Daily Life in Medieval Europe

By Jeffrey L. Singman | Go to book overview

Appendix A: Games

The appendices to this book offer specific information for those who may be interested in trying out actual medieval entertainments and foods. They are hands-on in more ways than one. The original sources have been included in italics (in translation as necessary), along with contextual information, to allow readers a closer look at the process of interpreting historical materials. The kinds of questions one must address in trying to re-create a medieval game or recipe reproduce in miniature many of the general issues faced by historians in approaching broader questions about the past.

Medieval people engaged in a wide variety of games, depending in part on their age and social class. Physical sports tended to be socially segregated. The aristocracy favored combat sports like swordplay, jousting, and hunting. Typical sports for commoners included football, field hockey, and wrestling. All of these were largely restricted to men. Other physical games that were enjoyed by younger people of both sexes and across a wide social spectrum included bowls (in which the participants rolled balls at a target stake or ball, trying to get closest to the target), stick-and-ball games, and blindman's buff. Very little is known about the specific rules of these games, which probably varied greatly according to time and place. A variety of board games were also played, including tables (a family of games played on a backgammon board) and chess; these are generally better documented in sources of the period.

The games in this appendix derive from the following sources:

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Daily Life in Medieval Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - Medieval Society 1
  • 2 - The Life Cycle 17
  • Notes 32
  • 3 - Material Culture 33
  • 4 - Village Life 65
  • 5 - Castle Life 105
  • 6 - Monastic Life 139
  • 7 - Town Life 171
  • 8 - The Medieval World 213
  • Glossary 227
  • Appendix A - Games 231
  • Appendix B - Recipes 241
  • Appendix C - Music 247
  • Selected Bibliography 251
  • Index 261
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