hist-games: Nard in the Shahnameh (fwd)

Musée Suisse du Jeu u.schaedler at msj.ch
Mon Aug 11 00:11:22 PDT 2003

You are asking for the famous story of the invention of chess, which is also
told in the chatrang-namak, by Buzurghmihr, who in turn invented nard with a
cosmological interpretation, the Indians weren't able to discover (shahnahme
vv. 3697-3888; vv. 2628ss. in the Moscow edition).
An English translation is given by Murray, A History of Chess, Oxford 1913,
p. 157; a French version is J. Mohl, Le livre des rois par Abou'lkasim
Firdousi, vol. 6, Paris 1868, p. 368s., also published in Antonius van der
Linde, Geschichte und Literatur des Schachspiels, Leipzig 1874 (reprint
1981) p. 248.
The passage is also discussed by Antonio Panaino, La novella degli scacchi e
della tavola reale, Milano 1999, p. 130s.

The problem with the "nard" in the shahname is, that Firdousi here obviously
does not talk exactly about nard (backgammon), but mixed elements of the
three most important board games known at his time in Central Asia: chess,
nard and the greek game polis. See Ulrich Schädler, "The Talmud, Firdausi
and the Greek game "City", in: Jean Retschitzki & Rosita Haddad-Zubel, Step
by Step, Proceedings of the 4th Colloquium Board Games in Academia,
University of Fribourg 2001 (Fribourg 2002) p. 91-102, esp. p. 99-101.

Best regards
Ulrich Schädler
Swiss Museum of Games
----- Original Message -----
From: "Imran Ghory" <imran at bits.bris.ac.uk>
To: <hist-games at www.pbm.com>
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 12:04 AM
Subject: hist-games: Nard in the Shahnameh (fwd)

> Forwarding a question that someone here might be able to answer.
> Imran
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Fri, 08 Aug 2003 14:33:40 -0500
> From: Janet Newton
> To: imrang at btinternet.com
> Subject: Shahnameh
> Hello,
> I am hoping you can help me.  I read that there is a reference to nard or
> possibly to vin-artakhshir in the Shahnameh, but after doing several word
> searches of the text I have not been able to locate any reference to the
> game.
> I am wondering if you are familiar enough with the Shahnameh to refer me
> to a specific section that I can read through to find the reference to
> nard.
> Thank you.
> Janet Newton
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