Chess: Its Origin. De Ludis Orientalibus (Oxford, 1694)

Author: Hyde, Thomas (1636-1703)

Publisher: Oxford Academia Publishers

Location: Oxford

Year: 1994



[7]+337 pages with diagrams, figures, plates and appendix. Small folio (11 3/4" x 8 1/2") bound in original blue cloth with gilt lettering and decorative pictorial to spine and cover. Translated with commentary of the Latin and Hebrew. Volume II on Victor Keats' Chess Among the Jews. First edition.

De Ludis Oreintalibus combines two works of Hyde: Mandragorias, seu Historia Shahiludii (which had previously been published in 1689) and Historia Nerdiludii (unpublished before 1694). The work entitled Mandragorias is Hyde's history of the game of chess. It is the first such history to be based on authentic scholarship, and all subsequent writings on the subject are indebted to it. Hyde explains the somewhat idiosyncratic title in his opening chapter. The second part consists of three original Hebrew texts, of which the first two are of medieval origin. Hyde reproduces them from manuscript sources and supplies them with a Latin translation in parallel columns to the source test. The present book contains a complete English translation of all these texts. The work Historia Nerdiludii is devoted to various games of the East other than chess, in particular the game know in Arabic sources as nard -- a precursor to modern backgammon. Hyde's collected works contain his translation of part of the introduction to the philosophica treatise More Nevochim (The Guide to the Perplexed) by Maimonides (1131-1204), who himself mentioned chess in his writings. An English version of the same passage appears at the end of this book.


Corners bumped else a very good to fine copy.

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