hist-games: The tarot

bjm10 at cornell.edu bjm10 at cornell.edu
Wed Aug 20 09:04:39 PDT 1997

On Wed, 20 Aug 1997, Mark Waks wrote:

> Actually, it's the other way around -- the tarot deck was
> probably *originally* used for games, and only picked up
> the divinatory aspect well after the Renaissance. There
> were a number of games based on the Tarot, all of them
> trick-taking games using the Trumps as, well, Trumps.

Furthermore, original English pronunciation was likely to have been as it 
was spelled ['tar-ot] as opposed to the affectatious [tah-'roh], which 
may have been introduced in the 19th century by Uncle Al, Frater 666.  It 
was he who coined the terms "minor arcana" and "major arcana".  Before 
then, the "major arcana" were just called "trumps".

Mind you, Uncle Al also was of the opinion that "Magick" was the most 
appropriate spelling for his "Art" because it was "closer to the orignal 
Egyptian" (guess he never heard of "hekau"...).

> For a detailed look at the subject, check out "The Game
> of Tarot" by Michael Dummett, a truly remarkable book

I've seen it--yes, it is a good source.

> dozens of Tarot games down the centuries. Also, I have a
> slightly-speculative reconstruction of a late-Renaissance
> Tarot game on the Period Games Homepage, based on a

Would this be the three-handed game "Tarrocci"?

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