Jupiter was an Ancestor

Suit Suit-sign 16 "Greek" gods in increasing order
Virtues eagle 1. Jupiter 5. Apollo 9. Mercury 13. Hercules
Riches phoenix 2. Juno 6. Neptun 10. Mars 14. Eolus
Virginities turtledove 3. Pallas 7. Diana 11. Vesta 15. Daphne
Pleasures dove 4. Venus 8. Bacchus 12. Ceres 16. Cupido

Another Document: Eulogy for Giangaleazzo

The Visconti traced their origin to the Trojan hero Anchises and the goddess Venus. The story of Anchises and Venus is well known both on account of its place among stories of the Trojan War, and because Venus gave birth to Aeneas (Eneas), the ancestor of the Romans. The Visconti traced themselves to the eponymous ancestor Anglus (=Angleria), the son of Ascanius and grandson of Eneas. This Anglus is otherwise unattested, as far as it is known to us.

This genealogy is presented at the end of the funeral oration for Gian Galeazzo, "Sermo in exsequiis Iohannis Galeatii ducis Mediolani", by Petrus de Castelleto (B.N. ms. lat. 5888). Michelino da Besozzo in 1403 is responsible for the miniatures with brief legends that accompany each name, beginning with a picture of Jupiter blessing the union of Anchises and Venus (Jupiter crowned and in bright red, Anchises to the left in blue and Venus to the right in green), and ending with Galeazzo Maria and his little brother, Filippo Maria. The last leaf of this genealogy is shown at the left.. Ross Caldwell visited the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and was able to copy out the names of the genealogy, but unfortunately not the accompanying legends (of course no dates are given in the ms.).


1. Anchises------------Venus
2. Eneas Rex
3. Ascanius Rex
4. Anglus Primus Rex
5. Anlgus Iunior Rex
6. Ascanius Rex (Rex Angler e Mediolani)
7. Abida Rex
8. Sisoch Rex
9. Iulus Rex
10. Pucentius Rex
11. Elimach Rex
12. Gemebundus Rex
13. Albanicus Rex
14. Astatius Rex
15. Fallaramundus Rex
16. Elimach Rex
17. Rechius Rex
18. Bellonesu Rex
19. Bruniscendus Rex
20. Briennius Rex
21. Bruniscendus Rex
22. Agates Rex
23. Rutilaus Rex
24. Fallaramundus Rex
25. Beldomarus Rex
(or Bridomarus - unclear on microfilm)
26. Lutus Rex
27. Ubertus Vicecomes
28. Maximanus Rex
29. Milo Rex
30. Rolandus Rex
31. Milo Rex

32. Alienus Rex
33. Galvaneus Comes
34. Perideus Rex
35. Rachis Rex
36. Agistulfus Rex
37. Desiderius Rex
38. Bernardus Comes
39. Guido Comes
40. Berengarius Imperator
41. Ugo Imperator
42. Berengarius Imperator
43. Adebertus Imperator
44. Atto Comes
45. Fulcus Comes
46. Obito Comes
47. Fatius Comes
48. Heriprandus Vicecomes (Eriprandus, Vicecomes=Visconti)
49. Otto Vicecomes
50. Andreas Vicecomes
51. Galvaneus Vicecomes
52. Ubertus Vicecomes
53. Obizo Vicecomes (Obizzo)
54. Tibaldus Vicecomes (Teobald, Theobald)
55. Matheus Vicecomes (Matteo)
56. Stephanus Vicecomes (Stefano)
58. Galeas Vicecomes (Galeazzo)
59. Iohannes Galeas Dux (Gian Galeazzo)
60a. Iohannes Maria Anglus Dux Mediolani (Milan) et Comes Anglie
60b. Philippus Maria Comes Papie (Pavia)

Compare with this genealogy: -I- -II-

A1. Eriprando; m.N.N. (= Nr. 48)

B1. Guidone, feudatario di Massino, Albezzate e Besnate; m.Garizia (missing)

