The Game of Saturn by Peter Mark Adams
For the first time in over five hundred years, the clues embedded within the cards have been decoded to reveal a pagan ritual tradition active amongst the members of the Renaissance elite.
Beneath its beautifully decorated surface, its imagery ranges from the bizarre to the grotesque; we encounter scenes of homoeroticism, wounding, immolation and decapitation redolent of hidden meanings, violent transformations and obscure rites.
Conveyed from Byzantium to Italy in the dying years of the Byzantine Empire, the pagan Platonist, George Gemistos Plethon, sought to ensure the survival of Neoplatonic theurgy by transplanting it into the elite families of the Italian Renaissance.
Plethon’s vision of an elite, illumined Saturnian brotherhood marks the birth of the idea of an illumined elite over three centuries before Adam Weishaupt’s Illuminati.
‘The Game of Saturn’ fully explores the historical context for the deck’s creation against the background of Byzantine decline, interstate diplomatic intrigue and Ferrarese-Venetian warfare.
The recovery of the deck’s encoded narratives constitutes a significant contribution to Renaissance scholarship, art history, tarot studies and the history of Western esotericism.