Sports and Games of Medieval Cultures

Article excerpt

By Sally Wilkins. Sports and Games Through History Series. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2002. 336p. alkaline $49.95 (ISBN 0-313-31711-9).

Sports and Games of Medieval Cultures is the first of four entries in Greenwood's Sports and Games through History series. The other titles cover ancient games, the Renaissance, and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For the purpose of organization, the book is divided into seven sections by geographic region: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and Oceania. This is helpful for both researchers and browsers, allowing them to focus on one region. Within each geographic region, the entries are divided into categories of games, play, and sports, under which they are alphabetically listed.

The entries range in length from one paragraph to a couple of pages. Each entry gives an explanation of the activity, including rules and necessary materials. There is also a history of each activity and there are often links provided between these activities and modern games. It's important to note that in many cases, Wilkins has had to "fill in the blanks" for games that did not have lengthy descriptions. Wilkins tried to stay true to the games while avoiding too much conjecture.

One neat feature of this title is the inclusion of instructions, so that modern readers can participate in some of the activities. To further assist those interested, there is an appendix titled, "Making and Finding Pieces for Games. …