C1. Ottone, +after 1162, Consul of Milano 1162; m.NN (= Nr. 49)

D1. Ruggero, +after 1189, Consul of Milano 1172, Podesta of Bergamo 1189; m.NN (other name)

(Nr. 50, Andreas: see above, not noted)

(Nr. 51, Galvaneus: see above, not noted - the rest is identical)

E1. Uberto, +before 1248; m.Berta N (= Nr. 52)

F4. Obizzo, +after 1266, Signore di Massino, Consul of Giustizia di Milano 1266; m.Fiorina, dau.of Ruffino Mandelli by Aldesia Pietrasanta (= Nr. 53)

G1. Tibaldo, +1274, Rettore delle Valli Leventina e Blenio; m.Anastasia Pirovano (+1276) (= Nr. 54)

H1. Matteo I, *Invorio 15.7.1250, +Crescenzago 24.6.1322, Signore di Milano (1295-1308)+(1317-22; m.1269 Bonacosa, dau.of Squarcino Borri (+Milano 15.1.1321) (= Nr. 55)


A5. Stefano, +Milano 4.7.1337, Signore di Arona 1325; m.1318 Valentina Doria, dau.of Barnabo Signore di Sasello e Logudoro e Patrizio di Genova by Eliana Fieschi (*1290 +Milano 1359) (= Nr. 56)

B2. Galeazzo II, Signore di Pavia, Como, Novara, Vercelli, Asti, Alba, Tortona, Alessandria e Vigevano 1354, co-Signore di Milano (1349-78) with his brothers, *ca 1320, +4.8.1378; m.10.9.1350 Bianca di Savoia (+31.12.1387) (= Nr. 57)

C1. Gian Galeazzo I, Signore di Milano, Pavia, Novara, Como, Vercelli, Alba, Asti, Tortona, Alessandria e Vigevano (1355-1402), Conte di Vertus 1360, Duca di Milano and Conte di Pavia 1.5.1395, Signore di Pisa 1400, *Melegnano XI.1351, +Pavia 3.9.1402; 1m: VI.1360/IV.1361 Isabella de Valois, Pss of France (*1.10.1348 +11.9.1372); 2m: 2.10.1380 Caterina Visconti (*ca 1360 +17.10.1404) (= Nr. 58)

D4. [2m.] Giovanni Maria I, Duca di Milano (1402-12), *1388, +murdered San Gottardo 16.5.1412; m.1408 Antonia Malatesta, dau.of Carlo I Signore di Rimini by Elisabetta Gonzaga dei Signori di Mantova (= Nr. 59a)

D5. [2m.] Filippo Maria I, Conte di Pavia (1402-12), Duca di Milano (1412-47), *Milano 23.9.1392, +there 13.8.1447; 1m: 1412 Beatrice Balbo Lascaris Contessa di Biandrate, dau.of Pietro Conte di Ventimiglia, Signore di Tenda by Margherita del Carretto dei Marchesi di Finale (*Tenda 1372 +beheaded Binasco 13.9.1418), widow of Facino Cane Conte di Biandrate; 2m: 2.12.1427 Maria di Savoia (*I.1411 +22.2.1469) (= Nr. 59b)


Nr. 40 - 43, above called 40. Berengarius Imperator, 41. Ugo Imperator, 42. Berengarius Imperator and 43. Adebertus Imperator, had been the kings of the shortliving Kingdom of Italy, which started in the year 888 with Berengar I and was called a time Frankish Emire (908 - 924). It ended "officially" (in the theory of the winners) with Berengar II, who was abdicted 962 by Emperor Otto I.. From Columbia Encyclopedia:

From 888 to 962 Italy was nominally ruled by a series of weak kings and emperors including Guy of Spoleto, Berengar I of Friuli, Louis III of Burgundy, and Berengar II of Ivrea. The petty nobles were constantly feuding, and by the end of the period the papacy had sunk to its lowest point of degradation. The Magyars plundered N Italy, and in the south the Arabs seized (917) Sicily and raided the mainland. In 961, heeding an appeal by the pope for protection against Berengar II, the German king Otto I invaded Italy. In 962 he was crowned emperor by the pope. This union of Italy and Germany marked the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire.

