hist-games: Cartomancy debate

Chas webmaster at historicgames.com
Fri Feb 16 15:16:14 PST 2001

Thierry Depaulis wrote:
> All these books ask the 'consultant' to use a random generator -- mostly
> dice. Then according to the chart you get a page number and a sentence
> number which is supposed to answer your questions. Some books use playing
> cards instead of dice, e.g. the so-called (German) 'Kartenlosbuecher' (=
> literally "card-fortune books"). Here playing cards are not actually
> 'read': they are just used to give you a page/sentence number. It is the
> great difference between these early methods and later cartomancy.
> Such books appeared as early as the late 15th century. They were quite
> popular in Europe (I know no English example) and were called in German
> 'Losbuch', in French 'Livre de sort', etc. One of these, written by Lorenzo
> Spirito, was a best-seller around 1500-50.

Many thanks for the clarification! Can you recommend sources for further
reading on the topic of these fortune-telling books?

MacGregor Games
Purveyors of historic pastimes to re-enactors around the world
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