playing cards

Old playing cards

The playing cards I am one of the pastimes most appreciated ever.

On a gloomy winter evening or under an umbrella by the sea, there are many people who enjoy playing with a deck in hand.

What we like to play?

From i card games more popular today there are:

  • The poker, invented in the first thirty years of 1800. It is loved by both men and women. There are more poker games: There are, indeed, different variants - from Texas Hold’em all’Omaha. It is the most popular card game in the world today;
  • The bridge, which developed in the first twenty years of the 1900s. According to some, the name derives from the fact that the employees of the English Embassy in Constantinople, in order to play they had to go to a bar that was beyond the Galata Bridge, a bridge;
  • The seven and a half was born around 1890 in Italy and has become over the years one of the symbols of the reunion on anniversaries.

Neapolitan, Sicilian, Treviso, Piacenza… In Italy we really have many variations, but the original story comes from afar.

Where the queens come from, the cups, i re, i quadri (see also: https://www.pilloledistoria.it/12281/storia-moderna/gioco-d-azzardo-casanova)?

The history of playing cards

All over the world the types of playing cards they are numerous.

It is not only the images represented that change, but also shapes and numbers.

There are, indeed, tall and thin, there are bouquets from 100 and decks from 25.

The historian and collector Peter Enderbrock declares that playing cards were born in Asia, but the precise country from which they then arrived in Europe is not certain.

There are those who think it was the Chinese to invent, while others are all betting on Persians, but there are those who believe that the cards were born in India.

The truth is, there is no hard evidence, only hypothesis.

One of these, for example, is related to “Game of leaves” (yezi ge) typical of China of the beginning 800, while another, while remaining anchored to China, delays the invention of cards at the end of 1200, when the local police seized papers and printing stubs from a group of arrested people.

The arrival in Europe

playing cards

Playing cards with artistic representations

It dates back to 1377 the first ordinance banning gambling with cards: happens in France and the cards in question are 52 and they have 4 semi.

To tell it is the Swiss monk Johannes of Rheinfelden.

Most believe it was the mamelucchi to introduce cards in Europe, over the Crusades between 1375 and the 1400.

seems, therefore, that the earliest traces of card games in Europe were linked to a pastime among the combative, in moments of boredom.

To support this hypothesis there are the similarities between the cards used by the Mamluks and the Spanish ones, from which they derive, for example, the Piacenza, the Neapolitans and the Sicilians.

The spread of playing cards

playing cards

Ancient playing cards

Initially they were mainly the rich playing cards, as these had a very high price: the drawings, indeed, they were hand painted, they were intricate and very colorful.

And it was precisely the designs that began to cause the fragmentation and differentiation of the decks, for every house and every region wanted their own.

From i topics the most popular were the hunting e i symbols of ruling families.

Only during the fifteenth century the cost of the cards began to become more accessible: that's when the game became popular.

The Germany it was the first country to use cutting and engraving techniques on copper and wood, making production faster and cheaper.

In the same period i 4 suits of the French deck became the most used throughout the world: hearts, spades, paintings and flowers (some believe that the flowers derive from acorns and the spades from the leaves typical of German cards).

In UK, then, the production of playing cards industrialized: it was thanks to the printer Thomas de la Rue if the cards became a mass product.

The designs still in use today, instead, are signed by Charles Goodall.

The drawings, moreover, they were performed symmetrically so that the cards did not have to be turned upside down while held in hand.

And the Jolly?

The Jolly was introduced by Americans between 1830 and the 1840.

The Joker was presented as the trump card over all others and was represented as a jester, a figure who does not respect the rules and is able to mock both the king and the queen.

And now that we know the story, what we play? (photo: giochidacasino.it, palermo.repubblica.it/societa e inchiestasicilia.com).