IV – The Emperor

And then, there is the case of The Emperor. Who do we have here ?  A German emperor of course. At the time of the creation of Tarot, he was Conrad III. With the code…

CONRAD III: 3+15+18+1+3= 40 or 4, IV !

When I say, with the code… Now is as good a time as any to explain again that this code has 3 ciphers. The previous demonstration was done with the first cipher, 13 letters:

A, C, E, H, I, L, M, O, P, R, T, V, and X.

Let’s apply it to tne name of Trump IV, in French, L’empereup/r. The u will not be counted , it is not in the list of the first cipher.

L’EMPEREUP: 12+5+13+16+5+18+5+16= 90. We are looking for a 4… Let’s try with the other name.

L’EMPEREUR: 12+5+13+16+5+18+5+18= 92.  Not working…

The solution lies in there, somewhere. We know that the letter U can not be used.  Unless we transform it, as a V, its  twin brother in the alphabet !

L’EMPEREVP: 12+5+13+16+5+18+5+22+16: 112, or 4, IV. It worked. And it is why the word empereur is also spelled empereup on this Trump, with a P at the end.

For a discussion on the number 112, please visit my page on the Emperor.

I said that there are three ciphers in this Tarot code. Here is the second one:

B, D, F, N, S and U. Let’s apply it to Trump IV. Only the U needs to apply.

L’EMPEREUP: 21. Not working. But you remember that U can morph in V, at the discretion of our decoder’s will. U here takes the value of V, 22. 2+2= 4, IV.


The third cipher is composed with the rest of the letters of the alphabet: G, J,  K, Q, W, Y and Z. None applies to Trump IV, L’empereup/r.

I sometime split this third cipher, like this:

J, K, Q, W, Y and Z.



That letter stands alone as a fourth cipher of sorts. There is only a Trump with the letter G (7) in its name, Trump XX, Le jugement.


The ciphers, again, with their combined numerical value (A=1, B=2, C=3… U=21, V=22  (these two, interchangeable) … Z=26):

1st cipher: A+C+E+H+I+L+M+O+P+R+T+V+X: 166.

2nd cipher: B+D+F+N+S+U= 66.

3rd/4th cipher : (G+) J+K+Q+W+Y+Z= (112) 119.

I like G, 7,  as a stand alone.

These 3, or 4, ciphers  are the  keys to the etymological understanding of Tarot. Of course, the system does not work with the Italian names of the cards. Those came centuries after Tarot was constructed in secret by the Benedectine monk Suger.

Note that the numerical values associated with the letters work only with a modern 26 letters alphabet. In medieval times, the Latin alphabet -basically 23 letters – actually had an infinited numbers of letters, with many graphical variances for the same letter. We have already seen u and v. There was also VV intercrossed who became W, I spare you the variances on M, E, S, Z, etc.

Just look at the manuscripts of the time.

Here is an example of an XIth century sacrementaire that is kept in the treasury at Saint-Denis. That one is a real gem. If you exclude the 9 Greek letters at the end, we have here a total of 78 characters ! Must be coded… Haven’t broken it yet.


Suger coded his  »game » working with a 26 letters alphabet. Tarot is one of the first, if not the first, grammatical object who can lay that claim to fame.

A propos Marc O. Rainville

Je suis connu sous le nom de Rom depuis mes débuts dans la Tarotsphère en 1998. Je suis Bachelier en Animation et recherche culturelle, mineure en Histoire de l'art, de l'Université du Québec à Montréal. Je m'intéresse à l'histoire du Tarot depuis 1985. J'ai eu la chance de bénéficier d'un concours de circonstances favorables qui m'a permis d'approfondir mes recherches sur le sujet. J'en livre le fruit ici. Bienvenue sur Tarotchoco !
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