The Tarocchino Milanese Lexicon
by Mark Filipas

Each pictorial element of Dellarocca’s Tarocchino Milanese is listed below in English and in Hebrew(1).

Whereas the Marseilles pattern appears crude to modern eyes, the Tarocchino Milanese engravings are intricately detailed and its pictorial elements therefore more easily identifiable within the lexicon. Dellarocca’s deck is also distinguished by the huge array of unique objects added into its designs. I submit that these objects are the key to the Tarocchino Milanese. Why? Because this profusion of objects and their singular position within the Hebrew lexicon makes an extremely strong case that they were intended as alphabetic allusions.

Words highlighted in magenta denote words which are known to have existed in Medieval and Renaissance sources and are identified as such by Jastrow’s and/or Grossman’s Dictionaries(2). Words highlighted in cyan are also from those sources and denote explicit parallels between the literal meaning of that letter’s name (or derivatives thereof) and the corresponding trump image.

Aleph

Cobbler — AVShKPA
Hat — APYLYVN, APYLYVTh
Goblet — AGN
Skein — AVN, AShVH
Tongs — ATzBThY
Hammer — ARZVBA, ARYPThA
Shoemaker’s form or “last” — AMVS
Mortar of a pestle — ASYThA
Separate threads or hangings — ASPRYTYN
Tray, Long board — ANChVThH, ARVKH
Four-legged table — ARBO RGLY


Bet

Reader of the Scriptures — BOL QRYAH
Veil, Curtain — BNYThA
Headdress — BYYKA, BRTzVTz
Woman’s plait or lock of hair — BLVRYThA
Cloak — BYRVS, BRSYM, BRSYN
Clasp — BZYVNA
Footrest — BSYS
Cushion — BYSThRQA, BRKYYR
Basilica, Semicircular building with colonades — BSLQY

Trumps from Carlo Dellarocca’s Tarocchino Milanese, 1835 (Il Meneghello reprint).


Gimel

Queen, Lady — GBYRH
Ball-shaped knob on cane — GLH
Cuirass, Protective armor — GYNYN
Bird of prey, Falcon — GZ, GS
Long pole — GYSSA
Pole joining frames of bedstead — GShYSh
Awning, Canopy — GGVN, GNVGNTh
Fringe — GDYL, GDL
Blanket — GVNKA, GLVPQRY


Daleth

Duke, Lord — DVKVS, DVRA
Profile — DYVQN
Crown — DYR
Iron point on a staff, Goad — DQRN, DRBN
Kite, Bird of prey — DAH, DYH
Footstool — DRGSh
Spurs — DRBN


He

Faith — HAMNH, HBTChH, HYMNV
Pontiff, Cardinal — HGMVN
Consecration — HQDSh, HThQDShVTh
The Temple — HYKL
Crown — HDR
Necklace, Emblem of office — HMNYKA
Divided into thirds — HShThLSh


Vav

Love — VDO
To designate a wife — VOD
Marriage — VGVHY
Couple — VGVHY
Wooden poker (arrow?) — VDY
Hook (arrowhead?) — VV


Zayin

Triumph — ZKH, ZKY
Military Guard — ZQYP
Rod of an officer — ZMVRH
Crown — ZR, ZVR
Armor — ZYN
Sword — ZYN
Cuirass, Armor — ZVNY, ZRDA
Crimson-colored silk — ZHVRYTh
Wreath (in foreground and on chariot) — ZR, ZVR
War Horse — ZRZYR
Horse’s bit — ZMM
Harness — ZRZ
Ram (between the horses) — ZMR, ZKR
Olive (branch under left horse) — ZYTh, ZYThA
Branch (olive and palm branches under horses) — ZMVRH


Chet

Judgement, Verdict — ChYThVK, ChLT
Visionary, Seer (eye on girding) — ChVZAH, ChVZH, ChZH
Vision (eye on girding) — ChZVN
Ornament — ChLYH
Sword — ChRB
Scales — ChRSPYThYN
To weigh — ChShB
Fine white linen — ChVR
Girding around waist — ChGVR, ChShB
Thick blanket — ChMYLH
Embroidered design — ChVTBA
Hem, Garment border — ChYQ, ChBTh
Sandal thong — ChBT, ChVT


Tet

Elder — TB, TVB
Toga, One-piece garment — TVGA
Prayer cloak, Cloak — TLYTh, TRYGVN
Oil pan — TYGN, TGNN
Tuber, Tubercle — TYNR
Three-legged — TRSQL


Yud

Soothsayer, Diviner — YDONY
Power, Authority (crowned figure with lightning bolts) — YD
The casting of lots — YDD, YDH
Ram’s horn — YBL, YVBL
Riches — YThRH
Urn, Cauldron — YDVD
To burn, To kindle — YTzTh, YQD
Rising pillar of smoke — YTVR
To turn — YTzR
Handle — YD, YDYTh
Axle — YD
Base — YSD, YSVDH
Fowler (the fox) — YQVSh
Green herbs — YRQ


Trumps from Carlo Dellarocca’s Tarocchino Milanese, 1835 (Il Meneghello reprint).


