Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 11 July 2022

Fancy a game of Hnefatafl?

Staying with the Vikings for another post the May online edition of Invicta has an informative article about the ancient board game of Hnefatafl, its antecedents and its decline in the face of the popularity of the similar but possibly more stimulating game of chess.

The main problem with reviviving it as a game is the fact that the rules do not survive. Modern players have had to attempt to reconstruct these based on educated guesswork. As a result different players play variant forms of the game. The great quest is to find someone somewhere who plays according to ancient practice. I can also imagine that there may have been several different variations in the past, or that thee rules changed over time or place.

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