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I write this page as a SCAdian with an interest in hermetic and occult sciences in period, and the historical development of Tarot iconography and iconology. This may be the only SCAdian tarot website with this orientation, though there are several (to which I have linked) that examine Tarot as a cardgame. If I have missed linking to a site of either type, please let me know.
Tarocchi, the trick-taking game, is very period. Tarot's use in poetry composition (tarocchi appropriati) is period. The evidence for fortune-telling with Tarot cards, however, is sketchy and inconclusive prior to the 18th Century. Yet other types of fortune-telling, such as geomancy and chiromancy (palm-reading), even dice and losbüchern (lot books or fortune-telling books) and divination wheels are well-documented in period. The absence of Tarot in those sources may well be meaningful... and then again it may not. Speaking of cleromancy (divination by dice), it is intriguing to note that with two cubic dice, twenty-one different numerical combinations can be obtained, assuming the dice are so similar as to be indistinguishable (the unordered set).
The tarot decks displayed below would be appropriate for use in an SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) or Renaissance Faire context. All too often Rider-Waite decks are spotted in such venues, and that deck is out of period, as it was published in 1910. Marseilles decks that are available today are generally reproductions of 17th and 18th Century decks. Since the historical record is extremely sparse on decks from the 16th Century, it is difficult to say whether Marseilles-style decks are just like period woodcut decks or different. The Marseilles lineage is only one of many patterns of early decks. At any rate, they are much better than Rider Waite and its variants in this context.
The Visconti-Sforza Pierpont Morgan and Cary-Yale Visconti are actual reproductions of 15th century Italian decks (with a few recreated missing cards)
The next decks are modern and based on period styles. If you are not one to want peri-oid items in your kit when period recreations are available, these next decks are not going to be appropriate for you. The Old English is based on a period manuscript, the Luttrell Psalter, which significantly predates the first known Tarot deck. The Medieval Scapini is a modern reinterpretation of the Visconti decks. The Nigel Jackson is an antique-feeling reinterpretion of the RWS. The Renaissance is modern but inspired by Italian Renaissance art.
The book written by Brian Williams to go with the Renaissance Tarot is recommended even if you do not acquire that deck. It gives a good overview of Tarot history and Renaissance iconography as it pertains to the Tarot. There is also a book by Robert O'Neill called Tarot Symbolism which is out of print and extremely difficult to find which covers Tarot and Renaissance iconography in greater depth than the Williams book. It is apparently being reprinted now. See more information at this review.
Finally, trump cards from three very early Marseilles-type decks (c. 1650 and 1701), and the pear wood printing blocks from a fourth (1760) are displayed.
Acquiring Period Card Decks by David Kuijt / Dafydd ap Gwystl in the SCA
On the Game of Tarot by Justin de Coeur
Game Report: Early French Tarot Redactor: Justin du Coeur
Rules to Period Games contains links to other reconstructions of Tarot
Historical Interest Tarot Decks (many more decks listed, but text only)
Andy's Playing Card Picture Gallery
Masters of Tarot Biographies
Dr. Robert V. O'Neill Tarot Library
Catharism and the Tarot
Michael's Tarot Notebook (Michael J. Hurst)
Collected Fragments of Tarot History: A Chronological Fact Sheet and Index by Michael J. Hurst
Web Resources for Tarot History
Research of Tarocchi - This site is dedicated to offer material useful for the research of Trionfi, Tarocchi or Tarot and other playing cards in 14th/15th and a little bit of 16th century. Presents a theory about a 5x14-Trionfi-deck in the early stage of development of the Tarocchi, later called the Tarot.
See also: Medieval and Renaissance Tarots (Theme page at Aeclectic.Net)
If you are interested in the occult side of Tarot, you might find the books accompanying the following modern decks to be quite interesting. Though there is insufficient evidence to state that the occult topics they present were associated with Tarot in period, the topics themselves, alchemy and numerology, are period (and much moreso than the Victorian eclecticisms that inform so much of modern occultism).
Alchemical Tarot - this beautiful deck was inspired by fifteenth century alchemical engravings. The book gives the sources of the engravings which inspired each card. Robert Place has also done Tarot of the Saints, based on Catholic Saints, which is also gorgeous... and we know that Catholicism is period!
Pythagorean Tarot - The accompanying 470 page book interprets the cards based on Pythagorean number theory, alchemical principles, and number-letter associations based on the Greek alphabet rather than the Hebrew. (paraphrased from this review). It also discusses dice divination in the classical period and how this could map to Tarot. See this site for another take on Pythagorean number theory and Tarot.
Astrology in Period:
The Planets and Their Children: A Medieval Blockbook
Robert Zoller Medieval Astrology
Medieval Astrology at Wind and Sky (contains reviews of books about Medieval Astrology)
Renaissance Astrology by Christopher Warnock, Esq.
William Lilly and 17th Century Astrologers
Other Hermetic Sciences:
The Alchemy Website and Virtual Library (This site is monstrously huge)
Witchcraft and the Occult, 1400-1700
Review of Conjuring Spirits: Texts and Traditions of Medieval Ritual Magic
Henry Cornelius Agrippa, His Fourth BOOK of Occult Philosophy.
I have more links about Tarot history prior to the Victorian occult renaissance collected at this page: Classic Tarots.
If you haven't thoroughly scoured this site, go immediately! The Hermitage: Tarot History
Click on the name of the deck to get to more information about the deck and a review