Playing cards - Do Kings represent great kings from history?

I’m trying to verify a factoid that someone sent to me regarding playing cards. According to an e-mail sent by a co-worker…

"Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:

Spades - King David;
Clubs - Alexander the Great;
Hearts - Charlemagne;
Diamonds - Julius Caesar."

Is there any factual support for this? It sounds like an urban legend to me, but I want to be sure.


We’ve been here before:

Snopes says “no”.


From here. They’ve got a detailed history of playing cards. It’s verified on other sites as well; just google for “playing card david charlemagne” or something to that extent.

It seems that those wacky cheese-eating surrender monkeys were a little creative.


Our good friend Snopes has an article on this in which they say that this is false, but:

In summary, the French thought it’d be nice to name the cards, but the rest of the world didn’t care, and the practice died out.

(Also, on preview, I find that yabob beat me to the punch. This is the last time I research a question before answering it…)

According to the schollars, they represent nobody in particular.

I’m sorry, I have nothing constructive to add to the discussion, I just think this line is hilarious. :smiley: