Thursday, 24 October 2013

Playing Cards

The four suits now used in most of the world — spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs — originated in France in about 1480. The trèfle (club) was probably derived from the acorn and the pique (spade) from the leaf of the German suits. The names "pique" and "spade", however, may have derived from the sword of the Italian suits.[20] In England, the French suits were eventually used, although the earliest decks had the Italian suits.[citation needed]
Also in the 15th century, Europeans changed the court cards to represent European royalty and attendants, originally "king", "chevalier" (knight), and "knave". The original meaning of knave was male child (cf German Knabe), so in this context the character could represent the "prince", son to the King and Queen; the meaning servant developed later.[21][22] In a German pack from the 1440s, Queens replace Kings in two of the suits as the highest card. Decks of 56 cards containing in each suit a King, Queen, Knight, and Valet (from the French tarot court) were common.

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