I was doing some research this week and found myself reading about the history of playing cards. They appear to have started in China, sometime around the 9th century. There are also references to Mamluk cards in Persia and Arabia. Perhaps of more interest, though, are the suits used, with some examples being coins, clubs, jugs, and swords.
In Europe, the first reference seems to be 1367 (some say 1377 is the first). These were likely adapted from the Mamluk cards, with the suits now consisting of cups, coins, swords, and polo sticks. Interestingly enough, polo sticks were a relatively unknown item in Europe, so this evolved into batons or cudgels (or clubs, as we now call it).
This is, of course, a quick overview. The actual history of cards is far more interesting than my simple summary.
Until next time,
Paul Bennett, Writer of Epic Fantasy Stories.