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The History Of Dice And Cards

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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The History Of Dice And Cards

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With regard to the depicted figures of cards, each nation
likewise followed its own inventions, though grounded in both on
those ideas of chivalry which then strongly prevailed. The
Spanish cards were made to carry the insignia and accoutrements
of the King of Spain, the ace of deneros being emblazoned with
the royal arms, supported by an eagle. The French ornamented
their cards with fleurs de lis, their royal emblem. The Spanish
kings, in conformity to the martial spirit of the times when
cards were introduced, were all mounted on horseback, as befitted
generals and commanders-in-chief; but their next in command
(among the cards) was el caballo, the knight-errant on
horseback--for the old Spanish cards had no queens; and the third
in order was the soto, or attendant, that is, the esquire, or
armour-bearer of the knight--all which was exactly conformable to
those ideas of chivalry which ruled the age. It is said that
David (king of spades), tormented by a rebellious son, is the
emblem of Charles VII., menaced by his son (Louis XI.), and that
Argine (queen of clubs) is the anagram of Regina, and the emblem
of Marie d'Anjou, the wife of that prince; that Pallas (queen of
spades) represents Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans; that Rachel
(queen of diamonds) is Agnes Sorel; lastly, that Judith (queen of
hearts) is the Queen Isabeau. The French call the queens at
cards dames.

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