Talk:Recherches sur les Tarots
 Translation suggestion
Anyone interested in translating parts on BBs - such as Aeclectic's Tarot Forum History section?
Some notes, observations, questions:
The first published connection is made between the Tarot and the Hebrew alphabet.
Google/bable fish translation: First, the Juggler holds the rod of the Magi, with which to affect miracles & deceive credulous people. It is followed of a single Card representing the Madness which carries its bag or its defects behind it, while a tiger or the remorses, devouring his 'bulges', delays its walk towards crime [This Card does not have a row: it completes the crowned Alphabet, & answers the Tau which wants to say completion or perfection: perhaps one wanted to represent in his direction the most natural result of the actions of men]. These twenty-two original Cards are not merely hieroglypics, which, placed in their natural order, retrace the History of the earliest times, they are also letters [ the Hebrew alphabet is composed of 22 Letters] which variously combined, can form many sentences; even their name (A-tout) is just a literal translation of their employment and general character.
Here we have the first published account of a correlation between the 22 hebrew letters and the 21 trumps and the Fool, which was to have a great influence in the development of the occult tarot. C. De Mellet does not give a complete list of attributions, but from those he does:
Quote [google/babel fish translation]:
The Sun answering to Gimel, signifies, in this context, remuneration, happiness. Fortune or Lamed means rule, law, science. The Fool does not express anything by itself, it corresponds with the Tau, it is simply a sign, a mark. Typhon or Zain announces inconstancy, error, faith violated, crime. Death or Teth indicates the action to reap: indeed, Death is a terrible reaper.
Shows that C. de Mellet places the fool before the bateleur, and attributes the letters from card XXI, conceived as beginning or creation to the Fool as last, so World is attributed to Alef, Judgement to Beith, Sun to Gimel etc., in order to Fool as Tau.
The connection with Hebrew is also made in his 'etymology' of the word Tarosh, quote:
Ce Livre paroît avoir été nommé A-Rosh; d'A, Doctrine, Science; & de Rosch [Rosh est le nom Egyptien de Mercure & de sa Fête qui se célébroit le premier jour de l'an.], Mercure, qui, joint à l'article T, signifie Tableaux de la Doctrine de Mercure; mais comme Rosh veut aussi dire Commencement, ce mot Ta-Rosh fut particulierement consacré à sa Cosmogonie; de même que l'Ethotia, Histoire du Tems, fut le titre de son Astronomie; & peut-être qu'Athothes, qu'on a pris pour un Roi, fils de Thot, n'est que l'enfant de son génie, & l'Histoire des Rois d'Egypte.
Google/babel fish translation:
This Book was named A-Rosh; from A, meaning Doctrines, Science; conjoined with Rosh [Rosh is the Egytian name of Mercury & of his Festival celebrated on the first day of the New Year], Mercury, which, joined to the article T, means 'The Images of the Doctrines of Mercury'; but as Rosh also means 'beginning', so this word A-Rosh was particularly devoted to its Cosmogony; just as Ethotia, Temporal History, was the title of its Astronomy; & perhaps that Athothes, that one took for a King, a son of Thot, is only the child of its genious, & the History of Kings of Egypt.
C.d.Mellet's 'Egyptian etymology' here is is clearly based upon hebrew letter symbolism and words rather than ancient Egyptian. His derivation of the word Ta-rosh as being related to cosmogony, is derived from the Hebrew as follows:
The letter' T' he decides is the definitive article, probably he is relating it to the Hebrew definitive article 'eTh';
A as doctrines, science - the homonym 'doctrine' for the letter aleph can be found in St. Jerome and is repeated in Kircher [and later in Levi]. Probably from the homonym for learn/teach.
Rosh as 'beginning' is from the Hebrew, as in b'reshith, 'in the beginning'.
So we have Ta-rosh = 'the doctrine of the beginning'; which C.d.Mellet goes on to develop as a history of the earliest times divided into three periods corresponding to a century of gold [seven cards world - devil], a century of silver [seven cards temperance - justice] and a century of iron [seven cards chariot - bateleur].
The origin of the coins being called Pantacles/pentacles i.e,, talismanic forms? quote [google/babel fish translation]:
"When the Egyptians had forgotten the first interpretation of these images, & used them like simple letters for their sacred writing, it was natural that such a superstitious people attached occult virtues [also the science of numbers & the value of the Letters as was extremely well known formerly] to characters esteemed for their antiquity, & that the Priests, who alone understood them, employed them only for religious things. They even invented new characters, & we see in the Holy scriptures that the Magi initiated in their secrets, divined by the cup [Cup of Joseph]. That they performed wonders with their Baton [the Rod of Moses & of Pharoe's magicians]. That they consulted Talismans [the Gods of Laban & Théraphim, the Urim & Thummim. ] or of engraved stones. That they divined future things by Swords, Arrows, Axes, and by weapons in general. These four Signs [ie, cups, batons, coins (talismans) and swords] were introduced along side the religious images when the establishment of Kings led to the different estates in society. Swords representing Royalty & the powerful of the Earth. As the Priests use Cups for the Sacrifices, so the Cup came to represent the priesthood. Coins, Trade. The Baton, as the crook and the pivot, representing Agriculture."
Stars and Fish [Dix-septième, la Création des Étoiles & des Poissons, représentées par des Étoiles & le Verseau]?
There is an image of the star tableau [cary sheet?] that shows what appears to be the tail of a fish rising from the water, but what deck is de Mellet using? He is clearly using a Besancon style pattern of deck [later referencing Jupiter and Juno], is there a besancon style deck that shows a fish on the star card? Or is C.d.Mellet reflecting here some tradition or attribution of the card without having actually seen an image of a fish on the card? The star card imagery of the TdM has parallels with images of the astrological sign Aquarius, which C. de Mellet here refers to [le Verseau]; in relation to which the fish on the card is most likely to represent Pisces Austrinus, the Southern Fish whose 'mouth' is one of the four royal stars of persia Fomalhaut, often shown in images of the constellations as drinking from one of the jugs of the water bearer.
Section III Names of various Cards, preserved by the Spaniards.
In 'A Wicked Pack of Cards' Decker/Dummet observe Mellet here "..commits the same mistake as Court de Gebelin in supposing that the names given to certain particular cards in the game of Aluette apply to the corresponding cards in the Tarot, and makes the same error of detail as Court de Gebelin had done in assigning the name 'le Borgne' (the one-eyed man) to the Ace of Coins rather than to the 2. Is Mellet copying Gebelin, Gebelin copying Mellet, or are they using the same source?Does C. De Mellet's text cast doubt upon Gebelin's own account of his own 'discovery' of the Egyptian connection?
Have added a computor generated translation as a make do until such time as a proper translation can be made. The nature of the method of translation is bound to incorporate some errors so I urge caution in using it as a reference. Because of the archaic French many words and phrases were not translatable by babel/alta vista and I have had to research some words/phrases and in others made a guess. I have been aided in translation in reference to partial translations in printed works, especially 'A Wicked Pack of Cards' by Decker/Dummet, though only in identifying obscure words, I have follow the literal rendition of translation produced by alta vista/babel. Kwaw