IPCS - Ronciglione and other findings

It is intended to collect replies to themes presented in the long history of the IPCS-journal

IPCS - Ronciglione and other findings

Postby huck » 28 Jan 2011, 10:39

IN WORK, I just gather material

At IIPCS vol XVII, No. 3, February 1989 appeared the article "Ronciglione: playing cards of a XVII century Italian state" by Alberto Milano and Carlo Maria d'Orazi. The subtitle was: "The text of the talk given by Mr. Milano at the I.P.S.C convention in Fribourg, October 1987." The topic of the article are 4 sheets of cards and one playing card backside connected to Ronciglione, a small city near Viterbo.

The first note of this theme had been the publication of Carlo Maria d'Orazi in 1982, which is given in the web at

http://www.bibliotecaviterbo.it/Rivista ... _Orazi.pdf

Although we made some major studies about Tarot and it history, we're ashamed to confess, that we didn't realize the existence of this article and especially not the delivered cards. For the history of the IPCS it's actually also a further evidence, that their publications are easily overlooked for years and even decades. Well, to avoid such long-distance-runners of rather important information we're interested to build up this forum.

A second article, which refers indirectly to the theme (a connection to the Colonna cards from Rome, presented at Kaplan Tarot Enc. I, p. 134) was published IPCS XXI/3 p. 95-98. This is sheet with 10 cards in a library in Rovereta, detected by Peter Blaas and interpreted by John Berry. The sheet contains Tarot cards, one is suspected to be the fool, another the magician, the rest are no trumps.


First the Colonna sheets ...



... which is given to early 17th century. The inscription "alla Colona in Piazza Nicosia" leads probably to this address "Piazza Nicosia", a name which is said to go back to a cardinal of Nicosia, Aldobrandini Orsini in 13th century, which likely indicates, that this is an old street name. If "alla colona" refers to the Colonna-family, I don't know, there's for instance a Piazza Colonna in Rome, and this seems to point to a column of Mark Aurel. Further there is a Palazzo Colonna ("a palatial block of buildings in central Rome, Italy, at the base of the Quirinal Hill, and adjacent to the church of Santi Apostoli. It is built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations"), which has a considerable distance. No other street name near Piazza Nicosia makes an earlier presence of the Colonna family probable. Perhaps there was once another column at the Piazza Nicosia, for instance at the place, where one now finds a fountain.
During the research I found, that Carvagnone with 10 km distance to Ronciglione in 1630 was sold (or exchanged against Palestrina) to the branch of the Colonna family (Carvagnone was earlier administrated by Giulio Farnese, the sister of popea place, which was earlier administrated by the sister of Alessandro Farnese, later pope Paul III. A list in the German Wikpedia gives this overview:

* Francesco Colonna († 1636), dessen Sohn, 1. Principe di Carbognano e Bassanello, verkauft Palestrina 1630 an die Familie Barberini

Die Fürsten von Carbognano

* Giulio Cesare Colonna (1602–1681), dessen Sohn, 2. Principe di Bassanello e Carbognano
* Egidio Colonna († 1686), dessen Sohn, 3. Principe di Carbognano, Duca di Bassanello
* Francesco Colonna (1684–1750), dessen Sohn, 4. Principe di Carbognano, Duca di Bassanello
* Giulio Cesare Colonna (1702–1787), dessen Sohn, 5. Principe di Carbognano, Duca di Bassanello, Principe di Palestrina (uxor nomine); ∞ Donna Cornelia Costanza Barberini 4. Principessa di Palestrina
* Urbano Barberini Colonna di Sciarra (1733–1796), dessen Sohn, 6. Principe di Carbognano, Duca di Bassonello,
* Maffeo Barberini Colonna di Sciarra (1771–1849), dessen Sohn, 7. Principe di Carbognano, Duca di Bassonello
* Maffeo Barberini Colonna di Sciarra (1850–1925), dessen posthumer Sohn, 8. Principe di Carbognano, Duca di Bassanello
* Urbano Barberini Colonna di Sciarra (1913–1942), dessen Sohn, 9. Principe di Carbognano, Duca di Bassonello
* Alberto Riario Sforza (* 1937), dessen Schwiegersohn, 10. Principe di Carbognano (uxor nomine)

