hist-games: XIIIth century games

Jon at Gothic Green Oak jon at gothicgreenoak.co.uk
Wed Jun 25 02:52:58 PDT 2008


The little feedback I get from customers suggests that those who buy Rithmomachia play it when they can find someone who can understand it and is willing. Harmonic progression is beyond my understanding so I dont bother looking for anyone who can play. Both of which suggest that this is, and probably always has been, a game of requiring specific knowledge beyond that understood by the majority - a game of the numerate elite, as Ulrich suggested. In this country (UK) I am told, by those who apparently know, that 'A' level maths is sufficient. 

('A' levels are the higher level exams taken between high school and University in the UK)


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: SEDWilkins at aol.com 
  To: hist-games at www.pbm.com 
  Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 4:16 AM
  Subject: Re: hist-games: XIIIth century games

  In a message dated 6/24/2008 6:08:38 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, jon at gothicgreenoak.co.uk writes:
    >>I agree Rithmomachy  / Rithmomachia (someone who knows please send a message) would only have been played by the educated, and numerate at that. <<
  I believe either form is correct. Spelling wasn't regularized until the eighteenth century, and you have the Latin/English variation besides.

      >>However for an early medieval game it has survived well so must have been played by a sufficient number of the educated and numerate over the past centuries for the rules to have survived<<

  I wonder how much more numerate our ancestors were than we are? As with the ability to memorize and recite lengthy chronicles or forecast the weather from the behavior of leaves and birds, I suspect this is a skill that fades fairly rapidly with disuse. (Having said that, I have to admit that Rithmomachia relies upon some math that is certainly not used in any daily living activity that I engage in, with or without calculator or abacus. . . .)

      >>( also, I make it and it sells well !)<<

  This is wonderful.  It would be interesting to know how many people actually play it more than once? (I own the Star Trek chess game--it's lovely but I think it's been played twice since I bought it. . . .)

  Sally Wilkins

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