Book of Games
A Game Researcher's resource
Last updated 6/15/08
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 consists 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.
As a historical re-enactor (and also a maker and seller of historic games) we thought others could benefit from access to these illustrations.
Feel free to use these images on conditon of crediting this website.
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 codex, integrated by 98 sheets of parchment. 29 x 42 cm, bound in leather, and 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 and 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 and information.
A translation of the manuscript by Sonja Musser Gollady,
and illustrated with images from this website can be downloaded Free
Translation in PDF format (5.33 MB)
A 1400 page dissertation on the manuscript written by the above translator
is available online from the University of Arizona.
Download the dissertation PDF (almost 7 MB)
|Tables of Contents
thru Chess Problem #
# to #
# to #
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 was a two volume edition of the Book of Games available ISBN 84-85935-28-4 The purchasable edition is limited to 2,000 numbered, authenticated, unique copies. Unfortunately the publisher let their URL ( www.edilan.com ) be bought out and it is now just a internet search portal. 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.