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonna_%2 ... chlecht%29

In the article about Ronciglione not the Colonna-family, but the Farnese are of importance, cause Pope Paul III, who reigned after the Medici popes from 1534 to his death in 1549, was born as Alessandro Farnese as son of the signore of Montalto (40 km west of Viterbo), and Viterbo is near to Ronciglione. During his time as Pope Paul III he reassured the wealth of the Farnese family, and to this belonged also the dominance about the region around Viterbo and also Rociglione - till 1649.



The mother of Alessandro was from the Caetani-family, who had an earlier Pope in their family (Bonifacio VIII, 1294 -1303), who - beside the persecution of sister Manfreda in 1302 (often noted in the researches about the Popess in the Tarot cards) - made a lot of strange things, which finally led to a confrontation with the French King Philip the Fair and prepared the papal state of Avignon.


Alessandro grew up in Viterbo, studied in Rome under Pomponio Leto, also in Pisa and frequented the court of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence. In this time Lorenzo prepared his son Giovanni as a cardinal (cardinal with 16 in 1492), similar his nephew and arranged a marriage of his daughter with the son of the current pope Innocence VIII. (1484-1492; wedding in 1488). Giovanni and Lorenzo's nephew became later the dominant popes from 1513 as Leo X. and Clemens VII. Around the same time Alessandro's sister (1474 - 1434) married, 15 years old (1489), a not very attractive man, a distant nephew of the cardinal Borgia. Two years later she became Borgia's lover, and bore him a daughter Laura in the year 1492, when Borgia became pope as Alexander VI. She had much contact to Lucrezia Borgia and became famous, when she was captured by French troops in 1494 and the pope paid a ransom of 3000 ducats.


Alessandro ... "He was jailed because of his attitude in family disputes. By recommendation of Lorenzo de' Medici, he was named papal secretary and protonotary apostolic in 1491" ...
... became then (very quick, September 1493) cardinal himself and got the nick-names "Borgia brother-in-law" and "Cardinal of the skirts" ("il cardinale della gonnetta") by Pasquino. He was then 25 years old. In 1513 he got the honor to crown Leo X and had a long career as cardinal and then as pope. He survived Leo and Clemens, who was younger them himself and then still had 15 years as a pope. One note is possibly of importance: "On May 24, 1530, Pope Clement VII gave him, for life, the castle of Ronciglione.".
His sister meanwhile was released in 1500 as lover of Alexander VI and went to Carbognano (10 km distance to Ronciglione). She returned 1505 to Rome and married her daughter Laura to a relative of the new pope Julius II. She had various lovers and then a new husband, but returned to Carbognano as a governor 1506, which she ruled with cleverness till 1522. Then she returned to Rome, in the household of her brother. In 1524 she died, 50 years old.

In the center of the article stand 1 single card backside and three fragmented sheets, all found in connection to Ronciglione, a small city near Viterbo (20 km) in direction to Rome (distance to Ronciglione 60 km). In the discussion is reflected the influence of Ronciglione cards in Rome and a relationship to the Colonna cards (Rome), Kaplan p. 134 from begin of 17th century, so the distance is of some importance.

Farnese: pomp, power and politics in Renaissance Italy
Helge Gamrath, 2007

www.youtube.com Video from : www.youtube.com

www.youtube.com Video from : www.youtube.com

Farindola, Painter Riccardo Paracchino, Palazzo Farnese in Farindola (near Pescara)


www.youtube.com Video from : www.youtube.com

Il toponimo indica chiaramente l'origine del centro: deriva, infatti, da fara, termine longobardo che sta a indicare un raggruppamento di più persone. Momenti di notorietà li ebbe nel rinascimento, quando fu conteso da L'Aquila e Penne, che ne reclamavano entrambe il possesso.
Nel '500, essendo un castello di quest'ultima cittadina, su concessione di Carlo V entrò a far parte dei feudi di Margherita d'Asburgo, passando poi ai Farnese, che la tennero fino al 1731, e indi al re di Napoli.

