hist-games: alea evangelii

Jon at Gothic Green Oak jon at gothicgreenoak.co.uk
Fri Jun 27 09:23:53 PDT 2008

With the exception of the 9x9 tafl game, which is recorded ethnographically
with its well known starting position and alea evangelii as shown in the
9th/11th/12 C manuscript the layout of the 7x7, 11x11 and 13x13  is entirely
conjectural. Excepting the 7z7 tafl game which is too small for much
variation, if the 11x11 and 13x13 boards (and possibly the 15x15 board form
Coppergate) were laid out so that  instead of the four separate camps of
attackers there was a more open layout along the lines of alea evangelii do
you think this would make a difference to the length of the game and the
frequency of wins by either side? Without having attempted this I imagine it
would disadvantage the king but lengthen the game making it possibly a more
even and interesting game (king unarmed)  - has anyone tried this?


----- Original Message -----
From: "M Winther" <mwi9 at swipnet.se>
To: <hist-games at www.pbm.com>
Sent: Friday, June 27, 2008 7:36 AM
Subject: Re: hist-games: alea evangelii

Den 2008-06-27 07:11:59 skrev Damian Walker <damian at snigfarp.karoo.co.uk>:

> Quoting M Winther's message of Yesterday:
>> So how old is Alea Evangelii? Is it really from the tenth century?
> I have no reason to disbelieve that it's a 10th century game, that we're
> seeing through a 12th century manuscript.  The 12th century manuscript
> could be a copy of an earlier (e.g. 10th century) one, or it could be a
> new work based on an earlier source.  The 10th century date, by the way,
> comes from the mention in the manuscript that the game comes from king
> Athelstan's court - his reign was 925-940 (sometimes given as 924-939,
> I'm not sure which is the modern thinking).

I have made a Zillions implementation of Alea Evangelii according to the
reconstruction of Tablut rules by M. Skoglund, Historisk Form, and I.
The Historical Museum, Stockholm. These are the rules used in tournaments in
Sweden (whether they have held any tournaments, I don't know). I found that
Brandubh (Irish), Large Hnefatafl (Norwegian), Tablut (Swedish), and Alea
Evangelii (Saxon), all work finely with these rules. However, other variants
seem to have used other rules.


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