Jan. 17th, 2010

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From time to time, I've been looking up stuff on different Heathen activities, including games and other pastimes. A while back I mentioned Glima, as it was apparently practiced everywhere, as the sport form is quite safe to do. There are a couple of other interesting finds along those lines.

I looked up Kubb, the Swedish block-throwing game. At first, it would seem to be a 20th-century invention. But then I found that it was similar to another game which goes back farther, and another one going back even farther, and so on. All versions involve setting up the target men in a row (except for the Russian one that puts them together to make a crude sculpture), and throwing a stick (usually underhand) to knock them down. And it looks like the original target pieces were horse's anklebones, while the original throwing stick was a horse's shin/'cannon' bone. Variations of the game exist from Russia, through Finland and Scandinavia, and into Germany, though no current versions survive in France.

Another game I checked was Tafl, the northern European chess-like board game. There are/were versions of it from Scandinavia to Britain, using the same basic rules, and varying things like board dimensions and starting positions from one area to another. Although there is a cursory resemblance to the Roman 'soldier' board game, the rules and play are different, so it seems to be a feature of Heathen culture rather than something done in all parts of Europe. It is a reconstructed game, as various historical records have been compared in recent years, and consistent rules have been figured out and tested.

Good, fun stuff, and hopefully more to come in the future.

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The Pedantic Swordsman

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