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Playing cards first entered Europe in the late 14th century, most likely from Mamluk Egypt, with suits of Batons or Polo sticks (commonly known as Wands by those practicing occult or divinatory tarot), Coins (commonly known as disks, or pentacles in occult or divinatory tarot), Swords, and Cups.
These suits were very similar to modern tarot divination decks and are still used in traditional Italian, Spanish and Portuguese playing card decks.
; first known as trionfi and later as tarocchi, tarock, and others) is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot.
In the late 18th century, it began to be used for divination in the form of tarotology and cartomancy.
However the 16 cards were obviously regarded as "trumps" as, about 25 years later, Jacopo Antonio Marcello called them a ludus triumphorum, or "game of trumps".
Special motifs on cards added to regular packs showed philosophical, social, poetical, astronomical, and heraldic ideas, Roman/Greek/Babylonian heroes, as in the case of the Sola-Busca-Tarocchi (1491) Fragments of two playing card decks from Milan (the Brera-Brambilla and Cary-Yale-Tarocchi), made around 1440, survive.
The first documented tarot packs were recorded between 14 in Milan, Ferrara and Bologna when additional trump cards with allegorical illustrations were added to the common four-suit pack.
These new decks were called carte da trionfi, triumph cards, and the additional cards known simply as trionfi, which became "trumps" in English.
Each suit has 14 cards, ten cards numbering from one (or Ace) to ten and four face cards (King, Queen, Knight, and Jack/Knave).The game seemed to gain in importance in the year 1450, a Jubilee year in Italy.Three sets were made for members of the Visconti family.In addition, the tarot has a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool.
Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit.
Decks survive from this era from France, and the most popular pattern is the Tarot de Marseille The original purpose of tarot cards was to play games, the first rules appearing in the manuscript of Martiano da Tortona before 1425, and the next from the year 1637. Tarocchini has survived in Bologna and there are still others played in Piedmont and Sicily, but in Italy the game is generally less popular than elsewhere.