Kaph

Strength — KCh, KChYVTh, KP
To restrain, subdue — KBSh
Crown — KVThRTh, KLYL, KRBLTh, KThR
Bonnet — KMThH
Hairnet worn under headdress — KBVL
Tight sleeves — KYRVMNYQYA
Gown with wide sleeves — KNDA
Lion — KPYR


Lamed

Informant — LChSh, LYTYRYN
To speak a foreign tongue, To impute another — LTzZ
Strapped up — LBVB
Attached to, Clinging to — LVA, LVBD, LVY, LMD, LPP, LThA
Loop, Tie, Twine around — LVLAH, LVLY, LLAH, LPTh
Board, Plank — LVCh
Athwart, Across from one side to the other — LVKSN
Sidepost — LChY
Mortised boards — LMVD, LYMVDYM
Two posts supporting a beam — LVLB
Birch or Poplar tree — LBNH
Tunic — LSVTH
Sprout — LVLB
Stake (at bottom of posts) — LChY
Embroidery — LQYT
Buttonholes — LVLAH


Mem

Death — MVTh, MYThH, MMVTh
Reaper — MQTzRH
Scythe — MGL
Handle — MSYT, MRVO
Yarn on a distaff — MMZVR, MOZLA
Booklet — MGLH
Sword — MKRH, MKYRYN
Saw, Serrated tool — MGRH, MSR, MQTzVO, MShVR
Axe — MGZR, MOTzD, MORTzH
Priest’s headdress — MTzNPTh
Miter — MGBTzTH
KHVNH
Makhlalta (great crown) — MKLLThA
Broom — MBYNA, MTATA, MKBD
Mallet — MQBTh
Medal — MTBOA
Badge of office — MNYKA
Necklace — MVNYYQ, MNYQ
Pointed metal, bent for use as a key or amulet — MSMR
Brushes — MKChL, MKThB, MTzBVO
Ink, Pigment — MYLN


Nun

Temperance — NThChSM, NZYRH, NZYRVTh
Pouring liquid from vessel to vessel — NTzVQ
Flowing water — NVB, NZL, NVZLYM
To pour out — NGR, NSK, NThK
To fill up — NTP
Vessel — NBGA, NTLA
Vessels of brass or copper — NGVDA, NChShTh
Feathers, Plumage — NTzH
Flower, Blossom — NTz
Block of stone — NDBK


Samech

Satan — STN
To blush — SMQ
Hair standing erect — SMR
Thorny rod — SYLThA
Metal spike at end of a spear — SVPYNA
Barbed tops of a fence — SNYPA
Thorn — SVL, SYSNA, SYR, SKA, SLVN, SNH
Garment made of goat hair — SVSRNA
Salamander — SLMNDRA
Fire-serpent — SRP
Wild beasts — SMLNYTh


Ayin

Flash of light — ODY
Attacked by fire — OYKVL
Soot, Smoke, Debris — OPR, OShN
Upper story — OLY, OLYH
To Detach, To tear loose — OQR
Brickwork — OTRH
Engine for hurling missiles — OBYTh
Wrought metal ball — OShShYTh, OShTh
Metal bars (on window) — OBRA, OShShYTh
Curved shield — OGYL
Serpent — OVYA, OKN, OKS, OKShVB, ORMVNA
Slave — OBD
Concealment — OBYA, OLM
Breaking the neck — ORYPH
Beam, Rafter — OB, OVB
Foliage — OBVP, OLH, OPY


Peh

Pleiades (the constellation) — PLYDVTh
Lights — PVTA
Tree — PLVMRYH, PRSQ, PRYSh
Branch, Bough — PARH, PSGH
Bird — PVRYThH, PYRVZ, PRChThA, PRYGA, PRYDH, PShVShA
Naked — PYOVR, PRM, PShT
Orifice of the womb — PH, PVThH
Menstruation (see position of vessel)— PThCh
Bank of a Stream — PH
Stream — PYGY, PLG
Open vessels — PH
Vessel, Jar — PK, PTYS, PYTVS, PYQTNY, PThRA
To disperse — PVTz, PZR, PYZVR, PYLVG, PYS, PLG
Parthenos, the Virgin — PRThNVS
Beauty — PARVA, PYVThA
Headband — PRQLYM
Sheet, Blanket — PLYVM
Thick growth of bushes — PROH
Flower — PRCh


