Libro de los juegos

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The Libro de los Juegos, ("Book of games"), or Libro de acedrex, dados e tablas, ("Book of chess, dice and tables", in Old Spanish) was commissioned by Alfonso X of Castile, Galicia and León and completed in his scriptorium in Toledo in 1283,[1][2] is an exemplary piece of Alfonso’s medieval literary legacy.

Consisting of ninety-seven leaves of parchment, many with color illustrations,[2] and contains 150 miniatures.[1] The text is a treatise that addresses the playing of three games: a game of skill, or chess; a game of chance, or dice; and a third game, backgammon, which combines elements of both skill and chance. The book contains the earliest known description of some of these games, including many games imported from the Arab kingdoms.[citation needed][contradictory] These games are discussed in the final section of the book at both an astronomical and astrological level. Extrapolating further, the text can also be read as an allegorical initiation tale and as a metaphysical guide for leading a balanced, prudent, and virtuous life.[3] In addition to the didactic, although not overly moralistic, aspect of the text,[4] the manuscript’s illustrations reveal a rich cultural, social, and religious complexity.

It is one of the most important documents for researching the history of board games. The only known original is held in the library of the monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial near Madrid in Spain. The book is bound in sheepskin and is 40 cm high and 28 cm wide (16 in × 11 in).[2] A 1334 copy is held in the library of the Historical Academy of Madrid.[citation needed]


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