Re: Valets-Slaves Reference

#21
Thanks for saying who Akbar is. Is there anything more about him, ie.g. when he lived?

I think that there are two versions of the 96 card game, and he only told us one, the simpler version, for which he gives us the footnote to "B.G.," then mentioning Akbar's more elaborate version in passing with a footnote.

Re: Valets-Slaves Reference

#22
mikeh wrote:
18 Nov 2019, 12:13
Thanks for saying who Akbar is. Is there anything more about him, ie.g. when he lived?

I think that there are two versions of the 96 card game, and he only told us one, the simpler version, for which he gives us the footnote to "B.G.," then mentioning Akbar's more elaborate version in passing with a footnote.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akbar
Latter half of the 16th century.
But this could be a rhetorical exaggeration, of the "Game of Kings" variety. (I don't know what his reference says, maybe that could shed more light on the matter.)

What you say above was my initial impression, but it could just be unclear English, and there are only 2 decks/games involved.

Re: Valets-Slaves Reference

#23
Wikipedia says:
The 16th-century Mughal emperor Akbar played using a 12 suited deck, which is described in detail in the Ain-i-Akbari.
And then goes on to describe the suits. The Ain-i[Akbari has an article of its own and has been translated into English. Portions are in Google Books, including the table of contents, which shows a chapter called "On Games", but those pages aren't available. An ebook seems to be available for people connected with certain institutions. One of them has a branch in my town, but I don't have the right connection. At some point I may try to find someone who does.

At the moment I am more interested in the other version, with 8 suits, B.G., which p. xxxvii (p. 39 of the Archive) tells me is Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, in 27 volumes, ed. Sir J. Campbell. Apparently I am to go to vol. ix, part 2, p. 173. Again, online, but so far I can only access vol. xi. HathiTrust will tell me whether certain words appear; none of the spellings of ganjifa returns anything, but "playing cards" and "games" does, but with no volume number indicated and nothiing higher than 500s. I may have better luck at the library with research databases. I don't know if this is a wild good chase or not.

Added later: now in Google Books I do find the desired volume and page. https://books.google.com/books?id=MZBIA ... &q&f=false, published in English, Bombay 1899. The description is word for word the same as in Sharif/Shurreef: "the major cards of a suit are trumps." I suspect the author means just that the king and vizier triumph over the number cards no matter whether they are Ace high or Ace low, but it would be nice to know more.

I also checked in another source, Sports and Games of the Renaissance, 2004, which has a page on ganjifa. Leibs, the author, just says "Each suit had numeral cards one through ten and two court or trump cards, usually the king and his minister" (p. 130) which does not help much. Later he adds that of ganjifa games, "the two best documented are hamrand and ekrung, both of which are trick-taking games that do not use trumps." He does not seem to notice the apparent contradiction to what he said earlier, which would be resolved if the "major cards" weren't trumps. He gives no references, and he is a sports journalist. Probably he is just paraphrasing Sharif.

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