Marziano calls himself in the text Martianus de Sankto Alosio, Sankto Alosio being a small village near Tortona.
The work is devoted to Filippo Maria, Duke
of Milano. Filippo was duke since 1412 (his reigning brother
Giovanni Maria Visconti was murdered at May 16,
1412 ) and Marziano was active in
service for the duke until 1423 and definitely dead at February I, 1425.
In this range of time 1414 - 1418 was considered earlier as the probable
production time of the text by Franco Pratesi, but an information of "storia di
Milano" says, that the painter Michelino returned in 1417 back to Milano
after staying more than a decade since 1404 outside of town, so the dating-question
should be considered again. After his return in 1417 seems to be a sure assumption, but for special reasons we do favour now the time of 1424/1425.
The title "
Tractatus De Deificatione Sexdecim
Heroum " and the later text
(" celestial princes and
barons ") gives the impression,
that the Greek gods are considered as deified heroes, it seems, that
Marziano or his time is confused by common additional names to the gods in
classical texts and so he speaks of 3 Jupiters (two Arcadians, one of
Creta), 4 Apollos etc., believing, that there once had been three
different mortal heroes with the name Jupiter (these additional names
normally relate to different cults or temples or appearances of the gods,
not to persons).
There are four order of gods, related to birds and
qualities (suits), each of the suits has its own king (una quaeque proprio
parens regi - beside the king no other court card is mentioned; Marcello
also spoke only of kings, when describing the
in rudimentary forms to the rules of the play:
1. No bird has power
above the others - the suits are equal in worth (
Harum vero Avium ordo est quia nulla earum species
in alteram vis habet
Indirectly this rule seems to say, that rules are
known at this time, in which the suits are ranked.
2. The power is direct for eagles and
turtles, reverted for phoenices and doves - this rule is still known from
still living Tarock-variantes, two suits range from ace to ten, the other
both from ten to ace (
Aquilarum et turturarum multae paucis praesunt ...
foenicum una et columbarum pluribus pauciores imperant
Each of the gods is higher than all orders of birds and also higher than
the kings of the orders - probably indicating, that gods are considered to
be trumps ( Deorum vero quisque
omnibus ordinibus avium et ordinum regibus praeerit
Marcello (later) is right - they are Trionfi
(trumps). But around 1420 there is no sign, that the name trionfi was used
in context with playing cards.
4. The gods (trumps) have a
row, the first listed reigns above all following - in the later
treatise to the gods Marzianus gives ordinal numbers (see the table above), which
probably serves his aim to arrange the gods in a hierarchy.
( Sed inter se diihac lege
tenebuntur, quod (?) qui prior inferius annotabitur sequentibus omnibus
A hierachic row is
used later also in the known Tarock rules.
Probably the deck had 60 cards, 4x10 pip cards
(although Marzianus doesn't lose any word, if all 10 numbers are
included), 4 kings without any other court card, 16 gods. But security in
this question doesn't exist, as all informations, that we do have, went
through the hands of Marcello. We see that, that Marcello wanted, that
Isabella should see.
Description of the
The original part of the
manuscript has 50 pages, however, written in rather great letters, so
actually the text is short with around 600 -.700 signs per page. The
text length for the single gods varies from 2.5 - 4 pages.
given here is an abstract done by Franco Pratesi in Italian language in
1990, translated with personal comments by Ross Gregory Caldwell in
English in 2003. To our knowledge it is the first presentation of the
content in English language - a good example, how quick the ways in
Tarocchi research had been in the past. A translation of the complete
Latin text is in preparation.
1. Giove: Seduto in
trono è provvisto di quattro insegne celesti: a destra in alto lo
splendore della giusta ragione; a sinistra in alto la luce con cui fondò
le leggi; in basso a destra la stella lucente simile a Marte che brilla
nei salvatori dello stato; in basso a sinistro il fulmine.
I. Jupiter: Sitting on a throne,
surrounded and provided with 4 heavenly signs in the corners. Above right
is the splendour of wisdom and above left the light, with which laws are
given, at the right bottom is a bright star like Mars, which shines in
those who preserve the state; in the left bottom the
Note: Pratesi has translated Marziano’s latin
“rectae rationis” as “giusta ragione”, and has suggested the English
translation be Wisdom. I believe it carries the sense of “Just
measurement”, of God as the Great Architect. I do not know what a Splendor
of it would look like – perhaps a banner with the words. It is interesting
to note that the Italian phrase “a giusta ragione” (with good right) is
translated by the French “à bon droit”, in a
“A BON DROYT” is of course the Visconti family motto recommended to
Gian Galeazzo by Petrarch.
L'aspetto la indica sposa di Giove; col capo velato all'uso della matrone,
l'ordini della corona indica il numero dei regni. E’ ornato riccamente; le
sue belle vesti colorate sono però evanescenti. Il carro e le armi, a lei
assegnati da Virgilio, sembrano qui da tralasciare.
