That crazy Mitelli!

Lately I’ve been getting into decks that don’t have massive crowds of people swarming all over them. The Belline (though it’s quite popular in France), Sibilla decks (though I fear they may be the Next Big Thing), a return visit to the Grand Jeu, and the 1690 Gioco del Passo Tempo (Game of the Passage of Time) by G.M. Mitelli, published my Il Meneghello.

Like so many great reading decks (Tarot, Lenormand, playing cards….), it started as a gaming deck. There are forty cards, with various vices and virtues. Some of the cards are similar to Italian Sibilla: Superbia is accompanied by a peacock, there’s a Gelosia card, Fedelta (with a dog, of course), Allegrezza, Fortuna, Falsita, and Malinconia. So this thing is very likely to be historically significant.

Here is a list of the cards, with rough translations:

1 Turco – Turk, Ottoman
2 Mangia Bene – Eat Well
3 Superbia – Pride
4 Danno – Damage, Harm, Loss
5 Furore – Rage
6 Malinconia – Melancholy
7 Ignoranza – Ignorance
8 Curiosita – Curiousity
9 Arpia – Harpy
10 Falsita D’Amore – False Love
11 Invidia – Envy
12 Inganno – Deceit, Hoax
13 Interesse – Interest, concern
14 Fortuna – Fortuna
15 Allegrezza – Joyfulness
16 Gelosia – Jealousy
17 Bugia – Lie
18 Adulazione – Flattery
19 Incostanza – Inconstancy, Fickleness
10 GAME INSTRUCTIONS
21 Silenzio – Hush, Keep Quiet
22 Industria – Industry, Trade
23 Contento – Contentment
24 Vigilanza – Vigilance, Supervision, Surveillance, Lookout
25 Valore – Value, Gallantry, Merit
26 Scoltura – Sculpture
27 Ingegno – Ingenuity, Brain
28 Ragione – Reason, Motive
29 Astrologia – Astrology
30 Prontiza – Readiness, Quickness
31 Concordia – Accord, Agreement
32 Realta -Reality, Fact
33 Pittura – Picture, Depiction
34 Fedelta – Fidelity, Loyalty
35 Musica – Music
36 Sollecitudine – Solicitude, Concern, Kindness
37 Cortesia – Courtesy
38 Afabilita – Affability, Kindness
39 Virtu – Virtue
40 Il Tempo Passa – Time Passes

You may have noticed that No. 20 is “game instructions” – and that is correct. If you purchase this deck, don’t assume that card 20 is missing – it’s not. It just goes in the middle of the deck for some reason as yet unknown to me.

The cards are uncoated, with a textured, linen-type finish. Not something that will stand up to heavy use and constant riffling, but they do feel wonderful. The images are somewhat like those in emblem books.

All in all, it won’t totally replace your heavy-use decks, but it’s a wonderful thing to keep on your reading table.

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