The Suicide King, and his friends

21 Dec

The Suicide King

This image of an early English playing-card shows the king of hearts wielding an axe. Due to poor copying by blockmakers the axe lost its head over the years and the shaft was turned into a sword which appears to be driven into his head, hence the nickname “Suicide King”. – IPCS

Interesting, and as a side note, I love the swagger the artist gave him – it’s certainly better than a simple mirroring of the top half of the card.

Some other card names I rather liked (nicked from here):

Queen of Spades: Black Maria (from the game of the same name)
Nine of Diamonds: Curse of Scotland
Seven of Diamonds: The Drinking Card
Jack of Clubs: pam (from the card game ‘pam’, in which this card is high trump)
Four of Clubs: Devil’s Bedposts

Which left me with questions, so I found more info on snopes, which has an extensive card article:

The Curse of Scotland: The nine of diamonds was supposedly christened thus after being used by John Dalrymple, Secretary of State and Master of Stair, to pass on instructions for the infamous Glen Coe Massacre of 1692. Whether or not he did write “Kill them all” on this pasteboard, the arrangement of the nine diamonds on its face bears some resemblance to the Dalrymple crest of arms, which can also account for the association of this card with that man

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