II. Her aspect indicates the spouse of
Jupiter; with head veiled in the manner of matrons, the order of the crown
indicates the number of reigns. It is richly adorned; her beautiful dress
somberly coloured, but evanescent. The chariot and arms, assigned to her
by Virgil, seem abandoned.
Note: I am not sure what “ordini della corona
indica il numero dei regni” refers to. The last clause is also
Pallade. Colla destra tiene un pacifico olivo; indossa un amitto multiplo
e una vestae variegata (a indicare le modifiche col tempo dei pareri dei
saggi) . Tiene un leggero scudo reso orribile della
III. Pallas (Athena).
With the right hand holds an olive-branch of peace; wearing a multiple
mantle and a multicoloured robe (to signify the modifications of the
counsels of the wise over time). Holds a light shield made
horrible by the Gorgon.
Note: Amitto - the related English word
“amice” is a liturgical garment which descends from a Roman garment,
“amictus”, a cloak or mantle which covered the upper body and head, but
could be pulled back. I assume that here it refers to the classical
Venere: Con aspetto piuttosto lascivo, chioma sparsa, petto e braccia
scoperti, ginocchi nudi, per indurre più facilmente all'amore; con un
amitto sciolta di pelle di lince; con l'arco pronto e la faretra indossa
per cacciare e ferire gli animi degli uomini che vagano nelle
IV. Venus: With a
somewhat lustful demeanour, hair loose, breast and arms bare, knees naked,
the easier to induce love; with a supple lynx-skin cloak; with the bow
ready and the wearing the quiver to hunt and wound the souls of men who
wander in the shadows.
Apollo. Ha aspetto conforme alla vita militare; il capo chiomato è adorno
di alloro per diritto guerriero e poetico; porta arco e frecce nel cui uso
V. Apollo: Has a
look conforming to the military life; his long head of hair is crowned
with laurel, by right warrior and poet; he carries bow and arrows, in
whose use he excels.
Nettuno. Con aspetto regale di vecchio stampo siede su un carro d'oro
trainato da due delfine. Ha un tridente per scettro a indicare le tre
Neptune: with regal aspect of the old school, seated on a chariot drawn by
two dolphins. Has a trident as scepter to show his rulership of the
7. Diana. Vestita di
un amitto bianco, vaga con arco e frecce su una biga d’oro, trainata da
bianchi cervi con corna dorate brillanti. Si raffigura con aspetto
VII. Diana: Dressed
in a white mantle, flying on a golden carriage with arrows and bow, drawn
by two white deer with shining golden horns. Figured with threefold
Diana is sometimes presented with three faces.
Bacco. Con voltre sempre giovanile e le tempie ornate con le sue viti
Secondo il sue nome, porta un bastone per il sostegno degli ubriache.
Tirano il carro due tigri.
VIII. Bacchus: With a face of everlasting
youth and his temples decorated with his vines. As his name signifies, he
carries a stick to support himself when drunken; the car is drawn by two
9. Mercurio: Come
gli Arcadi ha il capo coperto da un galero; col caduceo separa serpenti in
lotta; calza i talari.
Mercurio: Like the Arcadians, has the head covered with a "galero"
(broad-brimmed cardinal's hat); with caduceus, ringed with two snakes;
Col carro decorato da mille insegno tolte ai nemici. Cavalca con la spada
sguainata cosparsa di sangue a indicara la via.
X. Mars: With chariot decorated by a
thousand ensigns of victory over enemies. Rides with drawn bloodied sword
to indicate the way.
Vesta: Dall'aspetto castigato alla maniera delle monache sta presso
l'altare davanti agli immortali e prega gli dei.
XI. Vesta: With chaste aspect like monks
standing near an altar before its immortals praying to the
12. Ceres: Procede
con abito regale e mèssi ai lati; tiene in mano una fiaccola
Advances in regal vestment, harvests at each side; holding in hand a
Con il terribile aspetto, la fronte incoronata di alloro, trascurando
vesti leggiadre, con lu spoglie dell'enorme leone Nemeo, insegno monumento
della forza. Ai suoi piedi giace copito dalle frecce il mostro
antropomorfo delle Strofadi.
XIII. Hercules: in his terrible aspect,
his forehead crowned with a laurel, carelessly clothed with the skin of
the huge Nemean lion, monumental sign of force. At his feet, wounded by
arrows, lies the anthropomorphic monster of the
Strofadi is the island home to the harpies.
14. Eolo. Seduto in abito regale tra gli scogli
delle sue isole ricavando fiamme con lo scettro.
XIV. Aiolus: Sitting in regal garment among
the reefs of his island creating flames with his
15. Dafne. In
abito virgineo abbracciata al suo Alloro.
XV. Daphne: In virginal dress clinging to
16. Cupido: In
volo per marcare l'instabilita degli amanti e cinto di cuori umani. Vaga
nudo per cielo e terra con l'arco pronto a scoccare.
XVI. Cupido: In flight to show the
instability of the lovers and wearing a human heart. Wandering nude
through heaven and earth with bow ready to