Playing Card History
Here's some background on how the modern deck of cards developed.
The modern 52 card deck was developed by the French who established the suits:
Hearts (chalices) represents the Church
Spades (swords) represents the Military
Diamonds (coins) represents the merchant class
Clubs (batons) represents the peasantry (agriculture)
Names of the Court Cards:
Kings represent the 4 civilizations that began Western culture: Hebrews (Spades), Holy Roman Empire (Hearts), The Romans (Diamonds), and The Greeks (Clubs).
King of Spades - King David, holds the sword of Goliath
King of Hearts - Charlemagne
King of Diamonds - Julius Caesar
King of Clubs - Alexander the Great
Queen of Spades - Pallas Athene, Greek goddess of wisdom & war
Queen of Hearts - Judith of Bavaria, daughter-in-law of Charlemagne wife of Pepin
Queen of Diamonds - Rachel, wife of Jacob, whose 12 sons founded the tribes of Israel
Queen of Clubs - Argine, thought to be a Roman anagram for "regina" (queen)
Jack of Spades - Hogier, Danish knight of Charlemagne
Jack of Hearts - "La Hire" real name is Stephen de Vignoles, a knight in the court of Charles the VIIth.
Jack of Diamonds - Hector (some identify him as Roland)
Jack of Clubs - Lancelot, of King Arthur's round table.
Thanks to Tony Holden - "Big Deal" Chapter 11 - Cruising for a Bruising. Also to the Encyclopedia Britannica.