Since then it was a constantly reappearing hope (accompanied with lots of real militarical actions), that Italy once would regain earlier importance. Giangaleazzo was in 1402 on the best way to make reality out of the old dream, when he died surprizingly 1402, probably murdered. The genealogy text, probably thought and begun as an evidence for the legitimacy of Giangaleazzo's approach to the Italian throne, was finished in 1403 by Michelino da Besozzo as part of a funeral oratio.

It might be useful to note that while this is the extent of the genealogy in this book, it could have been extended in principle back to Adam, since medieval historians explained pagan gods euhemeristically, that is that they had been real people whose fame and legend had deified them, and they were mistakenly worshipped. Thus Venus was descended of Jupiter, who was in turn a descendant of Iaphet, the son of Noah. Anchises' own descent is from Priam, the King of Troy, who was a descendant of Shem (IIRC).

A Humble Detail: 12 Virtues

The manuscript is a funeral oration, based on twelve virtues (in four sets of three), and how Giangaleazzo and his family throughout their history exemplified each of them:

1. Faith
2. Hope
3. Charity
4. Justice
5. Fortitude 6. Temperance
7. Prudence
8. Piety
9. Clemence
10. Magnificence
11. Intelligence
12. Humility

Imperial eagle on the same side of Eulogium Giangaleazzo with Madonna and child and 12 virtues Dove with a sun in background

The Playing Card Context

Just the painter Michelino da Besozzo, who was active in painting the deck from (probably) 1424/1425, was also active in painting the genealogy for Giangaleazzo. This can't be really an accident, it should be suggested, that Filippo Maria intended to develop the card deck in relation to the genealogy. The genealogy deals with 12 virtues, the deck with 12 gods and 4 additional figures (Herules-Aeolus, Daphne, Amor) and the later Cary-Yale again took (probably) at least the 7 standard virtues as its motifs (only 4 virtue cards have survived).

Assuming, that the above correlation "genealogy - card playing deck" is true, we have to jump from the reception of a "simple game" to the exspectation of a perhaps rather complicated self representation of Fillipo Maria Visconti in the deck, which the commissioner - Filippo Maria - took rather serious.

In the card deck Jupiter and Venus (both ancestors to Filippo Maria according to the genealogy), are high trumps, Jupiter the highest, Venus the fourth. Jupiter leads the suit "virtues" - "eagles", Venus leads the suit of "pleasures" - "doves". Both birds are heraldic devices in the Visconti shield. The eagle is said to have been added with the year 1395, when Giangaleazzo "bought" the Duke title from Emperor Wenceslaus, the dove, which seems to have been an older symbol is a standard attribute to Venus or physical love (beside that it can symbolize the highest purity, the Holy Spirit). One way to paint the dove in the heraldic representation was to place it in front of a sun - such a figure could easily be identified with a phoinix (in the legend the phoinix burnt itself - it's also an suitsign in the Michelino-deck; in medieval iconography the phoinix was - occasionally - identified with Jesus Christ). The fourth suit sign turtle dove we do not understand - perhaps the Visconti just played in their heraldic interpretation with a threefold dove in the form of dove - turtle dove - phoinix (dove).

