Express Divination 2

Choose 1 playing card


Origin and history of playing cards

Another theory separates the cards of the West entirely from those of the East, and holds that the western were originally made in Europe. This is as it may be. A writer of the latter part of the fifteenth century says that cards were first known at Viterbo in 1379, and that they had been introduced by the Saracens, who, with the Arabs and Moors, have the credit of planting the seeds of Cartomancy in Spain.

It is certain that at first cards were called by the name naibi; and the Hebrew and Arabic words, Nabi, naba, nabaa, signify "to foretell." It is also widely believed that the idea of playing games with cards was an after-thought, and that their original purpose was for the practice of divination. The earliest cards were the Tarots, of which we speak in another chapter, and it is supposed that some one had the bright idea of adding the numeral to the symbolical cards, so as to play games with them. This addition was made about the middle of the fourteenth century, and at the beginning of the fifteenth century there was a pack in Venice composed of seventy-eight cards, twenty-two symbols and fifty-six numerals; with four coat (court) cards, king, queen, chevalier, and valet, and ten point or pip cards to each suit. The fifty-six numerals were subsequently reduced to the present number, fifty-two, by the rejection of one of the picture cards.

The Spaniards discourteously abolished the queens, but the French, true to their reputation, kept the dame and rejected the chevalier. The early German packs were the same as the French, but the queens again were cast out in favour of a superior knave called the Obermann. England accepted the Spanish or French pack as she found it.