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Imperator - VIIII of Mantegna Tarot

Imperator - VIIII

The Emperor

In the next card we meet a well known feller - the Emperor, who continued his presence in traditional Tarot as the fourth trump of the Major Arcana, complete with the globe and the heraldic eagle of the Holy Roman Empire (even though it looks a bit like a hen or a grey partridge here...)

In the pictorial 'Chain of Being', the hierarchy of the ten conditions of men, he is the highest in the wordly order, outranked only by the Pope.

During the days of the renaissance however, real emperors were not seen as much of a blessing. In 1494, Charles VIII of France invaded Italy and started a period of foreign occupation that brought much pressure to the cities. By 1550 allmost all of Italy had been subjugated by Charles V, the Holy Roman emperor and king of Spain. After Charles' death, his son Philip II of Spain inherited the power over Italy. Spain continued to be the dominant power until is was replaced by Austria after the War of the Spanish Succession 1701-14.

Next card: X Papa (Pope)