With that being said, the story of the “official” tarot cards, began in northern Italy in the fifteenth century AD.
You might be thinking “Where do tarot cards originate?”
One source stated that Tarot cards probably originated in Italy in the 14th century since the earliest known explanation of their usage dates to 1391.
Another thing we asked ourselves was when did tarot cards come to be used?
One way to consider this is lets look at some of the early decks of Tarot cards, and the history of how these came to be used as more than just a parlor game. The ancestors of what we today know as Tarot cards can be traced back to around the late fourteenth century.
This begs the inquiry “What is the history of tarot cards?”
Tarot cards likely originated in northern Italy during the late 14 th or early 15 th century. The oldest surviving set, known as the Visconti-Sforza deck, was created for the Duke of Milan’s family around 1440. The cards were used to play a bridge-like game known as tarocchi, popular at the time among nobles.
In France, writer Antoine Court de Gébelin asserted that the tarot was based on a holy book written by Egyptian priests and brought to Europe by Gypsies from Africa. In reality, tarot cards predated the presence of Gypsies in Europe, who actually came from Asia rather than Africa.
In fact, modern tarot cards are still used as playing cards in parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. In English speaking countries, however, tarot cards are used almost exclusively for divination.
What is the history of tarot card games?
The 18th century saw tarot’s greatest revival, during which it became one of the most popular card games in Europe, played everywhere except Ireland and Britain, the Iberian peninsula, and the Ottoman Balkans. French tarot experienced another revival beginning in the 1970s and France has the strongest tarot gaming community.
The oldest surviving tarot cards are the 15 or so Visconti-Sforza tarot decks painted in the mid-15th century for the rulers of the Duchy of Milan.
Why are tarot cards so similar to playing cards?
The similarity between the mystical tarot deck and the modern deck of playing cards is unsurprising. This is because tarot cards were originally used as playing cards. In the mid-15th century, tarot cards were called trionfi, tarocchi and tarock cards. The designs of the cards varied across Europe as did the suits.
A common inquiry we ran across in our research was “Are tarot cards based on a true story?”.
A French writer, Antoine Court de Gebelin, claimed that tarot cards were based on a holy book written by ancient Egyptian priests. The cards were then brought to Europe by gypsies.
Why are tarot cards linked to ancient Egypt?
By linking tarot imagery to Egyptian mysticism, they gave the cards greater credibility. Building on Court de Gébelin’s Egyptian connection, Etteilla claimed that tarot cards originated with the legendary Book of Thoth, which supposedly belonged to the Egyptian god of wisdom.
Where does the word Tarot come from?
For some it comes from taroté, the back of the first crossed-striped cards or by tarotiers, the makers of the first cards, and others by the god thot. In short, nothing sure is known about the tarot.