Playing Card Facts & Trivia

Some interesting facts (or possibly fiction) about playing cards.

It is said that each of the suits on a deck of cards in a card game represents the four major pillars of the economy in the Middle Ages: Hearts represented the Church, Spades represented the military, Clubs represented agriculture, and Diamonds represented the merchant class.

Each face card in a deck of playing cards is said to represent a great person from history:
King of Spades – David
King of Hearts – Charles (possibly Charlemagne, or Charles VII, where Rachel would then be the pseudonym of his mistress, Agnès Sorel)
King of Diamonds – Julius Caesar
King of Clubs – Alexander the Great

Queen of Spades – Pallas
Queen of Hearts – Judith
Queen of Diamonds – Rachel (either biblical, historical (see Charles above), or ythical as a corruption of the Celtic Ragnel, relating to Lancelot below)
Queen of Clubs – Argine (possibly an anagram of regina, which is Latin for queen, or perhaps Argea, wife of Polybus and mother of Argus)

Knave (Jack) of Spades – Ogier the Dane/Holger Danske (a knight of Charlemagne)
Knave (Jack) of Hearts – La Hire (comrade-in-arms to Joan of Arc, and member of Charles VII’s court)
Knave (Jack) of Diamonds – Hector
Knave (Jack) of Clubs – Judas Maccabeus, or Lancelot

The King of Hearts is the only king without a mustache and is the only king with a sword through his head, otherwise known as the “Suicide King”.

The Face Cards (King, Queen & Jack) are referred to as the “Court”.

52 cards represents the 52 weeks in a year

4 suits represents the 4 seasons

13 cards in each suit represents the 13 weeks in each season

12 Royals represent the 12 months

2 red and 2 black suits represent the 4 different solstices

The 4 suits also represent the four natural elements
Hearts = Water
Clubs = Fire
Diamonds = Earth
Spades = Air

An interesting fact about playing cards is that specially-constructed decks were sent to American soldiers who were being held in German camps during World War II. The United States Playing Card Company collaborated with the government in the production of these cards. What made these cards so unique was, once they became wet, they peeled apart. Inside, the prisoners found parts of maps that would lead them to freedom.

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