hist-games: re Daldos

jon at gothic green oak jon at gothicgreenoak.co.uk
Tue Mar 30 07:56:19 PDT 2010


The Mary Rose report states that a similar board with 22 rows occurs on 
a 13th C coffin lid from Holy Trinity Church, Little Woolstone, 
Buckinghamshite (alongside 9 and 3 men's morris boards). Croft (1987) 
Graffiti Gaming Boards. Finds Research Group 700-1700. Datasheet 6 is cited.

Could someone who has access to this confirm ?

Gothic Green Oak

I was interested to read Ian Levingston's identification of a Daldos 
board scratched into a barrel top salvaged from the Mary Rose:


As he points out, this would appear to be the second instance of a board 
from England, if one accepts that a drawing in a thirteenth-century 
manuscript held at Trinity College also depicts a diagram for this type 
of game.

Thierry Depaulis ('An Arab game in the North Pole?', Board Game Studies, 
4, 2001, pp. 77-82 [80]) concludes that the component Dal- in Daldos 
'may be explained in the light of an old English word daly whose meaning 
was  “knucklebone”, “small piece of bone”, whence “die”'. Alternatively 
one could suggest the English word 'tally' - a wooden stick notched or 
'scored' to keep a record of commercal transactions and game points. 
'Tally-dice', in fact, would neatly characterise the two implements used 
in Daldos, while approximating phonetically to the Norwegian name.

If the game did indeed have some foothold in the British Isles it may be 
that there are other yet-to-be-identified examples of  Daldos-type 
boards (among Cathedral cloister etchings, for instance) as well as 
references in regional glossaries, dialect dictionaries etc. Now, at 
least we have a reason to be on the look-out for these!

Best wishes,


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