The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II
The History Of Dice And Cards
It was not before the end of the 14th century that cards became
known in Europe; and it is a curious fact that the French clergy
took greatly to card-playing about that time--their favourite
game being the rather ungenteel 'All Fours,' as now reputed; for
they were specially forbidden that pastime by the Synod of
Langres in 1404.
The ancient cards of both Spain and France, particularly the
'court-cards,' exhibit strong marks of the age of chivalry; but
here we may observe that the word is written by some ancient
writers, 'coate-cards,' evidently signifying no more than figures
in particular dresses. The giving pre-eminence or victory to a
certain suit, by the name of 'trump,' which is only a corruption
of the word 'triumph,' is a strong trait of the martial ideas of
the inventors of these games. So that, if the Chinese started
the idea, it seems clear that the French and Spanish improved
upon it and gave it a plain significance; and there is no reason
to doubt that cards were actually employed to amuse Charles VI.
in his melancholy and dejection.
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