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A TAROT HISTORY TIMELINE

tarot-readingsThe modern tarot is a deck of 78 cards consisting of 2 types of cards: the 22 cards of the “Major Arcana” or “Trumps which are named (such as the Lovers, Death and Judgement), and the “Minor Arcana” or “suit cards” (four suits of fourteen cards, each comprised of cards numbered from one to ten, and four ‘court’ cards) which roughly correspond to a modern deck of playing cards.

This structure is a derivation of the Venetian or Piedmontese Tarot, but early decks were of several types with varying numbers of cards.

Examples of early European decks related to the Tarot include:

  • Tarocchi of Mantegna, consisting of five series of ten cards each
  • Tarocchino of Bologna, which differs from the standard structure in having no court cards in the Minor Arcana (so 62 cards in total)
  • Minchiate of Florence, a 98-card deck consisting of the standard 78 cards augmented by twenty additional major cards representing the twelve signs of the zodiac, the four elements (Fire, Water, Air and Earth) and four cardinal virtues (Hope, Prudence, Faith and Charity; though these are often considered to be Wisdom/Prudence, Temperance, Courage/Fortitude and Justice).
  • Tarocchi of Venice (also known as the Lombardi Deck), which has the same structure as a modern Tarot deck

The original Italian titles of the cards were in some cases different from the later French titles (and their English translations) that have become familiar to us through the Tarot de Marseille and its descendants.

Also, the ordering of the trumps varied considerably in Italy where the cards originated.

Tarot Readings

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