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How many tarot cards are in a deck?

a quick note:
I do not know anything about tarot cards,so my question is a naive one

5 COMMENTS

  1. The modern standard in English speaking countries, as well as France, Denmark, Switzerland, and Piedmont in Italy is 78 cards. However, the number can vary considerably and we still cannot be certain how many were in the early packs as we only have incomplete examples.
    Tarot cards were created in mid 15th century Italy for playing card games – games that continue to be played throughout continental Europe today. They consist of two parts: a standard pack of Latin suited playing cards with an extra court card in each suit, and a fifth suit of picture cards. These extra cards took as their theme a triumph procession, hence their early name of trionfi, meaning triumphs and from which we get our word trump. And that is what they are, a suit of fixed trump cards. There is also an extra unnumbered card called The Fool.
    In the earliest pack we have, there were six court cards in each suit, being a male and a female in each of three ranks. Most of these extra cards were dropped, retaining only the Queens to make 54 regular suit cards.
    There are theories that the original packs may have only had 14 trumps, though the earliest existing ones have more. The established standard is 21 trumps but all of the earliest packs we have are missing both The Tower and The Devil. This may just be because, like others, these cards were lost – or it may be because they were later additions. We cannot be certain.
    The Florentine Minchiate pack added some extra trump cards to make a total 97 cards in all. The game of minchiate had died out by the mid 1930s but at one time it was very popular, being played in France and by the mid 19th century as far as New Orleans!
    Many packs used for game play are reduced by omitting some of the pip cards there are not used in the games of that region:
    In Bologna, Italy, they use a 62 card pack.
    In Sicily, there is a 64 card pack.
    In Piedmont, although they have a 78 card pack, they often shorten it to 54 for the modern games of Partita.
    Most countries in central and Eastern Europe use a 54 card pack. This pack is sometimes shortened further for some games – in Hungary it is sometimes reduced to just 40 cards.
    Occultist packs, a relatively recent addition to tarot, can vary still more depending upon the requirements for representing a particular set of beliefs.

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