Restano, nel centro storico dall'impianto a spirale, il palazzo Farnese, la parrocchiale di S. Nicola riedificata all'inizio del XX secolo, parti del Castello, tipiche case con elementi antichi in pietra e in legno.
Farindola, che pure si trova nella Riserva naturale regionale del Voltigno e della Valle d'Angri è base di partenza per l'escursione di 3 ore nel vallone d'Angora, di grande interesse naturalistico e vivo di contrasti, di colori, di diversi ambienti; il vallone è un vero e proprio canyon e vi si trova la sorgente del fiume Tavo.
È questa la zona del Gran Sasso d'Italia dove per la prima volta sono stati reintrodotti i camosci, scomparsi più di cento anni fa; un attrezzato centro visite e oasi del Camoscio, gestito dal comune di Farindola assieme alle associazioni ambientaliste e con il supporto tecnico dell'ente Parco nazionale d'Abruzzo, è stato allestito in paese.

1¾ « C > B B D E E NORMAL.STI EPSONLX F @ +¿àpC B D µProgress by Collaboration
Franco Pratesi

The starting point for this note is "A Florentine Request" published in Issue No. 63 of this Newsletter, p. 28. The Editor not only agreed to print my query, but he also encouraged members to collaborate, since - in his own words - "It is by collaboration that we make our best progress." The collaboration has not been so much as might be hoped: apart from some beautiful colour photocopies received later on from Vito Arienti, my request has been acknowledged by a single response. However, because of its interest, let me give some details. For the corresponding discussion, I have to acknowledge contributions by Sylvia Mann, Thierry Depaulis and John Berry.

In March 1991, soon after reading my request, Peter Blaas of Stuttgart provided me with a few photocopies of Florentine cards in his collection. He also sent me a photocopy of an earlier sheet of cards with 'Portuguese' suits. He commented that these cards follow an archaic pattern, according to the nomenclature used by Sylvia Mann, and that they might belong to a minchiate pack. He ended with one of the basic questions involved: maybe from Florence?

Now, if these cards come from Florence, they enter one of my own research fields directly. However, they appear to be interesting enough even if they come from elsewhere. And, in any case, Florence is at least indirectly involved: as known, Florentine minchiate represent one of the most diffuse and long-lived examples of a 'Portuguese' pattern. Up to a point that sometimes loose cards are plainly considered as minchiate, even if there is - as indeed occurs for the cards here described - no specific indication for that assignement, beyond the mere presence of a 'Portuguese' pattern.

We have here 10 cards of an early Italian tarot pack. The cards shown are practically complete, even if the two central ones have been cut in half. We have the four seated Queens, the four tens, and the Bagatto and Fool. The sheet seems to have been pasted on cardboard. The surface of most cards is marked in places either by wear or by pasted paper; one of the worst affected is the Fool - which, by the way, may be considered as the most unusual of this set.

Peter Blaas discovered this sheet in the Biblioteca Civica "G.Tartarotti" in Rovereto; a place not unusual for him, as a known expert on Tyrolese cards. I hoped that the inventory entry of this item and/or other items kept together with it in the Library could provide some information for defining a date and a location for its provenance. I therefore applied to Dr G. Baldi, Director of the Library. In a letter dated 20.12.91, he answered that these playing-cards are currently kept in a file of assorted pictorial matter, Ms.66.3, all likely to have been collected by Don Antonio Rossaro in the 1930s when he was Director of the same Library. Dr Baldi added that he is not able to establish the exact provenance of these cards, which in any case do not seem to derive from a Rovereto printing-works. As for dating, he would not consider them to be earlier than the 18th century.

