hist-games: Darts & Encyclopedias

Jeff Singman jsingman at umich.edu
Fri Nov 21 07:30:50 PST 1997

As others have noted, information from encyclopedias is often unreliable,
being written at several removes from the primary sources of information.
Darts is certainly an example. I have also heard the theory that it was
developed as practice for archers, but am highly skeptical. Such an
explanation has the ring of folk-history about it, and is just the sort of
theory that often takes on a certain authority through constant
repetition. Personally, I would have thought that archery would be the
best practice for an archer! In any case, I have *never* seen any
reference to the sport prior to 1659--this is of course not proof that it
did not exist, & I would certainly be interested in any information to the
contrary, but in the absence of earlier evidence, it makes most sense to
assume that the game had not been around in the Middle Ages, though it
could well be supposed to have existed in the century or so prior to the
1659 reference. JLS

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