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Medieval games – Games people played in Europe in the Middle Ages

By |2018-04-20T08:25:49+00:00August 1st, 2017|Games, Medieval|

Medieval games: Women playing chess Early medieval games: Dice, checkers, chess The games of medieval Europe were mainly the same as those of Egypt, Greece, and Rome: dice, knucklebones, marbles, checkers. But there were some new games, too. In the Middle Ages, chess came to Europe from the Islamic Empire. When the Arabs took over Spain, in 711 AD, they brought chess with them, and it [...]

Medieval Islamic games

By |2018-05-08T15:25:26+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Games, Islam, West Asia|

Medieval Islamic games: Muslims playing chess in Spain Chess from India The big new game of the Islamic Empire was chess. The Arabs learned to play chess from the Sassanians when they conquered them, and probably the Sassanians learned chess from people in India. Indian people themselves seem to have learned at least some version [...]

Ottoman architecture – Topkapi

By |2017-07-23T08:13:44+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Architecture, Islam|

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul (Turkey, 1400s AD) By the time the Ottoman sultans conquered Constantinople from the Roman emperors in 1453 AD,  the old palace of the Roman emperors was really very, very old. The Roman emperors had not been rich enough to build fancy palaces for hundreds of years. So the Ottoman emperors immediately started to build themselves [...]

Wrestling, Martial Arts, and Olympics – History of Sports

By |2018-04-20T08:29:29+00:00June 23rd, 2017|Games|

Sports history: The Discus-Thrower (ca. 450 BC) The earliest sports Indo-European people like Central Asians and the Greeks had a very strong tradition of athletic competition. Competing in, and winning, athletic competitions was for them a kind of religious ritual, as well as being good training for soldiers. Central Asian people had a [...]

Islamic polo project – Medieval Islam

By |2017-06-11T01:21:38+00:00June 11th, 2017|Games, Islam|

Men playing polo Polo was first invented in the Islamic Empire, during the Abbasid period (as far as we can tell). Probably it comes from earlier Central Asian horseback games. Many Central Asian soldiers fought in the Abbasid army, so they may have brought their games with them. Of course polo was originally [...]

Ancient Chinese games – board games and martial arts

By |2018-04-18T09:54:09+00:00June 6th, 2017|China, Games|

Women of the Tang court playing double land (about 800 AD) In ancient China, as in other places, both board games and movement games probably come from war training. Board games trained generals in battlefield strategy, and martial arts trained men to fight. According to some stories, it was the Yellow Emperor, about [...]

Central Asian games – wrestling, polo, archery

By |2017-09-18T11:19:19+00:00May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, Games|

Wrestlers from Samarkand (Uzbekistan, 600s AD) People in Central Asia played games that helped them get better at skills they would need in their lives. They needed to ride horses well, so they liked to race their horses or play games like polo on their horses, where you rode horses and tried to [...]

Playing jacks – Central Asian games project

By |2018-04-16T12:35:53+00:00May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, Games|

Playing jacks To get a better idea what it was like to be a kid in Central Asia, try playing some of the games that they played. Playing jacks is a good easy place to start, and you can do it anywhere. This video will show you how to play jacks. You don't really need [...]