarocchi appropriati" (ms.) - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 107 (no. 32); Berti 2007, 175-176)

  5. 1530-1560 Ferrara: Anonymous, "Due sonetti amorosi." (ms.) - (Berti and Vitali 1987, 107-108( no. 33, text of one))

  6. 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))

  7. 1547 Trent: Leonardo Colombino, "Il Trionfo Tridentino." (ms., partially published) - (Berti 2007, 177-178)

  8. 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)

  9. 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)

  10. 1668 Bologna: Anonymous; a list of tarot cards matched with ladies of Bologna (ms., unpublished) - (Vitali and Zanetti 2005, 65; Berti 2007, 178)

  11. 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)

  12. 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))

  13. 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)

  14. 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))

  15. 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))

  16. 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))

  17. 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)