Tzaddi

Heavenly bodies — TzBA HShMYM
Pincers, Pair of tongs — TzBTh, TzNVRTh
Banquet dish, Plate — TzVOH, TzOA, TzOH, TzLChTh
Hunting dog — KLBY TzYD
Baying at the Moon— TzOQ HY VQYM
Landmark or pillar — TzYVN
Cone-shaped roof — TzRYP
Water — TzNYM, TzNYNYM
Ship, Fleet — TzY, TzYM
Flower — TzYTzH


Qoph

Summer - QYT, QYTz
Sunbeams, To emit rays — QRN
Fog — QBL
Breaking through — QRYTz
Urn — QBYH, QLPY
Wall — QYR, QVPYA
To meet with another — QDM, QRY, QRH
Junction at a road — QBLA
Dancing — QPZ, QRQR
Curled or plaited hair — QVTz, QYVVTz, QLTz
Sash — QShVRYM


Resh

Sounding of the trumpet — RAOThA, RVO
Blowing, Blowing out the cheeks — RPCh
Raziel, the Herald Angel — RZYAL
Resurrection (not yet found in Hebrew sources) — ?
Regeneration — RGNRTzYH
To raise up, To rise — RVM, RVMM, RYM, RMM
Small rectangular cloth — RVNQYN
Flames (shown in the air) — RShP
Spirits of the Dead — RPAYM
Deep sleep — RDM
Multitude — RBV, RVB
Fear, Terror — RHVTh, RThTh
Earthquake, To tremble — RGZ, RGSh, RChP, RTO, ROD, ROSh
Pavement blocks — RBYOYTh, RVBD
Tomb, Resting place — RBTz


Shin

Portal — ShOR
Heaven — ShMYA, ShMYM
Portal of Heaven — ShOR HShMYM
Bands (at the quadrants of the wreath) — ShVRYYNY, ShNTz
Scarlet bands — ShBYS
Naked, Barefoot — ShVLL
Bracelet — ShYR, ShRH
Armlet — ShRVVL
Blanket, Coverlet — ShVShPA, ShMYKH
Piece of cloth — ShVSThG
Angel — ShNAN, ShR, ShRP
Eagle, Bird of Prey — ShLK, ShRQRQ, ShVRYNQA
Lion — ShChL, ShChTz
Bull — ShVR
Cleft-hooved, Cloven-footed animal — ShSVO, ShSO
Tooth, Claw, Horn, Hoof — ShN, ShYN
— the four quadrants of the wreath presumably correspond to winter, spring, summer and fall, and show a multitude of objects:
Branch (upper right quadrant) — ShBShA, ShYTzYNA
Thorn — ShVVKA, ShK, ShMYR
Flame, Fire — ShLHBTh, ShRPH
Fruit (lower right quadrant) — ShYQZMY
Cluster of olives, Olives — ShVBL, ShPKVNY
Dates — ShLPVPY
Plum — ShZYP, ShYSQY
White figs — ShVCh
Wild figs — ShYTh
Grain (lower left quadrant) — ShBR, ShBL
Almond — ShQD
Wheat — ShChMThYTh
Rye — ShYPVN, ShPVN
Oats — ShBLTh, ShYPVN
Barley — ShOVRH, ShORH, ShORY
Onion — ShMKA
Garlic — ShVM, ShVMNYTh
Flowers (upper left quadrant) — ShVShNH
Poppy — ShVMShMA
Lily — ShVShN, ShShN
Acacia — ShTH


Tav

Folly — ThHLH, ThPLH
Fool — ThVRMVN, ThRDA
Wandering, Waywardness — ThYVBA, ThOH
Knapsack, Travelling bag — ThRMYL
To carry a knapsack — ThRML
Staff, Crutch — ThGDA, ThGRA
Feather in a cap — ThHLH
Lace (around his shoulders) — ThChRYM
Leaves of a fig tree — ThANH
Stitch, Seam — ThK, ThKYPH, ThPYRH, ThPR
Mark, Sign (on the back of shirt?) — ThYV
Staves of bone formation — ThOOMTh
Bare foot — ThChThYTh
Heel — ThPVCh OQB
Goat — ThYSh

——

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Footnotes:

(1) All words can be found either in the Jastrow or Grossman dictionary.

Key to the English transliterations above:

A — aleph
B — bet
G — gimel
D — dalet
H — he
V — vav
Z — zayin
Ch — chet
T — tet
Y — yud
K — kaph
L — lamed
M — mem
N — nun
S — samech
O — ayin
P — peh
Tz — tzaddi
Q — qoph
R — resh
Sh — shin
Th — tav

Bibliography:

Jastrow, Marcus, Ph.D. Litt.D. A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and the Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature, The Judaica Press, 1992 (first published in 1903).

Grossman, Reuben. Compendious Hebrew–English Dictionary, Comprising a complete vocabulary of Biblical, Mishnaic, Medieval and Modern Hebrew, Dvir Publishing Co., 1938.

Copyright 2002 Mark Filipas – 7/21/02