The Trumps

As we have seen on the History pages, the trump cards, as they appear in the tarot decks, are an original invention that has its origin in Northern Italy. The development might have its origin in the so called Michelino deck, that was created in the early fifteenth Century in Milan, but it developed further in several Italian City States. Some had more influence, others had less, Main cities cited in the development of the tarot are Venice, Milan, Ferrara, Florence and Bologna. Intellectually it was probably Ferrara from where the 22 trump card structure originated and it was probably Milan where the trumps were ordered in the order as we know them today. In Bologna the Trionfi game was at the base of the Tarocchini decks (with 62 cards) and in Florence we see the Minchiate deck developping itself (with 97 cards).  Venice is where it all began, the sea merchants of Venice were the first who brought playing cards to Italy, and from Venice it spread all over the European continent.

In this section, we will consider the 22 trump card structure as we know it today.  As we have seen on the pages describing the development of the tarot decks,  the original structure consisted of three groups of seven cards with one special card above them all. We will see in this section that there are some variations on this structure and that it finally transformed in seven groups of three cards. The subpages of divided in three groups :

  • Trumps cards, numbered or ordered?
  • The Renaissance Tarot Wheel
  • The Visconti Sforza variant
  • The Tarot of Marseille Tarot Wheel

At the end of these pages you should have a reasonable understanding about the original structuring of the tarot trumps

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