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Iliaco - XXXI of Mantegna Tarot

Iliaco - XXXI

Genius of the Sun

We now enter the fourth decade of the deck, entitled 'Cosmic Principles'. We start with the three vital cosmic powers (universal principles) called Iliaco, Chronico and Cosmico and proceed to the Seven Virtues.

Iliaco is the genius or spirit of the sun, his name sharing the root with Helios (Elios), pointing to 'rotaion' or 'cycle'. Pictured as a winged young man holding the sun, he embodies light and energy. Given that the sun itself is later represented in the Sol card, Iliaco doesen't as much mean the sun itself but rather the energy coming from it.

It's interesting to note how meticulously the deck explains the cosmic 'mechanisms', in differentiating between the sun and the life force it generates and nourishes.

Next card: XXXII Chronico, Genius of Time