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Rithmomachy (wikipedia.org)
142 points by benbreen on Feb 1, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 16 comments

Are there any computer versions?

Yes there are.

A Windows Shareware version: http://www.stargraphics.com/ambush.htm

An Android version: http://www.stargraphics.com/amband.htm

There's an applet at boardspace.net: http://boardspace.net/english/about_rithmomachy.html

That was my first thought, too. A cursory search didn't yield anything. I'm tempted to suggest it to my friend as our next project - we're going to do a game project every month this year (or at least: trying to, already behind schedule).

I helped write a parallelized version for the CrayT3E in high school. Our team described the implementation here:


Very interesting!

Nothing much mentioned about sudden decline in its popularity.

I guess, Games that are tied with the tradition of a culture tend to have a longer lifetime.

The 17th century was the century that saw the rise of card games, which exploded in popularity due to printing. Checkers had probably supplanted Morris earlier.

More important is probably its educational use in teaching Boethian arithmetic in the medieval university. By 1600, Europe has rediscovered scores of classical texts and was on the verge of making very major strides in mathematics. It probably just didn't seem relevant.

Ann Moyer's book, "The Philosopher's Game" theorizes that the game was used by scholars is university settings. The game is based on the Quadrivium (four subjects of which math is one) and Boethius concepts of numbers and mathematics. When those concepts stopped being taught at universities, usage of the game declined.

Perhaps an early vhs vs betamax episode.

Is "De Lite" really "By lawsuit" rather than "By law"?

Yes. Lex/legis is law; litem is lawsuit.

I always need to recognise that the dark and Middle Ages of Europe where horrific obviously but if there can be a popular game using arithmetic progression to win at chess then, it was not all Eric Palin harvesting mud

"Popular" is a relative term. Early in the middle ages, long division was considered advanced, graduate-level work.

That can't be right. It may be that very few people learned it (not relevant to most people's lives), but to those who did, it couldn't have been advanced, graduate-level work.

This is a factoid that I've been carrying around for a while, but it looks sort of true. Fibonacci introduced Arabic numerals in 1202, which slowly grew to predominate over Roman numerals/abacus use by circa 1600. So it's not that educated Europeans couldn't do complex division, they simply used abaci and clunky Roman numerals rather than long division. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liber_Abaci

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