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Cards History

Cards as well as compass, gun powder, china and paper must have come from China. The matter is paper money was used by the people of the Celestial Empire not only for mutual settlements but for gambling games. It was already in use in the territory of ancient China in the VIII century A.D. in times of Tan dynasty. Portraits of emperors, their wives, governors showed the dignity of this or that banknote. Although, there are no proves of this supposition, as well as nothing corroborates the theory that colorful Chinese tiles of the 1st century A.D. in the collection of the Boston Museum were the prototypes of cards. Arrows, stones, bits of bark, wooden bars, animals` teeth, used by our ancestors for rituals might have been the prototypes of cards. Since then some of the enumerated things became the attribute of the dice games, domino or chess. Others remained as pictures on the paper rectangles. Many museums keep gaming discs and other similar things, made by the Native Americans and the Koreans.

According to some historians, cards became popular in Europe thanks to Saracens (the Arabs), who employed them to foretell the future. Later in the X century Saracens invaded Italy and the Italians borrowed cards for gambling. For the first time they were mentioned in Europe in 1369 in the manuscript written by two monks, Belgian and Swiss. Belgian was struck to see to laymen playing Ly cards at the wall of Sent-Souver Abbey. The second monk stated that cards appeared in Switzerland that year.

Angelo Covelucco, Italian historian of the XV century wrote: The year of 1379 A.D. cards were brought to Witebrough. The game originated from Saracen lands and is called "Naib" that means " prophecy". This proves that Saracens used cards to foretell future, not for gambling (furthermore, the etymology of Spanish word " naipes" (cards) is unknown, but one can suppose it derived from Arabian "naaba" and was subject to phonetic influence or from the name of Naples, whose people knew cards before others).

The earliest known pack of European cards is called "Tarot". It was made in the XIV century in Lombardy. It has four suits: cups, swords, money and cudgels. There are ten cards with figures and four picture cards: king, queen, knight and page. Apart from these 56 cards, there were 22 trump cards with figures from 0 to 21, and they were called jester, conjurer, nun, empress, emperor, monk, lover, chariot, justice, hermit, fate (or wheel), force, hangman, death (in fact this card had no name because of the fear it caused, but the skeleton pictured on it suggests itself), moderation, demon, hotel (or hospital), star, moon, sun, court, world.

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