hist-games: Historical Games -- FAQ, Part II (Monthly Posting)

David Salley salley at niktow.canisius.edu
Mon Dec 1 18:08:48 PST 1997

	Welcome to the Medieval and Renaissance Games FAQ file! - Part II
	Send corrections/updates/suggestions for this file to: 
	salley at niktow.canisius.edu OR http://www-cs.canisius.edu/~salley

10.) Is the game [ X ] period?

	Backgammon is a just-post-period variant of an ancient family of 
	games called Tables. A close relative, "Irish", probably dates 
	back to the middle ages.  Irish is played identically to backgammon
	with the following exceptions: no doubling cube, no second turn on
	'doubles', and no higher payoffs for 'gammons' or other wins.
					-- Justin du Couer

	Games involving throwing or rolling balls towards various numbers 
	of target pins go back at least to the 12th century, and probably 
	earlier. Some of these games were played with weighted or 
	non-spherical balls that rolled in an arc rather than a straight 
	line.  Other related games involved throwing sticks at pins rather 
	than rolling a ball at them.  Non-pin bowling, where the aim is to 
	come closest to a smaller target ball, is also very old.
					-- Dafydd ap Gwystl 

	Strictly 20th century in origin.  

	"That checkers was played in the days of the earlier Pharoahs is
	well authenticated by Egyptian history and the British Museum contains
	specimens of primitive boards quite similar to modern ones. ...
	Plato and Homer mentioned the game in their works and the Romans
	are believed to have imported it from the Greeks.   ... [T]he
	earliest publications on record manifest the 12 men on each side
	and our conventional board.

	Antonio Torquemada of Valencia, Spain, published the first book on
	checkers in 1547.  Other Spanish issues followed and in 1650, Juan
	Garcia Canalejas published a notable volume containing games and 
	traps still proving dependable.  The Spaniards may have received 
	their knowledge from older sources in Arabia through the Moors."
					-- Ency. Brit., Vol. 7 (1959)

	Chess probably originated in India in the 6th or 7th c. AD, and 
	spread everywhere from there.  It reached Europe in the 10th c. 
	The modern variant of chess evolved in the 16 c.  See "A History 
	of Chess" by H.R.Murray or the Historical Chess Variants Webpage 
	linked to the Medieval & Renaissance Games Webpage

	The original version of this game was invented in 1883 by the 
	English surgeon George Howard Monks. He christened the new game 
	"Halma", which is Greek for "Jump".  This game was played on a 
	16 x 16 board, chequered like the chess-board.  The starting 
	position of the 19 game pieces each was in the corners, thus
 	two players would face each other diagonally.  Very quickly, a 
	version of Halma to be played on a star-shaped board was invented. 
	This is called "Star-Halma" or "Chinese Checkers". It was
	especially well suited to be played by three players. The earliest 
	version of the star-shaped plan I have seen (illustrated) is from 
	1892.  I think the new version of Halma was called "Chinese" to 
	add some exotic flavour to the game.  Who ever has done this, 
	underestimated the intricate merits of the star-shaped board with 
	its triangular geometry and it pleasing form.
					-- Christian Joachim Hartmann 

	Related games are well attested in the 16c; with this family of 
	games it can be particularly hard to classify individual examples. 
	Relatives include Mall or Pall-Mall, Stowball, and Golf, any of 
	which may have had versions closer to or further from Croquet. A 
	relative by the name of Closh is attested in the 15c.
					-- Jeff Singman <jsingman at umich.edu>

	From: Alt.Sports.Darts FAQ 
	'Darte' was referred to in 1314, but probably not the game we know. 
	1901 was the first recorded reference to the game that we know. 
	Legend has it that the Pilgrim Fathers played a form of darts, 
 	and Edmond Carl Hady of Pennsylvania states that they played 'butts',
	throwing short arrows into the butt of a wine cask.  In 1896, Brian 
	Gamlin from Lancashire designed the current numbering system. 
					-- Geoff Gant (softly at pncl.co.uk): 

	Darts was a training game for archers in the Middle Ages. The game 
	was popular with Tudor monarchs from Henry VIII. The Pilgrims, en 
	route to America, had darts on board the Mayflower in 1620. 
	(Britannica; Micropaedia, vol. 3: Ceara-Deluc, page 893; Chicago, 1990)
	In China, dominoes are as ancient as cards and dice.  It is believed
	they were designed to represent all the possible throws of two
	dice.  "In Europe, dominoes are relatively new, there being no
	record of them before the middle of the 18th century in Italy and
	France.  Apparently they were introduced into England by French
	prisoners toward the end of 18th century."
					-- Enc. Brit., Vol. 7, (1959)

	Very much a 'period' game in the version meant by most of the
	world, namely '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 
	references I know of offhand are 14c. English versions which seem 
	to have been minimalist in rules, but others (eg. Florentine 'calcio')
	were fairly intricate).
					-- Jeff Singman <jsingman at umich.edu>

	"... Although its origin is unknown, golf is identified with 
	Scotland, where it was played as early as 1457 ... The game may 
	have been played in America in the 17th century, but the first 
	permanent club, at Yonkers, NY, was not organized until 1888 ..."
			-- Concise Columbia Encyclopeida, Second Edition
	Encyclopedia Britannica confirms that the earliest reference to
	golf was a Decree of Parliament dated March 1457.

	Extremely modern: invented by Richard Garfield (I believe), of 
	Magic(tm) and RoboRally(tm) fame, a couple of years ago. Although 
	trick-taking games of various sorts are quite period, I'm not aware 
	of anything particularly close to Dalmuti.
						-- Justin de Couer

	Hopscotch began in ancient Britain during the early Roman Empire.  
	The original hopscotch courts were over 100 feet long and used for 
	military training exercises.  Roman foot-soldiers ran the course 
	in full armor and field packs to improve their footwork, much the 
	same way modern football players run through rows of truck tires 
	today. Roman children drew their own smaller courts in imitation of 
	the soldiers, added a scoring system and "Hopscotch" spread 
	throughout Europe.  The word "London" is often written at the top 
	of hopscotch courts to make the court reminiscent of the Great North 
	Road, a 400 mile Roman road from Glasgow to London frequently used 
	by the Roman military.
		-- Dagonell the Juggler (salley at niktow.canisius.edu)

	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.
				-- Jeff Singman <jsingman at umich.edu>

And now for THIS week's list of games!

	MANCALA -- Ancient African in origin
	MARBLES -- Prehistoric, found in nearly EVERY archeological site.
	OTHELLO -- 1880's ?
	POKER -- Earliest reference 1901?
	RUMMY -- Not a clue, anyone?
	TIC-TAC-TOE -- Ancient Roman

							-- Dagonell
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