The desire to win, to win, to succeed in the blood of every man. Big or small, the essence does not change. After all, achieving any goal set for yourself – there is already a victory, and the desire to achieve it is always associated with excitement. Gambling is a strong feeling and is inherent in a man as love or hate. Someone with excitement watching the game of your favorite football team, someone bets on the racetrack, and someone throws everything at roulette or a card table.
In gambling mankind has played and will always play. The history of some games are counted thousands of years. But, not afraid to make a mistake, we can say that the most popular and widespread among them – entertainment with maps. These are guessing games, and solitaire games, and various card games – from the most simple for luck to require outstanding intellectual and psychological abilities.
Some games – bridge, poker, preference – have won so much recognition that they even hold championships of various levels up to world ones.
What attracts you in cards? What are they so attractive for? And how do they differ from other board entertainments? It turns out that the deck of playing cards is not just a set of pictures. It is, it is possible to tell, a model of the world. Okay.
The standard deck has 52 cards. Among them, 12 pictures is 12 months. Red and black are day and night.
52 cards correspond to the number of weeks in a year, four suits represent four seasons of the year, and since each season consists of 13 weeks, therefore, in each suit there are 13 cards. In addition, each suit, as is well known, consists of points from 1 to 10, and then images of a jack, lady, king. If we take the numbers 11, 12, 13 instead and add up all the points, we get the number 91 corresponding to the number of days in one quarter of a year. Thus, the sum of all the points of the four suits will be 364, that is, the number of days in a year without one, plus the joker, leap year. Because before, decks were made with one joker.
The model of the state
Today it’s hard to find someone who’s never held a cardboard deck. At the same time, the attitude to cards in their 900-year history has been very ambiguous.
The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron suggests that the cards may have been invented in China and it happened in 1120 (according to Christian chronology), and in 1132 they became widespread there. The Chinese and Japanese, even before the appearance of cards in Europe, already played ivory or wood plates with painted figures. In Europe, according to many experts, playing cards were brought Saracens – the ancient Eastern people.
The first official mentions of playing cards, or the prayer book feature, as they sometimes called, are connected with requirements about their complete prohibition. Thus, during the reign of Louis the Saint in 1254 was issued a decree that forbade card games in France under fear of punishment by whipping, and the Italian manuscript of 1299 says about a complete ban on playing cards.
However, there were times when the devil’s prayer book was tried to be official in public affairs and to attract it to the government. Two Jesuits tried to do this on the grounds that the cards seemed to symbolically express instructions for governing the state and solving war and peace.
They supported their proposal with the following conclusions.
Ace. Latin As the name of one coin. In the picket, the aces have an advantage even over kings to show that money is the lever of control, especially during war, and if the king does not have enough, his power is ghostly.
Trefle – meadow grass in France – is a reminder that a skilled warlord should not have his army in the country, it may need a forage.
Piques and Carreux remind us that arsenals must always be well stocked. Everybody knows a weapon called a peak: as for the Carreux, this was the name of the heavy arrows with four-iron tips, which were thrown from the crossbow.
Coeurs (hearts) depict the courage of bosses and soldiers.
In the XIV century kings, ladies and jacks were depicted as legendary heroes of antiquity. For example, the king of worms appeared in the form of Charlemagne – ruler of the Franks. The Hebrew King David became King of the Peak, Julius Caesar became King of the Tambourine, and Alexander the Great became King of the Tref. They stand at the head of four karrillas and show that no matter how many and brave the troops are, they need leaders – careful, brave and experienced.
The lives of these leaders are precious. We have to make sure that they are not captured. And when you have to withstand a strong attack, the whole point is to give the King defenders.
Two-headed maps, that is, those in which one half as if reflects the other, appeared in Italy as early as the XVII century, but entered into everyday use only by the middle of XIX century.
In general historical persons appeared on cards at once, from the moment of occurrence of playing cards in Europe. Before the invention of the printing press for the royalty, decks were drawn by the best court artists. The cards depicted legendary individuals or persons of royal blood. During the Great French Revolution of 1789, leaders of the revolt appeared on the cards instead of kings. Later, probably, there was no significant event that was not reflected on the playing cards. Wars, revolutions or inventions immediately became the subject of card drawing. For example, during the Great Patriotic War in 1942 in besieged Leningrad cards with caricatures of fascist figures were issued for distribution among German soldiers.
Now on cards it is possible to find any theme, frequently the deck of modern playing cards is used as the advertising carrier, as the souvenir showing cities, the countries, historical personalities or political figures of today. Besides, animals, technics, money, works of art are represented… In general, any area of vital activity of mankind.
China, Japan, India have their national playing cards, which are very incomprehensible to Europeans. In Europe, there are three types of cards.
German suits: leaves, acorns, hearts, bells. Spanish and in a sense Italian: swords, cups, coins, clubs. French: worm, spades, clubs and diamonds. French as well as Spanish suits are the most popular. This is due to the fact that Spain had an active colonial policy (Latin America, Africa). As a matter of fact, it was the Spaniards who were the first European cartographers. Then the maps got to Italy, Germany and only then to France. It was here that the badges of suits were simplified and got the look we were used to.