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The Ancient Minchiate Etruria Tarot Deck

printed in Florence in 1725

The Antiche Minchiate Etruria Tarot Deck
Price: $20.00

Formerly called The Antiche Minchiate Etruria Tarot Deck

Number of cards in deck: 97

Measurements: 2.37 x 4.25 inches, or 60 x 108 mm.

Back of card: White with pale green printing. In the center, an indeterminate young person looking right but pointing left. On the bottom of the card the word, "ETRURIA". Not a symmetrical back, but due to the low contrast of the printing, these may be inverted.

Booklet included: Yes, a long folded sheet of paper with 16 panes. Each pane measures 2.4 x 4.35 inches, or 60 x 108 mm.

Publisher: Lo Scarabeo. Printed in Italy.

Comments: I had a brainstorm one day & realized the Major arcana cards were much younger than the minor arcana (pip, or playing) cards. While there is no way to know this beyond doubt, this deck tends to support my hunch.

These cards were first published in Florence in 1725. In this deck, as virtually every other deck, we have the usual four suits with ten numbered cards & four court cards. The major arcana, on the other hand, is a major surprise. There are 41 cards, in this order:

0 The Fool
1 The Magician
2 The Empress
3 The Emperor
4 The Hierophant
5 The Lovers
6 Temperance
7 The Force
8 Justice
9 The Wheel of Fortune
10 The Chariot
11 Time
12 The Hanged Man
13 Death
14 The Devil
15 The House of the Devil
16 Hope
17 Prudence
18 Faith
19 Charity
20 Fire
21 Water
22 Earth
23 Air
24 Libra
25 Virgo
26 Scorpio
27 Aries
28 Capricorn
29 Sagittarius
30 Cancer
31 Pisces
32 Aquarius
33 Leo
34 Taurus
35 Gemini
36 Star
37 Moon
38 Sun
39 The World
40 Justice

The Italians are perhaps the most creative nation on earth. In this list, pretty much all the usual major arcana cards, but not in the usual order. In addition, the four elements, the four graces & the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Compare this to the Sola Busca Tarot with its unique -and different - slant on the major arcana. We like to think that tarot was always fixed with 22 major arcana cards, but this is not so. It may be that most of the early decks had the usual 22 cards with more or less the same names & in more or less the same order, but this was not always true.

It may be that the 22 standard major arcana cards became standard merely from mindless copying. If a 78 card deck is already popular, why not copy success & guarantee the outcome of one's efforts? The world has always copied success, then as now.

What is unchanged from deck to deck are the 52/56 ordinary "playing" cards. These did not change because everyone knew what to expect, meaning that the suits & numbers were fixed far earlier. Such, at any rate, is my hunch.

The cards in the second line, above: The King of Wands, the Fool, Fire, and Sagittarius.

If you use these cards in a reading, let me know how you do it.

See also Brian Williams's reworking of this deck at The Minchiate Tarot Deck & Book Set. The book that comes with the set is highly recommended & can be profitably used with the original cards shown above.

The Astrology Center of America

207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Fax:410-638-5154; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

Tarot Home Tarot Decks Tarot Books Join our tarot mailing list Astrology Home E-Mail: Dave

Established 1993, The Astrology Center of America is owned & operated by David Roell. Except where noted, this entire site (AstroAmerica.com) & its contents are Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by William R. Roell. All rights reserved. Tarot card images are Copyright © by the copyright holder (generally the publisher).