Origins and History of the Tarot

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History tells us that a scholar named Marziano da Torona, who was secretary to the Duke of Milan, may have invented the Tarot deck. Marziano was a scholar and an expert astrologer. The young duke, Filippo Maria Visconti instructed Marziano to create a game, using a deck that would replace the common suits of swords, coins, staves and cups. The duke wanted the new deck to have cards that represented virtues, riches, pleasures and purities. Marziano went on to create the card deck that Visconti wanted. He wrote a companion book to go with the deck of cards. It is on display in the Paris National library. In the book, there are no divine meanings to the cards, but no real rules for a card game, either. The book focuses on the symbolic meaning of the pictures and the different ranks of the depicted characters. Michelino da Besozzo is the Italian artist credited with painting the cards.

Is it plausible that the origins of the Tarot as the curious card game invented by Marziano da Torona? If so, why doesn't the book that accompanied the deck refer to the divination of the cards?

The Mystery Continues About the Origins of the Tarot

Where did the word Tarot come from? It has been called a Hebrew, Latin or Egyptian word. Is the word Tarot really an anagram, which when solved explains the mystery of the cards? Once again, the historical evidence of the origins of the word points to where the cards first appeared - in Italy. The cards were called Carte da trionfi, which is Italian for "cards of the triumphs." Later, a new card game was introduced, called Trumps or Triumphs. As it was played with different cards, the original Carte da trionfi became tarocco. In French they were called tarot.