hist-games: alea evangelii

u.schaedler at museedujeu.com u.schaedler at museedujeu.com
Mon Jun 30 01:00:04 PDT 2008

See my discussion of ancient celtic games in the Stanway excavation report,
which has been published earlier this year (I offered pdf files to all
Ulrich Schädler 

-----Message d'origine-----
De : hist-games-bounces at www.pbm.com [mailto:hist-games-bounces at www.pbm.com]
De la part de Damian Walker
Envoyé : samedi, 28. juin 2008 05:56
À : hist-games at www.pbm.com
Objet : Re: hist-games: alea evangelii

Quoting M Winther's message of Yesterday:

> In Bell vol.I pp.79-80 is described a Danish game of the same 
> dimensions, found in a grave at least as old as A.D. 400. Probably 
> it's the same game, only it was renamed to Alea Evangelii.

Possibly, possibly not.  As far as sets of pieces go, there's no real
evidence that tafl games were played before A.D. 800.  The reasoning given
for playing tafl on the Vimose board is remarkably circular: we know this
board was for tafl, as tafl was played around A.D. 400 when the board was
made; we know tafl was played at that time because, well, we have this board
from Vimose.

> It seems like Tafl games were played in the roman era, then, if the 
> board wasn't used for the Chinesegame of Go, which isn't likely.

It's important to remember that we only have one edge of the board, 1.5
squares wide, and although some of the other outer border pieces are extant,
there's not enough to confirm that the board was square.  It could be 18x12
or 18x14, for example.  Given that the board was found in a war booty
offering, of items taken from Romanised Germans, it's no less likely that
the board was for a large variant of Latrunculi (the largest confirmed
latrunculi board is, I think, 10x14).

> Go used exactly the same board as Alea Evangelii, and both were played 
> on the intersections, it seems. It's a remarkable coincidence.

The differences are significant when you look into it, though.  Alea
evangelii had completely different board markings to go: 16 corner squares,
a single central space instead of the 9 evenly-spaced markings of the go
board, and possibly markings on four significant other squares, too.  I
discuss the alea evangelii in depth in a little PDF booklet Reconstructing
Hnefatafl, available on my site below (on the links page).

Damian - http://tafl.snigfarp.karoo.net/
hist-games mailing list
hist-games at www.pbm.com

More information about the hist-games mailing list