Triompho di Fortuna
The Triumph of Fortune (Triompho di Fortuna) by Sigismondo Fanti from Ferrara was published in Venice in 1526. The title describes the Triumph as “discussing the accidents of the world on the basis of natural science as well as astrology, faithfully exposed by Mercurio Vannullo from Rome. A most useful and playful work”. The book answers to 72 pre-defined questions. The answers are found on the basis of the hour in which the question was asked or by throwing two dice. Each of the answers includes three complementary elements:
1.An astrological chart 2.A small engraving 3.Four verses (often explicitly relating to the astrological chart)
At the end of the list of questions, appears an explanation of how the “figures”, i.e. the answers, should be read (“Della Significazione delle Figure”). Some specific instructions are given, in particular, the number of swords in the figure corresponds to the number of wounds or of dangerous situations that a soldier will have to face; the number of nightly birds in an answer about the length of life corresponds to the number of serious illnesses.
The book presents about 1.500 different answer, and includes many hundreds of different small engravings. The following is a selection of some images that have some resemblance with tarot trumps.
Images and Verses
Many men always use to simulate,
they are at the bottom but show to be high,
they want to sting heaven with their pointed tongue
believing to temper their evil saying so.
The beautiful Venus and the celestial signs
appearing in the western sky,
the white Taurus that never fails,
all seem to announce great riches for you.
That gentle, cunning and wise prince
is kind and generous as much as needed.
Do not try to bring shame or damage on him
following a bad omen or a bad dream.
If you will receive rightful and good news
of the great shepherd, here Jove indicates
that everyone will follow the deign religion
free from the errors of credulity.
The goddess from Cyprus is in the seventh house,
in a positive aspect [trine] with Jove:
this indicates that your beloved is not deceiving you
and that she is perfect and pure.
If you are righteous and measure the hours
doing good deeds and rejecting evil,
I can already see wings on your shoulders:
your end will be honourable.
The Alcoccoden and the Hyleg show good fortune
and say you are going to reach the age of eighty-five.
You will incur in two illnesses that will trouble you
and that will seriously affect your body.
The highest goodness that helps all mortals
will not allow that the world dies
before the high sphere of the eight circle,
to which we must run, begins to move.
Jove, being high above Mercury,
shows that victory will go to him
who received two unfavourable sentences:
at the end, one will decree his right.
If you are inhuman or treacherous
to your Lords or to your relatives, in deeds or words,
without reason and without any respect,
I foresee that you will end you hours in the air.
I see that, in the deepest hell,
more pains, more punishments, more torments
are being prepared for those that unjustly made war,
caring more of their appetites than of reason.
The more I look the more clearly I see
that the lightnings of Jove are being prepared
to strike in a marvellous way those
that let the seat of Mohamed become greater.
Let the eclipse and the comet appear in Cancer
if you want to see Venice in a great danger,
the son of one of the greatest Kings die
and then his father, if heaven does not forbid that.
If both of you are of a cold or a hot nature,
if you are as the ice of winter or as fire,
nature will not be able to work in you
because it does not find the right proportion.
If you want to measure anything
that is unreachable without the help
of an instrument, and you have it,
this science does not want to be hidden.
When you will see that those souls
that have left their frail and heavy corpses
a thousand years ago are coming back to life,
what is held in the sky will be undone.
You are not going to refrain from learning
the proportions of the heavenly circles,
both according to discrete quantities
and to the continuous and non-discrete.