hist-games: Frequently Asked Questions -- Part II (Monthly Posting)

Jeff Singman jsingman at umich.edu
Tue Nov 11 05:44:02 PST 1997


The following are intended as spurs to discussion...

FOOTBALL: Very much a 'period' game in the version meant by most of the
world (NAm 'soccer'). Rules apparently quite varied, some involving
handling the ball (as in Rugby Football and American Football), others
'no-handling' (as in Football). The earliest refs I know of offhand are
14c. English versions seem to have been minimalist in rules, but others
(eg. Florentine 'calcio' were fairly intricate).

GOLF: Earliest refs. I know of are 15c. The Scottish game is related to
Dutch *kolven*, and by extension to other games in the Croquet family.

HOPSCOTCH: Well attested in the 17c, but I don't know of earlier
refs.--perhaps in *Les 36 Figures*, but I can't recall for certain.
This is the kind of game not always well documented in pre-1600 sources.

HOCKEY: Well attested in the Middle Ages--I think I know of some
pre-Conquest evidence, even, and certainly plenty post-Conquest. Irish
Hurley, often mentioned in OIr literature seems to be along the same
lines; such games are obvious cousins to football.


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