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Who are those faces in a deck of cards?

Are you a poker player? Or someone who simply loves playing cards?

If yes, then you often face your cards and see the symbols and images.

So, have you ever asked who were those Kings, Queens, and Jacks in your deck?

Well, before you play your favorite poker online or any other online and live card games,  let this article reveal the believed identities of those faces in your deck of playing cards.

The four kings in the standard pack of playing cards may appear to be anonymous, generic representations of the monarchy, but actually, they once depicted some of the most famous leaders in history.

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The Four Kings

According to the International Playing Card Society in France, these kings represent great rulers in the past. Listed down were given names and identities, reflecting the importance and glory of the French monarchy.

  • King of Spades: David, King of Israel from the Old Testament (Book of Bible)
  • King of Clubs: Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, an ancient Greek conqueror and conquered a vast region. He lived from 356 to 323 BCE.
  • King of Hearts: Charlemagne, King of France and the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He lived from 747 to 814 AD.
  • King of Diamonds: Roman Caesar Augustus. However, some sources say the king of diamonds is Julius Caesar and not Augustus.

The Suicide King

The king of hearts is sometimes called the Suicide King because of the sword he holds behind his head. It is visualized as stabbing himself in the head. The design evolved from earlier models where he was holding an ax. Eventually, the ax was omitted, and the weapon changed to a sword.

The Four Queens

Of course if there are Kings, there are also Queens.

Here the identified historical or mythological significant women that represented the Queens in a deck of cards:

  • Queen of Spades: Pallas (warrior goddess; equivalent to the Greek Athena or Roman Minerva)
  • Queen of Diamonds: Rachel ( Mother of Joseph from the Book of Bible)
  • Queen of Clubs: Argine (an anagrammatise name for Regina, Latin for “queen”)
  • Queen of Hearts: Judith (a Biblical figure) although a legend states the Queen of Hearts is Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII

The Four Jacks

A jack or knave, in traditional English and French decks, pictures a man in the historic or traditional  aristocratic or courtier dress, generally associated with Europe of the 16th or 17th century.

The term knave is a defunct-term for a male servant as at first, it was considered a lower class term. It also had a ‘ common man’ as one of its meanings.

Now, here are they:

  • Jack of Hearts: La Hire (French military commander during the Hundred Years’ War )
  • Jack of diamonds: Hector (mythological hero of the Greek epic poem Iliad)
  • Jack of Clubs: Lancelot (one of the Knights of the Round Table in the Arthurian legend ) or Judas Maccabeus(a Jewish priest)
  • Jack of Spades: Ogier the Dane (a knight of Charlemagne and legendary hero of the chansons de geste)
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