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When we think of the Tarot de Marseille (TdM), France usually comes to mind. But the game of tarot was played throughout Europe, with locally printed decks that had their own unique touches. Giordano Berti has recently produced facsimiles of two German Tarot de Marseille decks. The Tarocchi Miller is a Besançon-style deck where the Pope and Papesse are replaced with Jupiter and Juno.

Tarot arrived in Germany in the mid-1600s, just as the Tarot de Marseille pattern was becoming the dominant style in France. By the 18th century, Germans were playing the popular game of tarot with decks imported from neighboring regions of France where the Besançon style was very popular. German printers copied this style for their own decks. There are two theories about why the Pope and Papesse were eliminated, and they might both be true depending on the region. It’s surmised that Protestants, who were numerous in eastern France, didn’t want to see Catholic religious figures on their cards. On the other hand, Catholics thought the Pope on a playing card was sacrilegious, and a female pope even worse.

In 1780, the printer Josef Rauch Miller of Salzburg printed a Besançon-style deck with many quirky features that set it apart from a traditional TdM.

Tarocco di Besançon Il Meneghello Edizioni

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