hist-games: Good stuff in latest IPCS journal

Mon Nov 3 11:17:00 PST 1997

   There are a number of articles that people on hist-games will likely find of
interest in the latest International Playing-Card Society Journal (Vol-26, #2
Sep/Oct 1997).  The article I have the most interest in is "Orpelli e Nabi" by
Franco Pratesi (page 38).  It is written in Italian (I believe) so I have not
read it yet, but I've attached an abstract below.  I've sent a message to the
playing-card list asking if anybody has an Enlish translation, but I don't mind
asking here too.
   The next article of interest is "A Greenlandic Descendant of Karnoffel" by
Anthony G. Smith (page 45).  As you may be aware, Karnoffel is one of the
earliest card games that we have reasonably "good" rules for (from a sermon in
1426).  Although many of the variants discussed in the article are past the
general period covered by hist-games, there are a number of good references and
it is interesting to see the spread of the game.
   In John McLeod's regular column "Playing the Game" (page 53), he talks about
discovering people who still play Trappola (which was generally believed to
have died out around World War II).  Note that John maitains the excellent
playing-card site (http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/playing-cards/), and is a member of
this list.  Trappola dates to the late 15th century, and this article inspired
me to re-read the Trappola chapter in Dummett's "Game of Tarot".  Trappola is
partially described in Cardano's "The Book on Games of Chance" (a 16th century
work on mathematical probability in gaming).
   There is another article which may also be of interest, although the
abstract was not of enough detail to tell for sure.  It is "La Virtu in Giocco"
by Susann Buhl (page 71), and I believe it is written in German.  The article
is on card in Venice and I believe it may be based on events in the 17th
century.  There are various cards illustrated in the article, which appear to
be more 18th century like, but I can only make out a couple of dates in the
article.  The abstract is below.

ABSTRACT of "Orpelli e Nabi":
   A piece of research has been carried out on the early spread in Italy of
playing cards with reference to the specific materials and productions
techniques involved.  It is suggested that the first playing cards entered the
market through the arts and crafts already established for the productions of
orpelli, leaflets of parchments covered by a thin film with the aspect of gold
or silver.  New documents on these times and their characteristics in the
second half of the 14th century are provided from the registers of Francesco
Datini, a renowned merchant from Prato.  Conditions for the spread of playing
cards are discussed.

ABSTRACT of "La Virtu in Giocco":
   The cards introduced in this section are the so-called illustrations of
representation and cards which critically describe an important event of the
history of Venice.  Like most representative illustration, these follow the
usual mode of representation of a political sovereign, but I ascribe in this
group also the so-called militaria, which are illustrations that show a
stratagem or a battlefield.  The other cards of this section, belonging to the
so-called event-illustrations seem to be a pictures captured at the moment when
the event took place.

   I hope you find this post of some interest, and would love to see English
translations of "Orpelli e Nabi" and/or "La Virtu in Giocco".  Regards.

Michael McKay  (known in the SCA as Seaan McAy)
mckay_michael at tandem.com  or  seaanmcay at aol.com

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