What has been said means that playing-card experts must evaluate these cards from their own experience, with practically no help from the context.

While comparing these cards with known specimens, the analogy to the Alla Colonna cards of the British Museum appears to be the strongest. The agreement is particularly striking if the frame is considered: the same two lateral vertical bars separated by more ornamented horizontal ones, the latter being separated by gaps containing asterisks. Certainly it would not be reasonable to suggest an origin distant in either space or time between Colonna cards and this Rovereto sheet. On this basis, the date would be about 1615 (with an uncertainty of roughly 30 years), and the first candidate town would be Rome - until another town is found with a Piazza Nicosia!

I understand that Colonna (both as archaeological remains and as the noble family) is easier to find in Rome; however, a search should be undertaken for other Italian towns where a Piazza Nicosia might be present, and possibly with a column. A starting point may be the known fact that Nicosia, chief town of Cyprus, was ruled by Genoa from 1385 and by Venice from 1488 to 1571.

But Rome has recently obtained further hints in its favour, such as the caption of "carte romane" and the analogy with Ronciglione cards, discovered by Alberto Milano (JIPCS 00, p. 00). We may thus, at least for the moment, be satisfied with a Roman assignement, namely that these cards correspond to a 'Roman' pattern, well established by the end of the 16th century.

But what could have occurred earlier? Let us try to trace deeper into the origin of this pattern, with the peculiar interlaced swords and batons. A point of which I feel certain is that, as Michael Dummett has emphasised in recent years (JIPCS XVII, p. 113-124), the Portuguese contribution to the introduction of this kind of cards should not be over-estimated. Certainly, it was Portuguese seamen who carried the pattern as far as Japan and South America. However, the Portuguese - mainly owing to geographical reasons - are not likely to have played a major part in the development of this or any other early card pattern. More likely is an initial contribution by Spanish or Italian makers. Now, Thierry Depaulis (JIPCS XX, p. 89) has concluded that the Spanish contribution could not be very large, so we have to look at possible Italian sources.

It is not easy to think of Rome as the source. Rome (and we should consider other minor production centres of the Latium region also) does not seem to have played a remarkable part in the early development of cards. On the other hand, Venice already had its old traditional pattern with curved swords, which was to be carried into several mid-European countries for trappola games.

Personally, I can not give up thinking of Florence, which for centuries has represented a site of preferential use for this pattern. Unfortunately, I have not yet found any evidence that this pattern really derives from Florence. The solution to the problem would be the knowledge of the first minchiate cards, used around mid 15th century. Nobody knows which pattern they followed (and few peoples still believe that they did already exist at the time). Certainly, if they followed the 'Portuguese' pattern, we should now change its name not only into a 'Roman' pattern, as might be suggested for Alla Colonna cards and Rovereto sheet, but directly into a 'Florentine' pattern.

As for a possible passage of the pattern from Florence to Rome or vice versa, I think that a movement southwards is the more likely, the earlier one can consider it to have occurred. In conclusion, if one accepts some kind of 'Roman' pattern for Alla Colonna and similar cards, there are mainly two possible alternative ways for outlining its origin and the connected origin of standard minchiate cards. Either the pattern was originally developed in Florence giving rise to local minchiate and to a following spread toward Rome, or the pattern was originally introduced in Rome. In the latter case, one has to suppose that an unknown pattern was used earlier, for more than a century, for Florentine minchiate, being then replaced by the 'Roman' one.

As indicated above, several problems remain to be solved about the origin of both minchiate and the Portuguese pattern. So, hopefully, "Progress by Collaboration" will go on in the future, with other IPCS members making further useful contributions.

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?co ... linkText=0
Bartholeo Spgn
User avatar
Posts: 153
Joined: 21 Dec 2010, 10:58
Print view this post

Similar topics

Return to Reflections on IPCS-articles

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest