Posted on July 13, 2018
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Events of the Bible history were also reflected in decks of the playing cards. The Church did not approve cards and the artists who chose Bible scene as subjects of their works, found an interesting interpretation of symbols of card suits.
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Together with this rich heritage these decks of cards created for education purposes. In 1662 the German publisher Johann Hoffmann published a book “Reproduced antique art cards with 36 figures created by Johann Pretorio”. The Bavarian National Museum in Munich stores the cards issued by Johann Schtridbeck in 1685 and they can be related to the series “Worthy Men”. These cards present outstanding men of the Ancient Rome and Greece. Other cards have pictures of the Roman emperors starting from Caesar. In 1936 issued a pack of cards called “History” in honor of crowning of the English King Edward VIII. The cards were hand-painted and with English text on them. The cards depict 53 rulers of England. A very beautiful pack is stored in Victoria and Albert Museum: the picture on the sleeve is a scene in front of the Coliseum with the Latin inscription – “Testis Temporum”. Each of the four suits is devoted to one of the monarchies: coins refer to Assyrians, cups correspond to Persians, swords to Greeks, warders to Romans.
Events of the Bible history were also reflected in decks of the playing cards. The Church did not approve cards and the artists who chose Bible scene as subjects of their works, found an interesting interpretation of symbols of card suits. For example, on German cards called “spiritual deck”, the jack of leaves (many eastern and southern Germans prefer decks with hearts, bells, leaves, and acorns (for hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs) is presented as Jonah under a green tree and the ace of acorns symbolizes the prodigal son who fell as low as that he had to eat acorns together with pigs.
Cards with religious pictures were probably intended to entertain the clergy who as a rule were forbidden to play cards. One pack of this type is known and it was produced in Germany in XVI century. It depicts monks and nuns, cardinals and lower clergy. The queen in these cards is presented as abbess. (probably the influence of Tarot).
The Geographical decks of cards.
The British museum has a pack of cards with counties dated back to 1590. We have already mentioned the pack “Geography” used for teaching Louis XIV. Probably the childhood impressions of Louis XIV were so strong that in 1701 he issued a law on uniform canon of gaming cards for each of nine provinces of France (this way making all the French cards somewhat geographical). In 1678 Nurnberg publishing house published a book called “European geographical card game”. Fifty-two pages of the book demonstrate all exiting kingdoms and countries with the main cities in Europe. Besides the description of the countries, cities and the most interesting sites, it also tells about the most significant events in these places. The Frankfurt Museum of the Applied Art has a deck of another type of cards: each card has a picture of a representative of a particular population group.
In general context any game is educational as in the course of the game the person performs cognitive activity. Virtually every game either commercial or gambling incarnates the basis of many sciences: the theory of probability, mathematical logic, and of course, arithmetic and elementary logic. You cannot play the bridge, poker or chuck-farthing without the latter. Besides the game indirectly teaches you the basics of law and ethics and helps to develop your memory, attention and intelligence.