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Juday, Chancey (ed.) / Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume XXV (1930)

Voss, Ernst
Karnoeffelspiel, a German card game of the sixteenth century,   pp. [51]-56 PDF (1.9 MB)


Page [51]

KARNOEFFELSPIEL, A GERMAN CARD GAME OF THE 
SIXTEENTH CENTURY 
ERNST Voss 
 If I were writing this in German I would say that the meaning and origin
of the word kctrnoffel and its variations kctrniffel, lcarnuffel, karnuffel
and the card game, called karnoffelspiel, is indeed eine "kniffelige Geschichte,"
a knotty, a hard proposition. 
 The word karnoffel occurs as far back as the fifteenth century. The lexicographers
of that time do not mention it, but it has been handed down to us in a poem
that 3. C. von Fichard republished in the Frankfurtisches Archiv für
ältere deutsche Litteratur und Geschichte, clritter Theil, on pages
293—297, entitled: "Eyn suberlich hOfflich spruch von dem spiel karnoffelin."
In this "spruch" karnoffel refers to the card, called the evil one. This
"spruch" on the karnoffelin antedates the satire: Fin frage des gantzen heiligen
Ordens der Kartenspieler vom Karnoffel an dcts Concilium zu Mantua, 1537,
which is reprinted from the copy in the Ducal library at Wolfenbüttel
in the Wood Number of Modern Philology, 1929. This is a very clever satire
of the first half of the sixteenth century on the existing conditions of
the church of those days. The next piece of literature dealing with the Karnoffelspiel
is a Pasquillus of the year 1546, bearing the title: Newe Zeytung vom Teuffel.
In this pasquil an exact account is given of the chief cards and their value
in the Karnoffelspiel and karnoffel is explained as referring to the cardinals
of the church. The last literary document that deals with the Karnoffelspiel
is Cyriacus Spangenberg's "Wider die bOse Sieben ins Teuffels Karnoffelspiel,"
published in 1562, in which Spangenberg also reprints the before mentioned
"Question addressed by the members of the holy Order of the KarnOffelplayers
to the Church Council of Mantua", printed in 1537, for he is afraid that
in the rush of other unimportant business it might have been overlooked by
the authorities of the Church. I intend to have all these documentary evidences
reprinted in the near future in order to put together all the material on
this subject that might throw light 


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