Tuesday 10 November 2009

Isle of Lewis Chessmen

The Isle of Lewis Chessmen is a popular news item, and another article concerning them has appeared on the BBC website. This article reports that there are doubts about the origin of the pieces.
Now the problem I've always had with the Lewis Chessmen is that they seem to predate the widespread popularity of chess in Western Europe. They were apparently manufactured during the 12th Century, a time where very little evidence of chess being played has been discovered. Of course far smarter people than me have done far better research on this topic, but I've always suspected that they were more likely to be figurines rather than part of a chess set. Of course, as the article says, they may have been used in another game called Hnefatafl, but the Lewis Hnefatafl-men isn't quite as catchy.

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