hist-games: alea evangelii

M Winther mwi9 at swipnet.se
Thu Jun 26 06:24:20 PDT 2008


Damian wrote ( Aug 16 / 2006 )
>> Quoting webmaster at historicgames.com's message of Yesterday:
>> According to David Parlett in his Oxford History of Board Games, An Englishmanuscript from the reign of Athelstan (924-40) describes a form of Hnefataflwhich it calls "alea evangelii." and if I remember, the manscript included adiagram of a 18 x 18 board with the pieces set on the intersections of thesquares.
>
> On the subject of this manuscript, I'll just dredge up something that Imentioned on this list in November last year: "Just a point of interestabout the alea evangelii.  I wrote to the people at Corpus ChristiCollege library, Oxford, where the manuscript source for this game iskept.  The archivist told me that the manuscript is dated to 1140, some200 years after the game it depicts.  The idea that the manuscript is aSaxon one, contemporary with the game, seems to have arisen in Bell'sbook 'Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations'.  Murray beforehim, in 'A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess', didn't give a datefor the manuscript, and it seems that Bell assumed that it wascontemporary with the game.  Historians studying the manuscript havenever considered it to date before the eleventh century, but gamescholars have copied Bell's assumption across later books and a numberof web sites."
>
> This manuscript (Corpus Christi College Manuscript 122) has beendigitised and is available for you to look at yourself, somewhere on thefollowing site:
>
>  http:>images.ox.ac.uk/
>
> I can't remember the precise URL, but it isn't too difficult to find ifyou make your way to the Corpus Christi College section.  The account ofalea evangelii begins on folio 5.v. and the diagram is on this page oron one of the pages following soon after.
>
> --Damian - http:>damian.snigfarp.karoo.net/
>

So how old is Alea Evangelii? Is it really from the tenth century?

Mats



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