hist-games: Re: rocks and pits (fwd)

patsmith patsmith at dnaco.net
Sat Jul 26 11:26:45 PDT 1997


here is an arabic text from the early to mid 15th century that records a
rock and pit type game played by the Basques in the Pyrenees. The game is
described in the Complete Anachronist #78.  Also, there exists sets of 
pits (normally 2 lines of 6, sometimes 5) in some of the roman ruins. They
have been documented in roman ruins in England, southern Germany, France,
Turkey, Spain as well as in Italy. It is impossible to tell just what they
were used for, but they definately could be used for the mancala-type
games.  For that matter, it's hard to be sure, at least in those from
Spain and Turkey, that they are not later, Islamic additions to existing
sites.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 18:58:59 +1000
From: Del <del at babel.matra.com.au>
To: Mark Waks <justin at inmet.com>
Cc: hist-games at pbm.com
Subject: Re: hist-games: Re: rocks and pits

Mark Waks wrote:

> >Does anyone have any evidence of the rocks-and-pits games
> >(mancala, oware, trysse, and the numerous variations thereof)
> >actually being played in medieval/renaissance/baroque europe?
> >
> > [...]
> >
> >I've seen them referred to in a number of modern sources regarding
> >period games but nobody's been able to give me a primary reference.
> 
> Nope. Have you actually seen references claiming that they were played
> in Europe? I've seen them claimed to be "period" in some sources, but
> never specifically for Europe -- it's usually in sources like
> Salaamallah's Medieval Games, which casts a deliberately broad net
> (including Asia as well as Africa)...

Salamallah indicates that they spread to all of the moslem lands,
which I would have to assume included Spain and probably Sicily.

John Sands (a local games manufacturer) produced a version of
Mancala called OhWahRee.  There's a pamphlet that comes with
the game saying "games of this type were popular throughout
Africa and were played in Europe ...".  No cross reference or
corresponding evidence.  By Europe they may just well mean
"Spain".

Salamallah also indicates that a version was played in the
Aegean islands (at least that's what I assume he means by
"off the east coast of Greece" ... let's not assume that they
went out in their boats and sailed off the coast and played it).

That's as much as I've got.

----+---------------------+------------------------+----------------
Del | Babel Com Australia | del at babel.matra.com.au | del at sca.org.au
----+---------------------+------------------------+----------------

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