Book of Games
A Game Researcher's resource
Site undergoing a major reconstruction!
Expect some typos and broken links
Last updated 10/09/03
See Tables of Contents links below to see which sections have been updated most recently.
Alphonso X's Book of Games (In Spanish: Libro de los Juegos" or "Libros del Axedrez, Dados et Tablas") is an invaluable source of information on games of the past. It was commissioned between 1251 and 1282 A.D. by Alphonso X, King of Leon and Castile. It consist of 98 vellum pages bound in sheepskin and includes 150 color drawings. It is said to be one of the first masterpieces of European literature written in a colloquial language
It is now housed at the monastery library of St. Lorenze del Escorial. At the time of posting this, I am aware of no English translation of the manuscript. Although since starting this website, I have been contacted by scholars who are working on translations. As a historical re-enactor (and also a maker & seller of historic games) we thought others could benefit from access to these illustrations.
The images on this website are for non-profit use only,
and are intended to be used for study and research.
The digital images were captured using a facsimile edition of the ms. T.I.6 of the library of El Escorial (Madrid), The facsimile is a faithful reproduction in full color of the 13th century Alfonsian codex, integrated by 98 sheets of parchment. 29 x 42 cm, bound in leather stamped with the grill symbol from El Escorial and illuminated with 150 miniatures occuping the upper third of each page.(ISBN 84-85935-28-4). Most of the the graphics are large, and may be slow to load, but they have been cropped to display only the text ad illustrations on each page.
This website has been made possible primarily through the kind efforts of strangers. I would like to thank Mr. David H. for recently providing the digital photos of the entire facsimile edition of the MS, as well as Mr. Christian Hartmann who provided most of the original scans for the first version of this website, as well as the other individuals who were kind enough to send additional graphics.
|Tables of Contents
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Morris, 4-player games
Other Alphonso information online
Electronic Texts & Concordances of the Prose Works of Alfonso X, El Sabio
-Access is limited to Indiana University faculty, staff & students(-Grrr!) but they offer complete texts (in Spanish), indexes, and concordances on CD-ROM for $40.00.
Facsimile Edition of the Book of Games. There is a two volume edition of the Book of Games available from www.edilan.com. ISBN 84-85935-28-4 Its purchasable edition is limited to 2,000 numbered, authenticated, unique copies. Volume one is a reproduction in full colour (with gold) of the 13th cent. Alfonsian codex, integrated by 98 sheets of parchment of 29 x 42 cm, bound in leather stamped with the grill symbol from El Escorial and illuminated with 150 miniatures occuping the upper third of each page. The second volume has the same format and 400 pages and contains studies on the historic, critic, artistic and chess aspects of the manuscript by Luis Vázquez de Parga, Ana Domínguez and Ricardo Calvo, along with the text transcription commented by Metchild Crombach.
The Cantigas de Santa
Medieval-era manuscripts were written during the reign of Alfonso X "El Sabio" (1221-1284) and are one of the largest collections of monophonic (solo) songs from the middle ages.