Heraldic itself was essentially a creative game - but it followed complicated rules and it was regarded as important to manifest the power of reigning families. Sagramoro's main job in Ferrara was it to paint such heraldic signs, his Trionfi cards were a minor commission and probably he got this additional occupation, cause Trionfi cards were just one detail in the heraldic business. Heraldic and genealogy were naturally connected to each other - genealogy was of major importance, as it was a way to formulate "rights". And these "rights" could cause wars, for instance the invasion of the French King Charles VIII. 1494 in Italy to fight Naples for rights, which more or less had been finished in 1442 after the victory of Alfonso of Aragon and the occupation of Milan in 1500 of Louis XII based on rights in a marriage treaty of Valentina Visconti in the year 1387. This second case touches the situation of 1424/1425:

    Petrarca had strong contacts to the Visconti between 1352 and 1460. Later he occasionally was on visit there, especially in Pavia, where later Filippo spend a great part of his youth. In Pavia eigned Galeazzo, who showed intellectual interests, the Milanese Bernabo showed a different character. Petrarca served as diplomat, especially to emperor Charles V. (1355) and in 1360 to the French court, where he arranged a marriage between the young Giangaleazzo (Filippo Maria's father) and Isabella of Valois, the daughter of the French king for a lot of money, which was needed to free the French king, who was prisoned in England after a lost battle. The marriage was a great coup for the Visconti, as they reached international acceptance - which was needed by the Visconti. At the begin of 14th century there were around 300 small states and reigning houses in Italy and in long fights this number was decreased to that, who remained important. The Visconti and Milano were - by many small steps - finally under the winners, and, perhaps, true for special situations in history, the one and great winner. Giangaleazzo nearly had become King of Italy - unluckily he died a little to early. One of this steps to final greatness of the family was this marriage - which became a source of later danger to the dukedom of Milano. The marriage lasted only short, the product were two sons, who died early, and Valentina Visconti, who was married for much money again to France to Louis of Orleans, brother of the French king, in 1487. Inside the treaty of this marriage there was a passage, that Valentina's heir of the house of Orleans would become ruler in Milano, in the case, that there was no male heir in the Visconti-family. Filippo did perhaps his best to produce that heir later, but stayed unsuccessful, so this passage in the treaty was in all his reigning time a dark sign at heaven talking of the end of the Visconti-rulership in Milano.
    In 1424/1425 the small passage in the treaty looked irrelevant, as Filipo Visconti exspected a child to be born by his mistress - it was "only" a daughter, at it later turned out, Bianca Maria Visconti. The current heir of Valentina's rights, Charles of Orleans, was prisoner in England since the battle of Azincourt 1415 and it was unsecure, if he ever would return to France. The whole kingdom of France had been weakened considerably and it did need the wonder of Jeanne d'Arc to recover (which couldn't be expected in 1424/1425).

    France was saved, and Bianca Maria was only a daughter. In 1440 Charles d'Orleans was freed, Filippo Visconti did send him a copy of a Boethius-manuscript (written once by Boethius as a prisoner). After Filippo's death he tried - beside others - to get the duchy of Milano, but the Milanese decided to become the Ambrosian republic, a short periode of 3 years, which was disrupted by the interests of Francesco Sforza to become duke in Milano. In 1498 the young French king Charles VIII did run with his head against a wooden beam at the entry of a tennis court, which caused a sudden death - and with this he decided, that a new Louis d'Orleans, a very late son of Charles d'Orleans, became new French king. Perhaps a lot of people had forgotten this special passage inside that more than 100 years old treaty of marriage, but Louis d'Orleans, now Louis XII. of France, remembered and attacked Milano still under Sforza control then. This ended a happy time in Milano and the result was a perioe of 25 years with wars around Milano and finally the end of Sforza-rulership. A lot of things were destroyed and France achieved nothing also, lucky winner became the Habsburg dynasty.

Oldest Tarot Cards
* START * TAROT HISTORY * TAROT MUSEUM * ABOUT US * Oldest Tarot * Imperatori * Ferrara 1441 * Trionfi Documents * 5x14 * From 14 to 22 * Boiardo * Mantegna Tarocchi * Iconography * Time Table * Researchers * Locations * News * Play * Playing Cards documents * FAQ * Name Trionfi * Reviews * Free Reading * Links * Franco Pratesi (1) * Franco Pratesi (2) * Persons 1440-1462 *
The Oldest Tarot Cards
- Michelino Deck