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Euskal Herriko Mitologia

Published June 16, 2024 Updated June 16, 2024

Important figures from Basque mythology, named in four languages.

2018 Basque Country Spain Amaroa Myths & Legends Add to Collection

Three important figures from Basque mythology are featured on the court cards of this pack. Mari (12) is the goddess of the hearth who lives underground. Akerbeltz (11) has the appearance of a black billy goat and is the protector of domestic animals. Basajaun (10) is the lord of the woods, appearing as a large hairy man. There are minor differences in the look of these characters in each suit (different hair or dress colour, different pose, etc.), partly in order to accommodate the appropriate suit-sign. The well-known Basque symbol – the lauburu, representing a four-headed cross – appears throughout, both front and back. Each suit includes the title of the pack and the names of the characters in a different language: Basque (coins), Spanish (cups), French (swords), and English (batons). The back design is reproduced on the back of the box. See the box

Euskal Herriko Mitologia playing cards published by Amaroa, Spain, 2018 Euskal Herriko Mitologia playing cards published by Amaroa, Spain, 2018 Euskal Herriko Mitologia playing cards published by Amaroa, Spain, 2018

Above: Euskal Herriko Mitologia playing cards published by Amaroa, Spain, 2018. 40 cards in tuck box. Size: 61 x 95 mm.

The name Koldo Alijostes Bordagarai appears at the foot of the Ace of Coins. He is an author and expert on Basque mythology who presumably came up with the idea for the pack. It is a shame that there is no accompanying booklet telling us more.

More information here:

amaroa.eus: Basque Mythology

amaroa.eus: Euskal Mitologiaren

Wikipedia: Koldo Alijostes

Wikipedia: Lauburu

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By Roddy Somerville

Member since May 31, 2022

Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.


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